Tag: Money

Faraway places…

Faraway places…

Faraway places…

This time of year always seems to ground people…well me anyway.  We get so wrapped up in the “season” … that we forget what the season is about. As we make it through Thanksgiving, the rest of the turkey is either tossed or frozen along with the last bite of cranberry sauce; I cannot help but think of those less fortunate folks that would have non left to freeze or toss.

Troubles exists everywhere and you don’t have to look very far or hard to find them.  The bell ringers are out there in force and many; including myself have done a fair amount of shopping through Amazon or other such services.  Local retailers will certainly feel the sting of online purchases as we hear about an American Icon …Sears… that is headed for the scrapbook or dustbin of history.  Like so many shops before them; box stores and our shopping habits align the blocks and events of history in a sequence for them, “like dominoes in a row” to fall, or in this case fail.

The poor blame the rich, the government blames the rich, while taking their money for super packs and what have you, and the game goes on, not really identifying the problem.  Folks, government is the problem and cannot be the solution as it is currently flawed.  Those that make laws for themselves, which are different from the laws that you and I are saddled with, must be changed. There must be term limits for all of them…

I firmly believe that we only live so long, because the God in heaven that created us knew; that if we lasted too long, one person could gain so much wealth and power that they could literally create dynasties that would enslave an entire world forever.

Few understand micro economics, much less macro.  Some pay credit card bills, with other credit cards to get by, not even understanding the hole that they dig themselves into until it is far too late.  These credit card people make it easy to do with checks made for the express purpose of transferring money around.

Our leaders are doing the very same thing with their credit card, (the one that you pay) to the tune of $18.5 Trillion dollars and counting.  If leading by example is the plan, they are doing a bang up job!

Last week we had a full on assault on Christianity, which many consider the magnetic north of their moral compass.  It was no accident that this happened at a Christmas party, and yet the Washington Elites in their ivory towers, tried very hard to spin this as workplace violence, calling for more gun laws in a state that has some of the toughest gun laws around.  The Hollywood marionettes for the administration took to the tabloids, and airways to echo the administrations agenda which will only effect the law abiding among us.  They need to focus on mental health…

30 odd % of the folks would argue with this, as they are probably the few who cannot accept the truth, and only watch liberal media; which is the propaganda machine for DC.   Somehow they feel that Bernie Sanders is a viable candidate, which boggles my mind.  If however; it was a choice between Bernie and Hillary, I would pick Bernie; at least he is truthful certifiable but, truthful.

Those faraway places with strange sounding names, are calling me.

The places are not so much geographical places but, places in time… The country that I grew up in has been changed and I feel not for the better.  Special interests have taken control of our government and I firmly believe have transformed it into something that our kids will learn to hate.  Kids getting out of school today are not ready for the challenges that we were ready for.  While trades are necessary, we don’t even have those types of apprentice programs today.

Someone needs to get this country back to basics, before we really are making those small umbrellas for the Chinese to put into their drinks…

Those faraway places with strange sounding names might start with an A, and end with an A, as this place is … pretty strange…

“Spend wisely my friends…”

-Best

© All rights reserved TimeDok 2015

 

Blowing in the wind

Blowing in the wind

California will soon be a re-creation of the dust bowl of 1930 and it is their own damned fault!  Liberal tax and spend policies over the years have bankrupt the state.

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Their debt to GDP ratio is 18.5 %

They have a total population of 38,409,959 with an unemployment at 1,256,658 and a food stamp recipient population of 4,575,589!

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Their liberal progressive economic policies are and have been unsustainable and yet the same liberal thinking that has them in this mess is trying to convert Texas and other red states to the same kind of thinking!

How are they doing this you ask?  By attacking voter id laws.  There was a lawyer on a talk show the other day who specializes in going after voter id laws in states that have them.

His argument is that the right to vote is guaranteed by the constitution so having a picture id to vote should not be necessary as it is for everything else that you do in this country including purchasing over the counter decongestants!  His argument defies common sense and logic and yet because he is a lawyer he knows how to twist the intent of the law to create a loophole so those that wish to steal an election can.  Like the counties that had over a 100% turnout and all of the votes were for the democratic candidate.  Statistically that is not possible!

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Marxism does not work!  The uber rich sit up in their ivory towers while the rest of us suffer, and while they smoke their cigars and drink their Champagne we fight to keep alive.

Socialism, Marxism and communism only benefit the very rich the people at the top, those in control!

There are college kids today who have no idea who the VP is much less what Marxism is.

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How can they expect to vote intelligently when they don’t know any history?

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If this drought continues the GDP of California will be worse than what it currently is and something will have to give.  When there is no more to give what then?  Will the people who caused this mess just disappear in to the woodwork from which they came?

Bernie Madoff is a girl scout compared to these idiots running the state, and the people who voted for them!

Bernie-Madoff

Had they had a surplus like Texas currently has, they could spend a couple Billion and build some desalinization plants and guess what, the fields could be watered, the farmers could continue to grow their crops and there would not be the struggle for water that they have.

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There is no rainy day fund.  There is only debt and IOU’s!

I think that California suffering a drought serves a larger purpose for this liberal ideology of this country.  If this continues, the narrative from the media will carry around the world the terrible conditions which exists and they can take their junk science that Al Gore is spreading like a cancer, and push carbon credits!

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California’s drought is clearly because if climate change (we can’t call it global warming anymore because their science does not support it, so now it is climate change.)  There is no way that the drought could simply be “weather!”

California should be investing in solar powered desalinization plants as should most states that have access to the ocean.

The dust bowl of the 1930’s would be called Global warming or climate change if it had happened now, so they are not letting a crises go to waste.  They push their junk science to further their case to sell carbon credits so Al Gore can make more billions by scaring the hell out of people with utter BS!

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I suspect that other billionaire’s are behind the carbon credit scam because how much money is enough?  How many billions of dollars does one person need?

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When you take your last breath what will your legacy be?  “I screwed over an entire country!?” Is it he who dies with the most toys wins?

I don’t understand a politician spending millions of his own money to try and get elected to a job that pays $150K.  I don’t understand people with Millions nay billions of dollars actively seeking more.

How much is enough?

What does someone with unlimited amounts of resources do for fun?

article-2584882-18EEB20B000005DC-732_306x423Monica Lewinsky meets with President Clinton

obama-1-e1416366690107-1940x10911361464171_obama-tiger-woods-article 475db38b0795a8a50021ceaff04d43e56a210293f2d058480399d3a1cce428c7_1 larry-ellison-lanai 0805spaceshipbuy-an-island_7-things-billionaires-can-do-that-we-can-t CHINA-ECONOMY-BUSINESS-AIRCRAFT-EXPO article-2759353-216E6D9600000578-828_634x418 Mark-Cuban-Private-Jets-640x375

How about creating a company that specializes in building solar powered desalination plants?

Attn Bill Gates
Attn Bill Gates

Wouldn’t that be fun to create a company that has a product that helps people?

I think it would be a hoot!

-Best

(c) 2015 All Rights Reserved

http://www.usdebtclock.org/state-debt-clocks/state-of-california-debt-clock.html

Life, Wealth and Happiness

I chose the title carefully as the three can me mutually exclusive.

Stuff and Reality

Most of us grow up seeing a pattern of “wealth = happy.”  In fact some of the poorest people that I know are some of the happiest.  How is that possible?

The world today tells us that we “need” an expensive car, or the largest flat screen TV or whatever the newest gadget is.  Apple is doing their part by providing a new version of their products about every 18 months or so.

A few years ago a “car phone” was for the most exclusive and wealthiest of us.  Today, kids in grade school have a much more sophisticated version than I would have dreamed possible just a few years ago.

A simple automobile that cost a few thousand not too many years ago now cost upwards or $40K.  Of course you can spend $24K for the same basic car but it does not have the “logo” that the $40K car has.  Will the less expensive car do the same as the expensive car, probably; but it will not have the social status of the $40k car?  I cannot envision spending $150K on a car but there are many on the roads.

If you are a churched person you no-doubt know that “God will provide.”  Does that mean that if you pray really hard and give money to the church that you will get the $40K  or $150K car?  No.  It means that you will have the necessities of life.  The trick of course is realizing what the “necessities are.”

This is where the poorest among us have the rest of us beat.  They are happy with what they have.  One of my favorite song writers penned the phrase, “it’s not about having what you want, it’s about wanting what you got.”  If you think about that, it is so true.

“Failure to plan is planning to fail!”

Am I telling you to settle for less than what you have or want?  No, I am telling you to set your expectations accordingly, set your goals a little higher than your expectations, and take the actions necessary to achieve those goals.

Much like project management, your goals need to be fully planned.  What do you want, what does the end goal look like, and what does it take to achieve it?  What milestones must you achieve to get to where you want to go or be?   Goals should be on some sort of timed deadline.  If you set dates to accomplish certain milestones you are more apt to succeed at the end goal. Start with prayer for wisdom.  Praying to win the lottery is probably not going to get you anywhere.  If it does; please keep me in mind.. J  Realistic goals are part of the prayer process.  Few grow up with the goal of being a garbage man.  If you did, “bless your heart.” Many end up there because they failed to plan.

Do I look down on those folks, not on your life!  It takes all kinds of folks to make the world go round.  If more folks planned better, I think that finding a ditch digger or garbage man might cost more money.   I make a point to know my garbage collection folks.  If I can, I go out and tell them good morning etc.  The same is true of the mail person and even the janitor at the office.  They are all people and disserve the respect that you yourself would want.  If you think that you are better than them you are in dangerous territory.

Wealth or the lack thereof.

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I would seriously recommend taking the Dave Ramsey course for you who are just starting out.  After listening to his radio show for several months, I am convinced that he should be a required course in high school.  Credit card companies would lobby against that but, that would be just too bad.  Our progeny need to understand the fundamentals of his wisdom, and the sooner the better.

The good news is that if you are a parent you can go through the course with your kids.  It does not need to be mandated from the Ivory towers of DC.   Many churches around the country offer this course.  Why?  A tenant of the course is to be generous, think there could be a connection?  Too Cynical? Only they and God know their motives.

His mantra goes against current trends in advertising and indeed the way that we spend money!   His philosophy and wisdom really came from making mistakes and learning from them.  These are mistakes he made many years ago.  So, why make the mistake if you can learn from those that have already done it?  Like history, if you don’t know it, you will repeat it.

The jobs that you take should reflect some part of the path that you are on in order to achieve your goals.  Jobs can be milestones.  Let’s say I want to be a geologist.  I would start out learning everything I could about the subject from books to social groups that are like minded.  I might take an internship at a company that studies core samples.  Even if I have to wash beakers or crush rocks, I would be part of the process and undoubtedly something I learned would stick that I could apply later.

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The society we are in today has kids out of college with no practical experience looking for the big paycheck and the corner office.  Bless their heart!

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Many out there just take anything to get some sort of income.  Folks, this is ludicrous.  Letting fate decide your future is a formula for a life filled with dead end jobs being someone’s slave.  If you can’t afford to leave the bedroom that you grew up in, you are on the wrong path!  If you are forced to return to the bedroom that you grew up in because you are not making enough money to live on your own and be investing money in your future, you are certainly on the wrong path, or making bad decisions.

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Briefly, fast food jobs are for kids in school.  Those jobs will allow them to earn some spending money, gasoline and insurance money and if they are strict with themselves, some savings for college.  They teach the fundamentals of the working world and truthfully make one appreciate a real job when they get one.  I am a firm believer that everyone should have a fast food job as a child.

 

Retail jobs in general are the same type of job.  Most retail jobs are not a career choice that should be anywhere in your decision making process.  If those jobs are part time they are for kids living at home.  Unless your end goal is to manage some high end retail establishment, you have no business working there unless of course, you are a teenager.

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There is definitely a difference between adult jobs and “youth” jobs.  “Youth jobs are training wheels for life.”

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One job does not fit all.

I see way too many older folks taking retail jobs in places where there should be kids.  I think this is a direct reflection of the times that we live in.  The sad fact is that these older folks in these jobs allow their attitude towards that job to come through while dealing with the customer.  It is not hard to tell that they are not happy and feel that the job is beneath them.  Guess what; it most definitely is!  Staying in that job is mistake of monumental proportions.  Stay in it long enough to retrain and re-invent yourself if necessary, and then leave it for the teenagers that it was originally designed for.

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Some older folks are taking these jobs to get out of the house.  If you need the money, at least shoot for management.  Leave the kid jobs for kids.  Of course if you had planned correctly you would not need the money and could be spending your time out of the house, volunteering somewhere.

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The last few years, entitlement spending is at an all time high.  We are paying people to stay home and live on the government tit.  That money that the government gives away comes from those of us who are working, not living on the ignorance of a government run amuck.   If the politicians that think that what they are doing is correct they need to revisit it.

 

Anyone taking money from the government that should be working should be “reinventing” themselves.  Currently if you are attending school you are not eligible for unemployment.  What kind of foolishness is this?  If you don’t find suitable employment in X months you should be required to take some classes and I would argue that those classes should be subsidized by the government.  If you get an “A” 100% re-imbursement and so forth.  It is almost as if we don’t want you to ever work again, we want you to live on some small amount of money taken from those that are working.  Folks this is crazy!

 

If you know a politician or someone that you can talk some sense into by all means lets push this initiative.  People need a hand up, not a handout!

 

Business is not ignorant of this fact.  To get skilled workers to work for peanuts on a part time basis vs. dealing with kids who often have not developed a good work ethic is a bargain.  If they get college graduates to slave away at minimum wage jobs, that too is a bargain for them!  Keeping them at part time so they don’t have to screw with benefits, another win!

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We see the argument to raise the minimum wage so people can make a living at these part time jobs that school kids should be doing.  The pay is not the issue, the issue is that adults should not be doing these jobs!

 

Slavery is not Dead!

 

The problem is that these kids need those jobs as that is the next part of their training to become good workers.  A part time retail or fast food job is not for anyone that is serious about making a living.  Managing these occupations is another story however; it is slavery at best as you are most undoubtedly salaried and will work 50 or 60 hours a week and “it will be expected.”

 

Raising the retirement age was another mistake on so many levels.  Companies are shoving you out the door when you are 50 and looking for the college kids fresh out of school to bring in and abuse.

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This guy still votes too.  That is another blog for another time.

Very few companies see the value in bringing in older Americans as they would have to pay them a decent wage.  On top of that, these folks have experience and to some degree that experience might be askance of the job requirements and or environment of that company.  The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” certainly may play through their mind.  Mature workers are excellent employees most always as they are skilled professionals and are not the party animals that they once may have been.  Their children are most probably out of the house, so little will pull them away from their task.

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Mature workers indeed need a vocation as we were designed to work.  Those of us who linger in the couch or in front of the TV or video games all day are most probably going to expire way before our time.  “A body in motion stays in motion!”  Keeping a regular schedule, going to bed at a decent hour, getting up at a decent hour, greeting the morning sun for fifteen minutes in the morning will keep you healthy.  There is of course more to it but these fundamentals are all too often overlooked!

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If you take a look at the richest people in the world (which is out there on the internet) you will notice Bill Gates is number 1.  The Wallmart and Sam’s ilk are close to that and there are so many others.  What I would like to call to your attention is that none of these made it there because they are “nice people.”  They are shrewd business people.  One has to wonder if they are “happy!”

 

Some of you may try to extol the virtues of Mr. Gates as he gives money to different charities, “what a nice guy!”  When Bill was buying the first operating system from a guy for $4k and licensing it to IBM for millions, I was involved with computers.  When Mr. Jobs was a criminal, phone phreaking, making his first large sum of money, I knew about it and how he did it.  When Bill got the windows idea from Xerox who happily showed him their ideas and products and told him about it being open source he happily took it and ran with it.

 

I have kept up with Bill, not because I am angry with him, he is a shrewd business man. One has to wonder if they “the richest folks in the world” are “happy” and how much money is enough?  How do people get so rich?  I wish I could say it was by treating people right and practicing good “ethical” business practices…

 

Retail stores hire folks are minimum wage and then give them just enough hours so they don’t have to pay for benefits.  Some reward their slaves with a few more hours for extra effort while only giving a few to the people who are not really motivated to be there.  Folks, it is hard to be motivated for $8 and hour, especially when it takes more than that to get a hamburger.  If you are working for someone, even as a slave, do your best as you are gaining experience not just in folding clothing but in dealing with people, managers and situations out of your control.  This also should teach you the value of an education and setting goals!

 

What is your goal?  Money is not a goal, but a tool.  Like a hammer or saw, it is nothing more or less than a tool. Money is a common tool that everyone can use to pay for or gain enough of to obtain food, shelter and the other basics for life.  In some cases it can buy you an island or maybe a small country.. It is still a tool and a means to an end.

 

Your goal should be to be happy, that I would wish for you.  Deciding on what is (happy) is another story.  Some find happiness in stuff, and others find it in family and friends.  Some of the happiest people that I know find happiness in serving others and or taking care of the other creatures that live amongst us.

 

I think that happiness is nothing more than a state of mind and those that have little to worry about seem the happiest.  I guess if you’re rich enough to hire people to worry about things for you, so you can focus on being “happy” that might be one example of being one of the world’s richest folks might work for you.

 

Personal growth, understanding the person in the mirror, makes me happy.  Each and every time I learn something about me, I am a little happier. There are few things that are in “your control.”  Getting a good education, understanding that knowledge is power is a great foundation for being happy.  Using that knowledge in a way that is consistent with “enlightened people” to me is a mark of wisdom.  Serving others, in some way that is consistent with who you are is another way to become happy.  I find that helping others takes my mind off of “self.” Looking at the bigger picture, one can appreciate the complexities of life and sort out the small stuff that should be in the noise, and not artificially elevated to demand your full attention.

 

This is a lot to chew on.  Questions and thoughts are always welcome.

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

 

Out of the box thinking continued…

After doing a little research on prisons, I have come to the conclusion that there are huge financial gains for “thinking outside the box” on this issue.

 The average cost to house a prisoner is $20k per year, give or take.  These include statistics in states where there is over crowding and states where there is not.

 http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/Price_of_Prisons_updated_version_072512.pdf

 What if we took all prisoners with non-violent offenses, although I would start with the 75 thousand non-violent drug offense inmates and made farmers out of them?  This could be their choice but, time off for good behavior while learning how to farm and become productive would be a win! Monitoring of them could be easier and less expensive with technology i.e. drones or proximity devices etc.  

The simple facts are that this cost “the tax payers” tons of money each year, both at a state and federal level.

If we were able to get the 75 thousand currently sitting in prison on non-violent drug offenses off the prison role and working on a farm being productive, that alone is $1.5Billion a year of tax money that could be used for something else.   

 Now how many are in prison for other non-violent offenses?

Factor into this the folks that are on welfare that can work and don’t, as well as the street folks who might want to take part in this, (comes with a place to live, heat and food.)

 Lets get them to grow staples that the country needs and then they all of the sudden are a “profit center” if you will.

 Between making a business out of housing criminals, entitlement spending and spending on aliens that are here illegally; tax payers bear one hell of a burden.  We really need some “out of the box thinkers” to address these problems.

 We really need some of these thinkers for the illegal alien issues here in this country.  I really hate to use that terminology for them.  If I lived there, I would do my best to come here as well.  While I would do my best to come through the front door, that is certainly a lot easier said than done.   Some of the basic arguments that I read are false however.  There are plenty of “white people” that will do those jobs.  There are plenty of “Americans” that will do those jobs.  To say that white people and or Americans are too lazy to do them is a blatant falsehood and offensive to me.  If you need work, you will do what you have to.  If the government is paying you not to work, well that is really the cruckst of it, isn’t it?  Who would dig ditches if the government will pay you stay home and watch The View or some other absolute mind-rotting nonsense?

 Propaganda comes in all shapes and sizes.  It comes from those that you “trust” on the nightly news, to shows from Disney with fuzzy little creatures.  Third world countries are not the only ones brainwashing their citizens.  While we can still get multiple views on certain topics, some countries have state run everything so the only “view” that they get is whatever the “government in power” wants them to have.

Currently we have the first amendment (free speech.) That however is under attack by the political correct police.  This needs to be stopped.  If what you say offends others let them not listen to you.  They have the right to not listen just like you have the right to make a complete and utter ass of yourself.  If I can control what you say under the guise of political correctness, than I can have free reign on a myriad of subjects and you cant say anything bad about.  Friends, that is not right and “UN-American!” 

The real trick is finding the multiple views as for some reason the media is in love “or in bed” with the progressives in this country.  I personally read news from all over the world as there is always something going on that other countries find newsworthy.  The BBC which is liberal is for the most part “right” of most of our media.

 It would be refreshing to have objective journalist again.  It would seem that the only time that they are tough on the government is when the GOP in charge.  I am not saying that the GOP is right, what I am saying is that we need objective standards in the media.  If the president drew a crowd of 5000 at some event, both FOX and CNN should say 5000, not “that there were only a few thousand” or “there were absolutely THOUSANDS that showed up for the event!”  Both statements are correct, and both are misleading. 

 There are thousands of folks out there “speaking of thousands” who have probably thought about these issues from time to time.  Let’s noodle this around a little and see what we can come up with.  Let’s have a little “enlightened conversation.”

-Best to you and those that you care about!

An Open letter to those that can make a change, “You.”

Today I want to talk about the uber poor.

 Currently there exist three classes of folks; The Rich, the middle class and the poor.  I would argue that there are more than this.  I would argue that there are five classes, the Uber rich, Rich, middle class, poor and very poor.

 Anyone with over a Billion dollars is Uber rich.  When you get into this club you have enough “gold” to make the rules.

 The rich are really just upper middle class as they cannot make the rules and must live by the ones created by the uber rich however; since they are in the upper middle class they know some of the folks who make the rules and can have influence.

Before you write me and tell me uber rich don’t make the rules, I know congress makes the laws / rules but I am also savvy to Avenue K and lobbyist and who hires them…

 I am skipping the middle class at the moment to jump to the poor. 

The poor have apartments, houses, cable TV, one or more televisions, at least one computer and have most likely figured out how to get enough government assistance or other “invisible income” to make up the difference between being poor instead of very poor.  I would argue that these folks are really middle class; they for a large part just pay taxes as if they were poor or living in poverty.

Then there are the very poor, they are street folks who live under bridges and basically exist on the benevolence of others, charitable organizations or what they can find on their own.

 Now we have the middle class.  These are the folks that strive to be upper middle class or rich and really have too much pride to be anything else.  These are the people that get up every day and go to work whether they feel good or not.  These are the folks that take two jobs, take their kids to soccer, and do all of the other stuff that most do but they are driven to press on, to get ahead, to give their kids a “chance” at something better than what they have.

 Some would argue that their eye might not be on giving their kids something better but on having more “do dads, or gadgets” or trying to keep up with the millionaires.

These are also the folks who have little to no control over the rules.  These are the folks that try to vote for the right person, do the PTA thing, and use whatever influence they have to make a difference.

 These are also the folks who are most taken advantage of, not only by the rich and uber rich, but the poor as well. These are the folks who the 9000 pages of tax code screw the most because they don’t have enough power to anything about it!

 These are the folks who get the Cable, satellite radio, cell phones with data plans and other do dads to fill voids in their lives that life quite frankly is not fulfilling.  These are the folks who have the “universal fees” taken out of their ass-pocket, not knowing that they are one of the government’s ways of redistributing wealth!

 I was in a park not long ago.  While there, a guy, “street person” walked by me.  He smelled bad and was a good distance from me.  That is not however what got my attention.  He was talking on a cell phone.  He was in fact calling 911 because one of his fellow street people had taken his trash bag full of stuff or so he alleged.  I am certain that the local police were really happy that this gentleman was able to call 911 with his “emergency.”

This is the uber poor or poorest of the poor.  Not only is he relegated to living on the street, carrying his stuff in a trash bag but, he has no support system.  Even though this is Texas it still gets cold in the winter.  Instead of getting these people phones, would they not be better served with some other assistance?  Let’s start with clean dry clothes and a warm place to sleep and some warm food.  Let’s get them some medical care, including mental health.  Let’s teach them what constitutes and emergency.  While I am certain that was an emergency to him, that call could very well take away from a real life and death situation. There are other numbers for non emergency stuff and that should be the number he used. Truth be told if he had called sanitation he most probably would have learned that they pick up and discard full trash bags left alone.

Some folks are there on the street because that is where they want to be, I get that.  Some are there because of mental illness.  Some are there because they have no training to get a job or are wrapped up in some sort of substance abuse problem and waiting to hit “true bottom.” Some are undoubtedly there because of “shit happens.

These folks don’t need a cell phone or internet, they need help!  There is no money to be made in helping these folks however; giving them something tangible like a cell phone and allowing them to vote without a picture ID makes perfect sense to the government, and creates “more useful idiots.”

 The purpose of this diatribe is to offer a solution to the problem.  Unlike Washington and the uber greedy, I think outside the box.  So, take that cell phone money and cable TV money and all of those other “universal fees” that Carter started, Clinton pushed through and Obama expanded upon and do this.

 Set aside government land outside of large cities that is “farm worthy.”  Enlist faith based groups, and other groups like habitat for humanity and set these folks up farms. 

I am not talking about buying $150K tractors, just land and some modest accommodations and some hand tools while they make it a working business.  A mule pulling a plow worked for our forefathers, maybe that could be located until they could earn their own stuff.  Using the habitat for humanity model, they must put in sweat equity…  I would say they must stay clean, pass drug test etc but that is just common sense, isn’t it?

 Farming is not rocket science but, it is becoming a lost art.  Kids today who grow up on the farm are leaving it at alarming rates.  Involve the Aggies in teaching these folks the principles of farming.  As the population continues to grow, does it not make sense that we could use some more farmers?

 Offer this to the street people that don’t want to be on the street.

Offer this to the poor and downtrodden trapped in desperate situations; in neighborhoods that are virtual war zones with drug and gang activity.  Offer them a way out, a hand up.

 Find leaders among these people to self police themselves. Assist these folks to regain some sense of self worth. 

 First, get them medical help including mental and drug rehab.  Part of that is learning how to farm.  They can learn to farm, run a business and sell their product on the markets.  Subsequently they can make profits and purchase tractors and what have you.  If they could just feed themselves, that would be a huge win! It would be a “shot!”

I would also offer these types of programs to the 75 thousand currently in prison for non-violent drug offenses. Put ankle monitors on them and give them a chance to re-deem themselves.  Prison is no place to “rehabilitate oneself.”  Prison is a good place to learn how to be a smarter criminal. What if we had them help the others to become something more than a lost soul.

 If we could get 75 thousand out of prison which the American people are currently paying to house,feed and manage, as well as help the poor to re-gain their lives and self worth, would this not be “giving them a shot” Mr. President?  Would this not be “spreading the wealth,” in a way that makes sense?  

Wealth is not just money Mr. President, it is knowledge.  If I give poor people money and phones and other stuff I am enabling the poor to stay poor and in effect, I am crippling them.  I am giving them a handout, instead of a hand up!  All they learn is how to take.. Kennedy said, “ask what you can do” (paraphrased) Should we not teach them to fish?

 If I take currently non-productive people and give them a sense of purpose; is that not giving them a shot?  

Instead of kicking this can down the road people, we need to take ownership of it and make it our problem; instead of our grandchildren’s’.  We need more givers than takers and it starts now.

There are smarter people out there than I, and possibly with enough “think tank” collective from the American people, maybe something good can happen.  We have enough bad things on the news each and every day, it is time for something good, don’t you think?

Here is the challenge to you the readers.  I am not trying to get anything out of this.  This is my way of giving back. Writing a letter to the white house would end up in file 13…the bin.  One voice in the wind is one voice.  I need millions of voices.  The only way that this has a chance is to re-blog, re-post, re-tweet and make it as viral as possible.  If enough read it, someone with some “influence” will get this to the right person or people. Maybe some Hollywood type that is tired of his or her tax dollars going to keep non-violent drug offenders locked up might think outside the box as well.

Let’s give this administration a positive way that they can “fundamentally transform this country in a good way” by teaching those that need help, how to help themselves.

Yes there are details that need sorting out and I would offer that private citizens do it.  Maybe, just maybe some benevolent Capitalist might have some good ideas or contacts, or a way to help.  If the government gets involved too heavily with the details, we will have another 9000 pages of tax code, 60 thousand earmarks, amendments creating turtle tunnels in the tundra, and nothing will ever happen to help these people.  This process needs to be streamlined and someplace like Detroit might make a good pilot as that place “like Chicago” is a war-zone.

These kids need an out and learning how to take from the government is not it.  Learning how to not get shot walking to school, or how to look innocent in a lineup is not what they need to be learning.

This would also work at the state level.  How about it Mr. Perry, can you make this work and show the Country /World how Texans take care of things?

 

Some prisons have farms already, are some of those inmates candidates to teach others?

 

-Best to you and those that you care about, now get reposting… Thanks!

IT in a Nutshell

IT in a nutshell..

Most CEO’s or presidents of companies have no idea that the sword of Damocles’ is right over their head.  They don’t know because they are blissfully ignorant of the workings of their IT department.   Truth be told IT, is a cost center and frowned upon in most companies as they “don’t produce.”  This is true in the mindset of the upper echelon. They put up with the CIO or his people and equivocate when it comes to allowing them money for projects, as they really don’t have a clue.  Their job is to run the company, not IT.

There are three basics tenants of IT.

  • Provide the infrastructure for people to be productive.
  • Provide the security to safeguard the company’s assets both in intellectual property as well as physical property.
  • Provide mechanisms for future growth and have a robust enough environment to handle ad-hoc projects.

In working with most companies the infrastructure grew behind the power curve out of necessity. This of course is the most expensive way to grow your infrastructure in that many things are done to “temporarily” get them through the “event”.  Emergency projects are hardly ever well thought out, and hidden surprises are always lurking.  Remember that old axiom; there are never any good surprises in business.

One of the things that I talk about a lot is hardware management.  Each and every piece of hardware in your company has a life cycle.  Not unlike your car or home computer or cell phone.  Planning for the life cycle for equipment allows the company to budget for replacement of same and keeps the down time to a minimum as well as keeps the employees productive.

Down time is expensive both in hard and soft dollars.  If you have 300 people who can’t work because the server is down, you are loosing money.  If Sally can’t assist the outside sales people because her pc is moving at the speed of drying paint, they both are loosing time which is “MONEY!”

S.A.M. or software asset management is also something that the IT department seems to ignore and this is really something that should grab at least the attention of the CFO.  Does each and every person need a full copy of office or do they simply need Word or Outlook.  I was in one account where each and every machine had a full version of office on it.  40% of these were used as a terminal: that was it!  Five hundred dollars times 120 machines is $60K wasted!  Can you tell me one company that could not use an extra $60K?

Now, add to this scenario that this guy was installing this software on machines that were already past their life cycle.  I don’t profess to be an attorney or a legal scholar on EULA but, it is conceivable that when that machine dies, that license will die with it.  There may be hoops that you can jump through to get Microsoft to allow a transfer of the license but, what are the odds that this guy will do it.  It is not his money after all.

There was one company who had 300 locations with 2.5 machines per location.  These were servers so each had a copy of Microsoft “flavor of the day” server on it.

The application that was on there was a home grown point of sale.  It was compiled to run on the Microsoft platform.

When I ask why they had not considered LINUX as an alternative I was laughed at.  Here are the scissors that will cut the thread.

There support desk was equipped with PcAnywhere and each and every call for help meant that a remote session would be placed to assist the person with their machine.  Push come to shove the machine was sent to the Depot where another was sent out as a replacement.  As the hardware evolved some locations had newer equipment.  The variables were mind numbing.

Had they used LINUX a simple telnet session would have allowed the help desk to terminate a daemon and restart it all behind the scene.  Licenses for server software, remote connection software, anti virus software would have been avoided.  The other thing about LINUX is that it is more forgiving of hardware platforms in that they could have used their equipment until it died vs. replacing it when the software dictated it.  This particular CIO had no technical background other than he knew some programming.  He did not embrace technology at all and did not have a computer at his home until his kids wore him down.  Any CIO that does not embrace technology ought not be a CIO.  Oh yes, LINUX is free and the kernel can be hardened so it can be very secure.

How is it that these two people were in the place that they were in?  They were likable! The failure here cleary sits on the CEO or the person they report to.  If I am hiring someone for a position, I don’t care if I like them or not.  They must be able to perform the job that they are being hired for and, if I like them it is a plus, not mandatory!

Ethical hacking is becoming more and more in vogue. The bad guys are out there doing their thing and we simply buy anti virus software and hope for the best.  Some of us don’t do that, we use something that is free or not at all.  Free is not worth what you pay for it when it comes to anti virus software!  Do your homework and see who is touting what and why.

As another add on to the cost center and depending upon your desire to be safe, I would consider hiring a security person who has been around the block a few times.  This is not some kid fresh out of college who is academically savvy but, someone who has the scars on their back to prove that they have been there.

In a nutshell, any connection to the outside world is a portal for the bad guy to get in.  Even if you have a secure firewall you have people on the inside who may be working for the competition.  There are many products that allow a PC to be remote controlled from outside the building.  Some are actually viruses and others are installed by an unwitting employee or worse, a spy.  Software audits are a necessity; not something you do if you have time.  Speaking of which; the anti piracy folks are at it again offering huge rewards if you report someone using business software without a license. Another reason for SAM.

While you may think that I am paranoid (a little paranoia is a good thing btw) I assure you that industrial espionage is real and there are those that do it for a living.  Your security person would be actively monitoring the traffic coming in and leaving the building, looking for anything on ports that are typically used for such things.  Activity during off hours should be a red flag.  There is something called SYSLOG which is basically a service that talks with a server and creates logs of events.  Along with server logs this log should be monitored for unusual activity.

One way a person might gain access to your stuff is to drop a thumb drive or dvd in the parking lot.  Label the dvd X pics or have bunny rabbit ears on the thumb drive.  I would be surprised if someone did not pick it up and stick it into their machine to see what was one it.  Of course it would contain a program that would install a remote control host and the person would never know as he would be too busy looking for pictures.

Physical security is also a must. Keycards with picture ID’s on them would be ideal.  Cheap and effective.  With this you can track employees movements through the day / night.  Along with security cameras if things turned up missing one could read the keycard report and know who it was and where they were and then look at the footage with that timestamp to see if they were carrying anything.

Biometrics are becoming in fashion as well.  While I would want to stay with tried and true I would definitely be monitoring this to see when and if it made sense to move that way.

This scratches the surface and as you can see, security is physical, it is Cyber and it is employee education along with policies.   Any configuration of a user’s machine should be done by IT.  Users should not have any more rights than they need to function.  That allows for protection of your data, declines viruses administrative rights as they usually assume the rights of the user and, protects the machine from being altered making more work for the IT department when it breaks or more often than not broken.

A little forethought and planning on the IT department can help them to run lean on employees as well as protect the company’s assets.

The statement is an excellent ingress into the last thing that needs addressing.

More times than I can write about I find that data centers are a cobbled together disaster waiting for some event to push them over the edge.  There is a web site dedicated to such things and if I had had a mind to, I could have created such a site like that with just what I have seen.

Along with hardware management and software management a strong dialogue needs to exist between the CEO and the CIO.  Business needs and or possible needs to be accounted for and anticipated.   Looking back at the past one could extrapolate what may be needed into the future and at least make plans for growth.  A robust well thought out network that is well managed and maintained is a crucial starting point.

I could write on entire book on what that means but, what it does not mean are knee jerk throw it together solutions “because we needed it yesterday!”  Any change might effect some other part of the business and or company or have unintended side effects.  If they don’t have one I stress the importance of change management.  This is crucial to the success of just about any company with technology.

Proper consideration should be given to each and every device and or software that is to be installed.

Parting thoughts:

There is no room for emotions in Information systems. Emotions cloud judgment and, judgment is crucial for success.

You do not hire or fire someone because you find them likable or distasteful. Either they are well qualified and have a well defined track record or they don’t.  The rest does not matter unless they are insubordinate or are deemed unfit. They are not your friend and don’t think that they are.

Never hire anyone that you cannot fire.  Family and friends even if the company is ok with it are a liability as employees. At best they will be a burden upon yourself, and at worst you will loose them as friends and they might compromise your job.

Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, you will be well served.

Keep your ego in check as it will defeat you.  Humility will allow you to “hear” from those that probably know what you are seeking.

When you get in too deep, call for help; admitting trouble is always preferable than suffering defeat because of pride.

There is never any case for listening to or passing on rumors.  Small people talk about people, others talk about ideas and things.

Your employees and vendors job is to make you look good; your job is to make them look good.

-Best to you and those that you care about!

The American Dream.. Ha!

Home Foundations

 

I find it amazing what “greed” will cause man to do.

 

Here in Texas we have hot summers and of course cold winters.  Not as cold as some of you, but we get our fair share of cold weather.  The difference between our cold and some of you folks up north is ours last a few days and then we are back to 80 degrees.  The snow and ice that we get generally is here just long enough to cause pot holes large enough to loose small cars in and serves as a constant reminder of just how ill equipped people are regarding their skills for driving in same.

 

During the summer months we are asked to conserve water.  The lawn suffers, landscaping suffers, and worst of all the foundations suffer as we have a type of soil where I live that has high levels of clay content.  As it dries it shrinks causing the homes to move not only up and down but, sideways or back and forth as well.  Homes in the area can sink as much as a quarter inch per year and not recover fully during the wet season “spring” as gravity works.

 

It is expensive to build homes the way that they should be built, on piers, so they just don’t do it.  Piers driven to the bedrock with a house built on top of them will survive the harsh summers here much better allowing one to plant drought resistant landscaping and actually conserve water.  Not rocket science just common sense.  As the home ages and the doors start sticking etc the foundation repair specialist are called and then they install the piers at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars and depending upon where they install them they may bore through interior floors.  As you might guess they make a huge mess which the homeowner must contend with for several days.  Installing piers after the home is built is always more expensive than before it is built and if you live here, your home will at some time need piers!

 

Some of these foundation experts are college kids with a small amount of training and are tantamount to used car salesman.  The goal is to scare you enough to get you to sign on the dotted line.  One of these companies hired this gorgeous young lady.  By day she sold foundation work and I would bet that by night she worked as an exotic dancer! She looked more like a Bambi than a Gloria; if you catch my drift.  I knew more than she did and she was clearly there to simply get a signature.

 

After calling many foundation people for estimates you will get all kinds of “engineers” to give you all kinds of solutions with different prices all over the map.  Cement piers vs. Steel etc.  Unless you yourself are an engineer, you need to have many come out and take notes as to what they say and look for common qualities or solutions in what they are proposing.  Then talk to others in your area for information regarding who they used and why, how long ago and are they still happy.  It is an arduous process but it musts be adhered to as this is a lot of money that you are spending and it is on your home which, for most people their most valuable asset.

 

Do not be tempted by the cheapest solution as it is most probably the solution that will need to be “adjusted” the most in years to come.  Keep in mind that if you home sinks on one side or back or front and the other does not this damages not only your foundation but the structure of the home.  Let’s say your home sinks 2 inches on one side but not on the other.  The 2 inch difference on the floor translated to what is happening in the attic could be 8 or more inches depending upon the size of your home.  That pulls things apart in the attic which of course most builders put together with as few nails and boards as possible.

 

I am reminded of the American Airline proposition to save money.  They found if they removed one olive from each salad they would save some astronomical amount of money.  Of course they went several steps beyond the olive and just cut out salads all together unless you are in first class.

 

One note about the repair process is this; they will never get the home to level again.  They do what is acceptable to them and cosmetic, meaning an inch or so of slope is acceptable.

 

A word about “future adjustments”:   Companies will sell you a solution that says that they will install the piers to X amount of pounds of resistance.  They will tell you that if the home shifts X inches they will come adjust it for free for the lifetime transferrable warrantee.  Here is the gotcha, the shifting will not have anything to do with their piers already installed or if it does it will be negligible. They will tell you that now you need more piers in other parts of the house and give a quote including discounts for customer loyalty or some such non-sense. If you are victim of this, call a few more companies to make certain that what they are telling you is the truth and get it in writing.  Some of these folks are nothing more than opportunist, much like roofers that flock to a city after a bad storm.  Use people that are listed with the BBB, that are in the yellow pages and have been in the area for some time.

 

After the foundation repair folks finish you are cautioned not to repair the cracks in the walls for at least a year as the house may settle some more on the new piers.

 

One of the last aspects of foundation repair is, people don’t think about plumbing. As the house shifts it can cause plumbing to become pulled apart causing a leak under the slab.  Depending upon if that leak is on the supply side or not will give the homeowner a chance to determine that A they have a leak and B how bad is it.  The supply side will alert the homeowner either with high water bills or standing water where there should not be any.  It could manifest itself in other ways as well but, most probably will be detectable before it does too much damage.  On the sewer side of the plumbing, a slow leak will cause the ground underneath the home to become saturated over time and cause a lifting effect under the home.  While this too is easily detectable it happens over time and because of that may be ignored as normal movement until the damage is significant.

 

A monthly walk around your home looking for cracks in the brick may clue you in that there are issues.  For those of you without a brick veneer keep on the lookout for sticking doors or windows or, doors that open or shut themselves as the house is no longer level.

 

A plumbing test before and after a foundation repair is not only a good idea but should be mandatory by state law.  If not, insist on one, call your own plumber and have it done.

 

Moral of this story is this.  If you are building a home, see about having it built on piers.  Yes it will raise the cost of your home but the issues down the road will be lessened and the resale value of your home will be increased.

 

Currently there is a new neighborhood being created not far from here.  This was farm land for some time.  The people prepping the soil have removed all of the vegetation and leveled the land with huge equipment.  Now they are going to poor slabs on it and the dirt will settle over time and those folks will have issues.  There was also a stream that went through that land into a pond.  That too is filled in and houses will go on top of that.  The stream although not on the surface will still be there under the homes.  The pond that was filled in will still collect water underground.  Not an expert in this area but, that water comes from a huge lake not too far away.  Just because its surface path has been covered up; I am doubtful that it will just stop to exist.

 

So, if you own your home already, place soaker hoses around the foundation and do your best to keep the area around your home hydrated.  You should not see cracks in the soil around your home.  By the way, a sprinkler system is not enough.

 

As we continue to place homes and businesses on every square inch that the city owns or has control over, with insufficient resources to handle what we already have, the problems will only get worse.  The City does this for more tax revenue and could care less if you are inconvenienced “once you are here.”  I would guess that the state is the same way, once you are here; you are a revenue stream for them as well.  If you can’t water your yard or fill your pool they don’t care.  If there is not enough electricity to go around on cold or hot days, they don’t care.  They cater to business at that point as they pay a larger part of the taxes.

 

Case in point, we have been under water restrictions for the last few summers.  Stage 1 or 2 or what have you.  Recently a large spa with pools and all sorts of water using amenities was built.  It is owned by Koreans and in their culture one must remove all of their clothing and shower before getting in the pool, hot tub etc.  This is a public shower and this again is part of their culture.  No issues there however; how many thousands or tens of thousands of gallons of water go down the drain daily!  Yet the homeowners are asked to conserve…  If it were truly about our resources, that permit would never have made it through the city approval process.

 

Maybe I am old fashioned and possibly delusional but I happen to believe that the Citizen comes first, before the needs of business.  When decisions are called fore, someone should be asking “will this help or hurt the citizens of this city?” And that my friend is why it is important to vote in local elections.

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

 

 

 

Buying a car….

I finally decided it was time to replace the 12 year old mini-van with something newer.  Started shopping at the place where I purchased my last 3 vehicles.

 Upon parking I was greeted by two sales people.  My guess is that they were taking turns.  The weather was a balmy 33 degrees with a strong wind out of the north with scattered drizzle;  so it was probably not the best day to be walking all over a car lot. 

 I test drove a couple of vehicles; the first one was a two seater so the sales guy could not go with us.  The next was larger, four seats so he hopped into the back.  Immediately I noticed an odor from the back, this guy either had really bad breath, or whatever his diet consist of came right through his pores.  The issue with this is that I was not so much focused on the car as I was getting it parked so we could get out of that smell!  I digress…

 I really liked the second vehicle and the price was within my budget.  As a returning customer I expected a little better treatment than someone off the street.  He assured us that he would make us a great deal!  While he cajoled us and said we were part of the family, the numbers did not reflect any discount what so ever.  As the matter of fact the final price is what was on the sticker with an interest rate of 6.9% . 

 We thanked him and left.  Talking about it; we felt as if that was a slap in the face as this would have been the fourth automobile we had purchased through this dealer.

 We then went to a different dealer this time, to look at another brand.  Found a vehicle with 9 thousand miles on it via the internet and the price was less than the first.  The sales guy was nice enough and he was a “top performer.”  We spent about two hours there.  The vehicle we were looking at was in “like new” condition.  The difference in price between that vehicle with 9000 miles on it and a new one was 3000.  The color options were limited and there were no whistles or bells to speak of.

 We thanked him for his time and were about to call it quits for the day until we decided to try the place where I had purchased 4 cars before.

 Once there we asked to see the vehicle that we found on the internet.  There was some sort of pending deal however; we managed to get the keys as there was some issue with their credit.  After just looking at the car I noticed that it was really in great shape.  The factory tires had been replaced with new Michelins (about $800  worth)  The inside was pristine and the outside was the same.

 

While there was no navigation package there were enough whistles and bells to interest me.  The original driver had purchased it there 3 years prior and put 22K on it.  The depreciation on the car was $15k for 22 thousand miles and three years.  That is not counting the extras that he had included.

 

Normally I buy new cars however; I know that the depreciation is horrific so I decided to save a few $$.  The people were very nice, answered all of my questions and I did not have to haggle the price, as the internet price is what it is.  They discount them on the internet to the rock bottom to get people to come to the dealership.  A quick look at Edmonds and Kelly’s and a call to my trusted mechanic, I knew that I was being treated right.  Easiest purchase of a car in my life!

 

The point to this diatribe is this.  There is much information on the internet regarding what the car cost, what it should sell for, and interest rates that you should expect to pay.  Pushy sales people are a sign of desperation and the “game sucks!”  Each and every time we had to wait several minutes while the sales person went to talk with his manager “under the guise of getting us his card.”  My time is valuable so playing games is not my thing.  Some people enjoy it however; you are on their turf, they have all of the Ace’s and unless you do your research you will be getting screwed.  With the prices and information available to you today, you have a fighting chance of not getting taking advantage of.

 

This was my fifth vehicle purchased from these folks and I would imagine that it won’t be my last.  In retrospect I think that the day of the car salesman may be coming to an end.  I am not sure that this is a bad thing as up until this purchase I have always left with a bad taste in my mouth knowing that I had been screwed.  I don’t mind someone making a living for what they do however; taking advantage of people to the point of obscene is, well… obscene.

 

One of the reasons that I shop for my techie stuff at Best Buy is they are not commissioned, they are straight salary.  I don’t want to be directed to something that they make more money on, I want to be directed to something that fits my needs the closest and is in my price range.

 

Do your research whether it is houses, cars, or computer equipment.

 

Best to you and those that you care about!

Telecommuting: Good or Bad?

While I am certain that in some cases allowing an employee to work from home would work, I believe that we may be taking it too far.

 

Recently I was doing business with my bank and had to be transferred to a specialist. “Due to the overwhelming response all agents are busy, please hang on.”

 

After about five minutes of being on hold the phone is finally answered.  The girl that handled the call was somewhat disorganized and I know this as she ask me for the same information several times as she most likely was stalling while she got to the right screen or possibly off of Facebook.

 

Between the pauses I could hear a baby crying in the background.  I am not sure that allowing people to work at home with many distractions is a good idea however; commercial offices are sold or rented by the square foot.  The amount each department is charged is allocated by the square footage that they occupy.  Electricity used is divided up the same way.  I.e. if sales uses X square footage and accounting uses X and IT uses X that is all split up so the bean counters can accurately assess the cost for each department or cost center.

 

Many companies are trying to cut cost by having people share a desk, meaning that they work from home so many days, then the other person works from home.  Personally I think this idea is really poor as your phone, keyboard and lets face it; every surface is a harbor for germs.  The phone especially as it is close to your nose and mouth.  In this day of bacteria and viruses that are mutating and becoming resistant to the antibiotics that we have, I don’t think it a good idea to provide yet another way to transfer them.

 

So what kinds of folks could work from home?  I think people who are self starters.  There are folks out there who look forward to Monday.  I know this as I am one of them.  While most can’t wait for Friday to roll around I am one that looks at the clock not to see how much more time that I must endure but, how little time I have left to complete what I wanted to get done that day.

 

That is a self starter.  That person could work out of their car or where ever.  My office was the airplane and airport for years. 

 

I mention this as I doubt that the bank had an excessive surge of calls today and I doubt that the cable company does every time that I call etc.  While some of this may be to understaffing I suspect some of this is people being distracted at a home office. 

 

Customer service is part of your brand much like the poor customer service at HP is iconic of what not to do and has been immortalized in shows like Big Bang and of course the ever famous YouTube video where the Marine shoots his printer with an automatic weapon, as his HP support was so bad.

 

Whether your company is public or private you must protect your brand.  Think carefully about where your employees do their job and what kinds of employees are able to work from home.

 

Think really hard about outsourcing your customer service to “Peggy!”

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Disaster Avoidance

 

 

Consulting as a Disaster Recovery Specialist, I often find things that need to be changed to avoid a disaster, much like a loose rug over a threshold or too many things plugged into one circuit; which would be an issue in your home.  In the business world it comes down to security issues both IT related and physical, as well as simple things like a lack of fire extinguishers or the wrong type of fire retardant system in the computer room.  I am trained to notice the smallest of details including things like cable management issues. 

 

When Best Practice scenarios are not followed by sys-admins or networking guru’s, they too trigger red flags.  There is an art to designing data centers.  I have designed and built many over the last 30 years complete from the ground up; from air handling to power requirements to working with ADA compliance issues.  I have designed cable management for many companies that include the MDF and IDF’s and working with building management to handle communication through multiple story buildings making sure that they pass fire code.  You would be amazed at how many data centers that I walk into that are under wired, lack proper air handling and have a sprinkler head above the equipment!  The cable management looks like Spiderman installed it, nothing is labeled, and there is absolutely not one shred of documentation.   And the boss / owner is oblivious to the immanent disaster, as he thinks his guys are pretty good!

 

When business’s start up, often times they don’t contact the brightest and best to build it as they are on a tight budget.  When I am called, their data center is generally a candidate for one of those web sites that post “what not to do.”  The exercise of unraveling the Gordian knot comes into play before anything can be changed.  Many times a family friend is called to assist or the business owner has a home network and thinks that a business network is no different.

 

When these knots are constructed; most if not always there is limited or no documentation and the original creator has long since abandoned ship as he undoubtedly realized the ice berg ahead was not too far off.   To that end there are many land mines that have to be discovered and diffused.  This practice is akin to changing the tires on a racecar, while it is going down the track, and part of that track is in no mans land!  The catch 22 is that no business can afford down time but, if they don’t address the issues they will have un-planned down time!  Un-planned is always much longer than planned, and always more expensive!

 

As an SME on this and many subjects regarding IT, I can offer many things to mitigate any issues and put them on a road to setting things right. Whether that is working with their current IT staff, or bringing in hired guns to knock it out quickly!

 

The business must be willing to want to change, and have Executive buy-in as well as buy-in from the local staff.  The process can take weeks to months depending upon the situation; but after it is all said and done, procedures and processes are put into place to keep up with change.

 

Some policies addressed are Change Management, Incident analysis; complete with root cause analysis, documentation with the introduction of the concept of a living document. The run book, what is it and how does it work?  Testing the Disaster Recovery plan and then implementing changes from things learned. Other topics include SAM (software asset management,) and of course hardware management including lifecycle, and the budget process.   

 

All too often the CFO or CEO is told that IT needs X thousands of dollars for this, that, or the other thing; not because it is a new project but because something failed!  With proper asset management this can be mitigated greatly and things can be budgeted for.

 

Much like any other audit, I don’t guarantee anything will be pleasant other than the knowledge that when it is done you will have the documentation you need, your network will be running at peak efficiency and it will be secure.  Depending upon your growth and company needs, a design can be implemented to make sure your data network is robust enough to handle changes and or growth!

 

The last thing that I can address for you is personnel.  As a manager of and director of IT for 2 decades I know people.  I know who is right for a job and who is not.  If that type of expertise is needed; look no further.

 

-Best