Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I took a little time out to reply to an article I read on the SparkMinute by David Spark:

There's a little problem with time saving.  I used to want to save so much time, in fact, I still have lots of things that I need to do everyday.  Not that I have to do but need to (therefor some of it can get pushed for the next day).

I found very early that once I filled up all my time, I became burnt out and exhausted.  Especially with living in NY and driving some places and MTA'ing it to others, not to mention walking.  It takes a while.  One of my biggest complaints since I was a kid here.  Because of that, you fall behind and are always in a rush. 

When you're tired as well, sometimes you need that break.  Like right now, I'm reading your article and typing a response because it helps me feel more relaxed.  I should be doing something else :)  

I would add that although everyone wants to be the most productive they can be, Sometimes, it's a detriment if you don't take that time out to relax when you can.  But, worthy to note, we shouldn't fall into the trap of stretching out that down time so it gets to be too long.  

I would much rather see an article on how to save time by getting back on track after a break (or after lunch from a food coma while I'm thinking about it) rather than just saving time.  

I guess you can see my problem, I need better ways to transition back to work after a break ... I just had 10 minutes of lost productivity ha ha. 

In all seriousness though, I do a lot of what you have said here already.  I does work and would like to think I'm pretty productive.

Anyone have any advice on how to transition better out of breaks? 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rant on Obama-care

This is what I think about when I think of government programs.
Programs that in essence want to do well and help out the common man but in the end become bigger and more expensive than most of the private sector. 

So many stories have come out lately that really "get my goat" and annoy me about Obama-care.  I respect the effect that Obama-care might have, i see it as another big player that if successful, may bring down the general price of insurance for everyone but from what I hear right now, the government's plans are more expensive and no one that is actually healthy and can pay into it is actually using buying in. If things don't change, It's a sure scenario for Obama-care's eventual downfall.  

I'll tell you, one of the things that really annoyed me since its inception was how there was going to be a rule that everyone had to have health insurance.  I know people will compare it to auto insurance and say it's just like that but I'd say it's very wrong and downright evil to tell everyone that they MUST buy something in order to live legally in the United States.  Not everyone has to have car insurance technically and telling me that I must buy into some kind of health insurance by 2014, is very very wrong.  At this time, my job does not provide for my health insurance.  I know from searching for personal health insurance in my past that it is super expensive.  Even with a full time job, it's going to be tough to pay for.  What right does the government have to tell you that you must spend up towards 30% (to be conservative) of your pay for health insurance when the federal and state government (here in NY) take over 30% from my paycheck already!  If someone has a long term disease or needs long term care, I'd say they need to pay for insurance and should in order to help keep health care rates down rather than show up to the ER and expect Medicare to pay but in the end of course, that's just what a lot of people who need long term care do.  And, if you're low income, you can't even contribute into or buy your own health insurance anyway.  I digress though, that's an argument for another day.

I've heard so many stories recently though, stories about people losing the insurance that they have paid into for years.  There's a relationship that comes into play between an insured and insurer there.  Most company men, I'd suspect, would say that's wrong.  Some regular folks might say as well, that in the end, companies don't care and you might still not get any help when you need it but I'd like to think there's something personal in an insurance relationship.  Not only that, but you pay into an insurance plan, there is a trust there that you have done your part and hopefully you've paid each and every month, a fair price so that when you need help, the policy will be there to help you.  After you've paid into it for a few years to a few decades, if you have to get a government policy, and if that price skyrockets, you can't help but think that you're being cheated and being forced into paying more for the same policy, less of a policy, or parts of a policy that you don't need. This really makes me mad as well.  I've been hearing a lot of stories about people that have had their policies killed off because supposedly, they don't measure up to some government ruler of insured and what they need.  In a lot of cases, the insurance policy that ends up cancelled is one that has been paid into for years and is exactly what the insured needs (give or take a little bit).  But, here's the real kicker, some people, a good percentage, are being told that one, their old policy is no longer valid, but two, that their new policy is going to be more expensive.  And what do they get for that extra cost?  NOTHING!  What else?  Because it's the law, there is no alternative and that is really sad. 

Lastly, on my rant today, I really hate the stories I've heard about more expensive government plans that may provide more care that older plans didn't but they are more expensive because they provide health care for things that the insured doesn't need!  I'm just a common man so I don't know all the details on what the government deems "must haves" for an insured's policy but one thing I have heard over and over again is that for example, maternity care, MUST be on all plans now for all women.  This has lead to the situation where many women past menopause who end up switching from an invalid plan (which didn't cover maternity) to a new one (which must cover maternity and with which they don't need) end up having to pay more because of it.  What is that?  I'd say that's gender discrimination!  Especially since you're forcing women who don't need parts of a plan to pay for it because of the simple fact that their women!  I don't know what other looney rules there are in Obama-care right now but I'm assured they'll come out sooner or later thanks to our media system, reporters that tell us everything we need to know, don't need to know, and don't care to know.  It's actually a very good thing.

Well, that's it for my rant on Obama-care tonight.  It's been building for months.  I had to say something.  What do you think?  Is this scheme actually going to end up more for good than evil when it's all said and done?  I know my usable income will be down if I end up having to buy my own health insurance, probably by a lot, not happy about that at all.  In the end, will more "healthy" people choose to go with the government and be insured and in turn, buy into the system that will have enough liquidity to take care of those who are very sick or low income?  Will health insurance companies see that this is their opportunity and provide good plans for lower prices and blow government health care to smithereens by proving what we all knew, health care is much too big a universe for a government to handle?  That's my personal take.  With all the government has to worry about and take care of, it didn't need to take on healthcare.  Since it did, it should have had a full proof plan to bring the price down, especially since the cost of being insured and the cost of healthcare are so so high right now.  I'm not foreseeing good things in the future on the healthcare front and I'm in total wonder and what the field will look like at the end of it all.  Good luck to us all!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Mis on the big screen..... Again!

My reply to the article: http://www.crosswalk.com/culture/movies/les-miserables-2012-movie-review.html

I appreciate your review and agree with most of it. Russell Crowe was definitely too weak in terms of voice but I also found the key or perhaps the octave a bit too high for the guys. I kept wondering who chose it bc the guys were breaking trying to hit their high notes. Colm Wilkinson was the priest, I wish he got a bigger role but of course there are only so many. But gosh, the question of who else could have been Javert kept going through my head. His suicide scene was sooooo weak. They all did a fine job though and I'm glad every time they try to get Les Mis on the big screen! Yes, I'm a fan.

Do you agree? Let me know!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Egypt: That was sickening ... I am not a big fan of American politics at all but innocence should not be used to pay for ignorance.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fitbit update ...

A reader asked if I have hit the tipping point yet exercising with the Fitbit.  Here was my answer:

Everyone is different of course, for me, i don't know if I have hit a tipping point yet because I haven't lost any weight but the difference is I feel great!  I'm just a little overweight, maybe 10 pounds, but for the last year before i started exercising, I felt like a slug, always heavy and slow.

I moved back to NY from Chicago and decided not to continue, with a move back home, it was time to make some changes.  I started running (really just walking), and now I run about 75% of my 3 to 5 mile treks every day (You just have to squeeze it into your schedule, exercise is that important).  Also, it only lasts a little over an hour now, so as you get healthier, your runs (should you choose to do that) will shorten.

Now, I am with my fiancee in Pennsylvania for a few weeks and we are out in corn country.  Lots of cars and no sidewalks - I bring this up because of the walking and running in NY, I can run a lot longer here where I think is quite dangerous bc of the no sidewalks environment.  I want to get on and off the main roads quickly.

Anyway, main point, I do not feel like a slug any longer and I can run a pretty good distance ... still improving too!  Have i hit a tipping point?  Probably not, but I feel great and that's another thing that's important.  So don't give up, the tipping will come but enjoy just getting healthy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Fitbit Ultra Review

Picture is from:http://blog.gifts.com/gift-of-the-day/fitbit-ultra-the-wearable-wireless-wellness-monitor

Just wanted to take a moment and give my initial impressions of the FitBit Ultra.  I recently got back into working out and walking, jogging, and running.  I've been feeling a little overweight and sluggish for the last few months.  I'd say I have probably been a little overweight for about the last year or 2 actually to the point I can actually feel it.  It was time for a change.

Well, the Fitbit has been out for quite a while now.  Maybe the last 4 years?  I've been looking to get one since it came out but decided on waiting on what other people thought, if there would be improvements, and to see if the price would come down.

The wait paid off in certain ways.  The Fitbit Ultra came out about a year or so after the original if I remember right and it tracks more things and does more things, like containing a clock, a simple feature I really like, which was mysteriously missing from the first iteration.  Along with tracking steps, it also tracks altitude and tells your distance in miles which is nice. 

I've always used Runkeeper on my Iphone since it came out and really liked how this app tracked your mileage as well as mapped your routes very accurately using the GPS in the phone.  Recently, I've gotten into the Nexercise app because I love the way it gamifies the exercising process and allows you to level up with increased workouts.  For a fan of role-playing games like me, that's just sooo nice.

I read in multiple posts that the Fitbit was supposed to work in conjunction with the Runkeeper app so now that I was exercising regularly and using all these apps anyway, I thought it would be nice to get the Fitbit and get rid of a few apps and just let the Fitbit control and feed info to them.  

When I finally got the Fitbit Ultra and worked with it these last few days, I found out that Runkeeper did not have an app or a tracking connection with the Fitbit any longer.  I wasn't able to find any information on why but, I gotta say, I still love the Fitbit.  The statistics it provides me on the steps I've taken, floors I've climbed, and about my sleep patterns have been invaluable so far.  I wouldn't say I'm numbers inclined enough to like statistics but I do like what the Fitbit is telling me.  I get to find out all this info on how I live and tweek myself in order to maximize my own workouts and life.  

An added bonus was finding this app/web service Myfitnesspal.com, which does have an app that connects with Fitbit.  I tried to use the "Loseit" app for a few weeks in the past to enter foods I eat to measure calories and how much I burn but it was a very cumbersome process.  Because the app didn't recognize a lot of things I ate, I had to enter some things by ingredient.  The first day, this took about an hour per meal, not to mention how many times I went back to tweek it thinking some of the ingredients were wrong (like baked potato + butter (1pat) instead of just potato).  Myfitnesspal.com takes all your foods through the web or through the iphone app and feeds it into Fitbit so you don't have to enter it at the Fitbit site.  That's a plus because Myfitnesspal.com has a whole lot of foods that you can just type in that many other services don't.  For example, my first snack was a Chinese coconut bun.  When I typed that in, it actually had "Chinese generic coconut cream bun," exactly what I ate.  It even had some dim sum by the Chinese phonetic names for my next morning.  Not to mention the English named, Papa John's 12 inch pepperoni pizza, slice, it's so easy to enter.

So, as of today, I am loving my workouts using the Fitbit and all this info I'm getting from it.  Just a note about the sleep functionality, some people say it's not really reliable because it tracks your arm movement as you sleep but it does show up in graphs as movement or waking movement.  This is actually good information in my opinion.  Something while I sleep, causes me to move every now and then as I sleep and although I don't remember it, it might be, if it happens often enough, what causes me to feel tired in the morning or more tired throughout the day (times of less deep sleep).  I'm waiting to see what it looks like when I do remember having a rough night.  It seems to be able to tell how fast you go to sleep too which is nice and how much time you actually spend sleeping.  Another plus.  

So I guess my conclusion would be ... I love this thing.  It's a hundred bucks at most places so it's not cheap.  It's not bulky though either and it's very reliable.  I got mine at Bestbuy where I had a hundred bucks in gift cards over the last 3 years.  I thought it was finally time to use them.  I did look around though and the other simple pedometers were around 40 to 60 bucks so I saw this as a very good deal.  Although you could view it as a glorified pedometer, it's the software, wireless base, and the website and apps that make all the difference.  It really lets you use the information rather than just view it. If you have the extra cash lying around or think this info could help you, or just need a kick in the butt by seeing how much "sedentary time" it says you are experiencing, I say go get it confidently.  It's really cool, really light, and reliable.  

One thing of note though, I thought about the Nike Fuel band also, but I already have a nice watch and for 150 bucks, it doesn't do nearly as much as the Fitbit.  Also, those Nike Fuel points were a real turn off.  There's no way to tell how they're calculated.  I say just stick with real stuff like steps, mileage, and floors.

On things that it's doing wrong, one thing that can be fixed on it by changing your stride length, is the distance and steps it's tracking.  For me, the Fitbit seems to be tracking extra steps and extra distance by a few percent over what I'm getting from my GPS apps I mentioned above.  After the last few days though, I pretty much know to just subtract 200 steps and a quarter mile or so from whatever I get at the end of the day for the "real" totals.  In the end the GPS apps might be a little off as well so I just average out the 3, the 2 apps and the Fitbit.  As a side note, I'm still using Runkeeper because I like the maps it draws of my running paths that seem to change everyday.  And Nexercise is just fun, period.  It's just like government, I use all three to provide checks and balances on each other and it might seem a little OCD but it makes it even more fun.  I'll fix my "stride" next time I'm at a track.

If you guys have an opinion or tips on how to use this device even better, leave me a message.  And if you want to join my fitbit network, I should be under nyhunter77.  If I don't friend you don't feel bad, I haven't friended anyone yet.  Ok, time to go climb some stairs :D  

One more note about purchasing this.  Make sure you get the right one!!!  Bestbuy is selling the Fitbit and Fitbit Ultra both for 99 dollars because someone entered it into their system and website incorrectly (at least this past week).  They seem to only have old Fitbits in Blue and Fitbit Ultras in Plum.  I ended up getting a blue and having to exchange it and take a plum (or some would say pink) but who cares, it's just a color.  I found you can't even see the color most of the time.  Anyway, make sure you take a gander at that box!  Read Ultra before taking it.

Happy exercising!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This was a response to Dwight Silverman's article on travel tech. Just some suggestions on how I use GPS apps on my iPhone and how a combination ends up working better than just one.


Recently I’ve travelled a lot too. On ios, mapquest has become a free app lately and I find that dead on when giving me the routes that are best and giving me lots of clear verbal instructions. I used to use Waze all the time but in the northeast it’s instructions aren’t the best and in jersey, can have you going around in circles. Not good one tired morning. I had to break out the mio standalone gps to get out of the area. Waze does tell you where accidents are and more importantly, where traffic jams end. I usually plug my iPhone in and turn both apps on. Get my directions from MQ and leave Waze on just for the crowd sourced traffic reports. Tag team! How bout that?

As an add-on note, I can't forget Slacker with the ~3.99 a month subscription to get rid of commercials. This makes my road trips that much more enjoyable.  It's also great to mention how i can use all these apps at the same time.  When traffic directions are given, the music is automatically lowered. It's great, I leave my phone plugged into the car stereo all the time!  It's worth the few seconds of trouble (no bluetooth in my vehicle).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gun Control

2 posts I had with a friend on gun control after the "Batman Massacre." He didn't really have a side I guess.

1.  What's your stance Steve? Do you have one? It's so true, like the article says, you have to take into account the country's background, history, and the sociology of each country. Taking that into account, certain large populations here don't take kindly to the law much less answer honestly when asked about anything. I also think as a society, the US is such a disrespectful country as a whole that I hardly ever have felt safe (maybe that's my problem). Since college, I took my gun licensing exam, practiced at the range, got the concealed carry license (valid in some states), and have educated all that would like to learn the basics of using and safety features to look for in a gun. In our society, that's the only thing that's going to make us safer, education. I've always owned since then, yep, even in Chicago. I for one, feel much safer with it than without it. It's not something to fear if you know how to use it and how it works ... well, unless someone who shouldn't have one is right in front of you.

2.  That's the heart of the matter right there. Guns "can" kill people but it's the person, mentally and physically, who actually pulls the trigger. Ultimately, it is the person who does the killing whether bc of mental illness, lack of knowledge, or plain stupidity. I for one say, bring on the gun laws! And ban the assault rifles. Come on! There's no reason for that at all.

As long as single shot rifles, pistols, and perhaps semi autos (which most handguns are anyway) are in some way accessible for the consumer who has taken an active part in training and learning about what they are actually getting, I will support it. But an outright ban? That will just turn us all into victims sooner or later (in this country).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This was my reply to Shelly Palmer's article on how Verizon's Share Everything Plan was going to be "about the same" cost as current plans:

Credit for photo: Thanks to http://brokelyn.com/
Forgive me Shelly, I call you out as a lier on this. You shouldn't be judging this new plan on what you and I as techies use but as the general population uses. Most ppl I know use a basic calling plan with low minutes (no one wants to talk anymore or they just wait until free night and weekend times), they have the basic 2 gig data plan, and they have or have no txt messaging vs free texting services or google voice/Facebook.

Normal access right now for these things are around 70 bucks plus tax. Go to Verizon's share everything calculator and you will see this at a minimum (2gig data) is 100 bucks not including tax!

That is in fact, an unreasonable increase! Add Texting for those not savvy enough for free texting services and that's even more!

No one I know that uses YouTube frequently or even infrequently can stay under 2 gigs either.  Not to mention if they are Netflix or streaming radio subscribers which push them close or over the cap.

In fact, for my data conserving girlfriend, she gets really close or over the 2 gig limit on AT&T using her iPhone so often we're thinking about switching her to the 3 gig plan. It's not easy to stay under 2 gigs and it's almost impossible to stay under 1. I think you are seriously wrong on this issue and you should shout from the rooftops how Verizon is going to be gauging customers in the near future rather than helping or remaining "about the same" as the current plans.

That's just wrong, and that's a fact.  Thank you.

 Sent from my iPad

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Say No To Standardization!

Response to Michael Winerip of the NY Times - Article dealing with education and roboreaders.

I just heard you on the NPR tech podcast and I have to agree that I am not a supporter of more and more standardized testing as well as "standardized reading" of writing exams.

I love reading and writing, I'm always reading in my free time and when I have something to speak on, such as this topic, I end up writing as well.

To keep it short though, I would say I am a perfect example of a victim of standardized tests.  Everyone knows that doctors must be smart and yes, they should be tested so they know their stuff, but I would say the 7/8+ hour tests over multiple days that give out page long cases to read and then to choose one answer that's correct over 6 to 10 other ones at times is just ridiculous.

It's sad, I don't think that way.  I've always been told I think outside the box and in some cases, real cases, that's what you need!  But, after many years, I haven't been able to train myself to think in the way the medical boards have wanted me to in order to pass these tests.  It took 3 years to pass the Step 1, and I've still not been able to pass Step 2.  It may be too late for me in truth, although, if anyone, doctor, or layman, asks me to come up with a list of possible diagnoses and treatments, I can rattle off a great list quickly from my mind (In essence, i can do the job).

I just think that the process of standardized testing is creating a standardized population. We're all being trained to do things the same way and there is no leeway or accounting for someone who may be just as smart or smarter than the next guy, yet can't pass some standardized test.  I think there should me another method or another way given to everyone, no matter the cost.  I taught kids for a while and we were taught that everyone learns differently.  It's the same for adults.  Testing has to take that into account as well!

I'm still trying, I may never pass, but I have picked up radiography as a skill since then and hope to at least be able to bankroll my future attempts.  They are not only tough, but expensive tests.

To close, I guess I wished that people took the time to find more realistic ways to test people and kids rather than just standardized "cardboard cutout" ways.  Not everyone fits a mold but everyone can be a valuable part of society and their value to themselves and to their society might be greatly diminished because of a standardized, one size fits all, test.

Thanks for reading,

Ken Guie (MD - yet still unable to practice)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Anyone have a view on the Post Office / Mail situation here in the states? Commenting to a friend's post, this was my gripe.

"It's a lost cause, it's sad because my uncle and other ppl i know work for the post office but the service is no longer really needed. Sure for packages and certain things it is, but a much smaller percentage than once was. Companies as well as the USPS have to adapt and that means cutting staff when there isn't enough work for everyone. That's what should be done. Not decrease services or charging more. They need to cut staff and perhaps locations, period."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Should I get and iPad2?

Here's an email that was sent to me asking about the new iPad 2. I thought I'd post it up for anyone else who might have the same questions.

Yep, trying to thaw out but Chicago is still cold and snowy.

I hope you're doing well, can't be that cold in the middle of the east coast.

Sure, I can answer some questions for ya.

I'll post some answers after your questions ...

Hi Ken,

I hope you're doing well and thawing out from the winter's cold.

I'm thinking about getting the IPad 2 and remember you're a big fan of the IPad.

So a few questions:

1. Are you going to buy the 2 and do a review? If yes, let me know when/where to find the review.

On a more personal level, my goal is to use the IPad for travel to check emails, read newspapers and magazine articles and surf the web and watch the occasional movie. I will not be using it for business, to play games, or to store music or photos. I will upgrade to a new PC for these purposes when my old one blows up. I'm pretty much prefer the IPad over the Xoom just because I want to look young and cool. Given these:

Answer: Right now, the xoom is just too overpriced anyway. I thought the ipad was overpriced, not compared to the xoom. :)
You'll end up playing games on it. Everyone does. ha ha, I have a bunch on there now but the nice thing is they're all free. :)
This time around, I'm planning to sit out unless i can get rid of my original ipad. There's talk an ipad 3 is coming in September though. How realistic is that, not sure ...

2. Should I upgrading to 32G for an extra $100 since my current storage needs aren't great?

Answer: It depends, I got into audiobooks and podcasts and bringing my Tivo programming with me on my daily travels. If you're going to do that, you might run out of space with a 16. I'm juggling every friday to bring what i want to have over the weekend with me for those times I'm out and bored. On a side note, I don't carry any music. I usually use the Slacker app for that. Slacker is a music cache service where u can bring saved music channels. They have an online component too, try it :) it's like pandora but better.

3. I'm stuck with my Andriod phone for another year an a half. Should I still upgrade to the 32G with 3G model for an another $129 (or there abouts, or $229 over the base model) in case I switch over to an IPhone after my current contract expires?

Answer: Does your android have the hotspot feature? With that and a good plan, you don't need the 3G. I got the wifi version and have never needed 3G. I do have an iphone4 though and it picks up the slack when I'm outdoors away from wifi. I've gotten use to using them both at the same time, they complement each other nicely.

4. What advantage is there to upgrade to 3G? Are there many places where WiFi isn't available where a normal person would go to?

Answer: Almost all wifi is protected now so pretty much if you think you'll have a hard time finding a coffee shop or airport or other place with wifi, 3G is good to "think about" but maybe not buy until you really think about your need. You mentioned you already have an android, they probably forced you to get a data plan and they won't let you off of it.

5. Can I add on additional memory or 3G capability down the road without having to buy a new IPad?

Answer: No. Why? Steve Jobs says so.

6. Any clues as to when the IPad 3 will come out and what extras it'll have? (One thing glaringly missing is a disk drive or port to an external drive to copy in music and movies. Did I read there was a flash port for this?) In other words, should I just upgrade to a new laptop for now and wait for the IPad 3 to come out?

Answer: For something even more expensive, I would get the apple air 11 inch version if I had a choice but that is seriously overpriced and actually isn't as helpful when out and about unless they are able to start using apps from the apple store (which i think they are working on or may have already released (i don't have an apple computer but that's what I heard a few months ago))

7. Will I really look cool and young with an IPad or do I have to start incorporating "dude" in my daily conversation and listening to rap?

Dude, you don't listen to rap? J/k, don't bother ha ha, that's not worth it ha ha. Why? Almost everything is young and cool now. Computers are copying the Air and the tablets are copying the iPad. You won't be able to avoid the cool factor :) If you get something unexpected, you'll just be an outsider and what's cooler than that!?

I don't need answers right away. I'm not about to camp out in front of an Apple store so I can get one right away. Thanks for all your advice.

Addition: No Problem, I think many people are thinking about this right now, I might just post this on my blog for anyone else, minus names though. Have a great week!

It looks like there's no pre-order so if you get the urge, lines may start Thursday ! :) or before :) crazy people. I walked in the Sunday after the release of the ipad 1 though and had no probs just picking it up and leaving. Hopefully it will be the same for you.

See ya!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just a few minutes on the economy.

I was born in the US but I am a great fan of China and their growth as a leader in the world. I really do think the US and China's economy are linked in a very important way. We can see the truth in that this past week as the US played very good host to China's president. I am not an economist, but I do worry about the building inflation that I see worrying me and those around me. Recently, I've been paying a lot of attention to the Asian news market. It seems they are building inflation a lot faster than we are. I just want to outline some interesting things that I've seen them do and I would like feedback on if these things would work for us. Psychologically, I would think they would make us all more relaxed and confident about our economy. What repercussions this might have toward other parts of the economy and government I don't know. Any good links to other ideas?

I've heard some buzz as far as in China, some people suggesting that the government should reallocate more money from the rich to the poor. Would that work, even in China? I guess mainland China could do that if they wanted to, but it would never work here. I'd like to see them get Hong Kong people to stand for that as well. Even over there, business folks want to be so liberal and make so much more money nowadays, I think that would actually cause an upheaval in the economy. That wouldn't help at all. At the same time, those economists are suggesting privatizing some government run parts of the economy. That seems like a very strange policy wrought with contradictions. How can you instate state control over the wealth of a nation and yet place the basis of that wealth in the hands of private individuals or organizations? Seems like you're just lengthening the problem and making more people poorer in the process. Perhaps that's what they want to do, give a majority of the wealth and power to fewer people so that they can be controlled. Control. A reoccurring feature of Chinese politics.

Both China and Korea seem to have raised interest rates this past week and that's certainly something we don't want to see in this country, we never really want that on this side of the sea. Of course sometimes it's necessary. Something interesting that Korea is doing is freezing utility rates for the next six months, and suggesting colleges do the same for tuition. Six months seems like a short time to me but in the short term it might make people feel good that they are not going to find a surprise in their mailbox over the next few months.

Just some observations and thoughts, as I said, I'm a US citizen but I'm also a big fan of China and (maybe because I'm Chinese-American) want to see the Far East grow and succeed. I'll be anxious to see how these changes affect that part of the world and what happens 6 months later. I always have the point of view that we can all learn from each other, we're all in such poor positions as far as our economies and the outlook as far as business leaders toward the future state of the short term economy. I hope someone has an answer, I'd say that we in the US are not doing enough to produce jobs and reduce debt. Perhaps the east has something to say about that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Something new?^ When did google start previewing links? awesome

Monday, January 10, 2011

Google Preview?

Something new? When did google start previewing all links on searches? I think this is just awesome!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A saying I thought was very humorous at the Field Museum today :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Interesting Words

Some have classified me as a loner in the past. I'd say in some cases, that's true. I like to hang out with friends and colleagues more often than not but you can reach a limit where too much contact can be detrimental to your psyche in my humble opinion.

I have just read 2 quotes that I like a lot that seem to say very clearly what I think. I thought I'd share them.

I found these on a newsletter I get called Love Your Work from Crosswalk.com. I tried to find the specific link but could not. I'll post the sayings and brief snips from the newsletter:

"Great Work Comes from Solitude"
Dan Miller
Many people are most creative and productive when they are secluded or left alone.

"Solitude is for me a fount of healing which makes my life worth living. Talking is often torment for me, and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words. " Carl G. Jung

"We have to remember that we look for solitude in order to grow there in love for God and in love for others. We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them: we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them, but to find out the way to do them the most good." Thomas Merton

Silence is not just a void space. Silence is often where God is, waiting to burst forth with the possibility of a creative solution or a miraculous thought. Out of the silence comes the next chapter in a book or the opening chords of a symphony. Out of silence comes the natural breathing rhythm of restful rejuvenation and healthy optimism.

So sometimes, I retreat to a secluded place, but I'd wager that when you see me next, I'll be a better person and a better friend. I may even have answers I, or you, are looking for.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I remarked on my tech blog today regarding the federal decision today in Virginia against Obamacare. A federal judge correctly stating that forcing you to get health insurance is wrong and should be seen as unconstitutional. I agree and wanted to state that. Let's work on what actually makes health care and insurance so expensive. If we can lower the prices on medical visits, pharmaceuticals, and insurance itself, everyone would be able to afford it and a great many more of our US population would have it.


Friday, December 10, 2010

My response to a Pogue response to one of his followers wishing for a data rollover plan

Original Nytimes post: http://ow.ly/1rXjKU

I think that's a great idea but there is one problem, after the change in data plans and prices a while back, I wonder how many people are actually staying underneath the cap, has anybody done a study of that yet? On my most conservative month, I just overtake two gigs of usage. On an average month, I use about 3.5 gigs. Both these scenarios overtake AT&T's current two gig pro plan, thank goodness I'm still on the old unlimited plan. So although a rollover data plan is a good idea, does anyone actually come under the limit anymore to save anything? If people are like me, AT&T must be reaping a fortune right now over new subscribers. Also, take into account that android phones use even more data than iPhones. I am very interested to see how these plans are working out for customers.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Chevy Volt.

Just a few words about the Chevy Volt. It comes out next
month and it got me wondering, is it really a revolutionary next generation
technology? I think not. Why do I say that? The Chevy Volt is just another
hybrid car but instead of using a gasoline / electric symbiotic system like
the Toyota Prius for example, Chevy's programmed their car to use up all the
battery power first before switching to the gasoline engine. That's nothing
special, they've just decided to program the car to use it's power sources
in series rather than parallel.

Also, take this into account. A Toyota Prius uses it's combination
technology to get as much as 50 miles per gallon efficiency. It has a 12
gallon fuel tank to give it a total of 600 miles of estimated fuel
efficiency. Not solid numbers but best estimates because there's plenty you
can do to lower efficiency such as running the air conditioning for example.

If you take the Chevy Volt now, it claims to only get about 40 miles on a
single charge of it's batteries. Then, the best claims from Chevy are that
the Volt will get an extra 300 miles on gasoline �help� for the generator
powering the car (or is it the gas engine that then powers the wheels after
charge runs out?). Supposing this model has a 10 gallon tank, they usually
don't get too much smaller, that would give the gasoline engine only an
efficiency of 30 miles per gallon. Not revolutionary at all. In fact, much
like any other car out on the road today.

On the contrary, here's the part that is really exciting though. That part
about being able to drive 40 miles on a single charge. I was thinking about
my own life. Currently, I normally only drive as much as 15 to 20 miles a
day. That being the case, I could go months without using up any fuel. Now,
that part is revolutionary! It's funny though, here in Chicago, say you have
to drive to the suburbs every day or from the suburbs to Chicago everyday,
you might just cross that 40 mile mark and use some gas. Not much depending
on where you have to go but you probably will cross that line.

So, will I be thinking about getting one? Not really. I like the idea of
just running on electric power only first and not touching the gasoline
engine but the car other than that is really nothing special in my opinion.
In fact, I'd say, it's just a Chevy Malibu with an electric generator. I do
hope that someday, companies will push this technology further so that we'll
be able to get farther than just 40 miles on a charge and that the batteries
will charge faster. It's nice to have that gasoline backup but contrary to
what Chevy researchers say, I would guess many people will go over that mark
and it's radius is just too small. Just a few small trips a day and the
batteries will get used up, throw in A/C, heating, or whatever else you
desire (amps, subs, etc) and that power will go fast.

So, I'll be waiting for the next real revolution. Perhaps a much wider
radius on batteries, a bit of a smaller fuel tank (it needs to be truly
backup) and a bit bigger size OR smaller price tag would help. Don't price
it high just because the government is going to throw in some rebates. I
believe that's what they have done. It's not worth 40 Grand. That's what I
think, what do you think? Will you be waiting eagerly for the release of
this car next month? Do you care? Let us know!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I know a lot of people who have stomach issues. I know far fewer people who have stomach issues as well as blood and heart issues. If you do or know someone who does, I just read a story that confirms that if you do take a proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole (Prilosec) along with a blood thinner like clopidogrel (Plavix), you are more likely to get relief from your G.I. symptoms with no extra danger in cardiovascular health. This little tidbit was brought to you because of all my friends with stomach pain. You know who you are. Just file this away in the back of your mind somewhere. You're welcome. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

You probably can't tell from the picture but this is Internet tv, looks great and no need for cable. Drop it.
You probably can't tell from the picture but this is Internet tv, looks great and no need for cable. Drop it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Personal reflection:

Contentment is a very difficult subject. How are you supposed to feel content in a world such as this? Are you content? How have you become so? In a world where you can be a success and be a failure, it's so easy to dwell on those failures. We know we shouldn't, but some dreams are harder to let go than others.

In the Bible, 1 Timothy 6:6, it is said that there is great gain with contentment, we have brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of this world, that's obvious. We mustn't fall into temptation and be roped into senseless desires of this world, that will only bring us to ruin and destruction.

It's easy to say, but hard to put into practice. What am I dreaming for, what is my real purpose for the goals that I have? Is it simply for personal gain? Do I want the stature and the reputation that comes with my dreams? Am I really doing what I do for the good of others? No. No. Yes. Should I just settle down and be content? I thought I made the decision a while ago, yet with one e-mail and one phone call, the dreams come back, the lure of my life's first intention.

I ran into a friend the other day who made my dreams of success true in his life. He started on his path after I did yet he has progressed farther than I have. Is the grass always greener on the other side? Maybe not, but I still dream.

I missed an opportunity to find out if I could reinitiate this dream tonight, it may have been my fault for not being more persistent, it may not have been my fault because I was supposed to receive a message and didn't. No matter what the cause was, I started dwelling on this topic and on the connected lesson I am writing for other men as well as myself for the near future.

My questions and reflections are for why I have this dream, why do I need it so much that it rules over my life? Can I be content? I've succeeded in many other things, acquired degrees is in many other subjects, why does this dream continue to depress me when I continually realize I have not yet succeeded. Will it ever end? Can it ever end? What will it take? I have asked my Lord God to answer those questions and to help me put aside my great need for this path. Maybe it's only because I, myself, have not yet become strong enough to give up this dream on my own. I'm going to think about these things throughout this week and you can comment if you like, I have a strange sense of contentment right now at this moment, but I know it won't last. It may not be God's path for me, I'll have to accept that, but when do I accept that? And then, will this haunt me for the rest of my life? It's a heavy burden and one at times I feel I cannot bear. I will bear it though, although I wish I didn't have to.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Strange Path Crossings

Have you ever been in a place where it seems that the goal of your life was just out of reach, where you had to settle for something just a little bit less than what you had intended, and you find it brings you no joy. It seems always like someone else is living your life and that you are living someone else's, but not your own. It's quite depressing, you feel trapped, walled in! And, it seems no amount of prayer, wishing, or work can get you out of this position. You try to break free over the years by earning degrees, volunteering, going in this direction, going in that direction, but the results are always the same. Your true goal is never reached. You feel like you want to run away, maybe even worse. But, there is no escape. You wish there was a way to reach your goal, but the world has not made a way for you. You keep waiting but it is the world that is behind the times. It is just too bad that you are the victim of the world.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque? Now?

I am in New Yorker, I felt it was my duty to say something about what's
going on at Ground Zero at this time. September 11 is coming up fast and
it's true, for most people, especially those from New York, you cannot
forget exactly where you were at the time of the twin towers disaster. I
remember it as if it were yesterday. I was actually just starting school in
another country. It was first day of classes. A quarter of the class was
from New York. The talk was rushing across the campus very quickly that
morning. Some of us didn't even have TVs yet so we got the word by hearsay,
I remember for a fact that I didn't even get a chance to watch TV that
morning. The words came in slowly through each ear, bombing, New York, twin
towers, Muslims, Islam, is there class? There was confusion all over the
place. Most of us congregated in the public places and watched the TVs on
campus, it was devastating, planes hitting buildings, buildings falling
down, national treasures at that. People running all over the place in
familiar places I knew! I'll save you from the rest of the thoughts and talk
around campus for the morning and the rest of the day, the announcement that
we would all get free calls back home. I would just say and imagine it would
be like finding out your house had burned down while you were on vacation in
another country, but on a greater scale, a surreal yet devastating feeling
of helplessness. The news, pictures, years to come, visits to Ground Zero,
were a painful reminder. I can only imagine what those people who had loved
ones die in the area must have felt. To this day that pain must linger, and
it does, as evidenced by what is going on in New York today.

Because of this, I feel I must say something, for good or for bad, as far as
the state of Ground Zero goes. The future as of this point is unwritten for
the area, but forces are fighting for the property, the future, the overall
meaning of what and who will be remembered at Ground Zero in the future.

I feel I must weigh in. First, I'll give you my opinion short and sweet. It
is, that a mosque should not be built at Ground Zero or in the near vicinity
of ground zero.

Why? First I'd like to explain that I do understand the Muslim reasoning
behind why a mosque should be able to be built at Ground Zero. This country
was built on the precipice that freedom would be given in all things, for
example, speech and religion. Religion being key here, most people coming to
America in the past which probably includes your family and mine, came for
religious reasons, the right to practice their own religion without
prejudice and fear of death. Protesting and denying a mosque's right to be
built at Ground Zero does fly in the face of what this country was built on.
Seeing the protests and reasonings on TV every day does seem more like
hatred and less like the understanding this country was built on. I don't
deny that, and it's painful to watch. In truth, American citizens have done
this to others in the past. Other citizens mind you. To the Jewish, to the
African Americans, to the Japanese, to the Chinese, more, and now, to the

I would say that this time though, the reasonings are different, and they
should be respected. Underneath it all, this time, it's about remembrance
rather than hatred. On the surface, it looks like hatred, there is no other
way it can be seen in public. People yelling, people screaming, calling each
other names, fighting, it looks bad, but what are they really fighting for?
I'd wager that it is that they want to keep Ground Zero a place of sacred
remembrance, a peaceful, neutral place, that those who have lost loved ones
at the site can go to as to not be reminded of the radicals that took their
loved ones away, but a place that can give solemn peace. After such a great
tragedy, I think those who have lost loved ones have the right to ask for
that, and to receive it.

I can't speak for everyone, and I didn't lose anyone in the tragedy, but
just as someone who has New York in his heart, I truly believe that a mosque
on ground zero will bring more harm than good (at this time). On this side,
I do believe that most Muslims are very good people. I have many friends
that are Muslim, that speak of peace, understanding, but to a point. That's
fair, but I don't see the understanding here. This Ground Zero is still an
open wound, a sore, that has not fully healed. We all know that in human
nature it is easier to remember the bad over the good. We always remember
the wrong someone has committed against us much easier than remembering the
good that people have graciously given us. I am not against the building of
mosques and I believe a good percentage of the people of New York are the
same. It's just not yet the right time to fight to build one on Ground Zero,
Muslim understanding and sensitivity should be greater here. I imagine one
fear is that if the property goes to someone else now, Muslims may fear
losing that site forever. It's prime real estate! Perhaps, some Muslims are
truly wanting to build this mosque as a sign of peace and as a base of peace
at Ground Zero. I commend that. As we all can see though, from this local
issue becoming national and how strong the views are, it's just not the
right time. You can't force peace, Israel and Palestine should have taught
us that much already. If a mosque is allowed to be built there now, I see
years of hatred and anger and fighting and prejudice for decades to come,
truly, I foresee it! If given time to heal though, to a future, better time
and place, a mosque may be welcomed with open arms. For my idealistic view,
I imagine the time in the future when all faiths and houses of worship will
be allowed at ground zero as they should be anywhere else in America.

I can see, with a little patience and a little sensitivity, that time can
come. So to my Christian brothers and sisters and to my Muslim brothers and
sisters, we are all a family on this world, let's quiet our hearts and our
mouths, be respectful of each other, look toward peace and the future. I
hope as they say, cooler heads can prevail, and we can all work toward peace
before the riots that are more apt to come in America show their ugly heads.
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Church in Our Midst

Picture taken from http://ow.ly/2pWJT

This is an update to my previous post about the goings-on at CCUC in Chicago. It has been a rough last few weeks. When I last reported, I made it known that I was going to try to stay at CCUC to help people transition and help people find a new pastor for our flock. Since the time of our last AMA meeting though, it seems that internal changes had taken a few more steps in the wrong direction. It seems that 50% of the English deacons were asked to step down and the other 50% were left with the job of transition but given no blueprint for help on how to do that. Now, there were only four deacons on the English congregation side so 50% was a large amount of manpower. That aside, these four people, who spent much of their life helping the church and doing their best to help it grow and guiding the younger, seemed to be cast by the wayside in lieu of plans that they were not privy to. Long story short, the deacons decided to stick together and see if this was more of an opening of doors rather than a closing of doors on their ministries and their time at our church. I for one, am glad they did.

In the previous few years, I have seen more and more disregard for certain people and ministries in the church. It started out as just friends and colleagues who were upset or disgruntled about certain things as far as their leadership was concerned, at least that’s how it seemed to me. Then, it started leading to rumor and stories behind the scenes, people leaving secretively and publicly. So in the previous few years and more recently, I guess people who have left, who were more in the know than I was, left for good reason. I didn't give it much thought for a time, but I ended up leaving for a good 6 to 8 months as well. It seems the atmosphere of the church had really changed from the time that I had entered CCUC. I told friends and leaders this a few times. I didn't feel the atmosphere of understanding, of fellowship, and of love that I use to. Although I did find it at another church for a few months, the atmosphere there changed as well, and I realized that all churches must have a time that they go through where they deal with this. With that change at the other church, I made my way back to CCUC. With that lesson learned, I decided to come back and be patient. Things kept changing for the worse though, I saw leaders who seemed to be almost prejudiced against, I saw the leadership very distraught over bitterness, rumors, accusations, and other issues that had remained for many years. I saw people I trust very much, reach out with open arms and try to repair damage that was caused by certain parties in the church, yet it was rejected, or no definitive answers were given. For me as well as others, the ousting of Pastor Green was the “straw that broke the camels back.” I won't mention it again because there's a previous post on it but from that event, I saw ugliness, disregard, and sinful attitude from more than one person that made me think about leaving again.

To the exciting time that started today, I guess I'm part of a church plant now. I know I said that I would stay at our current church, I had resigned to do that after much thought and much prayer. But, I also was torn thinking about how I could even think about leading or think about a position in leadership knowing that those above me would have such disregard for their fellow brothers and sisters. Church is not a business, it's a family, and it should not be treated like a business, cold and heartless. I am pleased to say that I know three of the deacons fairly well. They are all people I consider and I can call friends. And although one of the deacons I don't know as well, I know of him and his family, and he and his family do not take the word of God lightly. Make no mistake, these four men must have prayed, talked with each other, and agonized over this decision for many a night. God gave them an opening though, Pastor Green, who still feels that his calling is to our community and to Chicago, made that fact known to them over conversations as well. So now we have a core group of five, highly respected, leaders of our congregation who feel courageous enough to start a new church based on the biblical values that we all, including all of the CCUC deacon board, should be following. I know we are all human, some of us get drunk on power, money, our own self-worth, entitlement, and a multitude of other things. The deacons are making this move because of a continual disregard and sinful actions though, and although I have not been here as long as they have or experienced all that they have, I trust them greatly and have seen the same actions toward leaders and our congregation over the past few years. For me, I probably was privy to these types of actions for the first time just over a year ago. Perhaps that's when Pastor Green started becoming a target, I don't know but I've digressed too far.

The point of all this was to tell you that a new church is starting! For now, opening day seems to be September 12th. We had a good turnout this week for an informative meeting. A lot of people I've had the pleasure to fellowship with for many years were there. A lot of leaders that I respect and care about were there as well. They were all making a commitment or strongly thinking about making this move together. I too am in that boat. My human side wants to say, “You reap what you sow,” there was sinful action and total disregard for an entire congregation and a man who was treated very unfairly who didn't deserve it. But, my brotherly Christian side worries about what is going to happen to CCUC. One of my friends today said it looks like the English congregation is over, it will collapse. I seriously doubt it. For me though, I must, or I need to, worship where I feel loved. Where I feel I am trusted and where I feel I can trust others. So for now, I cast my lot with this new church. I promise them that I will help them with whatever I can. That doesn't mean I won't help CCUC. There are brothers and sisters who I care about there and I will continue to endeavor to make sure they are well served. I will continue to check on them and I will continue to pray for them. For now though, I am excited and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us. We have been blessed with great leaders, who, in the past, have literally wept for the church, they are caring leaders and all at different stages of life, are great examples of how to live biblically. Yes, no one is perfect, they even admit they are not, but they are great examples, and worthy of trust.

On a side note, there is talk of joining “The Alliance.” For the few months that I was at another church, it was a Presbyterian church. I had noticed that the pastor as well as the church was part of a larger, stronger group of churches, a Presbyterian organization. I always admired that and I wondered why Christian churches, CCUC, and other Baptist churches I've been a part of, didn't have this. It must be a great stress reliever to not only the pastor but also the congregation to know that there are funds as well as resources and materials to help the church grow even if the congregation is small or not that well off. It was suggested today that perhaps we would join The Alliance for at least a few months to a year and see how that relationship plays out. I'm leaning towards that as a good choice on how to start. I've been looking at their website and they have many good articles and materials for church plants as well as established churches. They also share their resources with foreign ministries which is really great as well. So, like I said, I’m not a leader, but I'm looking forward to this as being a very good long-term relationship, I don't know much about them other than what I've read today, but they look like a great organization that has the tools that might help us get off on the right foot. There are church accountability and Internet accountability groups for example, they seem like great programs that are outside the box. I'm really interested in seeing how these programs work and they impress me as far as not seeing programs like these anywhere else. I encourage everyone to take a look at their website and check them out, especially if you're thinking about joining this new church and giving your opinions.

Well, I've practically written a chapter in a book here, I'll give it a rest for now but I just wanted to express my thoughts and my excitement for the future, God is really working toward something here. If anybody wants to visit after this church is started on September 12th, just show up, it's going to be at the Daystar elementary school. It's on 15 and State, easy to find, see you there!

If anyone wants to comment, leave one here as well. I welcome all comments although remember, I’m not part of the leadership and they may or may not be reading. As always though, my space is always open for your words as well as mine.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where Is The World?

I woke up this morning and I felt that I had to say something about the situation with all the floods in Pakistan. I've been watching all the news programs the last few days and it boggles my mind! Why is it that the response to the Pakistani flood seems to be so low?

Pakistan is an important partner to United States. Right now, we depend on them to help us in the "fight against terror." Whether we believe what the president of Pakistan says, that terrorism simply passes through his country and does not originate there, or we think that's a total lie, it does not give the world the right to withhold help in a natural disaster.

Maybe we're all getting numb to all the natural disasters going on in the world today. We've had many, and the news comes out so fast, sometimes it feels like we've been helping every body! The soon to be disaster in Moscow comes to mind as another.

Maybe the reason is because the president of Pakistan himself doesn't seem to give a dang about what's going on in his own country. He states, that's the prime minister's job, and he is doing it. In the meantime, thousands if not more people are starting to succumb to hunger, disease, and death. The people on the news are calling out for help! Unless I've been blind or on the wrong channel, I haven't seen any response from anyone.

Perhaps the reason is one of the saddest of them all. Many people perceive Pakistan as an extremist Muslim country. I would venture to say that is only a miniscule amount of the population. In case you didn't know, there are Christians there too as well as Buddhists, and even the occasional atheist. I hope the reason is not discrimination or fear.

I'll admit, I may have more of a connection to Pakistan because two of my best friends in college were Pakistani. We were like brothers, and it pains me to think that some of the people that we see on TV could be living like their family members could be living right now. I just want to place this situation higher in the American hearts and minds than it seems to be right now.

People are people everywhere. On this world, in my opinion, religion or ethnicity should matter less than the value most of us give it now. We should hold each other as valuable. The world seems to be getting worse and worse, falling apart. We don't need to help it. That's my two cents.