John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Theological Questions

jyb_musingsTheological question:

If you say something to someone at church that is supposed to be humorous –and only moderately inappropriate –and the other person sighs, shakes his head, and says he will pray for you, is it OK to tell him you prefer he didn’t because “I don’t want God to know we are friends”?

(Note: I did not say this. But thought to afterwards and may try out the line some time. I tend to get this comment a lot.)

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Remember when you felt as excited about the iPhone 5 as you do today about the iPhone 6?

And thought you always would?

Lauren Mayer: Election Polling: I’m Not Getting Older – My Hard Drive Is Just Too Full!

Those of us old enough to remember rotary phones, black & white TV, and cars without seatbelts are now at an age when a forgotten name or misplaced car keys can make us worry about age-related memory loss.  My response is always to joke about my hard drive being full – it’s not age, it’s data overload.

And that actually makes sense – by the time we’re in our 50s, we’ve had so many experiences, met so many people, learned so many facts, and memorized so many phone numbers that it’s amazing we can remember our own names.  (And as far as the phone numbers – anyone under 30 has it far easier, because these days who needs to memorize a number when your smart phone does it for you?)

This sense of data overload is particularly profound during campaign season – which these days is pretty much all the time, given that we’re already talking about 2016 and we haven’t even had the 2014 election yet.   It’s not just that every news outlet has its own poll, which all seem to contradict each other, but now pundits are making a science out of poll data aggregation, and none of them agree all of the time.  Plus the results seem to change on a daily basis, depending on the latest lawsuits or stories of errant behavior.

Since this relatively new field of unending data aggregate analysis feels a bit like the untamed wild west, I thought it was appropriate to memorialize it with a wild-west-themed song (and one which only those of us old enough to remember rotary phones are likely to recognize):

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Messenger

jyb_musingsI have received multiple “messages” today from Facebook’s new “Messenger” app. It essentially forces you to download it by making it too complicated to figure out how to avoid the irritation of the constant requests by Facebook to download it—and so you just downloading it to stop the requests to, well, download it.

And then I seem constantly to have a tiny person pictured in a circle in the bottom right-hand corner of my phone who just messaged you. The messaging itself is fine, of course, but the giant bubble of a person appearing on your phone –and, again, being too complicated (for me anyway) to figure out how to get rid of– is making this exciting new Messaging app on Facebook too burdensome for simple low-tech people like me to want to mess with.

Besides, bubbles just aren’t a good contour for me personally. I look better inside a rectangle or square.

I would message this message complaining about the new Messenger app to the right person at Facebook if I knew how to –and who at Facebook to contact. But there doesn’t appear to be a little bubble of a Facebook person to “message” about such things. Maybe the folks at Facebook don’t care for that little irritating bubble person on their phones either. I can’t say I blame them.

Sometimes, perhaps, the best “app” is the one you don’t create.

Erica and Matt Chua: Does it Float? Your Electronics Won’t

The biggest risk to your electronics? Accidents.  Here are pointers on how to be prepared for accidents and what to do when they happen.

This is a continuation post from Saving Your Digital Ass and Backing Up Your Computer While Traveling.

As we carry more electronics, whether at home or while traveling, we need to take special precautions to protect them.  The reality is that electronics have one nemesis: water.  There are a few other ememies such as heat, sand, and falls, but water is the ever present, catastrophic enemy of electronics.  While we want to assume our devices won’t take a bath, a small slip on a dock, a clear day that turned rainy fast, or the somewhat funny “falling-out-of-pocket” into the toilet accidents happen.  Here are tips on how to avoid aquatic catastrophe and what to do when it happens.

THE PROBLEM

Water, beer, wine and other liquids are somewhat conductive.  Luckily for us they are not that conductive, but still, electronics are filled with tiny circuits and paths for electricity to travel, if the electricity jumps its track to another one (thereby bridging circuits) you get a short circuit.  While you may remember Short Circuit as a funny movie, you won’t be laughing if your laptop, phone or camera short circuits.

PREVENTION

As with most things in life, prevention is the best medicine.  Preventing your electronics from getting wet can be as cheap and easy as putting them in Ziploc/Glad bags.  The key to this method of prevention is maximizing the time your electronics can be near liquid danger, but not get wet.  The longer you can protect them, the longer you have to remove them from a dangerous situation.  Prevention is buying time, not necessarily the solution in itself.

Keeping your electronics in a backpack versus a pocket will buy substantial time as even a driving rain will take a while to soak through.  Having your device in a waterproof bag inside the backpack will substantially decrease your risk of anything going wrong.  For smaller devices, pocket cameras and phones, Glad Freezer Zipper bags are perfect.  I’ve tested Target store brand and ZipLoc freezer bags, but the Glad Freezer Zippers seem to be most air tight.  Let me know if your testing proves otherwise.

LOCAVORista and I, simply due to having way too much camping gear, carry SeaLine Electronics Cases and Outdoor Research Sacks.  These are supposed to be completely waterproof when used properly and were recommended by kayakers.

The last method of prevention is knowing where your electronics are at all times.  This means knowing where, exactly, in your bag is your phone, camera(s), and laptop.  Knowing this will allow you to immediately remove them from a soggy bag that may have fallen into a river with your significant other.

OH SHIT!  It happened… my _______ fell into the !@&*@% water

Accidents happen, so what to do if you get your electronics wet?  Memorize this and you can save your electronics life:

  1. DO NOT TURN IT ON FOR 2 DAYS!  Water kills electronics by creating a short circuit, which isn’t possible if there is no power going through the circuits in the first place.
  2. Remove the battery (if possible).
  3. Remove any media devices such as memory card and/or SIM card.  While your device may not work again, saving your photos, music, and addresses can still be accomplished.
  4. Let the device and removed components dry separately.  There are several ways to do this: hair dryer on low for several minutes, followed by either putting it in a ZipLoc bag with dry rice or those silica packets that say “do not eat” and come with many purchases such as shoes.  (here is some detailed instructions for an iPhone, but all electronics can be treated the same).
  5. Wait, wait, don’t fret, and wait.  The longer you can wait before using the device, the better off you will be.

These steps probably seem too simple, but it works, sometimes.  There is no guarantee that your wet electronics will work again due to differing circumstances, the only thing you can do is try to prevent it and take these steps if it does happen.

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This article is one in a series on protecting your digital ass(ets).  Here are the other articles:

Part 1: SAVING YOUR DIGITAL ASS(ETS)

Part 2: BACKING UP PHOTOS: You can replace your clothes, backpack or husband, but photos are irreplaceable

Part 3: BACKING UP YOUR COMPUTER: At home or on the road, your photos will end up on a computer, backing that up becomes priority number one

JUST READ: OH SHIT! When accidents happen to your electronics

After all the articles have been posted they will integrated into the Preparation Section.

 

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Mondays

jyb_musingsSlow down people.

It’s Monday. We have all week to get on each others nerves.

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Some mornings I wake up and look over at my lovely wife Rebecca and am overcome with joy at how lucky she must feel to be married to me. God is good.

I just smile and let her sleep. And keep my happy thought to myself.

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Deep thought:

If thinking something –but not saying it— is almost as bad as saying it, does that mean that saying something –but not thinking it –is almost as bad as thinking it?

Note: I didn’t think about this or say it out loud before writing it. I just wrote it. And am probably going to keep it that way.

Saul Kaplan: It’s the Innovator’s Day

Today is the Day of the Next-Generation Innovator

I am an innovation junkie. It’s a good place to be right now because there’s no more important time for New England to fulfill its promise as a regional innovation hot spot. Our region has the capacity to lead the way out of this economic mess and toward solutions for the big issues of our time, including health care, education, and energy independence. We must play offense.

Here’s some good news: Innovators thrive during turbulent times. In the 2001 recession, Apple Inc. unveiled the first iPod and The Procter & Gamble Co. launched Crest Whitestrips. The bad news is that innovation has become a buzzword. Everything is an innovation and everyone is an innovation expert. We must get below the buzzwords. I have a simple definition: Innovation is a better way to deliver value. I also differentiate invention from innovation. I assert it is not an innovation until it delivers real value to a consumer.

Ideas, inventions and new technologies are the lifeblood for innovation. We must continue to invest in basic and discovery research. It is necessary, but it is not sufficient. We also must improve our ability to get inventions out of the lab and into the real world, where they can solve problems and deliver value.

Business model innovation is the key to realizing the full potential of new technologies. A business model is a network of capabilities and a sustainable financial model to deliver value to target customers. Successful executives are really good at squeezing more value from existing business models. In this context innovation means either revenue growth from new products and services or reducing operating costs with process improvements. For most, innovation is about finding ways to ring the cash register by pedaling the bicycle of today’s business model faster.

Institutionalizing innovation While there’s nothing wrong with an incremental strategy, there is a problem. Business models aren’t lasting as long as they used to, and most CEOs have only had to lead a single business model throughout their career. Going forward, I suspect CEOs will have to change business models several times over a career and establish an ongoing process to explore new business models — even models that might threaten the current one. Organizations must establish R&D for new business models the way they do R&D for new products and services today. Business model innovation needs a discrete focus or it will get marginalized, producing again only incremental change.

In today’s networked world, business model innovation means connecting capabilities across traditional boundaries. Companies, schools and government agencies all must rethink existing business models and all struggle with the capacity to explore and test new ways to deliver value.

photo-saulDon’t you wonder, as I do, with so much new technology available why we haven’t made more progress? Technology isn’t the barrier to business model innovation. It is humans and the institutions we live in that are stubbornly resistant to change. Everyone loves the idea of innovation, until it has a personal impact. I used to think that we could enable large-scale change and create more innovators by proselytizing. But that doesn’t get you past the buzzwords. I now believe in sorting the world to identify the innovators and finding ways to connect them in purposeful ways.

The best opportunities to create value will be found in the gray areas between silos, sectors, and disciplines. And progress on the big-system issues of our time will require a road map and manageable platforms for systems-level experimentation and change. It doesn’t matter if the customer is a patient, student, citizen, or consumer. R&D for new business models is imperative to remain competitive, harness technology, and deliver more value with fewer resources.

In the months ahead I will share personal observations from around the region in the hopes of catalyzing conversation, connections and action. Join the conversation and pass along your business model innovation stories.

This post originally appeared as the debut “It’s Saul About Innovation” column in Mass High Tech.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Morgan Freeman

jyb_musingsI am at a point in my life when it would really help a lot if I had a voice that sounded like Morgan Freeman’s so people would listen in wonderment when I spoke to them.

Instead I often am asked to repeat myself. And I do. In my non-Morgan Freeman-esque voice.

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I sometimes like to tell myself that ice chai tea latte is really a cover for some sort of secret super human jet fuel.

That way I don’t feel as guilty for drinking so much of it.

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“You can still say the wrong thing later.”

Food for thought before I blurt out an unneeded opinion in a tense situation.

Julie Rath: How to Pack Like a Pro

The way you pack can either make or break your trip. Hanging around the airport lost baggage office is a drag (I’ve been there), as is opening up a suitcase and finding everything in a crumpled mess. With some foresight and planning, however, you can make the process seamless and worry-free. Read on for 9 tips on how to pack like a pro:

1) If you travel frequently to the same location, say from your east coast office to your west coast office, leave a trunk or suitcase at the hotel. Most good hotels are happy to do this for frequent guests, and often without charge. Lifestyle engineer and frequent traveler Tim Ferriss recommends this, and while you may not keep lentils and whey protein in your trunk like Tim does, his idea is enormously useful for clothes and shoes which can take up a lot of space in your luggage. When the clothes you wore are dirty, simply give them to the hotel laundry and tell them to put them back in your bag when they’re clean. Every so often you can switch things out so you aren’t repeating outfits too much.

Men's Personal Stylist: How to Pack for Travel2) One can tend to accumulate things along the way when traveling, particularly for leisure. In order to make sure everything fits on the way back and/or that you can still fit your bag as a carry-on, bring along 4-5 empty gallon-size Ziploc bags on your trip. When you’re packing to come home, fold and put your dirty clothes inside the bags, then (and this is the key), SIT on the Ziploc to squeeze out all of the air, and then zip it shut. You’re essentially vacuum-sealing your clothes. This works great for dirty t-shirts, underwear and socks, and it saves you a huge amount of space. When you get home, the contents of the Ziplocs go straight into the laundry. No sorting required.

3) Keep a separate travel toilet kit with travel-size versions of all the toiletrees you’ll need for travel. Don’t touch it except for when traveling.

Read the rest of…
Julie Rath: How to Pack Like a Pro

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Kiboshing Klout

jyb_musingsKiboshing Klout

I just got an email update that my Klout score has dropped another point.

I am emailing Klout back to tell them I don’t give a **** anymore and suggesting they make up some new imaginary vanity metric and to please leave me out of it.

Here is my email:

“Dear Klout, I am good enough, I am smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.

So please **** off”

Josh Bowen: The Five Best Snacks

It is astounding to me how many nutrition blogs, books, websites and magazines there are.

In the United States alone, there are 2,500 diet/nutrition books on the market.

2,500? Holy cow! What for?

I digress though.  After training for 11 years, I have found that most people go wayward on their nutritional plan in between meals and at night. People get the munchies and they want things to snack on. Chips, candy, chocolate and a litany of other nutritionally lacking foods become the staple of one’s snacks. This leads us into a false sense of control and snowball’s us off our well planned out nutrition plan.

joshThis can be solved, very easily, by picking more nutritious, easy access foods. 5 of which I consider the best snacks at my training desk. Always ready for when my blood sugar crashes and I need a quick boost of energy but cannot eat because I am training a client (eating while training clients looks awful by the way).

So without further ado, here is my list of the 5 best snacks:

  1. Quest Bars You can define whether a food is good for you or not by the amount of ingredients it has in it (most of the time). Quest bars are the only protein bars I have seen that have fewer than 100 ingredients in them (joke). All joking aside, they come in a variety of flavors and are made up of all gluten free ingredients. For more information check them out here http://www.questnutrition.com/ingredients/
  2. Almonds I love almonds! There are a staple for me when I need something to get me through a couple of hours of training before I eat a meal. A handful of almonds can supply a sufficient amount of calories but also nutrients to get you through to your next meal or get your through a hard workout. Loaded with healthy fats, almonds can help in decreasing bodyfat (Omega 3s), decrease the chance for heart disease (Omega 3s) and decrease inflammation (ta da Omega 3s). Also, very versatile with almond butter and almond milk being a great substitute for peanut butter and milk.
  3. PB2 and Protein Powder A great combination to snack on to get your through the day. PB2 is a powder peanut butter that has 85% less calories than regular peanut butter. Add in a good protein powder (UMP by Beverly International is my go-to) and you have a great snack that has a lot of protein and a little bit of fat to keep you full for a few hours. Have a sweet tooth? Add some cinnamon and it tastes great!
  4. Rice Cakes You laugh but I love rice cakes. Especially when I need something quick and need something that has a crunch. This usually keeps my cravings to a minimum (I love crunchy foods) and goes best post workout when I need some carbs. You can add almond butter or some PB2 to make it more a meal, if you chose.
  5. Suja Those unfamiliar with Suja http://www.sujajuice.com/ it is a brand of juice that is cold pressured. Via their website here is how they describe the process: Cold Pressure, also known as High Pressure Processing retains food quality, maintains natural freshness, and extends microbiological shelf life without heating to high temperatures. After our juice is bottled, a high level of cold pressure is applied evenly to destroy pathogens and ensure the juice is safe to drink while preserving vitamins, enzymes and nutrients. These make great snacks that you can drink and pack all your nutritious fruits and vegetables into one drink.  In my line of work where I sometimes preform 6-8 sessions in a row, I need quick and easy snacks to keep me going. I also need food ready so that I do not go without food and/or make the wrong choice on what to eat. These work great for me and hopefully they work great for you.

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