Category Archives: Life – or something like it

America. Can we talk about the gun thing?

American-Flag-Patriotism-Blue-Red-White-Symbol-1911633.jpgAmerica,

Let’s talk.  No, I mean really talk.  We have a problem with guns and I think it’s time we got things out in the open and took some sensible measures to address it.

I’ll start. I’ll lay out some ideas for discussion and then give details why I think that way so that you understand where I am coming from.

Then it’s your turn.  I hope you will participate because…well…I love you and I want us all to get back to being normal again.  Can we give that a try?

Here are my thoughts on a 7 step program to recovery.

  1. Look at the patchwork of laws that exist across the country, rationalize those down to a smaller set of sensible, workable, laws.  Then enforce those laws completely.  
  2. We need to study the causes of the gun violence and use that information based on actual science to inform the work of #1
  3. We need to take a good, hard, look at what is covered under the second amendment.  Anything not covered – see #1
  4. We need to make access to medical care a right for all citizens.  I think this also needs to be part of #1
  5. We need to get guns out of schools.  
  6. We need to start talking to each other instead of shouting from the sidelines.  
  7. We need to say a big “Thank You!” to the kids from Parkland who have shown amazing strength both following the events and the personal attacks hurled at them afterward.  They are kids – Stop it!  

OK…take a breath.  I’m sure you have a lot of questions and I will try to answer them here.  Then, if you need more, well see #6.  I’m happy to discuss, but I will not respond to being yelled at, called names, etc.

Let’s go one by one.

books#1 – Rationalize laws

I’m not a gun expert, nor a lawyer.  But one thing I am certain about is that adding more laws on top of existing laws isn’t likely to solve the issue.

Most laws on the books are already:

  • Duplicative
  • Confusing and contradictory
  • Inconsistently enforced

I understand why the pro-gun people say that after a mass shooting is a bad time to talk about it because when people are hurting is a terrible time to write new laws.

But it is the perfect time to talk about it and get the ball rolling on some meaningful change. But, that change has to start with understanding the problem first and that takes time.

Which leads me nicely on to…

#2 Study the causes of gun violence in America

We need to take a good hard look at the root causes of gun violence and then see what we can do about it.  This needs to be actual science.  You know, the proper peer-reviewed type of work that we used to do before people started believing their Twitter feed and stopped thinking for themselves.

We can’t expect to fix a problem if we don’t know what is the underlying issue.

Once we have those facts we can start to take a good hard look at ourselves and start making meaningful changes.

wethepeople.jpg#3 Look at what is covered under the second amendment

I’m OK with people owning guns.  Really.  But I do think that we need to take a look at some of the types of guns and their capabilities.

If the second amendment really was to enable the people to resist the government then we should be loading up with tanks and rocket launchers, because your rifle isn’t going to do much against a fully armed Apache helicopter.

I don’t think personal tank ownership is a good idea though because, well, where would we put them all?  And who would move them when street cleaning rules are in effect?

Based on the above I personally don’t believe that “weapons of war” should be covered, and that extends to assault rifle type guns.   I see very few situations where people need to have a high powered, semi-automatic rifle with a 30 round magazine.  So, let’s go through a few use cases

  • Home defense
    A good friend of mine is very pro-gun, ex-military and highly trained.  His view is that the best gun for home defense is a pump action shotgun.  His reasoning was simple.

    • They look evil
    • The sound of one of those being cocked is enough to send most sensible people running for the hills
    • People that are under stress and scared are terrible shots.  A shotgun doesn’t need to be aimed accurately – just point and shoot and you’re going to get them with some of it
  • Hunting
    • If you need a 30 round magazine for hunting then perhaps you might be better spending time to develop your skills.
  • Target shooting
    • My experience of these things is that they are generally more about accuracy, and that takes time.  So is it really a big inconvenience to have to reload slowly?  It might actually help.
  • They look bad-ass and are fun
    • Yes, they do.  And I bet they are a ton of fun to fire.  Maybe there’s a place where you can go to rent them, fire off some rounds, and then leave them locked up in that place?
    • But, we have to recognize that these things are open to abuse.  The safety of kids in schools and people in theaters trumps your fun I’m afraid.
  • Zombie hoards
    • If you really are worried about that then perhaps you have a reason to own an assault rifle.  Or perhaps that leads on to…

#4 Making access to quality medical care a right for all citizens.

If owning a gun is a right then surely this is just as much of a right.  In part, because it might provide some much-needed help to those people suffering from mental illness that might otherwise do harm with guns, either to themselves or other people.

If you think that medical care should only be available to the rich then you and I have nothing more to discuss. 

And don’t kid yourself that “those people” have adequate medical coverage already through social programs.  If they did, people wouldn’t spend vast amounts of their income on medical care, and it would not be the #1 source of bankruptcies in America today.

#5 Get guns out of schools

We often hear that “the thing that will stop a bad person with a gun, is a good person with a gun”.  Frankly, as we have seen in Parkland, that isn’t the case.  And arming the teachers is a terrible idea for the following reasons:

  • We can’t seem to adequately provide school supplies and training for the job teachers already do.  How are we supposed to fund the training and equipment for this?
  • School security is not the job they had in mind when they choose that career path.
  • What do you think is going to happen if a SWAT team shows up to an active shooter situation and sees a bunch of people running around with guns in their hands?  It’s just going to add to the confusion.

Put yourself in their shoes.   If your company came to you and said “Hey Mr. Lawyer/Dr./Chef.  I know you’re pretty busy anyway but would you mind adding building security to your list of tasks?  It won’t take much, but if there’s an active shooter situation – would you mind grabbing your gun and shooting it out with them?  Thanks awfully.
I know some of with visions of grandeur might think that’s pretty cool.  But I also bet that at least 50% of those would wet their pants in a real situation.

Bringing more guns into schools is (IMHO) going to increase the number of killings in school, not decrease it.  Sure, it might stop a mass shooting but I worry we will instead replace that with a steady stream of 1 or 2 deaths across the country that adds up to more deaths overall.

coffee.jpg#6 We need to start talking to each other instead of shouting from the sidelines

The Internet is a wonderful, and scary, thing.  It tends to amplify whatever we are doing so if we are shouting at each other, it just leads to more shouting.

It also creates filter bubbles that reinforce existing views to the point where people think anyone with a different point of view is just an idiot – and that is on both sides.

So, let’s debate things openly.  Preferably in person!  Yes, I know that is scary for the keyboard warriors but I think if we all sat down with a nice cup of joe I bet we would find that we are closer than we think.

We all love our children.  We all want a peaceful and safe world to live in.  Let’s start there and then we can debate the best way to achieve that.

Speaking of children…

#7 We need to say a big “Thank You!” to the kids from Parkland.

The kids in Parkland have been through a horror that none of us should ever have to experience.  They have taken that and, in just a few days, turned it into a movement that has moved the needle further than ever before.  They are to be applauded, supported and thanked.  Frankly, they have shown us what is possible. Whether you like it or not, they have taken a stand for what they believe in and that, my friends, is the most American thing you can do. 

And, for those who have drunk the cool aid that they are “crisis actors”.  Please go and do some actual fact-checking from a reputable source before you share that post in your news feed.

Phew!

Well, that was a lot.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Yes, I’m willing to concede I might not have it all right.  But I’m open to debating it and even learning a thing or two.  So feel free to leave a comment.

Want to meet for a coffee to discuss it?  I’m OK with that too – let’s figure out where and when.  I’m willing to learn and open my mind to new ideas…are you?

 

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Filed under Life - or something like it, The Human Condition

Above the Fold

Honolulu_Star-Bulletin_December_7th_1941.jpg

“Above the fold” is an old concept that can still be used give your emails more punch!

For newspapers, the most important space in the entire paper is the upper half of the front page. Papers are often displayed folded so that only the top half of the front page is visible. Thus, an item that is “above the fold” is one that the publisher believes will entice people to buy the paper.

But why is this important in a world controlled by electronic media?  

Because the concept of being “above the fold” still holds true today, and may even be more important in a world saturated with excessive email traffic.  

When sending an email you need your “call to action” to be at the top.   This goes double if your audience will be reading on a mobile device.

Need someone to approve your budget?  Include that message in the first few lines of your email, and then follow with all of the pertinent information on why the money is necessary.  If you lead with supporting information, it’s likely they will never get to the bit where you need them to take action.

calltoaction.PNG

The same applies to your web pages.  Want action?  Then make sure the call to action appears before the user has to scroll down.

Like it or not today’s world is all about convenience.  So if you want action, don’t make people have to work for it.

 

 

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Solid Foundation Drone Building Class

Is drone building as cool as skateboarding?  Probably not!  But who says you can’t have both?

via Solid Foundation Drone Building Class – Avios Aerial MediaAvios Aerial Media21624008_10155033600844786_804616408_n.jpg

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Equifax’s Instructions Are Confusing. Here’s What to Do Now.

By sitting on information about a massive data leak for two months, Equifax put over half the population of the US at serious risk of fraud. Now it turns out they may even be able to turn this into a money making proposition!

So, yes, your worst suspicions are now confirmed. Equifax may actually make money on this breach. We would expect nothing less from the credit reporting industry, with which few of us would choose to do business but nearly everyone has to sooner or later.

via Equifax’s Instructions Are Confusing. Here’s What to Do Now. – The New York Times

Similar to how it is illegal for criminals to make money from their notoriety, I think it’s time we had something similar for companies.  At the very least, any monies made need to be funneled into a fund to take care of the victims.

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My Father’s Dragon

8 years ago I convinced Greg to record a children’s audio book for a group called Librivox.  Librivox provides thousands of free audiobooks that are in the public domain.

The book was called My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett.  It’s a fantastic story about how a boy uses his smarts to overcome various obstacles and it is made extra special (IMHO) because it is read by a young child.

Today I stumbled across that old recording on my phone and wanted to see how it was doing.  If I’m reading the site correctly it looks as though it has now been “read” over 70,000 times!

If you have young children I would recommend giving it a shot.  I bet they will love it!

If you would prefer to download it see the page on Librivox here:

https://archive.org/details/my_fathers_dragon_0909_librivox

 

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3D Printing Landscapes and Buildings

One of the uses I’ve been putting my drone to is creating high definition maps of areas. This is a relatively new service offering for Avios Aerial Media and I’m experimenting to find the best combinations of height, speed, picture overlap, and camera settings to achieve consistently good results.

The software I’m currently using is DroneDeploy which recently announced a host of new features.  But the one that really caught my eye is that you can now 3D print your images!

3DPond.PNG

Think about that for a minute.

Let’s assume you really like that beautiful old church complete with steeple etc.  You can send your drone off to automatically capture images from all around it, upload those to the server and have someone 3D print a little replica of the church in a material of your choice.

Or you are about to start developing an area of land and need to show that to investors. Forget about maps.  Now you can print a 3D landscape of the entire area and drop it on their desk.

How cool is that!!

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Back to the Future!

backtothefuture.jpgAround 2002 I was selected as part of an experimental group to create an internal consulting group.  Something like the “Big Four”, but without the constant loss of institutional knowledge.

This past Monday I re-joined the company as the head of that group!

Honestly, I’m very excited about it.  

The team has such incredibly deep knowledge that it’s somewhat daunting as I’m probably the least intelligent person in the room 99% of the time.  That said I have something most of them don’t.  No, it’s not my amazing good looks, it is my age!

All of the group are younger than me, several by a couple of decades.  I had to explain to one of the team members on Friday what backup tapes were!  (sic)

But I remember being their age too.  I remember wondering why we needed all these “old people”.  My technical expertise was top notch and people wanted me.  Why did I need to be nice to people?

image_cbff354b-879a-4001-beab-9e4e1ad4f78e20170214_110055.jpgOver the years, I have learned many lessons the hard way.  

I learned that emotional intelligence is worth more than technical expertise.

I learned that keeping a secret is worth more than blabbing to show you are in the loop.

I learned that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. And that asking for help is a gift to the helper and the helped.

I learned to give first without expecting something in return.

I learned to say “thank you”, and mean it.

I learned that my word is, and must always be, my bond.

I learned to give credit often and publicly.

I learned that mistakes happen and the only people not making mistakes are the ones not doing anything new, hard or innovative.

I learned that opportunities are often enshrouded with hassle, perceived risk and the need to overcome inertia.

I learned to accept that I don’t have all the answers and that should accept assistance when it is offered.

And so we embark on a new journey together.

The group is in an interesting place today.  It is really a collection of individual contributors rather than a team.  Smart, talented, and energetic individuals for sure.  But I think we can build something truly amazing if we can learn to support each other more.

Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.  If we can recognize that, learn to trust and lean on each other, and learn to ask for help when we need it then the group is destined to be something truly amazing.  I hope I’m up to the task of helping them on that journey.

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Filed under Career, Life - or something like it