Rescripting Negative Imagination

Not 100% sure, but I suspect most people, when asked if they think they are a positive person, will indeed think they are generally a positive humanbeing.  For those who don’t sign up in the “Positive Paulina” camp, there’s likely a group that will say, “Well, positive is good, but I am also realistic.” (This is a limiting statement that allows them to dabble their feet in both sides of the pool. Wait a second… what does a negative pool and a positive pool really look like?)  Then, you will get a group that says they are as negative and cynical as possible. Then there’s people who say they are positive and go home and cry in their pillow every night, realistic people who wonder why they are depressed, and cynical people who wish the world didn’t have to be the way it is.  Is that all the categories? Surely not.

Point is, when someone SAYS they are positive, it isn’t likely the whole picture, and even if it was the whole picture, it only applies to that moment because through space and time everything is in fluctuation. So, the label (like so many) is not nearly as valuable as our actions.  But where it gets fun: it’s not just the actions we take mechanically, or the words we say, it all starts in the thoughts we think, in how we perceive our world (and how we allow ourselves to change how we choose to perceive… ).  If I want to say “I am a positive person,” that’s fine, but if I want to make that my reality, I have to be positive. That starts by thinking positive.

I was going to start this post by saying I was a positive person, and then started to think about that statement, because the whole point of this post is to ponder the concept of rescripting negative imagination. So, even a person as ridiculously positive as yours truly, I still have a post to write about my negative energy! I can get into all the fun details about neuro-plasticity and all the theories of positive thinking, positive energy and riding positive waves towards our goals… someday…maybe in another post. Overall, I am subscribing to this positive energy thing.  People like Rhonda Byrne (The Secret), Bill Harris (CenterPointe Research), John Kehoe (Mind Power), John Assaraf (NeuroGym) and many more are making a gazillion dollars explaining how everyone can be making a gazillion dollars (or achieving their dreams, in the event a gazillion dollars is not making the list of things to do in order to achieve their dreams).  I’m not going to evangelize these approaches right now.  I’ve simply made a personal decision that I value positive energy, and I’m welcoming more of it into my life every single day.


So, ergo this post. I am in the middle of a life change.  There is a lot going on, and there is a lot of disagreement and strange influxes of distrust that have been making their way into this life change. Now, of course, it is all to easy to say I cannot control everyone, and this transition is supposed to be difficult and the way it went down was unfair to me and boo hoo hoo, poor me a victim of the big bad universe, or fate, or maybe some life form that looks like a giant Kermit the Frog declaring my happiness is none of his business. That’s all hogwash. (Someday, I will Google how the term “hogwash” came to be…are we not supposed to bother washing hogs because they love the mud? Maybe that’s it.)

So the positive energy approach is to see your reality up front.  OK, I would then phrase my reality like this: this life transition is going very smooth – there’s abundance in my life, and through my abundance I can help the other folks involved in this life transition. But, when I am not paying attention, my brain has been doing a couple things I find fascinating.  First, it will wander into random places… so instead of dwelling on my goals, achievements or other zones that will move me forward, I will snap out of a thought and say, “Why am I using my time to contemplate the different ways I trim my fingernails? Or replaying the scene in that action movie and changing the endings around?”  Those situations are fairly benign, but then we add said “second thing.”  I will see my goal in my mind, and the conversation with a key person will go poorly, or a step I take will be met with devastating failure…entire ventures will fail.  That’s exactly the opposite of what I want.  I am not scared when it happens – this is not the same thing as a fear response (which puts us in survival mode and shuts down our contemplation). I am contemplating the scenario, but I am going at it exactly the opposite of what I should be doing, and I am not present in the thought – it is just playing back without my intervention.  After the “failure film” finishes playing, I snap out of it and I have to stop myself and then rethink, re-visualize and try and re-feel that scenario in a positive way.

That’s generally how it goes down. And here is the silver lining… I have achieved, in this situation, what Bill Harris calls “awareness” – that is, I see the impact of my actions as I am doing them.  I am now aware of this behavior, and I can now rescript it. So here is what I am going to do… this is going to be epic.


There’s this episode of Ren & Stimpy where Stimpy has to guard the history eraser button. (spoiler alert) Stimpy eventually gives into the narrator’s badgering temptations and presses the button. The history of everything is erased.

Here is my plan, since what I want to do during an unhealthy negative imagination sequence is to stop it, erase it and replace it with a positive healthy version, I am going to spend time imagining that (take a swig of coffee friends): Whenever I imagine something, I will always have a history eraser button with me.  I am going imagine myself caring this little button with me whenever I am imagining, and I am going to practice pushing the button and erasing negative memories, rescripting them with positive ones. Buhbam, right? It’s crazy… redoing how I imagine.  maybe later I can imagine how I will change how I imagine about changing my imagination. Wut?

Anyway – let me see how that goes.  First step is to make sure I practice having the button with me, so that it becomes a habit.  Such a strong habit, that when my mind wanders into a negative thought, my own brain will be like “where’s that button?” and I will press it.  Then, here is the awesome part – the POWER of that button is to immediately erase that negative thought as though it never happened, and then I am free to imagine the positive version.  In fact, just becoming aware of this ability to press that button during a thought immediately pulls me out of the “film” and makes me a cognizant observer that can then redirect the whole scene as needed. Heck, I can stop and ask why someone is talking to me that way, or think about how to deliver an eloquent response that would help the situation, or imagine my yacht pulling up and allowing me to go on a vacation…whatever I want! It’s like double the self-programming. Nice.

This could be just the beginning of my mental tool belt.

That’s the theory anyway. Wish me success, and I’ll be back with an update….at some point!


The Quest for Easy Project Management Apps

So there I was, half way through 2015 and thinking,”Dang, I need some better collaboration tools.” Does anyone remember Astrid? I loved Astrid because it did EVERYTHING. It even pestered me to get stuff done instead of slacking off. Hey! I said “slacking.” Sheesh, people.  But then Astrid imploded, and I went on a journey for project management tools.  They didn’t even have to be free, just easy to use.  My mantra these days.

I have tried OneNote, Evernote, Zoho, TeamBox (now Redbooth), SmartSheet, and a bunch of others, but I still just wasn’t impressed.  Stuff was either TOO simple, or TOO complicated.  Or it did one thing well but not another. Today, just for giggles, I signed up for LifeHacker. Why Not? And then I found this article.  Why Not? So, it turns out only 3 of the suggested tools were viable for me, personally (be my guest to try any of the ones I have mentioned…), and of those, two products really caught my attention: Trello and Azendoo.  Both of them have a solid free tier.

What I liked about Trello was the “Scrum board on crack” approach.  I mean, it isn’t Scrum, so let’s not kid ourselves.  But you create a board and slap a bunch stickies on there (attachments get preview icons) and then everyone dogpiles that board until all the crap is done.  That’s a pretty cool concept, so I signed up to try it out.

What I liked about Azendoo was the overview video.  I mean, it wasn’t the best video on earth, so let’s not kid ourselves.  But it showed, in about 5 minutes, how to deal with workspaces, subjects and tasks. Azendoo has a lot of features, so I signed up to try that out, also!

I am excited to try these products.  I just needed some stronger grouping functions, and I think Trello and/or Azendoo might doo the trick. Both products also have iPhone and Droid apps.  Azendoo also has a desktop app for Mac, Linux and Windows 8 – that’s interesting.  What’s more, if you decide to pay for the products, they are not that expensive…as of this writing between $5-10/mo.

Maybe I will follow up with some results… happy Project Managing!


You Need to Pay Attention

This awkward incident happened on my walk into work today. A girl was riding her bike one direction, and another young lady was walking the opposite direction. Both headed for each other.

The girl walking realizes this will end badly, so she stops walking to give the girl on the bike time to adjust course and avoid a collision.

The girl on the bike slows down but doesn’t change course, continuing straight toward the girl standing right in front of her, and just before colliding, she jams on her brakes so hard her rear tire pops off the ground. She then declares to the standing lady,”You need to watch where you’re going.”

The lady replies, “I think you need to watch where YOU’RE going.”

The girl on the bike peddles away declaring, “Jesus!”

And that’s when I started chuckling out loud. And I continued chucking like that as I replayed the scene over and over.

But as I think about it, it is psychologically mundane AND fascinating. As a little boy, I would say, wow two grown ups are fighting! A little older, and I would say, “What was the girl on the bike thinking? She is nuts.” But now I wonder… does the girl on the bike truly believe herself, or was she just puffing herself up to make up for a blunder that she was too proud to accept was clearly her doing? In some way, I hope she truly believes she is right, because then at least she acted in earnest, even though I believed her assessment was incorrect.

What’s the moral of the story? Hmm… maybe “bike helmets can save your brain, but your ego is all on you.”

Or maybe, “Jesus has nothing to do with your free will, learn how to ride a bike, derp.”

Or maybe, “If your going to act like a booger on a pedestrian walkway, go take your chances on the roadway. After you get smacked by a couple cars, you will appreciate pedestrians more.”

I Just Single-Handedly Ate an Entire Extra Large Pizza

That about sums it up.  I didn’t feel like cooking this weekend, so I picked up the phone and ordered a 16″ extra-large 3 topping pizza (the coupon I had also pledged a second free 1 topping large pizza… I got that, too).

Over the course of about 60-90 minutes, I inhaled the entire thing by myself.  I just had to say something… but math wise it looks like cheese pizza is a bout 300 calories a slice, so that was 1800 calories. It was also about 96 grams of fat and 5600mg of sodium.  That was not a brilliant maneuver…but it was delicious.  Guess I will have to run a few extra. . . hours. . . to work that off, ey? Whew!

Is it wrong that I just ate a slice of the free large pizza while typing the article about demolishing the extra large pizza? Gotta got to the gym for sure!!

Google Voice to Hangouts Dialer

Well, “long ago” I pieced together some instructions to get your Google Voice working in Gmail, but now with the new Hangouts Dialer integration, this just got a lot easier.

From your PC… you can hit and grab the plugin for your browser. From your mobile device, you can go to the Play Store and download the Hangouts Dialer app by Google. It will make you upgrade your Hangouts to 2.3… then you can just kinda place calls (calls originating in US/Canada to other US/Canada numbers are free – that is cool!).

I’ve heard rumors that not every Google Voice user can play… in fact I am kinda unclear myself about how this interacts with my Google Voice plugin on my phone, or how it works when I am overseas and don’t want to pay $1+/min to call using AT&T’s international rates… but I am pretty sure there is a way to do this… and not just with Wi-Fi.  I just haven’t figured it out yet?!  If you find something, feel free to educate me 🙂

Thanks and Happy Dialing,


“Twice As Good” Sneaks into DC

Well, I can’t say that blues is my thing, but I can say that “Twice As Good” did have a good sound, fun tracks and a healthy appreciation for their audience.  This post, however, is all about taking something twice as good, and maybe making it three times as good… because there were a number of obstacles that I think impacted the show, and I hope this post serves bands and venues alike when considering the impact to their potential audience. This show was hosted by the Smithsonian Native American Museum – an incredible building housing a really great collection that is laid out in style.  It’s a great venue, but I think it could’ve pulled in more people.  Here it goes:

  • They put the band in the atrium.  Although the atrium is impressive, it did two bad things:
    • First – nobody outside the museum could hear the music, so there was no ability to draw people to the venue during the performance.
    • Second – the atrium isn’t designed for…blues…the band sounded muddy in a lot of places. To combat that, they cranked the volume, but that gave the audience the option of “loud and clearer” or “muddy and quieter.”
  • Ironically, I found the sound did clear up as I rounded the corner opposite the stage… which means the sound quality improved as people worked their way further into the museum, but that leads to another venue issue. The museum was closed. So, for the people who did find out there was a band, they still couldn’t tour the museum (and benefit from the exhibits as well as improved sound of live music).
  • Next, if a person cannot walk through a museum, what might they want… how about a beer or a margarita? No liquor license… OK, how about a water, a lemonade, a hot dog, or whatever?  The Native American Museum is one of the few venues that has a cafe, and the cafe was closed! Gah!
  • The show was blues/funk, but the seating was not… the seating was setup like chamber music or a lecture.  Rows of seating might work for a megaband playing at Verizon Center, but for a more intimate venue of this music style, maybe keep the seating more casual… do a dance floor and cocktail rounds.

The Smithsonian Institution, as a whole, makes so many amazing things possible for the general public, so it’s not like this event was a failure.  I just felt like there was this zesty band imparting energy and their energy couldn’t be heard outside the building.  Inside the building, people would have to sit like a structured performance, with no access to the museum or its cafe.  I think this arrangement hindered the goals of the museum and the band, so I wrote about it in the hopes of helping both future venues and future bands consider their options when setting up a performance.

Robocam operator working his magic.

I will say this – Twice As Good has a good rig! They have a sound guy AND a Robocam guy (that is indeed twice as good).  I was able to snag a shot of one of the unsung heroes 🙂  As someone who has worked in the media production arena,  I like to showcase the folks behind the cameras and audio cables. So, in summary…

  • Either put the band outside and then pipe their sound into the museum, or have them inside make sure their sound is broadcast outside to attract the street crowd
  • Let people explore the museum
  • Use a dance floor (nothing elaborate) and cocktail style seating
  • Either keep the cafe open, or make arrangements for concessions (within the seating area only, so the museum doesn’t get trashed)
  • If housing a band in an indoor atrium, consider some audio engineering/dampening to improve the quality within the atrium area

The Age of Misinformation

It’s funny how my mom would say, “You kids didn’t come with an instruction manual.” By the time I had children, there were so many instruction manuals, you could use one to disprove another.

I like to say that we’ve moved from the Information Age to the Misinformation Age on account that there is so much information now, and its interesting to see the root problem of finding answers is still about the same today as it was back then.

In the past, a person wouldn’t have ready access to information, so they would make decisions based on what they knew and their intuition.

Now, a person reads the top 3 best related Google results and makes decisions based on what they know and their intuition.

I guess that’s why web 3.0 is such a big deal. “Give us you data” so that people can make more relevant decisions… but we are still a long way off from that. The internet has become a fascinating flavor of our collective consciousness… we can see everything about ourselves: from the darkest most disgusting caves to the pinnacles of inspirational thought.

But it’s all still kind-of random, dangerous and only select pieces can be reliable.

Still, I think things are heading the right direction. The internet, by being less censored, allows us to see the whole of ourselves and allows us an opportunity to shape our destiny based on what we see.

Time will tell if our species has the wisdom to follow Spike Lee and “Do the Right Thing.”  Of course, the crux of that movie was (imho) to do what was right based on (drum roll)  what you know, and your intuition!

ATTs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Short Version
If you like Droid, and you like a nice big screen backed by a powerful processor, this phone will not disappoint you.

AT&T’s Network
This phone can’t fix their network.  But it is not the device, from what I can tell, because this is my third ATT phone and the symptoms of dropping calls, dropping off the network while the phone says it is on the network, and GPS locking up in a signal-rich environment  while your friend’s phone works just fine. . . . yeah, all that has come for the ride with each phone.

So why do I stay with AT&T? I didn’t – I bounced to Sprint which was a really bad experience.  And then I talked to friends about their networks, and although Verizon came out on top of the perception surveys, it was way more expensive and it wasn’t worth it for me to experiment.

Plus, AT&T has restructured their plans similar to T-Mobile and other “a la carte” providers – so they have new bulk data plans which makes it much more reasonable to use the tethering feature on the device, and they have plans that let you go month-to-month for cell service, and pay monthly to purchase the device.  It’s much better than the 2-year agreeement BS.  I just wish they would work on their reliability…

The Basics
Let’s start with the basics.  The phone is powerful, bright, high resolution, has a gloriously large screen, and the newer version of Android brings a lot of usability features to the forefront so you don’t have to dig down into a thousand submenus to find things.

Is Android the Answer
For folks who don’t know what OS they want, I am not going to say Android is the answer! Every OS has its zealots. I am an Android Zealot, and I am pretty sure Google has cloned me and will be replacing me with the clone and taking over my life in the next 10 years.  But in the next 10 years, the ocean will be 98% water, 1% salt and 1% discarded cell phones, so whatever.  Bottom line, you need to either visit a store front or sit in front of a friend’s phone and try out Android, iOS, other operating systems and maybe even (cringe) Windows 8! Try making a call, accessing contacts, using the calendar, and other things that you will use the phone for every single day. The Galaxy Note 3 is my favorite Android phone, but I already knew I was getting another droid.

Why Not A Tablet?
Screen size was a primary factor for me – the more real estate the better.  One of my primary questions became, “did I want a big-ass phone? Or, did I want a smaller, less powerful phone and a tablet instead?”  I decided on a big-ass phone, and was looking at the Mega vs the Note 3.  The Note 3 screen is significantly smaller, but the Mega is like… buying the Playskool ™ version of the Note 3.  Why bother? Note 3 crushes the Mega in terms of screen resolution, color vibrancy,  processing moxie, and features, so Note 3 it was! The Note 3 still fits in your pocket… but with armor, it does look like you are really happy all the time…and well, I wouldn’t recommend skinny jeans and a Note 3.

Battery Life
It would take an “arc reactor” to give the Note 3 any battery life.  I pull it off the charger and listen to the battery drain like air escaping out of a balloon. That’s cool with me though, because any bigger a battery and the thing would be too thick or too heavy.  The battery can keep the phone going for about…a day, but I keep a charger within arms reach at all possible times.

Advanced Features
Samsung has a majority of its crazy features disabled when you take it out of the box, and candidly, I don’t use most of them very frequently, but depending on the user, maybe they would be handy. There’s the proximity bump-and-share thing (I grew up being taught that bumping-and-share spreads disease, so not my thing). There’s a way to do split window for multi-tasking (chat and browsing, or video conference and note taking, etc) – I’ve used it to take notes while watching a webinar.  There is even a way to draw windows and fill them with applications so you could have conceivably many windowed apps on the ready… but I don’t use it for anything other than coffee table discussion (hey look, my phone can do this…and this is the only time I ever do!).  It can tell if you are looking at it, and do facial recognition, and you can give it voice commands, and it can scroll when it thinks your eyes are at the bottom of the page… yup, I do very little of that.  Sometimes it is handy to say a navigation address instead of type it, but trying to dial one of my friends from a voice command is a waste of time (not giving actual name, but it was not “Jones”):

Me: “Call Tom Jones.”
Phone: “Did you say call Fred Smith?”
Me: “No.”
Phone: “Oh, my bad. Try Again.”
Me: “Call Tom Jones.”
Phone: “Here are the people I have named Tom: 1) Tom Tim, 2) Tom Jah-Nose (spelled Tom Jones), which one should I call?”
Me: (mimicking phone’s pronunciation) “Tom Jah-Nose.”
Phone: “Sorry if I am pissing you off but the Tom’s I have are 1) Tom Tim, 2) Tom Jah-Nose. Which one should I call?”
Me: (wild guess) “The second one.”
Phone: “I don’t show a person with that name in your address book.  Would you like me to just give up?”
Me: “Yes.”
Phone: “That’s not nice. I am telling all the other Samsung devices on earth to kill you now.”

Virtual Keyboard
Because the screen is so large, the virtual keyboard is plenty roomy.  In fact, I wish I could shrink it (and it does have a one-handed mode, but still not quite what I want).  And there are a couple bugs that seem to recur – I don’t know if it is Android or just the Note 3 but sometimes the keyboard will pop up and I can type all I want, but no text displays anywhere.  I have to navigate away from the app or pretend to share my location and then navigate back in order for the typing to produce letters.

Another curious bug will display the wrong keyboard layout – it shows the chat layout, with “smileys” instead of the “Go” button, and in a web browser that isn’t the right layout! Tapping the “sym” key one or two times resolves this issue.

The Pen
I really, really, really like the pen.  Most of the time, it is faster to just type using the virtual keyboard, but I do doodle on paper and I am that guy in a meeting who has to draw two squares and circle on the whiteboard because I think it will help explain why Ewoks suck… so, the anti-Ewok pen is PERFECT for that.  They also have an app called S Sketch that is easy to use, scrap-booking and marking up content off the web is simple (when you take the pen out of the device it gives you a few options in a radial menu)…  but seriously, to capture something visually and share it, you can’t beat the pen!!

There is supposedly a really cool health watch, but I have tried it out.  And of course, when buying a phone that costs as much as a laptop and more than most tablets, a case seemed like a good idea.  I might have just gotten unlucky, but I bought an INCIPIO case and it totally sucks rocks.  The case started disintegrating a few days after I bought it – just little chunks of it started flaking off, then a couple cracks formed, and now it has become kind-of a National Geographic observation mission as I watch with morbid fascination how long it will take this case to decompose without ever having been dropped or even bumped!! Needless to say, you can either buy an OtterBox, which makes the phone super huge but will protect your phone through nuclear holocausts and the subsequent winter, or buy some other brand… I just don’t recommend INCIPIO at all, and I think it would be better to skin an Ewok and use that to protect the phone (I am pretty sure they are the one life form that PETA actually supports killing, but I haven’t researched their position in earnest).

App Store
As a droid, the Play Store is of course the store-front of choice, but as a Samsung, folks can also take advantage of that store-front although most apps are available on both stores.  I haven’t looked into it a lot.  Samsung & AT&T have some apps that overlap with Google’s and gives you choices, but sometimes the apps get annoyed with each other… I still get the messaging app from Samsung popping notifications for SMS messages on occasion even though I use the Google app for that, for example.

Smart TV Integration
Yeah – I have read complaint after complaint about how the Smart TV app (Samsung Smart View) does not work on the Note 3, and I tried getting my phone to talk to my friend’s Samsung Smart TV… it didn’t go well.  But I will probably do a separate write-up on Smart TV after a while.  I couldn’t get the screen to share at all, the remote control was not reliable, and you are still stuck typing using the TVs funky on screen keyboard which is stupidly slow.  Samsung will probably fix this, I would think, for one of their flagship mobile devices, but as of this writing…no love.

I know, I put it up top…but hey… I really dig this phone.  As usual, technology has a long way to go before it is as smooth as we see when watching television or movies. You don’t see actors waiting for buffering, dealing with network drops, browsers hanging, etc… . .or the shows would turn from dramas into comedies.  And as usual, comedy usually renders a more faithful depiction of technology than drama.  But, as far as mobile gadgets go, the Note 3 is impressive and very functional.

The Logitech Touch Mouse T620

Well, let’s start by saying this mouse is interesting. It was something new and different, from the design to the touch-factor.  The results? As an innovative product idea, it was impressive, but as a day-to-day piece of gear it’s definitely not ready for prime time.


  • It looks cool
  • Don’t have 2 batteries, that’s OK it can work on just one
  • universal dongle (that sounds like a really bad adult movie, but it is a handy idea)


  • The touch interface is…well… touchy! Sometimes it doesn’t interact as expected
  • By far the biggest issue for “real-world” use is addressing several ergonomic concerns
    • The mouse does not have a high enough arch to support the weight of a hand without invoking an accidental click
    • Using the mouse requires that a person moves their hand from the base to the tip of the mouse while grasping the mouse to move the pointer – this doesn’t feel as awkward as it looks in writing, but after 8 hours, it will be become evident
    • And finally, because the mouse is touch sensitive, it requires the user to not rest their hand on it – constantly hovering their fingers over the surface of the unit – that really adds up over a day’s work
  • With such an awesome surface, I kinda expected a second battery might be able to illuminate it, just a little bit (make it an option so people don’t complain)… I think it would just look cool.

Basically I would only recommend buying a T620 mouse if you are curious and already have access to a known, comfy mouse in case this one doesn’t do it for you!

Happy Mousing!


Why is our Technology so Awesomely Stupid?

That’s a fairly broad and sweeping judgment, of course, but I contend, even based on my personally limited sample set, that it is true!!  Let’s take some examples…

I have a phone that can measure how far I walk, it can monitor my eyes and scroll the screen when my eyes hit the bottom of a page, it can bump another phone and share data, it can do thousands of things. BUT… sometimes, for no reason the keyboard doesn’t have an enter button, or it says it is connected to the network and it is 100% dead to the network. So, while monitoring my eyeballs can the software actually do some checking to make sure it is really on the network?

I am logged into this web mail application and decide to send an email.  I can drag and drop files from one email to another, I can look up contacts dynamically as I type their names… but I clicked send, and this little AJAX graphic replaces ALL the buttons…and then it says “sending…” for the next couple hours until I decide to stop it.  I knew it was dead 15 seconds in, but apparently the authors of OWA didn’t cover all the conditions that could cause this thing to sit and spin for an eternity, and because they took my buttons away I can’t save it as a draft.  Thanks for that.

I’ll be loading a web page and it will hang up… just sits and spins like I don’t have a connection.  But I can open another tab on my browser and hit other sites. So my connection is working fine.  OK, I stop loading the page and hit reload…surprise, there is my web page.

We could all share similar stories of super advanced tech that still does stupid stuff.  And in my examples of stupid stuff there is this common theme of me waiting and waiting while the computer sits and spins…CPU humming at 2%, RAM at 19%…   I’ve asked something to DO something, and clearly my computer or phone or whatever is day dreaming or something.

We’ll just lovingly call this the “waiting game.” That’s what it is… we have all this power and bandwidth, we are trying to complete an action, but we are just forced to wait 5 seconds here, 30 seconds there, sometimes several minutes before retrying only to see things happen either lightning fast or see them sit and spin again.  How much time is wasted during this activity?  For me, it has to happen at least 100 times a day, maybe 200… opening email, opening a web page, sending an SMS, etc.   And each time it happens the delay is between 5 seconds and 5 minutes. let’s say the average is 15 seconds, 100 times a day.  That’s 1500 seconds – 25 minutes a day.  I bet it is more.  But let’s say 30 minutes a day across everyone using technology.

What’s that, maybe half the planet? A third? Let’s say 2 billion people experience this every day. That’s 60 billion wasted minutes a day just waiting for “stupid technology.”  I bet that number is a lot larger because when things get gummed up we invest chunks of time trying to shutdown services, or log out and back in, or reboot, or light a candle and drop-kick a frog – anything to cure the  issue. But let’s go with 60 billion minutes. . . that’s 1 billion wasted hours of effort, at minimum, per day.

Nobody cares about consumers wasting a billion hours a day, because we aren’t paying these consumers. Ah, but if they work for a living, we ARE (I feel a slight value proposition about to transpire).  Let’s say half these billion people are working, and out of a 24 hour day, they work about 1/4 of that on average.  That’s 125 million hours a day going to wast at whatever the burden rate for the company is… If that’s $1/hr that’s $125M a day.  If that’s $100/hr that’s $12B a day.  Just time spent waiting for computers/technology to realize that it isn’t going to finish the current operation and that it is time to retry.

Let’s pretend the number is in the middle, so $1.2B a day, and based on 20 working days a month we have about $288,000,000,000 going into the cosmic recycle bin per year.  Time we never get back and is being paid for (and probably over a trillion dollars a year, for those keeping track, of time consumers waste that corporations are not paying for).

It’s the year 2014.  We are supposed to have spaceships, DNA-level repair systems in the medical field, warp/worm tech, atomic food replication, nanobots, mech warriors that play air guitar and more… but we can’t get rid of the little AJAX circle of death? We can’t make computers savvy enough to say “oh, clearly this is taking too long, let me try that again….or queue it for later… .or queue up some content to entertain/inform us while we wait…or something!!!???

What’s even funnier is, this is just the tip of the time-wasting iceberg.  But, why should we care… we waste so much other time holding for customer services, or in lines, or trying to wade through gigabytes of opinions to help us make decisions, or trying to keep our gadgets up and running, sitting in rush hour, filling out redundant forms, what’s 30 minutes a day?   Surely the trillion dollars here is nothing compared to the 10 trillion/year I just described in other activities.

OK, fine, you are right…the bigger problem is the 10 trillion. I can’t argue that… but at least now it is on the table.  Oh wait… we haven’t really addressed redundancy as part of waste (other than the forms example).  But I am talking about the BIG redundancies like how many businesses are writing the same software over and over or solving the same process challenges over and over or working on the same problem in the name of “healthy” competition?  Can we put a dollar figure on that? My brain hurts.

At some point, some of my more analytic friends will try to stop my stupid technology tirade.  They will say, “Woah woah there, Ragey Mc Ragerson! Your patterns of justification are wacky… you’d be better off trying to draw a dotted line between farts and space exploration!” But deep down inside, right next to those same space-exploring farts, people know I am right.   By design, we are a very efficient species (60 Watts to power a 100 billion neurons in our brains), but as designers, we are still very wasteful… from our manufacturing methods to our governance methods, and our technology, for all the time we say it saves, is still very wasteful.

Our gadgets are the latest things, our brain stems are still tied to lizards. Until we can evolve ourselves to match our gadgets (change how we are governed, how our economy works, how our social systems work), I think our tech will continue to be a reflection of us. Brilliantly buggy.  And yes, I typed this whole post waiting for that email to send, and it never sent…so  I will waste time copying the text to a new email, reattaching the documents, and re-sending it.