- Finance tip
- Security tip
Health tip/Fitness tip
Thought for the day
1. Product Highlight
Why does the same problem persist, even after
many attempts to resolve it? Why does it happen again, even if we've
"solved it" several times? What can we do to solve problems for
good, once we are in charge of solving them?
These kinds of questions are always prevalent in the workplace,
in our personal lives, and in the course of our every day existence.
The fact that the very efforts made to
solve a problem often make is worse is a plot concept for most of
the situation comedies aired on television. It's also a part of real
history, some of which we refer to in this course. It's history you
don't have to repeat.
Real problem solving involves the key elements you will discover
in this course. There are no tricks or shortcuts, but you don't need
to be a genius to solve problems effectively, either. You just need
to understand the principles behind problem-solving, and know when
and where to apply them. That is what this course will teach you.
2. Brainpower tip
A brain-deadening activity I want to address is texting. It
poses incipient danger that few people are aware of, even as it drains
brainpower inexorably away from those who engage in it. Texting began
to gain momentum when AOL came out with Instant Messenger. There wasn't a
reason to adopt it then, and there isn't a reason to adopt it now.|
Earlier this year, CTIA (the trade group for the
wireless industry) estimateds that people send more than 48 billion text
messages each month. That number is growing. And this is not good.
Anyone who knows me knows I am pro-technology. Some of my solutions are
in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. I have several mobile digital devices, and
I wirelessly check e-mail when I'm away from the office for more than, say,
a couple of hours. I'm Past Chair of the IEEE Computer Society (KC Chapter),
for crying out loud. You would not expect me, of all people, to warn against
using technology. And, I'm not. I'm warning against misusing it.
There's a difference between using messages and
Text messaging, used properly is pretty much
the text equivalent of leaving a phone message. You have something another
person needs to know, so you send text to that person's phone so that person
can view the message.
Texting is the abuse of text messages. Kids "text"
back and forth, sending each other banal trivialities that are, in 99.9999%
of cases, devoid of any substance whatsoever. Imagine how asinine it would
to leave 53 voice messages on someone's telephone answering machine (or
voicemail) saying absolutely nothing intelligent each time. And slurring
your words while U R at it.
Downsides of texting
There are many downsides to texting. Here are a few:
- The shorthand replaces spelling and nullifies
- The banal messages take time, and that time is
subtracted from meaningful conversations.
- Kids are becoming socially retarded.
- The inattention paid to surroundings due to the
"need" to constantly interact with the micro screen is dangerous.
- Eye strain from overuse of the devices is
reaching epidemic proportions.
- The brain adapts to this particular use.
Consequently, the neural pathways required for adequate functioning in
the world are lost. Several entire categories of intelligence simply
disappear from the repertoire of the heavy texter.
Parents, stand firm
Formerly the stupidity-building exercise of teens, it
has now ensnared parents who have begun texting under the assumption this
will help them communicate with their kids. This accommodation is like
jumping off a cliff with someone so you can talk on the way down. The
assumption is not only bassackwards (communication will deteriorate even
further), but parents who take this approach are abrogating their parental
responsibilities and failing their children in a monumental way.
Rather than engage in what psychologists call
"enabling behavior," show leadership. This is what your kids expect from
you, whether they outwardly agree or not. You must stand firm. Helping them
become mentally retarded is not in their best interests (unless they intend
to become senators or CONgressmen). Helping them become socially retarded
will dramatically limit their lifetime earning potential and doom them to
unhealthy relationships with spouses, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Helping them be normally inattentive dramatically increases the likelihood
they will be severely injured or even killed.
This doesn't mean you simply ban texting and call it a day. Find ways to
make yourself interesting to your kids.
- Rather than focus conversation on yourself or your job, ask them to
talk about something in their world. As soon as they do, engage them.
Say, "Tell me more about [name of music group]. What are the names of
the band members? Do you wish any lyrics were different?" Don't judge or
lecture. Observe your kids to see what else they are interested in, and
ask them to tell you all about it. We all like to be listened to. This
approach will provide a very attractive alternative to texting.
- Ask your kid if you can talk. Say something like, "You're getting
older now, and I was wondering if I could get your opinion on a problem.
You know I have been telling you what to do since you were little. Now I
want to tell you about a problem and see if you might have some thoughts
on it." Find something interesting, but not too complex.
- Show your kid an article. "If you haven't read this, I would really
like you to do so. Can we talk about it, later? I want to see what you
- Send your kid an e-mail. This is more involved than a text message.
Your kid is still interacting electronically (the computer, but possibly
a mobile device), but the exchange is going to be more than a few lines
of "filler." Take care you don't cover sensitive topics, as e-mail is
not appropriate for that. Comment on what your kid is studying in
"I hated doing those calculations in chemistry class, also. Really. But
I did them. I couldn't see it at the time, but the math helped me learn
a more logical way of looking at things. I found this article online
[link to article].
I know you're busy (aren't we all!), but please take a few minutes this
week to read that article and then tell me what you think. I had no idea
that 1.3 million earths could fit inside the sun. There's a reason why
that fact is relevant to the material in Chapter 9 of your chemistry
book (yes, I looked--it's some tough stuff!). I'm betting on the fact
you're smart enough to tell me what that reason is.
Tell me on Friday."
- Use text messages without texting. Send your kid a text message.
"Rick, please call your mother." Send such a message only when you have
something intelligent to say. If your kid is horribly addicted, send a
message saying. "Who's the boss? You or that phone?"
Abuse of any technology leads to undesirable consequences. To avoid
those, approach any use of technology with the question, "What problem am I
solving by doing it this way?" Keep technology in its place. I recently read
about bloggers dropping dead from heart attacks. These were men in late
middle-age, who sat blogging for 20 hours a day, jacked up on coffee with
protein powder mixed in. I say the problem wasn't the 20 hours. It was the
use of blogging as a substitute for living. Don't let texting take that role
in your life. It will make you stupid, and other penalties will follow.
3. Finance tip
We generate mountains of waste each year, and nearly
every item that goes in the trash is something we paid for. Here is an
exercise for you, to stanch the bleeding. Pick seven items from your
trash, and put them in a suitable bin. Each day, remove one item, and:|
- Ask yourself why you threw it away.
- Ask yourself if you replaced it with
- Estimate the price of the original and the
- Come up with at least three uses for the item
After doing this for a month, your mind will be
automatically programmed to make better use of the items you buy.
Now, some people might wonder if I'm asking you to
stash banana peels and coffee grounds for a week. No. For items like
that, use them for building compost. Putting them down the garbage
disposal or in the trash and then buying fertilizer is a waste of money.
Besides, inorganic fertilizers destroy the soil while compost and other
organic fertilizers build it.
You can use compost as mulch to preserve moisture
or as fertilizer to encourage growth. If you don't have a garden, buy a
compost bin. If you printed this out and would like to click that
link for great deals on compost bins, then go to
click on the Newsletter link to find your way to the archives where this
edition will be.
4. Security tip
In our last issue, we looked at the 3 Ds of personal security:|
- Deter. Make it hard for thieves to attack you, in the first place.
- Detect. Know when your security has been compromised.
- Defend. Take corrective action.
Before we get into those (which we will, in
upcoming issues), let's look at....
ways ID theft happens
- Government employees sell your information.
This is illegal, but it's a problem we have particularly with the
IRS [source: GAO]. There is nothing you can do to prevent this
problem, other than support the Fair Tax. See
Note: one reason IRS employees commit so much larceny is they
threaten and intimidate government investigators. The only way to
stop this is to abolish the IRS. That can't happen with the current
Demopublican CONgress. In federal elections, write in the name your
cat or dog--or vote Libertarian. Just don't rubber-stamp the
criminal status quo by voting for the rigged ballot of Demopublicans,
unless you actually approve of being robbed blind by these folks.
Remember, these are the people who stuck you with a $9 trillion
federal debt. Like all debts, it must be paid one way or the other.
- Criminals do dumpster diving. Most people in
single residence homes put their trash out the night before.
Apartment dwellers throw it into a common dumpster, typically
outside. Either way provides plenty of opportunity for thieves to
dig through the trash and find information. Even a magazine label or
junk mail envelope is helpful.
- In store employees skim your credit card.
This is one of the many reasons it is FAR safer to shop online than
in person. It's not any effort at all to swipe your card through a
second reader, one owned by the thief. Don't hand your card to
- Online scammers send you a phishing e-mail.
No reputable financial institution or other company will send you an
e-mail asking you to click an link and log in. That's how thieves
grab your log-in information. Always go to the organization's
Website and log in the normal way. Read the URL to ensure that's
where you are. E-mails sent to "Dear Member" that ask you to click a
link and log in are always phishing e-mails. Delete them. Legitimate
e-mails will address you by your name, not some generic salutation
[source: PayPal Security Dept].
- Paper pilferers file a Change of Address card
at the Post Office. They sometimes do this in a clever way so you
get some of your mail but not all of it. For example, they may look
you up in the phone book based on the name on the mailbox. Then,
they'll divert the mail in the name that's in the phonebook. So
maybe the wife receives all her mail, but the husband--whose name is
on the phone bill but maybe not the electric bill--doesn't get his.
Things appear normal. Now they grab your phone bill and steal the
information from it.
- Thieves use traditional methods to steal
information, not "pocket change." For example, they may pick your
pocket for your wallet, copy the credit card information, and then
be a "Good Samaritan" and return your wallet. They'll wait a few
weeks to avoid suspicion, then start using your credit cards.
Defense for men: don't keep your wallet in your back pants pocket.
In addition to being a very insecure location, this also creates
- Thieves may also steal information from
employers and government offices. You can't stop this, but you can
detect it and correct it.
To protect yourself, you need to apply the 3 Ds of
personal security that I listed in our previous issue (listed at the
start of this article). In our next issue, we'll look more closely at
5. Health tip/Fitness tips
The amount of toxic waste generated each year by
Americans is staggering. But, enough about CONgress.|
Here's a site that can help you safely dispose of old
electronics and computer gear:
Those of our readers who are in other countries may have something similar. If you haven't thought to look for it previously, well, now you have.
- Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse, was
actually afraid of mice. Today, we need to fear the damage being done by
the rats in CONgress.
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7. Thought for the Day
Laws cannot stop criminals. Properly prepared
potential victims can.|
Wishing you the best,
The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
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