Why the talk about Generational differences should stop…

I haven’t blogged in almost 3 years and I noticed that this blog has probably been down for at least a month but here it is: A friend on a Facebook group recently asked this:

Millennials, I encounter this term in my company almost daily, so I’ve been having lots of conversations with different individuals on the topic. I’d like to hear what you guys think as most of us here are just what the heading says, MILLENNIALS!

How do you feel about this title? What does being branded as such mean? What do you think are the expectations/fears of us from previous generations?

I thought I’d post my reply so here it goes:

I believe that all generations go through the same growing pains when integrating into the workforce with the previous generations its just a part of life.

We have been shaped by different events yes, that technology is changing everyday yes but this does not change the fact that we’re all just at different stages on this journey we call life.

All the posts and stereotypes while some maybe more true then others, aren’t on to something new.

The talk about our generation is just being magnified by the same things that other generations say make us feel entitled. Like the instant access of essentially unlimited amounts of information at our fingertips, twitter, blogging, etc.

Today it is easier then ever in the history of humanity to get published and expose your opinion to the masses. I believe that if this were available in the past you’ll see similar sentiment towards previous generations.

And we’ll be talking about the generations that come after us in similar fashion.

Every person is unique in their way of looking at the world which shapes how our generation looks at the world and how the world looks at us.

I think we have a lot to learn from previous generations and them from us but we have to accept our differences and use them to make a better world for the future generations.

It seems as though many people; Millennials, Baby Boomers, Gen-X, etc. uses these discussions to validate their excuses as to why they can’t work together or why they are having a hard time working together. How about we just accept it as a fact of life and get back to making the world a better place.

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RIP Steve Jobs

So I don’t post often but I thought today was an appropriate day since we are mourning the lose of a great leader. Steve Jobs legacy will live on as I am typing there is no way for me to forget about Steve since I am using an iMac. Steve changed the world for the better and challenged what it means to use a computer. Whether you are reading this on your PC, Android, iPhone, Mac, or Blackberry. If it weren’t for Steve Jobs reading this would not be the same. Thank you Steve for everything you have given us during the years.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” — Steve Jobs

There are few people that will ever have an impact as large as Steve’s on the world.


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Building a Business vs. Building a Job

If you are reading this you are probably a business owner or someone interested in “Building a Business”. I’m going to give you a quick distinction that can change the way you think about this thing called a business. I only recently made this distinction and it has totally changed the way I think of business.

Most entrepreneur, or people that “Start a Business” don’t really have a business they have a job. How many entrepreneurs do you know that work 60 – 80 hour weeks on a consistent basis? Are you one of those? It seems that this is the case in many small companies especially in this tough economy. Most people start a business the wrong way and end up with a job that if they are not their for an extend period of time it will cease to exist. The entrepreneurs forget to build that management team, they lay way to much responsibility on themselves which is not sustainable in the long term, and forget to put in the correct systems and process to ensure that it is sustainable, scalable, and efficient.

This happens unconsciously, mostly out of necessity to get ahead. But it is not sustainable and the “Business” will fail because one did not build the support the right way.

I’m not saying that building a job is wrong it works for many people and some people are not interested in owning a business. They don’t care if it doesn’t scale because they are comfortable with where they are. But some people are under the illusion that it is the same thing as building a business and it isn’t. Its totally different and it takes a totally different mindset.

Most entrepreneurs want to build a business yet they don’t understand what it takes to build one. They built a job, because it’s easier, and often necessary. But then they can’t get out of their own trap. I guess that this keeps many entrepreneurs up at night and they don’t even understand it. This is the reason why they are working 80hrs a week. I’ve personally experienced this very close to home and I’m glad I made this distinction now and not later because I don’t want a job I want a business I don’t want to be trapped by my own creation I want my creation to work for me.

Yes there is a lot of hard work at first, and you will have to build multiple jobs, but make them ones that others can accomplish, not just the entrepreneur. When building a business, you should be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel if not be careful because it might have caved in and you’re going to have to dig yourself out. Take the time plan for both the long and the short-term. Be the clock-builder not the time teller.

Notes – More on this can be found in a great book I read called Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

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Case for Wikipedia use in School

Alright im about to rant a little bit on something a teacher said about using wikipedia for class assignments.

So I walk in the first day of class and on the board is a big WIKIPEDIA = OUTLAWED sign on it. When I saw this I just cringed and knew that the teacher is clearly ignorant of how wikipedia works and how it should be used. Wikipedia is the single biggest source of information on the internet. It seems that every other search I type into google ends up sending me to a Wikipedia site. First assignment that she assigns is to find out why Greenland settlements were abandoned in 1450. So I go on google and try to find this information avoiding wikipedia at all costs. First I turn to the other search results skipping any entries to wikipedia.

Not to my surprise it took me about an hour to find some credible information to what happened in that time period. This information end up being very similar to what was on the sites that I skipped on wikipedia. Using it would have saved me about 45mins in finding this information. This the point when I decided to post this blog. I then went to a site called www.britannica.com which is an official “encyclopedia”. The entry for all of greenland in Britannica was about a 1/4 of a page while I had at least 4 pages on wikipedia and no where on the britannica site could I find that Greenland was abandoned by its european settlers in 1450. Thats when I did a comparison search for wikipedia vs. britannica and found this http://news.cnet.com/Study-Wikipedia-as-accurate-as-Britannica/2100-1038_3-5997332.html it claims that Wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica

This is not the first time I have had a college professor tell its class that Wikipedia is inaccurate. I think the professors should understand that like all encyclopedias, Wikipedia is second hand information and needs to be validated before using it as a source (Wikipedia also seems to do a better job of citing its information than Britannica).  Instead they should take the time to explain that the information needs to be verified with the original sources cited on the site. This goes every other site a student borrows information from since. Saying that WIKIPEDIA = OUTLAWED is just a hugly ignorant comment that does not have any basis.

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Tony Robbins – Life & Wealth Mastery

I just finished attending an incredible experiencing Life & Wealth Mastery in Suvasuva, Fiji. I arrived in Fiji only to find out that they were going  to fast us for 4 days and that Tony Robbins wasn’t even going to be there. During the week I spent there I got so much incredible information, met some incredible people, and the cleansing we went through really shows how toxic our bodies have become. In place of Tony we had the privilege of meeting Scott Harris who did an excellent job coaching us through the whole process and answering any questions we had.

After all was said and done we came out cleansed, a huge wealth of information, and I created lasting relationships with the other 60 people at the seminar. The friendships we create will probably last a life time. The content was great but being in Fiji and having some time to digest it all was even better. I loved the late night discussions on different topics and watching people go through there ups and downs during the cleanse was intriguing. The best part was that I won entrance to the Business Mastery event which was on my todos!!!

Here are the pictures: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=214051&id=693274317&l=5ef3699c3a

I want to say thank you to everyone that attended and the crew that supported us during the entire experience.

30-day update: Ok so its been 30 days since I posted and I feel great. I have taken action on many of my goals and improved many areas of my life. Still I feel that theres a lot of room for improvement. Its been hard to stick to the strict diet but I’ve done my best and been able to maintain about 50% of it. I’ve lost about 10lbs since I left which is great but i’ve been procrastinating on going to the gym. I’ll check back around new years for a 60-day update and then a 6-month update.

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Trixbox and Cisco 7940 MWI

It seems as if Cisco makes it nearly impossible to make there phones 100% compatible with SIP PBX’s like Trixbox. I recently migrated my companys 20 phones from a Hosted PBX running Call Manager to an in-house Trixbox a few months ago and everything wen through without a hitch thanks to some careful planning. Recently one of my users complained that she was not being notified whe she had a New voicemail waiting. All 20 phones are Cisco 7940’s that are running the POS3-8-12-00 Firmware. As I started to look into the issue I came across multiple forum threds citing the issue and each had their own way to solve. As you probably already know the 79xx series has a red light on the handset and an icon on the phone screen call the “Message Waiting Indicator”. One of the threads stated that the extension were incorrectly configured under the Mailbox textbox. They should have said XXX@default instead of XXX@device. This is a bug in asterisk and must be fixed manually. In my case this did not work. I had some phones that were working so I compared the configurations to those that were not working and found that the @default does not necesarrly work. It only works if default is the Voicemail Context. Good for us that under the configuration for Voicemail it has a field called Voicemail Context. All you need to do is replace what comes after the “@” in the Mailbox field with whats in the “Voicemail Context” field.

Its extreamly simple. I have only tested this on the 7940 but I am fairly confident that it should work for almost any phone in the 79xx series and may be even other SIP phones.

If your still running into issue after going through these steps feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be glad to help out.

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osCommerce Slashes acumelating in product name and description fields.

I recently ran into an issue in osCommerce 2.2RC2. In the admin area when adding, editing a product everything is fine but when you hit back on the the on the preview screen your product name and description have a bunch of extra slashes in it. This happens because osCommerce is escaping the quote you put into the name and description and not removing them on the way back.

Heres a quick fix

Go to “admin/categories.php” and find the following line

<td><?php echo tep_image(DIR_WS_CATALOG_LANGUAGES . $languages[$i]['directory'] . '/images/' . $languages[$i]['image'], $languages[$i]['name']) . '&nbsp;' . tep_draw_input_field('products_name[' . $languages[$i]['id'] . ']', (isset($products_name[$languages[$i]['id']]) ? $products_name[$languages[$i]['id']] : tep_get_products_name($pInfo->products_id, $languages[$i]['id']))); ?></td>

and replace it with

<td><?php echo tep_image(DIR_WS_CATALOG_LANGUAGES . $languages[$i]['directory'] . '/images/' . $languages[$i]['image'], $languages[$i]['name']) . '&nbsp;' . tep_draw_input_field('products_name[' . $languages[$i]['id'] . ']', (isset($products_name[$languages[$i]['id']]) ? stripslashes($products_name[$languages[$i]['id']]) : stripslashes(tep_get_products_name($pInfo->products_id, $languages[$i]['id'])))); ?></td>

Then replace this line :

<td><?php echo tep_draw_textarea_field('products_description[' . $languages[$i]['id'] . ']', 'soft', '70', '15', (isset($products_description[$languages[$i]['id']]) ? $products_description[$languages[$i]['id']] : tep_get_products_description($pInfo->products_id, $languages[$i]['id']))); ?></td>


<td><?php echo tep_draw_textarea_field('products_description[' . $languages[$i]['id'] . ']', 'soft', '70', '15', (isset($products_description[$languages[$i]['id']]) ? stripslashes($products_description[$languages[$i]['id']]) : stripslashes(tep_get_products_description($pInfo->products_id, $languages[$i]['id'])))); ?></td>

Thats it its as easy as that.

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Google Gears, Prism, and Linux 64-bit

I recently started using Prism and I really like having my Google Apps as Desktop apps and not in the browser. The only thing that was missing was offline support for Gmail and Google calendar. Google doesn’t officially support Gears on 64 Bit Linux but Niels Peen compiled a working version for Firefox. I downloaded that version and then I un-zipped the “.xpi” (.xpi files are just renamed zip files) and edited the “install.rdf” as per Douglas Meyer’s Blog post and it worked perfectly. Here is a link to my compiled version. google-gears-x86_64. I tested it on Ubuntu 9.04 64 Bit with Prisim 0.8

Updated: I have recently stopped using this since it became unstable with Prisim 1.0 . Google has also dropped development for Gears. They have opted to go with Standards Compliant HTML5 Storage in the future. You can see what google has to say here. I wouldn’t recommend using this anymore.

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Net Neutrality

Net neutrality has been an issue which has been underplayed over the past few years. Net neutrality, a network design principle, aspires that all content and data is treated equally (Wu). Ever since its creation, the Internet has been neutral, but with the advent of new technologies this neutrality has been threatened (Anderson). Today, the Internet is one of the most important means of communication. It’s neutrality is crucial to all aspects of society. No corporation, government, or individual should be allowed to censor public networks. Read the rest of this entry »

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First Look: Windows 7 Ultimate RC

On June 2, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 7 will lunch on October 22, 2009. Since the release candidate has been out for over a month I decided to give it a shot on my old Dell Inspiron 630m. This system has never run Vista and it’s not officially supported by Dell to run it. Here are the specs for my 630m:

  • Intel Pentium M 1.86GHZ
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 80GB HDD
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG
  • Broadcom 440x 10/100 NIC

win7As you can see, it’s not the most impressive system. I downloaded the DVD image from the Windows 7 website. The down load was a bit over 2GB which I found a little excessive but then again it’s Windows. After burning the image I inserted the DVD into my laptop and booted from the DVD the installation loaded fairly quickly compared to older versions. The disk petitioner has a straight forward UI and formating process was quick. The whole installation took just over 45 min which is decent. Once I booted into the OS, it ran perfectly and it installed all my drivers as soon as I ran the Windows Updates. That’s great since in XP you would spend a good portion of your time downloading and installing drivers.

Ok, so the installation went well. Now its time to get a feel for performance. Through out my uses the system didn’t freeze even though it maintained a high CPU and memory usage during my testing. The new taskbar feels a lot more intuitive than Vista’s. Things like the wireless network management in the task bar make it a much nicer experience. Microsoft also reduced a lot of the permission prompts for basic settings which makes the security much less annoying. System restarts are also less prominent.

The only major problem I had with Windows 7 is that when I unplugged the AC Power the screen goes from 32 bit color to what I believe is 8 bit color. This is a major problem if it happens on newer system but I believe that it is a driver problem since this system does not officially support Vista.

All in all Windows 7 is shaping up to be a good release. Much better than Vista was. I look forward to being able to recommend people to upgrade from XP.