Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thinking Strategically

I often wonder why it is that some people cannot think strategically (long term) and in contingencies. I've often found myself, in work and in my personal life, trying to encourage people to do it, often without any significant results.

I had a long talk today with my boss at work about the subject.  We've recently implemented a new system that is going to grow at a very fast rate and I can see where the curve is going.  Given the complexity potential in the system it is obvious (to me) that it is going to require staffing at a certain level and with a certain skill set, specifically the ability to design media based communication collateral and the technical skills to implement it in a fairly powerful editing suite. Throughout most of the conversation my boss was stuck on the tactical level.  I think, at the end of the conversation, she may have gotten was I was talking about, but I am not really sure.  I hope so.

On the flip side I have a friend who is going through some powerful life changing events and he is counting on one outcome.  To me, looking at it, there is a whole array of outcomes that are potential. However, he has no contingency plans. I am hugely curious to watch it unfold and half afraid that it is ultimately going to be a train wreck.

I wonder if there are any good books that teach strategic thinking or complexity management.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Recommendations and General Observations

Once again it has been quite a while since I've written.  I've mostly just been busy with the routine personal and professional things that drive our lives. Nothing serious, nothing major, nothing earthshaking or life changing.  Just life.

I've been spending a lot of my free time reading "Tower Lord" by Anthony Ryan.  Previously I'd read the first novel in the series "Blood Song". I'd recommend them if you like to read fantasy - Mr. Ryan is a good story teller and he's got a nice stable of characters running through the two novels.

I've seen a few movies, but nothing particularly spectacular - though I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy.  It is a very entertaining bit of escapist fare that I would also highly recommend.

TR is on vacation, so, as usual, I am missing her and patiently waiting for her to return.  From her I learned something that I would recommend people try - periodically during the year she goes "off the grid".  Not out of contact or anything, but definitely in a position where the vast electronic world has less of an opportunity to intrude. It is easy to lose track of the moment in the midst of all the waves of data that flow at us in a continual high pressure flow.

I've also been reading a lot of non-fiction and poetry lately. This has definitely been the year in which I've spent a lot of time reading.  I enjoy reading in all its levels, so that has been a very nice way to occupy my free time. Other than that, and the fast passage of time in the modern world, things are going well.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Stranger Sarching For A Lost iPhone

Okay - I just had an amusing encounter with a stranger.  I was sitting at home, having just finished dinner and watching an episode of "Ghost Adventures", an amusing distraction, when there was a knock on the door.  I opened the door and there was a gentleman, a little worked up, with his laptop in hand.  He was looking for a lost iPhone and he has one of those iPhone locators which was telling him that the phone was at this address (an apartment building) and the little locator dot was showing it right outside my spare bedroom window.

His attitude was half-deferential and half-confrontational.  You could tell he was convinced he was right on top of the iPhone.  It took me several minutes to calm him down, assuring him I had two of my own and didn't have his. After several times, I invited him in to look around if he wanted.*  He initially declined but, once he calmed down a bit he came in, we hooked him up to my wireless network guest account and he pulled up the application.  The application had pinged on the cell phone at about 11:50 am while the phone was being charged and then the phone had been turned off.

He had already spoken to my downstairs neighbor (Tom) and Tom had told him he did not have the phone (and Tom is a believable guy, a solid family working man and a pleasant neighbor). After a conversation for about thirty minutes, I gave the guy my phone number and email and told him that, if the system calls it up again and it shows near my location, to give me a call and I'll go out and walk around and see if I can hear it while it pings or rings.

From what I have read the accuracy of those pins depends on whether it is connected to the cell phone network (in which case it uses the signal strength from the cell tower) or via a hot spot, in which case it can find it with a great degree of accuracy.  It was curious to me that the pin actually showed it outside of the apartment (on what is, basically, simple grass), which is what prompted me to go online and read up on the accuracy of it. I tried it on my phone and, since it is connected via wireless network, my phone is pinpointed with a high degree of accuracy.

I am now hugely curious as to whether or not I hear from the guy again.  In the little quad of apartments on this end of the building, the guy has yet to talk to my neighbors across the street, who currently are not home.  He left a note on their door.  They also seem to be good people, so if they found it, I am sure they will call him.  Like I said, I am now hugely curious if I will hear from the guy again.

*I am a good judge of character and the guy "rang true", so I didn't hesitate to invite him in. But, unknown to him, I also had this pen in my hand.

This little toy is a Smith & Wesson self-defense pen.  It is a perfectly functioning pen, made from anodized aluminum. It can be used as a Kubotan type weapon (which I am trained to use, as an ex-cop).  Though small, the Kubotan type weapons are highly effective for close in fighting. With a little bit of muscle and speed, it will inflict a considerable amount of pain.  In the hands of a trained user, it can send a powerful man into full retreat or too his keys in pain.  It is a common accessory in my pocket when I am out and about.