Life changing versus changing your life

So there are many gadgets that are floating around that profess to making your life easier. They save time (as the personal computer was supposed to do, many years ago). They reduce the effort required to complete the task (try digging post holes with a manual post hole digger then switch to a post hole auger and see the impact of mechanization).

But it is a spider web of complexity from there. And that is always an issue, you see the more complex the solution to the problem is, the more complex the trouble shooting steps required to complete fixing the problem, are.

You can’t pick the phone and troubleshoot a complex router issue, most likely the tech will need to connect to the router from the internet and review its configuration. I used to be able to open my car (a Beetle) and know what ever part of the engine was. Now, I look at my car and turn to the mechanic and say, please fix it. I don’t even know what the majority of the technology pieces are.

We all curse our cellular phones as they stop working due to some type of interference. But have we ever sat down and figured the amount of time the cellular phone has saved us?

The question I ask today is simple – how much time is really saved? Is the time saved truly free time (average work day in 1900 was 10 hours and they worked six days a week). Or is that simply time to do more things, more tasks.


Seeing is believing (but believing is seeing)

Its a great line from the movie “The Santa Claus” and the two follow on movies in the series. But seeing isn’t believing – at least for most people. Most of us believe that germs exist (or why would anti-bacterial hand soap fly off the grocery store shelves). Howard Hughes lived the last part of his life terrified of the tiny “things” he couldn’t actually see.

But then there is another piece to the puzzle. It is often hard for us to accept the words of someone, when there actions don’t say the same things. Actions, the old adage goes, speak louder than words.

I guess that means we believe in things we don’t see, but we trust things we do see happen.

Funny how the human mind words sometimes. Personally I am a huge believer in action. Action to me says that what happened is real. Words are often ways to obscure and change the vision and scope of what you are trying to do. But action, action is simple an concise – what happened, happened. Again going back to the statement – you can say “you will do” anything, its the actual doing part that is critical.


ZuneHD Review

So I splurged and got one of the new ZuneHD’s – didn’t even wait for the internal discount version.

I love the form factor – been using the iPod touch for the past few months.

  • Zune has an awesome radio and its FM HD advantage Zune
  • Touch is still better at Audible books   advantage iPod
  • they tied – both do well with wifi networks tie
  • Zune has HD out – iPod you still have the AV only advantage Zune
  • both work well with their respective software – although I have to say the apple software is still a bit better so advantage IPod there. advantage iPod
  • Music player experience – tie which is truly amazing with the new Zune interface
  • Games – many more on the iPod but the Zune games are nice – screen is bigger on the touch so advantage iPod there
  • Battery life – about equal
  • screen – screen on Zune is smaller but brighter/better so its a tie


All in all I have to say the ZuneHD is a huge step forward in the MP3 player space. Keep up the good work guys!


Filling the blog-o-sphere

Its been 9 months since my new years resolution to maintain my blog and be more effective in communicating some of my thoughts and ideas to the rest of the world.  My other new years resolution is a continuation of one I’ve been using for the past four years. Continue to walk/run at least 3 time or more per week. My knees and toes have finally made running nearly impossible – but i am walking 4-6 miles 3-4 times per week. I’ve lost another 6 pounds without having to change was I was eating!

The celebration for me this year is the growth of my sons. At 11 they are now incredible little people now and i truly enjoy every chance I have to sit and listen to how they pull the world apart and put it back together.

My daughter is now 16, driving (which is scary) but is a level headed wonderful person as well. She has a gift with small children that is a joy to behold. I see the generations (two of my aunts, my father and of course myself) of teachers in her. She responds so well to little children it is amazing. When the boys were small and fragile she was never afraid to interact with them – its probably why they are so close now.

Barb is back in school and doing extremely well (as expected). She seems really happy now – able and finally taking on her dreams.

Thank you god for the gifts you have given me. As I do each Sunday, thank you as well for those who have gone before me:

Les, Joan, Raymond, Esther, Monie, Henry and Ned. Always Ned.


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Another shameless review – Toyota Highlander

We went up to Fishers this am – had to go there to visit an electronics store to get a switch for the home network. The old switch just stopped working for no reason which was frustrating.

We took the new car to the store – a hour long trip each way. The Highlander is a great car for trips, its comfortable inside for the kids, there is a video system in the back. The radio is nice and the GPS has a large easy to use touch screen.

  1. Averaged 26 miles to the gallon (overall) driving to Fishers from Greenwood.
  2. The hybrid is so quiet (you can barely hear the car when you first turn it on)
  3. Wireless headsets work well – which means we don’t have to listen to the kids movie – we can enjoy the music we would rather listen to!
  4. Cup holders are well positioned throughout the car – which is nice when you have 4 or 5 people in the car
  5. The third row seating is a bit tight.
  6. All wheel drive is nice – can’t wait to see how that works out this winter.
  7. Heated seats (not sure how you can have a car without heated seats anymore).

This is the first non-us car (although it is made in the US) that we’ve bought since our beloved Subura 16 years ago. Will let you know how things work out over the next few months.


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sometimes I cannot see what is there

As you get older you form a series of relationships. Most of them are shaped by the relationships you form with your parents and family at an early age. But over time you establish your vision of what such relationships that you need and form look like. Yesterday our neighbors of 10 years moved out of their house. They had a get together at the house to say goodbye to all of us, and to welcome to the new owners of the house. It was a sad moment in my life. For 10 years there has always been the constant of our neighbors. Now they are gone.

Its an interesting thing, in my architecture blog I dived into the concept of architects and architectures as trees. Trees are such a constant in the world around you, but last year during the floods that impacted Indiana we lost a tree (over 75 years old) in our court. Funny that you lose something like a tree and your entire neighborhood changes. But that I suspect is the wonder of the world we live in.

I will miss our neighbors, but you move on. They will come back and visit (they are moving a little north of where we are now) to smoke cigars, drink scotch and talk about the world around us – but it will be a new relationship. Neighbors are trusted parts of your life that you allow to have keys to your house, and loan sugar and eggs to! Friends are often just as trusted, but its not the same relationship.

So, best to my neighbors in their new journey.


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How do you measure value

So the other day I found out a friend that I respected deeply was no long with the company we had both been working for. He had actually been there longer than I had (14 or even 15 years) and is one of the smartest people I know.

How do you measure the value of a single human being? The spiritual answer to that question is infinite but isn’t really practical or realistic. Infinite is an easy cop out to not wanting to answer a question.

What is a single person worth? You could assign value to the various things people do for you – a smile is worth a dollar. Making you laugh is worth 2 dollars and so on. Take away 24 cents if they make you cry. But in the end what is the value of a human being?

I wonder and question this as I get older. Last night on talk radio I was listening to a discussion about a person whose basketball skills I highly value. I wouldn’t go to a basketball player for life advice however, as they are in a different world then I am in. But why is it that people who have a skills level in a sport are suddenly equated with important and highly valuable people?

I value the whistleblower. The person who does the right thing regardless of personal gain. But would I value that person less if they were engaged with the company I was working at? If it was my job would the whistleblower decline?

Which leads me back to the sports figure – of course sports talk radio people would be concerned about the person, its their job. Me, its something I enjoy watching (sports) but does not define anything in my life other than the time I spend watching it.

So what is the value of a human being?


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