Tag: smartphone

Who are You?

Who are You?

Who are You?

I updated my smart phone once again, and yet another $900 out of my wallet to keep up with the pimple faced urchins roaming the mall.  You know the ones, the 4 foot nothing loud talking kind, with the powerful Swiss-knife of computer devices hanging out of their ass pocket, in shorts so tight that the phone can only go in part of the way.

When they are talking to their friends, there is the distinct smell of some god awful flavored gum; with what they think smells good perfume or body lotion, or what have you…anyway you get the picture.

My address book has managed to grow in parallel my with my disdain for managing said address book.

Today a friend “new friend” added her name to my list of contacts, as I promised I would send her some information on a particular subject that we had been discussing.

I allowed her to add it, as we were in an environment that was ill equipped for parsing data of a personal nature amongst other ears, which might find that information handy.

While we shook hands as she introduced herself, I discovered my penchant for remembering names is, well less than adequate for the task at hand.

Hours later I sat at my desk and found the information that I promised to transmit to her via these wonderful $900 dollar rolodex devices, when the issue of not managing my phone book for the last twenty five (25) years, came home to roost!

Who was she, what was her name?

Frantically I scanned my contacts trying to figure out who was not there earlier that day.  There are well over a thousand contacts in that book, including some Democratic voters, you know the kind, they live six feet under the ground… “Yes Cemeterians!”  I have many Cemeterians still in my phone book!  Why, it is not like they are going to call me, or I them!  If they do, the long distance charges will be incredible; talk about roaming charges!

The older you get, or putting it nicely, the longer that you trod the sod, your rolodex ends up with many who call the cemetery their home.  Removing them from the rolls of your friend list, to me seems “final!”  If I don’t remove them, than they are not forgotten.

While there may be some logic in that, the real dilemma came to light as the perfect juxtaposition of figuring out who was still alive and who was not; hit home.

Then there is this quandary of, who are all these other people?

I have to sit down and figure out how to create groups of personal, family, clients and vendors to start off with, and then categorize all of these folks and of course create a column for cemeterians..

Yes, I could simply delete them but that is just it, isn’t it, “delete.”  How do you delete your parents, or close friends, or even relatives that you only spoke to once or twice a year?

Then there is this group of social media friends.

I have often thought that with all of this poking that goes on FaceBook, that someone should really be buying drinks, but that is another story.

FaceBook, and other forms of social media brings a whole new aspect to “friends” into the mix.  Some of you reading this now, know of me, and how I think through these words.   If you have followed me, chances are good that I have looked at your blog “if you have one,” and followed you so, we may actually know one another better than those who mention your name on FaceBook every now and then.

I solved the missing name by calling someone who was in the conversation and untangled the problem but, that sparked my desire to manage my contacts better. As an IT guy for 35 plus years who has sold and installed more CRM packages than I can count, one would think that I would have done something a little more OCD, prior to this!

Outlook is actually a pretty good CRM package if used correctly, and in that data base, I actually put all sorts of notes in there so if my memory needs a little assist; I have it there.

Speaking of smartphones, I just upgraded and now, today I learn that they are coming out with yet another new on in September!  Are you kidding me!

These things start out at most probably $30 a unit to produce, and by the time you get to buy them they are $900 financed through your phone carrier at $40 a month for the life of the phone.

Now, if I had to make another guess, I would guess that the carrier actually buys them from Apple, or Samsung, or whoever, at a discounted price (or you are paying an inflated price) to make up for the “no finance charges.”  There is no way in hell that these things are worth $900 plus tax! Oh, and if you trade your two year old phone in, you know, the one that was $900 18 months ago; it is now worth about $100 or less….

Since they no longer discount the phone, why the hell should I purchase a phone that is locked into that carrier!?  If I am having to pay full freight, should I not be able to purchase a phone that can work on any other GSM network?

So, if you can live with older technology, buy last year’s model on eBay for a couple of hundred dollars and either go month to month, or find the cheapest carrier you can manage.

The problem I see with the older technology is, each and every update they do to the IOS, the phone slows down!  What was perfectly acceptable when new is now slower than dirt, locks up or behaves erratically.  Is this designed obsolescence?

Schick invented the disposable razor, which was one of the first, if not the first throw away razors and now we have, throw-away phones.

Unlike the phone or the razor, my friends as evidenced in this little diatribe, are not throw away, even the Cemeterians are near and dear to me.

-Best

© All rights reserved 2015

The Green Thing

The Green Thing

BROWNGROCERY

The Grocery Bag

While checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment. 

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The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing‘ back in my earlier days.”

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The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

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The older lady said that she was right — our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain:

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

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Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling’s. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn’t do the  “green thing” back then.

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We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

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Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

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Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

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We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

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Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the”green-thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

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But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

If you feel so inclined forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off… especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart-ass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much to return to the customer.

cdb049bf59a8a03734d23975f24355ce And he wonders why he cant find work while living in his mothers basement.  

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Enlightenment and the Truth

So I have  few thoughts that I wanted to share with you.

If you have read the first page of this blog you know that I am interested in Enlightened Conversation. Enlightened conversation however; depends upon “enlightenment.”

It should be no surprise to anyone that has read any of my postings that I am a Star Trek Fan, from the first episode with William Shatner getting all the girls; and the guy in the red shirt dying of some horrible attack, to every version there after of the series. The consistent trait among them however is the red shirt guy dies.   You would think that the red shirt people would figure this out.  🙂

As a writer, even since the beginning, I appreciated well written scripts.  Most have no idea when they watch something on TV or at the movies, why they either liked it; or hated it.

Look inside First

Part of the process of becoming more than you are, is to know yourself. “Well that is just stupid, I know myself, my name is this, and I live here, and so on and so forth.”  Truth be told, most folks really don’t know themselves, they know of themselves.

Most people act in a mechanical nature following their programming, not unlike the animals that trod the sod or fly in the air above us.

  • The sea turtle comes ashore at a certain time and lays its eggs and leaves again for the eggs to hatch and for the hatchlings to head to the water where most of them will be food.
  •  Some birds know to head south in the winter and north in the summer but they don’t know why?  What we don’t know for sure is how?
  •  Some butterflies migrate as well; do they really know what they are doing?
  •  Primates learned to make, and use tools to achieve an end result.
  •  Whales communicate and we suspect Dolphins do as well.

What we don’t know about this world, and the creatures that are on it would fill entire libraries.

The same can be said about ourselves.

Start with this simple exercise, each time you are moved in some way by someone or something ask yourself why.  What about that book did you like or not like.  What about that movie did you appreciate or detest. Than, ask the magic question of why…

If I talk with you about late term abortion.

I mention that the doctor pokes some scissors into the base of the Child’s skull making a small incision, clipping the brain stem from the spinal cord, killing the child.  From there he puts a suction device in and sucks out the child’s brain so when pulling the baby out, the skull will easily crush, not damaging the mother.

I know how I feel about it and why; how do you feel, and why?

What if you are looking at a painting of a lovely lady, sitting on a blanket under a tree, on a sunny day?  She is wearing a light white dress that the wind blows up past her knees on occasion. She is sitting there with a picnic basket, some wine and a book.  The sunlight pokes through creating small silhouettes of light on her, here and there as the breeze blows the leaves on the tree.  In the distance there is the ocean and a beach with families at play.  The seagulls are dancing in the wind while a young man approaches the tree from behind with a rose in his hand.

How does that picture make you feel, why?

It is not simply good enough to hate something or like something, you must know why!

Every time your emotions are plucked, know what plucked them.  When you are moved, know what moved you.

With Star Trek it was simple for me to appreciate Gene Rodenberry’s vision of a Utopian world where we had evolved past greed.  Truthfully, I think Next Generation did a much better job of this however; I never understood what drove people to do anything if they could have anything that they wanted by simply getting the replicator to create it.  So, is greed a motivator?  Why “Boldly Go,” if getting something in return was not a motive?

What drives you to do what you do?  With most of us it is some form of remuneration for our efforts.  Let’s face it; we live in a dystopian society currently, with a hint of 1984 looming over the horizon.  We have a government that fabricates the narrative as they go along, to suite some agenda.  We have smart phones that may very well be spying on us through some NSA covert initiative that was put in place by the same folks who developed the porn scanners at the airport.  We have drones that the government can fly over a mile from your house and look through an open window and count your freckles!

We have a percentage of the masses that believe whatever garbage comes out of Washington as the gospel.  These folks are truly lost and victims to their own programming and failure to think outside the box.  These folks are the kinds of folks that need that box so they understand the boundaries and try to live within them, or figure out a way to take advantage of the structure as they understand it.  You will not catch them asking why they “like” or “hate” or do what they do, as according to them it is their nature, it simply is.  It is simpler than that, it is their programming and all they know, and want to know.  Please don’t confuse them with the facts!

The Ferguson riots are a perfect example of emotion overrunning common sense or the programming.  Darren Wilson by the laws that everyone accepts was cleared of any wrong doing.  The young man that was shot was seen on video robbing the convenience store and roughing up the owner.  Before he left you see him once again come back and come after the store owner in a threatening manner.

Now he continues on with this behavior with a cop. I don’t know how high he was or how far out of his right mind that he was but, you don’t screw with a cop! They have all the cards.  With a cop it is yes sir, no sir here are my hands in plain sight sir!  Anything else is well, stupid!

A grand jury clears the cop of all wrong doing so the people of the town burn down their own town and vandalize their own shop owners etc etc..  Is that programming, or nature?

Governments around the world understand people, the way we think and how closely we mimic animals, and play to those facts.  Functional idiots would be the ideal populous for any government, as they would do as they are told, and not question their leaders.  They would work at some prescribed task and give a portion, or have a portion of their money taken from them to support those that “pull the strings.”

No, not wearing a tin hat, don’t fall prey to conspiracy stuff.  I know technology and people and I am a science fiction writer.  Many things written by science fiction writers become science fact.  We think outside the box and leave the math to those that communicate with algebraic nomenclature and obscure symbols that only a scant few truly understand.  I would maintain that math holds those folks back from thinking outside the box because their formula does not support it.  It is only when one of them dares think that their formula may be wrong, do they look outside the box.

To be anything more than an automaton, takes work.  People are naturally lazy and take the easiest path, or path of least resistance. Some however do not. Some ask, “why?”

What about you?  Why ask why?

What kind of work does it take?  First and foremost it takes getting to know that person looking back at you from the mirror.

Why do we do what we do?

Enlightenment consists of knowing yourself first.

Once you start analyzing why you do what you do, you can then begin to understand what might motivate someone else.  Instead of blindly following your programming, you can choose a different path.

The folks in Ferguson were manipulated to do the bidding of some by using their emotions.  It is so easy to manipulate someone with their emotions it is laughable.  You know that you have been manipulated through guilt, into doing things that you did not want to do.  I think some churches use guilt to get you to tithe more, or to come more often to church.

Your wife of mother in law may guilt you into doing something that you do not want to do.  Guilt is a great emotion to manipulate you with.  Another is hate.

 “Hate is a poison that you take expecting it to affect someone else!”

We have a government for whatever reason is fomenting racial hate.  No one alive today had anything to do with slavery yet we hear more about it today than twenty years ago.  It serves a purpose to foment racism and I think it is to stir up the democratic base, when in fact the Democratic Party historically is the party that oppresses black people.  When you don’t know history you are doomed.  Americans have a short memory, and attention span and they know it and depend upon it..

Programming

I would proffer that it is natural to be bigoted against that which is different from you.

I would argue that part of your programming is to reject people of a different race in order to propagate your particular genetic line.  I would also point out that the male of the species “whatever the species” will stick his “business,” into just about anything, including a knot hole, to achieve the end result.  Again, programming and a reward system, which would lead to mutations in the gene pool of that species.  That by the way is my argument for macro evolution.  I don’t think that we just magically appeared as human one day, I think species intermingled and over time nature found a way to create viable species which too intermingled.  That intermingling is still in progress as today we have inter species procreation much more than just a few years ago. People (some people) are thinking outside the box, and their programming and moving beyond differences of colour and race. There is hope!

One prime argument against this is, “Well why did evolution stop?”  Who said it stopped?  Firstly, we human beings cannot fathom 4.5 billion years.  We have nothing to give context to that amount of time.  We live an average of 70 years.  That is not very much time!  We see beds that our ancestors used only a generation ago and note how short they are.  What we don’t put together is that we are much taller than they were.  We know that the appendix is a useless organ and is shrinking because our diet has changed and it is no longer needed.  If we look and are open minded we will see other signs that evolution of the Darwinian kind, is indeed happening. Is there a designer to this evolution?

While part of the programming in all animals is to reject that which is different, thinking people can look past those differences and indeed some do.  Part of the programming consists of a pairing of people simply by physical characteristics.  Things such as symmetry and physical build of the male as well as broad hips and large breast of the female.  This is programmed into us and useful for successful procreation.

When we were cave folks wearing nothing but lots of hair, things were exposed.  Women might have chosen to pair with men that were, well muscular and well hung, while guys most certainly looked at that which would better facilitate successfully bearing young.  Sex back then would most certainly have been Pavlovian.  If sex did not feel good and did not have a “reward,” I doubt that any species would be here.  Let’s face it; sex at its basic level is work! If done right, lots of work!  If you don’t think that there is some powerful programming at work, think again!

If you stop and think about it, there is really nothing attractive about genitalia at all.  I am amazed that gynecologists have any type of sex life after working with genitalia day in and day out.  My guess is that the reward system of procreation and the programming of that same “sub routine,” overrule that of the id, the super ego and the ego.  While the super-ego may try to rationalize what you are seeing the id is strong thus the programming of the id seems to supersede that of the super-ego and the ego.

And speaking of genitalia, an interesting thing about the penis that puts it into perspective is the design of the tip or Glans is such, that if inserted after someone else, it will actually pull their seed out and make room for yours, if yours is larger then the previous occupant.

Design or evolution?

Men are typically visual people and as such can be easily stimulated by such.  If we see someone in a bikini where do our eyes first travel to? …. No answer? … Coward….  They travel to the parts covered by the bikini.  From there, some background subroutine kicks in and gets to imagining the rest. If that same person were nude, our eyes would most certainly travel there first but, the background subroutine would not engage, and I doubt that after a moment or two, the visual titillation would still be there. Our attention might then be only to the persons face and other visual queues or other folks that are around.

In speaking with nudist, I am told that genitalia and other parts become no different than an elbow or knee.  I often wonder how the sex life of a nudist would differ from that of a person who is not.  Maybe there is a government grant available for such a study?  If I had to guess, I would guess it would parallel that of a couple that was in the same general age group that was not a nudist as again I think it would be centered around the reward or pleasure part of the brain.

I often wonder what affect the “Extreme Availability” of pornography; will have on this generation and those people of the next generation.  We have children exposed to this stuff before they reach puberty.  They do not have the maturity to deal with this subject matter so one has to wonder what outcome it will have.  If it were simply nude people I think it would fairly innocuous. If on the other hand it is all sorts of pornographic situations and activities dreamt up by who knows who, they may very well take that as normal.  I fear for their moral compass.

Hazarding a guess I have to think that it would lead more males to self pleasure… ok… masturbate, rather than go through the “trouble” to get a girlfriend and have a “normal” relation. Pornography could have a much more serious affect on society as a whole.  I also wonder what if any affect it has on females.

Delineation between nudity and pornography is a must at this point, as there is ample confusion.  As there is confusion between nudity and pornography, there is also confusion between being naked and nude.  Semantics you might say but, a thinking person would disagree.

Let’s start with the later; if I am purposefully around other folks without clothing, I am nude.  If I were to say go into a spa where there were people without clothing and that was the accepted behavior than I and they would be nude.  If I had someone posing nude for me while I painted them, and it was consensual, “consensual being the key word” then they would be nude.   While we here in this country are way too hung up on nudity, trust me, it is not that big of a deal and healthy.

If on the other hand you are secretly watching someone undress, or you walk in on someone who expects privacy, and they are without clothing, they are naked.  While naked can also mean “without adornment” or the naked truth, naked is being unclothed in a situation where you would like to have clothing on.

So that dream that you have about being naked at school; that is naked unless of course you are posing for an art class without clothes, than you are nude.

Pornography is someone or a group of someone’s in the act of sex or some other sexual situation designed to promote sexual titillation for the participants or the viewers.

One famous “movie star” in “adult movies” was once interviewed.  She was asked how she felt about people looking at her naked, and pleasuring themselves.  This person who had a rather inauspicious start to life, also sports a 138 IQ.  Her answer was simply this; “than I am doing my job.”  It was very easy to tell from the interview that she was “smart” and chose this line of work as a way out of the normal 9-5 work world, that so many of us fall into.  Her bright and bubbly personality along with her IQ is quite frankly what I found attractive about her but, I actually did read Playboy for the articles, and maybe checked out where that staple hit…

Is nudity healthy?

I mentioned earlier that it is “in my opinion” and here is why.  Let’s say you have children and they never see you naked.  The only nude folks they see are themselves or possibly their siblings until puberty.  Now we have the internet with more porn than you can shake a stick at.  Your young men start “peeking” at porn and expect that all women will look like that.  You, under your garments have a poochy belly, possibly with stripes all over it from stretch marks, you breast have sagged  or were never a perfect perky what have you, and your butt well, its not a Kardashian butt.  Your mate accepts you as you are but, your kids have unreal expectations and once they tie the knot, a rude awakening is headed their way which could end up with ruptured nuptials.

I don’t think that you have to live in  a nudist colony to get the job done but, I think having your children seeing you as you are, from a young age, as they grow up is healthy not only for them, but for you.  You must be ok with your body, and you need to do what you can to feel sexy and alive.  Your kids must know that not everyone looks like a porn star and once they have babies, everything changes.  Even you dads out there with the beer belly.  You too need to be ok with who you are in order to live a healthy life into your golden years. Setting your children’s expectation from very young will not only help them to keep things in perspective but, hopefully it may go a long way towards young men not objectifying women and indeed seeing them as something besides sex objects.  An added bonus may very well be that if you don’t hide underneath baggy shirts you may make a little extra effort to keep excess weight off, as obesity  often adds to your chances of diabetes and other health concerns.   If your kids are older you can’t obviously start walking around naked but, you don’t have to hide the belly either.  If you are a young couple with young kids, by all means, don’t hide.

If you have any questions about this, speak with a counselor or professional or two.  This last generation has gone way off target with our kids, we incarcerate more today than ever before.  Something is wrong and we need to be looking for reasons why.  I think it has to do with Hollywood, the internet, violent video games, and dysfunctional families looking for that brass ring, but those that get paid $150 an hour might have a different idea.

Speaking of nudes, as an artist I can tell you that I prefer to paint those that are full figured much like the masters did of years gone by.  These women today who are bags of bones covered by a little skin are not attractive to me; as an artist or a man.  The bottom line is that you must be happy with who you are. That my friend starts by looking in the mirror and loving yourself, bulges, stripes and all. Start from the inside out, as first you have to know “who you are.”

The simple facts are that we are wired for sex.  From the time we reach puberty and maybe before until we are pushing daisies up, sex is on the brain. We cannot totally escape our programming, at that age sex is high up on the list of priorities.  The difference between the human and the animal is that we can control our programming.

During puberty, hormones are being introduced at levels we are not used to.  Our inner animal may come out and want to play and not always in a constructive manner.  It takes a special kind of “teacher” to work with us at that age, as we become impossible.  We say things that we certainly don’t mean.  We are mean to anyone that loves us and just beside ourselves.  You add into this cornucopia of hormones, drugs, you trigger the release of more hormones and drugs from the brain which can make us suicidal. It is most important to understand what is going on at this age as there is no rational explanation for behavior most of the time.  Keeping all recreational chemistry out of this system is a must!

In the animal kingdom the animal may desire sex from one of its harem and be threatened by a young male.  This Bull may have to defeat its young challenger in order to maintain its control over the harem.  That becomes the order of business for the moment forgoing anything else.

A Human may desire sex but there are many hoops to jump through just to have a chance at sex, and unfortunately at certain ages for certain people, fighting is not off of the table. Other rather stupid actions come into play as well.  Lacking any morals and education our sex lives would most certainly emulate the animal kingdom.  A parallel between human and animal could easily be drawn where sex or procreation is concerned.  If we could examine the “code,” we would no doubt find that the subroutines look very similar.

Programming must come from the double helix, and I submit that programming can be modified by changing the behavior of a species, and having that species propagate its behavioral modifications through its DNA. This would necessarily prove that evolution through behavior modification is not only possible, but probable.

Back in the day there were people who studied eugenics.  Their reasons were fairly malevolent in that they were after the “perfect race,” and hated Jews.  Eugenics could be a reality and I think that the answer for such is programming the DNA not artificially, but by altering the behavior of the subject and then using that DNA to inseminate the subject.  Because all of this takes time, as it is really a function of evolution; they should try this with some short lived creature like the fruit fly and see if they can’t program its DNA in some fashion, possibly only eat a certain type of fruit.

My theory is that our programming is a series of learned behaviors that somehow make their way back into the DNA that we pass on to our progeny.  For this reason it might be a real good idea to procreate late in life or, donate sperm to a sperm bank when you are old, and wiser than when you were as a teenager and not so wise.

It is no secret that we stand on our forefathers shoulders where our technology and knowledge is concerned.  Some of that knowledge and wisdom gets passed down before we too procreate but, much is learned late in life.

You can either believe that “god” creates you the way that you are or you can believe that Darwin was correct and indeed evolution explains “ooze to youze.”

To reject the later simply because of religious mores would be just as foolish as to dismiss the possibility of a spiritual being that uses evolution to create.  Who is to say that some “god” for lack of a better name, is not using evolution to create what we see today.

It is necessary to think outside the box.  If you allow your preconceived prejudices to “box in your thoughts,” you can not learn.

Once I was talking with a guy who believes what he reads in the bible.  He professed to be open minded.  “So, you would be open to talking about evolution?”  “As long as it does not conflict with the bible, sure!”  Sadly, he cannot learn. His potential is limited by his ideology.

Me personally, I want to know the truth.  I don’t care what it is, that is what I want to know.  The truth will set you free.  We need to look for and learn the truth.  Once learned, that truth needs to be embraced, and then spoken about, Boldly!

While we build on the past we must be ever so open to the future and all of its possibilities. If there is a being that creates worlds, and all the life thereon then he or it must certainly use math as its language!  Science would be the common denominator and that would explain a lot of things.

There is a dichotomy between religious folks and science, not all, but most.  The dichotomy precludes either subset from learning the truth. In order to seek the truth, one must first be open to any and all possibilities. Is there a grand creator, great!  Is it all evolution and random chance? Cool!  Is it a combination of a creator using physics to create what we have today? Awesome!

Share your thoughts.  -Best

Copyright Timedok 11/2014 All rights Reserved

Virus for Macs, iPhones and Tablets?

While it is not unheard of, they are rare.  Today we learned that a virus has been unleashed to attack Apple products including Iphones, Ipads and of course anything running the MAC OS.

The Virus effects MAcs and Smartphones and I suspect was written for the Chinese as they have Jailbroken their phones and are downloading apps from other sources besides ITunes.

While one could speculate that such a virus that only affects those devices that are Jailbroken might be written to punish those that do this type of thing; or to discourage those who might want to do this, you would really have to be a conspiracy nut to think this way.

That would be like thinking that most viruses are written by the folks that make the antivirus programs.  Totally nuts…. right…nuts… why would they do that?….Crazy talk….!  Have you purchased antivirus software lately.  $50 and up for one year!  With millions of computers and millions more smartphones and tablets, those that write anti-virus software have a goldmine and a half!

To write viruses one must necessarily have intimate knowledge of the code that makes up the OS.  Likewise, if one wants to foil and antivirus program, one would need intimate knowledge of that code.

While I have no doubt that groups like the Russian Mob who made more money on hacking and getting information from people’s computers then selling drugs might find this work easier, some of these hacks are just crazy.

Who does this kind of thing?

I have Trend Micro for my phone and iPad and I update the OS after a short period of time that the new release has been tested by those a little more eager than I, you can still not be too careful.  While I would like apps on my phone that Apple will not host, I have not even thought about jailbreaking it.

If your secret family recipe for chocolate cake is on your phone, and you want it secure; you might want to look at Trend or some other anti virus software for your MAC products.   It is more than simple recipes however; people store all sorts of information on there including banking, health, credit card info, passwords for your online accounts, text messages, e-mails; all of which is vulnerable.

If you want to talk conspiracy, what if the bad guy wanted to listen in on your conversations; could the microphone be turned on, or worse yet, the camera?

How often do you find your smartphone warm to the touch and the battery almost exhausted and you have done nothing to get it that way?

There was a case not too long ago where some school sent kids home with laptops. Someone was turning on the built in cameras remotely and watching them in their home, bedrooms etc.  This was most probably and immature geek that lived in his mothers basement, or was it.

Folks, smart devices have tons of information including your coordinates down to a few feet!  If Apple does not make this thing where I can pull the battery; I am seriously thinking about going away from Apple to another type of smart phone that will let me A) pull the battery if I want to make certain that the thing is dead and B) change the battery “easily” when it no longer holds a charge!

The same is true of the tablet devices.  These toys are for my amusement, not for some “hacker” or twisted peeping tom to use for their entertainment or source of revenue.

-Best

c All rights reserved 2014

Toys, Time and You.

 

 

I know that I have touched on this subject at least once before, but I think that it is worth expounding upon….

 

It is no secret that I like eating out.  If I could have any job in the world, it would most probably be that of a food critic, or restaurant critic, or both…  I have traveled to 48 of the 50 states and have eaten in more places, tried more different types of food than I can possibly recount.   I have seen and tasted the “good, the bad, and the ugly!”

 

I remember my parents fussing at me as a child telling me that I was not raised in a barn, where are my manners.  I took this to heart and instead of fussing at my child in a similar manner; I sent her to etiquette or charm school, when the time was right, and then lead by example.

 

Having said that; we went out Fathers Day to a local restaurant that has predicable food, and service.  Walking us back to our table they sat us next to a table that had just finished.  The floor was covered in water, ice, dishes, silverware and upside down cups;  food from half a dozen meals; and peanut shells.  The table was actually cleaner than the floor however; not by much.  The words, “holy molly bat man!” escaped my lips before I was able to restrain myself.  The hostess did not pick up on my displeasure, sat us there and walked off.  If the people at the table that made the mess had not still been there, I would have requested a different place.

 

The family that had made this mess was in the process of paying their bill and made no excuses for the disaster.  If that were my family, I would have been cleaning it up myself; after which, would go no further than McDonalds’ for eating out until course corrections could be made.

 

Across from us were a couple who were engrossed with their smart “stuff” taking pictures of their food and god knows what all.  This was a young couple but still a couple and they were more interested in their phones, than each other.

 

Looking around the room there were other families also engrossed with their “toys.” The children were playing with something electronic instead of eating and the parents were no better.

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We noticed that the hours that we were there, had a “happy hour” which was a combination of a particular type of meal and an adult beverage.  When we tried to order this the waiter exclaimed that it was not available as it was Sunday.  Clearly the menu stated that it was and we got into a disagreement about what the menu stated and what he was willing to do.

 

I finally said “I am not going to let this ruin my dinner,” and proceeded to order the same thing knowing I was going to have to pay more.  These folks are known for their sweet potatoes, which is made much like candid yams, including the marshmallows.  The waiter took our order and then felt it necessary to share that he can’t stand them.  What an odd thing to share with folks who two of the three at the table had just ordered them.   I could not restrain myself at this point and nicely ask him “how long he had been working there.”  “This is my first week!”  I would wager that if I went back tonight; he would not be there.

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The food was as expected although, the service and the cleanliness of the restaurant was below-par by a long shot!

 

Below par is actually a misnomer, in golf that is a good thing; using it in these terms, it is not a good thing.

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Last night I went out again to an upscale seafood place.  Sitting at the Hibachi Grill we were joined by several different folks from different walks of life.  If you knew me personally you know that I have never met a stranger.  I am the one that will talk with just about anyone, anyplace; even on an elevator in New York; be warned.

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This night was no exception and I quickly broke the ice with the different couples and children that had joined us.  One of them had two young children.  One of which was frightened by the “pyrotechnics” and screamed loudly enough to wake the dead; the other child felt it necessary to entertain us with her rendition of Jingle Bells!   This couple had their hands too full to “play with toys” although the mom managed to get some facebook time in between “going through the fields in a one horse open sleigh” and her other child throwing cheerios.

 

This dinner was a rather expensive dinner for two folks so I would have expected the food to be pretty good, not so!  The filet Mignon was overcooked and was more like meat flavored bubble gum.  Medium means pink in the middle, this was well done.  The Shrimp too was overcooked and dry and rubbery.  The chicken was overcooked and dry.  The vegetables were just ok.  The fried rice was really disappointing as it was not anything but rice egg and soy sauce. 

 

These folks usually have a real good “meal service” but, I would not recommend their hibachi grill.  While the chief was entertaining; I suspect that Gordon Ramsey would have not eaten there.

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Maybe it is just me but, I would never take young children to an expensive place if I knew that they were not easily controlled or given to fits of hysteria.  If you are paying $100 and up for dinner, you don’t really want to hear or deal with screaming kids.  Chances are you may have your own at home and have them with a baby sitter as you want some time away from the chaos.  Keeping a relationship with your spouse that does not include changing diapers, or wiping snotty noses, or listening to Jingle Bells in June, is critical for your marriage.  Date nights are meant for the two of you to be around either just yourself or other adults. There are family friendly places where such things are expected but the odds are good the phrase; “do you want fries with that” will be employed sometime during the night.

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These places have entertainment for kids as their take on eating is a few bites, and they are done.  Parents getting their child to sit still when they clearly don’t want to create an unpleasant environment not only for the child but guess what, for them and everyone around them.  It is reprehensible really to bring young children into “adult places” and expect them to behave as an adult.  They don’t have the mental faculties and or the patients to sit for more than about 15 minutes.  

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It is very rare to find children that can sit at a table for any longer than that without being the center of attention in a good way or bad way.  When they can behave themselves at family friendly restaurants, in a consistent manner; than go ahead and try them at nicer places.

 

Even more disturbing, I find that some families will simply ignore their children’s bad behavior all the while messing with their electronic toys!  It is bad enough to sit within earshot of a family correcting their rambunctious child, it is even more upsetting when the parents are oblivious to it and just let them run amuck while they are on FaceBook or some other diversion from reality.

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Training your child is your responsibility.  You can send them to a school for such things or lead by example or both!  Currently, your bad behavior, your child watches. They mimic their parents and so the adage about the apple not falling far from the tree is very germane.   Are your kid’s apples or nuts?

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Put away the toys when you are together as a family.  Put away the toys when you are out on a date.  Make time for dates, without the kids and leave the toys in the pocket or purse or maybe even in the glove box so you won’t be tempted.  Toys, like TV, are neither a babysitter nor a substitute for parenting.

 

If you care to comment on this, please keep it clean and respectful.  With any of my blogs, I will happily discuss any part of them.  I will not tolerate disrespectful comments, nor will I make them.

 

-Best

 

 

 

Information Technology then and now

Information Technology then and now.

Having started in this industry when IBM Selectrics were the only game in town, I have seen many things come to pass.  I have witnessed the end of Greg Shorthand to dictating equipment to word processors and finally executives typing out their own letters and e-mails.

Back not so long ago an executive would dictate a letter to a secretary who would go type it up and return it to his inbox for his approval.  During this process he would change something and she would once again type it up and return it to his inbox.  This process could take the entire day to generate one letter.

The dictation machine came about; and the secretary with Greg shorthand know how, turned into a secretarial pool where somewhere in a smoke-filled room several typists, typed letters and submitted them in similar fashion.  The letter would be accompanied by the tape or in the early days a “dictabelt” or even a wax cylinder.

In the late 70s the word processor came about in the form of a typewriter that could save the keystrokes to a magnetic card.  When the letter came back for revisions the card would be placed into the slot on this huge box that sat on the floor next to the typewriter and the typist would hit “play” and the typewriter would come to life regurgitating the keystrokes until she got to the part that needed to be changed.

It wasn’t too long after that the true word processor was born in that there was a green screen and one typed much like I am doing now.  Editing was not near as simple as this, but it was a huge step up from the manual typewriter.

Before Bill Gates and Steve Job were household names, Xerox, IBM, and Burroughs, not to forget Unisys, Pitney Bows, and Wang, were the big boys.

No one expected that college kids in a garage with a rudimentary understanding of business would revolutionize the world with what we have today.

I met Steve Jobs while working for a company that had one of his creations for computers.  The NEXT computer which was a UNIX based computer that had a GUI that was semi user-friendly. The cases to these computers for whatever reason were crafted from magnesium and shaped like a pizza box or a Borg Cube however; the wiring of them regarding the keyboard and mouse are very similar to what apple is today.  Little did I appreciate at the time the man who started out his career as a techno-criminal by phone freaking, would be responsible for my Smartphone and my beloved iPad. For this alone I am eternally grateful.

As technology is an ever changing target the personnel also have to be malleable and willing to learn, grow and in some cases leave.

After I placed a pc on one secretaries desk and after she had been to training I walked by her one day to see her making a spreadsheet with a ruler and paper.  The PC and Lotus and the secretary were not working well together.

Technology is one part of the equation when it comes to business.  Finding and keeping the proper people is a challenge that can make any CEO’s head spin.

Through the years a niche market evolved from the early days of Novell.  Novell was one of the leading networking companies long before Bill Gates came up with a server OS.  I have worked with their products since ver 1.X.

Novell made a good name for itself early on.  They came up with the idea to “certify” hardware for their product.  The manufacturers of hardware would submit their hardware to Novell and pay them to evaluate their hardware and then put the “Novell stamp of approval” on it, which of course drove the price of their equipment up and made their equipment more in demand.

It wasn’t long after that, they came up with the idea of “certifying” people.  This certification process begat a whole new industry across the entire technological spectrum; the training and testing and certifying of people.

The problems with this are many, and the industry is fraught with deception.  Many people can take a test but cannot physically do the job.  Technology is forever changing which requires ongoing certification classes or CEC.  The cost is very high and the certification may be short-lived.

It did not take me long as I started making my way through the classes and certification process to figure out that this was simply a way for Novell and others to make yet more money.  In fact today there are certifications for damned near anything and everything.  The industry standard as a whole is some sort of certification.

While this may give a hiring manager some quantitative measuring stick to know if John Doe is who he wants to hire as a technologist; myself as a hiring manager, I can tell you that certifications were the last thing that I looked at.  As I worked my way up from the lowly support person to Director Level, I could and can speak intelligently about technology and I can tell if someone is full of….well crap.

The classes and certifications are so expensive that very few people will invest their own money to get them.  That means that some company paid for them.  Again as technology changes the weight of their certification looses validity much like a new car looses value, once you drive it off the showroom floor or in the case of technology, the next day.

Years ago I interviewed for company for a project management position.  I could talk about projects and milestones and task and deliverables all day long; without that certification this guy was not interested. My guess is that he had no idea what a project manager was and the certification was the thing that would do his job for him.  Keep in mind that I had been doing this before there was a class and the PMP certification did not exists.  I could in fact write a book on it.  I was doing this before Microsoft ever thought of MS Project.

When I hired project managers I would ask them to tell me about a project that they had done and I would look for certain details.  The certification was superfluous to me.  Can they do the job? Can they tell me how they can tell  the health of their project. Can they articulate themselves well, verbally as well as in writing? Do they work well with others?

Personnel can make or break a company.  As a troubleshooter not only do I have to determine if the technology is the right fit for the business but, I often have to figure out if this person is the best fit for this position at that company. The problems are indicative of the industry.  As the technology increases or evolves the personnel must change with it, and in fact embrace change because that is what this industry is, “change”.   Information technology is a very fluid dynamic field.  Unlike history or geology, computer science changes with the next program or hardware modification.

One of the issues that I see often is that the higher up the food chain, the more the person in that position does not fit.  When one gets up into the management area where titles are involved, the duties and responsibilities seem blurred.  When there is a failure, the high up individual always seems to have a way to have a subordinate fall on their sword rather than owning up to the fact the he or she is at fault and may need training, be repositioned within the organization or retire.  I knew this as the “Peter Principle.” Simply stated, as one stays within a company long enough he or she is promoted to a place where they can no longer function, as their skill set or intelligence is lacking.

One way to flesh this out is to insist on a root cause analysis of the failure.  Truthfully this should be done every time that there is a failure so future failures can be avoided.  Obtaining clients is an uphill battle, loosing them over an unnecessary screw up is simply not acceptable.

Too seldom will one ever see a CIO take responsibility for his lack of knowledge or forethought as his own ego will not permit him or her admit that, they may be the problem.

Teaching people to own their mess ups is something that we have lost with this new generation of kids coming fresh out of college and expecting a corner office.

I have worked for many CIO’s that were more interested in the bottom line than their job.  My guess is that their boss had incented them to save money so their actions were predicated on not what is best for the company necessarily but what do I have to do to meet my budget or come in under; so I get my bonus.  This is often done at the expense of the company and or personnel.  So in that light, I have decided to define what a CIO is.  See how closely this matches how you define your CIO or if you are one, does this fit?

One of the CIO’s that I know about did not even have a computer at home and when PDA’s were making the scene and everyone had one, he still used a pocket notebook.  This man was the very personification of Scrooge and had no business in that position, but like his boss they were both cheap to a fault and would look for ways to save a dime while costing the company thousands of dollars in lost productivity.  Why, lost productivity is not quantifiable if they never recognized it in the first place.  If on the other hand they had it and one removed it, than they would understand; much like cutting the internet off after they had incorporated it into their business model. This is a serious lack of vision.

So here is my definition of what a CIO is.

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for providing the leadership, management and strategic technological direction that will enable the company to achieve its business objectives in a competitive environment. The CIO drives technology enabled innovation to improve the company’s performance and competitive advantage. The CIO champions innovation initiatives through a demonstrated ability to creatively apply emerging technologies to mature business processes in order to improve business performance. The CIO must strengthen the company’s core enterprise technological capabilities and leverage the expertise of third party suppliers and partners. The CIO should work closely with customers, partners, colleagues and other stakeholders to identify and maximize innovative opportunities to use technology to improve business processes and optimize performance.

While having a keen understanding of the business, the CIO should be able to sell his or her ideas to the board of directors, CEO and CFO explaining what the ROI is as well as the TCO.

In short the CIO must be a well-informed technologist with a good understanding of the business model as well as others in that industry and must be plugged into what is current and emerging in the market place to know when and what to explore.

In 30 years of Information Technology I have known one such person.  The rest were neither capable nor qualified to be where they were, they simply had good people around them or they were there because they knew someone.  While there is something to be said for surrounding yourself with people smarter than you are, the sad truth is if they are doing your job, than they are not doing theirs.

We live in an ever evolving world where technology is involved.  There is a term called LOAR.  LOAR stands for Law of Accelerated Returns.  Technology does not evolve linearly; in fact it evolves logarithmically meaning that it builds upon itself.  In the early 80’s we had a CPU that ran at 4.7 MHz and now 33 short years later we have laptops with multiple core CPU’s running 3 or more Gigahertz or GHz!  The technology in our smart phone is far superior to all of the technology that went to the moon in the 60’s!  In a few years your computer or smart phone may guess what you want to look up or what you want to do and start the process before you tell it to.  Advances in the next few years will be amazing and frightening at the same time; there is no going back.  Much like Pandora, once the box is opened we deal with what comes out.

One of the things that I happen to be very good at is going into a company which is having some sort of issues and fixing it.

As a troubleshooter, I often have to go into a company and look at how they are doing business.  What is their infrastructure like?  Were best practice standards followed then and now?  Is there a living document that defines all that is? Has someone like a programmer, been promoted into some management role when they have little or no management expertise?  (That is a common one)  What does your disaster recovery plan look like?  When was it last tested?

This is a very small example of the things that I look for.  When my deliverable (report) is examined by the principles of the company there is often to borrow a term from Bush II “shock and aw”.

Few CEO’s have any idea how tenuous a foundation that their data center is built on. Why, because they trust their CIO and ignorance is bliss.  Even the most astute CIO should have his data center, processes and procedures, looked over by an outside entity that has no dog in the fight.  An outside firm simply looks at what you are doing, how and why and balances that against best practice techniques.  These things often turn up in disaster recovery exercises which turn out to be a lot of ad-hoc work.  The company is better for it and it gives them some metric to measure their staff against.

While the word “Audit” dredges up some scary moments and thoughts the CEO should demand it!

The odds are good that the CEO and above consider information technology a necessary evil.  While it is most likely a cost center, the principles of the company would be wise to understand that without it for three days, the company may very well cease to exist! The marriage of technology and business is here to stay.  While the romanticized idea of a young pretty secretary taking short hand has some appeal, those days like the typewriter are gone.  With the evolution of sexual harassment rules and the overly litigious nature of things today, this is probably not a bad thing.   CEO’s should look at technology and those who maintain it as partners, because they are.

-Best