Saturday, November 28, 2009

Motorola Droid voice dialing & bluetooth (not)

I'm really disappointed in voice dialing and bluetooth support on the Motorola Droid.

I had a Motorola Razr for the last two years and had a great experience with tan inexpensive Motorola H505 bluetooth headset for hands free voice dialing. To place a call I could simply turn on the headset, and press the call button on the headset. It would give a voice prompt, "Say a command." To which my usual reply was "call home" or "call 111 222 3456". The system would then reply, "did you say call _blank_?" with the _blank_ filled in with my request, and the target number was correctly recognized most of the time.

Here is my initial experience with the voice dialer in a nutshell:

In three days of playing around, I don't think I've once gotten the voice dialer to recognize the contact I'm trying to call. I've tried speaking both names and numbers with the same results, neither works. Here is a video clip I recorded, you be the judge.

Bluetooth integration is another big disappointment. I was able to get the headset to pair with the phone, but I couldn't get it to do anything. Turns out that you need to press the bluetooth button which comes up on screen after you make the call from the handset, and then press the call button to get audio on the headset. Receiving a call with the blue tooth headset sort of works. The headset provides a ring, If I press the call button on the headset while the call is ringing, the call connects to the phone, but not to the headset. I have to press the bluetooth key on the call display and press the call button again to hear audio in the headset. I can end the call with the call buton from the headset. (at least something works....) Kind of defeats the purpose of hands free doesn't it?

I wonder if Motorola/Verizon/and Google will be hit with a rash of liability suits based on people crashing their cars while driving using this "so called" hands free option.

Here is a direct quote from the Motorola support site on Bluetooth and Voice Dialing with the new Android. (last update Nov. 23)

More about Bluetooth Voice Dialing

  • Droid supports one-touch voice dialing and full Bluetooth voice conversations.
  • It does not support hands-free dialing via Bluetooth, and Motorola is aware that it does not.
  • On Droid, you can answer a call or initiate the 'last dialed call' by pressing and holding the call button on your Bluetooth headset.
  • Voice dialing cannot be initiated from a headset; you must turn it on from the phone.

Will there be an update?

  • We are currently evaluating possible solutions for providing voice dialing over Bluetooth. The plan for Android phones is to continue to improve the consumer experience through software updates.
  • Some owners have found applications that meet their needs in the Applications Market. Though Motorola does not recommend or support specific third-party solutions, you may want to regularly check the new apps offered in the Android Market for additional dialing options.
I thought I would be writing high praise for this new "toy." Don't get me wrong, there is some really cool stuff on the Android, but it has a very long way to go in terms of maturity. I'm not usually a bleeding edge technology adopter, but I'm trying to embrace change.

Unofficial Droid Forums

Copy & Paste on Motorola Droid A855 - menu key icon doesn't match documentation

The Verizon Droid Quick Tips and Tricks guide appears to use an older menu icon than was used on the released model. The menu key icon shown below in an excerpt from the documentation (four squares in a 2x2 grid, with the upper left filled) appears to have been replaced by four horizontal lines, the top one being slightly longer suggesting a drop down list.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Still Giving Thanks... Peter Gomes interview on NPR's Here & Now

my Dad carving the turkey- Nov 26, 2009

Yesterday, while driving to Plymouth, for Thanksgiving dinner with my family, we heard a terrific interview on NPR's Here and Now with Peter Gomes, a well known Baptist preacher and Harvard professor, who like me, grew up in Plymouth. He was the first African-American member of the Pilgrim Society and the Old Colony Club. Gomes got involved with the Pilgrim Society from a young age, despite warnings from his father that the pilgrims were not his people and they don't really like you. One of the best moments of the interview is Rev. Gomes' description of being questioned by president of the Pilgrim Society, Ellis W. Brewster, while working a summer job at the Pilgrim Society front desk. "Are you a member of the Pilgrim Society?" Brewster asked. "No Sir," Gomes replied, expecting to be fired on the spot. "Well we can't have non-members working here," said Brewster reaching into his pocket and handing Gomes a life membership in the Pilgrim Society, which Brewster had signed himself. Gomes went on to become president of the Pilgrim Society which he has been involved with for over 40 years.

Here and Now host, Robin Young and Gomes discussed the parallels between the Pilgrim's escape from oppression, crossing the ocean, entering into the promised land and the Moses story described by Bruce Feiler in his book, America’s Prophet Moses and the American Story. This is a universal human story of escaping oppression, being faithful to God, seeking the promised land, which has many parallels in history including the underground railroad, and the civil rights struggle. Ironically, Moses never actually entered the promised land. The Pilgrims were more fortunate. Although I grew up in Plymouth, and thought I was familiar with pilgrim history, I found this interpretation facsinating.

I get choked up by the Thanksgiving re-broadcast of Robin Young's visit with her now-late uncle, Lachlan McLachlyn Field, to see the migrating snow geese at the Dead Creek refuge in Addison, Vermont. Although we've heard this interveiw each Thanksgiving for many years, I'll never tire of it. Robin's Uncle Lach passed away in 2004 at the age of 91.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Motorola Droid... Day 1 first thoughts

I got a Motorola Droid from Verizon today. I wanted mobile email and web access and looked at the iPhone, but we have better coverage where I live from Verizon than AT&T, so I went with the Droid.

I didn't have much time to play with it, but I tried out the Navigator. It worked pretty well, although just after I got in the car, I got a notification GPS signal lost. It took a few minutes to recover from that. The spoken directions were clear enough, although not quite as clear as VJ's Garmin Nuvi. It made corrections as appropriate when I didn't follow the route. The GPS navigation mode runs down the battery, and I didn't buy the car charger because I thought my Motorola USB auto charger would work with it but the micro USB connector is half again as thin as the mini pug. I see Motorola has a Mini to Micro USB adapter cable for less than $2, but I'll have to find a better deal on shipping. I had to wait in a waiting room for a little while, and it was very cool to be able to hop online with the wireless web.

Dell Mobile is offering an attractive price on the Droid ($119.99 with a 2 year contract). However, I got mine from Verizon, because I have a family plan with 3 lines. The "new every 2" credit from my old Verizon plan made it almost the same price, and it was a lot less complicated to just deal with Verizon instead of Verizon & Dell. I've been shopping for phones for several weeks. We found out recently that VJ is eligible for an employee discount, that makes Verizon more attractive than my employee discount with AT&T.

I was most disappointed when the sales guy said he couldn't print out the total for the plan until after the contract was signed... until I insisted that we weren't signing anything until seeing the total, then he found a way.

My first impression with the Verizon "Droid" leather case/belt clip MOTA855CAS which says right on the box, "fits Droid by Motorola" was underwhelming when I figured out that the micro USB charger plug is half covered by the spine of the case, so you can't leave it in the case while charging the battery (which looks like it could be often with the Droid). I think I'll be taking back the case when I find something better.

More later on the user experience, and how my fat fingers are adapting to the keyboard(s)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pricing & Licensing Roundtable at ProductCamp Boston Nov 2009

I spent a great day at the Microsoft R&D Center in Cambridge on Saturday, Nov. 9 collaborating informally with about 150 product managers and marketing professionals at ProductCamp Boston. This was the 2nd ProductCamp event in Boston, and another huge success.

I organized a session on Software Pricing & Licensing. I want to thank Jim Geisman founder of Software Pricing Partners, and Amy Konary Research Director at IDC for providing their expert perspective. About 15 people participated in the Pricing & Licensing session, and 11 expressed an interest in setting up a local online networking group as a place to gather and collaborate further. (
I've been asked by the BPMA board to do this within the general forum while membership on our new online community builds up - once that reaches a critical mass, we'll split it out into a separate subgroup.)

You can download the slides from my session here in pdf format. The slides include links to some good pricing books and online resources.

my favorite highlights of the day at ProductCamp include:
Steve Johnson's Keynote on managing your career using the Pragmatic Framework

John Monsour's (of Zig Zag Marketing) session: How Product Mgmt. & Product Mktg. Can Drive Company, Market & Product Strategy.
Alan Armstrong (of eigenworks) session: Credibility and Authority for Product Management & Product Marketing: Practical steps. Alan has a great tag line: "NAIL IT THEN SCALE IT".

My Flickr photoset from the day is here.

I want to extend a big Thank-You to Brooks Rutledge for his extraordinary dedication, effort, and leadership in organizing this event which provides a huge value to participants. Also, thanks to the ProductCamp Sponsors for making the day possible.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

revised FTC endorsement guidelines require bloggers to disclose "freebies"

On Oct 5 the Federal Trade Commission announced revisions to the guidance it gives advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act. The changes affect testimonial advertisements, celebrity endorsements and bloggers.

The revised Guides include examples to illustrate the principle that “material connections” (payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. The examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the FTC Act; they are not binding law themselves. In any law enforcement action challenging the allegedly deceptive use of testimonials or endorsements, the Commission would have the burden of proving that the challenged conduct violates the FTC Act.

Here are examples citing bloggers related to endorsements and disclosure of material connections

Expert endorsements.
Example 8: A consumer who regularly purchases a particular brand of dog food decides one day to purchase a new, more expensive brand made by the same manufacturer. She writes in her personal blog that the change in diet has made her dog’s fur noticeably softer and shinier, and that in her opinion, the new food definitely is worth the extra money. This posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.

Assume that rather than purchase the dog food with her own money, the consumer gets it for free because the store routinely tracks her purchases and its computer has generated a coupon for a free trial bag of this new brand. Again, her posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.

Assume now that the consumer joins a network marketing program under which she periodically receives various products about which she can write reviews if she wants to do so. If she receives a free bag of the new dog food through this program, her positive review would be considered an endorsement under the Guides.

Disclosure of material connections.
Example 7: A college student who has earned a reputation as a video game expert maintains a personal weblog or “blog” where he posts entries about his gaming experiences. Readers of his blog frequently seek his opinions about video game hardware and software. As it has done in the past, the manufacturer of a newly released video game system sends the student a free copy of the system and asks him to write about it on his blog. He tests the new gaming system and writes a favorable review. Because his review is disseminated via a form of consumer-generated media in which his relationship to the advertiser is not inherently obvious, readers are unlikely to know that he has received the video game system free of charge in exchange for his review of the product, and given the value of the video game system, this fact likely would materially affect the credibility they attach to his endorsement. Accordingly, the blogger should clearly and conspicuously disclose that he received the gaming system free of charge. The manufacturer should advise him at the time it provides the gaming system that this connection should be
disclosed, and it should have procedures in place to try to monitor his postings for compliance.

Example 8: An online message board designated for discussions of new music download technology is frequented by MP3 player enthusiasts. They exchange information about new products, utilities, and the functionality of numerous playback devices. Unbeknownst to the message board community, an employee of a leading playback device manufacturer has been posting messages on the discussion board promoting the manufacturer’s product. Knowledge of this poster’s employment likely would affect the weight or credibility of her endorsement. Therefore, the poster should clearly and conspicuously disclose her relationship to the manufacturer to members and readers of the message board.

Example 9: A young man signs up to be part of a “street team” program in which points are awarded each time a team member talks to his or her friends about a particular advertiser’s products. Team members can then exchange their points for prizes, such as concert tickets or electronics. These incentives would materially affect the weight or credibility of the team member’s endorsements. They should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, and the advertiser should take steps to ensure that these disclosures are being provided.

You can download the new FTC guidelines here. (pdf)

In the interest of full disclosure, last April, I blogged about Pam Slim's book Escape Cubicle Nation, that I received at no cost.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

An irresistable upsell - leaves money on the table

I had to refurbish the utility trailer that I use to clean up the autumn leaves from my yard. I stopped in Home Depot to pick up a 1" spade drill bit. I already have a set of spade bits, but my 1" bit was just worn out. I expected to buy a single bit which was priced at $4.69/EA.

I noticed a 3 piece set adjacent to the individual bits at such a bargain price, I simply couldn't pass it up. The package of 3 bits, which included the 1", a 3/4" and a 1/2 inch, was priced at $5.97.
Those are all sizes that I use and my drills are usually dull, but I wasn't looking to replace them today. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick up two new bits for an additional $1.28 . The 1/2" and 3/4" bits were priced at $4.19 and $3.70 each. The cost of the 2 extra bits in the bundle was 16% of the individual pieces.

From a differentiation perspective, the shanks on the set are a little shorter than the individual bits. The shank length makes very little difference to me, this will only affect very rare instances when trying to drill through stock that's more than about 4" thick. In fact when I'm using my drill press, the shorter shanks are often easier to work with.

I have to wonder what Irwin and Home Depot were thinking when they priced this set. Here are some ideas:
  • It's definitely cheaper to package and deliver 3 bits on one card than one product per card.
  • Manufacturing cost is a very small fraction of the retail price.
  • Home Depot also offers Rigid auger bits which are a little more expensive than the spade bits. Home Depot sells the 1" diameter Rigid auger bit for $5.97. The Auger bits are promoted as 6x faster than a spade bit, and re-sharpenable. I'm not sure if Irwin was trying to grab more market share by differentiating from the higher Rigid price point.
I had already decided to buy, but boosted my current purchase due to an irresistible upsell. I don't really want Home Depot or Irwin to know, but I would have gone for the upsell if it had only been one additional bit for an extra $1.28. I would say they left some money on the table.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The doable to do list

Concise article on keeping an effective "to do list" by Gina Trapani, editor of Lifehacker.

I'll try the group function in XL to hide or show some of the details.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Five best practices for communication with acronyms

How often have you been presented with unfamiliar acronyms without being told what they stand for? Acronyms, can streamline communications when used effectively, but acronyms create confusion, loss of productivity, and frustration when misused. Communications effectiveness and productivity can be improved by applying and promoting best practices when using acronyms. Before getting to the 5 best practices, it's helpful to understand some of the problems created when acronyms are misunderstood:
a) Different people may have different meanings for the same acronym which leads to confusion and mistakes. The medical profession has identified misunderstood acronyms as a serious source of medical errors.
b) People may assume they know the acronym and sometimes guess what it means, but if their guess is wrong, they proceed, thinking they understand the acronym, when their understanding is incorrect or incomplete.
c) By saving a few seconds, not defining an acronym, you risk losing the meaning of your message and the attention of your audience as they wonder what the acronym means.
d) The meaning of acronyms can be diluted over time. As some acronyms become ingrained within organizations, many people who use them, don’t know their correct meaning, and misuse them compounding the loss of communication effectiveness.
e) Acronyms create barriers to effective cross-cultural communication.
f) It is difficult, if not impossible, to build an effective culture based on cooperation and trust in the absence of clear understanding.
Five best practices for communication using Acronyms:
1. The best practice when employing acronyms in speech or writing is to define the acronym when it is introduced, then to use the acronym for subsequent instances. If you are not going to repeat the acronym, then consider if you really want to use it in the first place.
2. The key to applying acronyms effectively is to identify when their use is appropriate. Acronyms expedite communication within teams who work closely together, and are familiar with their meaning. When you are certain that you are speaking to someone who knows the acronym, by all means, use it to save time. However when writing, it’s better to define your acronyms. You may be writing to a team member, but your message may be forwarded to others who are unfamiliar with your terminology.
3. If you are uncertain if some members of your audience are familiar with your terminology, it’s better to err on the conservative side and explain acronyms. Even when the audience is from the same organization, they may not understand the acronyms and terminology.
4. Develop a culture that encourages people to ask what acronyms mean when they are not familiar.
5. Maintain a central reference for company and industry specific acronyms.
Let me know if you have recommendations for improving clarity and understanding when using acronyms.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yahoo email outage is pushing me to GMAIL

Although there are many reasons why I continue using Yahoo mail, they seem to be doing everything to convince me that I should quit using Yahoo as my primary email source and switch over to GMAIL. Let's see how long this lasts.

Yes, my connection to Yahoo mail is still functioning - I got your pop-up message didn't I?

I guess I'll copy the contents of my message over to GMAIL

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Escape from Cubicle Nation - offers more than an exit strategy for corporate employees

Pam Slim's new book Escape from Cubicle Nation From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur has a lot to offer to corporate employees who aren't necessarily looking for an exit, but who are looking for ideas and practical advice on how to thrive within the corporate world. One example is the eye opening exercise Breaking the Grip of Destructive Thoughts from Byron Katie on pages 35 & 36, which provides a simple process for deconstructing doubts and turning around your point of view.

Update: appears to be offline just before 10:30 am EDT - I'm sure that Pam is doing everything possible to get this resolved ASAP, but I'm sure she is not happy about this. This is the last thing anyone wants on the day of their book launch.
2nd Update: The problem appears to have been fixed by early this evening.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Too much litter on Twitter

The world is going bonkers over Twitter, and frankly, I don't get it.

Robert Rosenthal posted this awesome video clip on his Freaking marketing blog.

Twitter could be useful, but there is so much drivel, I can't see how serious professionals can find it productive. (of course, Western Union once said something like that once about the telephone - "The telephone has too many problems to be considered a serious method of communication. The invention has no value for us")

We used to say there is a lot of litter in the literature. Now we can say with confidence: there is too much litter on twitter ©

Saturday, February 28, 2009

ProductCampBoston Feb 2009 Photos and Take-aways

The first ProductCampBoston was a great event today. About 100 people turned out to share information and best practices. I learned a lot. Thanks to the leading organizers Todd, Brooks and Sasha, and the presenters. Here are a few photos. I enjoyed making a lot of new contacts and look forward to continued networking & collaboration with you.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Summary of take-aways from the sessions I attended:
From Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing on the Four Roles of PM:
When writing requirements - short is better. Writing requirements isn't like writing a will - you should expect be around to answer any questions that come up along the way.
You have to know and love the industry you are in to be a Product Manager.
The job of the PM is to be one of the "parents of the product." It's possible to be a single parent, but it's a lot harder when you have to do it on your own.
As a "parent of the product" our job is to "get the child ready to leave and rarely return." In other words, the PM is supposed to give Development, Sales, and Marcom enough information so they can answer their own questions.

From Bob Levy (Former BPMA President) on Requirements Management Best Practices:
Resource material on managing relationships and building trust:
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
Crucial Confrontations: Tools for talking about broken promises, violated expectations, and bad behavior

Contributors to Cognitive Distortion - (not seeing reality - or different people seeing reality differently)
The telephone game: messages get distorted when passed from one person to the next.
Over generalization: everyone does it. (duh!)
Recency effect: placing heavier reliance on recent information.
Observer expectancy: unconscious manipulation of results based on expectations.
Confirmation bias: trying to prove a point.
Status quo: resistance to change
Group think: going along
Projection bias: assuming that other share our own preferences.

Bob presented a systematic methodology for capturing, ranking and reviewing and maintaining requirements in three levels:
green: these are believable, attainable, committed requirements and should should include a description of the market problem, target customer, how it fits with the strategy, revenue estimate, co-requisites, political factors, win-loss history, development estimate.
yellow: these are unfunded stretch goals and should include a use case or scenario, ROI estimate, development effort/time SWAG.
red: future requirements, recommended only with additional investment, don't spend a lot of effort describing these because they aren't likely but should include a target customer.

Steve Haines of Sequent Marketing on Innovation;
Innovation is part of a strategy that enables taking chances while managing risks, focusing on the best return on investment, diversification through resource allocation.

Innovation requires
o Culture of ongoing investment in improvement
o Leadership nurturing an innovative environment
o Attitude mindset for managers and teams
o Process - integrated in new product development

Alyssa Dver of Mint Green Marketing: Seven Habits of Highly Successful PMs
1. PM's must know their products and their own limitations (clarified thanks to comment from Todd)
2. Listen first: start by asking, "tell me what you do."
3. Ask "why?", not "what?" Why to you need the product and how are you going to use it?
4. Decisive - based on market data - PM's make decisions with confidence when they have market data to back up their decisions.
5. Responsive: if people ask for information, if you can't respond right away, let them know when to expect a response.
6. Communicate concretely, frequently and concisely
7. Manage passion - you must be passionate, but not emotional better to be composed and display conviction based on concrete data than rely on emotional persuasion.

In summary an outstanding PM is:
A humble leader, careful, artful communicator and an avid student.

I asked Alyssa if she would add being organized and analytical as attributes of a PM, and she said yes, you need those skills, to perform at even a minimal level of competence, but they are not sufficient to make a PM outstanding.

Another recommended book: Portfolio Management for New Products - (thanks Cory!)

Thanks again to the presenters and participants for sharing their ideas and experience, and to the sponsors for making the day possible.

Closing note: One of my final activities at the end of my 2008 term as Director of Program Planning for BPMA was to champion approval for BPMA's co-sponsorship of this event. It took quite a bit of effort to establish consensus within the board on a package of financial and marketing resource support for ProductCamp. Helping to make this day happen ranks among my most satisfying experiences as a member of the BPMA Board. Thanks especially to my former fellow BPMA board members who supported PCampBoston.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

US Airways Flight 1549 - Ordinary People, Extraordinary Heroes

I'm compelled to express my admiration and appreciation for the genuine heroism demonstrated by the captain, crew, passengers, and both the professional and volunteer first responders who averted a huge potential tragedy when US Airways Flight 1549 ditched in the icy Hudson River this week. Our society tends to idolize celebrities who attain their fame for dubious reasons. This event has captured the nation's attention because a group of ordinary people created a true life miracle by averting panic and cooperating under leadership of a few extraordinary individuals preserving the lives of all on board through this harrowing ordeal.

The pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, is receiving well deserved recognition for his skill in landing the plane safely on the Hudson after loosing power. US Airways identified the the first officer as Jeffrey Skiles, and the three flight attendants; Donna Dent, Doreen Welsh and Sheila Dail, who quickly evacuated passengers, and preserved calm through their rescue.
A bulletin to members of the US Airline Pilots Association, said said Capt. Sullenberger personally accounted for all the passengers and remained on the sinking aircraft until he was sure the plane was empty.

"The fact that 155 people walked away from a very dangerous situation is a testament to the skill and professionalism of the entire flight crew."

The Association of Flight Attendants union, which represents the cabin crew members at US Airways, commended the three attendants for safely and quickly evacuating the passengers in the emergency landing. "Their years of experience and training made all the difference once the aircraft was in the water."

Ferry operators arrived on the scene within minutes and started the rescue. They were joined moments later by NYC emergency personnel.

The heroic efforts of this rescue undoubtedly benefited from good fortune, or as people of faith (including myself) say, "miraculous Divine intervention". I was touched by the "cartoon" published on the editorial page of the Providence Journal today reproducing the now famous AP photograph by Steven Day, showing the plane floating on the Hudson while passengers lined up, waiting for rescue on the wings and evacuation rafts. The illustrator added God's hands providing support from below the waters. I don't know the artist's name, but the drawing conveys a very powerful message.

Keep Warm,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Adobe Reader 9: how to turn off updates

As part of my annual home PC clean-up, I upgraded to a 320 Gb drive and started from a fresh OS install to clear up all of the junk that slows things down. I was really tickled that the old machine was practically jumping off the desk after I installed Windows XP, MS Office, and my video editing software, but when I re-installed Adobe Reader 7.0, the performance fell off a cliff. I hadn't realized that Adobe Reader 7.0 was checking the web for updates every time it started causing my machine to become unresponsive whenever it opened.

I did a little reading on the web and didn't find an easy way to turn off the updates. After seeing a few helpful notes on various forums, (this tweak in particular stands out) I saw some favorable feedback on 9.0, although there are still complaints about bloat. Adobe added the ability to update preferences in Reader 9.0, which didn't exist in Reader 7, so I decided to give 9 a try. To disable updates, click edit, preferences, general, then remove the check mark from "Check for Updates" under Application start up. With automatic updates disabled, you can still Check for Updates manually by clicking on the Help menu. Here is a composite screenshot showing the setting to disable updates for anyone who needs a clear picture.

I'm very pleased with the result (I also disabled Adobe Java Script as recommended in the above tweak link above. (click: edit, preferences, javascript, remove check mark, click OK.)

PS. After the original post, I learned the same preference is also in Adobe Reader 8.

Happy New Year,