Lessons Learned From “My Cat From Hell”

April 7, 2013

“My Cat From Hell” (http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/my-cat-from-hell) is a TV show on Animal Planet that chronicles the adventures of a “cat listener”, Jackson Galaxy, who interprets the emotions of pet housecats and suggests methods of eliminating stress in their environment and diminishing conflict with their owners. Of course there are exaggerations and some dramatics infused in the weekly 30-minute show, but it offers some valuable take-aways for consideration:

Don’t be too hasty to judge a person’s character simply from their initial appearance. Jackson is a rock musician by night, and a cat therapist by day. He is bald, has numerous tattoos, wears earrings, and carries a suspicious-looking guitar case on his appointments. Well, it turns out that he exhibits a gentle, non-judgmental nature and his bad black guitar case houses cat toys, treats, and various implements to help calm an agitated housecat.

In one memorable episode, a San Francisco mother and daughter suffered high stress over a nearly blind and deaf cat whose love as a kitten prevented the daughter from taking her life. This cat was striking out at anyone or anything coming close, including a new kitten they adopted. Jackson spent time on the bathroom floor assessing the cat’s fear and anxiety. By assigning “homework” to the owners, mother and daughter were able to reinforce positive behavior to entice the cat back to health and opened its confined world to their home and new kitten. All were visibly relieved to be a tight-knit family again. By following some of Jackson’s advice, my wife’s and my 7-year-old shelter cat has exhibited improved behavior and a more friendly nature. It does not involve significant time, energy or expense – just focus on communicating with your pet and  responding appropriately to its natural signals.

Time and again, Jackson demonstrates that even the most difficult, angry and emotionally starved creature (animal or human) deserves at least a minimal quality of life. Is that such a bad message for today’s complex, overstimulated, over-competitive world? I think not.

Jackson Galaxy is host of Animal Planet's "My Cat From Hell"

Jackson Galaxy is host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell”



“How to disappear from the internet, forever”

November 11, 2012

Image courtesy MS Images

Here’s a thought-provoking article on NBCNews.com Technology blog –>http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/how-disappear-internet-forever-1C6983976.
WikiHow.com also details step-by-step procedures to “delete yourself” at http://www.wikihow.com/Delete-Yourself-from-the-Internet.

I’ve occasionally thought about the prospect of removing myself from the global internet, and how difficult it must be. Especially for someone who is easily searchable in news sites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. After all, it’s a common goal to be well-connected to positive mentions throughout the internet, and usually we welcome positive publicity. However, on the flip side, we’ve all seen news stories about notable politicians, celebrities  military and security professionals who have strayed personally or professionally into less-than-acceptable behavior, and now must do extensive damage control to preserve their career, marriage and personal relationships.

So where would you start? Well, if you haven’t performed a “Google-search” on yourself lately, please do so now (don’t forget to open a new browser tab so you can return here!). If you’re at all like me, you’ll find listings for yourself under LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook,  and other common sites where you’ve been active. But did you realize that if you have left a posting on someone’s blog, a photo on someone’s page, or even a condolence on a funeral home’s website, that it’s all probably visible in a search? Maybe even an old legal case that happened to list your name on the docket! Wow – that’s impressive… how are you gonna remove that?

Well, as you’ll see in the above mentioned articles, it’s possible to push down and de-emphasize the negative results lower in the search ratings, but may be very difficult to remove entirely.  I guess the most sound advice I can offer is to always, always assume that anything you post online – anywhere – has the potential to show up where you may least want it to. Always maintain a professional, civil manner and don’t ever post a negative comment when you’re in a negative mood. At least save a draft and review it a couple of hours later before actually sending/submitting it.

How about you – if you can add comments or examples of this topic, please do so (but be careful what you post!).

Is Print Communication Dying?

October 29, 2012

Photo credit Shelf-Awareness.com

It’s pretty obvious to those accessing news, books, e-magazines and digital content on their MAC, PC, smart phone or tablet device, printed communications are shifting and morphing. Newspapers are dying throughout the United States, and Pete Hamill’s latest novel “Tabloid City” does a fine job of painting an image of misery and frustration at the loss of a big-city tabloid (see NYTimes Book Review http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/books/review/book-review-tabloid-city-by-pete-hamill.html?_r=0).

However, I believe that print communications are not dying, per se, but rather morphing into new territory. Digital “print-on-demand” (POD) technology saves paper, inventory and landfill waste by producing print documents as-needed – the sales channel can order only as many marketing documents as needed for a trade show or customer visit for quick delivery through a web-based POD service. And this new print ad coupled with the reader’s iPad tablet seems to change the game on employing both print and digital technology to create a powerful brand message: “Is Print Dead? Not According to Lexus” by Craig Blake –>http://sourcelink.com/blog/craig_blake/craig_blake/2012/10/15/is-print-dead-not-according-to-lexus!?goback=%2Egde_70701_member_177559637

Perhaps we’ll experience a new paradigm in which print is supplemental, maybe even subordinate, to digital communication. But just as the radio has survived the emergence and dominance of television, and now online content is eclipsing network television, print will survive and flourish for effective use by informed communications professionals.

Big Green Electrical Box Sports More Green – Thanks PSNH!

August 22, 2012

Within a week of posting a note on PSNH Facebook page about repainting a rusty green electrical box on our front lawn, PSNH took immediate action and painted it. See how nice and green it is? I’ll bet the value of our home increased 5%! Thanks, PSNH.

Thanks, PSNH, for repainting the rusty electrical box on our front lawn. It looks greener than our lawn!

The Big Rusty Green Power Box

August 11, 2012

Example of the power of social media: a single post on Public Service of New Hampshire’s (PSNH) Facebook page resulted in a work order generated to repaint or replace this power box on the front lawn. It’s gotten pretty ugly since we moved in 15 years ago.

Once action is completed to repaint or replace this ugly box on front lawn, we will update this post.

Power Networking Techniques

August 5, 2012

Excerpts from a presentation I gave to a New Hampshire professionals’ networking group. To view presentation, visit http://slidesha.re/Ni4Tfi.

  • Most jobs (about 65%) are secured through personal networking, NOT through online applications
  • Refine your “personal brand” with effective tools such as resume and networking profile, and “pristine” online presence
  • Links to online search sites, professional groups for marketing & technology, medical & biotech
  • How to approach people at a networking event for maximum impact, and how NOT to approach them
  • How to nab discounts to events and seminars without alienating the sponsor
  • The “Introvert’s” guide to better networking –  prepare in advance to make it painless and rewarding
  • Best practices for follow-up after the event – convert leads into strong professional bonds
  • Optimizing your LinkedIn profile to attract visitors – recruiters, hiring managers and clients

Samsung Class Action – Do you have a Samsung TV manufactured prior to Dec 2008?

March 3, 2012

I’ve just learned that there is a Class Action against Samsung TVs for defective electronic capacitor and circuit boards that make your TV difficult to turn on. They will pay up to $300. for a repair that you paid before March 2012 to fix it. See links for more details. I’ve just submitted my claim by certified mail.Image

Another Super Bowl, Giants vs. Pats, Without a Big-Screen TV?

January 25, 2012
Rainbows are fine for Leprechauns but not so much for the Super Bowl!

Rainbows are fine for Leprechauns but not so much for the Super Bowl!

Updated Feb 3, 2012 – “Shout-out” to Samsung for getting it done. Samsung repair technician stayed till 8pm last night and replaced entire LCD panel – our TV is working again. Now we can view the entire offensive line – and root for all players on the Pats’ team. Enjoy the game (and commercials) on Super Sunday!

Posted January 2012 – I bought my Samsung 46″ LCD TV just prior to the 2008 Super Bowl to watch the New England Patriots lose to the NY Giants. In these four brief years my TV has required over $1200. for repairs – $350 in April 2010 for a new power supply & main circuit board; Dec 2011 $900 for a new LCD panel. It is currently completely inoperable. See photo – all I see is a fancy rainbow; nice to zone out on, but not very exciting! To their credit, Samsung agreed to pay a substantial portion of the needed repair, but following one failed attempt by the authorized repair service, I’m not entirely confident the TV will be operational in time for Super Bowl XLV on Feb 5th.

Question of the month: Is this the time to purchase a new TV, and reverse the bad karma from that 2008 game? Or, do I take my chances and hope the repaired TV reverses the curse of SB XLII in 2008? I’m currently watching an old tube-type 12 inch color TV, so I can only view one player at a time (especially if it happens to be Vince Wilfork! Let me know what you think. Check back in a couple of weeks for an update…

Tips to Turn Off Photo Geo-Tagging on Your Cell Phone

August 21, 2010

Geo-Tags Embedded in Photos, Videos Could Reveal Private Locations, Personal Information.  See complete article at http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/celebrity-stalking-online-photos-videos-give-location/story?id=11443038.   [Credit to ABC News and to JoAnne L.]

Most cameras and video recorders don’t instantly attach location data (or geographic coordinates) to photos and videos. But some smartphones, such as the iPhone, automatically embed the user’s latitude and longitude in each photo’s metadata. It’s possible to disable the function, but the researchers said many people don’t even realize that they might need to.   To disable geo-tagging on your iPhone or BlackBerry device, see this link http://icanstalku.com/how.php.   Instructions for the iPhone: from the home screen press “Settings,” “General,” “Location Services,” then turn “Camera” to “Off.”  This enables your maps, directions, Twitter, etc. to retain their coordinate settings if desired.  Elapsed time to disable this function is about 30 seconds!

Is cashless bill-payment technology the next hot mobile “app?”

July 14, 2010

Pay for purchases wirelessly

This smartphone might employ an external NFC device to execute wireless transactions

If you’ve traveled in Europe or the bustling commercial centers in Asia lately, you’ve probably experienced the advantage of paying for railway or metro tickets, food and beverage or other sundry items using a cashless “smart card.”  Smart cards can be used for identification, authentication, data storage and application processing. Typically, a smart card is simply a standard plastic credit card containing an embedded microchip.  Your account information is securely, instantly accessed by a vendor when you swipe the card across a reader.  

A closely-related technology is called “Near Field Communication.”  NFC is a wireless, short-range communication supported by the world’s leading communication device manufacturers, semiconductor producers, network operators, IT and services companies, and financial service organizations. NFC technology is compatible with hundreds of millions of contactless cards and readers already deployed worldwide. Because the transmission range (about 4 centimeters or 1-1/2 inches) is so compact, NFC-enabled transactions are inherently more secure. 

Typical applications include: 

  • Mobile ticketing in public transport (bus, subway, metro, taxi)
  • Mobile payment — the device acts as a debit/ credit payment card.
  • Smart poster —an equipped mobile phone is used to read RFID tags on outdoor billboards in order to get additional customized information

Future applications may include: 

  • Electronic ticketing — airlines, concerts/events and others
  • Electronic money
  • Travel cards
  • Identity documents
  • Mobile commerce
  • Electronic keys — access car, house/office, hotel room, etc.
  • Bluetooth pairing — pairing of Bluetooth devices with NFC will be as easy as bringing them close together and accepting the pairing

The “Tipping Point” – When Will NFC Technology Be Widely Adopted in the U.S.? 

Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” cites the example that for a good idea to take off with the general population, a message needs to exhibit the quality of “stickiness.”  

“In epidemics, the messenger matters: messengers are what make something spread.  But the content of the message matters too.  And the specific quality that a message needs to be successful is ‘stickiness.’ …Is it so memorable, in fact, that it can create change… that it can spur someone to action?”  

The epidemic governing adoption of an idea is contagiousness.  An idea, clearly explained and widely distributed, can spread rapidly across society in one dramatic moment.  There is a “tipping point” in the life of any new technology.  The tipping point is the moment of critical mass – the threshold, the boiling point – in spreading a new idea.  

I believe the tipping point in widespread adoption of NFC technology is the enabling of mobile phones to incorporate NFC compatibility. 

During a keynote presentation at the Mobey Forum’s 10th anniversary workshop in Helsinki on June 17, 2010, Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive vice president of marketing, announced that all new smartphones introduced by the company beginning 2011 will be compatible with NFC.  Apple has filed patent applications to simplify data transfer technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC) Interface.  A number of other smartphones are currently equipped for NFC, or are rumored to be in development.    

Over the next 12 to 24 months, as these NFC-enabled devices are readily available — and the general public is made aware of the convenience, simplicity and security of cashless bill-paying using an enabled smartphone — this emerging application is poised for rapid growth across all sectors of the consumer economy. 


The NFC Forum 

The Near Field Communication Forum was formed to advance the use of Near Field Communication technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services, and educating the market about NFC technology. Formed in 2004, the Forum now has 140 members. Manufacturers, applications developers, financial services institutions, and others work together to promote the use of NFC technology in consumer electronics, mobile devices, and PCs. The potential for NFC applications and products is broad and deep, whether you’re leveraging the promise of peer-to-peer Bluetooth communications, developing payment system applications, or creating the chips to enable emerging NFC-based products. 

A search for “Near Field Communication” on YouTube yields several videos showing NFC in use – see YouTube link.  NFC Forum member videos may be viewed at this link http://www.nfc-forum.org/resources/member_videos/

For more detail about NFC current trials, development and intelligence, consult NFC World Communications online.