Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The Local Library Is a Great Resource for Research and with New Features

 I really should say the features are NEW to me.

My local library is the Lane Library, in Fairfield, Ohio. This has become my writing, reading, and thinking spot. It’s quiet, easy to get to, warm, and the people are friendly.

Features I did not know were available.

Recently I wanted to read the book; “Silent Messages” by Albert Mehrabian valuable information on research into non-verbal communication, and I was told the ultimate study. This publication was copyrighted in 1971 and to purchase the book would be costly so I went to my Lane library.

They did not have it physically but on checking I could, through the library, borrow it from the Ohio State University library – wow. Through a program called “SearchOhio”, a consortium of public libraries throughout the state, I would have greater resources.

I put in my request and 2 days later had an email to pick it up at my local library. I not only kept it for the allowed 21 days but was able to renew it without going through the compete process for another 21 days.

This is a service.

And it gets better.

I went back to the library looking for a copy of “The Art of Living” by Epictetus and now I find I can get it digitally through the library. Well, I am a great eBook reader, and this is available for download, via my Kindle app.

The people at the library gave me the instruction on downloading the “Libby” app from the Google Play store for my Android phone and not only was I able to borrow the book to read on the Kindle app, I also was able to capture an audible version of a Thich Nat Han book on “The Miracle of Mindfulness” which I can listen to in the car or on my headphones.

All on the 21-day borrowing policy with the ability to renew.

All for the cost of a Library Card.

As Jim Rohn would say: “And what is the cost of the library card? It’s FREE, its FREE!”

I do wish they had a coffee shop but then I own a thermos, so I bring my coffee with me.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Philosophy and More For This Monday

 I have not written for a long time, still trying to figure out what the “Curious Voyager” is doing. My wife and I just celebrated a major wedding anniversary and I am still trying to work out what it is I want to be when I grow up – hence the name “Curious Voyager”.

“Well, I've been around this land, just a-doin' the best I can, Tryin' to find what I was meant to do.” (Tom Paxton, 1964 – Album “Ramblin’ Boy”)

Recently, having just finished auditing a class on “Critical Thinking”, and while still going over my notes, I found a blog, the Daily Stoic, and I am now quite fascinated with Stoicism. From the Daily Stoic I started reading “Ego Is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday which led me to the audio rendition and my wife even lets me play it in the car.

I have always had an interest in Philosophy, and when I left the University of Kentucky in 1975 and later took a job with a local company it was made clear to me “people do not want to talk about philosophy Walter”, so it had to be kept a secret (not a well-kept one) until recently. Now it’s out in the open.

I have never understood why no one wants to talk about Philosophy when the definition returns the meaning “Love of Wisdom”. Learning to reason, think, attempt to understand. On the other hand, after listening to all our politicians I can understand the reluctance to gain wisdom. I suspect some of the Stoics would not be appreciated by many in government today. Sadly, I was never taught (or remembered) about Philosophy during my early schooling. Like most we were taught what to think, not how to think.

Bring it on Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, let’s get at it. My hair is silver, and I do have a long green robe (It is my Obi Wan Kenobi robe - I think of Obi Wan as a philosopher - or was it Yoda?).

The above is a long way around to why I got so excited today. Over the weekend, while studying for my class “Stoicism 101” I found a video by Ryan Holiday who introduced me to another individual whose philosophy is as interesting as well, the individual is Casey Neistat.

The video I discovered via my class “Stoicism 101” was Casey Neistat's 10 Stoic Practices (For Productivity). Its runtime is twenty minutes and both interesting and insightful.  

As interesting is Casey Neistat’s YouTube videos.

Today I landed into those Casey Neistat videos. The first one, Do What You Can’t, was fun and quite interesting. So, I followed that with Snowboarding with the Nypd, now the day is almost lost. There are more, and more, this was just the beginning. Casey turns out to be both fun and someone you could learn from as well as enjoy. 

Check out the Daily Stoic and while you are on the internet catch one of Casey Neistat's videos. Who knows, it just might lighten up your day and give you something different to talk about.  

*Note: in reviewing the above I changed Stoicism 1001 to what it should have been, Stoicism 101 - and that was not an autocorrect error - writer error. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Why Is Bad News The Only News?

I think many people should read “Bad News Bias” in the New York Times this morning. I think it is quite insightful. On the other hand, I have thought for years that people loved bad news and even created their own stories if they could not get enough. 

Is this because it is what people have been expecting for so many years? Do the “Bad News” headlines grab an audience? Are we such a depressed group of people that we are only attracted to stories loaded with downers? Is this what is wrong with the nation? Or perhaps the world? 

Disclaimer: Since 1997 I have not read but one newspaper, and I find TV news rather depressing – especially the late news – it will give me a bad night. 

Not all headlines are bad, however, headlines are written with the intent to GRAB you. If you are looking for bad news, and today that appears to be the essence of a great number of people’s thinking, some headlines will really give you what you could be looking for.  

Here are a couple of headlines on the front page today which I thought would be intriguing for some.  

  • “Survivors Describe ‘Listening to Him Kill Everyone You Know.’”
    • Horrific, would not read this and consider the headline gruesome.  
  • “Why ‘Cursed’ Olympics in Japan Are Pressing Ahead Amid a Pandemic.” 
    • Hmm…”Cursed” – already a dire prediction for the Olympics by the writer - don't go.  
  • “Politicians Behaving Badly.”
    • Now this could be one to read just to have a laugh – and it doesn’t matter the party. 
  • “Officer Brian Sicknick Died After the Capitol Riot. New Videos Show His Attack.” 
    • See the answer to the first one above.
    • I would almost put money on those video’s being an attraction. 

Perhaps it is this bad news fixation which is supporting the anger culture of the American people. I do not think the media is responsible, but I do think it has the potential to feed it. It could also have the potential to change it, but his would be to over the top to consider.

Why do we get joyful over other’s misfortunes? Is it because we are looking for people in worse conditions than we are? There appears to be a consensus of finding others to blame for our own bad times and we are joyful in their troubles. I guess this is something I just do not understand. 

I do not understand bigotry either, but that is another story, or is it?

Additional disclaimer: I get most of the news I want digitally, including The New York Times. My other sources are Microsoft, Google, Apple, and ESPN – when my team is winning. 😊 

I do see headlines as I am on the web a great deal, then again, instead of grabbing me they often turn me off. But I bet you would have guessed that. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

If You Have Not Looked at Futureloop Perhaps Its Time

I know some of you may get the newsletter, Futureloop and this morning in just reading the headlines I am suddenly hit with the REAL accelerating speed of what is going on in all area’s of technology. SpaceX Raptor Engine setting a world record, Hand’s Free Driving, chips going into the body to help detect Tumor’s and repair injuries, then the "Future mental health care may include diagnosis via brain scan and computer algorithm". There are other item’s in the newsletter which are mind boggling as well. 

The realization these advances are not in the next 5 years – they are here now, just being perfected. 

So what is going to happen in the next 5 years, 10 years?  I personally find it all kind of exciting. I know there are people who do not find it exciting and who may not be prepared for these advancements.  

OR does everyone just happily grab on and go? 

Sometimes I feel the Luddite is still very much among us, and for the same reasons. The real fear by people whose Lives will be financially disrupted by these technologies, businesses turned upside down by advancements. I Believe we need to preach future excitement as well as the need for Learning. 

We are growing and going!

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs starts at the bottom with basic Physiological needs and then moves up to Safety, then Social. I believe between Social and Esteem should be Learning. You cannot move up to Self-Actualization without Knowledge which comes from Learning - continued Learning. 

A Bob Dylan song, although written for a different time and reason, still works today; "The Times They Are A-Changin'". And change does not stop at any level except personal, and maybe management. 

I have been into some form of technology all my Life and I find today is even more exciting, not only because of what is happening, but with ones imagination we are going places even Albert Einstein and others may not have ever seen possible - well maybe Leonardo da Vinci had a vision.

Check out Futureloop and Peter Diamandis and Futureloop on Facebook

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

What will the return of retail look like in the coming months - years?

Recently, because of the Pandemic, there has been a great deal of talk about the ability for retail to recover from “stay-at-home” restrictions put in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Having spent a great number of years working in retail, and then owning a small retail store while simultaneously creating a life in technology, I think I understand the viability of the question - can small retail return? Can any retail return, big or small? And if so, which type of retail has the better chance?

Small retail stores of today have one thing big retail does not and is often lost in online buying: the knowledgeable individual working in the establishment. The person who is really into what they are selling. They are (or can be); enthusiastic, excited, and totally enjoy what they are doing. They are willing to tell all they know. Most are also very customer oriented and love the fact that people come to them for their knowledge and guidance on purchases. They can be, and often are, a great influence in the market.

I must admit, when working for Federated Department stores in the early 70's we had people who would learn about the products they were selling. They even had training sessions. Today big retail will hire people to ring up the sale and make sure their area is clean - training went away as a reduction in cost. The only place I have seen knowledgeable people in big retail is in the cosmetics department. It is downhill from there, so why go?

I am aware of the small business owner who went into business for themselves and not the consumer. These business owners will most likely not return. They were not there originally for their customers, but for the prestige of owning a business. The ones that loved retail will try to get back and may be able to pull it off. They need support. They need friends. This IS their Life!

 What started me down this was an article this morning in the New York Times by Alexandar Alter "Bookstores Are Struggling. Is a New E-Commerce Site the Answer?"  - Warning - you may have to join, sign-in, or subscribe, to read. 

It was very insightful about the plight of the small bookstore owner during this pandemic. Today there is an online option for the small bookstore owner to stay in business, however, will it work when things open back up? Will it change the way they run their business in the future, or will it hurt them?

I am an avid reader so my own personal experience: In the 60's/70's I went to a small bookstore, and although it was part of a chain the chain allowed the manager to be a quasi-owner, and she was fantastic. She would even call when a new book was published by a particular author she knew I liked, and had knowledge about the book. I ONLY shopped with her. The store is gone as is the chain and now I shop at Amazon.

On the other side of this bookstore quandary: I have an author friend who just published another book. In his email he pointed us to Amazon to buy the book. Before I finished reading the email I bought the book on my Kindle. I am not a young person; however, I have gotten over the need for the tactile feel of paper.

As an afterthought, what small businesses s can return? Good question. How about hardware stores where knowledge can be sought after, beauty salons, coffee shops who allow conversation, perhaps ice cream stores. 

A great deal of knowledge can be had online today in almost every category, the small business can be a source of influence with specific products as can friends and other associates. This pandemic has increased the online sales volume (from what I read) but has definitely put more people online searching for information, which is what it is all about.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Monday Morning Read: Om Malik provides some interesting thoughts today and into the future.

In my email this morning was a blog post by Om Malik, "Has pandemic pushed us into a post-human future?" I recommend you take time to follow the link and read what Om has to say. 

I have followed Om Malik for years as I believe he is a very good interpreter, and reporter, of the technology arena of today. Om's input brings a real human insight to whatever he is writing, or talking, about. I found this particular article very appropriate in today’s world. 

I know I have always chased the future and tech but I still feel a lot of what he is saying is true. Perhaps the reason we have succeeded, in most cases, of staying at home during these lock down's is we do not have the immediate connection with  large businesses as people thought. We miss it and we don't miss it, if that makes any sense. 

My wife and I have owned small businesses and understand the connection with people. In my heart I really think there is a chance for the comeback of small businesses, on the Mom & Pop side, mainly because of what Om talks about in this post. We want to do business with people we know and are part of our community. 

Only once did I ever feel I had connection to a sales person in a large department store but I have had many connections with a people in the corner dry cleaner, a drug store, wine shop, deli, and other local owned businesses as well as local restaurants. Perhaps we will see a return to this. I have to admit I really won’t miss JC Penny's, Nordstrom's, or Macy’s - even thought I spent a number of years working with Federated Department Stores – as did our son. I mistakenly believed the customer comes first but realized later it was the stockholder. 

 Oh, and OM is a good photographer. There are other links, check them out. 


Monday, May 11, 2020

Thinking About Tomorrow - Personal and Business

Because of the Pandemic many things have already changed and many more will change. The big one I see is WE will change. There is already talk about what happens when things open up. I found the most recent article in "tech blog" from Peter Diamandis, "4 Industries Impacted & What's Next...."  quite interesting as he presents the challenges and lay's out potential future opportunities. Things have already changed and more things are going to change. Rather than fear the future, we need to find the way to a better Life. 

Below are some notes that I started in April but are still relevant today. We have all read that it takes 21 Days to Break a Habit, and the converse, it takes 21 Days to Make a New Habit.  From Lifehack is a link (and there are many out there) with some thoughts on ; How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You. Some say 21 days and some say 28 to 30 days. We are going on 60 to 90 days and don't know when it will end. We will have new habits

Businesses, small and large, will have new ways of working. Remote working (article below) will have been found to be more successful than originally thought. There will be GREAT effects rippling thought the world of work, family, and play. We just might have more office space than needed and we can Zoom to that meeting rather than fly. Yes it's all been around but now we are finding just how easy it is and how important, or not, some of these things can be. 

Apparently I am not the only one who is hypothesizing about potential outcomes of our current status of "Stay at Home"  and work related issues. In reading this ZDNet article, "CFOs looking to make remote work, telecommuting more permanent following COVID-19, says Gartner survey", they cover some bigger issues like cancelling offsite meetings and travel expenses because we all now know how to ZOOM, or Go To Meeting, Skype, and other means of communications visually.  This article on ZDNet is part of a Special Feature on Working From Home: The Future of Business Remote.

The impact could be huge. How about offsite office rental being vacated, airline seats empty as well as hotel rooms, rental car companies looking for customers. The Service Industry will take a big hit; Uber, Lyft, Conventions Center's, as well as well known cities for hosting conventions.

There is more to be concerned with if the impact continues.