Thursday, February 28, 2013

What if historical figures tweeted

I am weak, sick, and need the funny! Joe Queenan got riffing on the tweet fight between Justin Bieber and Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney (who?) and then wondered what if others had used this slap fight medium through history.

Alexander Hamilton: The presidency is 4, like, really smart dudez like Thomas Jefferson.

Alexander Hamilton: Aaron Burr should b happy 2 b vice president. At least he gets 2 keep all that filthy lucre.

Aaron Burr posts nude photos of the former Treasury Secy on his Facebook page and then tweets: Bring ure gunz up 2 Weehawken, u lily-livered mountebank.

Burr supporter tweets: So, like, u don't even know who ur pater familias is.

Another adds: That's why you will never get your pockmarked puss on a benjamin. No 1 will ever say it's all about the hamiltons.

He also Does Ben Hur, Al Capone, the Hatfields and McCoys. Hey--who says were are getting wussified? Do you ever think twice about Twitter?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"HandySpeech" from Apple can give voice

iSpeak4U, a company in Connecticut, has developed a handwriting-to-speech app to help people with disabilities to communicate.

It was developed by a 12-yr-old, Eric Zeiberg, whose sister suffers from autism.

You can write in any of 13 languages and the writing is converted to speech.

It costs about $30 and is available from the Apple App Store or go to for more info.

Want to see it in action? Go to

Cool, Eric.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The norovirus is no ...urp, picnic

It's all the rage--sweeping the country killing people or making them wish they could be dead for a few days and then come back.

The norovirus is the one that sometimes smacks people on cruise ships--it's very contagious--even through the air.

My daughter now has it.

It started Sat with takeout food--about an hour later, huge vomiting...for 13 hrs. Keep those grocery bags handy in the john because both ends are involved.

Then the cold hands and feet, the shakes, the horrible stomach cramping. All I could do was force myself to drink Ginger Ale and water.

Three days later, this AM, I ate some crackers.

I was listening to audiotapes--and every one, it seemed, talked about food. Ugh.

But I think your correspondent is on the way back. Be patient. Going to lie down again.

If you work, please don't go to the office and hand this out. I am begging you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

I am sick--but this might be of interest

Applications Now Being Accepted for the
Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows 2013-2014 Team

The application deadline is Friday, April 19, 2013.

Be an Innovator!

The University of Minnesota is recruiting a cross-disciplinary team for collaborative medical device innovation. Those encouraged to apply include: postgraduate engineers, experienced physicians as well as those in their residency or fellowship training, bio-scientists, seasoned medical device professionals, business professionals, IP attorneys, medical practitioners and others with a special interest in medical device innovation. Applicants must be dedicated to improving human health and well-being. Successful candidates are self-driven and highly motivated individuals with entrepreneurial spirit and committed to working in a collaborative team setting.

The University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center, part of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine. The program already has seen much success with more than 100 invention disclosures and more than 50 patent applications filed on those inventions in the program’s first four years.


• Identifying clinical needs, inventing, and building & testing prototype solutions

• Generating 15-20 patentable disclosures on medical devices for diagnosis and treatment

• Working closely with clinicians at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center and partnering with established medical device corporations


• Degree in Engineering, Medicine, or Biosciences. Medical or Doctorate degrees preferred

• Evidence of creativity and innovation

• One or more years of research training


• Monthly salary and health benefits provided duration of the Fellowship

• Use of first-class facilities in engineering & medicine at the University of Minnesota

• Access to top MDs, PhDs, and innovators at the University of Minnesota and local industry

How to Apply:

• Fill out and submit the online application, cover letter, and curriculum vitae for Requisition Number 183027 at the University Employment Opportunities website.

• Follow the instructions provided at the Medical Devices Center website to prepare and upload supporting/additional documents required for the application

• Contact three people to send us letters of recommendation. Read the detailed instructions for information on format, content and where your references should email letters.

The application deadline is Friday, April 19, 2013. The online application and all supporting documents must be uploaded and/or submitted by the application deadline. Candidates for the fellowship are selected on an ongoing basis. Apply now!

Please direct questions regarding this application process to

Friday, February 22, 2013

Govt warns your car could be hacked

I know someone who paid money to get OnStar installed in their cars. Also I know people who use Bluetooth in their cars.

In the January/Feb issue of Government Executive Magazine is a scary story about how hackers could not only listen in on you, but make your car brake in traffic and kill you.

They are looking into this. Check it out: They call it Car Hacking.

There are at present no rules for car cyber-safety. Ooops.

Nightmare scenarios include accessing the car through not only OnStar and Sync, but the CD player, iPod, keyless entry, and other sensors.

Yes, the manufacturers are putting in their own controls. You need to decide if this is hysterics or a real menace. I would say potentially sucky.

Worth knowing about, anyhow.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mom--Big biz wants you back

According to Leslie Kwoh, WSJ, Feb 20, 2013, some companies are reaching out to women who left to raise families.

Many companies realize they lost valuable assets.

Consulting companies seem to be leading on this--McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting Group.

Even Goldman Sachs has a "returnship" program for people who haven't worked in several years--usually this also means they have children.

An expert said companies should be focusing on this pool just as they do on recent grads.

Many left because the company was not family-accommodating--and returnees face a different atmosphere, with fewer guarantees and a less stable workforce.

Regaining confidence can be a problem. Most returnees require an adjustment period.

McKinsey has a phaseback program.

What does this amount to? Well, maybe a crack in the wall of thinking people who have been Moms a while have little to offer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oh, rats--we're downwardly mobile

Are you sick of our great country being such a sad case? I am!

Anyhow, Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY, says people used to move to other cities for a greener pasture, but now more people move because they can't afford to stay where they are.

High rents, no jobs, whatever. From 2007-2009, 4 million people moved within their local area--a large proportion moved to cheaper housing or doubled up with people.

Over the last couple of decades before this, people moved to better their lot. Forty-one percent moved to a nicer house or closer to a better job. That dipped to 30% during the recession--officially those two years.

The heck with official! I feel recessed still--how about you?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chew gum, don't text!

Walking and texting--wise up, you could get hurt.

Honestly, I am getting impatient with you people and your phones. The distracted calls as you negotiate traffic, the short email responses wrenched from a tiny keyboard, the pointless communications made so easy.

Sure, I am a slug sitting next to a Bakelite phone of ancient vintage, ready to devote my whole attention to you!

Now in Government Technology magazine, Karen Stewartson writes about the dangers of walking and
"phoning."  Something called Injury Prevention surveyed some people in Seattle--and a third of them were doing two things at once crossing the street.

Texting was the biggest offender.

What were they doing? Listening to music, texting, talking on the phone, dealing with a child or pet, or talking to someone else.

This resulted in jaywalking, disobeying the light, and not looking both ways.

Well, you know what the next sound might be?


If you even hear a sound.

By the way, on the gum chewing, I read fewer people chew gum nowadays--walking or doing anything else.

Monday, February 18, 2013

At some companies, do well by going good

Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, says banks have taken the lead in trying to connect with the community to make up for the bad rep they got from the financial mess.

This keeps workers happy and engaged, too.

One bank, Umpqua Bank, Roseburg, OR, is proud of its corporate culture. They say they are transparent with their employees (a new word for honest) when facing challenges.

They also have a huge volunteer program the employees love. They pay full-time workers for 40 hrs of community service a year, and part-time workers for 20.

They have a 93% participation rate in that program.

They also have morning games and motivational meetings. They actively find people who like this.

How would you feel?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Teeny tiny apartments

I had a 600 sqquare foot apt in DC--and I miss it! It had my office, a full-size pine tree in a pot, a divided bedroom (curtain) for my kid and me and it was dandy!

Ula Ilintzky, AP, writes about other strange people like me who like compact spaces. Less to clean, less to junk up.

New York is famous for these pocket places tucked away. And now a whole building of micro units is being built.

San Francisco has approved a 220 square foot lower limit.

Of course, there are fold-down beds, ottomans full of folded chairs for when company comes, and a TV that slides over to reveal a bar.

One owner said he has dreams of an enormous apartment--which terrifies him.

I remember a townhouse below M Street in Georgetown that is about 10 feet wide. Very cool. Within a second, you get used to stepping around people.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Arizona matchmaker 'splains it all

Srianthi Perera, AZ Republic, Feb 13, 2013, profiles AZ dating coach and matchmaker Joann Cohen.

First, Cohen says, don't believe H'wood style movies or romances in which the woman is a nut and pushes the man away and he always comes back.

That doesn't happen.

As a matchmaker, she only takes men, interviewing them extensively and then MAYBE matching them with women from a list of 400 she has developed.

She also follows up after the first date.

The qualities she finds men look for are attractive, deminine, appreciative, sane and drama free. Jeez--how interesting is that?

Women want safety, sense of humor, financial security, good ethics, and an accepting nature.

Thus sounds kind of 1950s to me--back to the future. Oh, well, it's OK to be single.

By the way, I still hear from many old boyfriends 40 yrs later.

Happy V-Day all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do you have goals?

I was never one to have a one-year, five-year, and ten-year plan. I let life happen to me. This turned out to be a mixed bag--some absolutely great things happened and also some disgusting and terrible things.

There is a old saying--Life is what happens while you are making plans.

I also don't believe that just the intention of doing well, even with lifelong hard work, guarantees fulfillment of your goals (see State of the Union speech).

If you are in school, you have the goal of finishing. If you finish, you have the goal of making a living. Some people want to get married--so that can be a goal (see online dating).

Some gurus say write the goal down, then break it into benchmarks. Learn this, volunteer to do that, work out this many times a week.

Do you do this? Maybe I should. But I am an old puppy and this would be a new trick.

I was thinking about life the other day. Some people see "time" as a river rushing past, carrying off people and ideas you hold back into the past. I tend to think of this as a lake--you pop up--see or think of someone you knew, there they are--not downstream someplace.

Maybe I need a new goal that was an old goal.

Oh--this is getting too deep.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do you know your clothing sizes? Wrong!

Thinking of getting a new work wardrobe?

According to Christina Binkley, WSJ, Jan 31, 2013, more than half of women try on two sizes of everything.

We are no closer to standardized sizes than decades ago--despite the best efforts of MIT mathematicians. Then add in vanity sizing--how a 12 from 1955 is now a 4.

So some internet companies are dumping the size thing. Instead you send measurements--and they figure it out. One thing you can do is find a site or brand that caters to your body type. If you are petite--try brands from countries with small people. Believe me, a Vietnamese Extra Large would not fit on my arm!

Levis, for another example, has Curve IDs--you fit to your rear.

Don't buy a size down in relaxed fit and expect it to work, one manufacturer said.

This gets complicated...but if you want to, you can google your way to better fitting duds.

Still, on the TV show Fashion Police, we see badly fitting clothes on the richest people. Go know.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mistake in your credit report? Check the picture

The CBS show 60 minutes took a break from promoting the administration and tackled the credit reporting industry on Feb 10, 2013. It needs to get its buds in the Obama admin to tighten up on the industry!

Like that will happen.

Take a look:

Seems that if you find an error--say one that ruins your life--you have no recourse.

Some offshore "customer service" people in Chile will just put you in a pile.

No matter how many certified letters, lawyer letters, and complaints and corrections you shower on them, nothing will change.

You will still be tagged with other people's debts or debts you have paid off.

Is this against the credit reporting laws? Of course. And your point is...?

Friday, February 8, 2013

You must know PowerPoint

This--according to an associate prof of information systems at the W.P. Carey School of Business at AZ State.

Also--MS Word Office and Excel.

Get the software, get a book or two and start learning, she advises. YouTube also has videos.

So...what are you waiting for?

(Don't look at me--I am not in accounting or an office situation.)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Don't be a clod

Manners, people! Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, reminds us that manners count at work.

The example she opened with was of a person who worked through lunch and then scarfed pork rinds, rattling the package.

I can think of worse offenses--such as breaking wind or loud phone conversations filled with profanity.

Little things can hurt your career--that seems to be the message. So don't interrupt people, do not text while talking to someone, don't cut people off in a conversation jsut because you are used to short communications.

Don't be too loud!

My sister talked about a woman at her former job who talked all day about her two full-size poodles. This drove people nuts!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bilingual workers in demand

The part of the population where English is not the first language is growing by leaps and bounds.

How do you say "leaps and bounds" in Spanish? Or do you?

Virtually all job sectors value bilingual workers--health, marketing, construction, you name it.

One big place it's at a premium is bank teller. You also need to know different currencies.

Customer service is another huge area where second languages can pay off. You need to solve problems--easier to do if you are speaking a common tongue.

Also in the emotional area of social work--being able to explain and communicate is key.

If you know two languages--put it on your resume in a prominent place. Voila!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Yes, in some urban areas--chickens

Arizona is a little casual about livestock. We pass horses in a field going to the library.

And in some of these little burbs here, you can keep chickens. Not the gated communities, of course--they are way too high-life.

First, check your local laws.

You buy chickens in feed stores. So you need feedstores. They cost about $3-$4. You may get pullets (girls) or not--it's a crapshoot.

You need a coop. Build one or get one--at you guessed it--the feedstore.

Chickens have to be six mos old before they lay eggs. Chickens can stand heat--but they do need water and shade.

Predators can get them--out here we have coyotes, javelinas, bobcats, owls, hawks and dogs. Whew. Danger, Will Robinson!

Maybe you need to put a wire fence over the whole thing. One woman says her chickens come when called by name. There goes that Sunday dinner. This gal even brings them indoors in cat carriers on cold nights.

Man--they are living! And laying, I hope.

PS The neightbors may not love Foghorn T Leghorne and his morning wakeup call--which can continue all day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

New boss, maybe not the same as the old boss

Scary times. A new boss. Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, went into this.

You may have come in early, left late. Out the window--the new boss may not know or care.

Yes, you learned things, but it may not help with the new boss. you run down all your credits with the new boss right away?

No...but also do not express skepticism or regret. Make the new boss feel welcome.

Find out the person's workstyle--do they prefer emails? Calls? Memos?

Should you offer feedback in private or in front of others at a meeting?

Check out the new boss on social media--but remember, he or she may and probably will know about it.

Try to help the new boss succeed--you will fail before this person does. Keep that in mind.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The best titles are the shortest

President, CEO, Supervisor, Boss--like those?

Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, reminds us that many people hate the boss and think of them as "royal jerks who should be locked in their car." I think this may be a little more about Anita than we need to know, but the basic point remains.

The boss is apart from the rest. The boss may have been in the pool, then must separate himself or herself.

This can be tricky.

Bosses have to motivate people who slack off or never knew how to work in the first place. They have to calm down angry customers (me, usually).

A recent survey said almost three-quarters of those polled did not want to be the boss.

But if you do--go about it systematically. See if your company has a leadership program.

Do the job before you get the title--help others succeed, communicate well.

Just having good technical skills is not enough when it comes to managing people.  Your former workers may see you differently.

You may have to man up--er, woman up.