Archive for August, 2009

Alarm clock puts me to sleep

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

AlarmWe set an alarm clock to the time we want to wake up.  That is our goal but what is our objective?  Our objective is make our destination well rested by a specified time.  If we concentrate on our objective and not our goal we would realize the more important time is when we get to sleep not when we wake up.  We set a “wake up” alarm but not a “go to sleep” alarm.  Instead of setting an alarm to wake up at a certain time try to think of sleep as a period with a beginning and ending, not just a set ending time.  The wake up alarm should be the final step of the sleep period, not the first.  If you think about sleeping a certain number of hours before a certain time you might get a better night rest than thinking about waking up before a certain time.

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Categories: Uncategorized

DIY A Favor, Pay Someone Else To Do It

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

ToolsHave you ever started out a project thinking you can do it cheap and better if you did it yourself instead of buying the manufactured product or paying someone else to do it?  The attraction of DIY is that it seems like your spending less money because instead of a single large outlay of cash at one time, your buying smaller parts separately.  The siren of the DIY project is “I’ll be able to do so much more if I do myself.”  That rarely turns to be reality.  Without going into how much your time is worth, lets look at the simple truth of the first time you do something, your going to suck at it.  But when you DIY, it’s usally the first and only time your going to do it.  I’m purposely leaving out the nature of the DIY project because I’m talking more about the mental outlook of the person doing the project than the project itself.

Of course a “professional” can foul up a project just as good as DIYer but if you’ve done your home work with regards to finding the right person and thinking through what you really want to accomplish the chances are better that you’ll be happier in the long with the goal you are trying to achieve rather than a basement full parts or a partially working widget that your too emotionally and fiscally indebted to, to quit.

Too often we break down goals into the steps necessary to accomplish a single task without regards to the larger picture.  I try to approach new projects with the following goals in mind:

  • Can I do it for free? Using only tools and material I already own, can I complete this project or get it to a useful stage?
  • Is it worth the effort? 1 week, 6 months, 2 years from now will I care?  When you have an idea in your head it can feel like it is the most important task ahead of you only to fall by the wayside very quickly when new things come up.  Based on the amount of work and effort this project will take, will you care about in a week, a month or a year from now?
  • Can I accomplish this goal another way? I may not the have the right products to finish the project completely, but can I use what I already have to get an idea of how useful the finished project will be?  There might be some product out there that you think you need to buy for this project, but can you really do the job, albeit less efficiently or less visually appealing with items you already paid for?
  • Am I thinking about what I can do, or what I will do? When an idea first pops into our head we can make all these grand leaps of how great the finished project will be.  Try to think of what you will have when your done with the project, not what you think you will have after 2-3 more DIY projects you think you could build off of this one.
  • What if I bought it or paid someone to do it? Buying ready made items or paying professionals to do certain tasks can actually end up being more of a learning experience than trying to do it yourself.

Not all of these questions can be answered but they can lead you closer to your goal.  Think about the things you have bought but no longer care about.  They seemed like they would be really useful when you bought them, but now your wondering why you ever spent the money.  By definition, everything we buy, we thought had a value.  But who amongst us can say they have nothing in there garage, basement, or attic that they can leave with out?  That’s what I think, leave a comment with your ideas on the subject.

Google Gears does not support Mac OS X Snow Leopard

August 29, 2009 1 comment

Trying to install Google Gears got me to a message stating Google Gears does not support my browser.  I’m using the newly install Mac OS X Snow Leopard with the Safari 4.  It seems mostly likely that Google Gears is looking for the Safari 3 version number and doesn’t recognize Safari 4 as being an upgrade to Safari 3.  The screen shot is below:

Mac OS X Snow Leopard not compatable with Google Gears.

Categories: Technology

New York MTA EasyPay Metrocard Privacy

August 28, 2009 2 comments

My previous article talked about the benefits of the new MetroCatd that refills itself when the remaining value on your card hits $20.00.  I discovered a downside, your privacy.  I knew my metocard could be linked back to show my comings and goings but seeing it all on a statement drives the point home about how easy it be tracked.  Anyone that sees this statement from the MTA to anyone that intercepts it enroute to my house or anyone in home that sees it (or anyone on the Internet that sees it after I posted it on the web) would know where I was, when I was there, where I was going and when I came back.  Yes, I have nothing to hide but sometimes its good to remember what your not hiding in case there really is something you want to hide.

Easypay Metrocard Statement - Zoomed In To Details

Categories: Technology

Mac OS X Snow Leopard Unboxing

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Just got my copy of Snow Leopard.  I’m looking forward to the promised 80% faster Time Machine back up times, faster startups and shutdowns and faster Safari.  Snow Leopard also adds Microsoft Exchange Support and some improvements in Xcode for developers.  I’m excited to see how it all works.  You can read more about the new features of Snow Leopard here.

Update:  There is now a YouTube video with the unboxing and install process.

Categories: Technology

Kings Highway Train Station Clean Up

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Must give the MTA credit where credit is due.  Below is a before and after picture of the Manhattan bound Q and B train platforms of the New York City Subway system.  It could have been cleaner but there was definitely some house keeping taking place.

Categories: Transit

Health Care Reform

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Blood PressureI got a small cost of living increase instead of a raise this year.  My bonus was also smaller than previous years.  I know there are people that lost there jobs and I should be happy that I still have a job but the talk about a “Public Option” in the health care debate has me thinking.  My employer spends a significant amount of money on my health insurance each year, as do I.  The next time we hit a recession I’m worried that now they will have an option of saying there cutting off our employer sponsored health program and switching to the “Public Option”.

Instead of trying to compete with private health insurance companies what I would like is a type of FDIC for health care.  The government doesn’t try to control your banking services, but the services you get from a bank are regulated and in case the worst happens and your bank fails, the government is there to restore your losses.  FDIC is not publicly paid for.  They collect premiums from the bank they cover.  I think this is the type of system we should have for health care.

We don’t treat our car insurance like we do our health insurance.  We know what things cost and we decide wether it is better to pay for it ourselves or use our car insurance.  We understand that if we file a claim our insurance premiums will most like increase.  We don’t use car insurance to pay for gas or oil changes.  We  use car insurance to insure us against large costs and losses.  We should treat health insurance the same way.  Many of us have received doctor bills for hundreds of dollars for a seemingly short visit, but we don’t care because were not paying out of pocket for those costs.  We need to know what we pay for and use insurance for large unexpected costs.  We pay thousands of dollars a year in premiums and our employers pay thousands more, but we have no idea what our real health care costs are.

Yes, there will be people that cannot afford even the most basic health care.  Those people should, and it could be me at some point, should have access to basic health care but the system must be setup so that there is a great incentive to provide for yourself.  If you can’t provide housing for yourself there are homeless shelters to provided basic support until you can get on your feet or into government assisted housing.  But the fact that some people are homeless doesn’t mean the government should force people living in homes to live in shelters until there are no more homeless.  Reducing the level of care for people that currently have health insurance does nothing for those that currently are without.  That’s what I think, leave a comment.

Update:  This article at The American goes into more details as to how a public option health plan would have a different set of regulations than private insurance plans.

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