Big Picture Show

There was once a time in my life where I cared about society’s problems. I felt a debate was worth it. And I should do my part and voice my opinion. However, through my twenties, I confirmed my suspicion that giving a shit about the big picture is a complete and utter waste of time.

I don’t care about drug use. I don’t care if athletes use steroids and their neck explodes. Not my mess to clean up. Feel free to legalize weed, crack, and meth. Not only will it bring us good entertainment on the morning news, it will let the species sort out the weak minded as they crash and burn harder and faster. If we want a real debate if evolution is real, I say, let’s witness it first-hand.

I don’t care about the privacy debate. If it means they get what they want, people will give information to the highest bidder or lowest cost alternative. Concerning Apple’s stance to refuse decryption of the iPhone of a dead terrorist: I don’t give a fuck. He’s dead. Justice has been served in the proper manner. He fought the law, and the law won. No further answers need to be.

The media and lawyers have convinced people that closure can only be achieved through a thorough understanding of the criminal mind. I don’t give a shit about the mind of a pedophile, a murderer, an arsonist, or anything else. In case you haven’t been tracking the news over the past thirty years, but this sad attempt at solving a bigger problem – preventing crime itself – is a complete waste of time. This attempt to understand, to know more, is worthless. Take a page from the old West: shoot first and ask questions later.

Software Engineering Made Me Smarter

I design systems for growth and to solve real world problems. What that means to the layman is, I get the job done, and I do it well. By connecting information, I discover and create tools that enable actions to improve professional and personal lives. Through fifteen years of software development, I’ve gained powerful insight to how people communicate and use the knowledge they gain from information.

This may sound like a sales pitch or a resume, but let me be clear: I am giving you insight into how my mind works; why I am effective in my work; why people enjoy my company. I find opportunities to connect the dots, to see the puzzle’s picture without looking at the box it came in, without expecting a solution to just land in my lap.

Connecting Information

I practice connecting information, in form and context, establishing relationships to bring about meaning. I realized this habit of mine halfway through college, and improve it daily. It’s a habit I’m thankful to have.

When I connect information, the focus of a large picture becomes clearer. I understand why one thing affects another, and why another thing would be irrelevant. This is often generalized as logic, reason, and math skills, that most normal people possess. I think of it as something better: a way to connect people and their behavior for improving lives.

A connected universe, world, or relationship, of actions, that share not only interests, but a purpose. Content and meaning combined in harmony. Realizing this picture for others is what I do to make a living. Each day, I connect the dots as a goal, my reason for work, and to grow myself and those around me.

I can feel my mind growing when I find patterns of related information between two things or processes. It motivates me to find more connections, and put those connections to use.

Creating Tools for Action

Tools that don’t solve a problem are useless. You wouldn’t hammer a screw to get the same result, just as you wouldn’t use an application that didn’t deliver what you expect.

In my work history, I find terrible implementations of otherwise great ideas, and fix them. People who didn’t know what they were doing and staved off getting fired, simply by finding a way to hold their employer by their neck. In IT, you find it happens more often then you’d like. My job would be boring without it.

That’s where I fix things, with honesty and integrity, so my employer can get back to what they do best: solving problems for their customers, and turning a profit. The tools I create have to work well, and by that, they have to be honest, truthful, and allow their users to take action.

If a time clock didn’t capture punches correctly, an employee’s budget will be off. When an employee’s budget is off, they can’t pay their bills on time. When one can’t pay their bills on time, creditors come by, canceling services and taking things away. If, however, that time clock worked correctly, one of two things happens: either the employee’s budget is correct, or we find an employee who has been abusing the time clock, thus abusing their employer’s trust.

Being able to connect information together allows me to create better tools. Tools that not only are fun to develop, but fulfilling to watch in action. I can experience pride knowing my efforts allow a business to succeed, be it to allow customers to place orders or something as simple as showing a raffle ticket number on a large screen.

Connecting Communication

The best, and often most amusing, benefit of connecting information, is when it applies to how people communicate; how they interpret the spoken word vs the written word; how people respond to non-verbal cues; how people feel safer being anonymous, for better or worse.

Spoken Word vs Written Word

People are prone to respond based on the emotion they feel. When spoken, it’s a transaction between the emotions of the speaker and the listener. When written, it’s mostly a reaction to the reader’s emotions.

Consider the phrase, “No way.” Spoken in an even tone, it conveys the message that the person is either saying, “no, I don’t want that,” politely, or “I need more evidence to believe you.” However, when the emphasis is put on either word, the meaning of the message changes.

“No WAY,” where the speaker puts more emphasis on “WAY”, it is interpreted as, “I’m amazed that just happened because I can hardly believe it was real.” (Watch Bill and Ted, you’ll understand.)

However, if the emphasis is put on the word “NO”, as in “NO way,” it means, “That is absolutely not going to happen, no matter what you do.” Rejection 101.

Three different emotions are conveyed. The first, “No way,” is one of a polite exchange in reasonable understanding. The second, “No WAY,” is how a child would react at something new they’ve never seen before, and is thus amazed. The third, “NO way,” is how a parent or child might react, in a means to protect themselves from a supposed threat.

Using this same phrase in the written word, we find that, either way it is written, it is difficult to interpret the emotion the writer wanted to convey.

The emotion from reading is often a reflection of the reader, not the writer. A crafty writer worth the ink in his pen will know how to control a reader’s emotion, often by tapping in to relative experience.

Thus, understanding this connection of how information is perceived, I know for certainty that developing relationships using the spoken word is vastly more effective than the written word. Could be why online dating is filled with guys who don’t know how to write but send endless messages anyway, and women have difficulty finding the “good ones” amongst the flood of terrible ones.

Supporting Others and Myself

A supportive view is what we need when we feel stuck on something. When I design software, and I’m sure it will work, and then it doesn’t, I can get a bit annoyed when I struggle for the answer. As an engineer I can’t run off expecting others to solve the problem for me; my skills would not be what they are if I did.

This insight has allowed me to discover what makes a relationship work: be supportive to help others grow, but never take the reigns from them. In the spirit of the coming holiday season, “Everyone wants to drive Santa’s sleigh.”

I’ve learned to ask questions that reveal connections of information, and when that happens, the solution arrives. The same can be said when supporting your friends, family, or lover. Don’t tell them what to do, help them find the answer themselves. When we arrive at an answer ourselves, we’re more likely to believe it and use it to motivate ourselves to action. It’s ours. We own it. And, those you support, will remember that you were there for them.

The key to any fulfilling relationship is to grow each other through support and sharing in knowledge and experience. So many of us do this in our professional lives, but don’t apply it in our personal lives. Father coming home after work and saying he’s tired, wants a beer, and doesn’t want to talk to anyone, certainly isn’t making many friends out of his family.

The skills I’ve learned as an engineer may seem like they don’t belong in love and relationships, but honestly, they are the best skills you can apply. The ability to connect information, such as one’s emotions with behavior and thoughts, far outweighs any blind trust and hope that “love conquers all.”

I listen openly to others, and I help them connect the dots. This is support at it’s best. It’s giving someone the opportunity to grow, become stronger, and tackle the problem head on without worry, if it comes around again. It gives them the strength that the problem won’t even be a problem.

Embrace connecting information. I do it every day, and it gives me satisfaction knowing I help solve real world problems, by giving the tools and understanding of information that would otherwise be choas.

Apple to Capitalize Market with iMe

Apple announced today a new initiative to capitalize on the conceit of their growing fan base. Their latest device, the iMe (i-Me), will introduce a new wave of communication for those who are obsessed with not only the latest from the gadget maker, but themselves.

Among the features are:

  • A forward facing camera so you can take photos and videos of yourself, and play them back instantly.
  • An LCD screen that flips into a mirror, for those times when you’re charging your device, and you simply can’t wait to check yourself out.
  • An updated Siri that not only compliments your choice in restaurants, but your photos, videos, tweets, and offers random flirtations.

Fans are flocking to Apple Stores now. However, Apple wants customers to know that only those in possession of an iPhone, an iPad, and an iPod, will be eligible for the early release.

Asked why such restrictions were applied to the product, Apple had this to say: “We’d like to ensure our most dedicated fans, who are at least as dedicated to us as they are to themselves, will provide feedback about how good they feel about themselves after trying our new product. In turn, this will help us prepare the iMe for release to the general public.”

Continuing, Apple said, “It is our firm belief that those who are most involved with themselves, will have the highest opinion of their experience, thereby providing valuable market data, so that we may cater future product recommendations directly to individuals — thereby showing that we think of them more than ourselves.”

When we asked for an exclusive demonstration of the iMe, Apple’s spokeswoman replied, “Now, don’t you think that’s a little selfish?”

People Are Fucking Demanding

Patience is a verb that is non-existent in American English. I can’t recall when such a virtue was practiced by the majority. Probably before I was born, it was tied up and tossed over a bridge by the computer.

I have this theory, why people have become more demanding of products, services, and employees, over the past twenty to thirty years. Most of the cause, I believe, comes from our ever-improving technological advances, and a sad dependency on the conveniences they provide.

A phone used to be a phone; you could call someone, even your neighbor across the street, and watch them stop their bondage session, and hang up. They would never know it was you. I miss that, don’t you? Prank calls. They’re fucking gone, because everyone wants surveillance everywhere.

I believe smartphones have transformed otherwise intelligent human beings, into fucking idiots. When you wanted to call someone, before the cellphone, you had to find the phone. Ever hear of a courtesy phone? They used to exist, until everyone owned one themselves, then they became an unnecessary expense. Now, the phone is there in your pocket; easy, portable, and with you more time throughout the day than your significant other.

People have fallen in love with their devices, and out of love with patience, and settling first for what they need, and gradually getting what they want. And each of these devices is on all day, every day, and easy to use, and easy to access. Thanks to the integration with the Internet, everyone with access to the plethora of meaningless information, believes thy have an IQ of 235.

News flash! Smartphones do not have a consciousness, and therefore cannot create their own solutions, or information. Other people write that stuff; Wikipedia did not just build itself. This disconnect between humans, divided by machines, has subconsciously built into the minds of unaware Americans, that everything should be easy to access, easy to use, and easy to work with.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, where the obsessive compulsive need for employees to be a good fit for the workplace community, comes from. Every hiring managers believes they’re the twenty-first century Sigmund Freud, and because of this, finding a place to work with people who aren’t the same, is close to impossible. A need for absolute harmony, where everyone thinks, walks, talks, and believes the same; a reflection of their demands on technology.

Everyone wants a smartphone that does everything a computer does, and then some. Email, video, voice — which used to be a phone call — and text messaging, all for the sake of convenience. So, if something isn’t convenient, they have the nerve to toss it out as completely useless.

Employers do the same; they’ll investigate an employee’s personality, because, frankly, once all workers have been replaced by computers, what’s left other than a person’s genetic code? Don’t be surprised if the corporate owners want to control that some day, too; we’re not too far off.

There’s a price for convenience. Usually, one finds value in the work required to acquire the things they need. Like, water; it didn’t always flow from the tap, but about thirty years after it did, people don’t care about it anymore. If you have any doubts, drive over to Southern California, and look at any of our wonderful, beautiful, shores of slightly transparent brown water.

Ever since the tool of choice to access information sat in a pocket next to their crotch, everyone thinks they have the right to demand constant access to the mindless drivel online. This translates into the workplace with increased demands on employees to constantly stay informed, update their skills and knowledge, so the boss doesn’t have to do it himself. You know, for convenience.

How can we reduce the ever-increasing demands by a society of people staring at screens. I certainly can’t stand here and just tell you what’s wrong, I have to provide a solution; part of that American tradition of having someone else solve your problems. That’s another thing technology does: solves problems — so they don’t have to do it themselves, and feel good about it. That further decreases the value of work.

Sometimes, I picture a massive E.M.P. exploding and destroying all electronic devices, along with the factories in China that create them. Maybe — just maybe — people will go for a walk, and clear their head of all that passive, diluted, narcissistic social-networking bullshit. That disease where people believe the only way to communicate a thought, is to tell every one of their friends at the same time; staying informed.

I’m bothered by the need to stay informed about other people’s stupid shit. I don’t care about your new pair of khakis; I don’t want to ride in your new boat — unless, if course, there are six or seven Swedish supermodels aboard. But I’ll stick with reality and inform you of my solution to this problem:

Stop using it. Plain and simple as that. Your life doesn’t really get any better with a smartphone. In fact, as your phone remembers things for you, your brain doesn’t get the exercise it needs to recall a simple thought. You know, so you can recall all the great moments you’ve had in life; fights at the family reunion; your mugshot on the ten-o’clock news; and that time you got caught sleeping with your boss’s daughter. You know, the blonde with the gimped leg, no hands, and thinks its the year 1927.

If you ever wondered why people are fucking dumb, there’s an answer for you. But, then you say, “Well, we need this technology, because that’s what everyone else has.” So says the fucking television you’re staring at, or the shitty marketing campaign that’s convinced you another device will bring you happiness. Let me ask you this, would you ever look to your mother and say, “Yeah! I’d jump off the fucking bridge! If everyone else is, clearly, they know what to do!”

The demands aren’t going away, as long as people keep getting what they want. Like a child who kicks and screams until he gets his toy back.

Just remember folks; the people of this country spend more time staring at screens than they do the moon and the stars. Makes you wonder why we haven’t colonized Mars yet. Maybe we should start by looking in the right direction.

5 Predictions for Google Glass

Carl shops wearing Google GlassI’m no fan of human cybernetic computer technology fusion, but I like to watch people fuck things up beyond psychological repair. Case in point: Google’s upcoming Glass. A headband for the new millennium that resembles a 1980’s sweatband.

So I came up with five predictions how Google Glass will be used to fuck people up further than technology already has.

#1: Diversion Twenty-Thirteen

For you art of conversation fanatics, be prepared to be psychotically annoyed at the further reduced attention these LeVar-Burton Star-Trek wannabes will give you. As if people weren’t distracted enough by their mobile vibrators with ring tones, now they’ll have it right between the two of you.

It’s like a five year old who jumps up-and-down between two mothers as he fights for attention. Shit will pop up and draw the other person’s attention; and they’ll do this willingly, because it’s customized to their needs. It provides a little more evidence how much they really care about what you have to say.

If that wasn’t bad enough, everyone will develop a nervous twitch in their eyes, as they constantly shift focus between you and checking if their pirated movie has downloaded. I know the insurance companies will jump on this and raise premiums; as if relying on technology hasn’t driven up medical costs enough as it is.

#2: Everyone’s Gone Fucking Nuts

I always thought guys who talk with hands-free bluetooth were fucking nuts. Now, with this visor for the The Next Generation, expect guys on the airplane to be secretly jerking off to the latest teen idols. Mothers will specifically ask that their child not be seated behind these perverts.

If you remember the movie Drop Dead Fred, be prepared for everyone to have an imaginary friend. You won’t hear or see their friend, but they sure can. And I can see the problems this will cause: children and young adults developing schizophrenia. Just what psychotherapists and pharmaceutical companies want: another reason to prescribe sessions and medication.

You know the more you practice something, the more it becomes routine, and normal. It becomes a habit. Do we really want everyone to have the habit of seeing things that aren’t really there? God! If he were alive today, Jimmy Hendrix would have a damn good reason to quit using drugs!

#3: Conversation Checklists

This is for people who can’t remember anything; another piece of technology to rot our brains by removing our need to exercise our memory. Now, everything we need to do, and everything we need to discuss, will scroll on a list that automatically checks itself off as we get through the day.

And, god damn! Will it get fucking annoying. You know how conversations go, from one subject to another, usually in a place it wasn’t intended? Like when you go from a board room presentation to rambling on how you should’ve killed your ex-boyfriend? Shit like that.

That won’t happen anymore; life’s little surprises are being taken away. The natural flow of conversation and thought will be killed and destroyed by the free-floating reminders ever present before our eyes. You think the government and political reform committees won’t get in on this shit? I can see every Chinese person wearing one of these real soon, and see how quickly they’re able to move toward a precious fucking democracy.

Everyone will be scientifically evaluating the conversations, one topic after the other, allowing their obsessive compulsiveness to overcome when they figit, fuss, and twitch, as the other person begins talking about something not on their perfect little list. Maybe an alarm will sound and the Glass will flash bright red, sending these newly vision-impaired jackoffs into a seizure.

#4: Increased Traffic Accidents

If you think Google Glass will reduce traffic accidents with finely tuned gauges of the distance between cars and surrounding objects, think again. Sure, it will do that, but most people don’t pay attention to the signs on the road that are already there.

You got drivers running red lights, stop signs, and cutting people off at ninety miles an hour while applying lipstick and mascara, because apparently, they need it for the 9:30 office meeting with that boss they think is a big fucking perv. You know, to gain favor with him.

When I use my turn signal to get around a slow moving vehicle, the guy in the other lane, who is hundreds of feet behind me, has the nerve to speed up. Fuck you, asshole! Put your vision assistant away and pay attention to the road!

It’s just another distraction, and soon after, we’ll need another law passed to fine people for one more thing. But, only after enough people have been killed; so when the second person dies from a Google Glass related incident, the government will pass something to calm the public’s massive outcry at this invasive and abused technology. Well, that’s America for you: blaming objects instead of ourselves.

#5: Idiot Awareness

You know, Americans and idiots aren’t always exclusive to each other, and with that, I saved the best for last. You see, at some point, an engineer out there will shock society into a tailspin of total fucking chaos with an application for Google Glass that measures a person’s intelligence.

From afar, you’ll know who to avoid, and why. A complete analysis of the person’s face, clothes, and haircut, will feed back data on the best way to avoid falling for their stupid shit. People already have the assumption that everyone’s an idiot, and with this new technology, we’ll confirm all that — up close and personal.

Speaking of getting close with technology, and avoiding idiots, I think women will benefit the most from Google Glass, at least when it comes to sizing up a man. Technology will make that easier for them: there they are, at the bar, getting a drink — because they can afford it themselves now — and on the screen is a radar of all the morons in the club: “I got to get out of here… the only person here who has at least an IQ over seventy is the bartender!”

Of course, it works the other way. Men will no longer be tricked into asking out a gold-digger. Right on the screen a gauge will show how much it will cost to take her out to dinner — for just one night — plus her living expenses, and the living expenses she wish she had, compared to the balance of his checking account. So, for ladies, it’s a catch-22: use your best judgement; most men will probably ignore it and think they can afford her anyway.

Are you ready for Google Glass and for everyone to run around looking at shit that isn’t there?

This Has Been Played Before

This is an excerpt from a book I’ve been writing for the past six months, adding and editing bits here and there. Generally, it’s similar to the stuff you read here, but bigger, fresher, and not on here. I’d like to share with you my current thoughts on “pop” music.

Are we hearing the same shit again, with a different face? Synthetic music is one of the biggest pieces of shit to hit this planet. I don’t think anyone should have the right to use a synthesizer. Ban them like we ban drugs. Let them be available only to the most ignorant masses who are willing to risk their very lives for them. It will give those “corrupt” politicians another revenue stream.

What’s with it all sounding the same? It really does, and all we do is slap a pretty face on it. But it can’t be a face older than twenty. Once a female singer is in her twenties, she either has to do stupid shit to attract attention, or get knocked up. Some would say that’s the same thing, but not me. I think having children is a great thing.

And so we call it pop music. It doesn’t fit any particular taste, like music from the south, the north, far east, or midwest. No, it doesn’t fit anywhere because it’s very name, popular, just claims that it’s what the in thing is. Some great marketer thought that shit up, and I guess it stuck. Of course, they don’t know how to spell, and lobbed off the “-ular” in the word, and just called it pop. Maybe it’s because the sound pops out at you. Or not. I don’t think it does. The only popping I hear is the stupid kid who’s got his radio too loud it’s shaking his fenders, and I can’t understand what he’s playing anyway.

Teen Pop IdolSo, then, they keep looking for whatever is popular, and label it as pop music. It can be country, rock ‘n’ roll, reggae, hip-hop, rap, crap, blues from Japan, they don’t care. If it has a pretty face, dress her up like a whore, or him like a douche. It will go platinum in a week! That’s how long it takes for it to make it. Just one week. If it takes longer, it won’t go anywhere, and the kid gets shit-canned.

By then, everyone’s moved on to the next fad. The next pop sensation. The next teen idol. Who are you listening to on your MP3 player? What? Dude, their music sucks. Listen to this, he just had his first concert yesterday. Isn’t that awesome? Yeah, and he’s only fifteen. He’s going places I tell ya, what an inspiration.

Download the album! It’s the same price as the CD, we’ve got to make up the cost for those digital bits somewhere. The artist has to get their royalties. We record execs need to get our fair share for making this kid into a star. Wait, wait, hold on here, we need to take something back. These expense reports are immense. I know you didn’t ask for any of it, but here goes. The models, the venue rental, the cost for ticket sales and printing, advertising, marketing, our cut, your father’s cut, my cousin’s cut, not to mention the cut of the cut that was your cut. You know what, you little punk, you owe us.

And the cycle continues. Out with the older, in with the teenager. That’s how things are made popular. Let’s feed the pedos and the pervs, give them something to watch on stage. We’ll just make sure it’s borderline okay with the FCC. Just a smidge. No foul ups here. We aren’t going to be pulling anyone’s shirt off, not all the way. Just a bit, so the kids can get their hormones in a tickle.

Oh, you’re twenty now? Well, sorry, out the door you go. Spend the rest of your life paying off your debts. You spent six years in the spotlight, and we racked up the bills for your fifteen minutes of fame, and we want the money back. Everything you got, we’re taking it. Yup, try and use your old, tired ass to earn money. But you forgot all about that, didn’t you? You didn’t have time to study, to be a kid, and learn what you needed to learn to be able to earn a legitimate income, right? Well, now go pose for a magazine and see if anyone cares.

Your music is old, it’s gone, and we’re on to the next young girl. She’ll make us millions, dare I say, billions!

Bad Job Interviews

I thought I’d share my job interview experiences with y’all. Just to give you a bit of insight where I draw my material from. I’m currently pursuing finding a job, which really sucks because that means less writing and other creative things, that could lead to not having to have traditional employment.

I so wanted to say that, and I can only stay polite for so long with such jerks.
I so wanted to say that, and I can only stay polite for so long with such jerks.

In the first of these (I only have one at the moment) I’d like to talk about my most recent interview, which happened a few days ago. It was for a Web Developer position, at, let’s say, Greed Industries, specifically, their advertising department. Now, I don’t know what the advertising / media industry is like, but if it’s anything like what I saw a few days ago, I’m not sure I really care much for the people who work in it.

My first sign that this wasn’t going to go well was the office door was locked, and the window shades were down. I was thinking, “Fuck, are they closed?” Nope, they were open; in fact, someone peeked through the blinds, and didn’t open the door for about another couple of minutes.

Second sign: the guy who opens the door doesn’t say a word to me, so I introduce myself, and tell him I’m here for an interview. First thing he says, “You’re a half-hour early, and the guy who’s supposed to interview you isn’t here yet.” Actually, I was fifteen minutes early, which isn’t horrible (but, then again, people are becoming more obsessive compulsive about minor inconveniences).

After about thirty seconds of awkward silence, the guy has me come in, and then sits me at an office table, where, supposedly, they hold their meetings. So far, eh, run into one person who’s a bit of a jerk, but that’s okay. Can’t get it all. While I’m sitting there, I hear the owner over the phone with one of his clients, customers, or whatever, and he curses at them. Sign number three.

The fourth sign comes when the guy who answered the door decides he’ll stall for time, because the guy who is supposed to interview me, still hasn’t shown up. I really didn’t need that; I’m a patient person and can wait for hours for someone to show up.

Then, the fifth sign, the sign that sealed that I wouldn’t want to work there. During the questions from the first guy, he interrupts my answers with stuff like, “I don’t care about that,” and, “I really don’t know this stuff. I’m just stalling for time.” Yeah… no.

Finally, the guy who is supposed to interview me shows up. Sixth sign comes in, where I overhear the first guy talk about the answers, basically making it seem like I don’t know anything about frameworks. (Anyone who knows me knows I know them, but I rather write all my own code — so it’s clean, secure, and efficient. You know, like a real developer should.) The interview with this guy goes good; he’s a cool guy. And I get the sense that, the reason why he’s leaving, is the first guy (who happened to be his direct superior).

So, really, I think it went pretty stupid. The first guy didn’t give a shit, and the second guy just wants to get out of there in a professional manner. I’m glad I got out of there when I did (about an hour after I arrived).