Saturday, December 27, 2014

The economy - Oil!

The price of oil continues to fall. It is now under $55 a barrel. How low will it go? I believe it will go under $40 for sure (and quite possibly lower). The price of oil will continue to fall until production is reduced. That will only happen once the price of oil falls and remains below the cost of production, which in the U.S. is estimated at $70 a barrel. There already are stories of U.S. energy companies cutting costs and shedding jobs in an attempt to remain viable. If the fall in prices had been gradual and orderly, then the U.S. producers (and other western producers) could have adjusted, but the sudden collapse will mean that several of the oil production companies (and the related industries) will also collapse. Over the next few months there will be a bloodbath in the energy sector. Companies are going to shed jobs like mad and scale back in every conceivable way. The result will be a massive recession in the west and a new financial crises across the globe. The drop in oil prices is a precursor to economic calamity. Hey, at least we can enjoy lower gas prices for a while (till the dollar collapses and we can't even pay for a loaf of bread with a wheel barrel full of cash). This is not going to end well

Friday, December 12, 2014

In The News - Sony.

Sony studios are in disarray after being hacked by what a group that is probably affiliated with North Korea in retaliation for a movie Sony is releasing. Thousands of emails have been released, private information has been divulged, servers have been disrupted, and havoc has reigned. So much so that Sony has suspended all filming because it is unable to process payments. Will Sony survive? If not, this might be the first instance of a company being forced into bankruptcy because of hacking. How amazing would that be? We have become so dependent on computer systems that hacking and disrupting a system could cause such catastrophic problems that it could force a company into bankruptcy. Now it is true that Sony was on financial shaky ground to begin with, but the hacking might be the last straw. This is going to be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

Economy - Oil!!!

Oil was down even more today. It looks like it ended the day at about $58 a barrel. Oil was as high as $107 earlier in the year. So the price has collapsed by about 50%. It is interesting to note that in 2008 oil fell from $140 to $35 by the end of the year. Could we be seeing a similar occurrence? In 2008 oil fell by $100 a barrel in 6 months (a 75% drop)! If oil follows the same path we could see oil at close to $30 before it stops falling. Now that sounds unlikely, but it has happened before, so why would this be different? What is also interesting is that stock prices eventually followed the price of oil. The S$P 500 fell from 1560 to 666, a fall of about 60%. So we could see stocks fall by as much as 50%. That would put the S&P 500 easily bellow 1000. So here is what I am predicting. Oil will fall below $40 and the S&P 500 will fall below 1000. Unfortunately I can’t put a date on it, but I would think that within six to nine months to be reasonable. Wow, things are going to get ugly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Walter's Thinking - Post #800!

This is my 800th post since I started blogging back in January of 2014. I can’t believe that I have written so much. Lately I have not been able to post as often as I did when I started. I seem to have run out of steam and I have also gone back to school, which has limited my time to write. I will continue to write and publish posts though because I truly enjoy doing so. Thank you to my readers as well. You guys are awesome!

Walter Ruggieri

The Economy - Price of Oil

I love going to get gas. The price just keeps falling and it is so nice to have a few more dollars left in my pocket. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out before, falling oil prices are good for consumers, but not so good for producers. As I write, domestic oil producers are announcing job cuts, reduction in production, and a curtailing of future oil projects. This is especially the case for shale oil producers who need oil to be above $70 to make a profit. Now I am not a fan of the oil companies (as many others), but they have become the driving factor in the current economic recovery (if you even believe we ever had one). If you take away the jobs and money infused into the economy by the oil producers, you can kiss any hopes of a sustained recovery away. If the price of oil stays below $70 for any length of time (six months or longer) we will have serious repercussions in our economy. Hopefully oil prices will settle at about $75 a barrel and we will have some stability. If not, hold on because things can get ugly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Technology - Awesome and Amazing

Technology is amazing and awesome. I am typing on a Bluetooth keyboard that I bought for about $25. It is connected wirelessly to a 7" Android tablet that I bought for about $50. Now both devices are not the top of the line and they have limitations, but they work great for all I would like to do. What is amazing and awesome to me is that 30 years ago what I am doing right now was not even possible. There might have been a system you could have used to type up some stuff, but it does not even come close to what I am able to do right now. Not to mention that I can do it all wirelessly and put in my pocket (of my cargo pants of course). I have not even brought up the internet which is how I am able to share this all with you. Yes, technology is amazing and awesome (and now also cheap)!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Technology - $90 "Laptop"

I think I have found a way to have a "laptop" for $90. First, pick up a no-name 7", 8GB Android tablet for about $50 (I picked one up from Best Buy). Then add a Bluetooth keyboard for about $25 (I picked one up from Amazon with a track pad that works well on an Android tablet) Then add a generic cover for the tablet for about $15 (I found one I liked at Walmart). Put it all together and you have a good "laptop" for about $90. Its not a Windows or Apple machine, but it is better than a Chromebook (it will spell check offline). If all you need to do is surf the internet and do some basic tasks like word processing, spreadsheet stuff, basic presentations, and a few other things, this set up will work perfectly for for you. Plus you have a touch screen and access to all the Android applications. This set up works very well for me and I saved a bundle.

The Economy - Price of Oil

I bought gas for my car today and was thrilled to find that gas at my closest self-serve station was now solidly below $3 a gallon (here in Southern California). That is awesome for those of us who do a lot of driving and commuting. The price of oil has dropped to about $65 a barrel, so gas might still go down further. Again, great news for all of us who are tired of paying so much for gas at the pump. But, $65 a barrel is a disaster for oil producers especially domestic producers. It turns out that most domestic producers need oil to be at $70-80 a barrel to make a profit. Now they can handle a short drop in price, but if the price stays low for an expended amount of time, then there will be carnage in the domestic oil business. So while I applaud the lower gas process, I am weary of the long term effects of low oil prices on the great paying jobs that have been produced across the country. The fracking miracle might be coming to an end, and that will not be good for any of us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Opinion - A Simmering Rage

There is a rage that is simmering just below the surface in the US. We see glimpses of it here and there with riots that occasionally break out. What will happen if welfare ever stops? What will happen if food stamps stop working? We will have millions of people who are angry and without food or any kind of money who are going to explode with rag. Unfortunately they are not very bright so they will burn down their own neighborhoods and the businesses that provide them with jobs, services, and stuff to buy. They are going to kill off the only things they have left that will provide them with any kind of hope. That is exactly what has happened in Ferguson. The people who went on a rampage a couple of days ago burned their own neighborhood down. What fools! But when you are in a rage, you don’t care. You just act and you want to take your anger out on the first thing that crosses your path. In the end nothing changes and your own neighborhood is burned to the ground. What a waste!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Technology - My 7" Android Tablet

I have been using my $49 no-name Android tablet for just over two weeks. I mainly use it to surf the internet, check my email, and keep a journal. So far it has worked flawlessly. I use Chrome as my browser so all my bookmarks are there. I use Gmail for email, and that app works well. I use Drive and Docs for my journal so I can access it from any device I use. Now I wish I had a physical keyboard, but the touch screen keyboard works well enough. Plus, buying a keyboard might cost more than the tablet did! I also have a version of my favorite solitaire app, so I can waste as much time as I want. So far I am still impressed at all I am able to do with such an inexpensive device. Do they make any money selling these tablets at the price they do? Also, why buy something more expensive? Will it function any better? I don't think so and the build quality is good enough. So I don't think that buying something more expensive does not give you anything more for the money.

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Opinion - Ferguson

The decision from the grand jury is in and the police officer who shot and killed the African-American kid in Ferguson was not charged with any crimes. The decision is not surprising with all that has been leaked on the case. By what was reported the shooting was within policy, so the decision is not surprising. There will be riots and looting though. The African-American community is angry. It will react and there will be protests. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and there will be little damage to property. Destroying someone else’s property out of anger is not right or fair. On injustice (if you feel it was) does not make another right.

Some things to think about. What does this all say about the state of our society? Are we still racist and bigoted? Is lawlessness rampant in our streets? Are the police the good or bad guys? None of that is quite clear anymore. Maybe that is the biggest problem we have today. We do not quite know what the truth is and we do not know who to trust. Now that speaks volumes to the state of our society.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Technology - My Android Tablet

I have had my "no name" 7" Android tablet for six days now and all is working well. I use it surf the internet, check my email, read e-books, watch some videos, and keep a journal. For those things it's great. For the price I paid ($49), it's awesome. So why is iPad selling so much better? It has to be because people want to say they have an iPad. So the price for being "cool" is $200-300 more than you truly need to pay. Having both an iPad and an Android tablet I can say that the iPad is a better system which has more functionality and more quality apps. Is it worth the extra money? Not if all you are doing is surfing the internet and basic stuff. I am pleasantly impressed at what I can do for such a low price. The only question I have is how long will this device last? Since my iPad has lasted over three years now without a problem, my cost over time is about $200 a year. So this device has to last over three months to be cheaper in the long run. If it lasts longer than that, I will be very pleased.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Creativity - Make stuff you love

There is a key principle we all should remember when it comes to being creative If you create something that you would like to interact with, then others will as well. If you produce something you enjoy watching, others will as well. If you record something you like to listen to, others will as well. If you write something you like to read, others will as well. The point is to focus on making stuff you truly love, and others will also love them. If you focus on making things others will like, but you don't, you might make some money, but you will never be truly satisfied. You will never have a sense of true fulfillment.

Make stuff you love and the rest makes care of itself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Technology - My 7" Android Tablet

I have been using my $49 "no name" 7" Android tablet for two days now and I like it. It's not an iPad, and it doesn't do everything, but it does 90% of what I need, which is enough. I like the size because it fits in the pocket of my cargo pants and I can type reasonably well with my thumbs (in landscape mode). It feels fast enough on the internet and its not bulky or heavy. I'm sure it's fragile because it's mostly plastic, but a good case will keep it reasonably safe. Overall I am surprised. What would I get if I paid for a more expensive branded one? Probably metal instead of plastic, and it would probably have more memory and a better processor, but would that be with the extra money? I am starting to think that it would not. Having spent a lot of time using a Chromebook I no lo her need all the functions that come with a higher priced device. Just get me in the internet and let me do some writing and reading. For $49, this device works just fine.

By the way, I created this post and published it all with my $49 tablet. Now that's cool!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Creativity - Why Create?

I spend a lot of time creating stuff that no one else will see or hear. I have written hundreds of thousands of words that no one will ever read but me. I have written hundreds of pieces of music that no one will ever hear but me. So, am I wasting my time? Absolutely not because the reason you want to create is not because someone will see it, hear it, or even buy it. You want to create stuff because you can. There is no other reason to create. If you create for the purpose of it being seen or heard you will spend your time trying to make others happy and that is the fastest way to burn out or experience a block. Just make stuff because you want to! That’s the only reason you need.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Technology - Android v iPad

I went into my local big box technology store to just browse and I came across a "no name" Android tablet for $49. I played with it for a while and realized that it was not to bad, especially for $49. Sure it only had 8 GB of ram, but that's what my iPhone has, so why not pick it up and try it out? So I did.

Now in my opinion an iPad is a much better device. It is more intuitive and just feels and works better all around. On the other hand, to $49 this tablet is working quite well. I can write on it, I can surf the internet, I can watch videos, and I can listen to music, which is just about all I do on a tablet. So for $49 I am a bit impressed. Let's see how well this Android tablet works over time.

Using this new tablet also made me think about what I am paying for when I buy an iPad. If you can do just about most things on a $49 tablet that you can do an a $299 iPad mini, why spend the extra money? Well, it is cool to buy an Apple iPad. No one cares if you buy an Android tablet (even if it is a well know brand). If you don't care if you look cool or not, then save yourself a fortune and pick up an inexpensive Android tablet. An iPad might not be worth the extra money.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Opinion - Vietnam, Iraq, Syria

I am watching a documentary on the Vietnam war. How did we loose that war? We won every battle and we devastated the NV army, but we still lost. Iraq was so similar and we "won" in Iraq, but once we pulled out, it has devolved into a mess. I think we have never learned the lesson that we can't win an unconventional war. Maybe the best thing we can do is make it so costly for the enemy that they give up the fight? So keeping the military intervention in Syria to air assets might be a good idea. Putting boots on the ground might just be a waste of resources. Maybe we should never have put troops in Vietnam or in Iraq? Maybe we should have just bombed every inch of what we could and waited till the enemy gave up. We should have bombed North Vietnam into the dark ages. We could have done the same with Iraq. Then when they just gave up, or been pounded into dust, we could have negotiated a surrender on our terms and never risked the lives of our troops.

Would that have worked? Maybe, but an air campaign would have had to go on for many months, and possibly years. Would the nation alow that? Today with all the air assets we have, it might not take as long. I think so since an air campaign does not cost as many lives, just a lot more treasure. Putting troops on the ground does not work. Once you pull them, the enemy will move in. They just have to wait it out.

The truth is we will never know if just using air power would have worked in Vietnam or Iraq. Let's see if it will work in Syria and the occupied territories in Iraq. There are reports that ground troops are going to be sent to Iraq and Syria. That would be a mistake. I guess we never learn.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Election - Repudiation

I wrote yesterday about how the the Republicans won big in the election yesterday. That was an understatement. The Republicans basically trounced the Democrats in just about every contested election. The Democrats only won in safe districts and states. Just about everywhere else the democrats got trounced. What is even more interesting was the fact that the Republicans really did not offer anything in the way of a compelling agenda. So the results of the election are not that the Republicans offer a more compelling vision for the nation than the Democrats. The results of the election are a repudiation of the direction and actions of the Democrats. This was a "slap down" of the Democrat agenda, but not an endorsement of the Republican agenda, since they did not really have one.

I think the voters want their elected officials to fix the problems that plague the nation. Specifically the economic ones. The Democrats had a six year opportunity to show that they could be counted on to fix what ails the nation, but the have failed and now have been basically swept from power to do anything but obstruct. The Republicans have an opportunity to show that they can at least demonstrate a willingness to fix what's wrong. If they do this, then things will go well for them in 2016. If they devolve into bickering, sectarianism, and ideological disputes, then they will get trounced in 2016. The electorate is tired of things not getting fixed and will continue to throw out those they feel are incapable of doing the job and replacing them with whomever is at hand.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Election - Republicans Win Big!

Republicans had a big night tonight. How quickly does the table turn. Two years ago the Democrats were riding high on the re-election of Obama as President. Today they lost the Senate, lost more seats in the house, lost some key governorships, and probably lost some ground in the state assemblies. It was a stunning defeat across the board, except of course in those states that are completely controlled by Democrats like California.

Now it is going to be interesting to see what Republicans do with their victory. It is also going to be interesting to see how this plays out for the 2016 presidential election. I hope the Republicans take the opportunity to try to fix some of the major problems we have and finally turn this economy around. Hopefully the President does not veto to many bills and we can finally see some action from the government towards making life better for all Americans, not just the Democrat party constituents and donors.

Is this a sign that the country will swing to the Republicans in 2016? The election of 2006 saw the Democrats take seats from the Republicans and usher in a Democrat President. Maybe the same will play out in 2016? If that is the case, who will the next president be? It is going to be an interesting 2 years. I for one am not looking forward to all the campaign ads we will be subjected to!

The Election - California

I did not vote today. Why vote when what I vote for never wins, or if by a miracle it does, it gets overturned by the courts? Why vote for a perpetual minority with no hope of ever being in power? Being a conservative in California is not pleasant. I see the state that I grew up in being ruined by liberal policies and an ever expanding welfare system. I see more and more crime. More and more poverty. More and more waste and fraud. Want to know where California is heading? Just look at Venezuela or Argentina. California is on the exact same course. So I did not vote because it is pointless.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The economy - Marketing Machines

While I was driving today I thought about how some companies are nothing more than marketing machines. These marketing machines churn out commercial after commercial and they spend huge portions of their revenue on marketing. You know the companies I am talking about. They are the ones who you hear about constantly on the radio, see their commercials on TV, and flood the internet with ads. I wonder how successful they would be without the marketing? I also wonder why they need to do so much marketing.

If you need to constantly market your product or service at such a high level that you business basically becomes a household name as a result, what does that say about your product or service? If that level of marketing is essential, then maybe your product is not very good. I understand that if you want people to find you you need to market, but at what level does it become excessive? Why not spend some of that money making sure your product or service is outstanding? I think that is that were the case, the excessive marketing would not have to be done and we could all be spared the constant bombardment of inane advertising. How effective is that marketing anyway? I know that I use very few (if any) of those products or services that are constantly on the air or in print. I bet i am not the only one.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Economy - Stock Prices

What has caused the stock markets to rally? Is the economy doing better? Is Ebola not a problem anymore? Are companies doing better and better? I don't think so, so why is the market up? I think it is in anticipation of the Republicans winning big in the upcoming election. If the Republicans take over the Senate, then things will probably be more positive for business and stocks in particular. But what will a Republican Congress get done? Will it be able to override a veto? Probably not, so a Republican win is a step in the right direction, but I don't imagine much happening. What will the markets do when they figure that out?

The Economy - Oil Prices

The good news is that oil prices keep falling. It is so nice to go to the gas pump and not have to spend so much money on filling the gas tank in my car. The bad news is that lower oil prices is actually going to cause more instability across the world. Iran, Venezuela, and a couple other countries need oil to be up over $100 a barrel to keep them afloat. How long will it be until the countries who need oil to be higher do something to cause oil prices to go up? A regional war, a terrorist attack, or maybe a small civil war would be very convenient right now. So we can enjoy lower prices at the pimp for now, but I don't expect them to last. Especially if the price of oil keeps falling.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Creativity - Curiosity

I am listening to a CD series on how Da Vinci thought. One key skill he had was curiosity. He was probably one of the most curious people to have ever existed. Now curiosity is one of the primary skills that helps increase creativity. When was the last time You had an idea? Being curious is one of the best ways to create new ideas. When was the last time you asked a question? Being curious is one of the best ways to find things to ask questions about. When was the last time you did something new? Being curious is a great way to find new things to do. What are some ways to be more curious? Ask questions, seek to understand, take notes, go and look, talk to people, read new books, take some more notes, and keep a journal. Curiosity is like a muscle. The more you practice being curious, the more curious you become. The more curious you become, the more creative you will be.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Coercion - Doesn't Work Well

If you have to force people to do something, then maybe it's something you should not be doing. Coercion might make someone comply, but you never get the best work or effort from them. The best way to get the best from people is to engage their free will. Always give people options and then when they chose, they are engaging one of the greatest aspects of motivation. What is one of the greatest aspects of motivation? Self-determination. When people feel they are choosing their own path and direction they engage their own self-determination and the result is one of the best ways to engage someones motivation. This is how you get someone to give you their best efforts. this is how you engage someones attention. This is how you get people to move with power and intention.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Economy - Wages

I was reading tonight that the largest employer in the U.S. 50 years ago was General Motors. The average wage in that company at that time was $50 and hour (in today's dollar). Today the largest employer in the U.S. is Walmart. The average wage in that company today is around $10 an hour. My how things have changed. I think that explains exactly what has happened in the U.S. over the last 50 years. We have gone from a manufacturing and production based economy to a retail and service based economy. Unfortunately, retail and service jobs can't pay as much as manufacturing and production based jobs. The margin in profit is not there to support higher wages. For many reasons (which would require way more space) we have squandered what made us prosperous and have become a nation of low wage jobs.

Thanks to globalization and the internet, that will not change. What if government did all it could to encourage manufacturing? How about tax breaks, reduction in regulation and compliance laws, zero interest loans, and maybe a tariff or two on imports (though I know that many times tariffs are counter productive)? Our government could and should be doing much more, but even that I doubt will not help now. It's to late and the U.S. is stuck. We will be a low wage job economy for the foreseeable future. I feel sorry for future generations. They will probably never know how good things could be (and were).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Personal Improvement - Why?

I think that one of the most important important questions we can ask is why. Why should we do this or that? Why should we sell this or that? Whys should we build this or that? Why should we go here or there? Why should we buy this or that? Why is at the heart of all good decisions. Unfortunately, we do not ask it enough. I know I don't. We also do not ask it as a society. Why do we need public schools? We just assume we do. Why do we need big government to solve our problems? We just assume we do? Why do we need certain laws, or more taxes, or more regulations? I could go on and on, but I think I made my point. We do not ask why enough. We also do not ask why at the highest level of our thinking and beliefs. Maybe if we asked why more often we would not have some of the problems we have now.

Personally, asking why is the best thing you can do for yourself. Why doo I do what I do? Why do I have the job I have? Why do I live where I live? Why do I do what I do? If you spend sometime asking why you might be amazed at what you discover.

Friday, October 24, 2014

California - Poverty

I read today that the U.S. census is using a new measure to gage the level of poverty. Gues which state makes the top of the list with the new measure? That's right, good ole California, where the poverty rate is over 23%. I am not surprised because even though we have many people who are above the poverty line, in California being above the poverty line is not enough. The cost of living in California is one of the highest in the nation. If you are too survive here, you need to make much more than just above the poverty line. In fact, to live a modest middle class life style you need to make over $60,000. Since the median wage in the U.S. is about $28,000 and the average wage about $43,000, most people are not even close to making it in California.

So what is California doing about? There is a new move to raise the minimum wage. Will that help? It would if employers actually hired people with low or no skills to work full time at that wage. Unfortunately they will not. There is a reason employers pay low wages to those who have low or no skills. It's because that's all the market will alow. You can't pay some one to do work that the market will pay for. Customers will not pay $10 for a Big Mac. What will happen is that if (and when) the minimum wage is raised employers will slash hours, cut the head count, and automate as much as possible. If that does not keep them profitable, then they will close up shop and move to another state (which is already happening in California). The end result is that employees will make more per hour, but fewer will make more in total pay because hours will be cut, people will be laid off and replaced with technology, or there just will not be any jobs to be had (because the business has moved or closed it's doors). The poverty level will actually increase.

What needs to be done is for the minium wage to be abolished, taxes lowered, regulation streamlined and reduced, workers compensation reformed and made less expensive, union power and influence curtailed, all business related costs lowered as much as possible, and to make the business climate made as positive as possible. Why? Because this will actually create a flood of jobs that will eventually pull people out of poverty.

The only thing that pulls a person out of poverty is a job. The only way that there will be jobs in good quantity (and eventually quality) is if businesses feel that it is in their best interest to be in California. Is that going to happen? Not in my lifetime.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Opinion - Culture and Work Ethic

Does culture affect work ethic? In other words, is it culture that produces societies that seem to be more "laid back" or more "driven"? Or is it some other factor? Based on my living in north and south America and also my travels across north America and most of Europe. Here in my opinion and observation.

I think work ethic has something to do with geography and climate. Since we have all "evolved" around farming, I think that farming (and all the related activities like planting, harvesting, etc...) is a big factor. Northern European cultures tend to be more productive and driven while southern European cultures seem to be more laid back. This makes sense in that it takes much more work to survive in colder climates. In northern Europe the farming season is shorter because of frost and snow. You don't have the luxury of taking it easy. Thus societies in colder regions tend to be more driven (in my opinion and observation). Societies closer to the equator tend to be more laid back. The farming season lasts longer and there is not as great an urgency to get things done (you can take your time harvesting because frost and snow is not necessarily a factor). You can also see this in the U.S. where the south is much more laid back then the north.

What about South America? I think South America reflects a bit of the influence of geography and climate, but it also reflects the huge influence of colonization. I have noticed that the culture in south American countries tend to be like the cultures that colonized them (Argentina like the Spaniards, and Brazil like the Portuguese). I have also notice that the colder the climate, the harder working the population tends to be.

What about Africa and the middle east? I am not sure in these areas since I have not spent any time in the area. I suspect though that climate, geography, and colonization have had their effects. I also think that maybe religion has been an influence as well.

What about Asia? I think there is a different influence in this area and it has to do with farming rice. Cultures that are dependent on rice tend to be harder working than those that don't because rice is very labor intensive and hard to farm. I think that is why you see countries that are closer to the equator in Asia still have a harder working ethic than say European countries that are closer to the equator (or the southern area of the U.S.)

Does that make one culture better than another? No, in no way! it just accounts for some of the differences. Also, cultures are not monolithic. Though some may be more driven or hard working than others, that does not mean every person and that culture is. I also think that each individual also has their own work ethic (or maybe it would be better to call it work style). For example, my wife has a very driven work style. I on the other hand seem to be much more laid back (or lazy as my kids tend to remind me).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World News - Terrorist Attack in Canada

The terrorist attack today in Canada came as a surprise to me. First, that it happened in Canada and not in the U.S. or in one of the E.U. countries. The Canadians have not been that involved in the war on terror, so to have them experience a terror attack is surprising. Second, that we have not seen these type of attacks more often. In the west, we have a multitude of soft targets that can be attacked at will. How some gunmen have not attacked a mall or a school or some government office before is surprising considering how unprotected they are. Maybe this is just the first of many such attacks? Can you imagine the effect on our economy in the U.S. if we have gunmen attack our shopping centers or schools? The result would be panic and chaos. So I guess I am surprised that this type of attack has not occurred before, and in the U.S. or the E.U. Then again, maybe it's coming.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Poverty - Lawlessness

I wrote in the past about the moral rot of nations and how that causes them to fall. What then causes poverty? I believe the greatest contributing factor to poverty is lawlessness. That is, the failure of the rule of law and the increasing lawless activities of a population. As I look at countries that have a huge poverty rates I see countries where either there is no justice or crime is rampant (or both). For example, how can people be confident that if they are productive it will not be taken away by criminals or worse, the actions of their government? Why start a business if you are not sure you will be able to keep the profits (or even make one at all). Why plant a field if you are not sure that you can take the crop to market and make a profit? In a country filled with lawlessness and injustice basic economic activity can't take place. No one can better themselves because however they better their lives, it will be taken in one way or another.

How do you fix a lawless situation? The only way is by imposing the rule of law, but you need a lawful entity to do that. You need a lawful law enforcement mechanism and government, which usually does not exist in poverty stricken nations. Maybe what citizens could do is start with enforcing the rule of law in their own neighborhoods and once that is established, then expanding the rule of law to other areas. Is that easy? Absolutely not, and that is why poverty is so persistent. That is also why aid does not seem to help. If you supply aid to a lawless nation it just gets stolen or wasted. It rarely gets to those who need it.

The other issue involved is what happens if the population at large is lawless? Then you have chaos and and there is nothing that can be done. I think this is what concerns me most about the U.S. It is increasingly becoming lawless. There is more and more corruption. The is more and more failure of justice. There is more lawlessness among the population. If the lawlessness persists then we can expect poverty and a host of other social ills to increase. God help us then.

Monday, October 20, 2014

California - When will it run out of money?

Fortunately for California there are plenty of deep pocket democrats, liberals, environmentalists, and technology companies that it might pay it's bills for a while. Unfortunately for the citizens of California, unemployment will remain high (still one of the highest in the nation), taxes and fees will remain high (still one of the highest in the nation), regulation and government intervention will be high (still one of the highest in the nation) the cost of living will remain high (still one of the highest in the nation), and the quality of life will not be all that good (high traffic, crime, and other issues of the like).

I think where California will run into trouble is if real estate and stocks drop in price once again. Much of California's "income" comes from property taxes and capital gains taxes. So if the real estate markets and the stock markets take a dive (which I think they will any time soon), California will have a deficit once again. One other thing that California has working against it is that the state and local governments keep spending more and more. Though the state has a balance budget, it has spent every dime it has taken in and has very little in reserve. One nice downturn and California is going to be hurting.

Well, that was a long way to say that if the economy is fine, California is fine. If the economy tanks, California is going to be in a world of hurt.

One more thing. There has been an exodus of people from the state, but it has mostly been productive conservative individual and businesses. So there is not much left of a conservative base here in the state to keep the politicians from spending as much as they want or get whatever they want (though there has not been many conservatives for many years, there were enough to defeat stupid ballot measures, but that is now gone). So the state keeps digging a whole when it comes to finances and obligations. California's unfunded liabilities are huge and basically will never be paid. There is just not enough money to pay for it all. In the long run, California is doomed. It's not a guess, it's math!

Creativity - Do The Work

One of the enemies of being creative is just not wanting to do the work. You could call it being lazy, but I don't experience it like that. It is easier to just be normal, or like everyone else, or to copy someone or something else. Being truly creative is hard work and I think many times we fail to be truly creative because we don't want to do the hard work it requires to truly birth something new and different. A variation of this is to create something like what you have already created. In this case, you are just copying yourself. Unfortunately, our society sometimes rewards that. If we create something truly new and original, our society sometimes wants more of it and we are left with little option than to go ahead and make something similar. Hey, I've done that because it pays the bills.

True creativity means being willing to do the work it requires. Just go for it and do the work. Don't avoid it. If you have to pay the bills, then go ahead and create something similar to what you have already created, but get started on something new and different as soon as you can. I guess it is a matter of courage. I have also found that the more you work on something different and original, the easier it becomes to start and create something new and different.

Do you want to be remembered for being average or not being able to break out and do something different? Go and start something new as soon as possible and do the work. In the end the reward is worth the effort.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Writing - Putting Words On The Page

There are times when i don't know what to write about so I just start throwing words up on the page to see what comes up. I do this to get my mind working and to also keep my word count up. Since I have a daily goal of writing 2000 words a day, it is sometimes very easy to run out of things to write about.

You would think that with so much going on in the world I could find something to comment about, and that is actually true. But, there are times when I just don't feel like writing about anything that has happened in the word. I could write about Ebola, but not much has changed since the last time I wrote about it. I could write about the plight of Argentina, Venezuela, Ukraine, Syria, or the rest of the middle east, but things are not much different since the last time I wrote about these areas (they are all just a mess). I could write about Russia or China, but here again, not much new has happened, so why bother. I guess I would like something to happen that way i can write something new.

Well look at that, i just wrote about 200 words just by putting some words on the page. If you are writing and you seem to be stuck, just keep throwing words up on the page and see what comes from. Maybe nothing much comes from it, but then again, you might write enough to creat a post you can publish.

Technology - iPad v. Laptop

I have an iPad which I don’t use very much. Why? I seem to gravitate to my Windows laptop instead. Probable because all the writing I do. Yes, I can write on my iPad, but since I write over 1000 words a day, having a keyboard has become essential. Now I could use a keyboard with my iPad, but then I have one more thing to carry around. I could look at using a Surface, but my laptop does the same stuff and it was much cheaper. In fact, it was much cheaper than my iPad.

Is there a solution to having so many device options? Is the one device to rule them all? I’m not sure there is a solution. I think that we will just need to use the right tool for the job at hand. If you are creating lots of content, then a laptop is the way to go. If you are just surfing the internet and checking you email, then a tablet or even an smartphone is all you need. I have not used a large smartphone yet, maybe that might be more of a fit for the one device that will rule them all? Well, my phone contract is not up for another year. I’ll have to wait till then to see if that will work for me.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Laptop - Acer E3-111

I bought this laptop for about $250 for school last summer. I needed a windows machine to do many of my assignments. I bought it with reward points I had on a credit card, so it did not cost me much. I was also looking fo the least expensive machine I could find on Amazon. I was not expecting very much since it only has 2 GB of ram and uses a celeron chip, but it has turned out to be a nice machine. I can do all I need to do including using Word and the other Office programs. I can write using Finale for all my school ensembles (I am a Jr. High band and choir director). I can also use my favorite mind mapping program, FreeMind. Considering that I was not expecting very much, I have been pleasantly surprised by how well this laptop has worked out for me. For the price, I can also upgrade to a newer version when they become available.

The economy - Insiders Selling Stocks

One way to tell if the economy is healthy is to look at what corporate insiders are doing. If insiders (like CEO and corporate officers) are buying their own stock, then things must be going well. If insiders are selling their own stock, then things must not be going so well. So what are insiders currently doing? They are selling their own stock. Now that might not be a bad thing if it's just a few of them, but according to what I have been reading, insiders are selling like crazy. In fact, the level of selling is back up to where it was in 2000! Maybe all the hype of Wall Street is just a con. Maybe they are hyping things as being good so that they can unload their own holdings and leave the retail investors with the mess they have created? Things just don't feel good to me. i think we are going to have a big crash at some point and we will all be left holding a mess.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Socialism - California

California was once the greatest state in the Union. It had one of the most vibrant economies. It had abundant water and natural resources. It had a fantastic school system. It was a great place to raise a family and run a business. It also had an affordable life style. California was an amazing place.

So what is California like now? It's a mess. The poverty rate is over 20%. The schools are a among the worst in the nation. The economy is on life support. The state has run out of water and refuses to tap the natural resources at it's disposal. Housing and the cost of living are among the highest in the nation. Taxes and fees are through the roof. Running a business is a nightmare. In short, California is one of the worst places to live in the U.S. What happened?

Socialism happened. California decided that it was going to provide hand outs for all sorts. It decided government knew best and it was going to micro manage as much as possible. California decided that it had to interfere with local schools and raise taxes as high as possible. California decided that social engineering was the best way to make sure everyone succeeded. Did it work? No, and the proof is in what California has become.

Is there a chance California can be great once again? I don't think so. The socialists are well in charge. The productive class has either stopped being productive or has moved out of the state. Those who are left are so dependent on the state that they will continue to vote for the socialist even as the state goes down the tubes. It is a shame what has become of California, but California has no one to blame but themselves.

Socialism does not work. look at Venezuela. Look at Argentina.. Look at many of the nations that make up the E.U. Socialism ends in ruin. Only true free market capitalism with true freedom and justice works to make the lives of everyone better. Is it perfect? No, but it is the best way to make life better for all. to bad California will never figure it out.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Online Business - Making Money

If you buy into all the hype, there are a million ways to make money online. After thinking this through, reading a bunch of books and articles, and finally giving it a go, I have boiled making money online to three steps.

First, sell something or provide a service people want or need. Yes you can make money from advertising or subscriptions, but after trying to I have come to the conclusion that in the end, the best way to make money online is to sell something or provide a service people want or need (or can be convinced they want or need).

Second, be good at what you do. If you provide a service, be as good as you can possibly be. No one buys from some one who sucks. If you provide a product, make sure it is a good one. Either make sure your supplier provides quality products or create a quality product yourself. In all instances just ask yourself that if you were in the market for your product or service, would you buy it and use it?

Third, market, market, and market. If you do not actively go out and do something to get attention (and page views) no one will know you exist. This can include anything you can do for free, or paying for some kind of service or advertising. The point is that no matter how successful you become, you never stop marketing because the moment you do, your business begins to die.

Everything else I have read is either a variation on these three points, or just hype in search of a dollar or two. Save yourself the wasted time and treasure and stick to the three I outlined above and you will be successful.

Just a note, not much has changed when it comes to making money. In the days before the internet these three steps were how you built a profitable business. What has changed is the medium. Instead of being fully physical (like having a store or an office), you can be fully digital. The steps still remain the same though.

World Economy - Venezuela

I am not the only one who is looking at oil prices and thinking that some countries are going to have problems. There is an article on that talks about how Venezuela is in a world of hurt as a result of the price of oil dropping. It turns out that Venezuela needs oil to be at about $120 a barrel to break even on all the spending the government does. With oil being down near $80 things are going to get even uglier in Venezuela. So we can expect some kind of government action and possibly more rioting and protesting. Since much of the population is dependant on the government, things will not be pretty as the money runs out, since Venezuela will not be able to borrow very much. With inflation running over 60% and crime being rampant in the streets of the capital, expect things to get out of control quite soon. How will this effect the countries around Venezuela and those who are friendly with them (like Argentina and Cuba)? Things are going to get uglier and it will happen quickly if oil price do not start to rise.

For more please see:

Writing - By Hand

I truly enjoy writing by hand. It is something that I just find truly enjoyable. I just wish there was a way to store it digitally. I have tried a few apps on my iPad, but it is not the same. Maybe what I could do is write by hand and then just scan what I write into my computer with a scanner. I have one built in to one of the printers I use. I will give it a shot and see what I can do with it. I could save what I scan as a jpeg picture and then import it into a word document. That actually sounds like fun. In the mean time I am going to try to do more writing by hand just for the fun of it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writing - Using FreeMind

I started using a mind mapping program to keep my journal and to also write my blog posts (which is part of my journal). I got the idea from reading a book by Ian Stables called "The Amazing Book Writing Method". In it, Stables talks about how you can write full length manuscripts using FreeMind (a free mind mapping program). So I gave it a try and it works great for me. In fact, it has doubled my writing output. It turns out that writing in chunks works great for me. Here is what I do.

First, I create a map for my journal with a "node" for each day. Then for each day I create nodes for what I write (which for me includes a section for prayer, scripture, my day, my thinking - which is were I get my blog posts, and writing). Then I create entries for each of the "chunks" I want to write in each section using what is called a long node (created by hitting Alt and Enter together in any node). Then I just write in each chunk until I have down what I want to say and I move on to another chunk.

So far this is working fantastically for me (thank you Ian). If you are so inclined, give it a shot. FreeMind is a free Java program that runs on either Windows or Macs (but not on Chromebooks though - bummer). Just Google FreeMind and it comes up.

The Economy - Stocks

Stock markets were a roller coaster today. We have not seen this kind of volatility in a long time. I think that the level of volatility is indicative of a market that has not decided what direction it is going in. Is it going to sell off, or is it just going to dip and grow? Is this a small correction, a major correction, or is this a crash? The markets have no clue, so you will see this level of volatility till the market finds a solid direction. My guess is that the markets will go lower because there is nothing driving growth. In fact, what ever growth we have had over the last seven years has been artificial thanks to the FED. In any event, I don't believe things will end well and eventually the markets will crash. To bad my whole retirement is wrapped up in how well the markets do! I guess I'm working for a few more years (Though I doubt I will ever be able to retire).

The News - Ebola

Is it time to panic? No not yet, but it is getting scary. Now we have another Ebola patient. It's another health care worker who helped take of the first Ebola patient. That makes two health care workers infected with Ebola. I find this interesting. What about the people who lived with the first Ebola patient? How come they have not come down with Ebola? What was different with the health care workers who took precautions? Is the virus most virulent when it is in it's final stages? If that's the case, then health care workers are the ones who are at greatest risk. I don't know about you, but I would not want to be working in the health care field if an Ebola patient walks into the room. If health care workers are not safe, what about the rest of us? This could truly get ugly. This could get out of control. This could become a panic if it gets worse.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Economy - Oil Prices

I just wrote about how oil prices were falling and today they fell even further. Oil is now at about $82 a barrel down from a high of over $105 not to long ago. This drop is great for consumers but it is going to hurt oil producers especially Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. How will they react? Will they intentionally create a situation that pushes oil back up over $100? That would not surprise me. If you had bills to pay what would you do? I think a little mayhem would be worth the risk. So watch for some action from those countries that need oil to be over $100. They are not going to just take a loss.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Economy - Stocks

Wow, stocks are correcting. Is the FED going to let them fall more than 10%? Or will they step in and start buying stocks and bonds before they do? Time will tell, but maybe the market has finally figured out what the rest of us have. There has been no real recovery. Sure, the numbers have recovered, but they have all been rigged to look better than things truly are. We all know that. Just look at your local shopping center. People might be there, but they are not buying very much. Look at your local restaurants. They do not seem to have very many people in them. Are people getting jobs? Are people getting raises or promotions?

In my neck of the woods things have not improved much over the last 7 years and things will probably get worse now that we see a correction on Wall Street. It might be a good time to go to cash if you are in the market. If it's just a correction you can buy back in when the market turns. If this is worse than a correction, then you will look like a genius.

The fall of nations - Moral rot

What is the main reason nations fall? Do the fall because of invasion? Do the fall because of economic calamity? Do the fall because of some act of God? Actually, as I look over history I see the the most common reason nations fail is because of moral rot. When a nation becomes increasingly immoral they become unable to deal with national calamities and military threats. When a nation becomes full of liars, cheats, sexual deviants, murderers, and generally lawless people, then it becomes week. When a nation becomes week it can then easily be conquered by a foreign power. When a nation is full of moral rot, it's economy will falter and possibly collapse. If a nation is full of immoral and lawless people it can be decimated by some plague or natural disaster because it will not be strong enough to deal with the situation. In other words, nations reap what they sow.

Sowing immorality and lawlessness will lead to sure destruction. It's just a matter of time. So where are many of the nation on the globe today? What level of moral rot is there in this world? How far gone is the United States? I believe we are in a cesspool of immorality and we are ripe for reaping destruction. It's just a matter of time before we suffer some calamity that will end the United States as a union and a force for good.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My thinking - Gas prices

Gas has dropped to bellow $3.50 a gallon (in California) and looks to be dropping even farther. The world economy needs oil to sell at $100 dollar a barrel to fund most of it's socialist governments. If oil keeps dropping this will spell trouble to many countries around the world specifically Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. I think these countries will lash out in some fashion. Could we see the spark of greater regional conflicts? When countries get in trouble they go to war to distract their populations. Every country on this planet has done this in one way or another. Buckle up people, it is going to get interesting if the price of oil keeps falling.

Technology - Chromebook

I have not used my Chromebook in some time. I have been using my Acer Windows 8 laptop because of school. I also like the fact that I can write music and use FreeMind, a mind mapping program. I can't do that on my Chromebook. I also like the fact that I can use my windows laptop without having to be online. I keep looking on Amazon and I see that there are many more windows models that sell in the $200-$300 range. I also notice that many of the new Chromebook models are selling wither in the same range or for more. I think this spells trouble for Chromebook. One of the selling point for Chromebook was the price. Now that you can get a windows laptop for the same price, why get a Chromebook? Now Chromebooks are more reliable and they are faster online, but windows machines are so much more functional.

In the end, I have gone back to my windows machine. I wish it was as fast and reliable as my Chromebook, but I like all the functionality. In the end functionality wins.

My thinking - Reboot

I have not posted anything to my blog in three months. Why did I stop? I just lost interest and became busy with work and school. I am halfway through the semester at school. Things are going well. I finished an introduction to computers class this summer and this fall i am taking an intro to the internet and intro to programming classes. Why am i back at school? To defer my student loans and because I love going to school (no wonder I have a masters and most of a PhD.).

My goal is to just post the stuff I write in my journal on a daily basis. I have a section in my journal that is called "my thinking". Every day I write entries that reflect what I am thinking about. So that is what I am going to post from here on out. I figure that I will post at least one thing every day and more if things pop into my mind and I write about it.

Thank you to all of you who have come by and read what I have written. You guys are awesome!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Technology - Chromebook

I am glad to be back using my Chromebook. Yes, I can't do everything that I did on my Windows laptop, but I can do most of everything without any glitches or waiting for things to load. I love the speed of my Chromebook. I did not realize how fast it was. Considering that it only has a Celeron chip, I am blown away at how fast it boots and how fast it navigates the internet. For example, I used Google Docs on both machines. On my Windows laptop I would load Google Docs and go get something to drink while it loaded. On My Chromebook I just click on it and seconds later I am off and writing. Considering how much writing i do, it saves me lots of time just using my Chromebook. Now I do miss Word and Finale (for writing music), but I can live without them and enjoy all the added minutes I have to being productive.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Technology - Chromebook

I have been using a Windows laptop for a month now and I actually started to miss my Chromebook. So I put the Windows laptop aside and fired up my Chromebook. I miss how fast it is. I also miss not having any problems. I don't know what it is about Windows, but there is always some glitch to mess with. I have been having problems with the trackpad on my Windows laptop for about a week. I also had to deal with a couple of malware scares. In the 8 months I used my Chromebook I never had a glitch of any kind and I did not have to deal with any kind of virus or malware. Now if my Windows laptop could be as fast and worry free as my Chromebook, I would be in heaven. I am seriously thinking of switching back to using my Chromebook as my main device. Since my class has ended (the reason I bought a low end Windows laptop), I don't need to use my Windows laptop on a regular basis. In fact, that is what I am going to do and see how things go. I will miss not being able to use the full features of Office, and not being able to write music, but I will not miss the glitches, viruses, and all the other issues I had with my Windows laptop.

What do you think?

Monday, August 4, 2014

World News – Ebola

There is a possible Ebola patient in New York City. There may also be a possible Ebola patient in London. If these two cases are true, then Ebola is now present in the U.S. and in Europe. So much for Ebola staying in Africa! Maybe we will get lucky and no other people will get infected? Unfortunately, I think our luck is running out when it comes to pandemics. If these two patients are infected, how many people have been exposed already? How many people are walking the streets of the world’s financial capitals spreading a fatal disease that no one can cure? The potential for a catastrophe is huge. Can you imagine what will happen if Ebola begins to spread through New York and London? Wow, this is much bigger than an economic storm. This is a life altering catastrophe of Biblical proportions – if it in fact comes to pass.

What do you think?

World News – Ebola

I just finished reading some of the news of the Ebola virus. It looks like there has been a major outbreak in Africa and it might be out of control (though no one is stating it clearly). So far there have been over 800 deaths and more are dying every day. What is different this time is that many of the medical staff that has responded to the outbreak has contracted the disease. Is this the one? Is this the “pandemic” we have been warned about for decades? There’s a report that a 72 year old woman collapsed and died from fever and vomiting at Gatwick in London as she came off a plane from Sierra Leone. If this woman tests positive for Ebola, then the game is afoot (sorry for the Sherlock Holmes reference). There is also a report that the CDC has set up a quarantine area at Los Angeles International Airport. Why? Do they know more than they are telling us? What if the Virus is out of control, when would they tell us? This could get scary rather quickly. Hopefully it will all be contained and we will have to wait for another day for the pandemic that will decimate the world.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

World News - Update

There is no major news this morning. Israel is still pounding Gaza. It is attempting to clear out the rockets and shut down all the tunnels. In Ukraine tensions are still high though no one knows who shot down the civilian airliner. Argentina defaulted on their debt again. Ebola is still on the rampage in Africa with at least two Americans contracting the disease. One has been transported back to the states for treatment. So the virus has arrived, but hopefully will be contained. If we can’t contain it here in the U.S., then we are going to be in a world of trouble. What would happen if a highly infectious disease made it to the U.S.? How many people would be killed and what would happen to our economy and way of life? It would be a catastrophe of Biblical proportions.

What do you think?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Personal Improvement – Reasons For Not Succeeding

I just read through a post about 13 reasons for not succeeding. Here are the two reasons I agree with:

• Fear – many times we will either quit or not even try because fear will keep us from going on. To be successful we must figure out how to work in spite of fear.
• Negativity – If I got paid a dollar for every time someone pointed out what was wrong rather than what was right, I would be well off. Negativity keeps us from working towards our goals. Since we get what we focus on, focus on what is positive.

Why just these two? Because it seems to me that all the other reasons are just forms of either fear or negativity. Also, if you deal with these two, you will fix the others.

What do you think?

For more:

Blogging – Coming Up With Blog Posts

I have not been very good at coming up with blog posts lately, so I have decided to come up with a way to help me come up with things to write about. Here is what I have so far:
• Decide what topics I want to write about. For me it is the News, the Economy, the Future, Writing, Creativity, Internet Business, Personal-Improvement, Technology, and Observations.
• Search the internet for anything interesting on the topics I want to write about. I like to use Google for news and key words. I check in with Alltop for what is being written about by other bloggers. I also like to spend time on Quora and Google +.
• Start writing when I find something interesting. This is where I have been falling short lately. I keep saying to myself that what I am reading and finding is not interesting. That might not be true. It might just be that I am not in the mood to write about it, so I skip it. I am going to try to stop that and see what comes of it.
So that is the method I have devised. I am going to use it and see if it works.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Economy – GDP

The new GDP numbers came out today and the last quarter grew at a 4% rate. I do not believe the number is accurate. 4% would indicate that the economy is doing well and I don’t see it. In my area (southwest Riverside County CA.) stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and even McDonald's are empty. Traffic is still lighter than what I remember it being before the great recession. Yes, foreclosures have decreased substantially and layoffs are down, but things are not getting better. It’s as if we have hit a plateau. 4% would mean that businesses are hiring and sales are up, but I don’t see it. Maybe things are better someplace else, but here in Southern California, things are not improving. Maybe the number is an optimistic estimation that will be revised lower over the coming months? It’s not like that has not happened before. I just don’t see a recovery anyplace I look.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Technology – My New Laptop

My Acer E3-111 is working well for me. I just finished taking a class at my local community college and I bought the laptop to do all of my assignments. I had to use Office extensively which was not possible on my Chromebook. I created several Word documents, several Excel spreadsheets, and a couple of PowerPoint presentations without a single issue or problem. In fact, I enjoyed using Office 2013 quite a lot and will be investing in Office 365 as soon as my trial period expires. For $250 I am well pleased with what I can do with my new laptop and I am not missing my Chromebook much. I have also not used my Mac Mini or my iPad a whole lot since I purchased my new laptop. I think Microsoft might be onto something with this inexpensive laptop, It does everything I need it to do without a problem (though it is slower than my Chromebook). So far I am well pleased and unfortunately for Chromebook, not switching back.

What do you think?

The Economy - Inflation

I was just wondering why it seemed that my parents were better off financially in the 1980’s with only my dad working then we are with two good incomes today. My dad made $60,000 a year in the 80’s. I make over $80,000 today and my wife makes over $60,000, so we should be doing way better than they did, but we are not. My parents had no problem buying four properties (we can only afford one). My parents put two kids through college (California State Universities) at the same time and paid cash without a problem (we can barely afford to put one through, and that includes borrowing to do so, and we have another one getting ready to start in a year).

How come they were so much better off making so much less? Inflation! I just ran my dad’s salary through an inflation calculator ( and he would be making $15,000 a month today, or $180,000 a year! I also never remember him complaining about taxes or the cost of gas, electricity, water, or food. Inflation has made us all poorer. I wonder if it is also responsible for so many of the problems we face today.

What do you think?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Technology – It’s a Microsoft World

I have been using my new laptop now for about two weeks and I am pleased with my purchase. My Acer Aspire E3-111 is working well, but one of the things that bugs me a bit is the boot up time. My Chromebook was supper fast, but if I just put the system in sleep mode (shut the lid) the boot time is much faster and I can live with it. Overall my new laptop is slower than my Chromebook, but it makes up for the lack of speed with all the new capabilities I have. What I have come to realize is that web apps don’t compare to having the full functioning application installed on your computer. Having access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is a luxury I do not want to be without. You can complain about Office all you want, but it leaves Google Drive and Open Office in the dust. In my opinion it is well worth the investment to have at least the home, personal, or student version.

I also realized that it is, for better or worse, a Microsoft world. 90% of computers are still powered by Microsoft. Yes, Smartphones and tablets are making an inroad, but if you have to do any serious writing or work, then it’s a Microsoft world. Is Windows and Office the best system out there. No, but it is the “standard” and you lose a lot of capability when you use a different system. I for one have been persuaded to come back to Windows. Plus, the $250 price tag was a bargain. I have a fully functioning (though not super powerful or fast) Windows machine that lets me do everything I could ever want to do for the price of a Chromebook. This might be what does Chromebook in.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

World News – Venezuela

Things just keep getting worse in Venezuela. Not only is inflation over 50%, but things are starting to grind to a halt. Basic necessities like food and toiletries are not being produced or imported so they are running out. Sales across the board have collapsed and so factories are now starting to close down. Car sales are down 75%! One car dealer has stated that they have not sold a car in months and have only survived because of providing repairs. Unfortunately, parts are running low and that may not keep them afloat for much longer.

Socialism does not work. You can’t take from the rich to prop up everyone else. The rich just don’t make enough money to make that possible. Unfortunately so many countries are on the same path to ruin. True capitalism based in the rule of law is the only economic system that works. Is it perfect or fair? No, but there is no other system that works. Everything else eventually collapses. Just look at Venezuela (or Greece, or Argentina).

What do you think?

For more:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Technology - My New Laptop

I have been using my new laptop for about a week now and I am pleasantly pleased. Is it possible to have a fully functioning Windows laptop for $250? Yes is it and my Acer E 11 proves it. I bought the laptop from Amazon for about $250. It has a newer model Celeron Chip in it which does not require a fan, and so it is remarkably quiet as a result. Now it does take much longer to boot up that my Chromebook did, but it is not so long that it bothers me. I have found that once I boot it up, and if I leave it in sleep mode when I am finished, when I come back to it, it gets up and running quickly. I just shut it down at night when I finished with it. So far all my usual programs work well. I use Chrome as a browser so I have all the apps and features I used on my Chromebook at my disposal. What I am most happy about is being able to use my music scoring program (Finale) on it. I thought my new laptop would be under powered to use my music scoring program, but so far I have been able to use it to score just about anything I want to write. I have a trial version of Office 365 that I am using. I am pleased with how it works so I am going to purchase it once the trial period is over.

For $250 this laptop has performed above what I was expecting it to. I think Chromebooks have a problem. If you can have a fully functioning Windows machine for $250, then why buy a Chromebook for about the same price? I think Microsoft decided that they need to own the low end or they will lose a significant portion of market share. So how can Chromebook compete? Unless they figure out how to offer as many features as Windows does for even less, I don't think Chromebooks will make it. In fact, if you go and check on the Amazon web site, Chromebooks are not the number 1 seller any more. Low cost Windows machines are (and the Acer E11 is sold out).

What do you think?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Economy – The Movie Business

I just took a look at how well the movie business is doing and things do not look too good. This year is on track to being one of the worst in 5 years. Is this the canary in the coal mine giving us a clue as to how the economy is doing?? Or is this just reflect that “Hollywood” has lost its ability to get people to buy movie tickets? I think it is a combination of the two. I think people have less and less money to spend because of inflation and the fact that the economy is not recovering. I also think that “Hollywood” is running out of idea that are worth watching. I for one have not been to the movies much this past year. There is nothing that I want to see in the movie theater. I am good with waiting for the movies I want to see to be available as rentals. The time span between movies being in the theater and being available for rental is getting shorter and shorter, so why spend the money when all you need to do is wait a few weeks? Add this bit of data with all that is going on in the world and I think that we are going to see things grow worse. Hold on to your hats, things might start to get interesting.

What do you think?

For more:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Creativity – Being an artist

I spent some time going over Seth Godin’s posts. I like reading his stuff because he is an artist. That is, he creates things and then sells them or gives them away. Is that not what an artist is? We all have the potential to be artists. All we need to do is create stuff and then either sell the stuff we create or give it away. You also do not need to make “artsy” things like paintings, crafts, books, or music, or anything else like that. It can be anything. If you create cars, or homes, or provide a great service, you can be an artist as well. Just create something and provide it to the public. Then you are an artist.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

World News – Israel and Palestine

Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza tonight. Not that it was unexpected. They have been telegraphing that they would for several days. It was even speculated that it was just show because they were taking so long. It turns out that they took as long as they did because they were training. It is one thing to invade open territory. It is another to invade a highly dense urban area where the entire population is armed and hostile. Gaza has been preparing for this for decades. Let’s see if the Israelis are up for the challenge. My guess is that they are though they will take heavy loses. Who is in the right? Well, I think Israel is only because what sovereign country would allow another to bombard it with hundreds of missiles, motor rounds, and ambush attacks from sea and tunnels. You can make the argument that they took the land from the Palestinians, but that was settled in a couple of wars and Israel won. It is not going to surrender and go away. Maybe the Palestinians should spend more time of building up their territory and not focus so much on killing Israelis. Even if they put half the effort into making Gaza a better place to live than they do in killing Israelis they would not live in the poverty and squalor that they do.

What do you think?

The Economy – Microsoft

Microsoft announced massive layoffs today. 18,000 jobs are being cut at the software giant with many of the layoffs occurring at the recent acquisition Nokia. Still, the layoff amounts to about 17% of employees. Is this part of the “recovery” we are supposed to be experiencing? I think this is just the beginning of another round of layoffs and things could get ugly rather quickly.

What do you think?

World News – Ukraine

It looks as if things are heating up once again in Ukraine. The U.S. has imposed further sanctions on Russia. A military transport plane has been shot down in Eastern Ukraine. There are reports that a commercial airliner has been shot down over Ukraine as well. Financial markets in Russia are down today and so are markets in the U.S. At some point will this all grow into a regional war? It is basically a civil war now. Will things escalate?

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

World News – The Middle East

First Libya erupted into civil war and it is still embroiled in sectarian violence. Next, Syria devolved into civil war and is still a mess. Assad just was sworn in once again as ruler, but the country is a shambles as Sunni radical militias control the eastern part of the country as well as a good chunk of Iraq. Speaking of Iraq, the quasi stable country has been attracted from Syria by Sunni radical militias which now control a large portion of the western part of the country. Iraq has also turned to Iran and Russia for assistance since the U.S. does not seem to want to get involved once again. Then we have the seemingly eternal conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is preparing to invade the Gaza strip because of incessant rocker attacks. I think the whole region is about to explode into a regional war that will have a negative effect on the economy of the rest of the world. Could this be the spark that brings on the coming economic storm? It could very well be.

What do you think?

Technology – Microsoft

Here is what I think Microsoft should do. They need to find a way to offer a solid laptop with basic Office installed for less than $300. If they did that they would kill off the Chromebook market just like they did the netbook market. Maybe an i3 chip based laptop that had good components and had Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all included for $299. Now that would be a great machine to have. I would think about buying it. It would be even better if they found a way to include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on a $250 laptop like the one I have. That would also put an end to the Chromebook market. The issue I would think is if there is enough of a profit for Microsoft to make that happen? I think they would be crazy not to because then they would own the market on the low end, which is what Chromebook is doing now.

What do you think?

Observation – The Laptop Market

Chromebooks are in trouble. Why buy one when for a few more dollars you can have the full functionality of a Windows machine and all that you can do on a Chromebook? That’s right. On a cheap Windows machine, if you use the Chrome browser, you have access to just about everything you can do on a Chromebook. But, you also have a functioning Windows laptop (though under powered). I think Chromebooks are going to fade. Microsoft is going to kill them. In the meantime, what about Apple? Now that is going to be interesting. On one side you have a race to the bottom between Microsoft and Google. That will leave Apple with the high end and probably a better profit margin, but with an ever decreasing share of the market (in my opinion). Things just shifted once again in the laptop market.

What do you think?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chromebooks – I Think There Is A Problem

With the new chips from Intel, Chromebooks seemed to be getting a much needed boost to their legitimacy. But, the new chips might be causing a new problem, cheaper and better low end Windows machines. I bought an Acer E 11 Windows laptop for $250 a few days ago and it has one of the new chips. I did not buy it because I was tired of or disappointed in my Chromebook. I bought it because I needed a Windows machine for the classes I am taking at my local community classes. I also bought the least expensive Windows machine I could find expecting it to suck. Now the performance of my new Windows machine is not as good as my Acer C720 Chromebook, but it is not so bad that I hate it. In fact, it is better than I was expecting – disappointingly so. I think Chromebooks now have a problem. If you can get a functioning Windows laptop for about the price of a Chromebook, why switch?

Now I can think of many reasons to still buy a Chromebook, but I think they will fall on deaf ears. What people want to do with a laptop is access the internet and use Office offline. Now Chromebook can do most of that, but the off line aspect is still and issue (one that never really bothered me). The best point for buying a Chromebook was cost. All the other issues were just icing on the cake (so to speak). Again, I think Chromebook has a problem, can they become even cheaper? Maybe, but the difference might not be substantial enough to woo someone away from a Windows machine. Ouch!

What do you think?

Observation – Dropping Out Of College

I think learning is learning so it does not matter where it happens. The only disadvantage with dropping out of college is that you will not get a degree. If you need a degree in your chosen field to gain entry, then you need to stay and finish your degree. For example, I am a public school music teacher and I needed a degree and a credential in order to be able to teach in the public schools (and most private ones as well). I am also a composer. Now I learned a lot in college, but I did not need a degree to write music. In fact, my recommendation to those who want to pursue a music career other than teaching is to not get a music degree, but study privately with the best people you can find and afford. Then spend the rest of your time practicing your craft. I think getting a degree to be a performer or a composer is actually detrimental. Spend your time practicing, not taking classes to meet a requirement that has nothing to do with what you want to do. It all boils down to what you want to do and if it requires a degree to do it.

What do you think?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Observations – Reading

“Teach someone to read and you guarantee that they will be able to learn forever. Teach an entire culture to read and connections and innovations go through the roof.” Seth Godin

Reading is the foundation for all learning. If you can’t read, what can you learn to do besides some very basic skills? If you can’t read, you won’t be able to write. If you can’t read, you will not be able to use the best part of the internet – information! How well is the US doing at teaching students to read? I think the US is not doing a good job of teaching students how to read. Now the US might be doing well at teaching students how to decipher the letters, but there is more to reading than that. I have found that most US students could be classified as functionally illiterate because they don’t want to read. What good is it if you can read but you don’t want to?

What do you think?

Seth Godin:

Observations - New Laptop

I now have used my new Acer E11 laptop for most of a day and here are some more observations. Word works well on the new laptop. I have been writing in my journal most of the day and I created and published a blog post without any issues. Finale, my music scoring program, seems to work fine as well. I was able to playback an old score and I was able to compose a short piece all without a problem. I have noticed that battery life is an issue. I am getting about 3-4 hours of use before I need to recharge the battery. Let’s see if I get a better result tomorrow after I charge the battery overnight. I downloaded Chrome to use as my browser, which works great. I was also able to print using my HP laser printer without any issues. What I don’t seem to do easily is have more than one program running at a time. I think that’s just because of the low amount of memory and the fact that I am using a Celeron processor.

So after a day, I am pleased with this machine that has only cost me $250 so far. I am sure I will need to spend some money on programs in the near future. For example, I do not have a copy of Office, so if I want to keep using word after the trial period, I will need to spend some money. I am enjoying how silent this machine is and how light it is. I also like the smaller size. I don’t have to carry around something that is heavy and bulky. Overall, this has not been a poor investment, but let’s see how this laptop holds up over time.

What do you think?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Observations - New Laptop

I received my new laptop today from Amazon. I bought an Acer E11 Model E3 -111-C5GL and it cost me $250. For the last several months I have been using an Acer C720 Chromebook which cost me $200. Here are my first impressions:

First, the Chromebook is slightly heavier and seems sturdier. The Acer E11 feels cheaper in quality even though both machines are plastic. The E11 is noticeably lighter and I wonder if that is why they used cheaper plastics. The E11 has no fan since it uses a chip that does not require one so it is whisper quiet, but is just as noisy as my Chromebook because of the hard drive. The Chromebook is faster, but the Acer E11, which is running Windows 8.1, is not to bad. I did notice a difference when similar documents or web pages loaded, but the E11 is not so slow that it bothers me. I liked the track pad on the Chromebook better. On the E11 it seems much more sensitive and has more options that I am not used to yet. The keyboards feel the same and he screens are similar. The E11 has one more USB port and it also has and built in ethernet port. It also has an HDMI and an SD reader just like the Chromebook did.

So these are my first impressions. So far I am not disappointed by the Acer E11, which is what I was hoping for. I truly enjoyed using my Chromebook, so there will be some disappointment in the future over that. What I am looking forward to though is being able to use some applications that I was not able to use on my Chromebook namely Office and my music scoring program, Finale. I also want to keep in mind that I only paid $250 for this computer and I should only be expecting what I paid for. Lets see over the next few weeks what I discover.

What do you think?

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Future - Cloud Based Computing

I have been using Google Drive ever since I bought my Chromebook a few months ago. Since then Apple has expanded their cloud services, Microsoft has expanded their cloud services, and now Amazon has announced similar devices on their cloud system. I also think several of the other PC and phone manufacturers have introduced cloud services. I think they see how successful Google has been with their clod services and want a piece of the market. I think they also realize that the future is in the cloud. T is interesting to note that we have almost come full cycle in technology. When computers were the size of small office buildings people connected to the via terminals. With the growth of cloud computing we are coming back to the same concept. More and more devices will be designed to connect to the cloud rather than being stand alone systems. In other words, they are going to be more like terminals. Go figure!

What do you think?

Observations - US Postal Service

I ordered a new laptop from Amazon and I noticed that the US Postal Service is delivering it. Maybe the Post Office got smart and realized that the future is in delivering packages for the online retailers. UPS and FedEx have been making a profit delivering packages for decades, so why not focus on taking a piece of the market from them? The US Postal Service has several advantages over the other guys in the business. They have a built in home delivery system, they have a built in transportation system, and they can run at a lose for as long as they need to in order to take substantial market share. Hey maybe the Post Office finally got smart? No, they will find a way to mess it up. It is the US government at it's best.

What do you think?

Chromebook - It's over!

Unfortunately, my use of my Chromebook is coming to an end thanks to going back to school. The college I am attending is all Microsoft based and though I might be able to wing things on my Chromebook, I am running into problems. Many of the required classes are based on Microsoft Windows and Office. Much of the work is also expected to be done on Windows and Office. I think I ran into the reality that very well might keep Chromebook from becoming mainstream. Much of the world is invested in the Microsoft world. If you want to function in it, you need to work on a Windows machine with Windows applications. So I ordered a low end Windows machine (an Acer E3 111). It is going to arrive in a day or two and I know that I am going to be disappointed in what I will have to live with. I am going to have to function in a high cost, low performance environment with all the problems associated with Windows. Since I want to be able to pass my classes, then I don't have much of a choice.

Now My Chromebook is going to be put to good use. My wife is going to see how well it will work out in her 3rd grade class. If things go well, we are going to run a campaign on "Donors Choose" to try and get her 4-5 more for her classroom. I still think Chromebooks are great for education. They provide a way for students to access the internet and partake of all the great information that is available. They also help students become familiar with the basics of computing. Finally, they provide a way to enable students to use technology without all the cost and support needed for any other OS (especially Windows). As a result, this is probably the last post I write using my Chromebook.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Observation - The Digital Age And The Music/Movie Industry

Did the movie and music industry fight the use of vinyl records, CD's, or DVD's? The movie and music industries did not fight vinyl records or CD's or DVD's or any other physical delivery method of music or movies. They have fought only digital delivery of music and movies because it can be copied so easily. All the physical methods of delivering music or movies did not cost any jobs. In fact they either kept jobs or added jobs. Digital delivery of music and movies has cost jobs because there is no need to hire people to make the physical copies. It is all done digitally on computers and is not labor intensive. But, the cost of production has also fallen as a result. For the consumer, digital delivery has been a blessing. For the music and movie industry, it has been a curse because of job losses and illegal duplication. For creators of music and movies it is a blessing because there are many more ways to sell the music you make. For the music and movie industry it has been a curse because it has rendered the "labels" and "studios" unnecessary.

As a consumer and creator of music, I totally embrace the digital age. It has allowed me to build a great library of music that I can carry with me (on a digital playback device) wherever I go. I have also the ability to create music for any ensemble I want right on my desktop using a music scoring program with sampled sounds and digital recording software. I feel sorry for the music and movie industry, but personally, it is awesome what is happening.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chromebook - My Experience

I have been using a Chromebook for nearly 8 months now. So far, my Acer C720 has worked perfectly and my Chromebook is still my "go to" device. I use it to do all of my writing, all of my email, all of my web surfing, and anything else that comes up. As far as the limitations in using a Chromebook, I have not encountered anything that I am not able to do. I can watch all the videos I want to, I can create all the content I want, and I can do everything I can think to do. Also, having to be online to use most of the functions on my Chromebook has actually forced me to use the cloud extensively. This has been the best $200 technology investment I have made.

What do you think?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Observations - Unintended Consequences

I find it very interesting that many times we do things with the best intentions, but we are not aware of some of the consequences that may follow. Take welfare for example. It is a very good thing to help out others in a time of need and it is a good thing for the government to provide. But, one of the unintended consequences of welfare is dependency. We now have generations of Americans who are unwilling and unable to provide for themselves because they are dependent on welfare. As a result, their lives are worse off than if nothing had been done. I think that many times we let our emotions guide our actions when maybe we should be a bit more rational. I also wonder how many of our problems today have only been made worse because we did not consider some of the unintended consequences caused by what we thought were good actions.

What do you think?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Future - Global Drivers Of Change

I run across an article on what will be driving change over the next several years. They are:

* Longer life span. By 2025 70% of Americans will be over 60!
* Job Automation. More and more jobs will be replaced by automation and technology.
* The rise of data. The increasing use data will influence every aspect of the economy and life.
* New media. Text will decrease in usage and all other means of communication will increase.
* Increasing social organizations. Social will provide the means for large global organizations.
* Global connectivity. The whole world will be online in some form or Fashion.

What are the implications of these trends?

What do you think?

For more:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chromebooks - Great For Education

Last year the Los Angeles Unified School District rolled out a 1 to 1 digital device program using iPads. It turns out that the roll out has not gone as well as expected. One of the unexpected outcomes has been student hacking and another cost. As a result, some schools are being given the option of using a different type digital device. One of the options is to use Chromebooks, which would cost significantly less than iPads. Hacking is also less of a problem since Chromebooks are web based rather than app based. There is also the problem with standardized testing. It turns out that it is either difficult or impossible to take any of the standardized tests on an iPad. In the end I think it would have been better for the district to have used Chromebooks. It would not have spent more than $1 billion on devices that have not worked out as expected.

What do you think?

For more:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

World News - Ukraine and Iraq

Things in Ukraine have become "hotter". Government troops have started to shell separatists positions in the east. Russia is threatening new "sanctions" over natural gas. Things are getting interesting once again. In Iraq things seem to have calmed down a bit. I think this is just because the militants are consolidating their positions and government troops are also getting ready for an offensive. They have taken delivery of new weapons and fighter jets. Plus there are more advisors coming from the U.S. to assist. It won't be long before things become interesting once again. The world just does not seem to be able to be at peace.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

World News - Ukraine

Well, the civil war is back on in Ukraine. The government announced that it is ending the ceasefire it announce a while back. Fighting between the western backed government and Russian backed separatists is set to resume. I wonder how much things will escalate? Will this be the "trigger" that will bring Russian troops into Ukraine? How will this affect natural gas shipments into the rest of Europe. Things are getting interesting once again.

What do you think?

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Economy - Socialism

Socialism doesn't work in the long run. Why, because the private economy does not produce enough to fund it. You can take all the money the "rich" make, and it will not be enough to fund the cost. This is a fact in every country. In the U.S. the total income for the top 10% of taxpayers is about $3.8 trillion. Federal government spending is $3.6 trillion. So you could just take all the money the rich make and pay the bills (and have a bit left over for a rainy day fund). The problem is that you can only do that once because you have just bankrupted the to 10% of income earners and killed the U.S. economy! Plus, who is going to want to make any money if the government takes it all. Socialism will always collapse because it never has enough money to pay for it. What is the solution? A free market, law abiding, and a small and limited government economy!

What do you think?

Chromebooks - Great For Schools

I ran across an article that discusses why Chromebooks are better for schools than iPads. Here are the points the author makes:

* iPad as great for consuming media. Chromebooks are great for writing and doing school work.
* iPads are app based and thus tied to them, which is a closed system. Chromebooks are web based and thus tied to the internet, which is an open system.
* iPads are Apple based. Chromebooks are Google based. (Duh!). Once students enter the workforce, Apple is not such a big player, but Google is (clearly Microsoft is the big fish in the pond, but it is losing market share - not to Apple, but to Google).

I own both devices. I use my iPad for games and media consumption. I use my Chromebook for school, work, and creating text based products. In the end, I think Chromebooks are great for schools.

What do you think?

For more:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Writing - Blocked

I have never really been at a loss of what to write about except for the last few days. I keep looking for things to write about and I can't seem to find things I want to comment on or think about. Maybe there are too many things to write about and I just can't seem to pick something? Or maybe I have written too much on everything already and I feel like I am starting to repeat myself. I am also on my summer break from teaching. Maybe the change in schedule has an affect on why I am not able to find things to write about? In the mean time I will keep looking, but I might not be posting very much.

What do you think?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

World News - Venezuela

Socialism does not work. Case in point: Venezuela. Most of the country of venezuela went dark recently because of a power blackout. An outage at a power station in the center of the country led to electricity service going out in most of the country. This left commuters stranded and traffic snarled across Venezuela. So what caused the outage? No one is sure. The last outage was conveniently blamed on saboteurs by the government. The truth is that the power grid has not been maintained and grown sufficiently. In other words, it has been mismanaged. Since the power grid is owned and operated by the government, there is no one to blame but the government. When government gets involved things die. Enterprises die, utilities die, energy production dies, even people die. Socialism does not work.

What do you think?

For more:

Creativity - Using Constraints

There is a way to boost creativity that is counter intuitive. Here it is: you can increase creativity by increasing constraints. A famous example of this is Dr. Seuss and "Green Eggs and Ham". Dr. Seuss wrote "Green Eggs" on a bet that he could not write an entertaining children's book using 50 words or less. Not only did Dr. Seuss win the bet, but he went on to sell millions and millions of books based on using constraints. So how do you create constraints? Here are some suggestions:

* Limit the size in some way
* Limit the time in some way
* Limit the budget in some way
* Limit those involved in some way
* Limit the materials you can use
* Limit… well, you get the idea

I am using this very technique to see what I can come up with in blogging. I limited myself to only using a Chromebook and free applications. So far I have done well. Are you involved in some creative endeavor? Maybe you can impose some limits in order to help you come up with some very creative solutions or ideas? It worked for Dr. Seuss!

What do you think?