Aviators.

It’s the perfect day to fly here in Chicago but I’m doing the desk job thing today. So instead I’ll put on the new aviators I got for Christmas and go for a walk around the block.

Maintaining Your Sanity Online.

Flipping through Twitter this morning, I found a link entitled “Rules for Maintaining Your Sanity Online”, originally posted by Sean Blanda on “The Discourse”. I’ve highlighted the ones I found particularly compelling.

  • Reward your “enemies” when they agree with you, exhibit good behavior, or come around on an issue. Otherwise they have no incentive to ever meet you halfway.
  • Accept it when people apologize. People should be allowed to work through ideas and opinions online. And that can result in some messy outcomes. Be forgiving.
  • Sometimes people have differing opinions because they considered something you didn’t.
  • Take a second.
  • There’s always more to the story. You probably don’t know the full context of whatever you’re reading or watching.
  • If an online space makes more money the more time you spend on it, use sparingly.
  • Judge people on their actions, not their words. Don’t get outraged over what people said. Get outraged at what they actually do.
  • Try to give people the benefit of the doubt, be charitable in how you read people’s ideas.
  • Don’t treat one bad actor as representative of whatever group or demographic they belong to.
  • Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about.
  • Sometimes, there are bad actors that don’t play by the rules. They should be shunned, castigated, and banned.
  • You don’t always have the moral high ground. You are not always right.
  • Block and mute quickly. Worry about the bubbles that creates later.
  • There but for the grace of God go you.

Quiet.

The streets are very quiet this morning. A quick glance at a school message board shows Chicago Public Schools are off until Monday. At least the neighborhood elementary schools are off until then.

I imagine lots of folks are taking the week off.

It’s still a beautiful morning to walk and kick off the New Year with a brisk walk

Inspiration.

This quote from my 1982 high school yearbook has been bouncing around in my brain lately. This was a response from one of the teachers to be included as a caption under her photo. Most of the other teachers wrote things like “knitting” or “filling out sheets like these”, but Mrs. O’Brien wrote this:

While I never had Mrs. O’Brien as a teacher (she taught what was called “Adjustment” or “Special Education”), she was active with the drama club and a couple of other organizations I was involved with. She was the teacher who practically “talked me off the ledge” after an 11th grade Ethics class whereas the class conversation around homosexuality turned, what seemed to me at the time, rather hostile.

I’ve never had the chance to thank her for that pep talk, not even all these years later. But her optimism and her zest for life continues to inspire me.

Blogging!

I’m excited to be following THREE new blogs here at the beginning of the New Year. One of the blogs is brand new and the other two have been around but I just discovered them today.

  1. Earl and I had a wedding officiant when we were legally married back in 2011, and we have maintained a friendship with her on Facebook. Both Emily and her husband Mark are good people, and Mark has started a new blog called “Building A Better World: CHOICES“. I’m anxious to see what he writes.
  2. When I was active on Google+, I was always anxious to read about the Digital Nomadic life of technology journalist Mike Elgan. Google+ is going away soon and it’s a digital ghost town over there right now, but I finally took the time to see if Mike is maintaining a blog, and sure enough, he is over at “Elgan.com“. I’ve always liked Mike’s technological insights and I’ve really enjoyed the digital nomadic lifestyle he and his family enjoy. Plus, he’s fleshing out a Facebook alternative called “Nicebook”, which has me intrigued.
  3. As a member of the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), I attended a couple of their events in 2018 and I met some great people along the way. I’ve always “virtually met” others on Instagram and Facebook, and I’ve been a fan of Captain Bobbie since he was suggested as a friend on Facebook back in the mid part of last year. He mentioned his blog on a recent Facebook post, so I was happy to take a look to see what he’s up to.

Finding three new blogs to read on this New Year’s Day has given me hope that the art of blogging isn’t dead after all. Let’s see what others I can find along the way!

Are We Here?

So in 2009 Microsoft shared a video (with a follow-up a couple of years later) proposing where they saw technology in 10 years. Some of the technology shared in the video included double sided smartphones or “smart cards”, billboard ads that recognized who you are, wall-sized video conferencing with a shared tactile experience, and much more. Take a look at this video to see where Microsoft wanted us to be today.

I’m kind of bummed that it’s 2019 and it feels like we’re not even close to achieving this vision, nor are we really headed in the right direction.

The doubling down of monetizing user data (primarily through social media) instead of trying to see how we can creatively use data has really put a kink in the vision timeline.

I still hold out hope that someday we’ll get this timeline back on track and start heading toward a “Star Trek” like future again (where we focus on the good of humanity instead of the greed of money).

Let’s see what 2019 really brings. But more importantly, let’s see what company or who tries to nudge us back onto the sane timeline.

Determination.

Over the past two weeks I have replaced 82 lights on the strings tied and/or fastened to our Mickey Christmas Tree. A few moments ago everything lit back up like it was suppose to and it is wonderful.

This was our Christmas Tree in 2015 when we spent the holiday at Walt Disney World. I loved that version of our holiday and I love this tree.

I’m happy a little determination resulted in a fully lit up tree again.