Media Bias

My dad watches Fox News.  He hates MSNBC.  Therefore, you have enough information to know how he votes.  Why?  Because the media is biased and you know it.  This post is not against Fox News exclusively, it’s against the news media in general.  They’re feeding the American people information with an agenda and the American people are eating it up.  This is because people like to hear what makes them feel good.  If you’re a Republican, you like the way Fox gives you the news because it makes you feel good about your view points.  If you’re a democrat, you like to watch MSNBC news because it makes you feel good about your viewpoints.

What if the owners of the media groups and the executives in charge wanted to cull certain thoughts you use to form your opinion?  What if they wanted you to think a certain way in order to get you to act in a certain way?  Is that just hogwash conspiracy theory?  Am I a lunatic out on the conspiracy fringe?  I don’t think so.  I think  you can ask yourself logical questions and realize that the news channels are feeding you slanted views.  Just like no one has time to make a good meal anymore, no one has time to get to the bottom of the story anymore.  If you decide to turn off your brain and take whatever they’re giving you, you deserve what you’ll get.

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Land vs. Air (Pandora vs. Sirius)

Pandora radio will kill Sirius and any other form of satellite radio.  Let me explain how I know this.  I recently got a new phone with 3G service rendering my old phone obsolete.   As I was trying to decide whether to sell or keep my old phone, I plugged it into iTunes, blanked it out, and put on all my music and apps for the kids.  I was thinking that I could still use it as an MP3 player and the kids love all the game apps.  Even though the phone doesn’t have phone service anymore, it still connects to the internet through my home wi-fi.  That’s when I thought to myself that I could put the Pandora app on the old phone.

This is the first time that Pandora really hit me as a badass application.  I mean, I’d used it in the past on my desktop & laptop and it was cool.  Even cool enough that it was up there with the cooler things on the internet.  But, this was different.  This was mobile Pandora.  My old phone was kicking out sweet music on my old Bose docking station – FOR FREE!!!!   This is music that is as easy as flicking on the radio and there’s no monthly fee.  The depth of the library is enormous.   This was one of those epiphany type moments of how cool technology can be.  My wife and I had been talking about selling our old phones and now there’s no way that I want to do that.   I can also just yank the phone out of the docking station when my kids want to play games too and they won’t be killing the battery on my new phone.

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The Wombats

The Wombats are a band out of Liverpool, England.  They have some great tunes.  I spent the summer of 2009 learning the lyrics to pretty much every one of their songs.  They’re a fresh sounding band that brings punk, pop, and rock together for a terrific sound.  Their lyrics are pretty racy and touch on the usual rock and roll things like chicks,  sex, and partying.  The lyrics and accompanying sound provide a crystal clear view into raw human emotion.  To me, their music basically says: we have nothing to hide and here is our art and our truth – love it or leave it.  And that is my favorite kind of music: raw humanism.  That kind of passion usually takes a little while to catch on with the masses, but once it does, it usually goes viral. Continue reading “The Wombats”

500 Days of Summer

This is a movie about boy meets girl.  The writing is very clever, fresh, and unique.  Like other movies that go forward and backward in time this movie starts near the end and then quickly takes you back to the beginning.   From there, it bounces forward and backward in time.  The way they did this was kind because they gave you a counter to let you know exactly what day of the 500 days it was.  The counter would spin forward and back so you would know exactly where you were along the timeline.  The color of the trees in the background setting of the counter would also change colors and let you know the mood of our protagonist.   To explain that further might give too much away.

I didn’t think I was going to like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but he did a good job.  He was believable and in the end I liked him and his performance.  The real intrigue to get me to watch the movie would be Zooey Deschanel.  I think I like her a lot and need to go off on tangent about her for the next couple paragraphs.  She is amazingly cute and talented.  I titled a post called “Yes Man” and it was not about the movie “Yes Man” but rather about that ‘type’ of person in the workplace.  I did, however, grab a picture of Zooey Deschanel and Jim Carrey for the blog post just to have an image to enhance the post.  Because I have added the wordpress.com blogstats plugin to this blog site, I’m able to see all my stats (e.g. hits per day/week/month, what posts were viewed, and what search criteria were used to drive traffic to the site, etc…)  It’s an amazing plugin and the only thing you need to install it is wordpress.com blog site and API key.  So, without digressing too much further I’ll get to my  point: the word’s “Zooey Deschanel” drive more traffic to my site than any other search words.  This is where I really learned a couple of things about SEO:  1) search engine optimization really has a lot more to do with keywords like Zooey Deschanel and Miley Cyrus, than anything else.   2) there is a lot of buzz surrounding Zooey Deschanel.  It surprises me that more people hit this site searching on Zooey Deschanel than Miley Cyrus.

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Netflix, Blockbuster, and Gandhi

GandhiYou can learn a lot from reading famous quotes.  A quote is usually inspirational in and of itself, but it will often times also lead you to learn about the person who said it.  And, learning about great people in history leads to even more inspiration and knowledge.  A lot of great quotes are analogies or metaphors for things you can relate to.  Some of the best resonate because of that fact.  The best analogies and metaphors relate to things that are observable in nature; this makes them universal because anyone can relate that has observed a natural phenomenon.

Gandhi once said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win”.  This phenomenon can be observed again and again.  It is a standard natural process that happens all the time.  It happens in sports.  You can see it in business.  You can see it everywhere.  One thing about this quote and process is how you can see it unfold over time.  Spot it in the early stage and you can make predictions that might not come true for some length of time.  Then when they do, the affirmation serves to reinforce your beliefs and remind you to stay true to your convictions.

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Reading To Your Kids

42-17371503It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to read to your kids.  It’s something you should do every day or at least at some regular frequency.  There are so many different skill levels when it comes to “knowing how to read”.  Being an above average reader will increase your child’s ability to do just about anything and everything necessary to eke out a living in this world.  As I have said before, I believe that reading skill levels fall into a vast spectrum of beginning to advanced.  There is always room for advancement in education and vocabulary.

The best method of teaching your child to read is repetition.  By reading to your child at a high frequency, you set him up to know so much about this important skill without him even knowing for a moment that he’s learning.  To him, it’s just fun and for you it’s quality time spent with your child.

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Brandy

Spanish_reconquistaBrandy is made from distilling wine.  Its proliferation started when the Moors left the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century.  The persecution and forced conversion to Catholicism of the Muslim population during the time of the Reconquista in the second part of the 15th century caused a mass exodus of Muslims.  In their hasty exodus of what is now Spain, they left behind the stills they used to distill their alcohol.  The Spaniards were skilled wine makers and it did not take them long to start using those stills to turn their wine into what would later be called Brandy.  Within 100 years, distilled wine or Brandy, had made its way all across Europe.

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Review Your Child’s Schoolwork

School Teacher            Reviewing your child’s schoolwork is a great way to stay close to your child.  It will allow you to know:  1) what subjects your child is working on at school  2) give you an idea of what his day was like and 3) give you assets for starting a conversation.

            It’s difficult to start a conversation with my four year old some times.  I might ask “how was your day?” and get no response, or “poo poo” for a response, or a giggle, or some other nonsensical response.  Four year olds have only started developing their vocabulary so it’s tough for them to converse on abstract topics.  Therefore, you get responses that lead to no conversation when you don’t ask the right question.

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PC History, Spreadsheets & Programming Theory

Accidental EmpiresThere are a million tutorials out here on the internet showing you bits of code for whatever language you’re trying to learn or implement.  There are not, however, a lot of posts or essays on programming theory and logic in general.  It’s imperative to have an academic training that precedes your production experience if your production experience is ever going to truly be top notch.   This is true for most things learned and practiced in life.  It’s like they say about a house only being as good as its foundation.  And if your talking about personal computing and programming, you have to ask yourself where the beginning really is.

I’m going to consider the beginning to be birth of the PC and make reference to a book called Accidental Empires by Robert Cringley.  This is a terrific book about how the PC came about and gives a more human look at the lives of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs and the folks at Xerox Parc.  It covers the players that were in the industry initially and touches on a program called VisiCalc.  While these titans of today were developing the first operating systems and hardware as kids in garages, there was one piece of software that was simultaneously being developed that changed everything: VisiCalc.  VisiCalc was a spreadsheet software that did something transformative to society: it gave people a reason to want a computer.  It gave them something they could really use.  The advent of the spreadsheet gave people this living interactive graph paper with a built in calculator and it was a oft overlooked transformative event for all of human society.   In this sense, the spreadsheet was the father of the modern day PC.  Without VisiCalc, there would probably be no computer on your desk today.  This evolution of how humans interact with data was going to come eventually no matter what, but you would probably turn the clock back years on computer technology had VisiCalc not come along when it did.

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Make Time For Your Photos And You’ll Make Time For Your Kids

Recently I took a day off from work and neither my wife nor my kids were home.   This is a rare occurrence and I was planning on doing something that I would enjoy which is most often watching a movie or reading a book.  Since I had some photos on the camera that I took with my boy, I thought I’d transfer them to the PC and have a look.  That started me down a path that would keep me in front of the computer for the rest of the day looking at photos.

 fotomatWhen you look through your photos and you have a little time to do it, it really is an enjoyable thing.  Most of us these days have digital cameras that we can mount up with more pictures in a month than our parents would take in a season.  Digital photography has really been a huge breakthrough over the past ten years.  Gone from our youth are the fotomat booths that used to reside in the middle of parking lots.  Like most things that seem to forever change our lives on a go forward basis, there’s a downside to it all and that’s the time we have to look at all those pictures.

 

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