Monday, February 28, 2005

Uptight about ballet dancing, too?

From The Week .

Yekatarinburg, Russia

Czars in tights: Orthodox priests in Yekatarinburg last week protested a ballet production that depicted Russia’s last czar, Nicholas II, dancing in tights. The czar and his family, who were executed in Yekatarinburg during the Russian Revolution of 1918, are considered Orthodox saints. Many believers find the ballet, Rasputin, named for the czar’s mysterious advisor, to be blasphemous. “Orthodox Christians are offended by the fact that Nicholas II is shown dancing,” said Father Maksim Menyailo, the head of the Church of Spilled Blood, which was built on the execution site. “In czarist Russia, it was not permitted even to show the images of saints on the stage.”

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Success - the serious side

OK, it really was a great message tonight. Not because it was funny, although that probably helped. Noel talked about 3 peoples success stories. Noah, Jeremiah, and Ruth.

Noah. The slow ark builder. It took him 100 to 120 year to make the boat. He also failed to change anyone’s mind. But he was a success in God's eyes. A hall of famer.

Jeremiah. He brought God's message to Israel for something like 50 years and was hated by everyone, and never saw one person change their mind. He was hated by everyone including himself. But he was a success in God's eyes. Another hall of famer.

Ruth was from a race looked down upon by the Israelites and yet ends up getting her own book in the bible and being counted as one of the three women mentioned in Jesus ancestry.

Bottom Line: Obey God and do what is right. This is what true success. In a way all three of these kept the faith. They trusted God and did what was right. I must do the same.

The other part of the message that wacked me was about Jeremiah's bipolar disorder. You can read about it here. He really goes from one extreme to the other, and then back again, quite quickly. I can relate to some of his questions. Noel pointed out it is admirabe to be honest with God as Jeremiah was here. I will seek to do the same.

Now I'm off to organize the materials for the financial seminar.


Great message at church tonight. It was on success. Noel opened with some posters from the Demotivational series. If you've never heard of them you have to go see them at . Here are a couple of direct links to posters on Flattery and Bitterness

I couldn't resist posting more links to some of my favorites:

More serious thoughts to follow in my next post.

P.S. ISn't it amazing how a product that is a "spin-off" of an existing product can be so cool. This one has to generate a lot more buzz than the original Successories poster do.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Are your e-doors locked?

Dan Price blogged about their unlocked car being "broken" into and reminded us to lock our doors. The same applies on-line. Lock your e-doors.

I heard Paris Hilton's T-Mobile address book got "hacked". This got me thinking about the security of my on-line accounts. If a celebrity's account security can be hacked, I'm vulnerable, too, because I use the same kinds of companies, right?. Wrong! It turns out the T-Mobile database wasn't hacked in the purest sense of the term. It turns out she had a lame password. A password that about anyone who can type her name into a search engine could "guess".

The full story is here. Here's an excerpt.

"Like many online service providers, requires users to answer a "secret question" if they forget their passwords. For Hilton's account, the secret question was "What is your favorite pet's name?" By correctly providing the answer, any internet user could change Hilton's password and freely access her account."

It also turns out that weak passwords are one of the top security problems.

Here is a the long mind-numbing read for those who are up for it. The Twenty Most Critical Internet Security Vulnerabilities, and here is an excerpt on how to create a strong password:

        ▪          Not contain all or part of the user's account name
        ▪         Be at least six characters in length
        ▪         Contain characters from three of the following four categories:
        ▪          English uppercase characters (A through Z)
        ▪         English lowercase characters (a through z)
        ▪         Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
        ▪         Non-alphanumeric characters (e.g., !, $, #, %)

They also advise you should update the password periodically. Any password can be hacked given enough time by making a ton of guesses. Strangely enough the commonly used technical term for this is "brute force". So I guess the geeks can use thier own kind of force.

Of course all of this is only applicable to the extent you have something of value to protect.
BOTTOM LINE: Use strong passwords and change them periodically.

Now I'm off to change all of my passwords to: 12GE%n&aHp;&
. . . Oops.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Apple 1984 Spoof Ad

View it.

Them cotton-pickin' cliches

I'm reading a book called "Memories" by Lockie Victoria and L.V. Jones. It was compiled and edited by their great grandson/grandson and my friend, Jim Purvis,. It relates his stories from their lives growing up in rural Tennessee.

It's quite interesting to see how people lived and looked at things only one hundred years ago. Life was quite different. No cars, a first, no radio, no phones, and . . . no wireless broadband internet connection. The family once attempted drive (with mules and wagon) to Missouri to visit relatives. They had to turn back and go home because the mules wouldn't get on the ferry across the Mississippi. And this was an all day a fair on bumpy dirt roads.

Here is a humorous angle on it. L.V. Jones says "As time went by I got use to all of this cotton-picking stuff." and she is actually talking about picking cotton. I guess I've only been exposed to people using cotton-picking as a cliche, and then probably only on The Beverly Hillbillies.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Marketing is NOT an event

"Marketing is not an event, but a process... It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely."

- Jay Conrad Levinson

Friday, February 18, 2005

Steady plodding works best

Ok, this piece is on the music business, but I think it applies to all of us. We all want the easy path. The instant success and the recognition we deserve for our incredible skills and genious.

Slow Cooked Success

Now, it's time for me to get cooking.

The new Destination for Maps

If you haven't seen it already, check out Google's new mapping tool. It's leaps and bounds ahead of Yahoo and Mapquest. Safari user will have to use a nother browser. The Google nerds haven't figured that one out yet. Firefox works great and it's free.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

More ski humor

Something was lost in translation. This sign appeared at a ski lodge in the French Alps: PLEASE LEAVE YOUR VALUES AT THE FRONT DESK.

Source: Amazing But True Ski Stories , Thursday, February 10, 2005

How valuable are your great ideas?

"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do" -- Henry Ford

"A goal without an action plan is a day dream." -- Dr. Nathaniel Branden

It's not what you know; it's not even who you know; it's what you implement that counts.

Quotes and excerpts from Periodization, 12 Weeks to Breakthrough, by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington.

The 12 week performance period is being implemented by major companies. A friend, who is a relationship manager with one of the largest banks in the world, tells me they converted from a annual incentive program to a quarterly one. More on this later.

Dangerous ideas?

"There's nothing more dangerous than an idea, when it's the only one you have."

- Emile Chartier

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Getting personal

OK. Since I haven't decided exactly what kind of a blog this is going to be I have decided to not get too personal, in the self revelation sense of the word, so far. I have seen other blogger who I respect who are and admire their courage. At this point, I guess I'm still watching from the sidelines.

It seems to make sense to me to have a personal blog and a business blog and "nary the twain shall meet". What ever that's supposed to mean. (Maybe it was Mark Twain and his brother Tom. They were bitter enemies and you could never invite them both to the same party.) But I digress, back to the blogs. One blog to be really smart on, and another place to lay yourself out there. Now there's a unique presentation you never see anywhere. A brutally honest business blog.

Think this is a wierd post? You're not alone. (I just wrote "your" and had to correct it to "you're"I think it's my favorite writing error.)

If your going to fail. Fail trying. Don't fail to try. More on this later. This is one of my favorite methods of failure. BAAAAH, too much self revelation. Must not listen to the voices. Muuuuuuust hiiiiiiiiit Puuuuuuuuubliiiiiiiish . . .

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Walking in the light?

I was learning a new song to lead the kid's music at church tomorrow morning and, I got to thinking. What does walking in the light exactly mean. This song repeats that phrase about 20 times and with concepts like this I like to try to explain them to the kids. I've known the phrase for quite some time and have some comprehension of it but to be forced to describe it to someone, well, that's a bird of a different color.

So , me being the master of the obvious, I do a google search for it and I find something useful. Amazing.

Here's part of the explanation of walking in the light.
"What is the main value of light? Negatively, it helps you avoid danger. Positively, it helps you reach what you are after. When you walk in the darkness you may stumble over a log, or step on a rattlesnake or fall off a cliff or hit your head on a low-hanging branch. Darkness is full of threat. It frustrates your ability to attain your goal. But light changes all that. It exposes dangers and frees you from their lurking power. It opens the way to your goal. It is full of hope and promises the glad attainment of your goal.

The first picture of God that John wants to put before us is this picture of God as light. "God is light and in him is no darkness at all." It means that if you draw near to God you do not find a dark and foreboding truth. You find freedom and hope and joy. In God the stumbling logs and rattlesnakes and cliffs and low-hanging branches are all exposed and we are made safe from them. Our goal of ultimate and eternal joy is secured in God because there is no darkness in God. That is, there are no lurking shadows in God. There is no hidden agenda, no small print. He is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

Here's a great illustration on walking in darkness:
"The reason this is called walking in darkness is that the only way people can desire things more than God is if they are blind to the light of God. To choose gravel over diamonds you have to be blind. Remember the picture of the man in a dark room. He feels a warm, soft fur with one hand and a cold sharp edge with the other, and draws in close to the warmth and softness of the fur.

But when the light goes on he sees that the warm, soft fur is the under belly of a horrid, man-eating monster; and the hard, cold edge is the sword of the majestic Christ ready to save. The reason he was controlled by his desire for the man-eating monster is that he was in the dark "

Quite a powerful illustration. I probably would have made the sword a common everyday monster-slayer (TM) sword, but either way, you get the picture.

Now, if I can just boil this down to something I can explain to the kids. Know what. I'll ask them. They'll probably explain it to me.

A Ski Story Close to Home

Apparently, avid skier, outdoorsman, sportsman and writer, Sir Arthur Conan "The Barbarian" Doyle , creator of super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes, is credited with bringing the sport of skiing and the Swiss Alps to the attention of the world.

He had two Swiss guides, Hans and Franz. OK, they weren't Hans and Franz, Hans and Franz were Austrian, well faux Austrian, anyway. His guides took him out on the mountains near Davos, Switzerland. This is right around the corner from St. Moritz. It was on this trip Doyle strapped on a pair of skis for the first time. I do mean strapped quite literally. Well, the area they travelled is now closed because of avalanche danger. It's a good thing we didn't lose the bloke to an avalanche. The world would have had to wait on skiing, and would have missed a some great stories.

I personally would have still know about skiing, because Doyle made this discovery near where my Dad grew up. Dad grew up in Champfér (pronounced Chomp-fair), which is right next to St. Moritz. Here's a map of the area.

A little tangent . . . thier home in the village had livestock on the first level. This was common in this area. The animals shared their heat, on cold winter nights. Not a good place for the allergic or sensitive nose.

Anyway, back to skiing, Before the resorts had all of this hi-tech grooming equipment they used to have workers pack the runs by walking down them sideways (with their skis on). For a half days work, my dad would get a one day lift ticket. Not a bad deal for both parties.

If skiing hadn't become so popular the world around, I imagine the technological advancements may have come more slowly. Maybe we'd still be slapping planks of wood on our hiking boots and tying them down with leather straps. Imagine trying to run a downhill course at 60 or 70 miles an hour with that gear. You'll want to make sure your emergency crew brings a full fleet of ambulances, and probably some shovels, too!

Goodbye, sweet St. Moritz, until we ski you again!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Legal free music source #2

Playlist magazine offers free music downloads. I I think I downloaded about 60 last night. No need for iTunes. A variety of genres. Get them here. They update it with a new song every day, so it may be bookmark worthy.

Technical note. You may have to right click and choose save to disk to download a copy. Simple clicking on my Mac only opened them in memory, A right click (or control click) did the trick.

Dad, this one has a few classical pieces!

Legal free music source #1

Apple is currently offering a free 13 song album from the iTunes Music store. This is separate from, and in addition to their weekly Tuesday freebie offer. I found out about it on the MacWorld site. Click here to go to the article. Apparently the first time you plug in your new iPod this album pops up. Automatic marketing. Neato!

If you just want your dang free music NOW, click here to go straight to the album in iTunes. (For those who lack a keen eye for the obvious, you'll need to have iTunes installed for this to work.)

Sorry, Dad. It's not classical music.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Note to my PC using friends

It seems quite a few of you are having one kind of trouble or another lately. Here are three tips to, hopefully, reduce your chances of trouble in the future.

1. Sign up for an antivirus subscription. Symantec and McAfee products are quite good. Set them up to download updates automatically. New bugs are always coming out and automatic updates are easy. You don't have to do anything to get them but power up and, if you have a dial up connection, connect the internet. If you don't get the updates you may pay or it in down time. Make sure you have the latest version of protection, too. Don't save a couple bucks and pay in hours of system recovery time.

2. Don't use Internet Explorer.
Experts say you are more vulnerable to spyware and other attacks by using it, so why bother. There are better options available for free. Firefox is more secure and includes a built in pop up blocker. <>. There are other free choices, too.

3. If you have a choice, don't Use Outlook or Outlook Express. If you do use Outlook make sure you have the proper protection in place. There is special security software, often bundled with other anti-virus or security software, designed to keep these critters from using your address book to spread themselves to other PCs.

If you do these three things, you improve your odds of survival, but it is still no guarantee.

Speaking Your Language

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

- Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

I'm not sure this is the ideal way to blog, but I like to pass along sites and quotes I like. If your looking for me to dish out some personal rant on tis that or the other thing, sorry. Maybe that will come later. I haven't told you about my software uninstall travails yet, have I.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

An obscene interest in others' failures.

If you haven't already checked out Vincent Flanders, Web Pages that Suck, it's time. He's posted
The Biggest Web Design Mistakes of 2004.

Being entertained while you learn from others mistakes . . . priceless.