Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The new (people) Networking

Stop aiming to generate business. Aim to listen to, understand and help people.

The old method went like this: Use “networking” as an opportunity to drum up business. Approach an owner of an online marketing firm. Shake hands, swap cards and talk about yourself a bit. Then later, follow up with an email along the lines of, “Don’t forget about me — I can design things! Pay me money to do that!”

The new method is like this: Create an opportunity to learn about other peoples' interests and challenges — don't even think of the word “networking.” Approach the owner of the online marketing firm — introduce yourself, shake hands, ask for the owner’s card, then ask questions about their business and what they do. (be genuinely interested) Then you follow up with an email with something helpful to the online marketing owner’s business. Perhaps an article on lead conversion optimization you stumbled upon; maybe an ebook on managing employees your old boss swore by; maybe a potential lead for the firm. You repeat this giving here and there, and importantly, you don't have any expectations from these actions.

So there

Monday, April 28, 2014

Deconstructing the Conservative motto

Our government's motto is 'Jobs, Growth, Prosperity'. Everything they talk about is based on those 3 things. So I thought about it long and hard and I'm coming up short on how exactly our government is making these things happen.

Let's start with jobs. Are there any new jobs? Yes, there have been jobs created over the past few years, but they have all been in the private sector. Many of them are part-time jobs, which is good for business, not so good for the worker. Oh, sorry, I forgot about the jobs being given to temporary foreign workers. There's a few of those. Are there any new public sector jobs? If there are, nobody's talking about them. There is a lot of talk about disappearing public sector jobs though. Contracts cancelled. Offices closed. So how the government is creating jobs is outside of my scope of comprehension.

Next we have growth. A very vague word if you ask me. Growth in what? Jobs? We already covered that. So what growth are we talking about? The economy? I see growth in prisons. I see growth in the oil sands. [long dramatic pause] I can list a myriad of things not experiencing growth though. Transportation infrastructure on a national scale. Education accessibility. Science. Alternative energy. Green technology. Political compromise. Senate reform. No growth to be found. Nothing to see...... please move along.

Lastly we have my favourite - prosperity. Oh my goodness do we ever have prosperity in droves eh? I don't know about you, but I have so much money, I'm doing all my renovations, going on vacations multiple times per year, buying cars like they're going out of style and sending all my kids to university. Twice. No? Not representative of your situation? Well, I lied. Me neither. Let's be clear - I'm not doing badly, but I'm certainly not in a financial position where I'm funding all the things I need or want funded. Let's just leave it at that. But do you know who is making out like gangbusters? The top 10%. Holy smokes. These folks are rolling in it. Big corporations are raking in record profits. Recession? They didn't really notice it. How could they? The current Canadian business climate, at least for big business, is the most tax-friendly it's been in decades and the companies making the most money (oil & gas) are subsidized to the teeth. So we can put a great big tick mark in that check box. But are they sharing this prosperity? Are workers getting a fair, living wage? You're kidding, right?

So, I think this government needs a new motto. Let's see....... how about Honesty, Accountability and Open-ness? That's another post entirely.

New way to store cables

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Things I learned lately - 26 April

  • There is a new moon forming on the edge of Saturn's rings. That we are witnessing it blows my mind.
  • Canada is considered an energy superpower, yet almost 25% of our disposable income goes to pay for energy costs.
  • A company in Israel is trying to make an absorbent material out of jellyfish called hydromash. It could be made into napkins, medical sponges, diapers and paper towels and is many times more absorbent than current paper towels. The material is biodegradable in 30 days. This would not only aid in reducing landfill material but also help reduce the explosion of jellyfish population in today's oceans.
  • Flashing your headlights at oncoming traffic to warn of the presence of police is now protected as free speech in Oregon.
  • Frogs or toads won't give you warts, but shaking hands with someone who has warts can. The human papillomavirus is what gives people warts, and it is unique to humans.
  • Ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand when threatened. Actually they don't bury their heads at all. When threatened, ostriches flop on the ground and play dead.
  • Only a small percentage of people with Tourette syndrome randomly yell out swear words — it actually encompasses a lot more than that, including involuntary movements and different sound tics. The swearing tic is called coprolalia.
  • The misconception that educated Europeans at the time of Columbus believed in a flat Earth, and that his voyages refuted that belief, has been referred to as the Myth of the Flat Earth. Virtually all scholars of that period maintained that the Earth was round, not flat. The myth that people thought the Earth was flat was started in the 1940s by the Members of the Historical Association.
  • Sharks can and do get cancer. The myth that they don't was created by I. William Lane to sell shark cartilage as a cancer treatment.
  • The average annual wage in San Mateo county, where Facebook is based, is $168,000 per year. That makes it the best-paying county in the United States.
  • Villain used to mean 'farm labourer'.

Don't look down....

........aww crap I looked down.

Don't watch this video if you suffer from vertigo.


These boys are insane.

One way to bury your house key.....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Possession proof

If you want to do your home insurance company a favour, take your phone, make a video of a tour of every room in your house. Quickly show them everything, even the inside of closets. Then save the video and store it in the cloud. If anything happens you have proof of your possessions.

Squirrels are.......... more interesting than I give them credit for

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Things I learned lately - 20 April

  • The oil sands represent about 2% of Canada's economy.
  • Of the 90 cent boost to Canada's GDP per dollar of investment in the oil sands, 82 cents goes directly to Alberta. Where is all of this money? 
  • A 79 year old high school substitute teacher who has been an inspiration to her students was dismissed after refusing to unfriend her students on Facebook.
  • In the future, flying drones may be able to 'perch' on hydro lines to recharge themselves.
  • University of Edinburgh scientists have for the first time used regenerative medicine to fully restore an organ in a living animal. The team rebuilt the thymus, an organ central to the immune system, of very old mice by reactivating a natural mechanism that gets shut down with age. The regenerated thymus began to make more T-cells - a type of white blood cell key to fighting infections.
  • Using bone conduction audio technology, advertisers may soon start transmitting advertising right into your head when you rest your head against the window glass on a train or bus.
  • When Twitter first launched in 2006, the word "tweet" didn't exist. The site referred to tweeting as "Twittering" and those who used Twitter as "Twitter-ers." A Twitter employee wasn't happy with the wordy "Post a Twitter Update". At first, the posts were called "twits." One developer suggested changing "twit" to "tweet."
  • Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometres (87 to 120 mi) in the Earth's mantle. Carbon-containing minerals (not coal) provide the carbon source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). Diamonds are brought close to the Earth′s surface through deep volcanic eruptions by a magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites.
  • In Japan, it's perfectly OK to crack open a beer in a public park, on the street or even on a train.
  • In 1975, a dentistry student would have had to work just over 7 weeks (40 hours/week) to pay for one year of tuition, at the time only $664. In 2013, that same student would have had to work for almost 43 weeks to pay for the tuition of the same education, now $17,324.
  • Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, would let the winning candidate of the previous election — the member of Parliament — choose some of the workers at polling stations. The candidate would select the deputy returning officers, central poll supervisors and poll clerks.
  • Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, would let political parties spend as much as they want on election fundraising from people who have contributed $20 or more in the last five years. Right now, if a party hires a company to solicit money during an election, that counts as an election expense.
  • Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, would no longer allow the Chief Electoral Officer, the head of Elections Canada, to alert the public to problems during an election or even to work with programs that teach students about civic affairs and how elections work.

He's 2

Let's just put that out there. He's 2.

Movie stars? Yup. Buckets from seven-stories? Check. Making shots with both hands at the same time? Check.

Ladies and gentlemen, Trick Shot Titus.

The country comes together

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Another teacher resigned in the US

And here is her letter:

I am writing today to let you know that I am resigning my position as PreK and Kindergarten teacher in the Cambridge Public Schools.  It is with deep sadness that I have reached this decision, as I have loved my job, my school community, and the families and amazing and dedicated faculty I have been connected with throughout the district for the past eighteen years. I have always seen myself as a public school teacher, and fully intended to work until retirement in the public school system. Further, I am the product of public schools, and my son attended Cambridge Public Schools from PreK through Grade 12. I am and always have been a firm believer in quality public education.

In this disturbing era of testing and data collection in the public schools, I have seen my career transformed into a job that no longer fits my understanding of how children learn and what a teacher ought to do in the classroom to build a healthy, safe, developmentally appropriate environment for learning for each of our children.  I have experienced, over the past few years, the same mandates that all teachers in the district have experienced.  I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them.  Each year, I have been required to spend more time attending classes and workshops to learn about new academic demands that smack of 1st and 2nd grade, instead of Kindergarten and PreK.  I have needed to schedule and attend more and more meetings about increasingly extreme behaviors and emotional needs of children in my classroom; I recognize many of these behaviors as children shouting out to the adults in their world, “I can’t do this!  Look at me!  Know me!  Help me!  See me!”  I have changed my practice over the years to allow the necessary time and focus for all the demands coming down from above.  Each year there are more. Each year I have had less and less time to teach the children I love in the way I know best—and in the way child development experts recommend. I reached the place last year where I began to feel I was part of a broken system that was causing damage to those very children I was there to serve.

I was trying to survive in a community of colleagues who were struggling to do the same:  to adapt and survive, to continue to hold onto what we could, and to affirm what we believe to be quality teaching for an early childhood classroom.  I began to feel a deep sense of loss of integrity.  I felt my spirit, my passion as a teacher, slip away.  I felt anger rise inside me.  I felt I needed to survive by looking elsewhere and leaving the community I love so dearly.  I did not feel I was leaving my job.  I felt then and feel now that my job left me.

It is with deep love and a broken heart that I write this letter.


Suzi Sluyter

Winter's back

Monday, April 14, 2014


Google has created a timeline of music between 1950 and now. It shows the distribution of genres of music over time (as a share of the whole).

That's cool enough, but then you can click the timeline to explore each genre.

Even cooler, if you type the name of a band or artist, it shows their output / popularity across the entire timeline. If you stay generic (try just using 'jones'), it shows any artist with that name.

The Doge pickup

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Things I learned lately - 12 April

  • Washington DC has de-criminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Get caught with less than an ounce and the fine is $25.
  • Once again, the "piracy-stricken" motion picture association has had a banner year, with box office revenue breaking all records (as they've done in most recent years). The biggest gains this year come from China - a market condemned by the studios as a hive of piracy.
  • The difference in time between when the Tyrannosaurus Rex lived and when the Stegosaurus lived is greater than the difference in time between when the T-Rex lived and now.
  • You can't hum if you're clamping your nose closed.
  • Volvo, Audi and who knows which other car manufacturers are currently working on a self-parking feature that would park the car automatically after you get out. That's right, it would be able to drive and park itself in the nearest parking spot without you. The advantage is that it could pick a spot that is otherwise too narrow to open the doors. I'm guessing an app would be used to either find your car later, or tell it to come to where you are now.
  • Apparently a 180 mile canal is being built through Nicaragua that will rival the Panama canal. Nobody knows where the money is coming from, but many suspect it will be financed by China.
  • What was a size 16 (for women's clothing) in the 1950s would today be an 8 today. That's because in the 1980s, the Dept of Commerce allowed the clothing industry to abandon the uniform standard sizes and adopt numbers that would stroke womens' egos.
  • The company that supplies audiobooks to libraries has finally agreed to get rid of DRM and issue the audiobooks in DRM-free mp3 format. This is a major win for libraries.
  • Based on new data from the Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft, estimates suggest there could be as many as 60 billion planets with conditions that support life just in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
  • Jalapeno peppers developed their hot spicy-ness to deter animals from eating them. I guess that didn't work out so well, huh?

Songs that are 40 years old this year (2014)

Bad Company - Can't get enough
Eric Clapton - I shot the sheriff
Genesis - The lamb lies down on Broadway
Joni Mitchell - Help me / Free man in Paris
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Neil Young - On the beach / Walk on
Queen - Killer queen
Steely Dan - Rikki don't lose that number
Stevie Wonder - Boogie on reggae woman
Supertramp - School / Dreamer / Bloody well right
George McCrae - Rock your baby
The Hollies - The air that I breathe
Wings - Band on the run
Ace - How long
Andy Kim - Rock me gently
Terry Jacks - Seasons in the sun
Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown
America - Tin man
Harry Chapin - Cat's in the Cradle
Nazareth - Love Hurts
Elton John - Don't let the sun go down on me / Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown

No pie

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Airline sayings

Slam-Clicker: A flight attendant who either doesn’t socialize after a flight or is too tired to — they go straight to their hotel room, slam the door and click the lock.
George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”
Cowboys: Cargo Operators.
Ramp-rat: Ground crew.
Crop Dusting: When flight attendants walk down the aisle and fart.
Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane.
Two-for-one special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again.

The next joker?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Things you should never say at work

"Are you pregnant?" If she wants you to know she's pregnant, she'll tell you.

"Would anyone be offended if I told a sexual joke?" If you have to ask, assume someone would be offended.

"You owe $20 for a gift for the boss." Not only is there no need to buy gifts up the chain, even if it were OK, the contribution should be opt-in only.

"You're so skinny! Why aren't you eating?" Commenting on other people's figures is off-limits. Nobody was hired based on their lifestyle.

"That's not my job." The goal of every employee should be to make everyone else look good and this is not how you do it.

"The new (insert job title here) is a real jerk." And now, so are you.

"I heard Kim is dating Ryan." Gossip is not something people are praised for.

"Why are you so dressed up today? Got a job interview?" This is so many kinds of awkward.

"I'm so hungover." So what you're telling us is that not only do you value fun over your job, but you'll be useless today? Is that what you're saying?

Plastic pennies? Why?

Like really $3.49?

For 100?

They're not even real!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Things I learned lately - 6 April

  • In the Google Chrome web browser, if you right click an image on a web page and press the s key, it does a reverse Google image search on that picture. OMG!
  • Between Barnes & Noble, Staples, GameStop, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale, over 1190 retail stores are closing in the next few years. That's just in the US.
  • If you have spent most of your life in North America, much of the rest of the world will be a noisy surprise. People live life loudly in other parts of the world. 
  • Palo Alto recently prohibited people from sleeping in their cars. That's right. Don't help the homeless or working poor, marginalize them.
  • There's a Peanuts movie coming in 2015! [Snoopy happy dance]
  • The 3 cheapest provinces to obtain a new wireless contract are Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The 3 provinces that have a 4th major wireless carrier to compete with the big 3 are... Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Coincidence?
  • Consider the wealth of the richest 85 people in the world. This wealth equals the entire worth of the poorest half of the planet's population (3.5 billion people).
  • In the preparation of halal meat, the knife is never sharpened in the presence of the animal and the other animals are not to witness the killing of an animal.
  • Five Guys Burgers doesn't believe in cutting back on quality or quantity to maintain the profit margin. They keep everything the same and just raise prices to reflect food costs.
  • In over 2,200 peer-reviewed articles about climate change by over 9,000 authors, published between November 2012 and December 2013, just one author and paper rejected human actions as the cause.
  • California workplaces are finding that there are no longer enough electric vehicle charging stations to go around anymore. There are currently 20,000 electric cars on the roads. There are 5,000 public and workplace charging stations in California.
  • In Australia, they're shaving bees to fit them with sensors to track their movements as part of a study. How does one get stuck with THAT job? "Joe, you're the new guy so you get to shave the bees."
  • Microsoft is caving. The start menu is coming back in the next iteration of Windows 8.
  • If you're still using Windows XP, why? But seriously, if you are and you're also using Microsoft Security Essentials, it's about to expire in 2 days. Forever.

Have you got a manual for a modified YT-1300 Corellian Freighter?

Friday, April 04, 2014


No mystery ingredients.
No hydrogenated oils (trans fat).
Contains vitamin A, B12, D, E and K. Also potassium, iodine and calcium.
No sugar.

iPad tricks

4 finger swipe to switch between apps.

4 finger pinch to go home.

4 finger swipe up to get to multitasking bar.

In case you didn't know. I'm getting used to these now.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Don Lon

Sometimes I get these silly ideas in my head. Such as, what would it be like if people started referring to place names by taking the last part of a name and moving it to the beginning. Then add 'The'.

I'm headed to The Diego San in May. But I'm looking forward to a trip to The Couver Van in the fall.

The Real Mont     The Gary Cal     The Ver Den
The Wa Otta     The Ronto To     The Ton Edmon
The Toon Saska     The Ton Kings     The Dine Kincar
The Peg Winni     The Na Kelow     The Eau Gatin
The Mer Ayl     The Fax Hali     The Ta Kana

Who knows, it might catch on.....

A video that will hurt

This video about nocebos is fascinating. But you'll get a headache from watching it. Maybe. Not really. OK, only if you believe that you will.

IKEA parts