Friday, December 31, 2004

Take nothing for granted

I like winter in New England for the variety and for the cold water that comes from the faucet. It is naturally cold and refreshing. During the summer, if you want cold water, you need ice or the forethought to put some water into a jug and put it in the refrigerator.

Standing at the sink this morning, I think how easy it is for me to enjoy this cold drink. I generally spend little time thinking about it. Grab a cup or glass and turn the faucet.

This time my thought also turns to those who would love to have a good clean drink. Like those in India, Sri Linka, Somolia, Thailand, and other countries affected by the tsunami.

For the survivors, a normal life will take time. Will they have enough time?

The donations are on their way. Will there be enough to prevent additional deaths?

This I Believe #6

We do need to spend time learning and planning (from events like the tsunami) or we will condemn ourselves to repeat the past.

We also need to be mindful that little events can be learning experiences, not just the big ones.Boston's Coconut Grove Fire did not prevent Rhode Island's The Station Fire, nor did these prevent the latest nightclub fire in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I believe we need to consider ourselves as inhabitants of this world, first. What happens there can happen here. The globalization of the markets has inter-twined our economies and our lives such that we our neighborhood has now grown. Technology will continue to provide instant and realtime information bringing us closer together.

What has happened to your neighbor today?

This I Believe #5

The world is naturally violent. Thunder storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and most recently, the tsunami have had an opportunity to shown the power of nature.

We (the people who inhabit this land) have gradually calmed it or held it at bay in many ways. It is a learning process. Significant events (the great Chicago Fire, the San Francisco Quake, for example) provide learning opportunities. What can we learn from this to help either prevent or minimize the next time? It is not a perfect process. We have not been able to anticipate all that can happen. We do need to spend time learning and planning (from events like the tsunami) or we will condemn ourselves to repeat the past.

I believe we need to be good learners. It should be a never ending process.

What have you learned today?

Who are you? How do you reveal your identity?

via Doc Searls, found Kim Cameron's Identity Weblog and he has just added a 5th Law of Identity in an effort to form a Universal Identity System.

There are good ideas on how to do this. Once you read and start thinking about the implications the affect that the pending decisions will have on future life will be enormous. More from Doc on identity can be found here.

As a blogger, and you reading a blog, you and I understand that we reveal a little of ourselves each time we post. If we were to meet in person, our first impressions would be added to what we have already read and stored on each other. As we continued our relationship, these bits would be added to the storehouse on what we know of the other. These relationships take time to build. Hence, the dating game, the pre-engagement, then engagement, then wedding preparation before the actual day and the new life begins for a couple.

The time line changes quickly in this technology world. How we reveal the information about ourselves to each other could be akin to walking up to someone and doing the trenchcoat flash, or stripping down to our birthday suit, or standing in our bithday suit with a series of flashcards folding out and telling our life story.

As I read it, the point of the 5 laws thus outlined by Kim would make this process more like strip poker, a layer at a time (and only just a layer at a time) until we have provided enough information to be acknowledged or accepted. This I could live with.

Are you ready?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Human Person is Disappearing from Customer Service

In some case, but certainly not all. I agree with Patrick that

"Have you ever felt a need to talk to someone at eBay or Amazon? I haven't. Why? Because they do such a great job in meeting your needs that you don't need to talk to a person. A few mouse clicks and you have accomplished your mission. The places where people get frustrated and want to talk to someone are the ones not fully meeting people's needs. If they met your needs, you wouldn't feel the need to talk to someone."

So you want to improve your service? Check out your web site. Seriously use it. Try it. Abuse it.

If it is meeting the needs of your customers, then you should need less phone support staff.

If it is not meeting the needs of your customers, then you may not be able to staff the phones sufficiently.

Delivering good customer experience is the key. If you are good, they will talk about you to their friends. That is the best kind of talk!

Animal Sense v.s. Human Sensibility

Those humans who are tuned in to this kind of awareness are considered strange, shamans, witches/wizards or worse and mostly shunned.

Follow the link to see what the animals in Sri Linka did.

Is it odd how that kind of sensory awareness being most basic can be most lifesaving? Or is it not odd?

What do you think?

Dan Kennedy on Podcasting

Dan Kennedy has a good piece in The Boston Phoenix on podcasting. He concludes the article by writing:

"Documentary filmmaker Danny Schechter, who’s the executive editor of and a former radio news broadcaster, is a fan of all sorts of DIY media, including podcasting. But he, like Gladstone, wonders whether the cost of targeting ever-smaller niches is the diminution of our shared consciousness.

"Clearly we’re moving toward more-interactive media. People want to participate. The reaction against media concentration, or big media, is the emergence of micromedia on every level. Having instant access to the music you like can also lead to instant access to the information you like," says Schechter. "Some of it can be very liberatory, introduce you to other worlds, other ways of thinking, and at the same time be very reinforcing of what you already think you know. You’re programming your own head."

In a society in which the overwhelming majority of Bush voters think US forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and in which a persistent minority of Kerry voters believe Ohio, and thus the election, was stolen, that’s no small concern. Arguments over ideas are one thing; arguments over the underlying facts are quite another, and they are fed by ever-increasing numbers of us reading, hearing, and seeing only what we want to read, hear, and see.

As promising as podcasting may be as a way of liberating us from the likes of Clear Channel and FCC chair Michael Powell, there’s a danger that too many of us will be withdrawing from the national conversation still further. You can program your own head. But you’ve got to know what your head needs."

Do you know what your head needs? What do you feed it?

Fact or Fiction?

This came via the Beyond Branding blog.

If fact, how will we really know?

Even if fiction, it sounds like it will have some legs amongst the 'conspiracy theory' folks.

(1) I'll have to read the book myself to make up my own mind.
(2) Stay tuned to the blogsphere to see what is said about it.

What will you do?

In pictures: Desperation in Asia - from the BBC

The pictures tell the story.

Animated guide: The tsunami disaster - from the BBC

Thanks to the BBC for this excellent depiction of the tsunami and how it happened.

Troy's New Year's Resolutions

If you need some suggestions to help you with your own, you probably will be able to find one or two at least on Troy Worman's listing.

I like #'s 1, 2, 3.

4 does not apply to our household as my wife and I already have our chores divided up and we do help each other on stuff as it is needed.

You can do your own comparisons as you continue reading the list.

Troy, my best wishes to you as you tackle this listing!

Uh-Oh's - I'll second that

John Perry Barlow writes:

"At the dawn of this psychotic decade, I proposed, on instinct, that we should call it the Uh-Oh's. Decades need names. How else are we map their unique zeitgeists in our subsequent reflections on them? Imagine, for example, how awkward our historical recollections would become if we could not refer to "the 60's," a decade which needed no adjective, unlike, say, "the Roaring 20's?" The name is the frame, and the frame says it all."

He goes on to tell the tale of his daughter Amelia's skiing trip to Austria (in lieu of a beach vacation in Phuket). This is good writing, I heartly encourage you to follow the link and read the whole thing.

If you need additional incentive, this is how he concludes the posting:

"This is a weird decade, these Uh-oh's. Shit has been happening with a frequency that makes it no less unpredictable. But, as Winston Churchill once said, there is nothing so exhilarating as being shot at and missed. That particular adrenalin jolt is no less vivid for its increase. We're halfway through this thrilling stretch of time. We're going to make it, I think, though I obviously don't speak for many of the wretched souls of the Indian Ocean Rim.

But some good may even come of that. Of course, some of my sense of that is purely personal. This horror will be forever anchored to Amelia's recent ordeal in my life's chronology, and I will ever count my blessings that her ending has been so much happier than what has been oozing from my TV screen. And even in a larger sense, I heard this morning that the Tamil Tigers have been working with government troops to bind the wounds of Sri Lanka. That may come to nothing, but at least they're not killing each other at the moment.

Shadows this dark can cast a powerful light. "

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Susan Sontag passes on

She made her mark and has left us all plenty of her written work.

I can't add anything more to this article from the NY Times.

Updated 12/29/04:

I did find this article to provide the other side of the story:

Monday, December 27, 2004


I laughed as I read through this the first time. I know a few people who would appreciate this point of view because they are already practioners.

But as I read it again, I am wondering if the word is not redundant. Shouldn't it only apply to those who really apply themselves to procrastinating with discipline?

Ah, see what happens when you write out loud? You can answer your own question.

Top24 - 2004

I decided to participate in the Top24 event although I have only four months to choose from. Here they are...

On attitude:

On business:

On running:

On "This I Believe":

Great quote

Anita Sharpe has posted a great quote from a book I like alot: Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie.

I reviewed this book earlier:

Thanks, Anita!

Where's Woody?

Woody Leonard, of Woody's Watch, Office Portal, and other publications on Microsoft Office and it uses (and challenges) lives in Phuket one of the areas hit by the tsunami in Southeast Asia. According to the postings in the Lounge, he is a survivor.

As a longtime reader of the newsletters he publishes, this personalizes the disaster.

Southeast Asia Disaster

The news out of Southeast Asia is horrific. The power of the tsunami is astounding.

My thoughts and prayers go out those in the area.

Wonderful White Stuff

Yes, we got 8-10" of wonderful white stuff that Mother Nature provides as a serious reminder to slow down, stop and smell the roses. Well, slow down, at least. The roses are no longer blooming outside.

I feel like singing: (with sincere apologies to Paul & Art)

Slow down you move too fast
Or you'll find yourself on your ass
Just slippin’ down the snowy road
Lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy

Hello snow man
What-cha knowin’
I’ve come to watch your twinkle shinin’
Ain’t-cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in Doo-doo
Feelin’ Groovy

Got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I’m on vacation all this week
Let the morning time drop all it’s snow on me
Life I love you
All is groovy

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Internet Use and Panera Bread

Two good posts over at Truck and Barter.

One on Universal Email Access. Of especial interest is the table of internet usage at the close of the article.

The other on Panera Bread, a place the female members of my family like to frequent.


Fun Stuff from GoodExperience - Year in Review

Mark Hurst has a delightful listing of this years' fun stuff. If you receive his weekly newsletter, you get these each week. Well he summarized the past year in one batch.

Amongst my favorites:

Calculate the speed of light with some marshmallows and a microwave.

Google way back in 1960. (Thanks, Kevin Fox!)

You know blogs are overripe when the INCREDIBLE HULK gets one.

RealAudio of many of the late Mister Rogers' songs

Animated bunnies act out "Jaws" in 30 seconds. Outstanding.

What's the holiday season without watching "It's A Wonderful Life?" Watch it here in 30 seconds, acted out by bunnies.

Be careful. You can get lost in the listing for hours :)

Puppets and Sex - 2004

Went to ReasonOnLine to read Virginia Postrel's review of The Aviator, the new flick on Howard Hughes (It was a good read!) and found this interesting article on puppets and sex.

Well I grew up on Pinochio and have been turned off by the Crank Yankers but found this article a good read.


This I Believe #4

The individual human being can be looked at in many ways. One point of view holds that the human psyche is comprised of three spirits. There is balance amongst the three to provide a whole or natural experience. The three are male, female, and child. Any one individual needs to develop these and keep these three spirits in balance. As much as Eastern thought dwells around the Ying and Yang, there is also the play between the two, creating a third. The parallels are interesting.

I find myself most "whole" when there is a sense of all three (male, female and child) present. I find myself most "out of balance" when one of the three is dominant.

This I Believe #3

There is a whole earth ecological biological balance in place. The earth and life as we know it has developed within the system. Changing the status of any one species, changes the status of those in the life cycle. The Plains Indians lived carefully within this balance harvesting a buffalo when needed and using everything the buffalo provided for something, from the meat to the skin to the bones. A study of all the early cultures shows this respect for the environment and the lifecycle balance. They had the right idea. We need to be more aware of this balance and try to live within it. I say try because while I hope we can, I am not sure if it is possible.

"The Fred Factor" - Mark Sanborn

I heard Mark Sanborn deliver a keynote address a few years ago at a HDI Conference. I bought the conference tape and have listened to it periodically. It is always a good refresher on what should be done to deliver exceptional service.

Fred was a real person, he was Mark's postman. Mark traveled frequently and Fred took care of his mail for him in ways that Mark did not expect. Via Tom Peters, I hear that Mark has published a book on the Fred Factor. I guess I missed it when it came out earlier this year.

So here are the four principles driving the Fred Factor.
1 - Everyone makes a difference.
The only question at the end of the day is “What kind of difference did you make?”

2 - Everything is built on relationships.
Go beyond simply interacting with customers and colleagues to build relationships.

3 - You must continually create value for others, and it doesn’t have to cost a penny.
You can replace money with imagination. The objective is to outthink your competition rather than outspend them.

4 - You can reinvent yourself regularly.
No matter what job you hold, what industry you work in or where you live in the world, you wake up every morning “tabala rasa,” with a blank slate, and you can make your business and your life anything you choose.

I recommend visiting the Fred Factor web site for more info on Fred and obtaining the book at you favorite book store. I have not read it yet but after having heard Mark speak, I am sure it will be worth it.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Frosty Beard Morning

Glorious sunrise this morning.

Stepped out of the house to a scent of skunk. I guess he was looking for his presents during the night.

The quiet is noticeable. A few crows in the distance. Hey, I don't hear the highway. And that is a good thing! We are about a half mile from Interstate 495 and usually there is a muffled din of traffic all the time. Not this morning though. Thankfully, commerce has taken a break.

Out for a long run this morning. Planned to go 6 miles. Did. Felt good.

It was cold starting (18 F for the record) but I did not notice until I finished that I had a full frosty beard. Not just around my mouth but all up the sides too! Not that there was any one around to notice. The frost might have improved my salt/pepper colored beard.

Running took a brief diversion at the gas station on the corner. One of the numbers from the price board had fallen off and was in the road along the gutter. I stopped to pick it up and bring it in to the store. My good deed for the day. The clerk was surprised, and happy!

One other runner came out of one of the side streets along the route. He seemed to be moving quickly. Indeed he was. He came up and passed me in no time at all. I commented that he was going too fast for me this morning and wished him well. We exchanged greetings. He moved on and quickly went out of sight.

I like this route. It is out and back with rolling terrain. About a mile out, the roll goes down for a bit. Good for a nice pick up the pace jaunt. It rises gradually, flattens, then rolls down again for another half mile or so, rising again, then flattening before the turn around. And we do it all over again.

The sun is on my right returning. Stretching long fingers of light above the tree line across the road. Most of my side is in the shade. The sewer covers' breath rises in the flicker of light here and there.

There is much to be thankful for today, as with any other day.
  • For my wife and daughters.
  • For my father, brothers and sisters, and their families.
  • For my in-laws, brothers and sister-in-laws, and the extended family.
  • For friends, for runners, for bloggers.
  • For life and living.

Enjoy the day!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Catching up - Permission Marketing

Caught this paragraph from Seth Godin's posting on 12/15/04. He writes:

"Every year, Jim Lewi does a conference in Aspen about and for the music business. This year, they asked me to come out and speak with them.

The conference is off the record, but one attendee (Bob Lefsetz) put together a summary (at times a little salty, so don't read if your ears are sensitive) and sent it to some press folks. Here it is, unedited:"

(The writing is Bob's. The bold is mine for emphasis.)

"It's all about permission marketing. Getting people to ALLOW you to sell to them. All the old wave marketing. On TV. It no longer works. Because of CLUTTER! Hell, I can see the same thing at MY HOUSE! I'm so INUNDATED with music that I listen to almost none of it. I need a REASON to listen. And it's not traditional. Hell, even AIRPLAY doesn't impress me. I've got to KNOW the person involved. Or else somebody NOT involved has to tell me it's happening. And these people I trust. The relationship isn't built in a day. And it's based on honesty. Ongoing veracity. And you overhype me once, break my trust once, and you're done."

How true! How true!

Food shopping always interesting

I like to shop for food. It is a once a week chore that I actually find some fun to do. (Yes, this may be borderline crazy but trust me on this.)

I get to spend money on good things to eat. I get to practice price comparisons. Yes, this is good quick mental math practice. Especially when the comparison pricing is in different units. Is x per pound better than y per ounce? Is x per sheet better than y per square foot? Isn't unit pricing supposed to be in the same unit for the same item? I thought so but I find something different each time I go.

So crusing the web this morning, this posting caught my eye:

Yes, read on to find about the water that is all the rage at $2,144 per gallon!

Thanks to BusinessPundit for the lead.

Stoneyfield Farm Blog

Yes, I am still exploring and learning this new and expanding blog world.

Today, I found the site at Stoneyfield Farm an interesting mix of the company marketing and mingling with their customers. Since I share my home with three strong women (my wife and two daughters), I have now added this site to my Bloglines.

Credit to Matthew Oliphant at BusinessLogs for the connection:

His posting has more good links to this topic on Stoneyfield Farm and business blogging.

On to brighter days

One of the best things about this time of year is that the daylight starts getting longer each day. The shortest day of the year (Winter Solstice; December 21st) is now behind us and the longest (Summer Solstice; June 21st) is more than a few days from here, we should stop and enjoy the extra daylight each day as it comes.

More about daylight saving time:

More about the summer solstice:

Christmas Eve - 2004

Yes, it is that time of year.

Today is the day that my daughter Carolyn likes to say "It is Christmas Eve, do you know where your presents are?"

May this day, and every other, find you and your family in good health and spirits!

Merry Christmas to all!

Bloggers & Journalists learning from each other

Two good articles from PoynterOnline

What Journalists Can Learn From Bloggers

What Bloggers Can Learn From Journalists

Helpful for those who read and write... Blog on!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Math help needed

Mark Kelly's article in the Ideas section of Today's Globe questions the Generosity Index as published by the Catalogue for Philanthropy. I don't think he goes far enough to challenge the bad math involved here.

"One flaw in studying itemized charitable deductions: An estimated 70 percent of taxpayers don't itemize, so what most of the population gives to charity is unknown. But the Generosity Index's logic is so flawed that the index is almost meaningless anyway. For example, Massachusetts could rank first both in average income and average charitable deduction with, say, $100,000 in each. But subtracting 1 from 1 leaves you a generosity gap of zero; we would still trail Mississippi, despite giving all our money away"


To be fair, one of the first people to admit the shortcomings of the Generosity Index is the creator of the index himself: George McCully, president of the Catalog for Philanthropy. He insists he only wanted to create a tool that drew attention to patterns of charitable donations and, ideally, prodded people to give more.

McCully calls his Generosity Index "crude but telling." He's right about the crude part, although the "telling" remains to be seen. With data so slippery and definitions of "generosity" so elusive, it's hard to say how stingy, cheap, or average Massachusetts truly is.

I wholeheartedly agree about the crude part. I don't believe you can work the numbers like they have to come up with anything more meaningful than a conversation starter. Mark's article spends some time on another approach to this but it seems to be far more analytical and complicated than it needs to be. There should be a simple solution for presenting the numbers to respectfully indicate the reality of charitable giving. I will spend some idle moments on it. Raising the question, then providing time to think about it, is generally a good way to come up with a solution.

What are your thoughts on this? How would you come up with an index of generosity?

Violence trails expectant mothers, data indicate

The devil is in the details and this is proven true again with this article in Today's Globe picked up on the wire from The Washington Post.

"It's very hard to connect the dots when you don't even see the dots," said Elaine Alpert, a public health specialist at Boston University. "It's only just starting to be recognized that there is a trend or any commonalities between these deaths."

The Post's analysis shows that the killings span racial and ethnic groups. In cases whose details were known, 67 percent of women were killed with firearms. Many women were slain at home -- in bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens -- usually by men they knew. Husbands. Boyfriends. Lovers.

The cases are not commonplace compared with other homicides but are more frequent than most people know, and have changed the way some specialists think about pregnancy.

Five years ago in Maryland, state health researchers Isabelle Horon and Diana Cheng set out to study maternal deaths, using sophisticated methods to spot dozens of overlooked cases in their state. They assumed they would find more deaths from medical complications than the state's statistics showed. The last thing they expected was murder.

But in their study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001, they wrote that in Maryland, "a pregnant or recently pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause."

This is not a case of more data, just better data, and it needs to be captured at the time to make further analysis possible.

One recent year of homicides -- 2002 -- was examined in greater detail to get a closer look at how and why the cases happened. For a group of 72 homicides in 24 states, The Post interviewed family members, friends, prosecutors, and police. The analysis showed that nearly two-thirds of the cases had a strong relation to pregnancy or involved a domestic-violence clash in which pregnancy may have been a factor.

Louis Mizell, who heads a firm that tracks incidents of crime and terrorism, observed that "when husbands or boyfriends attack pregnant partners, it usually has to do with an unwillingness to deal with fatherhood, marriage, child support or public scandal."

Be sure to read the full article...

After 125 years of electronic relations, workplaces face a growing disconnect

Good article in today's Boston Globe by Maggie Jackson. In my own work environment, the team I work with is located over several sites almost all out of state. My direct manager's primary office is at another location within MA. Hence the timeliness of the theme that Maggie writes.

"We think virtual work is new, but early telegraph and telephone users stumbled upon the same glitches and etiquette quandaries that plague us today. The difference is that they were tiptoeing into this new world. We increasingly rely on cyber-relations, which often are a pale substitute for face-to-face contact. We should be wary. Just how faceless do we want our bonds with colleagues, family, and friends to be?"

I think time is the one critical factor we need to deal with. If we let work demands control our time in blocks of one hour meetings, we loose. If we take control of the clock and manage time to allow for effective communication amongst the distant parties, we can more efficiently work together.

"Misunderstandings abound in the virtual world. E-mail and instant messages lack voice, tone, and body language, and employees "tend to play it fast and loose with language," says Nancy Flynn, head of the ePolicy Institute, a training and consulting firm."

It takes more time to have an effective conversation when the parties are remote. The voice, tone and body language need to get translated into the words (i.e. properly framed) so that the message won't be taken out of context and misused or misunderstood.

IBM is taking a thoughtful approach to restoring lost cohesiveness. Its year-old campaign, "Making IBM Feel Small Again," aims to promote face-to-face contacts. For instance, traveling employees can tap "IBM Club" websites to learn about local company social events in their destination city. "We want to have the right balance" says spokesman Jim Sinocchi. To strike that balance, it's crucial to revisit our age-old assumptions that technology always represents a step forward. There is a limit to what we can expect from faceless relations, as Ella Thayer knew so well a century before e-mail and instant messaging.

Yes, I agree that the old assumptions need to be looked at. As Tom Peters would say: Re-imagine!

I would start with taking more time in my remote communication transactions. Where would you start?

Required reading regarding your financial future

Let me pass along Mark Cuban's posting which added to Andrew Sullivan's posting which added to Mike Kinsley's posting. The glory of links... This should not diminish its message. There is serious stuff going on here.

Read it.
Take action!

Ignore it and you increase the risk of a bleak financial future.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

FYI - Reduced Posting Alert

The next few days are going to see a reduced opportunity for posting.

Today, I took the long way home from work to pick up my daughter at college. While I credited her for packing lightly to get up there in September, it seems most of that is coming home now. It still all fit in the van but I needed the van, it would not have fit in the Corolla. Anyway, her sister is certainly happy to see her. They are singing now, interrupting their song to laugh over something else.

Thursday night is my company's holiday party. It will be a late night to come home on the train. I have picked a paperback to read on the train as I will be traveling without my laptop Thursday night and then back in Friday morning. With such a large crowd at the hall, the company discourages checking bags with your coat so I travel light. I am also considering to switch the book (a re-read) for some of the magazines I need to catch up on. The premier issue of Worthwhile I have not cracked open yet, the current FASTCompany I did start, and the new Runner's World just arrived in the mail today.

Allison also celebrates her birthday tomorrow and it looks like her sister and mother will take her out to dinner. I'll miss that event but catch her on Friday night. Her choral group from school is going to appear with Kenny Rogers at his Manchester, NH show. The family will be there to witness this event. (Did I mention that when Allison first told us about the concert, she also asked "Who is Kenny Rogers?". )

With a little luck, I should have some time Saturday to catch up. I still have some stuff from last weekend that I have queued up to finish writing and then post.

So to paraphrase another western Rogers (Roy) who would ride off into the sunset with Dale Evans... queue the music please... you don't want me signing... "Happy reading/writing to you!"

PS - trivia question: What was the name of Roy's horse?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Yes, in Haymarket Square there really was a hay market!

A couple of items of interest in this article from today's Boston Globe:

1 - the rising tide reveals the past:

"Last month, a 100-foot strip of peat marsh appeared in the surf off Nauset Beach on Cape Cod. The peat had the hoof prints of oxen and horses and was crisscrossed with wagon tracks that looked like they had been laid down yesterday, though they probably date to the 1700s when the marsh and barrier beach were 800 feet farther out to sea."

2 - the rising tide (due to global warming) is continuing to erode the Cape.

"According to Robert Oldale, a geologist with the US Geological Survey, Cape Cod will be almost gone in another 2,000 years at the present rate of sea-level rise. Most of the peninsula's highlands and bluffs will have washed away and its outer reaches will be 2 miles closer to the mainland."

2 - Haymarket Square was really a hay market:

"Before the advent of petroleum, having access to a salt marsh was like owning your own oil well. Hay fueled New England's local economies. It was fed to horses for transportation, to sheep for clothing, and to cattle for milk, meat and work. It was the salt hay marshes that convinced the Pilgrims to expand to Cape Cod in the 1600s, and, by the 1700s, Cape Cod and North Shore farmers were shipping hay to Boston to be sold to urbanites in Haymarket Square."

A good day for me is learning something I did not know before.

Did you learn something today?

God's Clock

Excellent writing by James Carroll in today's Boston Globe.

"The clock is a sacrament of the passage of time, a way to note the movement of one day into the next, a method of location in the otherwise uncharted ocean whose two horizons are the past and the future. Mariners are fond of saying, especially when the ship unexpectedly runs aground, that the chart is not the sea; similarly, the clock is not time.

I propose this image for our new and urgent discussions about religion. In America, a religious divide has suddenly emerged as politically decisive, and in the world, religion is a runaway engine of violence."

Follow the link for God's Clock to read the complete text. Well worth it!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Shifting Gears - Is it a Usability issue or too Expensive?

Found this article in the BBC headlines and am interested in this quote:

"In fact, the numbers of people not taking and sending pictures, audio and video is growing.

Figures gathered by Continental Research shows that 36% of British camera phone users have never sent a multimedia message (MMS), up from 7% in 2003.

This is despite the fact that, during the same period, the numbers of camera phones in the UK more than doubled to 7.5 million.

Getting mobile phone users to send multimedia messages is really important for operators keen to squeeze more cash out of their customers and offset the cost of subsidising the handsets people are buying.

The problem they face, said Shailendra Jain, head of MMS firm Adamind, is educating people in how to send the multimedia messages using their funky handsets."

Is it really a usability issue? (Yes, one example for Tom Peters where "design matters") or does this go hand in hand with the expense of sending the pictures.

Wasn't there also a news article about the chocolate manufacturers in England finding their sales dropping because the young teenagers were spending their money instead on phone cards. (Can't find the link now, but I'll keep looking.)

Disclosure: I do not own a picture phone. I only use a cell phone for work. I do have relatives who have picture phones and use them, so at the next family gathering I think I'll do some research and see if the cost of sending pictures is a factor.

If you have a picture phone: (1) How easy is it to use and send pictures? (2) Is the charge for sending the pictures a factor in your use?

Drop me a line, I'd be curious to know.

Another NY Times Headline

I won't pick on their language in this article but applaud them for devoting the space to this side of the story.

To tease you into following the link for the remainder of the story:

"Though contemporary American art often flirts with politics, it is not usually noted for its head-on engagement with war. Yet some of the most compelling commentary on Iraq has come from a New York painter, Steve Mumford, who has been embedded with military units in hot spots like Baquba, Tikrit and Baghdad on and off since April 2003.

Mr. Mumford has posted frequent dispatches on
the Web magazine Artnet. Each is accompanied by drawings and paintings - many made on the spot - illustrating people and places in the story. Titled "Baghdad Journal," the project strikes a somewhat incongruous note amid the magazine's usual fare of reviews, gossip and party pictures."

7 Marines and a G.I. Are Killed in Separate Attacks in Iraq

This headline from the NY Times today disturbs me for a couple of reasons:

Does it really matter that those that died were "Marines" and "a G.I."?

Were they not all fighting on our side, for us?

Shouldn't it say "8 Americans"!

We are the language we use. When the headlines categorize like this, I think it tends to put the tragedy further away from us. Yes, to those in the specific services, it matters; but to America as a whole, it should matter that they are Americans first, Marines or G.I.'s second.

To their families, they are fathers, or brothers, or mothers, or sisters...

Convergence of ideas

Found this good post at Phil Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog.

A teaser quote to get you to follow the link and read the whole thing.

"I think the parallelism between motivations and techniques goes well beyond just a simple borrowing of IT terms. The parallels are structural and stem from the universality of connectedness as a modern expression of the ideals that have not only been the foundation of this nation, but the basis of our commercial advantage and might. The loose coupling of 50 states into a federation that embodied many of the ideas of connectivity (free borders, no interstate tariffs, and so on) is now becoming an organizational principle in the small as we increase the connectivity of one business with another, as well as in the large as we define globalization. "

Quote - Stephen Jay Gould

Recently finished reading Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould. I intend to re-read sections of it to be better able to talk to its argument. It was a good read, somewhat challenging at times but well worth the effort.

A quote from the opening to entice you into picking it up:

"Full House is a companion volume of sorts to my earlier book Wonderful Life (1989). Together, they present an integrated and unconventional view of life's history and meaning --- one that forces us to reconceptualize our notion of human status within this history. Wonderful Life asserts the unpredictability and contingency of any particular event in evolution --- and emphasizes that the origins of Homo sapiens must be viewed as such an unrepeatable particular, not an expected consequence. Full House presents the general argument for denying that progress defines the history of life or even exists as a general trend at all. Within such a view of life-as-a-whole, humans can occupy no preferred status as a pinnacle or culmination. Life has always been dominated by its bacterial mode. "

Sunday, December 12, 2004

New National ID Card Program

Yes, in the intelligence bill recently passed, there is a program for the state driver's licenses to confirm to a "minimum standard" within two years. If it does not conform, it will not be accepted as a valid ID for federal programs; i.e. boarding planes.

Read on for more details at Phil Windley's Enterprise Computing weblog.

Women with Queen-size Feet

Good profile by Michelle Bates Deakin in the Boston Globe Magazine today on Barbara Thornton who is CEO of

I find the profile important to two reasons:

1 - a woman recognized an opportunity and made it happen
2 - the underlying social/racial/biological/demographics make this most interesting

Quote to the point:

As much as Thornton loves shoes, what sustains her is the belief that hers is social-justice work. For her, feet are a feminist issue. Women's feet have been growing steadily -- especially over the past 20 years -- and at a faster clip than men's feet. In 1987, 11 percent of women wore a size 9 plus; in 2000, 37 percent of women did, according to footwear analyst Marshal Cohen of NPD Group, based in Port Washington, New York. The growth can, in part, be attributed to girls' increased participation in organized sports since the passage of Title IX.

"Young girls are driving up the demand for larger sizes, because they've been pounding up and down the soccer fields," says Thornton. "We're breaking through the indirect foot-binding America had been putting girls through by keeping them on the sidelines." She also sees the suppressed supply as a racial issue. "Most African-American women have larger feet," says Thornton, "but a lot of the industry has said we don't make large sizes."

Stay with it Barbara!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Credit Card Loyalty Put to the Switch Test

What were they thinking of? What kind of change management process did they have? Did they do focus groups or a survey to find that their customers were willing to change to American Express after explicitly coming to MBNA for the card they wanted.

If the hardware store suddenly shipped hammers to all those who bought screwdrivers would there be an uproar?

What would you do?

Check the math please

While I was not a math major, I did pretty well in this subject so help me here, did some one check these numbers?

"One in 10 people says they or a member of their household has paid a bribe in the past year, according to a global opinion survey published on Thursday."

Okay; 1 in 10, that is 10% right.

"It was followed by Nigeria, Kenya, Lithuania and Moldova - all countries where at least one in three people admitted paying bribes."

Okay; 1 in 3, that is 33% right.

Now isn’t 33% more than 10% ??

Thursday, December 09, 2004

What is China?

Proposed Jeopardy game questions:

1 - The #3 maker of PC's worldwide?

2 - They have developed Linux for use on mobile phones?

3 - Tom Peters is right on about this country as the rising force to be reckoned with?

Yes, the answer to all these questions would be -> What is China?

The IBM - Levono deal is getting a lot of press. What was just announced is Palm buying China MobileSoft to bring Linux to mobile phones.

The "Value Proposition" from CMS's web site reveals:

Our message to OEMs, ODMs, and vendors of mobile phones is:
· Give us your device hardware and we can provide the software, user-interface, and support to create a high quality, cost effective consumer product
· Give us your specifications for a mobile device or Internet appliance and we can give you a complete reference design ready for manufacture and assembly
· Let us provide you with cost-effective applications such as SMS, MMS, email, browser, PIM functions, games, etc., for your Smart Phones and Feature Phones

Looks like PalmSource has decided to take them up on their offer.

This is getting more interesting. The two moves are just the latest steps in the globablization of the world's economy.

Customer Service Kudos - USPS

Got off the train this morning at South Station (Boston, MA), stopped at the Ft. Point Channel post office next door, and took a number. I was 56 and they were working on 43 with only one person working the counter. There was hustle and bustle behind the counter area so I started wondering what was up, where was additional help, would someone notice the line and so something about it? The group of us waiting I could tell was thinking the same thing.

A gentleman did poke through the doorway, coffee in hand and survey the situation. Picked up his Nextel, squawked someone and step back through the door as they responded in a rather loud voice. Okay, this could get interesting.

A few more people come through the door taking numbers, and we moved along to "44 now being served at counter 5" (the only counter active).

The same gentleman comes back through the door, coffee in hand, and starts asking if there is anything we can process using the machines. I had used the stamp machines before but wanted to weigh an envelop for a stamp as well as get stamps and the machine I had used previously only dispensed stamps. He indicated there was a machine in the lobby that would do both. I acknowledged I would try it and followed him to the lobby.

(I had not noticed the machine when I arrived as it was hidden by a couple of postal workers having a chat with their coffees.)

The gentleman, clearly now a manager, talked me through the use of the machine. It was quick and easy weighing the envelop, printing the postage for it, offering an other transaction, and then dispensing the sheets of stamps, and ultimately the credit card receipt.

Not bad at all! The window was now serving 51 and I was headed out the door. Thank you sir!

Now, this posting is clearly meant to share the experience. Maybe you'll be able to take advantage of the machine and avoid a wait this season.

The recommendation to USPS would be to do something more by way of customer education or awareness of the machines and their capabilities. This can reduce the wait and improve the experience dealing with this group. A win/win situation!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Childhood & Imaginary Friends

Thanks to David Pescovitz at Boing Boing for this posting.

Research by Univ. of Washington and Univ. of Oregon has turned up that two-thirds of school-age children have an imaginary companion by age seven. It also turns out this seems to be a good thing.

A teaser from this article:
"The researchers also looked at childhood impersonation -- pretending to be an imaginary character -- and found it to be almost universal. Virtually all preschoolers pretended to be an animal or another person and 95 percent of the school-age children engaged in impersonation. The researchers did not look at impersonation in the same detail as they did imaginary companions, and were surprised that so many school-age children continued to engage in the activity. One tantalizing finding was that school-age children who did little or no impersonation scored low on emotional understanding of other people, according to Carlson.

She said that fantasy -- interacting with imaginary friends and impersonation -- plays a role in child development, both cognitively and emotionally. This kind of activity allows children to manage social situations in a safe context, such as practicing how to handle conflict with something that may or may not talk back to them. Cognitively it helps them deal with abstract symbols and thought, which leads them to abstract thought about their own identity. "

Did you have an imaginary friend or know of someone who did?

Survey of creative people's work methods

Thanks to Boing Boing for finding this posting by rodcorp.

Good stuff... I highly recommend following the link to read and enjoy!

IBM becomes even less machine oriented

The confirmation of days of rumors and speculation has arrived. IBM will sell their PC business to the Chinese firm Levono. This will likely become another line in Tom Peters' rants about China becoming a power to contend with. It should also mark a new round of questions and analysis on American business; what does it take to succeed?

How would you describe a successful American business? What will it look like a year from now? 5 years from now?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

John Patrick on the Internet Bubble

Thanks to Halley's Comment for bringing this good article to my attention.

John Patrick writes

"Business journalists, historians, academics, and consultants will be analyzing the bubble and its effects for years to come. Two recent books take very different approaches to making sense of the debacle. One -- Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing, by business journalist Roger Lowenstein (Penguin Press, 2004) -- views the bubble as a morality tale. Another, more interesting, book -- Rational Exuberance: Silencing the Enemies of Growth and Why the Future Is Better Than You Think, by Business Week Chief Economics Editor Michael J. Mandel (HarperBusiness, 2004) -- uses the bubble as a backdrop for an examination of its significance for technological growth."

He continues with an analysis of the two books viewpoints and ends with his own take on the bubble's lessons for business. Well worth the read!

You can get to his article directly here:

Great Editorial in Globe Today

James Carroll writes:

"WHY DON'T we Americans look directly at the war? We avert our gaze, knowing that the situation in Iraq grows more desperate by the day. Vaunted "coalition" efforts to "break the back" of the "insurgency" have only strengthened it. The violence among Iraqis would surely qualify as civil war -- except that only one side is fighting. The structures of relief and repair are gone. Whole cities are destroyed, populations displaced. The hope of Iraqi elections is mortally compromised. "Coalition" members are dropping out. The mission of American force is to secure the country, but it can't secure itself. The performance of US intelligence has been consistent: Its strategic failures caused the war, and its tactical ignorance of the enemy is losing the war."

and he is only getting started! Read on!

Another Step to the Future

This announcement of brain control over a device is on the news today:

"The results show that people can learn to use scalp-recorded electroencephalogram rhythms to control rapid and accurate movement of a cursor in two directions," said Jonathan Wolpaw and Dennis McFarlane.

A few more steps and "Beam me up, Scotty" will be a reality!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Tom Peters on Health Care - What need's to be done? (Part 2)

Tom opens his post with:

"Anyone who cares in the least about a loved one, or their own well-being, must ... MUST!!!!!!!!!!!! ... read/absorb/inhale Dr (surgeon) Atul Gawande's "The Bell Curve: What Happens When Patients Find Out How Good Their Doctors Are?" in the New Yorker/12.06.2004. It is simply the best-most profound health"care" article* I have ever read ... by a long shot.

(*Until patient care & patient safety & outcomes measurement & physician-acute care center accountability improve dramatically, I vow to spell h_____c___ as you see above: health"care.") (I also now call hospitals "killing fields" ... e.g., recent stats show an unnecessary hospital death in the U.S. every 2 minutes, 38 seconds.)"

Read the remainder and then answer "What need's to be done?"

Will the Media Report the Real Story?

This posting by Jeff Jarvis highlights the complaint factory that has been mass mailing the FCC causing the FCC to act on the behalf of "outraged Americans".

"First I revealed that the FCC's largest fine in history was based on only three original letters and now Mediaweek has a great story revealing that up to 99.9 percent of complaints to the FCC come straight from King Prig Brent Bozell's self-annointed Parents Television Council."

Read it all and then answer the question "What need's to be done?"

Protective Layers - PC Security

Hey, it is winter in New England and one of the best defenses against the weather is multiple layers of clothing. The morning starts cold, so you are fully bundled up, as the day warms with the rising sun (assuming it does shine), you can shed one or two to remain comfortable.

The same concept is outlined in the article by Fred Langa on layers of protection for your PC. A single layer is a single point of failure, multiple layers provide greater security.

Read on for more details and recommendations. Do you have multiple layers of security for your PC?

Planning to succeed at running

So you are running now and may be thinking about doing a race.

1 - Planning is the first step in that direction. "Plan to succeed, or, you have planned to fail!" (Donnie Hall) The plan can be simple or elaborate. As simple as setting out how many days (or miles, or time) you will run per week before the race. Or elaborate: detailing the workout, the course, or time of day. Several books and magazines have published standard plans you can use for the typical distances: 5K, 10K, Marathon. The plans are available to cover a variety of runners from beginner to elite. For me, the best two sources on the web can be found at:

Cool Running:
Runner’s World:,5032,s6-51-0-0-0,00.html

Pick what you feel fits your need. Feel free to pick and choose amongst the plans. The plan is just that, a plan, but it can be changed. The weather here in New England can change the plan. What was supposed to be a track workout can’t occur if the track is under a few inches of snow, or it the torrential rain and thunder creates unsafe conditions. Discretion is the better part of valor. (Shakespeare)

If you need advice on putting the plan together, there are also sources for this. From runner training forums to personal coaches, to local running clubs, help is available. You do not need to do it alone.

2 - Now that you have your plan, you need to execute your plan and keep track of your progress. You should keep a log. There are plenty of formats for this log. I keep a simple written copy in a small notebook. It records the date, the course, the time, the weather and overall how I felt on that run. Sometimes I add more. Sometimes I am short and brief. I also keep an Excel spreadsheet with the daily mileage. Excel allows me to do some easy totals by week/month/year, and then build some charts on the data. Good positive reinforcement for the miles or time put in and progress made.

By creating this permanent record of your running, the log is a good place to look back and see what worked, and just as importantly, to see what does not. As I got older, the desire to run 5-6 days a week like I did in my twenty’s and thirty’s was still there. The log told me the body could not handle it. Now I have been much more successful running 4 days per week. My hard/easy pattern is maintained. I run a good 4-6 miles on the hard days, and 0 on the easy days.

3 – Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs comes into play here. (If anyone needs a refresher on this, you can check out You need to take care of the basics especially as you start executing to the plan. The basics like sufficient sleep and nourishment. Your body will be starting to work harder than before. It is an engine and while you are tuning on the road or track for your race, you also need to take care of it in the shop. If you normally got 7 hours of sleep, you may need 8, or get by with a brief cat nap now and then. As your workouts increase, so will your appetite. Do not overeat. But be sure to include all the food groups and sufficient calories to continue to maintain your health. For guidance in this area one good person to turn to is Liz Applegate Ph. D, the nutritionist for Runner’s World. She has a regular column in the magazine and also has this article on the Runner’s World site:,5033,s6-53-84-0-1189,00.html

4 – Feedback and encouragement will help you keep to the plan and be successful. Some of the feedback you can obtain from the log and the charts (assuming you go that route). If not, then the friends, family, and co-workers aware of your plan can be sources of this encouragement. (If they are not aware, let them know.) If you a member of Team-In-Training or a local running club, they can be great sources of positive reinforcement.

This is also the role for your coach to play. S/He should be able to coax you to a new level of effort at the same time as providing the right word at the right time to keep the positive energy flowing. It is important to have a good relationship with your coach. While one word at the right time is a great help, one word at the wrong time can be a problem. If the coach is not providing the proper constructive and positive reinforcement, then it is time to consider a new one.

By following these 4 steps (plan, execute/track progress, tune the engine, positive feedback) your plan should get to you race day so that you can be successful.

If you have something else that you would add to this approach, I would be interested in hearing from you.

I will talk about the race day preparations at another time. In the meantime, enjoy the run!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Tooth Fairy

The latest short film (Tooth Fairy) at the Amazon Theater is a good one. Poor father does not have a clue and spends the night following the clues left by his daughter. Oh, I am tired again!

"What needs to be done?"

Yes, this is a great question. Thanks to Hal Macomber for bringing Peter Drucker's simple question to the forefront.

Afternoon Snack

This Sunday afternoon, my activities are a mix of
  • preparing dinner (a nice roast with baked potatoes, carrots, and broccoli)
  • finishing the Sunday paper
  • blogging on what I have read in the paper and/or encountered during my cruising the web
  • relaxing from this morning's good run (6 miles)
I needed a snack and so devoured a couple of Drake's Ring Dings. I have not had those in years but saw them on the shelf in the market yesterday. Yes, it goes way back to my days as a newspaper carrier for The Pawtucket (RI) Times. A corner store (remember those?) at the end of my route was a favorite stop for Ring Dings and a Yahoo. This was considered an appetizer for dinner in those days. The Ring Dings brought back some fond memories and hopefully will tide me over until dinner.

Do you have a favorite snack?

Pain Killer - Go for it Carrie Bernstein!

Elaine McArdle did a nice piece in the Globe Magazine today on Carolyn Bernstein, who "looks more rock than doc but her assult on migraines is giving sufferers hope."

It is good to know that this affliction is getting some attention.

"There are 28 million migraine sufferers in the United States, 80 percent of them women. It is a neurological condition that is often completely debilitating for up to 72 hours. Symptoms include intense headache, nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Bernstein is convinced that many migraines are triggered by female hormones, a theory supported by a study she conducted. This connection has been largely ignored by the medical establishment, she believes. And migraines, she says, continue to be misdiagnosed and inadequately treated."

"It was the suffering she saw in migraine patients that led Bernstein, 44, to the field after she graduated from Boston University School of Medicine. At the time, doctors offered little besides painkillers that often didn't work. "It was exciting, because there really was no treatment plan," she says. "It was a chance to be creative."

Go for it Carrie! This is worthwhile work.

Fuel Costs Rising and No Energy Policy

Sam Allis used his column in Today's Globe to address the issue of rising fuel costs:

"The shock of oil is here to stay. Worldwide demand has changed the calculus forever, and anyone over room-temperature IQ knows that prices over time will continue to spike -- thank you China -- until they eventually dampen demand. Natural gas isn't much better."

Yes, China's rise as an economic power carries a cost. It requires fuel and their demand has increased 10% just last year.

"This situation is irritating for the rich, crippling for the middle class, and lethal for the poor."

A limited budget hit with rising costs creates problems: food or heat eventually becomes a no win situation.

"What did they all scream for? A national energy policy. They obviously would write different legislation but agree the chaos that now exists is insane. "We need one for a hundred good reasons," says Bo."

So can Washington come up with one? Can those with the wherewithal, i.e. those with access to the oil industry use that leverage for good? Or will they continue to sit back and allow the refineries to profit.

"That said, there's a killing going on at the refineries: "They used to get $5.50 for profit and processing. Now it's $14 in profits alone." (Bo notes that refiners made bupkis for 20 years.)"

Given that the election is over, hopefully the Red vs. Blue argument has run its course, and if not, then all the more reason to find a real issue to jointly tackle and find a resolution to: developing and implementing an energy policy.

What do you think?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Selling anything that can be sold

Yes, marketing is the devil, tempting all to go for the almighty dollar. Picking up on Tom Asacker's posting today, I'm just sitting here catching a bit of the Army-Navy game to see if we can glimpse a good friend of the family now at West Point. I don't watch much college football (or much TV for that matter) but was surprised to see that every once in a while, along with the magic blue line on the screen to show the line of scrimmage, and the magic yellow line to show the first down marker, there also was an AOL Online logo superimposed on the screen as well. Something else may have been there earlier but I only tuned in during the 3rd quarter.

Talk about selling everything that can be sold. I should not be so surprised considering this media!

Word for the day - fisking

Yes, I am that new to blogging that I did not know what it really meant. I could surmise a few meanings from its context but need to search to find out for sure. Thanks to Google and the Wikipedia for the info...

Two examples of fisking:

Now I'll need to find a good article to go fisking.

Have you been fisking lately?

Insight and Updates on the 6 Degrees

Thanks to the Harvard Business School Working Knowledge for this posting. You have heard of the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. This interview of Lee Fleming by Sara Grant gets into how that started, the research that lead to it, and the research that continues in this area today.

As someone who works in MA where we do have non-compete agreements, I think that this legal aspect does hinder the kinds of cross pollination and collaboration that really advances innovation. Gov Mitt Romney apparently is starting to look into this. MA has this across the board, CA does not. Are non-competes enforceable? It is debatable but more than likely at least a deterrent.

What do you think?

Friday, December 03, 2004

Reasonable Requests or Censorship?

The requests to make cuts in the film "Merchant of Venice" are one thing. Items like these are reportedly cut from many films depending upon what rating they want to go for.

Of more concern to me is the last paragraph:

"Funding was delayed until about a week before shooting was finished, in part because banks required a document to be circulated and signed among 17 groups of lawyers certifying that the writer - William Shakespeare - and his descendants had no lien on the picture."

Lawyers and liability... yet again.

A cool gift

Rather expensive, but if you have to ask how much it is, you probably can't afford it. Not only that but you need to order it three days in advance. No spur of the moment popping the question here.

Is this something you would add to your wish list?

Freedom of Speech or Not?

Michael Powell wrote an Op-ed piece in today's NT Times. Jeff Jarvis deconstructs it. Thanks to Dan Gilmore for bringing this to our attention.

What do you think?


Yes, this headline gives one pause. On the one hand, there may be less need for exposing our human lives to fight a war. On the other had, who controls the device is becoming more critical.

Read on.... what do you think?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Steve's TIB #2

This I Believe #2

When I come back from a good run, I turn the corner and start to walk down the block to my house. I catch my breath, check out the neighborhood, check out the sky and whatever configuration of clouds there is, and finally give thanks with a simple prayer that I have crafted over the years.

"Thank you Lord for watching over me, guiding me,
and giving me the strength to run today.
Continue to watch over me, guide me,
and give me the strength to do your will."

Short, simple, direct.

The family traveled to South Dakota in August of 2003 to spend just over a week exploring in and around the Black Hills while camped at Custer State Park. When we visited the Crazy Horse Memorial, I was startled to find a prayer that was very similar to my own.

Prayer to the Great Spirit

Oh Great Spirit, giver of all life,
you have always been and before you nothing has been.
Look and smile upon us your children,

so that we may live this day to serve you.
Watch over my relatives,
the red, black, white, and brown.
Sweeten my heart and fill me with light this day.
Give me strength to understand and eyes to see.
Help me Great Spirit for without you, I am nothing.

by Paul War Cloud

A little more elaborate, more inclusive but to the same point.

Hence, this I believe: there is one all wonderful and powerful being. S/he goes by many names, his/her followers claim many paths. But basically when you sift through all the religious rigmarole, there is just one that powers us all.

TIB - This I Believe - Origination

Thanks to Tom Peters for the idea. In turn, Tom credits Bill Caudill whose friends put together The TIBS of Bill Caudill after his death in 1983. Tom turned 60 in November 2002 and wrote down 60 thoughts one for each year he had lived.

Well, I turn 52 next year. Wow, what a number! So why can't I put together 52 TIBS. One for each of my years. One for each of the weeks in a year. One for each of the things that I believe. As I start out of course, I do not know if I'll hit 52 things much less the 51 for this year. But it is worth a try.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

TIB #1

I do believe in connections. I found Tom's 60 TIBS in ChangeThis. I found his new book Project04 contains Tom's 60 TIBS. I picked up Stephen Covey's new book: The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness recently. His solution is to 1 - Discover your voice. 2 - Inspire others to find their voice. Hmmm... that is what I have been trying to do with this blog. I was late to this blogging space but am now finding my own voice, or at least the courage to say my two cents.

While the courage to express myself so publicly is recent, the connections (seeing the trees in the forest) have been there for sometime. The thoughts also have been coming together. Eventually, this space might see the Bingo Theory fully explained.

Briefly, the Bingo Theory is all about connections. And choice. We have all been given a card to play in this life. The events, experiences, opportunities of life come at us. They are the letter and number combinations on our card. It is sort of predetermined, like our parents are predetermined. What we do with what we have or who we are is dependent upon our choice.

So back to this game of life. There is a bingo caller droning on; B4, C7... Some of these match our card. Some we choose to follow, some we do not. The senses can go into overload. We have only so much bandwidth to focus our attention. Why follow B4 or C7? We were tuned to it. Eventually the matches lead to a full row and Bingo! We have a learning experience. We can move on to the next card.

I guess this is why the Nkosi Johnson quote struck the bell yesterday: "Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are."

Caveat Emptor

Yes, Seth there are despicable folks in the business world. I guess it goes way back at least as the Romans who coined the phrase "let the buyer beware". Everyone is out to make a buck. Some do it legal and ethically, some in manners that are less so.

The guy on the street selling knock off watches. Is he less despicable than the Friendship creator? What about the white collar criminals? Of recent vintage, is Bleidt more so because of the number of people he has affected, or less so?

I would put them all (the knock off agents, the cheaters, the liars, the thieves (especially those that have not been caught yet)) in the same bucket and then not spend much time arguing about it.

I would spend my time creating the positive buzz about the right product, creating an educated consumer who can make good choices. Ultimately, in this free world, it is a matter of choice.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Tom Peters on Reading

Yes, Tom. I wholeheartedly agree. There is nothing like a good book to dwell in for a bit. To escape this world and then return with a new idea.

I can still curl up better with a book than with a laptop but the blog authors like Halley (one of many) create the interesting worlds for us to go exploring in. And that counts as reading too!

Read. READ. Read.

Plants that can alert to the presence of land mines

Yes, this post I found in my travels. CORE77 has the original but Boing Boing posted a link to it, as did Virginia Postrel.

After tossing the idea around a bit, I wondered okay, how would they actually plant it? The planting act on the field could be dangerous. Then I read the comments on the original posting and was relieved to find that the others who came before me had similar questions so I had no further comment.

"More than 100 million land mines kill or injure 26,000 people in 45 countries each year. Today's most popular detection method is poking around with a stick."

What do you think?

World AIDS Day - One Boy's Heroism in the Face of AIDS

On the ride home from work today happened to catch this story about Nkosi Johnson on All Things Considered.

Nkosi is quoted as saying: "Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are."

Read it again. Think about it. Simple and good advice.

William Gibson on "genuine prescience"

William Gibson is on my listing of favorite authors. I have found he has a blog. Today he has posted a great quote taken from days long gone by.