Next up to bat February–known for being a change of pace…


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OK January has been TOOOOOO COLD and TOOOOOOO LONG. Say goodbye! Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out the door.

When I traveled all the time I had a number of very useful tools that were light, small and helped me be more agile. At the same time I had a number of tools I used every day. Over time the tools you use frequently gain wear and tear. My travel bag hasn’t been opened in more than a year. It may be time to get rid of all that travel gear.

I had been placing a ton of stuff in various charities that come pick them up off the porch as well as various charities like Goodwill. Some I’ve been selling eBay. Some you just can’t do anything with. Its funny when you think about the things you collect over the years.  Some of the stuff I just put on display in my office both at work and home. What else can you do with it.

Like a 128 meg USB watch that you can’t replace the battery for so it’s a small and fairly useless device for storage and you can’t tell time with it anymore. It was however, an award many years ago so you can’t throw it away.

Not by the way that I am hoarding. I cleaned out the part of my office that was a hoarding spot when we moved. I don’t have that kind of storage now (and frankly I do have that kind of storage today but my daughter has filled it with the stuff she can’t deal with).

It may be time for a more structured approach and say if it isn’t an award and it doesn’t work throw it away. If it does work and it has value sell it on eBay (although personal note what is up with their crappy service and raising the fees, again?). If it isn’t worth something but still works donate it to charity.

Oh yeah, and January – I am still watching you. You have until midnight tonight to get out of town.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

my new doorbell is here…


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You know you are a geek when technology comes to replace something and you are so excited you are frustrated that its too cold to go outside and install the new technology.

Good bye doorbell. Without having Lurch answer my door you’ve become boring, old fashioned. Now if Lurch would answer my door (you rang) it would be a completely different story.

SkyBell (another of my fun projects backed on Indiegogo) changed the name of their product before they finished them which is completely cool because SkyBell is a very cool name.

It replaces your doorbell.

So?

It’s an audio/video doorbell you install in place of your existing doorbell. It still rings the bell (which by the way kicks off our secondary doorbell two dogs barking.) You can, using your phone (android or iOS) connect to the camera in the SkyBell and see who is there. You can also talk to them (like give me one minute to move the dogs away from the door. Or, if you are in the basement watching a movie, I am coming upstairs). Its part of my long campaign to automate as much of the house as I can.

You can order the device on their website Http://www.skybell.com once it is installed and running (I have the iOS app installed but when its 20 degrees or below I avoid going outside and standing. We got out and walk, but not stand for 20 minutes). Will post a full review once I get it installed and operational.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Super Bowl prediction…


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For those of you playing along at home, I have predicted the last ten super bowls (before the game of course) and am 5-5. After the game I am a much better prognosticator going 10-0, but before the game I am .500.

This year’s game presents problems for me. As the Indianapolis Colts vs. the Chicago Bears game of a few years ago did as well. I am a lifelong Bears fan but have become a huge Peyton Manning fan. In the end I rooted for the Bears in the first half and the Colts in the second half but I picked the Colts to win the overall game. I didn’t like the Bears offence at that time.

Fast forward to 2014. I rooted for the Seahawks (I’ve been to a couple of games while I worked at my previous job). I really love Seattle and the team. I am still however a Peyton Manning fan above all else.

That said it’s a really good game.

I am torn by my loyalties.

But my prediction for this game follows:

  1. This is going to be a great game. Good defense on both sides of the ball. One of the greatest offences of all time on one side of the ball and a very good defense on the other side.
  2. Peyton Manning’s last two Super Bowls haven’t been stellar.
  3. This is the Seahawks first Super Bowl. There are going to be jitters. Early in the game they will be pumped up. The question is will they have anything left in the 4th quarter.
  4. Seahawks offense has gone down considerably from last year. They have a good running game but not great, a mobile quarterback and their best receiver back. Still in the end this is a weakness that must be addressed. If they can fix their offence in two weeks, then this is going to be a really close game.

Final score Denver 27, Seattle 17 but Seattle has the ball and is driving as a the game ends.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Of family, love and happiness.


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Its funny how your world changes when you become a parent. Last night everyone was home, no one was in a bad mood and we all shared dinner and watched some TV together. Not much TV, most of the time was spent talking over the show and connecting with each other. Those are the magical moments that made me happy. I love my family.

Jackie got up to get some dip and Dylan, being a family member reshuffled the couch order and took her spot. He wouldn’t move so she sat on him. He moved eventually but it was all of us on the couch. again, the magical moments that remind us as parents why we set out on the journey we are taking.

Being a parent, being a person directly involved with another’s person’s growth is a fantastic job.

“There is much in this world beyond our understanding, beyond the grasping fingers of our comprehension. In that beyond space that opening just beyond our reach lies love. From it pours all good things.” Sandler Boggs

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

My fear of flashing cursors…


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They are, sometimes, in front of me. Flashing cursors that seem to alternately wink and chide me. Move me, the seem to whisper as I stare at the blank screen. Move me. It isn’t that easy I think, to move them. But how do you tell that to a blinking cursor. A flashing reminder that you at that moment have nothing to say except well a discussion of the where and what of a cursor.

It is an extremely cool programing feat that flashing cursor. Although there are times when I think the creative mind that came up with that cursor all those years ago in Wordstar or Wordperfect should be forced to stare at that screen. Simple set of binary code that causes the pixels to alternate on and off. A constant “hello world” that reminds me I have nothing to say.

Say something.

Say nothing.

I will flash no matter which. I will flash if you have nothing to say. I will flash if you have something to say. If what you have to say is stupid, I will flash. If your flash of genius is in fact genius I will flash.

By the way while you are sleeping I am flashing. Yes I flash when the computer is on, I flash when the computer is off. I am always flashing.

It is I know the writer’s lament. The song all writers hear. Once it was simply that the pen and paper were both blank. As the writer, perhaps in candlelight stared at a blank piece of paper, pen in hand. Then for time it was the white page of a blank typewritten reality. Staring at the white paper in the typewriter.

Then a blue field with a flashing cursor.

It makes no pretense of creation. Only the existence of pixels. That flashing cursor or days like today that cursing flashing telling me I have nothing to say and a whole screen in front of me.

Do not fear the cursor, it is only doing its job. Fear the empty page that lies between you and your goal.

Another day, 2,206 flashes away from done.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Taxes, Kindle and a day…


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I personally hate taxes. I’ve been doing them for the past four weekends. This weekend the earliest date I can file moves out to Feb 6. This year is better than last year (a net loss of 5 grand between the two). This year I am actually breakeven/a little ahead between State and Federal combined taxes. So that works out. But I HATE DOING TAXES.

My feeling on taxes has moved very far to the right. I believe a graduated flat tax would in the end be a more effective system. No deductions just pay the flat tax in your income bracket. Based on the various numbers put together (and allowing for a more liberal view supporting those who don’t make as much) if you start the scale at 2%, and move it through the various income ranks to 25% maximum with no deductions of any kind you can effectively support those with less and tax everyone else fairly.

It will never happen, but it would be a better system.

There is something to be said for sitting near a roaring fire, with a dog lavishing you with love. After a long week and of course completing the required walk, Dylan spent the rest of the day making sure I knew I was loved. Sometimes that is all you need to make a long week go away.

I finally bought the Divinity of Dogs as an Audible Book today. (I’ve mentioned before but once again The Kindle is bar none the best reading device on the market. From books, to magazines to Audible it does it all).

I suspect once I start listening I will start crying. So I put extra Kleenex on the shopping list for this week.

For those who emailed about the Maryland Mall shooting yesterday – its about an hour from us. But to my mom and the other folks that emailed, thank you for your concern.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow


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Back to a Kickstarter project (don’t have a favorite on Indiegogo right now.) I love the movie the Minority Report. The screens used in the movie for computer display are my personal dream.

so,

http://kck.st/1lNoOTZ

Yes a device made to have your television look like it is part of the Minority report. This like a couple of the other HDMI focused projects makes your television better.

My second product this week is a dock for the Pebble Smart watch. My only frustration with the watch to date is the frustrating reality of the charging system. This dock will fix that problem.

http://kck.st/1iqzGHr

Innovation as I’ve said on this and my other blog many times is changing. What once was the prevue of large companies willing and able to carry the risk of innovation is moving more and more towards the crowd-funded reality of today. Personally I think this market shift is going to increase the amount of innovation overall. It will also allow for greater flexibility in the market. If you think your idea is good, post it on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and see if others agree. If no one funds it, you move on.

Time to get rolling!

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Opening and closing the window to my life


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I read a great article many years ago about not seeing where you were because of your camera. That wandering around a city taking pictures wasn’t actually being in the city. I, back in the old days of travel, used to try and spend as much time in the culture of where I was and as little time as a tourist possible. I did always devote one day of picture taking just so I could take it home and show my family. Its why if you look at our digital picture collection you see folders with city names. There may be 10-20 pictures in each – the result of my 1 hour, or 1 day of photo shooting.

I have more pictures of places I have been to multiple times. The interesting reality is once I’ve been two or three times, I actually stop taking pictures as much because the novelty of the place as worn off. I have blogged about my favorite cities so I won’t bore everyone with that list again, just ending this observation.

Over the years I have tried to classify my blogs, the one you are reading often labeled as my muse blog. Things that pop into my head and rattle around (many of you may have already noted the amount of empty space there for rattling). An abstraction from my life and reality. I seldom mention names unless it is someone critical in my life or really bad customer service. The really bad customer service was in fact the genesis of this particular blog. I began this blog now nearly ten years ago because of the customer service of Vonage.

Earlier this year the customer service of Noah’s Properties of Gaithersburg Maryland was heavily featured. I’ve, in the following years forgiven Vonage. In the end they owned up to their error and tried to make it right. But Noah’s will stay on my bad ju-ju list for a long time. Which is why this blog. I do sometimes stray into philosophy and often publish poems here. Some of my fiction lives here as well at times. Occasionally when enough poems are published I bundle them up and publish them on Amazon. The poetry of Sandler Boggs if you are interested (they link to the store is in my header).

For the most part this blog is simply a window into the right now of my life. The today. What is happening now.

For example yesterday the boys and I went on a walk – the wind-chill made the walk so cold that all three of us were pushing to get home. Once the sun falls, with the wind and cold temperature it was freezing. Dylan, on the other hand, was raring for a longer walk. But except for when it is 90 degrees he always wants a longer walk. Plus for him, snow is the greatest thing ever.

Closing the window now, its cold outside.

 

                                ()_ _()

                                ( O o )

—————————-oOOo-(_)-oOOo—————————.

.doc

What two years of your life would you give up?


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It is interesting by the way to ask a group of adults what they would take on a trip to Mars and a group of children the same question. In the end the answers you will get are well, surprising.

Adults are concerned about the ticking clock, the time spent and in the end what happens during the flight. Children are filled with the wonder of what is possible.

In the end you can shape both the thinking and the output of both, but they will still end up in very different places. Children, particularly younger children don’t fully grasp the formal adult concept known as risk. Children still celebrate life without risk. In fact looking back over my own children’s development you can see when they begin to understand risk. That is a distinct change that usually occurs right before puberty. We should celebrate it as a right of passage, as it is in the end probably harder than puberty.

Risk – it is in the end a word fraught with meaning. Like some of the other four letter words you can’t or shouldn’t say, risk has a negative aspect and a positive aspect.

  • Nothing ventured nothing gained – the positive side of risk.
  • We lost everything – the negative side of risk.

Both of these are exaggerations of course, but you get the concept. Risk is inherent in the world. It is a component of everything we do. For the most part we wish to have nothing to do with it. We create contingencies and build mitigation plans with the intent of blocking risk. I think the reality is you need to have both the child’s view and the adult’s view for the trip to Mars to work.

I wonder how long a trip to Mars would be. 2 years? That is the other question I ask adults. I don’t ask children because their span is short enough that they can’t really answer the question – or they will quickly say when I started school. What two years of your life would you give up? (assuming of course that it is only two years, it could be 3, 4 or more by the time you returned to earth). What time period in your life would you be willing to give up?

That one usually stops the audience dead in their tracks.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Sometimes bad days end well


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I am officially an idiot. I know, many of you have been properly telling me that for years. Yesterday I had a trip to Valley Forge PA. Figure it is a little over 3 hours on a good day. I had clear sailing all the way up until I got near Valley Forge. The last 8 miles took an hour. I wasn’t late for my overall meeting so in the end that was ok.

Coming home was a different matter. I ended up taking 7 hours for that three hour trip. I made it all the way back to Germantown before a young many driving an older model car hit a patch of ice on the right side of a 3 lane road and spun out in front of me. I ended up slamming into the driver side tire of his car.

Minor damage to my car. Major damage to his girlfriends car. No one was hurt and we waited in the freezing cold for the police to show up. The Montgomery county police were amazing. Fast, efficient and incredibly helpful on a night when I suspect they were running from incident to incident.

My car drives fun just front end manage. Oh well.

It was a bad idea not to spend the night somewhere.

I did however make it home last night. Barb and Jackie were worried about me and asked me several times if I was ok. I was ok. But it was a bad day.

I crawled into bed exhausted and within two minutes Dylan was snuggling with me telling me how much he missed me. With love like that how can a bad day end as a bad day. I fell asleep and woke up today ready to take on the world.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.