The Bucket

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!


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.”

“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

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.

Remembering All Those Pesky Strong Passwords?

Today, most folks are members of over 20 websites, and at work folks have 20+ applications that may or may not be single sign-on, and then some websites/apps ask us to change our password every so often… finally, with the push for “strong passwords” and not using the same password for EVERYTHING, how is a person supposed to remember all these passwords?

For some the answer is software – they install a password storage application that lets them keep all their passwords. Sometimes you can install this on your USB thumb-drive or on your cell phone, and you will always have your usernames and passwords when you need them. Handy.

However, if you are like me, and you have been too under-motivated to set-up that software, or hyper paranoid that someone could shoulder-surf your password or crack your master password and have everything, then this article might be for you!

Strong Passwords
Let’s start with what makes a password strong.  Most places say a strong password is 12 characters, contains mixed case letters, numbers and even symbols.  In addition, they recommend if your password spells something, that it be two unrelated words at least. In this article, I am exploring the idea of pattern-based passwords that are strong, easier to remember, and the patterns are things only YOU would know about! How does it work? Like this…

Root Password
Each password would be based on a root. Root passwords would be changed on a less frequent basis.

Personal Salt
Enter the game of personal salt.  Salt is something that changes for every password. In cryptography it used to add just a little flavor to everything that gets encrypted, and you can use your own personal version of it. Stay tuned.

Lastly, we have this notion that a password can change every so often, and likely places that require you to change your password are not going to synchronize their calendars and you will have different versions of passwords sprinkled about.

Your Personal Algorithm
Here’s where it gets fun (it is even funner because I am trying to create a system without disclosing my exact approach – not that I don’t trust yah or anything).  It may not sound like we’ve solved the problem in the sentences above, but we have:  the goal is to start with a root password – all your passwords will use this root, then add salt which varies based on where you are using  the password, and lastly apply versioning.  In this way, all your passwords are related, but they are all strong (as long as they add up to 12 characters), and the only one that knows how they vary over time is YOU.  The other benefit is, you can keep a cryptic cheat sheet that lets YOU know how to figure out the password, but nobody else would get it, even if they got their hands on your notes!

Walking the Blue Dog
Let’s start with the strong password… let’s sy you have a dog named Sparky and your favorite color is blue.  Well, for starters, although BlueSparky is cool, it could be predictable, so I would mix it up a little more… use the letters but spell something different that is preferably not in the dictionary. I don’t think ElubYarps is in the dictionary, so let’s have an example root password be ElubYarps.

Now it is time for personal salt.  Example’s of salt could be the last 2 characters of the website name, the network name, or the application name.  Pick a couple characters and sprinkle them in your password along with a number and a symbol.  Let’s say you use and an application at work called SuperAccounting. I am going to pick the second letter of each word, so ‘a’ and ‘f’ for Bank Of Blorg, and ‘u’ and ‘c’ for Super Accounting.  I am going to pick 9 as my number and # as my symbol.  “Sprinkle” your salt however you want… I like the words “Elub” and “Yarps” so I will sprinkle the salt after each word.

Bank of Blorg: Eluba9Yarpsf#
Super Accounting: Elubu9Yarpsc#

Last, you want to have versioning.  Most people will number their passwords like Elubu9Yarpsc#1, Elubu9Yarpsc#2, Elubu9Yarpsc#3…. that’s fine, I suppose, but you can also work your way around the keyboard visually… start at “q” and go to “p”, or start at “f” and go “v” then “g” then “b” – some visual or even tactile pattern based on your input device. You also want to sprinkle your versioning somewhere not predictable. For this example, the 3rd character is versioning.  Let’s do that. I am going to start with “z” and work my way to the right:

First Version:
Bank of Blorg: Eluzba9Yarpsf#
Super Accounting: Eluzbu9Yarpsc#

Next Version:
Bank of Blorg: Eluxba9Yarpsf#
Super Accounting: Eluxbu9Yarpsc#

Remembering It
If you need to take some notes, you can do things cryptic like so:

Root: Blue Sparky (hopefully reminds you of Elub Yarps)
Salt: Movie Hammer (“9” was a movie, hammers “#” things)
Versioning: Fred’s Fish (Maybe I have a friend named Fred who owns a cat fish – the reference to a bottom feeder hopefully reminds me to start at the bottom row)

The notes aren’t perfect – there should be things you remember without writing down, and if you DO have to write them down, write them in a way that forces you to remember something that someone else likely cannot guess.

If you want to keep notes on what version you are on, you can do so by saying BofB 1, Super 4.  That way, you know which version of your password to use.

Changing It Up
About once every season, annually, or some extended interval  (timing depends on how sensitive the password is), you will want to change your root password, maybe change how you choose or sprinkle your salt, and change how you version your passwords.  You can even have a pattern to how you change your pattern, as long as it is something that only you know (or your notes are cryptic enough that other people can’t figure it out).

Good Use for Software
Once you have this in place, you can use some software to keep a list of sites/applications you use, and keep notes on what version of password you are using.  But if someone gets that list… you can rest easy because they don’t have your passwords (however it is probably time to change them anyway).

Another use for software is to track those apps/sites that limit your password creativity. I still have some websites that don’t accept symbols, or that require 2 numbers, or other rules that might break your algorithm… you will have to come up with some cryptic way to remember those differences.  For example, if you join a website (National Fish Fry Association) and they don’t allow symbols, maybe don’t hit the shift key while entering your password, but take a note that says “Fish – only first gear” (implying you can’t shift).

Keeping Ego At Bay
Security is one of the hottest topics right now, and the more stuff moves online or into the high-tech realm, the hotter it gets.  As many people teach it, better security doesn’t STOP a hacker, it simply discourages them from attacking you and focusing on someone easier to hack.  Like the old story about being chased by a bear – you don’t have to be the fastest person running from the bear, you just have to be ahead of the slowest person 🙂  Examples of things that could ruin the steps above?  If you have malicious software that has made its way on to your system and the happy hackers are running a key logger… they will just record you logging into the site and then they will have your username and password regardless of how strong it is.  That’s why keeping you machine clean and free of “netually-transmitted” disease is important!  Bottom line, never assume you are immune to being hacked…  strong passwords are important, but they are only part of the security picture.

If It Was Easy
Everyone would be hacking you. So, yeah, the passwords are still kinda alien looking, and the notes you leave yourself may not be perfect – but the goal is to keep things secure and not have to remember 40 different strong passwords.  Or even worse, having 40 logins that share two or three passwords…if one gets compromised then the hackers have access to a BUNCH of your accounts at one time. Ewww!  Hopefully this article helps you achieve the extraordinarily fulfilling goal of remembering many strong passwords! (yes, “extraordinarily fulfilling” is intended as sarcasm here.)

Happy Passwording!



P.S. Examples of Bad Notes
OK, I can’t help myself – I just want to be clear on some bad examples of notes for passwords… these are all not ideal:
Root: My last name (really?)
Root: Wife + Car, spelled backwards (5 minutes on Facebook solves this)
Salt: &3%7  (just stating the salt)
Salt: College year, carrot colon (OK, it isn’t so bad, but again 5min on Facebook, and it isn’t so hard)
Version: top row (really?)
Version: first letter of each month (not a bad idea, but… the reminder is too specific!)


Back to Goals

Our Planet is so gosh-dangly fragmentalized.  Unless I want to become a robot (not saying I don’t but let’s ride on the pretense that being a robot is not on the to-do list), pursuing 1 clear cut goal is really obnoxiously difficult.  Why is that?… I am yet again so glad you have asked.

It all restarted this year, in this post, culminating in an approach that I attempted to follow for several months.  Each time I would try to make progress, I found myself clicking on the little magnifying glass and drawing a zoom box so I could get to a quantifiable set of tasks.  But each time I drew a zoom box I kept finding more questions and options and little informational sidebars that kept fragmenting the vision…. by the time I had zoomed in enough to DO something, it wasn’t anything I was interested in doing.

So, here I am on Hallow’s eve with a metaphorical zoom box, a primed legal container, and having to revisit my entire approach.  It’s been a fascinating journey, but something still hain’t quite right.

To help correct this, I have to come to terms with a couple core concepts: 1) I am not a detail person and 2) that first statement is a lie.  If I can figure that out, then I will have $10,000,000 of net worth by the end of this calendar year.  There’s my vested interest in figuring this out.

Let’s go over some of the fun to be had, here… for example, I have an interest in natural resources.  Now, before I get into natural resources, I tell myself,”self, the first question to ask is ‘how much do we have’ and the next question to ask is ‘what’s our current and projected burn rate?’  Try Googling that… my search on global natural resources lead me to a list of oil companies, a list of government agencies, several wikipedia articles, to some outdated EDU site with a list of resources that was a 404 landmine.  There’s a TON of information, but it isn’t aggregated how I want to look at it.  In fact, this takes me back to the TED talk (yeah, do I get royalties for that? lol) about web 3.0 – if we could get at the data of the internet in a useful way, I might be able to visualize at least SOME of what I am looking for…  I say some, because there are entities who have spent a LOT of money cataloging what I want to research, and, well, what’s in it for them if they share?  I’ll tell you – the competition will come in and, with lower R&D costs caused by the release of the initial company’s intellectual property, they will wipe the initial company off the financial map.

Maybe then, my data won’t be out there…because that’s just the FIRST set of questions.  Anywho, if you know of an entity that compiles natural resource statistics such as quantity, location, burn rates, that might come in handy for me… or somebody I will employ.  Just throwing that out there – my core interests are water, power, fiber, farm land, and sanitation.

There – that was an example of a “zoom box”… I had to zoom in to do the research, and I have had that happen over and over.  The result is, it fragments my time and progress slows to a crawl on my goals because while I am zoomed in, there is no progress on the other fronts.

Robert Kiyosaki, as part of his cashflow quadrant concept, mentioned this issue of going from an employee to a specialist… it could be a trap, and the way out of a trap is a business model so I can get from business owner to investor, because until I have a portfolio of crazy ventures cranking out results, I am not going to make the kind of progress needed to fix the entire planet and launch a viable space exploration venture using giant robots shaped like our founding fathers.  Can you imagine that…on some distant world, the receiving civilization sees a giant Teddy Roosevelt flying through space towards their planet. Hey, it could happen!!

I have no interest in being the specialist anymore…I’ve been there, bought the t-shirt, scraped off the bumper sticker, and moved on.  There’s a lot of talented people who want to be the specialist, and I am OK with that!  My goal is to hire a team of those and put them to work solving all kinds of cool challenges.

Of course, while doing that I am still working on a video project, a web service architecture, a mobile app and a couple other side projects… but hey, stay tuned.

Driving Integrity. Literally.

This morning I used the word “integrity” in reference to driving. Driving with integrity. Admittedly, I kinda plucked the word out of a list I knew would mess with my interlocutor’s mind, but it ended up messing with my mind as well. And, that’s a good thing 🙂

In life, there are many people who preach about living life with integrity, much less just driving. But what does that even mean, really? For me, and through the various readings/lectures that have shaped my perspective, integrity exists as part of a “trust chain.” Applying this perspective to driving might look something like this:

First, we start by allowing ourselves to accept some set of rules. For example, driving wise, we study the rules of the road, and take a rest certifying that we know and will presumably uphold those rules.

Second, we then allow ourselves to become predictable. In driving, when a light turns red we stop, when the speed limit is 45mph we drive 45mph… that sort of thing.

Third, we demonstrate integrity. This means we stop at red lights and drive the speed limit even when we think there is nobody around to verify it – police don’t have to watch us, because we are predictably allowing these rules and we enforce them ourselves.

Through that chain of events we are able to build trust. In driving, this means our passengers know what to expect. Other people driving know what to expect as well (but this is more a collective expectation as they don’t know us individually…so the best demonstration of trust building would prolly still be through passenger perception)

That’s kinda my view of integrity and how it fits into driving. But how many of us drive like that? I don’t. I speed (generally 5mph as a rule, but sometimes more), I will push the envelop on an amber, I’ve cut people off and driven on the wrong side of the road. And my driving is fairly tame compared to a lot of other folks on the road! I haven’t even touched on the concept of exploitation – people who intentionally prey on the integrity of others!

Obviously then, either folks don’t have integrity, or the definition of integrity has to be broadened through a convenient set of rationalized justifications. I have chosen option B, because I see myself as someone with a fair degree of relative integrity. “Relative integrity” sounds like an oxymoron. Just like “relatively honest” or “relatively perfect.” Oh well, welcome to being human.

When I get 3 red lights in a row, I’ll rationalize running the 4th. When I am on a 8 lane road with a posted speed limit of 25, I will justify it should be 40… when i see the police officer with a radar gun, I will decide 30 sounds better. Each situation is different, and the rationale changes per person. Even those who would be considered guilty of “predatory” exploits have somehow rationalized their behavior.

Nonetheless, I have built trust with many passengers… I somehow drive with “enough” integrity that people are willing to let me drive without saying, “oh no! I am not going if HE is driving.”

I bet it is funnerer. Two people who drive about the same might actually build different levels of passenger trust based on personality characteristics that have nothing to do with driving. Put that in your frosty machine and blend it!!

What is the difference then between “enough” integrity, “not enough” integrity, and should a person even bother? It all becomes richly complex, don’t it? That’s why this phrase messed with my mind….I mean, I was hoping to draw a conclusion here, but rushing to a conclusion is like declaring “ready! fire! aim!”

The conclusion for now? “Driving with integrity” is, to my surprise, an interesting and complex topic. Good times!

Courting Fullpack Trickster in the US (Part 2)

Technical support from Trickster didn’t respond.  I guess I am not surprised, but then again, I don’t discourage that easily.  I went out on Google and looked up the President of SG Interactive (Woo Dong Lee), and put together a letter to him.  I basically explained my son’s interest in running a game, my background in the hosting and software development space and tried to present some win-win options that would allow Trickster to live on in the USA.  We’ll see what happens!

Beginning Without the End in Mind

Ah, yes. Steven Covey.  A name that is near and dear to many of us in theory, and to fewer of us in practice.  Proof positive that a horse can be lead to better habits, but will often instead, choose to drink.  Here I am again, then. Round 3,755, maybe.  I lost count in the 90s, but there is certainly a multibillion dollar industry in self-help and reinvention propaganda.

This year, I made this kind cool plan that was centered around starting a media company.  Some people I talk to say, “Wow, man, that’s so totally flippin’ awesome, man.”  Other people are not so interested.  And then there is another group that thinks I haven’t defined my goals enough in order to be successful.  I grouped them in teams, gave them all statistical calculators and told them to find the T Statistic for sharpness in cheddar cheese flavors by brand. The group who said my goals needed more defining won this challenge…although I can’t really prove it because the first two groups shrugged their shoulders and walked away, and the third group calculated a value that I can’t verify because I don’t know statistics.

As a result, I redid my 2013 plan. After that, the same group said there were no details behind the high-level plan, so I created some specific tasks to support the plan.  After that, the same group said my plan and my tasks did not support a clear enough goal.  After that, I changed my plan so that my top level goal was to build an epic death ray. I don’t really care if I build a death ray, but it makes the top level goal very clear for those who care about a top level goal.

But it begs the question: Is a top level goal required in order to be effective? I have a recast plan that ends with the production of approximate 20 teams, each with a specific purpose that supports a combination of sustainable housing technology, media production, and technical systems that not only glue together my business model but can likely be shrink-wrapped and resold.  The sustainable housing is for Project Sahara. The media production is for the media container, with a focus on entertainment production.  The technical piece is not only for building the systems with my two entities, but there should be some components that can be packaged and resold.

I’m pretty stoked about it.  However, if you look closely, the “end in mind” is more of a beginning than an end.  Sorta like we are beginning with the beginning of the next set of projects in mind.  Sahara will need these systems, CamAm, Sring, Pajorka and all my other containers will need these systems.  Containers I don’t even know about yet will need these systems (and the people that helped create them).  I guess this means I am either beginning with the beginning in mind, or beginning with the middle in mind… since the end is malleable in this case.

For some people the end is clear.  For me the journey is shaping the end. As new information becomes available, I renegotiate the end: I might stop at CamAm.  I might drop it and lock step on a venture I never even dreamed about. What’s important is that I progress from where I am today.  That’s my take on it for now, anywho.  We shall see – maybe I will change my mind soon.



Life Beyond Facebook

FB2 Electric Boogaloo
Odd… there have been several other posts I’ve contemplated, but I finally get around to typing something and it is about Facebook again. Again? Isn’t there something beyond Facebook? Hmm, ironically, that is why this post came about.

Social Network Blues
I pulled out of several networks. Let’s face it, maintaining a network takes time and energy, and those things are at a premium in this over-boiled rat race of a life our species has created for itself (and we call ourselves “advanced”? hee hee, that’s cuuuuute *pinches the cheeks of humanity*).  So I did what any self-aware bachelor not wanting to become an unsuspecting parent would do: I pulled out.

Now What?
Who knows, really.  But, like every busy person on this little blue ball, I want to put my finite amount of time where it is best utilized, while still having some time for fun and maybe even a little slice of time to be socially responsible. This means only using tools that DON’T waste my time. But what does the word “waste” mean in this context, really?

Thinking about Social Network Waste
Is it like nuclear waste? If so, can we clean it up in about 15 seconds using one of of those radioactive picker-uppers from the latest Die Hard movie? (no lie, they cleaned up 20 years of “pooled” radioactivity in about 3 minutes with that thing — better than a Shark vacuum! No wait, Shark vacuums have one advantage: they are REAL). Where was I? Oh yeah, social network waste (SNW)… there are many forms of SNW, but since this is my first time thinking about it, I am not 100% sure I know what I am talking about.  So let’s take Scrapples, the Social Networking Puppy, out for a walk and after he does some of his “business” we can send it to the lab and get a proper waste analysis.

Lab Report
Well, I took Scrapples out, and for a 15 pound dog, I was impressed with the 2,574 pound turd he left on the lawn:

  • Churn vs Substance: This was the most ambiguous category because 1 person’s churn is another person’s substance, but it would be nice if my social network only contained information I was interested in…not just the people I want to hear from.  And turnaround is fair play – when I broadcast a message, I just want it broadcast to people who want that TYPE of message.
  • Security vs Features: I don’t want to see Farmville crap, OK? Any application that says it needs permission to scrape my contacts or behave with a power of attorney is not an application I need or want.
  • Convoluted UI: User Interfaces that hide the stuff I want to use, or are difficult to use…. can get out of my way.
  • Users as Products: Positioning advertisements all over the place just annoys me.  I would like the option to pay a subscription and forego the advertisements.
  • Reusable Information: When I am ready to share… this is the world-wide web, I want to post information once, then have it distributed to where my friends/subscribers are and THEN have it filtered so only people who want to see that information are bothered with it.  And this is like a social-web concept (thanks TED… oh wait, I AM Ted. Muhahah. Thanks, me! :-D) – I don’t want to have 20 accounts on 20 networks.  1 post should hit all 20 using interwebz magic and be done! (Pangea was one such venture, dunno if it ever got out of diapers and started walking or not – but I don’t see it out there)
  • My Information: Is mine. My posts are mine. My content is mine.  Not Facebook’s, Not Google’s.
  • My Identity: Don’t waste my time trying to sharing details about who I am – who I am is MY business.  And don’t interfere with what name I want to use (arg, FB, arg Google+) – on the web I am TheRage3K. Effing deal with it, or get out of my way.
  • Troll-Meter: Don’t like trolls? Fine – give every recipient the right to rate a response as a troll response.  Enough of those, and they have a little troll icon next to their posts, or something, so people know the trolls. Hi trolls!! We love to hate you *troll face*
  • Content Sharing: Some sites are working on this, maybe they do it better, but when I share, I need to pick the audience, from a few key people, to a “circle” to multiple groups to the whole “three double-u”.

Is There a Happy Place?
I don’t know if I can find a place that let’s me feed Scrapples a healthy diet and regulate his by-product production.  I did find this post on some different options (Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace,Bebo, Habbo,Tagged, Tumblr,Four Square, Diaspora, Path, Zurker and Harnu).  I had another link, but I need to track it down again: it also included previous sites all the way brack to Friendster. Ah here is that link! I don’t know which of these networks caters to what I am looking for at the moment, or if any of them do; however, when I do land somewhere, I will let everyone know.  I can’t stay disconnected forever (darn)!