Friday, February 20, 2015

Java, Lenovo, Crapware and my Annoyance

I wrote about Java's sneaky install of the crap before, but this has come up again for me. So, let me go on a little bit more. When installing Java, or Java updates, make sure you uncheck the "Search App by Ask". Watch for this screen here:

Fortunately, the fix for this is pretty straightforward: go to Control Panel, Remove Programs and then remove it.

I love Java, and Oracle, but this just annoys the heck out of me. This puts them in the same doghouse that Lenovo resides in right now. I find it annoying enough for them to embed this adware at the root level, but then to try and minimize the security risk involved just angers me. I've had great success with Lenovo machines and like to recommend them. This, though, greatly impacts that trust.

In case you have one of the possibly infected machines, here are some tools for you:

Departures on Netflix

Years ago, I fell in love with a Canadian TV travel show, Departures. It's one of the shows that made me second guess cord-cutting. Beautiful cinematography and hosts with a very unique viewpoint, I can't recommend Departures enough. A brief summary of the show: hosts Scott Wilson & Justin Lukach along with cinematographer Andre Dupis drop everything and explore the world for a year. That year ends up extending into 3, each with it's own season. Other travel hosts tend to have some kind of agenda, whether finding the best travel deals, exploring a certain element of a culture, or such. The guys really don't. They travel to destinations that intrigue them and, in a rather zen-like manner, allow the location and people they meet to guide them. At least that's how the show comes across. It's really about human connection.

So imagine my joy when, recently, I popped into Netflix and beheld this glorious site:

I'm very, very happy to see this. Go forth and stream this one with my highest recommendations.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Automating Your Blog? No!

Just got an email that promised to "put your blog on autopilot". Of all the things to automate, pawn off, whatever, with social media, this NOT a solution. EVER! The closest thing I will ever do is suggest a copywriter. However, this is YOUR voice. It's better to spend a few minutes a day on this than rehash commodity content. Oh, and there are SEO considerations as well.

Personally, I've seen blogs that are publishing the same content as others. Occasionally the EXACT same posts. Those sites lose all credibility with me.

One person I know experimented with one of these services. Their blog's rankings grew rapidly, for a brief time. Then, abruptly, their rankings and page views plummeted. I believe Google sees when you're pumping out the same content as "everyone else", and you get banished to SEO hell.

It's better if you can just do this yourself. Blogging shouldn't be that deep or time consuming. Share your expertise, your value add, how you see things. Really, that's it. A copywriter can figure out your voice, your unique take on things, and create relevant and distinctive content. As someone who loves to write, and loves to help people find their place/their audience on the internet, I love to do this for folks. What's most important is putting forth that unique voice. That's what distinguishes you from all the others who do the same sort of thing.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Random Thoughts About The Last Week

I spent most of last week in Orlando taking part in Keller Williams Family Reunion. Around 15k real estate agents from all over the globe deepening our knowledge and celebrating the unique culture that is KW. It's an amazing event.

My focus: developing my internet marketing skills. Tons of new ideas, which I'll flesh out more fully in the coming weeks. Evernote got a lot of use! Digging through all of that will be a continuous review.

Friday, I took what I called a Decompression Day. Focused on organizing my thoughts, mail and desk. And since my son had a half day, I was able to just hang out. I took him and one of his friends to Donut Factory. Lynnwood area friends, this is worth your time. Very tasty with an eclectic blend of flavors. We decided to go again yesterday, too.

Seattle's weather was dramatically different, but that was great for me. I love Florida, and it's glorious weather. Seattle, though, is home. The cool morning mists make me content. Once that sense of home is achieved, one's relationship forever is changed.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

More Tech Thoughts From The Sky

I'm sitting on a plane now returning to Seattle after the better part of a week away. With my trusty tablet, though, I'm pretty fully connected. My laptop is at my feet, sleeping peacefully. My phone is charging. And I'm fully in touch with the world. Well, save for the slow wifi and the fact I lost my stylus. The wifi should be excused as it looks like nearly everyone is online in some way, shape or form.

But we're never satisfied, are we? Always want more, more speed, more power, and that's what drives innovation and competition. The possibility to out innovate the established player drives us further.

Still, I'm struck by what I can do, right now. It didn't seem so long ago that it was novel to just use a laptop in flight, without any connectivity. Really, if we think about it, it's amazing.

Someone will make internet even faster, and other new glorious opportunities will arise. My biggest hope, though, is that we shorten security lines and shorten flight times. Oh, to dream!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oh, Glorious Technology

I'll write more about this later, but I wanted to share some notes from the past week at KW Family Reunion. First, modern real estate lives on smartphones. It's nearly impossible to imagine doing this work without a smartphone. I'm using my trusty Samsung S5 and LG G tablet. The majority of phones I've seen this week are iPhones. iPads are prevalent for the heavier lifting begging for tablets. I've been surprised, and pleased bug the number of Surface devices (former Microsoftee here). I'm pretty sure that will be my next "laptop".

So many people crowd the relatively few outlets around the Orange county convention center. Finding plug-in spots provided some challenges. I bought an external battery pack/charger. Wise. Charging my phone waking around, never having to find room at one of the charging stations, nor find an outlet somewhere: priceless!

Just a few lessons for you.


Monday, February 09, 2015


The quest: take my natural talents and use them to make the world a better place. I want to be a positive influence on the world, inspire and grow people to the greatest heights of their talents and passions.

I want to continuously grow and learn, to be more useful and inspiring. I want to nurture people, help them grow and become better.  I've organized, coordinated and lead teams with this in mind. Yet I feel there's more I can do, more that I offer. I'm still stretching to wrap my head around this.

Sunday, February 08, 2015


Real estate agents sometimes struggle with an over-inflated sense of self. More often, however, it's the opposite, that they don't see their own value-add. Well, outside of a real estate transaction. Perhaps that's why so many people lose contact with their agents, even though they're happy with the service.

Realize there's plenty to add to those you love, to the community around you. It's hard to think of reasons to connect if you only think your value is the single transaction. Calling and talking are a chore, you're worried about bugging people. Deeply understanding your value-add really is critical.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Thought on the day

Thought of the day: It's preferable to learn from the mistakes of others than to make them yourself. The whole purpose of an event like Family Reunion, and education as a whole, is to pre-learn the mistakes great minds have made, and avoid the pain and costs they incurred. Really, someone taking the time to explain anything they've learned is a gloriously generous gift. I've long known that, but have really deepened my appreciation for those that generosity. 

Oh, The Challenge Of Stillness

One of my challenges: sitting still. I love getting stuff done. This week, though, is about learning, preparing; not about acting. For action without planning often is empty, or worse, counterproductive.

I don't spend enough time planning. Sadly, it's very easy to confuse action and activity with progress. I need to add "focusing time" into my day. Thus, I shall act rather than react. And ensure my efforts build something, not just spin my wheels needlessly.

I've known about this weakness for awhile. Yet, it's really being driven home this week. If I learn nothing else this trip, my deeper understanding of this is worth it all.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Thoughts from the road

Is been quite some time since I've had a day full of air travel. This was a remarkably easy trip. We actually made it to Orlando about 1/2 hour early. Life in the future is grand. I loved having charges in the seat. Hit the ground with everything charged and ready to go.

Geek moment: I won the bomb material swipe lottery. Watching the samples getting analyzed, seeing the spectrometer on the screen, just made me giddy. Ah, I heart the sciencey goodness.

I love the sensation of takeoff. Rather like a reverse rollercoaster. A young boy in front of me had his arms raised as we ascended. It was perfect. Well, nobody whooped. That would've been perfect.

Now I'm sitting in a hotel room, fighting off sleep for a bit longer. I don't want to adapt to eastern time well. A week from now I'll be back home. I'd rather not be too messed up by that.

And the journey continues...

Thursday, February 05, 2015

More Travels

Tomorrow, dark and early, I head off to Seatac airport for my next journey: off to Orlando and Keller Williams' "Family Reunion".  TLDR, it's a convention for real estate agents part of Keller Williams. However, it's apparently, much more. This company's agent enthusiasm has been amazing, and it will be on bold display. I'm both excited and, well, displeased.

I absolutely hate air-travel anymore. Fortunately for everyone, my motion sickness is nicely managed by Dramamine. The masters of misery, a joint collaboration between the TSA and most major airlines, have crafted excesses of discomfort rarely seen this side of a crimes-against-humanity tribunal. Gloriously, I get to donate about 16 hours of my life over the next week to this exercise in packed unpleasantness.

More powerfully, I loathe time away from my family. My absence distresses my son. Hopefully, the boost in grandparent time will compensate.

Now, after all that, the surprise: I'm excited to go. I've meant to dive deeper into the company, but time has always been at a premium. Now that's the focus of the next few days. Additionally, I'll have the opportunity to dive deep onto the cutting edge: my favorite place to be. Ultimately, I love opportunities to learn. And then there's networking. People from all over the world, of many calibers and skills. Great opportunities to learn and connect.

So, it'll be a week full of learning, and change. Excitement!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Zero Inbox or Damnation

The mania of my life lately has provided a convenient excuse for putting off zeroing my inbox. After spending a bit of my weekend scrambling because I missed crucial emails, I'm raising it's priority again. "Later's" glorious promise, and inevitable bite.

In Stephen Covey parlance, I've spent too much time in Quadrant 1, urgent/important and Quadrant 3, urgent/unimportant. Neglecting the important/non-urgent work of Quadrant 2 has always provided pain points for me.

KNOWING what's outstanding, what my commitments are: critical knowledge that I musn't allow to slip. And, hence, I"m all back in with my favorite project management tool: IQTell. Additionally, making sure my work, my actions track with my goals, priorities and values is the ultimate in live-giving. Focus, focus, focus!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

I'm not second guessing this evening

Oh, my poor Seahawks! Second guessing that last play; so terribly easy, especially facing bitter disappointment. Yet, I question it's value. I wasn't part of the discussion nor choice. And, most importantly, no amount of hand-wringing or recrimination will undo the final score. 

I admire bold choices in the face of risk. That's a hallmark of greatness. More importantly, I adore the people who are Seattle's Seahawks. Just a few thoughts: Russell Wilson's amazing giving heart, Marshawn Lynch's playful tweaking of the press, Pete Carroll's deep dignity; all of these, and more, give me great pride. They played well, didn't give up, fighting with tenacity to the last second. I also love hearing Mr. Wilson and Mr. Carroll each take responsibility for that last call. And, I'm willing to bet each member of this team would do so as well. For they are a team, through and through. Class and spirit, what's not to love? 

Ultimately, I'm proud of these guys, of their hearts and spirits, and wouldn't trade them for any other team, not even bearing the Lombardi trophy. There's my focus tonight, tomorrow and into next season. And the next.