The Journey's of Rich

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Journey's of Rich
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Variety is Spice

When perception becomes reality...

Business Strategy

Career Building Adventure

It is exceptionally rare for me to put any significant weight behind a single particular book or reference; however, I have recently completed a read of Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace, and without a doubt I am experiencing a must share moment!

One perspective: It is the rare management book that is also an entertaining read, but in Orbiting the Giant Hairball, the late Gordon MacKenzie beautifully blends humorous stories, powerful insights and solid career and personal advice for anyone working inside today's organizations.  MacKenzie, who worked at Hallmark Cards ("the largest social expression company in the world" is how he describes it) for thirty years, shares his experiences of breaking the bonds of "Corporate Normalcy," the all-too-common organizational commitment to trying to live and succeed in a world that no longer exists.

For association leaders interested in unleashing their own creativity or the creative genius of their staff, Orbiting the Giant Hairball , is a must read.  For me, it's the handbook for moving the organization forward in spite of itself.  And if you're curious about exactly what "the giant hairball" is, well then you'd better pick up Orbiting the Giant Hairball today!

And another perspective: This is as much as of a “how to revive your creative side” as it is a leadership book. MacKenzie worked for 30 years in the Hallmark Card Company, considered to be a place where you would find many creative people at work. But even a “creative” company has its ingrained corporate structure.

The hairball of the title is actually a simile for the bureaucracy of the organization or institution for which you work. The jest of the book is to explain how you can orbit far enough away from the hairball without getting entangled in it while at the same time not straying too far away as to become unemployed.

This is a very unusual book. Great to get the creative part of your brain going. First there are many doodles on many of the pages and some pages are straight from a yellow legal pad. Chapter 19 of the book is entitled Orville Wright and the entire text of that chapter is as follows: “Orville Wright did not have a pilot's license.”

MacKenzie also compares the traditional top-down organizational chart (pyramid) with his version of the ideal organizational chart. Mackenzie's organizational chart is a drawing of a plum tree. The trunk is top management or central support structure for the organization. The managers and supervisors are depicted as main branches to support product and producers. The roots are depicted as financial resources. The product (fruit) and the product creators (leaves) are at the top of this organizational chart. One other comparison that MacKenzie makes between this chart and the typical top-down pyramid is that a pyramid is a tomb while a tree is a living organism.

The book not only offers ideas to look at things differently it also provides motivation to just get off your butt and do something. An example of this can be found in the final two sentences of the book are at the conclusion of a chapter entitled Paint Me a Masterpiece. “If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.”

If you are easily board with “conventional thinking” and enjoy spending time on the “outside of the box” this is the book for you. If you have read The Art of War and The Prince, you REALLY need to read this book.

Digital Security - Millions Continue to Click on Spam
Even though over 80 percent of email users are aware of the existence of bots, tens of millions respond to spam in ways that could leave them vulnerable to a malware infection, according to a Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) survey. In the survey, half of users said they had opened spam, clicked on a link in spam, opened a spam attachment, replied or forwarded it – activities that leave consumers susceptible to fraud, phishing, identity theft and infection.

While most consumers said they were aware of the existence of bots, only one-third believed they were vulnerable to an infection. Less than half of the consumers surveyed saw themselves as the entity who should be most responsible for stopping the spread of viruses. Yet, only 36 percent of consumers believe they might get a virus and 46 percent of those who opened spam did so intentionally. This is a problem because spam is one of the most common vehicles for spreading bots and viruses.

Security Behavior - Insider Threats Under Control?
The ability to monitor end-user behavior can make a difference when it comes to data loss and insider threats. The managing director of Comsec Consulting said the process can allow a company to monitor what an employee is doing and it allows all behaviors to be looked at.

When asked if the ability to monitor internet usage has always been present, with IT and line managers given reports of employee’s activity, the managing director said that this technology exists with software companies such as Websense, but if a user is accessing internal systems and is doing it with legitimate access, it is difficult to monitor. So should employees be told that they are being monitored? The managing director said that they should absolutely be told, as people want to be protected.

Digital Safety - Public Safety Fee a Challenge
The FCC’s proposed monthly public safety fee of up to $1 on every broadband user in the U.S. poses a political challenge for the private wireless industry. On one hand, the industry would like to see the FCC auction off radio spectrum in what is called the D block for private uses; the spectrum could then be shared with emergency groups, as the FCC has proposed in the National Broadband Plan. On the other hand, the wireless industry hates the idea of adding more user fees, with one industry-backed group,, noting that the average wireless consumer already pays 16 percent in taxes and fees — and the average wireless household pays $350 a year in wireless taxes.

In a separate document not on the site, the group put the total of taxes and fees on the average wireless consumer at nearly $600 a year. The public safety fee, which would be used to support a $16 billion emergency wireless network, was proposed by the FCC in its National Broadband Plan. In that plan, it is described only as a "nominal" fee, although a spokesman recently said it would probably be less than $1 a month. Other officials this week pegged the fee at closer to 50 cents, although the matter is still under discussion and Congress must grant the FCC permission to impose the fee.

Hacker News - Albert Gonzales Jailed for 20 Years
A notorious credit card hacker received, on March 25, the largest-ever U.S. prison sentence for a hacker. The 28 year old, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for leading a group of cybercriminals that stole tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers from TJX and several other retailers. He pleaded guilty in September to multiple federal charges of conspiracy, computer fraud, access device fraud and identity theft for hacking into TJX, which owns T.J. Maxx, BJ’s Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble and Sports Authority.

He was facing up to 25 years in prison for these charges. He also pleaded guilty last year in two other pending hacking cases for which he is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26. He faces up to 20 years in prison for his role in hacking into the network of Dave & Buster’s restaurant chain and stealing credit and debit card numbers from at least 11 locations. As part of a third pending case, he faces between 17 and 25 years in prison for hacking into the payment card networks of Heartland, 7-Eleven and Hannaford Bros. supermarket chain to steal more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers. In a plea deal, his sentences will run concurrently to each other.

Have Heart - Fast Cath
Quick treatment is so important that Houston Fire Department paramedics plan to transport such patients only to hospitals with streamlined emergency procedures, so a life-saving angioplasty can be performed within 90 minutes. Until recently, few hospitals met the American College of Cardiology standard. Now, it has become a priority in Houston and nationwide, with hospitals scrambling to decrease "door-to-balloon" time — the minutes it takes to transport a patient from the ambulance into the catheterization laboratory and inflate a balloon inside the artery to restore blood flow to the heart.

Duh! - RPM Madness!
I read this online book. It is a great book! RPMs can be a bit confusing, but this book goes far in resolving the issues. Many people steer away from them because they don't take the time to read the damn documentation. There is no reason for this silliness! Also, if you have RedHat Enterprise Linux, their are alternatives to buying support. One alternative is to download the source rpms from RedHat's website, and then compile them yourself. Another way to get the updates is through some websites that actually offer the already built rpms. Two projects that are doing it are CentOS and White Box Enterprise Linux.

The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2003-2004

"The News That Didn't Make the News"

"Media criticism does exist in America. But by and large, it is not citizen-based criticism designed to make media a better source of information in a democracy. Instead, it is a cynical manipulation of the discourse designed to silence even the mildest dissent from the conservative, militantly pro-corporate dogma that has come to pass for news in an era when "reporters" brag about the size of their American-flag lapel pins."
- Robert McChesney and John Nichols

Project Censored is a media research group out of Sonoma State University which tracks the news published in independent journals and newsletters. From these, Project Censored compiles an annual list of 25 news stories of social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by the country's major national news media.

Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each year from journalists, scholars, librarians, and concerned citizens around the world. With the help of more than 200 Sonoma State University faculty, students, and community members, Project Censored reviews the story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national significance. The university community selects 25 stories to submit to the Project Censored panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. Current or previous national judges include: Noam Chomsky, Susan Faludi, George Gerbner, Sut Jhally, Frances Moore Lappe, Norman Solomon, Michael Parenti, Herbert I. Schiller, Barbara Seaman, Erna Smith, Mike Wallace and Howard Zinn. All 25 stories are featured in the yearbook, Censored: The News That Didn't Make the News.

In 1996 and 1997, the yearbook won the Firecracker Alternative Book Award, celebrating the best in alternative publishing. The release of Project Censored's yearbook has developed into a national alternative press event. In 2003, along with several independent national magazines, over 40 alternative newsweeklies carried the Top 10 Censored stories in metropolitan areas throughout the country, and Project Censored was featured on more than 125 independent talk radio and television shows. Throughout the next year and into the next decade, Project Censored will continue to inform the public, advocate for independent journalism, and strive to spark debate on current issues involving media monopoly.

Project Censored is a national research effort launched in 1976 by Dr. Carl Jensen, professor emeritus of Communications Studies at Sonoma State University. Upon Jensen's retirement in 1996, leadership of the project was passed to associate professor of sociology and media research specialist, Dr. Peter Phillips.

Contact Project Censored

©2003 rich