Friday, December 04, 2015

Paypal Hamster Wheel for Customers

I have been trying to add a bank to my paypal account for a week now. This is a long time paypal account. They force you through a time consuming system (because after all, who cares about wasting customer's time - this is super common for nearly all large USA companies, treating customers as if wasting their time is no big deal). So even though I am signed in, they require a extra verification to add a bank (ok, not horrible, if it works). But it doesn't.

I do that extra step. They thank me for completing it.

Then then just tell me to do it again.

Yup, that is exactly the same as before they wasted your time to verify it and thanked you for completing the verification. They seem to like it so much they just repeatedly run you through the same thing, I guess forever though maybe if you do it 7 times they then let you succeed?

I have explained this to them at least 5 times still no fix. In the latest one, they said they adjusted the account and just try again poor sap. I did, exactly the same result. Enter your info on the bank (which is not at least the 7th time I have done so, beyond all the rest of it they delete your entry each time their system thanks you for completing their extra verification - what joy).

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Democrats and Republicans Have Failed the USA on Health Care for Decades

It is so sad that Democrats and Republicans have played games for decades while those of us in the USA are stuck coping with the disaster of a health care system those two parties have created. A good health care system is very close to the most important feature of a modern society. Yet those two parties have bungled for decades and left us to suffer.

Many Flexible Health Plans Come With A Costly Trap

Vince Hess of Grandview, Mo., racked up about $800 in costs related to surgery for a broken hand in 2013. Hess, an actuary, first checked that his surgeon was in network. He had the operation at an in-network surgical center, but only learned later when he was billed that the two anesthesiologists who assisted in the surgery were not.

This kind of thing should result in health care providers (insurers etc.) going to jail. It is intolerable that someone has insurance and is expected to police the health care provided to them in such a way. Costs must be detailed up front or they should not legally allow to be billed.

I realize emergency situations will create some complexity with providing all costs in advance, fixing that part can be delayed. This behavior of billing after the fact for huge expenses has gone on for at least a decade. It should have been stopped after a year. It is intolerable that our political parties just make excuses and sacrifice our lives to disreputable business practices by health care providers. This needs to be fixed now. Not after another decade or two of the parties not fixing it. Now.

If you have insurance and use the insurance, the insurer must be expected to deal with the games hospitals and doctors chose to play to try and stick USA citizens with bills after the fact. This isn't about making the USA system close to as good as the second worst rich country heath care system this is about fixing an intolerable hardship placed on citizens by the medical care system the Democrats and Republicans have put in place over the last 20 to 40 years.

Related: Medical Debt Increases as Economy Declines - Out of Pocket “Maximum” – Understanding USA Health Care Costs - USA Health Care Spending 2013: $2.9 trillion $9,255 per person and 17.4% of GDP - USA Spends $7,960 Compared to Around $3,800 for Other Rich Countries on Health Care with No Better Health Results (2009 data) - Our Failed Health-care System (2008)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Golden State Warriors 14-0, Philadelphia 76ers 0-13

The Golden State Warriors are starting their season after winning the championship last year in a near records fashion so far. They need 1 more win to tie the best every 15-0 start (by Michael Jordan's Bulls).

Stephen Curry (last years MVP) is one again leading the Warriors. So far he is making his MVP last season look like a mediocre one. Stephen Curry set the record for 3-pointers last season, with 286. He's currently on pace for 415.

The Philadelphia 76ers box score last night shows one of their starters in last night's game didn't even play. I would think they would be better off playing all 5 players. They fell to 0-13 with a 113-88 loss to Charlotte Bobcats (owned by Michael Jordan).

Ok, maybe this was a misprint, but with Philadelphia this year that isn't a sure bet. They really did send 6 players onto the court 2 days ago.

Related: Frank Kaminsky - College Basketball Player of the Year 2014-2015 (he is playing for the Charlotte Bobcats now, by the way #2 Jahlil Okafor is playing for Philadelphia) - Davidson Students Get Free Sweet Sixteen Trip (when Steph Curry was playing for Davidson and Wisconsin was the opponent - Kaminsky later played for Wisconsin) - Universities Again Abandon Fans/Mission to Increase Pay to Administrative Staff/Coaches - Why Don’t Football Players Just Thrown the Ball Out of Bounds to Stop the Clock

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Art of a MacBook Pro Crash

I was watching this video, listening to Hank Green talk about how he appreciated art (even if he didn't always understand it of feel comfortable with it and how it is often presented) and was grateful for the largely unnoticed things in our lives.

He had just said

Sometimes it seems like everything is broken and nothing works at all. But when things work we don't tend to notice. There is nothing quite like knowing, as I have my entire life, that there will be food at the corner store. I don't spend enough time being grateful for that...

And then the playback of the video went crazy and my first thought was oh isn't that a neat artistic touch to show how we take for granted how amazing it is we can watch this video he shot himself and uploaded online and billions of people across the globe have instant access to it...

But instead, my MacBook Pro was crashing again :-/

When I restarted my computer his continued words continued his very worthwhile thoughts.

and not just grateful that I can always get food. But grateful that so many people come together to work hard to make sure that all of the people in New York City can continue eating and drinking and everything can continue to function. Thats not something that just happens. Thats something that people do.

Related: Appreciating Health - Action Is More Important Than Sympathy - Quitting, Habits and the Examined Life - Synchronicity

As soon as I posted this the MacBook Pro crashed again. It has been crashing a lot but this is the first time it did it within 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Our Diets Are Greatly Changing the Ecosystem Inside Our Bodies

We still have so much to learn about human health. The rich interaction of our bodies and our microbiome is amazing and important and complex and not very well understood.

Some posts I have made on these topics on the Curious Cat Science Blog: Waste from Gut Bacteria Helps Host Control Weight (2008) - Tracking the Ecosystem Within Us (2007) - People Have More Bacterial Cells than Human Cells (2007) - Microbes Flourish In Healthy People (2010) - Human Gene Origins: 37% Bacterial, 35% Animal, 28% Eukaryotic (2013)

Here is a recent article looking at variation in human microbiome.

Burgers and fries have nearly killed our ancestral micro biome.

A group of Italian microbiologists had compared the intestinal microbes of young villagers in Burkina Faso with those of children in Florence, Italy. The villagers, who subsisted on a diet of mostly millet and sorghum, harbored far more microbial diversity than the Florentines, who ate a variant of the refined, Western diet. Where the Florentine microbial community was adapted to protein, fats, and simple sugars, the Burkina Faso microbiome was oriented toward degrading the complex plant carbohydrates we call fiber.
The Western microbiome, the community of microbes scientists thought of as “normal” and “healthy,” the one they used as a baseline against which to compare “diseased” microbiomes, might be considerably different than the community that prevailed during most of human evolution.
a remarkable and somewhat quixotic effort has begun to catalog and possibly preserve, before they disappear, the microbes of people who live in environments thought to resemble humanity’s past—people whose microbiomes may approximate an ancestral state. Researchers are motoring down rivers in the Amazon, off-roading in the East African savanna, hiking into the mountain villages of Papua New Guinea. They see themselves as rushing to catalog an ecosystem that may soon disappear.

“It’s really our last chance to harvest a lot of these microbes from around the world,” Rob Knight, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego, told me. “We have to do it before it’s too late—and it’s very nearly too late.”

It is a very good idea to learn much more about this area. And it is also wise to learn what microbes we have co-evolved with for so long - before that information is lost.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Security - Verification of Change

Many web sites will now notify you if a change is made to various aspects of your account, say you change your address or email or phone... Every one I have ever received says if you made the change do nothing, if you didn't then call us.

My guess is this is because it provides some security and is super easy for them. But if security were the priority I think you would do more. Why not require them to affirmatively agree to the change? The main reason I can see is that it would create more work. You would need a process for the case where they failed to affirmatively agree to the change.

Still for very important matters it seems like this would be wise. Yet I have never seen anyplace do this.

One thing I can think of does has this process in place. For a long time (15 years?) if you get a new credit card you have to call and activate it (usually they use caller ID to auto approve if you call from the phone number on file, if the call isn't made from such a number you are asked other details to verify who you are).

Such a system could be opt-in, so only people concerned about security could participate and someone that didn't want to bother could continue as things are today.

Related: Protecting Your Privacy and Security (Curious Cat Investing blog) - Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud - Governments Shouldn't Prevent Citizens from Having Secure Software Solutions - Making Credit Cards More Secure and Useful (2014) - Bad Security on Government Required RFID e-passports

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

British Library Makes Over a Million Copyright Free Images Kind-of Available

The British Library lets you view over a million copyright-free images available online.

Well, I was planning on linking to it and showing some photos but they chose to use a service that blocks you from downloading the photos without signing in. Seems like a lame way to provide what could have been open access content so it doesn't seem worthy of linking to in my opinion. Hopefully they will find a better solution soon.

See the Curious Cat creative commons attribution photo feed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Utopia (Dreamland in the USA) is an Amazing TV Program

Dreamland (USA name) is an Australian TV show (called Utopia in Australia) that is available on Netflix. It is completely awesome. It is an amazing, biting, satirical look at modern office life at the Nation Building Authority of Australia.

Even after a second tweet to my followers emphasizing how awesome this show is they failed to appreciate the importance of going to watch this show immediately. I am very disappointed in them.

Go watch this show. It is on the level of the British version of the Office (and Dilbert - the comic strip not the TV show) for sheer greatness. And while I enjoyed that a great deal I think Utopia is a significantly superior experience. As far as a TV comedy goes the only thing I can think of in this class is Seinfeld and the level the Simpson's has reached at times. But Utopia has been universally awesome from what I have seen so far, without lots of the less compelling Simpson's shows.

Better off Ted, also available on Netflix, is also quite excellent and somewhat similar Utopia.

Utopia is something no one who works in an office should miss.

The embedded videos unfortunately barely give any indication of how special this show is.

Once you watch this, if you haven't seen Better off Ted go watch that.

Related: Curious Cat Management blog - Create a System That Lets People Take Pride in Their Work

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Quitting, Habits and the Examined Life

Comment on: Motivation Keep Going

People often give in without even deciding to take the easy way out. They don't even figure out what they want. As you say

"Why is it that people hate their jobs but won't quit?"
"Why are people are unhappy in a relationship yet never make a break?"

Those are examples where quitting is the brave solution of someone working toward making there life better. Habits are very powerful. We usually accept habits without questioning them. Sometimes for good (habits can be good) and sometimes for bad.

I don't think, not quitting is admirable (as quitting is so often portrayed as a weakness). Treating others fairly is admirable. Being true to your beliefs is admirable. Sacrificing in order to achieve more important long term goals is admirable. Quitting is admirable when it supports those interests. Quitting is not admirable when it is sacrificing your long term happiness to avoid some short term effort.

What I see is people far too often don't even think about what they really want out of life. They do think about a few things in this regard (so I don't mean they never think of anything they want out of life). But they allow much of life to just be done to them as if they don't have a choice. The choices might be difficult but it seems to me we own it to ourselves to figure out what we want and then we should quit the things that are not helping and adopt new practices that will help us achieve what we want.

Related: Appreciating Health - The Aim Should be the Best Life, Not Work versus Life Balance - Action Is More Important Than Sympathy - Rhinoceros Hornbills on Mount Santubong, Borneo

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Moz Page Authority and MozRank History for Some of My Web Sites (Sep 2015)

MozRank has replaced Google pagerank since Google stopped publishing updated pageranks.

MozRank compares to Google's pagerank (a measure of the pages linking to the page, with greater value given to links from high ranking pages). Moz Page Authority is meant to more closely measure the importance of links by considering not just the number but also the quality of the links. This is oversimplified but essentially can be seen as if a page had a high number of links (even from other pages with high numbers of links to them) but those links were not deemed to be high quality the Moz Page Authority would be lower. So things like having links from trusted authority sites would pass on that trusted authority (a bit) to the linked site. And things that are seen as lower quality (could be lots of different things: poor links from that page, text that seems spammy or not of high quality, lots of pages without much content, slow loading site or things like Moz detailed in the Spam Flag Score, etc.) would harm the Moz Page Authority number.

Therefore, the Moz Page Authority number is more important than MozRank. MozRank however is closer Google pagerank.

In the chart below the MozRank is shown inside ( ) after Aug 2014. [] indicate Google PageRank measures. Those without parenthesis are Moz Page Authority divided by 10 (because SEO Moz also decided to scale MozPA up to 100 while Google PageRank tops out at 10 and I already been listing the data listed in the 10 scale the last few years).

SiteSep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Feb 2013Oct 2011 Dec 2010
MozPA > 5
The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog6.4 (6.2)5.2 (6.0)5.5 [5]5.2 [4]--
John Hunter6.2 (6.1)4.8 (6.1)5.0 [5]5.3 [5]5.4 [4][4]
Curious Cat Management Blog6.0 (6.1)5.9 (6.0)6.1 [5]6.3 [5] 5.5 [5] [4]
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5.6 (6.0)5.5 (6.0)5.8 [5]6.1 55.3 [6]4
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog5.5 (6.1)5.5 (6.1)4 [5.7]5.9 [4]5.3 [4][3]
My Kiva page5.8 (5.1)5.6 (4.7)5.8 [-]6.2 [-]4.0 [-][3]
@CuriousCat_com5.8 (4.4)5.8 (4.6)
Living in Malaysia5.2 (5.8)3.9 (5.8)4.0 [4]4.2 [4]4.1 [3]
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog5.1 (5.9)5.0 (5.9)4 [5.0]4 [5.1]3 [4.9]-
Living in Singapore5.1 (5.8)4.0 (5.7)4 [4.1]4 [4.3]3 [4.0]
MozPA > 4
Curiouscat.com4.9 (6.1)5.0 (6.0)**5.4 [4]5.6 [4][3]
Six Sigma Management Resources*4.8 (5.7)4.7 (5.6)4.9 [**]5.0 [4][4]
Curious Cat Code (programming)4.8 (5.6)3.8 (5.5)4.1 [4]4.3 [4]4.2 [4]--
Investment Dictionary*4.7 (6.0)4.6 (5.9)4.8 [**]5.0 [4]5.2 [4]
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*4.8 (5.5)4.8 (5.4)5.0 [**]5.1 [4]5.0 [5][4]
Curious Cat Gadgets4.7 (5.7)3.9 (5.5)4.1 [4]4 [4.3]
Deming's Management Method*4.7 (5.5)4.7 (5.3)4.9 [**]5.0 [3]4.5 [4][4]
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*4.6 (5.7)4.6 (5.6)3.3 [**]5.4 [4]5.5 [5][4]
Architecture and home design inspiration4.5 (5.6)3.9 (5.5)4.0 [3]4.2 [4]--
Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entrepreneurship Blog4.5 (5.2)new
Management Dictionary*4.3 (5.6)4.0 (5.4)2.6 [**]5.2 [5]5.4 [5][4]
The Aim Should be the Best Life – Not Work v. Life Balance*4.3 (5.3)new
The Future is Engineering*4.2 (5.8)4.3 (5.7)4.3 [4]4.6 [4]
Curious Cat Management Comments4.2 (5.3)4.1 (5.0)3.9 [3]4.3 [4]4.5 [3]
Multi Site PageRank Checker4.2 (5.2)4.1 (4.9)4.1 [4]4.1 [3]4.7 [3][2]
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*4.1 (5.8)4.1 [5.8]4.2 [-]4.5 [-]4.7 [4][4]
Curious Cat Travel Blog4.0 (5.8)New
Management Articles*4.0 (5.6)4.1 (5.5)3.9 [3]4.3 [4]
Good Process Improvement Practices*4.0 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.0 [3]4.1 [3]4.1 [3]
SiteMay 2015 (MozRank)Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Feb 2013Oct 2011 Dec 2010
MozPA > 3.5
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer3.8 (5.8)3.9 (5.7)4.1 [3]4.4 [4]4.7 [4][4]
Management Matters (my book)*3.8 (5.6)3.5 (4.6)3.8 (5.4)3.8 [4]3.5 [4]---
Life and Legacy of William Hunter3.9 (5.6)3.7 (5.5)4.0 [4]4.1 [4]4.5 [4][4]
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)3.9 (5.3)3.8 (5.1)3.9 [3]4.0 [3]3.8 [-][3]
Management and Leadership Quotes3.7 (5.8)3.6 (5.7)3.7 [4]4.0 [4]5.2 [2][2]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations3.6 (5.8)3.4 (5.7)3.4 [3]3.2 [3]-
Statistics for Experimenters3.6 (5.7)3.7 (5.7)3.9 [4]3.9 [4]4.5 [3][3]
CuriousCat Wordpress3.6 (4.4)3.4 (3.8)3.5 [1]3.6 [-][-]
MozPA > 3
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)3.2 (5.3)2.9 (5.3)2.9 [2]3.0 [2]--
Justin Hunter (my brother)3.4 (5.4)3.3 (4.8)3.4 [-]3.4 [-]2.9 [2][2]
W. Edwards Deming quotes3.3 (5.7)new
Curious Cat Travel Photos3.2 (4.7)New
Improving Your Search Engine Ranking Blog3.1 (4.1)New
Management Improvement Resources3.1 (5.1)3.0 (4.7)3.1 [3]3.4 [3]3.8 [3][3]
Johor Bahru Real Estate3.0 (5.4)2.8 (5.3)3.0 [2]3.2 [2]-
Hexawise.tv2.8 (5.4)2.8 (4.9)2.8 [2]2.9 [2]-
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Australia2.1 (5.1)1.5 (4.9)1.3 [-]1.8 [-][-]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France2.0 (5.2)1.4 (5.1)1.3 [-]1.9 [-][-]

* internal pages
** new url or old url forwarded (so Google losses track of the page rank for awhile)
- didn't exist yet or google didn't rank it for some reason
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.

Quite a few pages took a significant drop in MozRank in the May 2015 report and now most have rebounded (many above the previous highest value).

Related: Moz Page Authority for Various Sites (August 2014) - Historic PageRank and MozPageAuthority for Various Sites (December 2013)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

When You See the Problem as Capitalism Instead of Corruption You Seek to Solve the Wrong Problem.

Capitalism has huge benefits and some issues. I am frustrated that we are allowing anti-capitalist ideas to be called capitalist. Those ideas are predominately about allowing huge businesses to subvert markets and corrupt the political process. That is not capitalism, that is corporatism.

Corruption in our political system which then allows corruption of free markets as favors to those giving politicians cash is not "Capitalism." It is corruption.

Free trade is good. The secret TPP and other corporate-welfare/copywrong-cartel bill is not.

What we need to do as a society is stop the corruption. If we allow corrupt people buying politicians to undermine capitalism we all suffer. If we allow those corrupt people to claim what they are doing is capitalism, we all suffer.

Throwing out the best economic model because some corrupt people bring harm society through corruption and try to paint that as capitalism we lose. The problem is with the corruption. We can't accept the talking heads supporting the corporate welfare policies that are anti-capitalism from claiming anti-capitalist policies as capitalist or we will make very bad economic decisions.

Because when we let people that think capitalism is the problem, we start with a bad problem statement and won't find good solutions. We would find solutions based on misstating what the problem is.

A fundamental tenant of capitalism is free markets (based on the idea of perfect competition) in which no actor has the power to subvert the market. This was foreseen from the very beginning (in Wealth on Nations by Adam Smith) as an important criteria without which society would not benefit from capitalism as powerful interests would collude to prevent markets from functioning.

Calling some setup capitalist that fails to make sure markets are not subverted in exactly the way Adam Smith said they would be if powerful interests were allowed to is pointless. I suppose you still the ability for private parties to own the means of production (which is also an important tenant). But properly functioning markets are essential to what capitalism has meant since Adam Smith. While some people have tried to eliminate that so that they can do exactly what Adam Smith warned would destroy the benefits provided by capitalism that isn't something we should do.

If they want to defend a new model of behavior where those with the power to subvert markets can, that is their right. We shouldn't allow that to be seen as capitalism though. If we do then we see the problem as a problem with the fundamental principles of capitalism. When instead it is a problem of allowing the corruption of the political system to throw away the benefits our society can gain from capitalism.

"Unfettered capitalism" isn't actually captialism. From the very beginning Adam Smith talked about the dangers of allowing markets to be manipulated by powerful businessmen/companies and businesses colluding to manipulate the markets.

The problem is people talk about things as if capitalism is the problem, when in fact it is our failure to enforce capitalist free markets (for example). I am not talking about the talking-head "free markets" which are in fact allowing businesses to disrupt the market because they have the ability to get away with monopolistic pricing. That is the very anti-thesis of capitalist system.

Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise the prices

Today, they often short circuit the need for this by having so subverted the political process that one company can subvert the market all by themselves. They have subverted the protection that should prevent monopolistic power (anti-trust enforcement, requiring competitive markets, etc.) so that they don't even need to conspire with competitors (or need to do so in very small ways because they already have collected what are suppose to be competitors in a capitalist system into on monolithic entity that only needs to conspire against the public all by itself).

There is some part of the benefits of capitalism that Adam Smith saw and many people believe today (like me) that by encouraging prosperity in the economy everyone can be made richer. And in such a manner more good can be created for those in need than directly giving aid to those in need. Now I understand similar words to that have been distorted to mean let the modern day robber barons plunder the economy to enrich themselves.

That isn't what Adam Smith or I have in mind. The end is a better society with benefits to everyone. The means is capitalism. Just because today many plundering the wealth of society are senior executives instead of nobility Adam Smith would not see their actions in any more noble a light (hmm. noble - oh well).

It damages our society to allow those who seek to extract economic rents and gains from preventing free markets from functioning to define what they do as capitalism. If we accept that view we seek to dismantle useful economic measures.

What we need to do is recognize when capitalism is being subverted by those in powerful positions for their own benefit. They damage society and if we think what they are doing is acceptable capitalism we will not seek the appropriate solutions within how capitalism is suppose to function to address them.

Essentially we need to the extent possible prevent market dominating forces from acting. So boring things like trust busting, dismantling too-big-to-fail banks, regulating natural monopolies, regulating pricing power when the market is not filled with many competitors...

There are some issues that are not about making sure capitalism works but just about how we want our society to work. To maximize the benefits to society we want free markets (actually competitive markets not the let companies be free to subvert markets that Fox News and others talk of as if that is somehow capitalist).

But capitalism doesn't have an answer for how much health care we want to provide everyone, how much education... Those are political decisions and Adam Smith and sensible capitalist understand the difference between social decision and the economic model. That is however another thing that the talking heads have convinced a whole lot of those in the USA differently. They have sold the notion that capitalism means ethics and morals don't apply. That isn't the case.

Adam Smith was a moral philosopher, he would not see as acceptable the crazy notions many people today espouse as capitalism. It wouldn't matter if these people were tarnishing the reputation of a useless idea. But instead they are tarnishing the name of an extremely important idea. And we all lose if they win in their attempts to conflate capitalism and with cronyism and market domination by businesses that have monopolistic pricing power.

Related: We Need to be More Capitalist and Less Cronyist - Anti-Market Policies from Our Talking Head and Political Class - Failing to understand capitalism - Economic Freedom - Ignorance about Capitalism

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Preparing for a More On-Demand Employment Market

Responses to questions on Do you know how to leverage your skills?:

> Do you agree that we are moving to an on-demand-economy?

Kind of. I think the percentage of that in the economy will increase. It has always been there, it is just growing now.

> Is entrepreneurship, consulting and freelancing taking over from full time employment?

Kind of, it is increasing. I don't think it will constitute more hours than full time employment (for the next 20 years - in the very long term it is hard to predict). One thing that had been a nearly catastrophic macro-economic problem (and an actually catastrophic problem for many people) with this in the USA is how closely health insurance was tied to employment. The minor reforms to the USA health care system (it is only a tiny bit of what is needed - USA has, and still, costs twice as much for health care as other rich countries with no better results, hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies...) make significant strides in 1 area: making health care a bit less directly tied to your employer (largely by getting rid of pre-existing condition barriers). The USA system is still far too tied to your employer but it isn't as catastrophically bad as it was before the minor reforms.

> Are you already working as a consultant or freelancing?

> Have you thought about what your skills are and how they can be applied to other areas? If so,
> have you found any new areas of interest?

Not really, I do what interests me and take a bit of effort to focus on making some money. Though I could focus a bunch more on making money. Much of what I spend my time on doesn't make much but as long as the balance of what I want to do and having money to do it are pretty well in line I am ok.

Related: Global Workplace - More Flexible Work Schedules (soon to be retirees) - The Aim Should be the Best Life – Not Work v. Life Balance - Interview with John Hunter on Meet the Blogger Series

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Challenging Conventional Thinking

Comments spurred by discussion on a closed discussion board (which is why I am talking about RA Fisher - since it is closed to the web I don't provide a link to the discussion).

RA Fisher was an outspoken person and not easy to get along with. Being difficult to get along with isn't uncommon for people that do great things - I suspect those that are willing to subsume their opinion to make those around them more comfortable are less likely to find incredible breakthroughs.

Of course you can free your mind from the constraints of conventional thinking while being very friendly and sociable and likeable, it just seems to me not uncommon for people willing to challenge intellectual orthodoxy are also willing to challenge the thinking that social niceties are of utmost importance. They would be more able to win over more people more quickly with behavior based on "you catch more bees honey..." but that seems less common.

Fisher also much has achieved a very large amount of long lasting notoriety for his contributions. It is possible he was insecure but and worried about losing it, but more often it seems those with a history of great ideas just find that believing strongly (maybe too strongly) in themselves is better than listening the the chorus of disagreement. When over and over throughout their career they find those disagreeing don't bring much merit to the argument and they were able to make breakthroughs by challenging the accepted wisdom it isn't amazing they often pay less attention to critics than others do.

Of course, just because you have some good (or great) ideas doesn't mean every single thing you say is wonderful (or even right).

For people with the capability to achieve great things the most useful breakthroughs in thinking require the right amount of listening to people that offer good ideas on what they are thinking about about and good criticisms of their proposals without being so taken with criticism that they abandon the confidence in their own new ways of thinking.

Most people are better off paying a whole lot of attention to conventional wisdom and criticism of their thinking. We all benefit if few people that have the insight and drive to come up with incredible leaps away from conventional thinking in powerful ways. Throughout history these people have also has some pretty wacky ideas and engaged in some pretty crazy social behavior. Didn't Newton (and many others) have some pretty good examples of this genius leading to incredible ideas and a willingness to consider ideas most sensible people would find idiotic?

Related: The Illusion of Knowledge - How We Know What We Know - New Management Truths Sometimes Started as Heresies - Children are Amazingly Creative At Solving Problems - Your Brain Can Jump to Incorrect Conclusions

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Experimentation and Evidence Based Decision Making is Missing in Washington DC

Comments on: Solution-Jumping in the 21st Century

I found in Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-first Century... a lack of a clear problem statement, a lack of thorough problem breakdown, no clear target, at best tenuous links between root cause analysis and proposed solutions, and a lack of consensus-building effort around the preferred countermeasure. To be fair, Piketty never intended this book to be a practical problem solving primer. The topic he is addressing, of building a more fair and stable society through greater wealth for a larger number of people, is vitally important for our future. It deserves the best minds and the best approaches to problem solving. However, I am grateful both for the information and ideas presented in the book and for its problem solving flaws, as these flaws serve as a teaching tool for lean learners on how not to do practical problem solving.

I agree with much of what Jon said. One of the big problems with our current government and leadership of our governments is the lack of policies based on evidence. Policies should be experimented with and effective ones expanded and ineffective ones changed or abandoned.

There is a possibility for more of that within essentially our current political and government system. But there are big limits without some serious changes in that system. My guess is they would not have to be legal, but they would have to be huge. Fundamentally politicians and the political parties would have to put the well being of the country ahead of their own pursuit of power and cash.

It is hard to see that as likely given the current parties. And we don't seem to have any desire to vote out those people and put in people that put the well being of the country first. There are lots of ways the system encourages that behavior, still honorable people could stand up to pressures to be corrupted (however relying on that honorable nature of leaders has not proven very effective in human history).

In order to start moving to a more evidence based decision making system fairly fundamental changes are required in who is given power within the system. The current system gives power to those who can gain and wield influence and power. Those who can effectively improve the well being of the country don't gain much say in the current system. Until that dynamic is changed I am skeptical practical improvement methods will gain much sway.

There is a huge amount of room for improvement that has nearly no political ideology behind it. Granted in the current system everything has the political ideology angle emphasized to the hilt. There may well be political disagreements about the methods used but doing things like

- educating our kids
- paving our roads
- we can get medical care that is safe and effective (drug are reliable, experts are knowledgeable, hospitals are operated safely...)
- policing our streets
- providing health care to veterans
- operating our national parks
- ensuring the food we eat is safe (from things like e-coli)
- etc.

are things 90+% of the population agree we should do well. If we could use evidence based methods to have our government help be sure our society was having our needs met we would be better off. The political decisions about methods are going to get messy in some contentious areas. But we would be much better off if primarily we operated to produce the best results and only allowed politics to take the primary focus when it was really a contentious debate. Now we default to crony capitalism style political maneuvering and only rarely let evidence based methods seek to provide the best results for us.

Related: The estate tax is the tax most aligned with capitalism - The Aim of Modern Day Political Parties is To Scare Donors Into Giving Cash - USA Congress Further Aids Those Giving Them Cash – Risks Economic Calamity Again - "Bring Me Solutions Not Problems (“Having no problems is the biggest problem of all.” – Taiichi Ohno)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ants and Traffic Jams

I have read numerous items discussing how ants avoid traffic jams. I don't recall those items discussing the fact that ants run into each other in head on collisions all the time. That the system ("vehicles", drivers, roads) seemingly suffer no ill effects (other than having to slow down to a stop each time this happens) from these "accidents" isn't something I hear people talking about in how we should adapt to learn from the ants successful methods.

Russell Ackoff actually touched on this a bit with designing the entire system so all vehicles had bumpers at exactly the same height. But this is far from completely crash-tollerant design.

There are tiny ants all over SE Asia that run amazingly fast. I can see why this is a big advantage. They cover lots of ground. When they find some yummy thing they get back home and tons of buddies follow them to the reward. It is amazing how fast they ram into each other.

These ants are pretty amazing example of evolution. But you also can see how a pretty simple tweak of trying to lay out "lanes" for travel could help. The ones I watch don't seem to use lanes at all, so they are constantly bashing into ants going the other direction. Which they seem to cope with perfectly fine, but it has to slow them down and waste energy.

Evolution is amazing but it does often also end up with designs that have bits you could intelligently tweak to seemingly great advantage.

Related: Why Don’t All Ant Species Replace Queens in the Colony, Since Some Do - Traffic Congestion and a Non-Solution - Symbiotic relationship between ants and bacteria - Amazonian Ant Species is All Female, Reproduces By Cloning

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Moz Page Authority and MozRank History for Some of My Web Sites (May 2015)

MozRank has stepped into the gap created by Google no longer publishing meaningful pageranks.

MozRank compares to Google's pagerank (a measure of the pages linking to the page, with greater value given to links from high ranking pages). Moz Page Authority is meant to more closely measure the importance of links by considering not just the number but also the quality of the links. This is oversimplified but essentially can be seen as if a page had a high number of links (even from other pages with high numbers of links to them) but those links were not deemed to be high quality the Moz Page Authority would be lower. So things like having links from trusted authority sites would pass on that trusted authority (a bit) to the linked site. And things that are seen as lower quality (could be lots of different things: poor links from that page, text that seems spammy or not of high quality, lots of pages without much content, slow loading site or things like Moz detailed in the Spam Flag Score, etc.) would harm the Moz Page Authority number.

Therefore, I would give priority to the Moz Page Authority number as more valuable. Note while Moz reports page authority as 0 to 100 I divide that number by 10 just to compare it to all the others which are between 0 and 10.

SiteMay 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Feb 2013Oct 2011 Dec 2010
MozPA > 5
The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog6.4 (5.6)5.2 (6.0)5.5 [5]5.2 [4]--
John Hunter5.9 (5.2)4.8 (6.1)5.0 [5]5.3 [5]5.4 [4][4]
Curious Cat Management Blog5.8 (5.3)5.9 (6.0)6.1 [5]6.3 [5] 5.5 [5] [4]
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5.7 (5.1)5.5 (6.0)5.8 [5]6.1 55.3 [6]4
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog5.5 (5.2)5.5 (6.1)4 [5.7]5.9 [4]5.3 [4][3]
@CuriousCat_com5.3 (3.5)5.8 (4.6)
Living in Malaysia5.0 (5.0)3.9 (5.8)4.0 [4]4.2 [4]4.1 [3]
MozPA > 4
My Kiva page4.9 (4.0)5.6 (4.7)5.8 [-]6.2 [-]4.0 [-][3]
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog4.9 (5.0)5.0 (5.9)4 [5.0]4 [5.1]3 [4.9]-
Living in Singapore4.8 (5.0)4.0 (5.7)4 [4.1]4 [4.3]3 [4.0]
CSS 4 Free4.7 (5.4)4.4 (5.4)4.7 [5]4.9 [4]5.4 [4][4]
Curiouscat.com4.7 (5.2)5.0 (6.0)**5.4 [4]5.6 [4][3]
Curious Cat Code (programming)4.7 (5.0)3.8 (5.5)4.1 [4]4.3 [4]4.2 [4]--
Curious Cat Gadgets4.7 (4.9)3.9 (5.5)4.1 [4]4 [4.3]
Six Sigma Management Resources*4.5 (5.0)4.7 (5.6)4.9 [**]5.0 [4][4]
Architecture and home design inspiration4.4 (4.9)3.9 (5.5)4.0 [3]4.2 [4]--
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*4.4 (4.8)4.6 (5.6)3.3 [**]5.4 [4]5.5 [5][4]
Multi Site PageRank Checker4.0 (4.9)4.1 (4.9)4.1 [4]4.1 [3]4.7 [3][2]

SiteMay 2015 (MozRank)Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Feb 2013Oct 2011 Dec 2010
MozPA > 3.5
Investment Dictionary*3.9 (5.0)4.6 (5.9)4.8 [**]5.0 [4]5.2 [4]
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership3.9 (4.8)4.1 [5.8]4.2 [-]4.5 [-]4.7 [4][4]
Curious Cat Management Comments3.9 (4.8)4.1 (5.0)3.9 [3]4.3 [4]4.5 [3]
The Future is Engineering*3.9 (4.3)4.3 (5.7)4.3 [4]4.6 [4]
Management Articles*3.8 (5.0)4.1 (5.5)3.9 [3]4.3 [4]
Good Process Improvement Practices*3.8 (4.8)4.2 (5.2)4.0 [3]4.1 [3]4.1 [3]
Management Matters (my book)*3.8 (4.7)3.5 (4.6)3.8 (5.4)3.8 [4]3.5 [4]---
Life and Legacy of William Hunter3.7 (4.9)3.7 (5.5)4.0 [4]4.1 [4]4.5 [4][4]
Curious Cat Travel Blog3.7 (4.9)New
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)3.7 (4.8)3.8 (5.1)3.9 [3]4.0 [3]3.8 [-][3]
Management and Leadership Quotes3.6 (4.8)3.6 (5.7)3.7 [4]4.0 [4]5.2 [2][2]
Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entrepreneurship Blog3.6 (4.3)new
Statistics for Experimenters3.5 (5.0)3.7 (5.7)3.9 [4]3.9 [4]4.5 [3][3]
Management Dictionary*3.5 (4.6)4.0 (5.4)2.6 [**]5.2 [5]5.4 [5][4]
MozPA > 3
Curious Cat Travel Destinations3.3 (4.9)3.4 (5.7)3.4 [3]3.2 [3]-
Justin Hunter (my brother)3.3 (4.9)3.3 (4.8)3.4 [-]3.4 [-]2.9 [2][2]
CuriousCat Wordpress3.3 (3.9)3.4 (3.8)3.5 [1]3.6 [-][-]
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer*3.1 (4.3)3.9 (5.7)4.1 [3]4.4 [4]4.7 [4][4]
Improving Your Search Engine Ranking Blog3.1 (4.1)New
MozPA < 3
Management Improvement Resources2.9 (4.8)3.0 (4.7)3.1 [3]3.4 [3]3.8 [3][3]

Curious Cat Travel Photos2.9 (4.0)New
Curious Cat Web Directory2.7 (4.2)3.1 (5.0)3.3 [2]3.6 [4]4.7 [4][3]
Deming's Management Method*2.5 (3.7)4.7 (5.3)4.9 [**]5.0 [3]4.5 [4][4]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)2.5 (4.1)2.9 (5.3)2.9 [2]3.0 [2]--
Johor Bahru Real Estate2.9 (4.2)2.8 (5.3)3.0 [2]3.2 [2]-
Hexawise.tv2.4 (4.9)2.8 (4.9)2.8 [2]2.9 [2]-
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*2.3 (3.6)4.8 (5.4)5.0 [**]5.1 [4]5.0 [5][4]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Australia11 (?.)1.5 (4.9)1.3 [-]1.8 [-][-]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France1.4 (3.6)1.4 (5.1)1.3 [-]1.9 [-][-]

* internal pages
** new url or old url forwarded (so Google losses track of the page rank for awhile)
- didn't exist yet or google didn't rank it for some reason
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.

Moz Page Authority is the measure that is equivalent to Google PageRank. So in the chart below the MozRank is shown inside ( ) for Aug 2014. [] indicate Google PageRank measures. Those without parenthesis are Moz Page Authority divided by 10 (because SEO Moz also decided to scale MozPA up to 100 while Google PageRank tops out at 10 and I already been listing the data listed in the 10 scale the last few years).

Related: Moz Page Authority for Various Sites (August 2014) - Historic PageRank and MozPageAuthority for Various Sites (December 2013) - Using Twitter Data to Improve Search Results

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Letting People Know You Appreciate Them

Thoughts on: Some Things Are Better Off Left Unsaid Or Unwritten

I think there are many things that we are all better off went unsaid. But there are times that people are too reluctant to speak.

I wrote about what happened after my father died on one of my blogs: I was constantly being told how thankful people were for how he treated them and what he did for them. This didn't happen for 1 or 2 months or even 1 or 2 years it went on for a long time.

It is true he was special but I also think many of those people didn't speak up directly to him (though some certainly did). We often are reluctant to directly tell people how thankfully we are for what they did. We would all benefit from people sharing those thoughts more readily.

Related: Acting Considerately - Helping Employees Improve - Appeasing Rude Selfish People Just Makes them Behave Even More Selfishly - Practicing Respect for People Requires Understanding Psychology

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Buying Freedom by Buying Less Stuff

Comment on: Less Is More: Is All Your "Stuff" The Reason You Can't Travel? I really think the idea you captured with

"debt is a good motivator for two things: First, you will work hard; And secondly, you probably won’t leave."

is an important lesson for people. I know travel isn't for everyone, though I enjoy it. And if "3 snowboards" makes someone happy when they understand all the implications for their life, that is fine with me.

What makes me sad is too few people understand the impact the choices they make has on their life.

Related: Too Much Stuff (2007) - Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entreprenuership Blog (design your life) - Trying to Keep up with the Joneses (2008) - Can I Afford That?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Selling Out the Country - We are Electing the Wrong People to Control Our Government

Sadly the corruption of the USA political parties has been growing dramatically the last few decades. It is true they have always had a fair amount of corruption and a bit longer ago they were even more corrupt. But the ethics that had been growing that corruption was bad and should be reduced has been decimated by the leadership of both parties the last few decades.

Warren Buffet provided more comments about the damage being done to the country by this corruption.
With Citizens United and other decisions that enable the rich to contribute really unlimited amounts, that actually tilts the balance even more toward the ultra-rich…The unlimited giving to parties, to candidates, really pushes us more toward a plutocracy. They say it’s free speech, but somebody can speak 20 or 30 million times and my cleaning lady can’t speak at all.
I am very frustrated by us continuing to elect people that sell out the country for their person gains (both as politicians and even more importantly staff). The politicians couldn't sell out the country if their staff were not also bought and paid for (normally most completely by the revolving door of huge salaries on completion of selling out the country for the benefit of those paying you huge salaries). The advertising cash for politicians is important but less so than the ability to corrupt the staff.

The corruption, corrupts the entire process. If the parties and staff cared about the country they would not go along with much of the selling out of the country. The differences on tactics to benefit the country would still be in conflict. But if we had patriots in positions of power they couldn't be paid to sell out the country in this instance and then we will let you sell out the country in this other instance to earn your pay (from those corrupting them).

There really is little to do about it until the political scene is much different. As long as the parties are lead by people happy to sell out the country and we continue to elect them things won't change. The process of changing that is difficult. There is a system that re-inforces this corrupt systems continuation. With so much of the power structure so corrupt you can't do much with the few crumbs around the edges that are not interested in selling out the country for personal gain.

And when the public accepts absolutely pitiful journalism and doesn't pay attention to the few worthwhile efforts to look at what is going on it is hard to have people learn about the deeply embedded corruption. The parties play a game of distraction between themselves which when the journalists and public allow to set the conditions for discussion puts the issue of embedded corruption across the board of the political establishment off the table.

To some extent the embarrassing details of the extent of some corruption can be used pressure to reduce the level (not change the system) of corruption. I have a pipe dream that the continued evidence of such wide spread and thorough corruption finally seeping into the understanding of the public, but I really don't believe this will happen - I just hope it does. For now the only real hope is limited the scale of corruption by publicizing the worst and easiest to understand corruption.

To some extent I look to help shine the light on the corruption of the political process (mostly in the USA) on the cash for votes subreddit. I would have thought things like the absolutely horrid practices of Comcast, At&T, Verizon... would at least stop the political parties from acting in the same corrupt way they do with everything for those organization that have actively caused so much pain to so many in the USA. It is a sign of how bad the corruption is that even those companies easily buy majorities of both parties who happily profess that those companies are deserving of favors. When such obvious sell out are so widespread you can be certain the level of other corruption is beyond comprehension.

The damage this does to the USA is enormous.

The current political parties are selling out the country, it isn't quite as noticeable as if they attempted to auction off the Louisiana Purchase for the benefit of themselves, their staffs and their friends but it is doing as much damage as that would do.

Related: The Aim of Modern Day Political Parties is To Scare Donors Into Giving Cash - Reducing Corruption - Research by Princeton and Northwestern Professors Shows USA Political System Very Focused on Doing What Rich Want Done - Lobbyists Keep Tax Off Billion Dollar Private Equities Deals and On For Our Grandchildren - Monopolies and Oligopolies do not a Free Market Make - Anti-Market Policies from Our Talking Head and Political Class

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Frank Kaminsky - College Basketball Player of the Year

Frank Kaminsky is in what is widely seen as a two way race for College Basketball Player of the Year.

Response to: Is Okafor or Kaminsky leading the Player of the Year race right now?

I don't remember many people caring about defense when Kevin Durant and Doug McDermott won their National Player of the Year awards, and freaking James Harden is maybe about to win MVP of the NBA. So let's stop trying to redefine things now.
I think the reason people point out Okafor's defensive weakness in POY discussions is because there are 2 players that are very close offensively but one is much better defensively. That becomes an important point. It isn't that defense never matters for POY or MVP it just usually isn't so relevant.

Kevin Durant and Doug McDermott outclassed everyone else so if they were not great on defense it didn't matter they still were by far the best players.

Okafor is very good. It seems to me Kaminsky is the leading candidate by a large margin, due to his defensive prowess and offensive versatility. The issue is debatable but it doesn't seem close to me. Even if they were defensively equal it seems to me Kaminsky is deserving, though then it becomes more debatable, how valuable is a dominate post player compared to a dominate post player that also is a three point threat and great passer and ball handler. But add it the defensive part of the game and it widens the gap between them quite a bit.

Not being able to shoot free throws also matters. Okafor is still a great player but when he shoots 54% on free throws that is another strike against him (Kaminsky is making 75% - Kaminsky can be used in late game situations to handle the ball even if he will be fouled). It doesn't mean he isn't great but when another candidate for player of the year is so close in many ways but has several significant additional strengths these add up to make a big difference in finding the absolute best player of the year.

I am a Wisconsin fan so it could be my bias, I understand, but when you watch him play over the long term you appreciate how good Frank Kaminsky is all game long, every game.

Related: Universities Again Abandon Fans/Mission to Increase Pay to Administrative Staff/Coaches - Systems Thinking: The Later You Are Picked The Better Off You Are - Davidson Students Get Free Sweet Sixteen Trip

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Being Your Own Boss

One of the great things about being your own boss is you get to mold the work to your preferences. Now you still have to deliver, so unless you are one in a billion or so you likely are going to have to work hard and be smart but you decided exactly how.

Work early, work late, work in your room, work in a co-working space, work on the beach, work with music, work 5 hours 7 days a week, work 12 hours 10 days a month and play the rest... you get to decide.

For your business to work the customers must be happy. So for some businesses, for example, working 10 days a month won't work well but it is all up to you. Which is mainly great, but also can be a bit frustrating.

I find many people end up putting in more hours than they used to complain about their boss making them work. If that is because they love what they do, fine, but often it is just because when many people see how much it costs to take time off they don't want to. I find this funny because they are doing to themselves exactly what they said their former company was doing - prioritizing money over life.

Response to: Not a Morning Person but Need to Run a Business? We Understand

Related: Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entreprenuership Blog - Work and Life - Digital nomad and blogging related interviews with John Hunter

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Taking Care with Personal Finance - Avoiding Debt

Not all debt a person takes on is bad. But most personal debt should be avoided or reduced in amount.

Some debt makes a fair amount of sense - borrowing for college, a new house, perhaps a car, perhaps setting up your life after college. But those expenses should be reduced.

College is actually still a good investment according to many studies: The Time to Payback the Investment in a College Education in the USA Today is Nearly as Low as Ever – Surprisingly, Looking at the Value of Different College Degrees, Engineering Graduates Earned a Return on Their Investment In Education of 21%. But that doesn't mean huge debt for college is wise. Being careful to find cost friendly good schools is wise.

The same advice holds for a new car, house, etc. - an evaluation of your situation may show taking on debt is sensible but if so keep the debt level low. Credit card debt should not be taken on. If you want to buy new things, save up the money and pay.

One big problem that gets people in trouble is unexpected expense. That is why an emergency fund to pay those expenses is so important. Instead of going into debt, you just use the money you saved for such a situation. Proper insurance is also important (in the USA health insurance is critical - in most other rich countries health insurance is largely taken care of).

If you get into to much debt and then can't pay off your debts things become dangerous. Companies like Intelligent Banking Solutions provide those holding debt technology based solutions that will allow them to collect the money they are owed. Quickly realizing your situation and contacting those places you owe money to, to work something out may not be easy but it is your wisest course of action.

Most companies owed debt are going to be reasonable and not be obnoxious. But if they are obnoxious (or you just want help) find free debt counseling - this can be tricky and various companies seek to take advantage of people in trouble and setup companies that pretend to help those in debt (even setting them up as non-profits etc.). You have to be careful to find a reputable organization to help with your debt problems but doing so is possible and they will help a great deal.

Once you get your finances cleaned up, which is likely going to be a long process, put your finances in order to make sure you don't get back into the same mess again.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Archiving Digital Data

My comments in response to Maintaining Your Digital Presence Is More Than Updating Your Status

This is an important topic and well suited to the Smithsonian :-) Many people don't realize how ephemeral are digital media is. It is much easier to view photos from the 1970s than images from the 1990s (that are probably locked on some hard drive or floppy disk or zip disk [remember those].

Web sites close down and go out of business. Trusting them with your history is unwise. Sharing it there is fine but you can't rely it will be their for your kids. The internet archive (wayback machine) is pretty awesome and seems likely to survive but...

The issue which most quickly causes problems is changing tech standards. But tech media are also unreliable for long term (hard drives... are not nearly as long lasting as high quality paper). Certain archival DVDs (gold plated) do last a while hopefully but even then paper last longer. It seems rewriting electronic data from one place to another is fairly good, but it is not perfect (basically you keep moving so avoid one drive failing after 10 years).

Dealing with electronic records is obviously going to be a big job for places like the Smithsonian going forward.

Related: Photo Management and Web Gallery Creation Software - Don't Lock Your Content Inside a Proprietary System - Internet Archive of this site from 2006 (sadly the next record they have is 2011 for some reason. To some extent I think they maintain more copies of popular sites, but even so most of my sites have several captures a year) - backups on the wayback machine from 1997 to today

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Travel Blogger Interview - John Hunter

I was interviewed on the Travel Blogger Interview site: Interview With Travel Blogger John Hunter of Curious Cat Travels

John Hunter at Zion National Park, Utah
I mention the first trip I remember was through Europe to East Africa (game safari) then to Nigeria for a year and then Europe on our way back to the USA. Before that, we spend a year and a half in Singapore. While I am too young to remember it, I believe even that influenced me (as did looking at all the photos of travels growing up). My brother has the same bug and has lived in Hong Kong and London and spent a year traveling with his family (South America, Africa, Turkey, India, Indonesia and Australia). We were infected with the travel bug by our parents.

Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Start with short trips that don’t stretch you to far from your comfort zone. Once you have some experience then take longer trips and try things that are a bit tougher. My Dad gave me some good advice – at the beginning of a trip expect to be ripped off in some way for $50, when it happens don’t let that stop you from enjoying your trip. You don’t always get ripped off but I think that is good advice to realize some problems are going to crop up and don’t let that ruin your day.
Read the entire interview.

Related: Interviews with John Hunter related to blogging, digital nomad life - Meet the Bloggers Series: Meet John Hunter of - Travel photos by John Hunter

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Help Evaluating Server Co-Location Sites

Online security does get a fair amount of attention but it is still paid too little attention. Everyone should be using password manager to create long passwords, unique for them (not duplicating across sign ons) for our online accounts. And when possible using two factor authentication.

Part of the reason we need to be extra careful is to make up for less than ideal security practices at companies. I wrote about something that is similar to how Apple Pay works before they announced: a method to secure your credit card even in the event the store fails to protect their computer systems.

Since most businesses outsource hosting their web sites to network operations centers run by others this is another area that must be addressed. Evaluating co-location hosts is a complex task and companies such as Colocation Authority provide expertise in this area.

The factors in choosing a host for your servers are complex. Essentially you want a reliable connection to the servers either to access by your network (almost certainly tunneled over the internet) or to host content available directly via the internet. Physical security is one important factor but there are many others including redundant power supply, redundant connections to the internet, sensible infrastructure within the operations center and often security code at the network operation center level to aid in blocking things like denial of service attacks.

For even fairly large businesses having expertise to evaluate the best co-location options is difficult and would be expensive. Therefore using specialized experts is wise.

Related: Site Owner Impressed with FBIs Response to The Theft of Their Domain - Don't Lock Your Content Inside a Proprietary System

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Appeasing Rude Selfish People Just Makes them Behave Even More Selfishly

My comment on HackerNews, about Why are so many animals now in places where they shouldn't be?

People with genuine impairments who depend on actual service animals are infuriated by the sort of imposture I perpetrated with my phony E.S.A.s. Nancy Lagasse suffers from multiple sclerosis and owns a service dog that can do everything from turning lights on and off to emptying her clothes dryer. “I’m shocked by the number of people who go online and buy their pets vests meant for working dogs,” she told me. “These dogs snarl and go after my dog. They set me up for failure, because people then assume my dog is going to act up.”
It is sad how we allow rude people to get away with selfish behavior and make life for difficult for everyone else. Doing so encourages rude people to be even more selfish and we get the kind of behavior you see discussed in the article.

Addressing the issues directly is often challenging. That is my guess on why we allow degenerate behavior to impose costs on others until it reaches epidemic proportions when we finally attempt to address it.

It also encourages people to isolate themselves in enclaves where people that share certain expectations of behavior can shut out others and deal with those that are at least somewhat considerate of whatever behaviors the group cares about.

Allowing the rudest people to abuse society degrades the public square and tears at the benefits that can strengthen the social contract. Sadly it seems to be a pretty dominate trait in our society these last few decades and it seems likely to just keep getting worse. Hopefully I am wrong.

Related: Acting Considerately - Reasonable Accommodations Becoming Unreasonable - If You Create a System That Includes The Perfect Conditions for Scandals, Expect Scandals to Happen

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Publishing Your Own Book

Comments on How To Write And Sell Your Own Book.

I agree with this advice. I published my own book, Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability, with leanpub (I found them to be very good), I did a podcast on my book and using leanpub.

Leanpub allows you to import your blog to get started, which is very useful. I needed to do heavy editing but it was a nice way to start.

I can't believe how little control you have when you go through a traditional publisher; the book publishing process is broken . I didn't even consider doing that. For most people publishing using online services is so much better. Marketing is a big challenge, but the same issue holds for using a traditional publisher. Those that the traditional publisher will do a good job publicizing are mainly people that would do fine without it.

There is a small slice of people that don't have much name recognition but a publisher decides to try to make into a big success that are helped enormously by traditional publishers. But that number is TINY. There is a bigger (though still small) group that it is arguable whether traditional publishers help or not.

Also, just remember, no matter how you publish a book most sell nearly no copies. There are still plenty of good reasons to do it, even if you are not going to get rich off the book. A good book that gains you credibility in your field is likely worth many times more than the revenue directly from the book.

Related: Problems with Management and Business Books - Management Improvement Books: Where to Start - Podcast Discussion on Management Matters