Showing posts with label Mistakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mistakes. Show all posts

April 22, 2019

You Ended Up In Hell City

So a friend told me something funny.

It was about being given what appears to be a wonderful opportunity, but in reality it's not all roses. 

In short, it went something like this:
There was an exciting competition and a prize at the end. 
Everyone prepared and worked hard to win it. 
But when the competition was over, what was the prize?
The 2nd place was two weeks in Philadelphia. 
The 1st place was one week in Philadelphia. 

I had to think about that for a second, but that is really pretty funny and true. 

No not about Philadelphia, but about life--that what we often mistakenly want so badly and strive for with all our energies, and then only to find out that it really wasn't as good or amazing for us and our families as we imagined. 

Yes, very often you set your sights on certain goals to win the competition, but then you find out that the BIG prize ("first place") is really not something to get excited about, because it's in Philadelphia!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2019

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:

Does it work?

Did you screw with it?

Does anyone know?

Can you blame anyone else?

This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:

- Accountability

- Problem-solving

- Doing the right thing

Oh, maybe that's a different flowchart. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 15, 2017

Slow Build - Rapid Demise

It takes time to build in life. 

Or as they say:
"Rome wasn't built in a day."

But it's not always easy to have patience. 

We all have to start somewhere and usually it's at the bottom.

And then we have to claw our way up (like Rocky).

Unless of course, you're one of those people born with a "silver spoon" in your mouth. 

The funny thing about building and climbing is that it can all be destroyed in a split second. 

One silly mistake, one stupid word, one indiscretion, one lackadaisical moment, a turn of bad luck...or a series thereof. 

It takes so much time and effort to build as we lay one brick of success upon another. 

And it takes just a split second to destroy it all. 

So watch-watch-watch your steps, because they can so easily turn into a rapid, spiraling, and even most deadly a fall.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 2, 2017

Can You Do No Right?

Do you ever feel like you can do no right?

That whatever you do or choose, you are opening yourself up to criticism by others or more importantly from yourself.

That's because in life every moment is a choice and each selection of what you do with your time and efforts means by definition that you are not doing something else important then.

- Take the mother or father who chooses to spend time raising their children, but then are not focused as much on their career.

- Take the student who is working really hard on getting those good grades and SAT scores, but then are not doing as much or well with extracurricular activities like sports or socializing. 

- Take the spiritual or religious person or clergy who chooses to focuses their life studying and performing holy speech and deeds but not so much other earthly and material matters. 

- Take the athlete who works out and eats right focusing on toning and honing their body and physical skills but doesn't spend as much time and effort on intellectual interests or more standard career pursuits. 

- Take the extrovert who focuses on building and maintaining relationships and networks--family, friends, community, colleagues, others--but are not putting the same time and attention to enhancing their other knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

So you say, but why can't we just do everything we're supposed to do, and simply balance?

Well, that is what we all try to do in our own way, but still each time and every moment you are doing one thing, you are not at that moment doing something else or being somewhere else. 

So that causes tension, perhaps a tug-of-war within ourselves, stress, and even guilt. 

The impact is that we often run from one thing to another or we get distracted in what we are doing--"Honey can you answer the phone?"

Some classic examples are when we race home from the office to pick the kids up from school or while playing with sweet little Johny or Suzie, the phone rings and and we have to pick up that call from the boss at work. 

As they say, you can't be--physically or mentally--in two places at the same time!

Hence, now the movement for mindfulness, being in the moment and focused.

But as the demands in life forever ask more of us--even amidst ever greater technology and automation to assist us--somehow we can never do enough because of course, the bar gets raised for ourselves and the competition gets tougher from those who make choices to focus on specific areas that we are not as much. 

So say that you are splitting your time between work and family, but someone else is single or doesn't have kids and they are full in with work, staying late, going in weekends, getting those extra credentials, and just putting in every extra effort there...well, how do you think you will stack up?

Yes, some of us recognize the importance of work-life balance and even focusing incrementally across the many important areas of our life: physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and socially.

Never-the-less every moment, in a time- and space-bound world, we are forced to choose this or that. 

There is no one right answer for everyone!

And every choice in every moment is the opportunity for you to criticize yourself or for others to criticize you that you weren't paying attention, focused, doing your best, etc.

But who cares--it's our life to live and we can live it as we want?

True, however as inevitably important things or relationships break down or fail, have mistakes or errors, or aren't going as we would ultimately want or dream they should--we ask ourselves, could we have done things differently or somehow managed our time, efforts, and focus better.

(Source Photo: Online Advertisement provided by Dannielle Blumenthal)
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December 15, 2016

Bonding and Independence

It's an interesting phenomenon between parents and children. 

Parents (with G-d as the third partner) birth and raise their beautiful children. 

It is in a way a thankless job that we all savor and do with love, joy, and even gratitude just to have the opportunity. 

From sleepless nights to dirty diapers, homework to honing on how to be a mensch, family outings to school trips, braces to bar/bat- mitzvahs, birthdays to sleepover parties, shopping trips to college choices, as parents there is nothing we won't do for our children. 

Yet, the role of children is to learn and grow to be independent. Children must spread their wings, so they can function as their own adults and parents one day (and hopefully before they are 33 and still living in mom and dad's house)!

Yet to a parent, a child is always their child, no matter how big, smart, or successful they are (and even when, G-d willing, they surpass their parents in height, good looks, and achievements).

My father used to say, "Blood is thicker than water," meaning that it's a harsh world out there and the family always needs to stick together.

As children of Holocaust survivors, I learned that we can't stray to far (or far at all) from either our religion or family, because otherwise, "We let Hitler win."

We grew up living next to my grandparents (1 block away) and later in life, we always lived right near my parents as well. 

I watched TV and ate salami sandwiches with my grandmother and doted over my grandfather who sat on the bimah in his big chair as the president of our then struggling synagogue in Manhattan. 

Similarly, my parents were like surrogate parents to my own children and regularly babysat, picked the kids up from school/camp, made Sabbath meals, and happily spent time with them doing whatever. 

My parents were always there to advise, guide, lend a hand and support...no matter the cost to them, as my father used to say, "I would go through fire for my family" and this--his devotion and integrity--I knew was the utter truth. 

In turn, I tried to be a good son and although I disagreed and fought with my parents (mostly my dad) on many issues (often religious and sometimes politics as remember them), I knew they loved me dearly and I them.

As my dear parents are now gone, and I have become (slightly) a helicopter parent myself with forever worries about how my kids are doing, I know that they need to be independent--and that (more than) sometimes means making mistakes or falling down, and hopefully getting right back up again on their feet.

It is hard to learn that as parents, in many cases, we are just spectators--not that we know everything, we don't, but the maternal and paternal instinct is to safeguard our children whom we love and adore. 

Kids need three things to individuate successfully: stability, consistency, and safety. Absent those, you run the risk of unhealthy knotted bonding and stunted separation anxiety. 

Everyone needs to lead their own lives--we really only have one life to live. Yet, as family, we are very much the foundation and part of their inner strength for everything that follows from their determination, hard work, and blessings from Above. 

For parents and children, it is critical to balance the need for healthy separation and independence with love and bonding that is timeless.

We have to "let go and let G-d" and let our Children. 

The parents are the past and the children are the future, but we mean everything to each other. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 17, 2016

Body of Armor

So had some disappointments recently.

Nothing terrible (and for that I am so grateful). 

Just life happening. 

Have to fail and fail and fail {more}...in order to get to that single success. 

Along the way, sometimes it feels like arrows going through your body.

Or as someone said to Tina Fey in a movie we watched yesterday:
"Hearts and minds, the two best places to shoot someone."

Is that funny? 

Ok, now I know that I am feeling a little down, because even that made me smirk but not fully smile. 

It's okay.

Life is a series of peaks and valleys. 

Time to climb that next peak. 

I will do it with body armor on and solid. 

Won't let those arrows pierce me, while I ascend.

I am trying, and learning and growing along the way.

If I am to fall, Hashem, in mercy, pick me up that I may keep doing my mission you have for me in life, so that I may ultimately prevail toward the destiny only that You know and have planned for me, for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2016

We Watch The Years Go By

On a lighter note today, I took this photo of a couple watching their kids playing soccer.

They are sitting in Dick's chairs. 

His (blue) and hers (pink).

Very cute!

The new generation grows up and supplants their elders--who still may feel "young at heart!"

As I get older, it definitely seems like time goes faster (and faster). 

It isn't that some days aren't long, but that overall the less time we have as we get into the latter portions of our life, the quicker it all seems to be passing.

So much so that it all becomes like one big dream (it should never be a nightmare, G-d forbid). 

If only we could rewind and redo the portions of our lives where we made mistakes, hurt others or ourselves, or could have just done better.

I'm not sitting in those chairs yet, but when I do, I hope it is with pleasure of heart, mind, and soul--with G-d's mercy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 14, 2016

Refugees or Terrorists--How Do You Really Know?


The news about the refugee crisis is truly heartwrenching.  

My own parents and grandparents were refugees from the Holocaust who came to this beautiful country to start fresh and live in freedom and peace.  

So one one hand, I like so many others want to do the right thing from a humanitarian perspective and help people in need.  

But on the other hand, with this new wave of refugees something seems vastly different...

- 18 of 31 people identified so far in mass New Year's Eve attacks (sexual molesting, raping, and robbing) of over 500 women in German...were refugees that had already applied for asylum.

- At least one of the Paris terrorists who killed more than 130 people in November is alleged to have been a Syrian refugee. 

- At least 3 refugees resettled in the U.S. since 9/11 (from Iraq and Uzbek) have been arrested on terrorism charges and there have been dozens of other counter-terrorism investigations for those resettled here. 

- The ISIS suicide bomber that killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this week was registered as a Syrian refugee "without setting off security alerts."

- And again this week, a group of refugees with rocks, bats, knives, attack a Frenchman

- ISIS is already asserting that they will use the refugee crisis to get attackers into the West and are bragging that already thousands have successfully infiltrated

Surely, no refugee vetting process is going to be ironclad--processing mistakes, system errors, and errors of judgement are bound to happen.

Some have also suggested that politics is playing a larger role here in wanting to get as many refugees and immigrants as possible into the country for the purpose of simply getting their cold hard votes...so this is a possible darker side of DC. 

In the end, we need to put politics aside, and figure out how do we help those that really need help and are good people seeking to live peacefully and productively among us, and how do we prevent the next wave of terror from some really bad apples? 

Until we can answer this question substantively, and not by an emotional response of it "is just not who we are," we need to take this one step at a time and not act rashly and recklessly. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Luis C. Araujo)
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January 8, 2016

We Just Keep Giving It All Away

How do these things keep happening to us?

We lost a high-tech Hellfire air-to- ground missile, accidentally sending it to Cuba, likely compromising critical sensor and GPS targeting technology to China, Russia, and/or North Korea. 

But it's not all that different from how many other examples, such as: 

- Chinese cyber espionage snared critical design secrets to the 5th generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

- Iran captured and purportedly decoded an RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone.

- Russian spies stole U.S. nuclear secrets helping them to build their first atomic bomb.

We are the innovator for high-tech bar none, which is beautiful and a huge competitive advantage. 

But what good is it when we can't protect our intellectual property and national security secrets. 

The U.S. feeds the world not only with our agricultural, but with our knowledge.

Knowledge Management should be a mindful exercise that rewards our allies and friends and protects us from our enemies--and not a free-for-all where we we can't responsibly control our information. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to James Emery)
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November 19, 2015

Vetting The Refugees--Do You Think It'll Work?

So not that anyone was so thrilled with the Syria and Iraq refugee idea post 9/11 to begin with...

But now 31 States have come straight out refusing to take these refugees post the terror attack that happened just last week in Paris--where at least one of the terrorists was...

Guess what?

That's right!  A fake refugee from Syria

But what about the "intensive vetting process" that is being promised for these 10,000 refugees?

Well what can be more intensive than the vetting that the American government does on employees working for highly sensitive agencies like the CIA, FBI, and NSA? 

So how has that worked out?

Probably not too bad, but the problem is that no vetting no matter how thorough is foolproof, hence major spies have infiltrated these organizations for years or even decades and caused immense harm to national security:

Robert Hanssen (former FBI--spied for the Soviets for 21 years)

Aldrich Ames (31-year veteran of the CIA, compromised 2nd largest number of CIA agents after Robert Hanssen)

Edward Snowden (leaked classified information from the NSA on our surveillance programs)

The point is that no matter how well we vet 10,000 or more refugees from Iraq and Syria, with ISIS vowing "to strike America at its center in Washington"--there certainly can be some errors in the screening and final adjudication process.

Again no vetting process is perfect--especially when the refugees themselves are admitting that fake ideas are being given out to them like candy in a candy store. 

So that's the dilemma we now face:

HEART--do what our heart tells us to and help people in need by taking in the refugees.

OR 

HEAD--follow our heads not risking another one or more potentially devastating terror attacks on the U.S. homeland. 

The choice is heartbreaking or headache producing! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 4, 2015

Losing Deadly Control

So today we hear that there was a horrible mistake in which at least 52 sites (in 18 states here and 3 other countries) were inadvertently sent LIVE anthrax!!!

This after a prior incident in December where ebola had been mishandled and a technician potentially exposed. 

Again last August, they announced that a lab had accidentally cross-contaminated benign bird flu virus with a deadly strain of it. 

And there are at least five other major mishaps just since 2009 including more with anthrax and bird flu as well as with Brucella and botulism--these involved everything from using improper sterilization and handling techniques to inadvertent shipments of deadly live germs. 

Also in July, the CDC discovered six vials of LIVE smallpox in an unused storage room at the NIH.

This is reminiscent of similar gaffes by the military with an inadvertent shipment in 2007 by the Air Force of six nuclear warheads while the crew was unaware that they were even carrying it.

And here we go again (a doozy this time), information was disclosed in 2013 that we nearly nuked ourselves (specifically North Carolina) with 2 hydrogen bombs (260 times more powerful than that exploded on Hiroshima) in 1961. 

Yes, mistakes happen, but for weapons of mass destructions that we are talking about here, there are layers of safeguards that are supposed to be strictly in place. 

After each incident, it seems that some official acknowledges the mistakes made, says sorry, and claims things are going to be cleaned up now. 

But if the same or similar mistakes are made over and over again, then what are we really to believe, especially when millions of lives are at stake?

We have too much faith in the large bureaucratic system called government that despite how well it could be run, very often it isn't and is prone to large and dangerous errors and miscalculations.

With all due respect for our experts in these areas, we need to spend a lot more time and effort to ensure the safety of our most dangerous stockpiles--be it of nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological origin. 

We can't afford any more mistakes--or the next one could be more than just a simple (not) embarrassment.

What good is all the preparation to win against our enemies, if we are our own worst enemy or we have meet the enemy and it is us! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 25, 2014

What Will You Regret?

My friend used to tell me from his learning that no one on their death bed regrets not working more, instead what they regret is not spending more time with their loved ones (family and friends).

Think about it, could you imagine someone hooked up to IVs and palliative medicines saying, "Listen to me, one thing I've learned in this life is that work is it!"

Sure we should work hard and do a good job, but usually, it's the other way around, where people endlessly chase material things, wealth, power, and prestige...they work days, nights, weekends...and almost to hell with everyone and everything else.

Hey they say, with this beautiful excuse, "I've got to make a [good] living!"

So the people we love and should be caring about suffer, needlessly. 

So of course, it goes without saying that we regret the mistakes we made, the opportunities to do good that we missed, and the hurt we caused others. 

I have some colleagues though that I really admire...who work hard and do a damn good job--they are some of my best people, yet the funny thing is they put family first!

How can that be you say?

I don't know for sure, but perhaps because they know their real purpose in life, and live with balance (work-life, materialism-spiritualism, etc.) and true caring for others, they are able to be more sensible and balanced in getting their jobs done. 

Honestly, these are the people that are able to get things done--presumably at home and with community--but I see it with my own eyes, at work.

Another thing...

My older daughter the other day sent me an article about people sick (with cancer etc.) and dying and how they look back at life and one thing they wish is that they had appreciated their bodies more. 

I guess now that their bodies are sort of degrading with illness and age, they appreciate what they should've appreciated, but likely didn't before, their physical health.

Some of them said things like they wished they had exercised more, enjoyed sex more, spent time outside enjoying the beauty of the world more, and so on.

I've been thinking about this, about my body and my physical senses and what they mean to me.

What is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, the sweetest smell, the best voice or music I've ever heard, the most luscious taste, or the softest thing I've touched. 

It really is amazing the senses that G-d gave us and the beauty all around us that cradles us in this world.

We need to savor the great creation that G-d has bestowed on us and take care of those we love around us. 

Maybe that's why we fight for life, until we can't any longer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 5, 2014

Just Can't Bear To Think

Whether though endless work, family activities, exercise, computer time, or whatever, people have a hard time just stopping to think. 

According to the Washington Post, a study in Science shows that people would rather do just about anything--including administer electric shocks to themselves--rather than having to just think for a little while. 

Fully 67% of men and 25% of women chose electric shocks over sitting and thinking for just 6-15 minutes!

People are "desperate for distractions"--whether through social media or smartphones and more. 

This is why many ancient practices such as Buddhism, martial arts, yoga, and other disciplines teach meditation--sitting silently, without distraction, deeply in thought. 

People are afraid to stop their endless running, rounds of chores and activities, hustle and bustle, and just think about what they are actually doing and where they are going.

Sitting alone with yourself--you have to confront you!

  • Fears and anxieties
  • Life problems of all sorts
  • Mistakes and personal inadequacies
  • Bad habits and even dangerous addictions

Keeping yourself endlessly busy is an enabler to avoid sometimes painful reflection, introspection, and even necessary self-help. 

While you often hear that doctors recommend a certain amount of activity to keep physically healthy, I believe that similarly, mental and spiritual guidance would be for carving out time for physical inactivity and instead focusing on meditation and reflection. 

Perhaps, this is one reason that the Sabbath (kept in various ways by religions around the world) is so important to the mind and soul--it is a time to stop the work and daily mundane activities and instead focus on your spiritual side. 

Contrary to what you might think, refraining from all the activity may be one of the hardest things to actually do, but stopping and thinking (instead of just continuously doing), confronting yourself, and making life course corrections can be some of the most rewarding. 

Can you stop and think for just 15 minutes or do you need that next fix of compulsive distraction? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 8, 2014

Free Behind Bars

Fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal about going to mock prison to get away from the stresses of life.

Ok, so you know your working too hard, when your only escape is to lock yourself up and throw away the key for a few days. 

In South Korea, where they work 18% more than on average (2090 hours per year vs. 1765)--their is a great need to get away from it all.

There where life satisfaction rates a 4.3 out of 10, which is 34% lower than the average (of 6.6), putting yourself in prison is a quality of life thing. 

A two-night stay in the makeshift prison for extreme relaxation costs $146--and there you can meditate to your hearts delight. 

You can also attend "spiritual classes" and participate in "healing plays."

Normally smartphones wouldn't be allowed, but people freak out without them, so they get to check them once a day while on the inside. 

Being locked behind bars is a punishment in most places, but here its time to think, reflect, and get back to yourself--most of all you don't have to go to work on those days. 

It's funny, but one of the hardest things is generally for people just to stop and think--really stop and think--it's much easier to drown ourselves in endless activity and never have to deal with what's going on inside.

When we stop to let our thoughts catch up, to deal with our anxieties and fears, to confront ourselves and all the mistakes we make, and to let ourselves feel what can be an tidal wave of pent up feelings--that is a freedom that few can bear to make. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 6, 2014

How NOT To Interview For A Job

So I am at this place of business this evening, and I overhear someone trying to apply for a job.

Note, I feel bad for the guy who is looking for extra work, but the interview just is going all wrong. 


- Easy-Smeasy - He asks "What is the easiest part of the job?" Ugh, didn't sound exactly like he was looking for a challenge.


- Keep your head down - He exclaims, "And never do someone's else's job!" What about helping where the help is needed?


- Great facilities you got here - He ends with, "And when I work here, my kids are really going to love coming to use the facilities here all the time!" Not exactly, a what will I do for you strong ending. 


I didn't get to hear the whole interview dialogue, but this was enough to get the idea about some things not to do in an interview. 


The funny/sad thing was, I think this gentleman really thought that he was going to get the job after all. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 3, 2014

Metro Opens (Wrong) Doors

MetroOpensDoors.com is a website name for WMATA trains in/around Washington, D.C. 

So this was Metro opening the train doors today.

Unfortunatey, it was the wrong doors--the ones facing the tracks, and not the side with the platform.

I took this photo with the doors open on the wrong side. 

I wondered what would have happened if the trains had been full and someone was leaning up or against the doors--they could've actually fallen off/out of the train. 

Where exactly are the safety features so this doesn't happen? 

Anyway, we ended up being offloaded from the train, but at least no one that I know of ended up as train kill. :-(
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August 2, 2013

Rebuild, Not Regret

The Wall Street Journal (30 July 2013) says that it takes most people at least two years to recover from a breakup or a job loss.

And longer, if the loss is abrupt, sudden--and you are in shock, disbelief, and unprepared. 


When something bad happens, this is an important point in our lives to stop, take some time, and reexamine our lives--Where are we going? How did we mess up? What's really important? How should we rebuild? 


While you can't rush the healing process, I do think that the best medicine (after some recuperative time) is to "get right back on the horse."


When we suffer a loss, we feel traumatized, depressed, anxious, and self-absorbed.


But the best way to overcome those feelings is to take positive action.


Your feelings are important, but I don't think that the bad feelings go away until you replace them with positive feelings.


When my wife used to get some negative people in her life, she used to say, "I need positive energy around me," and I sort of used to laugh, but it's funny, in a way, she was really right. 


Positive energy replaces negative energy. Good feelings replace bad feelings. A good situation replaces a bad one. Rebuilding replaces regret and loss. 


This doesn't mean that when you suffer a loss that the void can ever be filled, but that the only real pain reliever is giving life meaning again--and that means doing something positive with it. 


No, I don't believe in just jumping in to something before you are ready, doing something foolhardy or not well thought out, but you will feel and become better again by coming up with a reasonable plan and working toward it.


Taking positive steps forward is a better scenario than sitting idly in the dumps--for two years or longer, forget it. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Michael Kappel)

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July 30, 2013

When GPS Takes You Down The Wrong Path

Mashable is reporting that a team of university students from University of Texas at Austin were able to spoof the GPS receivers on an $80 million yacht with false signals and make it veer off course without anyone even noticing!

I remember a couple of years ago, I was heading to an offsite meeting for work. 


It was planned for a location that I wasn't extremely familiar with.


Of course, I turned on my GPS device in the car and set the destination.


It was a cold snowy day--the roads were iced--and it was already treacherous driving. 


But I followed the GPS directions to a T.


I ended up in someone's backyard--at a dead end--practically in the middle of a cornfield. 


I'm thinking to myself Crap!--what type of crazy GPS is this? 


Thank G-d, I had my smartphone in my pocket and I opened up the GPS app on it and set the destination again. 


Sure enough, it takes me off and running to the meeting location--about 10 minutes away!


Some things I learnt:


1) OMG, we are so very dependent on our technology; with technology gone wrong, I was stuck in nowhere land USA; with it right--I got out of there and to the correct location and thank G-d. 


2) GPS is a capability that is critical for everything from getting us to where we need to go to getting our missiles to hit on target. Take away or mess with our GPS and we end up missing the mark--potentially big time and with devastating consequences. 


3) Always have a backup, plan B. One GPS can be wrong as in this case, while the other GPS was correct. Redundancy and contingency planning is a must have, period. 


4) When you're heading down the wrong road (or you're off course in international waters), man up and admit it and make a course correction. You don't win any brownie points for continuing to drive into the cornfields. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 20, 2013

Uh-Oh Trouble

So I'm "middle age"...and all of a sudden the last few months I am having trouble reading.

I haven't worn glasses for over 14 years--since I had the Lasik procedure done. 

Now, at the optometrist, he tells me, "Oh everyone ends up getting glasses whether you had Lasik or not."

He says: "Usually, people need reading glasses starting between the ages of 42-45."

Crud...back to those darn things again. 

I remember in 1999 when I had Lasik, it was still a pretty new procedure, but my best friend and his wife had just gotten it and convinced me to go for it too.

Well, it wasn't what I expected and when they clamped my eye open and the doctor tells me to stare at a the little red light as the laser comes up to my eye...I was thinking to myself...this is NUTS!

But it actually went from bad to worse. 

As the doctor starts working on the first eye, all of a sudden, he goes, "Uh-oh!"

What type of doctor is this that says oh-uh, and what in G-d's name did he do to me. 

Well, he composes himself after pulling away and finishes, but then stops and says he'll talk to me afterwards. 

As it turns out, as he pulled on the eye, something called the epithelium, a piece suddenly flaked off the eye. 

Nothing seriously actually happened--no ill sides effects, but those 2 words while under the laser, "Uh-oh," really sent the shivers up my spine. 

Let's just say, while I am glad I didn't have to wear glasses these last 14 years, the experience was a little traumatic.  

I remember one other time in my life--when I experienced the Uh-oh moment--this time, I was actually the one uttering the Uh-oh. 

It was right after I got married, and we had this cool idea that I would give my wife a haircut.

So, I start cutting and I'm thinking hey, this isn't so hard...and it's fun...and we also get to save money (hey, we were just starting out in life). 

Then, I keep cutting and cutting not realizing how much I was taking off...at one point, my wife starts getting antsy and she says, "So how's it going (knowing that something wasn't right)?"

Then it hits me, I suddenly blurt out the big "Uh-oh! 

My wife goes, "What did you do?"

Of course, I started to worry and couldn't get myself to really say and instead I just start cracking up. 

Then she knew I had really messed up...and boy was I in trouble then.

Uh-oh is a phase you never want to hear or say...it means trouble has arrived. ;-)


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July 3, 2013

Google Hypocrisy?

Google, which touts itself as the one that "organize[s] the world's information and make[s] it universally accessible and usable," ended its Reader product on Monday, July 1. 

The RSS reader was a terrific tool for aggregating content feeds on the Internet (and Google is a terrific company that benefits the whole world's thirst for knowledge).

With Google Reader you could subscribe to tens or hundreds of news services, blogs, and other information feeds and read it on your desktop or mobile device. 

Reader represented the Google mission itself by pulling together all this information and making it available in one reading place, simply and easily for anyone. 

While the Goolge line is that they killed Reader, because of a declining user base, I find this less then credible, since anecdotally it seems like a very popular tool that is helpful to people. Moreover, Google could've chosen to competitively enhance this product rather than just shut it down. 

So why did they end a great product that literally fits their mission perfectly?

We can only surmise that the ad clicks weren't there (and thus neither was the profit) or perhaps Google felt this product was cannibalizing attention from their other products like Google News (a limited aggregator) or from some of their paying ad sponsors or partners feeding other products like Google Glass.

We may never know the answer, but what we do know is that, in this case, Google sold out on it's core mission of organizing and providing information and abandoned their adoring userbase for Reader. 

Feedly and other more clunky readers are out there, but Google Reader is a loss for the information needy and desirous and a misstep by Google. 

RIP Reader, I think we will yet see you, in some form or fashion, yet again. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Laurie Pink)
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