Category Archives: Life

Plant Some Shit

Please do yourself a favor and watch this 10 minute video from Ron Finley:

He is a representation of everything that is good and right about humanity.

He is the guerrilla gardener of South Central LA.

I love this guy for many reasons.

First, he’s an amazing public speaker. If you are into speaking, watching good ones is crucial. Just like a professional athlete studies his sport, public speakers need to study their sport. This guy is great.

Secondly, and more importantly, he is a guy that is looking at possibilities. Not problems.

I can’t tell you how rare that kind of person is in the world.

I believe people will tell you all the reasons your idea will fail because it’s the only way they can contribute. They don’t have any ideas of their own. So their “idea” is to tell you why your idea sucks.

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Denise’s Gallery 15: Gallery at 15 Broad Street, Akron Ohio is a bad idea.

It’s art, people. Who wants to buy art? Especially in Akron, Ohio. Opening an art gallery is right up there with opening a coffee shop and cell phone store. Bad bad bad!

But you know what? Her opening night was amazing. She sold 6 pieces. The place was packed. Everyone loved it.

That event made me realize that no idea is bad. The execution of the idea is key.

I’m pretty sure there’s a market for everything. I once did a 10 minute riff on Internet Marketing with Sage and Greg on selling shit.

Shit is one of those things that gets a bad rap.

  • That’s boring as shit.
  • That’s stupid as shit.
  • You don’t know shit.

But shit, as it turns out, is a huge business. The “cow manure” industry is aggressively advertising in Google.

cow-manure

 

We all need to free our mind.

Anything is possible.

The “rules” that we think are absolute are just constructs we put on our lives to make the chaos and randomness of the world less excruciating for humanity.

That’s why we created God.

But those rules are illusions. Those rules are for the weak minded. Those rules are meant to keep order in society.

Break the rules. Free your mind.

See a garden where there is nothing.

Stop saying:

  • “I can’t do that.”
  • “That’s not possible.”

That’s the great lie.

Plant some shit.

 

The Restless Tiger

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One of the benefits to heavy drinking was that I would subject myself to a regular self inflicted flu-like conditions. Hangovers are hell. I was usually out of commission the entire next day. Week after week after week.

But at least it kept me occupied.

I’m going on 10 years of not drinking. I feel so much better. I highly doubt I’ll ever go back.

The amount of kinetic energy I have these days is palpable.

I’m always looking for the next “thing.”

I have significantly more energy than I ever used to.

It makes me look for something to fill my time, to give me a buzz.

The Tire King across the street is for sale. The Seniors Helping Seniors franchise interests me. DogVacay.com is a concept I’d like to pursue.

This is the entrepreneur’s curse. I’m not the only one to feel this way. I know many entrepreneurs who feel the same way I do. Starting things gets in your blood. The new project is so compelling. Most entrepreneurs need the fix. The new business.

But the ennui, the restlessness, it weakens you. It diversifies your attention. It steals your persistence.

That becomes the serial entrepreneur’s greatest threat. Boredom.

But we know this: Everything succumbs to persistence.

Discipline and dedication are the keys to the entrepreneur’s success.

Don’t walk away. Don’t get distracted. Keep your focus.

Do what you have to do to stay in the game you’re in.

Change roles. Set high goals. Expand your market. Just don’t leave.

And if things become too unbearable figure out how you can sell. Don’t walk away until you get something for your effort.

I know it’s hard. I know you don’t want to be where you are anymore. And I know you are the kind of person that takes big, drastic actions. Just don’t walk away.

I see people do it all the time. Get something for your efforts. There are plenty of other people who don’t like the “thrill” of starting something new.

You can give them what you love and they hate.

Just don’t walk away.

“Screen Time” – What happens when everything is a screen?

As a parent of an 8 year old boy, this is a hot topic in our house.

How much “screen time” is appropriate.

Even Gates limits kids’ screen time | News Blogs – CNET News

So bloggers seemed a bit surprised to read that the Microsoft co-founder and his wife have limited their 10-year-old daughter to 45 minutes per day of total screen time for games and an hour on the weekends, plus whatever time she needs for homework,

The debate, however, is not intelligently discussed, in my opinion.

If we are going to talk about screen time, I think we need to start at the beginning. Just to set the record straight, we have to ask: “What is a screen?”

I believe this concept came up based on experiences like mine being raised in the 70′s and 80′s.

This Zenith looks quite similar to what we had:

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When I think of a “screen” this is the first thing that comes to mind.

This is a CRT-type screen.

The important thing to know about CRT is that it “paints” the picture on the screen.

From How Stuff Works

The image is created by light moving in lines across the screen.

HowStuffWorks “Black and White TV”

In this figure, the blue lines represent lines that the electron beam is “painting” on the screen from left to right, while the red dashed lines represent the beam flying back to the left. When the beam reaches the right side of the bottom line, it has to move back to the upper left corner of the screen, as represented by the green line in the figure. When the beam is “painting,” it is on, and when it is flying back, it is off so that it does not leave a trail on the screen

This is the kind of screen that I believe most people think of when they consider a screen. So could we define a screen as something that paints pictures by quickly making flickering lines across a surface?

But that’s not what most of us are looking at today.

Today, most of us are looking at LCD screens.

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That technology is quite different. It doesn’t paint the screen. Nor does it emit its own light. LCD’s are either backlit or reflective.

A common LCD wrist watch is reflective. It has no light. It simply uses the light in the room.

HowStuffWorks “Backlit vs. Reflective”

The numbers appear where small electrodes charge the liquid crystals and make the layers untwist so that light is not transmitting through the polarized film.

A typical computer LCD display is lit with florescent tubes either on the sides or behind the screen.

Flicker (screen) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

shutters used in liquid crystal displays for each pixel stay at a steady opacity, they do not flicker, even when the image is refreshed

Additionally, CRT’s now are created at a higher refresh rate so flicker becomes invisible:

Flicker (screen) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For example, if a Cathode Ray Tube computer monitor’s vertical refresh rate is set to 60 Hz, most monitors will produce a visible “flickering” effect, unless they use phosphor with long afterglow. Most people find that refresh rates of 70–90 Hz and above enable flicker-free viewing on CRTs.

So, flicker can’t be the defining factor. Nor can the fact that these images are made up of pixels, or tiny dots.

Newspaper and magazine photos use the same type of dot structure.

So, if dots don’t define a screen and flicker doesn’t define a screen what does? Is it that it’s electronically lit? Is it because it’s not organically created?

I don’t believe simply lumping everything that plugs in as a “screen” is accurate.

It would follow that if you wanted to read a book at night, and had to use a light, it now is more like a reflective LCD screen and therefore should be classified as “screen time.”  The light you are using is man made. It’s synthetic. So therefore it becomes electronic. I don’t think we want to begin determining if something is a screen based on the type of lightbulb you choose to use. “A filament lightbulb is natural but a florescent or LED lightbulb is electronic.”

The Chinese invented paper in 105 A.D. At that time it was the state of the art medium. Before then the medium of choice was silk… something only the rich could afford. They were able to place ink on a much cheaper medium and therefore communicate with a much larger audience.

We are now in an era of “electronic ink.” So now instead of permanently displaying ink forever on a medium like paper, we can now shift the ink electronically so the medium can be rewritten instantly over and over.

Electronic ink further decreases the cost of publishing which will put the cost even lower which further extends the reach of books and media as a whole.

Not writing permanently on paper saves resources and reaches a greater audience. I can’t see much negative in that. But is it a screen and therefore something that should be limited?

I think it is quite reasonable to imagine school books being given to students using electronic ink. School systems will save incredible amounts of money. Further, electronic ink allows you to have your entire library of books in your backpack or purse… since you began reading. It will also include all of your highlights and notes you took. The electronic ink medium surpasses most uses of books in almost every way.

But does it fall into the realm of a screen? It requires electricity to run. And it is “digital.”

Electronic ink is closer to ink than you might think:

HowStuffWorks “How Electronic Ink Works”

the three components of both electronic inks that give them the ability to rearrange upon command:

  • Millions of tiny microcapsules or cavities
  • An ink or oily substance filling the microcapsules or cavities
  • Pigmented chips or balls with a negative charge floating inside the microcapsule

Electronic ink can be applied to the same materials that regular ink can be printed on. In the case of a digital book, the pages would be made out of some kind of ultra-thin plastic. The ink would cover the entire page, separated by cells that resemble the cells on graph paper. Think of these cells as pixels on your computer screen, with each cell wired to microelectronics embedded in this plastic sheet. These microelectronics would then be used to apply a positive or negative charge to the microcapsules to create the desired text or images.

So now the question arises: is a thin piece of plastic a “screen?”

 

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is the Best E-Ink Screen You Can Buy [REVIEW]

Enter OLED:

cool-flexible-display-from-samsung

Organic light-emitting diode.

OLED – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

a film of organic compound which emits light in response to an electric current.

We are now entering a phase where organic compounds are being organized electronically to display images on surfaces that are closer to paper than they are to glass.

Is that a screen?

If you could display OLED imagery on a piece of paper, is a piece of paper a screen?

And if so, should we be discussing limiting “paper” time?

The conversation is worth having.

Ultimately, limiting “screen time” is an outdated discussion.

The discussion needs to be around the content and not the device.

A mindless episode of Dukes of Hazard will likely be able to be watched on a thin piece of plastic in the next 5 years.

It’s the Dukes of Hazard that is crap. It’s not the plastic.

Limiting activities should be the discussion. Otherwise talking about limiting screen time is going to push you into an absurd corner.

But even that is complicated.

Did you ever have a limit on “phone time” as a teenager? If not, why would you have a limit on FaceTime?

facetime-mac

Did you have a limit on the amount of time you could spend with your pen pal?

What if you child’s best friend lives in Beijing? Or what if they go to another school across town?

Do you really want to limit the social interactions of your child simply because that’s not how you did it when you were a kid and it’s on a “screen”? Are those relationships less real because they take place on some sort of electronically charged surface? If they sent them a letter written with a ball point pen, is that a higher quality experience?

“Why don’t they call them on the phone, like I did?”

I’m quite sure your parents thought you were insane too.

I’m inclined to say: “Let’s limit our children’s one-way, isolating activities.”

But what if they are into coding, video editing, Photoshop?

Would you be as upset if your child was drawing using a pencil?

They both are art. They both are creative.

I think there are things we can agree on:

  • Too much gaming.
  • Too much video watching.

But then it suddenly becomes sketchy to me. After that, the activities move into social, creative realms. 

Do you limit that because it is on a medium you aren’t comfortable with yourself?

These are the questions we need to be asking as parents in the 21st century.

But no matter what answers we come to, “limiting screen time” is something we should stop talking about because it is meaningless.

 

 

 

Minecraft Pocket Edition & Cyber bullying

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We spent a few days at a local water park for the President’s Day weekend. My niece and sister in law also came.

The kids (both 8) are really into Minecraft Pocket Edition. It’s a little like Legos except you play it on a tablet or phone.

It’s interesting because you can collaborate with other people who are playing on the same wireless network you are on. So Indy and Alexandra were working together to build houses, make tools and dig for various minerals to make more things.

This is an example of the kind of things people make:

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It’s highly imaginative and a perfect example of learning through gaming. It’s an almost perfect example of the gameification principle.

A problem arose this weekend because we were playing at a water park on President’s Day weekend. Other kids were playing too.

The pocket Edition of this game is simpler than the main edition that is played on a computer.

In order for my niece and son to play together they had to make their game “visible” on the park’s wireless network. That meant any other kid at the park that was playing could see their world as well. There is no way to kick people out or password protect your world. The developers just didn’t plan for a water park, is all.

So what did the other kids do: They immediately came into our world and destroyed everything. This tore up our house. They took all our supplies and food. They were marauders.

This is interesting on many levels. If left to our own devices, with no controls or authority, the instinct appears to be to steal and destroy. It seems that we are probably much closer to our animal instincts than we like to think we are. This seems to be a strong human instinct that we are born with. No one is teaching any of these children to opportunistically steal and destroy.

Because what did my “dear sweet child” want to do after that happened? He immediately wanted to go into their world and kill them. He didn’t want to just steal there stuff and destroy their houses. He wanted to kill them.

There are 2 points to this story:
1. Don’t play an unpassworded networked game at a water park and expect all the anonymous kids to just get along.

2. Realize that the Internet is the wild wild West. It’s unmonitored. There are no laws against being mean and cruel. People will tear anyone and anything down because no one is watching.

As parents and a species this gives us an interesting opportunity. We can all talk about doing what’s right and being kind not because we’ll get in trouble if we don’t. There is no God or police looking out and penalizing you for cyber bullying.

The conversation can be around how being mean hurts and makes us all less. “Haters gonna hate,” is easy to say. But the ramifications are much deeper. It slows us down and injures us.

This all gives us the potential opportunity to evolve. Can we become altruistically kind? Can we become kind not because we will go to jail or even feel bad if we get caught? But because we are helping someone else to rise up.

What if the experience had been other kids coming into our world and they helped us build? What if people stopped going on YouTube and thinking new ways to be cruel?

These are conversations we as a society all need to have.

Single Family Homes – a Bygone Era

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I am addicted to Craigslist. It’s the most fun Internet activity in my life right now.

I love seeing all the crazy stuff people are selling.

In the Real Estate for Sale sections you still see tons of foreclosures.

Most of them are single family homes.

I’ve come to realize that single family homes are a massive cash suck. They become an investment when you sell them. But when are you going to sell your home? Where are you going to move?

I believe single family homes were a backlash of apartment living after World War II. We wanted our own space.

Multifamily homes are the future.

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One roof, one furnace, one air conditioner. And if you are the owner: someone that helps pay your mortgage.

The world is changing in drastic, fast ways. We can’t keep making and marketing the same products we always have because “that’s the way we do things.”

Yes. People will still want to buy the places they live. But I firmly believe that’s going look different than the way it has looked the last 70 years.