Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 ways to tame the chaos and organize your office life

I have signed up for too many email newsletters, but I sometimes manage to read them.

10 ways to tame the chaos and organize your office life by Jack Wallen talks about ways to unclutter your life. They all sound like great tips in general, but I suspect that these kind of tips are really ways for those with great organization skills to torment those who are more challenged in this area.

How many successful people are really hyper-organized, like these articles suggest? I don't dispute the fact that keeping good organization is valuable, but is having an ultra-clean desk really that key a factor in success?

The problem is that you only read these articles from those who are neat freaks.

It would be interesting to see a study of how much this kind of organization is really valuable. Is it necessary to do well or is just finding something that works good enough? It is quite possible that those who struggle more with organization are more productive overall. Maybe better organization would help them be even more productive, but perhaps it would just divert them from their strengths.

I will have to dig into this more later....


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Scientific Progress and Atheism

I read another ignorant letter to the editor in USA Today yesterday. The writer was claiming that atheism was the true force enabling scientific breakthroughs.

Have these people studied scientific history at all? Are they intentionally or accidentally ignorant? While the recent scientific world has discriminated against those with beliefs in a creator of some sort, most of the fundemental breakthroughs in science were by those who firmly believed life had meaning because it had a creator and so could focus their efforts on finding that consistent meaning.

What scientific breakthroughs came because of a belief in no creator? Not just an uncertainty of such, but because none existed, the key tenet of atheism? Even breakthroughs by atheist scientists didn't require atheism, so why do some continue to claim otherwise?

I find it amazing that we continually proclaim those who make beautiful things are worthy of praise, yet deny the Creator of the most beautiful thing in existence, the life all around of, of the praise He so richly deserves.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Empty Nest!

My wife and I finally have an empty nest. A bit quiet, but it is certainly nice. We helped my son, his wife and my granddaughter move several hours away where he is in Army AIT training. He won't have a lot of time, but they wanted to be closer, after being apart for several months during basic training.

Now I just have to finish fixing the house up without breaking the bank! We had a fixer upper we never fixed. :) We are fixing a lot of it now.


Friday, September 25, 2009


I am someone who is interested in many different things. While this can be a great thing, since I can be truly interested in what many people are talking about, it can also be a problem when I have to decide where to spend limited time. My life sometimes feels like a commercial I heard about a faithful dog (golden retriever?) that was doing his master's bidding, but then got distracted by a squirrel. Our information age brings up many different, interesting things all the time. Staying focused is incredibly hard.

I suppose this is just another example of a great strength being a (potential) great weakness. The same thing is good and bad, sometimes at the same time.

No solutions here, just some thoughts.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

I am reading Liberal Socialism by Bernard Goldberg now. Its argument is that modern liberalism is really based on the same foundation fascism, with literal effective different between socialism/communism and fascism, since both call for the state to control all aspects of life.

He has an interesting point that one of the reasons that it is hard to pinpoint exactly what is fascism is because it varies greatly based on where it is. Fascism in Italy was very different from that in Germany and from that elsewhere.

I will try to post a more complete review later.

It is interesting how many people who are "liberal" today want to tell people how to live and think. They would raise a stink if the "Religious Right" did so on a moral issue, but they have no problem heading a crusade against handguns, smoking or even how people think. This is worth further thought later, though I am sure to stir up some controversy whatever I say.

It is sad how so many supposedly tolerant people are very intolerant of those who disagree. Why did I get off on this rant? Because they often freely throw out the term fascist for those they disagree with. This is following the trend started by Stalin and hypocritically continued today. Sure, some "on the right" want to control some things, but they are pikers compared to today's liberal. We have to force good, at whatever the cost!

Even Bush went along the path when he called for "no child to be left behind." We can't make heaven on earth, but we sure will try....


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Always the Values....

Marty Nemko makes a few good suggestions for Republicans in a recent post. His idea on pushing accountability on education is reasonable and I definitely like the idea of government spending less money, but why must some people always shove the social goals along with less government involvement in life?

Ironically, many people who oppose anyone pushing their values have no problem when it comes to forcing their own values on others, in this case in the areas of abortion and redefining marriage.

In the former, it will always be an issue of freedom of the most innocent and their right to live, whatever someone may decide is their right to demand. While I could see why some might argue in favor of abortion when a the child is not viable outside the womb, but I find it incredible that people can think that allowing such destruction after a child is viable would ever be consistent with a society that protects the rights of the innocent. And what kind of society is one where the one with the power is the only one who gets to make the rules?

Ironically, while I feel very strongly about this, I also realize this issue will not be resolved any time soon and that pushing through laws either way is a fruitless cause. Nothing will be resolved until hearts change. We rely too much on so-called law today. Attitudes are far more important and I suspect we have a lot farther to fall before we will get anywhere close to a truly tolerant and life-affirming society.

The other issue is that government should not be in the business of defining what marriage is. If someone wants to marry their cat, let them, just don't mandate requirements on other supporting that decision. You can do what you want, but why must others sanction it? Is any side in the "culture wars" really better than any other?

Giving government the power to force things in these contentious debates just ensure more contention, it won't solve them.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Finding Your Niche

I have been thinking a lot about my niche lately. What can I really do better than anyone else and get paid well while doing it? Money was less of a concern when I was younger and I wanted to work in the games field, but more independent. While I would love to have a well paying games gig now, it is much less likely since I have been out of the field for several years.

The game playing, reviewing and some developing didn't pay all that well, but I sure had fun. I was probably one of the more prolific reviewers at the time, though I don't know how I would do today. My tastes certainly vary from the modern offerings, especially since blood and guts seems to be shoved into just about anything.

I am loving my current work in the information security area, but that is just part of the picture. I tend to pursue something with a passion for a while and then go toward something else. Right now it is learning about infosec and getting a bunch of certifications along the way. I have several SANS/GIAC certifications and will be taking the CISM in June and the CISSP is likely in August (finally). I did get the CSSLP based on my experience, though secure development is definitely both a good fit for me given my experience and what I am digging into.

What will come next? Good question. How can you make really good money and get paid to write all the time? That is the big question. I can communicate, a very valuable skill. Having some technical chops is great too, though I always want more.

My big quest now is figuring out what skills I need to build in the next few years so I can have a much more flexible lifestyle in the future. Figuring that out is the toughest thing of all.

Which gets me back to my point: Finding your niche can be hard, especially if you want to do something unique with that niche. I am confident I will find something unique, I always have. I just want to find it sooner rather than later!

Why have you read this far? Boredom would be one option, but my bet is you are facing similar questions. If I had complete answers, I would already be following it. Though I am convinced that pursuing things with a passion and making yourself the best you can be is still the best thing you can do. The problems come in when picking what to pursue. Too many options means it is impossible to pursue them all.

I will write more later as I think this through.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Making a test post from my cell phone/PDA.

The Risk of Discussing Your True Thoughts

We live in a very wired world. In the past, it was much easier to separate your work and "other" persona. Now, it is much harder to do that. Take my blogging here. I am sure I have earned some scorn from some because of my thoughts here (or would if they noticed them), but is that just a price I have to pay? Do I need to squelch my contribution to the public discourse of any controversial issues since it could keep me from getting a future job?

As you can tell, especially using this blogging site, all my blogs ultimately link to the others. Someone who reads my Brad on Security blog could also chain here. In some ways I really don't care. I have always marched to my own tune. I do good work, but I don't fit in a mold very well (another problem I am facing while pondering my future career direction in the other blog).

This makes me not want to work someplace that would discount my very strong technical skills merely because of my thoughts posted here. I don't know that it has happened yet, but it is certainly a distinct possibility since a few of the views I hold strongly are certainly against the spoken norm.

I do believe more people agree with me than will speak up, but it is quite possible that a potential future boss would read here and decide I must truly be ignorant in spite of my experience, education and certifications, because I don't believe everything we see in the world is a result of blind chance.

So be it. I could try to purge things I suppose, but that would not be all that fruitful, since the record is out there and Google remembers forever. :)

I also don't want to live in a world where I can't express myself. I may keep some thoughts more private, since I am not independently wealthy at this point, but I refuse to stuff it all just because it might bother someone. If you can't handle a strong thinker, then I don't want to work for you, plain and simple.

I remain convinced that I can add enough value enough places that the risk is acceptable.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dinner Impossible is Back!

I normally hold out for complete truth in all that I do and I expect it from others, but I am very glad that Dinner: Impossible on the Food Network now has Robert Irvine back on the show. He was definitely the spark that made the show as good as it was. The substitute (Michael Symon?) just didn't have the same spark and dynamic presence. After all, it is more entertainment than it is really about cooking.

I did see that it was no surprise that Robert's past lying cost him dearly, almost permanently. My own two sons (now both adults) have been known to stretch things a bit, telling some really fancy tales in the past, so I could definitely understand a bit about what Robert did. I can also understand why he was initially canned, but he was the show, so doing without him meant the show was dead.

I still would not be likely go into business with him, but I am glad to have an entertaining show to watch with my wife again! Hopefully he pulls off the same standard of the first season!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Driving Yourself to Achieve

I see two different kinds of people today. Those who are driven to accomplish something and those who just float along through life, at best. While neither group is always successful at its task and a few of the floaters end up doing well in spite of themselves, the first group is much more certain to accomplish something of value.

I am firmly in the first camp, driven to achieve something, though I am often driven to achieve too many things, which can also be a problem with reaching my goals. Still, I would rather be driven than not. Too many people go through life complaining that they just don't have time to do things. Their day job, family life, or something else that is vitally important takes up too much of their mental effort and time in their eyes, justifying their lack of effort.

Clearly you can only work with the time you have, but most people can free up some time to make a positive change, yet many will not. In fact, they will often argue with you about how much they cannot accomplish anything. Even putting that effort into accomplishing the goals would make a change by itself.

I have a lot of thoughts jumbling through my head right now on this, so I am going to stop here, but I wanted to get started actively driving this blog and this seems like a great topic to ponder and write about.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Using a PDA is an Interesting Experience

I finally took the plunge and got a PDA. I had been with Sprint for at least 4 years, but they don't have in network coverage where my mother lives in rural Iowa, so I had to go. Neither did AT&T or I would probably have an iPhone now. Instead, I got the new and high rated Samsung Omnia.

It is a decent phone, though I am still learning my way around it.

My biggest challenge now is to know how to enter podxycasts and RSS feeds. Neither seem to have a way to paste in an address. This makes it very hard to edit them. I also can't figure out how to open and/or edit an OPML file, so I am stuck until I get back home.

It is sure a pain typing thisvin one character at a time. I can go a bit faster now, though well short of my normal typing speed! Hopefully this will help me blog more though.