Based on a True Story, the Revolutionary War, the Statue of Liberty and the Fourth of July

“Based on a true story.”  That is code for a condensed version of the story, trimmed down to be told in a short period of time and carefully edited to create a compelling story of near mythical proportion. Coming this fourth of July, amidst the parades, barbecues and fireworks, are you celebrating a holiday “based…

Tales of the Beltway: The Conways, 45 and Twitter

Relationships, dating, marriage, my mind tries to reconcile rules and logic for what works and what doesn’t to make up for my limited and nonexistent experience. So, please understand both my confusion and fascination with the Conways. Yes, some people read trashy novels for the summer, I succumbed to a couple of hours of mindless…

The Surprising Truth about What Surprises You

“Stop, stop, stop. I don’t care. You’ve not been taking a minute yet and I’m ready to check my phone for something more interesting.” That’s me abruptly interrupting  a practice presentation. I’ve been coaching, technical people and the only way to shake them loose from a methodical droning of white noise is to stop them quickly…

Stay, Upgrade or Replace

Our devices tell us when to upgrade, when our performance is lagging and when we will no longer be supported. It’s not planned obsolesce to make money. There is a time when new technology can enhance performance (camera technology) and solve problems (thumbprint security). Basically, we know when things are ok, when to upgrade and…

April Fools: In Case of Emergency

You’re on a plane. You hear “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. This is an emergency, and we are required to evacuate, please locate the closest emergency exit. Please exit immediately, but calmly.” Pause. What do you do? In an emergency, there is the stress response, and it is not logical. People start…

The Nearest Exits and Emergencies

Flight attendants ask you to locate the nearest exit.  Movie theaters have additional exits, typically beside the screens, that lead outside. Do you discount the possibility an emergency, distracted because you are doing other things or do you make a mental note of the exit?  “We need maps showing where the exits are.”  “There are exit signs at…

Balancing Wants and Needs

I wanted to go to yoga; but my car stopped at the mouth of a tunnel and refused to move until it was pushed by the car behind me. I was later reminded of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones with “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes  you might find,…

Smoke and Errors

My T-shirt caught fire and burned in the microwave.¹ There probably wouldn’t have been a fire if I’d removed the shirt when the timer went off, but, I was working in another room. Sure, I smelled smoke,  the air has been smokey for 2 days because of the wildfires. Losing the shirt was not upsetting. Neither was the fact I could…

Death in the Family Circa 1998

I get anxious this time of year now and latter realize it is October 17th. My dad died on this day in 1998 and somehow I always find myself doing something, well, not normal. This year I cleaned the plexiglass on the 7th floor balcony at 8:30…. pm. I got my own crazy. My brother…

911 for Dummies

911, what is your emergency? People,  911 is not your personal assistant or bodyguard on demand. In Minnesota  a man ran out of cheese while making lasagne and called 911. In Ohio, a man called 911 because Burger King would not honor a coupon. An understaffed, overstressed operation should not be fielding these calls;  911 operators…

Facial Recognition: Congress, the Judicial System and Demographics

The tech headlines in June were all about the inaccuracy of facial recognition software, if you’re not a white male.¹ For white males, facial recognition for gender was accurate 99% of the time; the accuracy of facial recognition for gender of dark skinned females was 65%. Why is this happening in 2018? We know how, the…

The Labor Day Question

Why do we celebrate Labor Day, historical significance or modern day celebration? Labor day originated as a celebration of unions, back in the late1800’s. Now, the first Monday in September is more about back to school, end of summer and sales. Union membership was at a record low in 2017 – 10.7% of the working population.…

The Privacy Issue

You are being watched. It’s not a person looking at you, speaking into a headset, it’s not an overhead motion activated camera tracking with a flashing red recording light. No, it’s none of that cool looking stuff you see in movies. If you use a computer for work, your employee can install or may have…

The Diversity Issue

There are people living in tents, sleeping on the sidewalks, huddling in doorways. Why? They don’t have homes. Must be a shortage of homes. Crazy, right? There is a lack of diversity in tech. Must be a “pipeline problem?” Oh please, that is a marketing construct for corporate absolution. The real issue is supply and…