Nice Face

Facial recognition software will end privacy once and for all.  Your face now provides marketers and the government with the ability to link that fabulous mug shot you put on Facebook to everything there is to know about you.  That’s right.  You thought you were just posting your smiley face for your friends to see?  Not exactly.

Queue the music:

The government has some restrictions with facial recognition software, but they are spending a ton of money to figure this out.  Retailers on the other hand have the ability to use your face to send you promotional offers – the linking between the on-line world and the off-line world.  Europe has tougher rules (You need to opt in there), but here in the US, the technology is way ahead of the law.  Even if you have never put your own picture up anywhere in the internet you can be found if you were included in any picture any one has ever taken of you.  So yes, Grandpa or Grandma who have refused to embrace anything digital and still read the paper in the morning, have been digitized and are therefore searchable.

A company called redpepper (www.redpepperland.com) has started a program called Facedeals.  Here is how it works.  Facial recognition cameras are installed at local businesses. These cameras recognize your face when you pass by, then check you in at the location. Simultaneously, your smartphone notifies you of a customized deal based on your Like history on Facebook.  Creepy?

Yes, there are companies out there today that are putting all the little fragments of your life together, both on-line and off-line to get to know you a little better.  They might know you, but you will never know them.  Minority Report is much closer than you might think.

Webman

Think Better

As humans, we are challenged everyday to think.  To solve a problem or maybe “think outside the box”.  🙂  Some days we think great; on others we are looking for that little boost, that little something extra.  Sometimes we have a little more coffee, thinking that might help.  Or that afternoon chocolate hit maybe.  Might a little music might help?  Mozart, Beethoven, the Human League?

Well there are actually quite a few ways to stimulate your cognitive performance.  Did you know that there is a Human Cognitive Project (HCP)?  Researchers worldwide are collaborating (Neuroscientists, clinicians, teachers, and academics) to advance the field of neuroscience.  Did you know that there is a company called Luminosity (www.luminosity.com) that now has the world’s largest and fastest growing database on human cognition?  he database currently includes over 40,000,000 research subjects and over 780,000,000 cognitive game plays. Their scientists mine this data to uncover insights that help them improve the efficacy of the Lumosity cognitive training program.  And yes you can subscribe to their services.

Here are ten ways to improve your cognitive performance:

  1. Drink Coffee
  2. Drink Wine
  3. Sunlight
  4. Allow Your Mind to Wander
  5. Talk to Yourself to Find Things
  6. Dance
  7. Eat Better
  8. Play Tetris
  9. Exercise
  10. Starvation

Starvation, strange but true.  If you are cramming for that exam or have a big presentation, having your stomach growl a bit is a good thing. Scientists at Yale Medical School performed tests on mice and found that those who were hungry performed much better on cognitive tasks.

Are we mice or humans?

Original article can be found at http://listverse.com/2013/07/15/10-easy-ways-to-boost-your-cognitive-performance/

Start the day by thinking a little better 🙂

Webman

Instant Karma

A favorite song by the Plastic Ono Band, aka John Lennon and friends.

But now we have “Karma” technology, as in “peer to peer” wireless.  Cool huh!

When you switch on your tablet or laptop and the wireless Internet access you need is just there. Automatically, everywhere, every time.  Viola!

No more searching for hotspots. You’ll just get to browsing, and the days when passwords or daily- or monthly-pass payments stood in the way of productivity are no more.  So just as the song states “Instant Karma.”

Karma-Hotspot-3

Here is how it works.  Users buy a compact $79 hotspot device (the first units shipped last January) and they create an account. Switch on the hotspot and you get 1 GB of bandwidth to get you started. After that, it’s $14 per GB — no subscriptions, pay-as-you-want-it. And the access is mobile. Walk down the street with your Karma hotspot and your access goes with you.

Your Karma Wi-Fi signal is available to other people within range who are seeking a Wi-Fi connection. All they have to do is log on via your hotspot and sign up with the company. They would get a free 100 MB, and for more, they can pay as they go. Cool thing is, you would get 100 MB free as well.

That’s an underlying idea worth noting. The more you share, the more free bandwidth you accumulate. Peer-to-peer wi-fi, the next big thing?

Enjoy the day.

Webman

Toxic Leadership

We have focused on leadership and the key attributes of great leaders so far this week.  Today we will look at the worst type of leader and raise your awareness to the behaviors of insecure leaders.

For many of us that have been in the workforce for a few years, we have experienced many different types of leaders.  There are those that are inspirational, motivating, thoughtful, mentors and unafraid to build great teams with people that are more skilled then them in many areas.  Then there are leaders that do not belong in a position of leadership – Insecure leaders.

Insecure leaders are dangers. Dictionary.com shows the reason why these leaders can be dangerous. Insecurity is defined as being, “subject to fear & doubt, anxious, a risk & danger, and not firmly or reliably placed.” When insecurity is present in a leaders life it becomes a cap to their influence and effectiveness. It hurts the people around them, and the organization.

Insecure leaders are highly threatened by the truth, by facts, by transparency and by honesty.  In order to protect their lofty, undeserved positions of power, they campaign against talented people that pose a threat to their positions.  They lie, they commit to tasks that they never deliver upon, they mislead co-workers, they fail to communicate, they miss deadlines, they undermine all positive things and worst of all, they are toxic to the companies they work for, creating environments of distrust and ineffectiveness.  They make excuses about every deadline they miss or every project they fail to do because they say “I was too  busy”, “I have too many other things to do”, “I did not understand the process”, or “I don’t care about the process, I just needed to get something done”.  Of course, all that means is that the people that know how to get it done right will now have to fix it, wasting much more time and creating both employee and client dissatisfaction.

Insecure leaders like to distract employees and business partners by focusing on tasks that are not important or do not create customer or employee benefit/value.  They want to find that one nugget of information that substantiates their beliefs so they can use it to their advantage and create a hostile environment.  This is how they maintain control.  This “rope a dope” technique of focusing people on unimportant, irrelevant topics is part of their modus operandi to distract their co-workers from focusing on their leadership and managerial inadequacies.  They are the masters of publicly agreeing to key strategies in meetings with their bosses, only to undermine these decisions in conversations with their subordinates.  You might hear a statement like, “Although this was the agreed to decision, it will never work”, or “This is what I committed to, but let’s do it this way.” Have you heard any of these before?

A leader who is insecure cannot successfully lead those around them. This is because their actions, attitude, and motives are controlled and driven by their personal insecurity. Below are some negative characteristics and unhealthy aspects of an insecure leader:

  • They control people, systems, polices, and are micro managers.
  • They avoid partnering or hiring smart, talented, and people better then themselves.
  • They create an insecure work environment.
  • They avoid moving outside of their comfort zone.
  • They resist personal, organizational, or team growth or change.
  • They avoid calculated risks because of the fear of failure.
  • They don’t encourage or empower their people.
  • They guard against building open and strong relationships.
  • They see others through their insecurity.

Great leaders and great companies identify this type of leader immediately and take action.  The behaviors are painfully obvious.  Great companies rid themselves of these insecure leaders and more importantly, stop hiring people with these traits.  Great leaders do not listen to these insecure leaders, they do not fall for their unhealthy charm or their “opinions” of other co-workers that are threatening to their existence.  Insecure leaders do not care about the company or their co-workers.  They only care about themselves, their careers and feeding their egos at the expense of others.

No person or leader, however good they might be, is exempt from potentially becoming or being insecure. This is why it’s essential to be able to identify and eliminate insecurity from our life. To do this I suggest:

Lead yourself – The most important person you can lead is yourself.  An important aspect to leading is to become self aware. This mean you are aware and comfortable with your strengths, weaknesses, personality, temperament, and emotions. You know you have been uniquely made and you accept it. A powerful way to avoid insecurity is to be aware and have control of your inwards thoughts and dialog.

Develop trusted relationships- The people in your inner circle will either lead you forward or hold you back. This is why it’s essential to build friendships with secure, positive, and confident people. When you have trusted relationships, those people can help you spot areas you need to change (Insecurity is one area) and be a support for you.

Do you know any leaders like this?  If you do, call your CEO now and tell them.

Webman

Bill Belichick on Leadership

Bill Belichick, head coach for the New England Patriots, is an interesting guy.  William Stephen “Bill” Belichick (/ˈbɛlɨɪk/; born April 16, 1952) is an American football head coach for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. He also has extensive authority over the Patriots’ football operations, effectively making him the team’s general manager as well. Coaching continuously in various roles in the NFL since 1975, Belichick earned his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns in 1991. Following his firing in 1995, he did not serve as a head coach again until 2000 with the Patriots. Since then, Belichick has coached the Patriots to five Super Bowl appearances: victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX, and subsequent losses in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007 and 2010 seasons. Belichick is the NFL’s longest tenured active head coach.

And of course he is a master manipulator of the media.  His personality is just effervescent 🙂

But he is an awesome leader.  Here is what Belichick said on leadership while delivering the keynote address at a sports medicine symposium in May.

“What I’ve always told our team, and what I thoroughly believe in, is that every member of our team — players, coaches, support staff and so forth – is a shareholder. They have a share in the team. Are they all exactly equal? Of course not, but they’re all shareholders. Every member of the team has an opportunity to show positive leadership or negative leadership. That’s really what it comes to. The question for that person is ‘How are they going to do that? How are they going to control that?’”

A winning approach I would say 🙂

And now some tuneage from The Killers in honor of Mr. Brightside, Bill Belichick 🙂

Enjoy the day.

Webman

Ah, Fresh Air!

Been raining this week.  Makes me long for taking the top off the jeep and rolling the windows down.  Dogs really like it when the windows are down.  The smell of the road, the wind through their  hair, the joy of freedom.

And with the windows down, you can just crank the music up really loud, rest your arm on the window, put your sunglasses on and sing.  Works for me because no one can hear me 🙂

Enjoy the weekend.

Webman

 

Your iPhone Just Got Better

In case you missed it yesterday, Apple had a few new products to share with you yesterday.  As usual, the company continues to just crush it and will be providing you with new and more productive ways to leverage and use all of the Apple technology that you have.  Apple announced a major iOS 7 redesign, with countless iOS 7 features that are rolling out in the iOS 7 beta today.  They are also going directly after Pandora with their new iRadio service and killed a few competitive apps by just including these capabilities in the operating system, like the flashlight.

So in case you missed the announcements yesterday, here are a few nuggets for you.  Change is good.  But remember, as Woodrow Wilson once said “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”  So this will identify the positives around the announcements.  Someone else can write about what they hate about Apple.  Not me.

Apple New Design

  1. Control Center – In iOS 7 Apple adds a Control Center, which allows users to swipe up from the bottom of any screen for access to toggling WiFi, Do Not Disturb, Brightness, controlling music playback, AirPlay and more. There’s also a flashlight built-in and shortcuts to apps.
  2. Swipe to Go Back – When in Safari or other apps, if you need to go back, don’t bother looking for the back button, swiping in from the left will go back.
  3. Scrolling App Folders – The new app folders in iOS 7 aren’t limited to a few apps. If you want to put all your games into a folder you can now do that and scroll through apps in a folder.
  4. Better Sharing Menu – The new iOS 7 sharing menu includes a scrollable list of apps and other iPhones to make sharing photos and more simpler.
  5. Great New Look – Apple changed the look of IOS, from the font and dock up to the status bar at the top of the iPhone. This is a brand new look that many users are already excited to try out.
  6. New Multitasking With Previews – The new iOS 7 multitasking uses the full size of the iPhone 5 display to let users see what’s going on in apps. Users can also swipe up to kill an app, instead of long pressing on it.
  7. Siri Voice Options – In iOS 7 Siri offers a new female voice and a male voice for the first time.
  8. More Control of iPhone with Siri – Siri can now control more of the iPhone. In the demo Siri on iOS 7 controlled brightness, returning calls and controlling iRadio.
  9. iOS 7 Looks Change to Match Your Background – When you change the background of the home screen, elements of the IOS system will change to match the colors. This includes the dialer and other parts of iOS 7.
  10. New Camera App – iOS 7 features a new Camera app that includes faster access to panorama, a new look and much more.

These are just 10 of the great new things developed by Apple and announced yesterday.  Thanks to the folks at Gottabemobile for the summary.  An additional 40 new items can be found at http://www.gottabemobile.com/2013/06/10/50-ios-7-features-youll-actually-care-about/

And the hits just keep on coming.  Speaking about hits, here is one of my favorite summer songs from The Alarm:

Webman

Ain’t Wastin Time No More

Had a chance to see the Red Sox vs Angels game yesterday.  What is it about a live baseball game that I love?  Everything 🙂

Looking around the ball park, it is easy to observe just how many people are on their smartphones.  We see it at work everyday, but when you see 37,000 people in one place, it provides an interesting perspective.  Did you know, on average, people check their smartphones or feature phones 150 times per day.  My favorite yesterday at Fenway, was people taking pictures of themselves when their faces appeared on the jumbotron in center field.  Sweet Caroline indeed!  So good, so good, so good….

In 2010, Nokia found 150 to be the number of times the average individual views their phone on a daily basis, which includes both smartphones and feature phones. U.S. carrier T-Mobile, meanwhile, confirmed the same figure for the American market in its own study conducted during 2012. In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, the figure is claimed to have reached 200.

Well, one thing you should not do is walk and text.  Fort Lee, N.J. police said they will begin issuing $85 jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who are caught texting while walking.  “It’s a big distraction. Pedestrians aren’t watching where they are going and they are not aware,” said Thomas Ripoli, chief of the Fort Lee Police Department.

Tough to stay focused, isn’t it.  Well, when we are at work there are a number of things that get in our way during the course of the day.  Check out this cool infographic.

Time Wasters

So, stay focused and stop wasting time.  So many good things for you to focus on 🙂

And now a little Allman Brothers to start your Monday – Classic indeed!

Enjoy the day.

Webman

Glory Days

My favorite sport is baseball.  Can’t get enough of the game.  Love all of the strategy and yes, all of the statistics.  They measure everything now.  With all that data, they are finding new ways to win ballgames by understanding player tendencies, deploying new defensive shifts, throwing certain pitches in certain counts and of course looking for clues/any advantage they can by “stealing” insights.  Does a pitcher move his glove in a certain way before he throws the curveball?  Look, he sticks his tongue out when he throws the circle change?  It is the smallest of details that continue to separate the winners from the losers.

A little Boss to start your day.

Changing sports to football, check out the great infographic on all NFL team logo’s over the years.  Really cool.

Infographics-NFL-Final

Enjoy the day.

Webman

Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay

As summer is now upon us here in New England , there are a number of great tunes that just capture the moment.  Wanted to share a few with you.

Have an awesome weekend!

(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is a song co-written by soul singer Otis Redding and guitarist Steve Cropper. It was first recorded by Otis Redding in 1967, just days before his death. It was released posthumously on Stax Records‘ Volt label in 1968, becoming the first posthumous single to top the charts in the US. It charted at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.

A modern version of the song goes global – Awesome.

The Grass Roots is an American rock band that charted between 1966 and 1975 that was originally the brainchild of songwriting duo P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri.  The Grass Roots achieved two gold albums, one gold single and charted singles a total of 21 times. Among their charting singles, they achieved Top 10 three times, Top 20 three times and Top 40 eight times. They have sold over twenty million records worldwide.

The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals, keyboards) and John Entwistle (bass, brass, vocals), and joined shortly after by Keith Moon (drums, vocals). They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction.The Who have sold about 100 million records and have charted 27 top forty singles in the United Kingdom and United States, as well as 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold, 12 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone.

Best band I ever saw live in concert.  And I have seen all the great ones except for the greatest band of all, The Beatles.

And one from the 70’s.

Mungo Jerry is a British rock group whose greatest success was in the early 1970s, though they have continued throughout the years with an ever-changing line-up, always fronted by Ray Dorset. They are remembered above all for their hitIn the Summertime“. It remains their most successful and most instantly recognizable song, and their only hit outside of the UK

Ah, the summer classics.

Webman