Thursday, February 27, 2020

120: Tsunami

At first, it was a little water, creeping onto the pavement. And then a little more.  And soon water was sliding over the entire driveway, slowly rising up the wheels of the cars. The water kept coming, moving northward across the lot.  Before long, it was up to the tops of the wheels.  Larger and larger pieces of debris flowed with the water, first curving around the cars, but eventually smashing right into the cars.  The cars began to shudder from the force of the water, yielding and then pushing back. But the water, it just kept coming. One of the smaller cars gave up, allowing itself to be lifted on the wave and pushed down the aisle.  A large truck held its ground, getting beat mercilessly by the water and the debris.  A few more cars succumbed, sluggishly bobbing free of gravity, pushed away by the water.  A large plank slammed into a van, shattering the windows and sealing its fate.  It would not become a boat today, water rushing to fill the insides, it would remain on the ground, eventually rolled end over end, not that anyone would see it.  It was time to move up to the third floor.

"120" is the umbrella under which I place my creative writing (it's been a long time! Again!) - it refers to one of the practices: writing for 120 seconds on a single topic with no chance to go back and edit - there may be mistakes, typos, embarrassing spelling errors.  Such is the nature.  I might continue writing after the timer ends, but it's about sitting down and writing something. This particular effort was because I watched a video today from 2011 where the tsunami in Japan overran and airport. Click here to read more 120s.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

So... @Amazon @AmazonHelp needs a @Gmail / @outlook competitor

I'm getting stuck trying to submit this through the appropriate channels to Amazon.  So I'll just put it out here.

A Gmail competitor could...

...directly integrate with AWS where businesses are sending email (instant delivery, no worries about a competitor blocking or delaying email)

...be the default connection on Kindle devices

...be the source/container for inbound Alexa notifications

...integrate with Amazon shopping/notifications (especially in the web browser) including a new place to sell advertising to partners

...be a B2B corporate product for companies looking for an alternative to Google and Microsoft

...keep Amazon emails out of the prying eyes of other inbox providers

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Church Notes

I take notes in little notebooks.  From time-to-time, I like to go back and re-read my notes.  I would like to start digitizing some of those notes.  So I'll be doing little posts like this from time to time.  Some of these will have lost context over time.  This isn't the totality of my notes, but just selected bits. 

1/7/2018

Prodigal son - we don't know what he spent the money on, it's his brother (the older son) who mentions prostitutes.

Inheritance - the dad might have been foolish by granting the son's request.

"Father, use me as a hired hand" - reminds his dad that he's family and asks for a job (more money). Speech also echoes Pharaoh's speech to Moses.

1/7/2018

Gap - between what we know and how we live.

There doesn't seem to be much of a difference between those who proclaim to be Christians and those who proclaim not to be Christians -- and the world notices.

1/14/2018

"Let me see how you sing and pray and I will tell you what your theology is."

"Insight is not a muscle."

What do you do "religiously" for religious purposes?

Do you have a "spiritual agenda" (for yourself)? Prayer, study, family life, fellowship, health, financials, community.

1/14/2018

People who claim to love Jesus can't help but live differently.

When we do things for man's approval, God doesn't pay attention (know your audience).  (Probably not quite Biblical?)

Humility - "not you" at the center

1/21/2018

There is no scarcity in the fullness of God.


Free Money 2020 #2

Every time a bank offers me free money in 2020, I'm going to take it if I can.

Offer #2 is an easy one - tap 3x with my credit card to make purchases and they'll give me a $10 credit.  Usually the card is locked in the safe and only used to pay for the monthly subscriptions (phone, internet, etc.) but for $10 free, sure.  Used it today at Great Clips and to put gas in both cars.  Tap, tap, tap.  Money, please.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday

Multiple times today, I discovered it was Friday, and not Thursday as I believed. My schedule got thrown out of whack yesterday and I guess I haven't recovered.  Better than thinking it's Friday when it's actually Thursday, I suppose.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

2020 Charities

Every year I pick a few charities that I think are worth another look. Please investigate and if so moved, please consider making a donation. I'm only selecting two this year. The need is great, there are many fabulous charities making a difference in the world. If these don't do it for you, please do your research and pick a charity to support this year. This is how we keep America great, but supporting and celebrating those who help make this world better for those who need a little help.

Bithiah's House
In their words: "Bithiah’s House is a short-term residential therapeutic program for infants and toddlers in the foster care system.  We specialize in medically-fragile cases and strive to offer a loving home-like environment for each child who comes through our doors.

Throughout our 6-bed facility, we offer specific care plans and therapeutic services for babies and toddlers ages 0-4. Bithiah’s House is an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to provide safe, temporary housing and treatment for babies with the goal of transitioning to a family."

Why I chose: I learned about this Southern California foster program earlier this year under very sad circumstances.  They had fostered a child who came to them when he was 2 years old, malnourished and unable to walk.  He lived with them 7 months while they worked on his diet and on helping him to learn how to walk.  Sadly, he was eventually placed back with his parents and you don't need to know anymore than that, trust me. But I really love the approach of Bithiah's House and the care they have for the little ones amongst us.

RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services)
In their own words: "LEGAL SERVICES: We provide affirmative, defensive, and litigation services to low-income immigrants. With more immigration lawyers than any organization in Texas, in 2018 RAICES managed 37,863 cases at no cost to our clients. Without pro-bono legal services most of our clients, including children of all ages, would have to go to court alone, with zero representation. We believe no child should go to court alone. Our legal services extend from low-cost residency and citizenship services to pro-bono representation for families and children in detention.

SOCIAL SERVICES: We empower the community by offering services to remove barriers of oppression, multiply agents of change, and increase clients’ quality of life.  We offer a wide range of services including case management, resettlement assistance, a national hotline to connect migrants with local community resources, and transit support for recently released migrants."

Why I chose: Forever, we have told the world of what a wonderful place America is. We have exported that dream through the entertainment and media we share with the world, the companies that have started here and gone out to sell their products (and set up local shops) around the globe, the aid our country has offered to other countries and the times we have acted to step in and stop conflicts and wars. We haven't always done everything right and there's plenty about America that could be better and there've been times where our meddling has made things worse, but all-in-all, we've sold that "American dream" to the world.  So much that people desperate for a better life overcome all kinds of odds to get themselves and their children to our doorstep. But we've changed the rules: You're no longer welcome here, America isn't what it seemed. We've become a land of small-minded, petty people who feel better when we see someone else suffer. Cruelty is the point. But it's not the America I know and love and idealize.  When we separate families, randomly move people around the country, incarcerate people for long periods of time, force people (or children!) to navigate the court system with no understanding of how it works (and maybe not even speaking the language necessary to speak for themselves in court) or throw people out of the the only country they've ever known for the lack of some paperwork, that is real and really sad impacts -- and people die.  RAICES works to lessen those impacts by helping people understand their rights, what's their obligations are, helps reconnect families and when our government in its infinite wisdom thinks it's smart to dump a kid at a bus stop in the middle of the night, volunteers from RAICES (and other organizations) are there to meet them and help them try to find their families.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

2020 Predictions

Ok, here's my 2020 Predictions.  A much shorter list this year.  I still think a few things from last year are plausible, like Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft going big on HR just as Google ends Hire.

1. After a bidding war, Microsoft triumphs over Salesforce in taking over Comcast.net -- say hello to your new @outlook.com email address.  This was a consolation prize, however, after the surprise announcement that Google had purchased the Verizon Media Group mailboxes (@verizon.net, @aol.com, @yahoo.com, @att.net, etc.). At this point, do we even still call it email, or should we just start calling it gmail?

2. Warner Bros. launches HBO Max as scheduled, but by then it has a different name designed to appeal to a broader audience including people who have a negative perception of HBO.  It's not The WB, but it has a more playful approach than its competition, especially in its pre-launch positioning. Advertising features the phrase "NOW it's time to cut your cable." with people clutching lengthy expensive cable bills in their hands as they shout to the neighbors about being "mad as hell" as they literally take scissors, gardening shears, shovels, axes and weedwhackers to the sides of their houses to cut the actual cable. The nod to "Network" isn't lost on Communications Majors.

3. NBCUniversal launches Peacock but by years' end it's a joint venture with Amazon that also brings Amazon programming to Comcast cable subscribers.

4. Netflix begins selling add-on subscriptions to other streaming services to compete with Hulu and Amazon Prime. By year's end, you can add Hulu to your Netflix subscription or Netflix to your Hulu subscription. But you still have to juggle all the apps.

5. Netflix and Hulu engage in a bidding war for Discovery's streaming business. It's not decided by the end of the year due to multiple legal battles and government investigations. Disney and Apple emerge as late stage suiters making it even more confusing.

6. Amazon purchases an automotive parts chain and begins installing industrial 3D printers in each location. By August, you can order many automotive parts or tools (including for defunct brands and models) and pick up the part within 24 hours. By year's end, Amazon is experimenting with printing-on-demand for other products.  (In 2021, Amazon lets you design simpler products - think basic jewelry and figurines - that are printed when ordered.)

What doesn't happen in 2020:

  • AT&T spins off WarnerMedia and DirecTV, sending them off with a bunch of AT&Ts debt. 
  • Salesforce buys Oracle.
  • Disney buys Apple.
  • Google parent Alphabet purchases an island in the Pacific, reincorporates on the island, declares itself a sovereign country and begins building a rocket and launch platform with plans for a moonbase.
  • Fox Corporation buys Crown Family Media Networks and Sinclair Broadcast Group and Lionsgate.
  • Discovery buys ViacomCBS. 
  • Twitter or Wal*Mart buys TikTok.
  • Sprint PCS files for bankruptcy.
  • PayPal buys Square.
  • Fire Sales: Amazon acquires Uber's assets and Wal*Mart buys WeWork's assets.
  • Elon Musk announces a new Tesla Motorcycle, the IM2, a two-door sedan called the Model 4 (what?) and a new sailboat (what?) called the "MyShirt" (Yes, this is a Right Said Fred joke. Deal with it.)
  • Roku still doesn't put search front-and-center in its User Interface.  I don't get it.