Sep 29

Meet Jeremy from: Pro Motion Physiotherapy in Abbotsford BC

Here’s a great video of the exact laser therapy that Jeremy is using on my neck. I have only experienced this type of therapy once, but it felt better than any other treatment so far. See the video below, and you can continue to read my comments and blog below this video. Thanks, Rick. (You can find Pro Motion Physiotherapy) at: 100a-2955 Gladwin Rd. Abbotsford, BC, V2T 5T4

So, I haven’t blogged for awhile because I have been nursing my sore neck, which brings me to this blog and the introduction of my Physiotherapist, Jeremy.  Jeremy was referred to me through our son Duane. He went through what I am going through now, but about 2 years ago. His was back related, and my wonderful adventure in pain centers in my neck. Duane said that he was convinced that the physiotherapy he received from Jeremy was the deciding factor in getting him back to work in a timely manner. (Which is code for: it works)

My first meeting with Jeremy was on Monday, Sept 26th. On the initial visit (also known as an assessment) Jeremy asked me a series of questions that will help him verify exactly how he should proceed with the treatments to get me back in the real world. In my case, the area of my neck just could not stand any kind of manual manipulation, so Jeremy decided to apply some heat, and incorporate voltage with a device that goes around the back of my neck and to the sides. You know that it is working because you can feel a tingling sensation all along the area where the device is placed. It felt warm and relaxing, and when I left the office, I was good for about an hour or so. After that the neck stiffened up again, and Jeremy told me that it may take some time for that area of the neck to get the message that we were there to help, and that if something he was doing wasn’t working, or if I had any concerns or questions about the treatment to talk to him about it right away. In that sense, it allows the Physiotherapist to become a real quality team player and partner in the recovery process.

Today is Wednesday, Sept 28th, and this is our second visit. We did the heat pad again, as well as the voltage machine, and then we introduced something a little different. Laser beam therapy has been used for a few years now, and, Jeremy did a great job of explaining the features and benefits associated with that particular kind of therapy. I wasn’t paying particularly close attention to the laser as Jeremy was talking, so I didn’t turn around to see what it looked like, but it felt like a warm piece of metal a few inches in diameter being gently rubbed around the affected area. I don’t know if its my imagination or not, but compared to the other two therapies (heated pillow device and voltage) it felt as if the laser was actually going subcutaneously under the skin and working further down on the muscle and tendons of the neck.

Jeremy and I swapped a few stories, and I asked him about my injury, and why it keeps on tensing up. He said (if I can remember the conversation correctly) that we needed to continue to work on relaxing the neck area where the discs were in order to stabilize it, then we could use different tactics to ensure that the entire systems and subsystems for the neck and spine could accept different influences for recovery. I’m impressed with Jeremy’s professional and intelligent approach to patient recovery. I’ve had two sessions now, and as we continue I will of course keep  I will keep you updated with what is happening.

Dealing with a neck injury like this is teaching me that I must re-evaluate some of my daily activities. Oh sure, just after I take my pain killers, at about the 30  minute mark your saying to yourself ‘Hey, I’m not feeling too bad, maybe I’ll try to unload the dishwasher’, and get about 1/2 way through the process when that familiar ‘zing’ hits the neck, and I know that I’m going to pay for my indiscretion when the medication wears off, and that’s exactly how it happens. So we go through this goofy, and not so smart cycle of feeling good, doing a mild activity, then back to great pain.

There’s no doubt that, in order to get better I have to do less and make a conscious effort to use my meditation skills to enhance the healing process. I’ve been doing some research on the internet, and it seems that an injury like this can take some time to settle down. I have been using meditation for years to completely stop cluster headaches, and I even used self hypnosis to quit smoking without any challenges whatsoever. The issue here is one of the disc are protruding, and pressing on some nerves. Muscle, ligament and tendon pain can benefit from heat, cold and resting. I have found, in my case the nerves being pressed in my neck causes uncontrollable jerking and twitching from my arms, legs, hands, fingers and even my entire body will twitch whenever I am laying down, or if a pillow or something else presses on the back of my neck.

So, the adventure continues. And, as a strong believer in holistic methods and concepts, I am working my Reflexology points often and have to keep in mind to ‘do less’, which drives me absolutely crazy, because I now realize that I have to ‘sneak’ up on this kind of pain in order to stay ahead of it. My next appointment is tomorrow and I’m probably suspecting that we will definitely use the laser at that time. I will do some research and talk to Jeremy to see if I can get the name of the exact laser machine they are using and put some detailed findings on this blog. Until then, this is Rick saying,

‘Blog at you later’. Rick.

Sep 12

Using technology to record your fitness program? Are you pod-casting about it?

My wife and I love the program called ‘Noom’. Unfortunately, because I somehow injured my neck and simply cannot walk around like that for some time, I decided to post some of our walks to give you a sense of how the walking program works. Also, I combined video blogging and text blogging with our walks, and some of the interesting things you come across as your enjoying your hiking trails.

Case in point: We were walking in Mundy park, and came across a metal pole standing about 5 feet tall, with a metal ring mounted horizontally half way down the pole, with chains that attach from the smaller metal hoop to the top of the pole. Yes, it does sound confusing, you should see it in person, its just plain weird. Anyway, there was a sign on the pole that said ‘Disc Golf’. I had never heard of such a thing, so we captured it on video, and as we continued walking across a field, noticed 3 fellows playing Disc Golf. I couldn’t help going over and talking to them about Disc Golf. Turns out, only 3 parks in all of British Columbia have this strange yet interesting twist on the of Golf. See our video on Disc Golf here.

On Saturday, August 13 2011 using our ‘Noom’ program, we have captured a GPS map of where we walked, how far we went,(6.35 kilometers)  how long it took us (1 hr, 26 minutes, 35 seconds) how many calories I burned (422) and our average walking speed (4.4 km/hr) The program even recorded how many steps I took (6345) and that’s pretty detailed information. After the walk in Mundy Parki, we weren’t even close to being winded, so we decided to drive a few miles down the road for another walk along the beach’s of White Rock. This walk took (55 minutes and 22 seconds), a distance of (3.47 kilometers), I burned (220 calories) and our average speed was (3.8 km/hr) See the map below for our Mundy Park walk. If you combine what we did at Mundy Park with our little jaunt at White Rock, you’ll notice that we walked a total of: 9.82 Kilometers, and that’s about average for us on either a Saturday or Sunday.

The fun part about this (aside from being with my beautiful Bride) is the documentation of our walks. When we went to White Rock, we began to get hungry, so decided to check our different Restaurant reviews with a program called ‘Trip Adviser’. Click here to see the review under ‘Coney Island Restaraunt’. Named ‘Light and Fluffy Fish‘. Pat and I have so much fun when we’re out anywhere. A few months ago we walked the Stanley Park Seawall. It was so refreshing to see all of the other folks rollerblading, bicycling, jogging, running and even skipping their way to health. We think it’s really important to record our fitness program for everyone to see to do a couple of things. First, and this may sound a little bit strange, its motivation for us to get out there with our video and still cameras and start capturing fantastic memories. Not only that, but have you ever been talking to someone and they said to you ‘so, what did you do this weekend?’, and you tell them about your walks, how beautiful it was, and no matter how hard you try to recreate the scenery with a good story, its almost impossible. But, if you have videos, pictures and text based stories that easily gives you another dimension to work with so, not only can you tell your friends about with you did, but show them as well.

Another reason I love to use technology to record our fitness program is so that we can motivate not only other people to get out there and start walking, but our blogs and podcast’s serve as reminders to us of what we’ve done, so we can ‘up our game’ to do more than the last walk. Really, its somewhat of a virtual fitness diary that we love to share with everyone. Besides, if you have relatives that live out of the country, and you have a library of videos where you walked, complete with beautiful scenery and stories on the internet where they can easily access them, don’t you think they will be curious about what your doing and turn on your personal channel from You Tube. When they see how much your enjoying yourself, and what your City, Town or Province has to offer, they’ll probably start working on a plan that puts them on a plane to visit you pretty quick.

The point of this bog is to show you that when you use technology to record what your doing out in the ‘real world’, you enrich the world for everyone. Here is a short list of some of the walks we have done and video recorded:

Mundy Park

 

Burns Bog

Blog at you later, Rick and Pat.

 

Sep 10

Manage My Pain App For Android

This app has impressed me immensely. Click here to go to their corporate website.
I just downloaded the Pro version, and will be doing follow up video podcasts soon.
As you know (or may not know) I had a CAT scan done about 10 days ago, and they found 2 bulging disks, and one protruding disk that is pushing against some nerves. Oh, its great fun. Uncontrollable twitching, jerking, wincing, spastic muscle convulsions and incredible pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, upper back and head (just to name a few areas) I found a great little app called ‘Manage My Pain Lite’. This is the free version on the Android marketplace, and I have a suspicion that I will be buying the pro version for under $5.00 It is very easy to work with, and I feel it would help folks out with the communication they have with their Doctor. I’m a big believer in concise, thorough well thought out communication, so if you know someone who is in pain, get them to try out this app and tell me what they think. Thanks, Rick

Sep 04

Type ‘A’ personalities and bulging disks in the neck. Not a good combination

Well, you’ve probably noticed that the amount of blogpost’s and video’s have decreased in the last little while on the healthy tech talk website. It’s because I did something to my neck and was in excruciating pain. My family doctor took one look at me a few weeks ago and told me to go directly to the emergency ward of the local hospital where I could get some immediate action. He said that if he ordered a CAT scan through his office, it could take several months, and if I went to emergency, I may have a chance of speeding up the timeline by quite a bit, and it turns out he was right.

The attending physician was very professional and thorough. He told me that he had an acquaintance that demonstrated very similar symptoms. He saw how much distress I was in, and ordered me to have a CAT scan for the following day. (I like my family doctor, he knows how to expedite things) Anyway, I got back the results of the CAT scan and here they are. Two bulging disks and a protrusion in my neck that is pressing on some nerves. Now, the reason I am sharing this information with you is this. Our healthy tech talk space on the web is designed to help computer users deal with their immediate workplace environments that may be a hindrance to their day. For example, I have had my reflexology instructor on the show talking about stress. What causes it, how we physically, emotionally and mentally deal with it, and how we process that language to the world around us. It was great to have Yvette on, and she gave some really fantastic insights as to why stress comes to visit us in so many different and wonderful ways.

Keeping that interview in mind, I thought my present situation would be a wonderful experience to blog about, and share with you just what happens to a computer user (me) who loves to talk, write, blog, podcast and discuss technology, combined with the use of holistic health concepts, while they are going through a very challenging physical aspect of their life. I am about to give you glimpses of the last two pain filled weeks, as I attempted to unsuccessfully work through the pain, finally throwing in the towel and admitting that I needed some help from the medical community. So, this story will have a ‘beginning’ (pain that I went through that I could not control) to ‘middle’(pain management and stabilization) to ‘end’ (rehabilitation, recovery and a return to normalcy)

When my wife and I were in the Doctor’s office yesterday and he handed me the results for the CAT scan, I glanced down at the bottom, and the only thing that made any sense in plain English said something about 2 bulging disk, and 1 disk with a protrusion that is pressing on some nerves. I said to the Doctor, ‘well, would this explain the unbelievable amount of pain I am going through?’, and he said ‘oh yes. As a matter of fact, nerve pain can be one of the worst pains you can get because its hard to control’. We have now increased the amount of pain medication by 300%, and while I am still in considerable discomfort and pain, it has now given me some hope, because for the last 2 weeks my life has been one continual roller coaster ride of incredible pain, one after another.

Simple activities like (oh, I don’t know, walking across the room) have to be planned with great care and consideration weighing the balance between a 30 second movement and the inevitable 4 or 5 hours suffering spell that is certain to visit me. Being a type ‘A’ personality doesn’t help either because I am used to establishing a whirlwind set of activities from the minute I get up, to the time my head hits the pillow. Now, I have to mentally play out a scene in my head of: thinking about getting up and getting a glass of water, or going thirsty. In almost all cases, I end up dehydrated because its not worth the effort.

Here are a few of the weird things I am experiencing:

* Night time is long, dark and, well, just long and dark. The head is attached to the neck right? The neck rests on a pillow when you go to bed correct? No. There is no rest when you’ve got neck pain. Even without a pillow you will not find rest in any position because it seems that when I am in a horizontal position, there are either one of two things happening. One, the pillow is pushing on the neck causing no sleep, or, two, the lack of a pillow puts tension on the neck because there is no support, which may or may not be desirable at the time.

* Burning sensations from the back of the neck, down to the middle, then branching across the right shoulder blade, all the way through the right arm, going between the two bones at the elbow, tracing down to the little finger. And, gripping strength in my right arm is at about 50% of what it used to be. If you want an indication of what this type of pain feels like, go down to Walmart and buy 6 pairs of Vicegrips (you know, the adjustable wrenches that can lock onto any type of nut), then put the first one on the back of your neck, right where the neck joins the skull and close the wrench until the pain is so bad you think your about to lose your mind) then, do the same with the remaining 5 Visegrips, and there you have it.

* Twitching, jumping, jerking and spasms. (Sounds like a Jerry Lewis song) You would think that if strange things are happening to me on my right side, then they would stay pretty well isolated to my right side, right? Ohhhh noooo. Toes on my left foot are actually trying to play the piano. At least, that’s what it looks and feels like when I lay down on the bed. Then, the face starts in with tiny little micro-twitches that last most of the night. Rolling over in bed brings with it an entirely new adventure in twitchability. And let’s not forget about the constant itching. Yep, that’s my night, until I jerk and twitch myself out of bed completely exhausted. What fun!

* I have found through experimentation that if I put a heating pad on my upper back and right hand side of my neck it offers a tiny bit of relief, but it takes quite a while the that process to kick in. Something weird has started to happen in the last couple of days, and that is this. As I am laying down on the reclining love seat, I will think to myself ‘wow, that heating pad is great, its a small victory, but, I’ll take anything that I can get right about now, and then the weird thing happens. I go to check the heating pad, and realize that I don’t have it on, and that it is nowhere near me. In other words, the amount of heat that is coming out of the right side of my neck and back is actually mimicking the heat that was being produced by the heating pad. Interesting indeed.

* Fatigue that comes out of nowhere. I’ll be attempting to focus on something in my recliner when all of a sudden a wave of  ’oh my gosh I have to close my eyes and rest’ sweeps over me. It happens so quickly that I have mere seconds to react (which in my case means admitting I’m going to drift off for a bit, and just let it run its course) Then, after you wake up and realize that you nodded off, you wonder how much time has passed by continually looking at the clock on the fireplace mantle, and asking your wife, ‘Honey, what day is it?’ because the days just blend together.

* Moving to the reclining loveseat in the morning I manage to eat a bowl of cereal, (which makes my jaw ache) and every once in awhile both left and right hands will suddenly jump, for no reason at all. And now that the Doctor has increased my pain medication, I spend the day fairly ‘fuzzy headed’, and a little disconnected from reality. But…..we need to adapt in order to function, and at the same time keep in mind that inside the situation of pain and suffering is a unique opportunity to learn how to tell a story in order to help someone else. It’s a great idea because not only does it give me something very positive to focus on, it combines an activity that I love to do, which is blogging. I can do blogging from my recliner, not easily mind you, but its possible.

Let’s talk about the electronic gadgets I use to get me through the day and night.

Notebook computer resting on the lap, with a notebook cooler underneath it of course. If you look down your glasses far enough, you can find a position (notice I did not say a comfortable position, just a position) where you can get caught up on the latest news and happenings that are important to you. I call this kind of web indulgence ‘free style’ surfing because you can use Google or YouTube to find information your looking for. If or when the notebook gets too heavy, or its positioning gets a little much, I switch over to my beautiful super duper Smartphone, a Motorola Atrix 4G Android device. The Atrix is truly a godsend, in that it not only runs my favorite mobile operating system, I can even control my TV with the phone. (Jealous? don’t be, just go get an Android) Anyway, the Android marketplace has some of the most incredible news readers on the planet. I have 8 technical readers, and one news reader in particular that is gorgeous. Check out News360. I can spend hours doing research with the Atrix because its very easy to hold in your hand, and its extremely light. The technical RSS news readers specifically target what I am looking for, and with just one quick flick of a finger, I can email a relevant article to myself for review and inclusion into one of my shows.

So, between the Toshiba notebook PC and my Atrix, I’ve got research pretty well covered. These are the two devices I use during the daytime hours. When I see the sun setting over the horizon, I make sure that my Apple Itouch is fully charged up because that little device goes to bed with me. There are a variety shows I can watch and listen to. I love to listen to audio books, and with the Apple Itouch I can either download a book from Audible, or live stream one of my favorite technical shows TWIT with Leo Laporte. If there’s nothing going on with Audible or TWIT, I can always watch one of the thousands of movies, TV shows or documentaries on Netflix. The other night I watched one of the latest Star Trek movies. It was excellent.

To say that I have integrated technology gadgets into my life would be a correct assumption. Without them, I would be in pretty rough shape. It has come to my attention that through this injury, I have had to make changes to my type A personality. Well, we’re never too old to learn some new tricks. Instead of living ‘externally’ and being able to move freely about physically, I have just adapted and learned to live a little bit more ‘internally’ (not moving much because of my situation) In the next little while, I will document what I am going through so you know that I haven’t ‘kicked the bucket’. Well, its time for my pain medication. I will yak at you later. Rick

Aug 30

Android to Arlene: We didn’t know you didn’t know! (Your first Android device)

Starbucks, McDonald’s, ABC Country Restaurant, The Wired Monk, Motels, Hotels, tons of coffee shops, Airports and the list is growing every day. As a matter of fact, I’m going to show you some basics about your Android phone that will surprise you. First things first. Let’s turn on your free access to wi fi. If you have a wireless router at home (and who doesn’t now. If you don’t, and have the old wired kind of router, simply phone your ISP provider and most if not all will give you a free wireless gateway) all you have to do is turn on your Android phone and follow these steps.

1) Access your phones settings button. (on mine, its on the lower left hand side. Its a picture of 4 little squares. Yours may be different, but it should always say ‘setting’s’ on it.

2) Once your in the ‘settings’ category, find the ‘wireless and networks’ tab or section, and click on it.

3) You should notice a bunch of settings. There will be an ‘Airplane mode’ at the top. Look for the one that say’s ‘Wi-Fi’ and if the setting box isn’t checked, tap to activate it and make sure that the Wi Fi function is turned on.

4) Next, click on the button that says ‘Wi-Fi settings’, and this will take you to a sub menu where there should be a few boxes. The Wi-Fi box should be checked, and the ‘Network notification’ box should also be checked. This is important because it will let you know if there is an available free Wi-Fi connection you can use.

5) In that sub menu somewhere, you should find a section that says something like ‘Wi-Fi networks’. If you know the name of your network, then go ahead and click on it in the menu. It should ask you a question like: ‘Network SSID’ If you know your network SSID, enter it. If you do not, phone the folks who provided you with the router, and get them to help you out with this. You should only have to get the information once, and then write it down in a secure location. Do not put this SSID in your email. If you must somehow upload this information to the web, please use some kind of system or code to remember it. Don’t just put it up there for all to see.

6) Once the name of the network you want to connect to is showing up on your Wi-FI list, and the SSID is entered correctly, you are on your way to using many features of your phone. For example. When your on free Wi-Fi access, you can use the button that says: ‘Market’. with the funny little green robot on it. This is where things get really exciting.

7) Once your on the Android Market, you will notice 3 distinct areas on the upper section of your screen. On the left, it will say ‘Apps’. This is the table of contents, if you will to the Android marketplace. It will say:

All applications, Books and Reference, Business, Comics, Communications, Education, Entertainment, Finance, Health and Fitness, Lifestyle, Live Wallpaper, Media and Video, Medical, Music and Audio, News and Magazines, Personalization, Photography, Productivity, Shopping, Social, Sports, Tools, Transportation, Weather, Widgets and Libraries and Demo.

The category words that are highlighted above are linked to the specific Android apps. Just click on any of the categories, and it will take you directly to the App page so you can explore what those apps do, and can even read reviews of what other users have posted. I thought it would be helpful for you so you can look at any app you want to do research on, instead of looking it up on your phone.

For now, I only download, try out and use the free apps on the Android marketplace. Trust me, there’s enough of them out there to keep you busy for years experimenting and playing with these wonderful bits of software. So, right about now I can hear you saying ‘well, that’s nice, but why would I want to use any app on my cell phone?’. That’s a great question, and hopefully I can provide a great answer.

Take for example the app ‘Groupon’. It has the ability to save you money by having Groupon send you coupons for special deals in your area. Our Daughter uses groupon all the time, and she says she regularly saves 1/2 off a collection of services and goods she is purchasing already. Another great app that I use personally is ‘Epicurious’. It has to be one of the best recipe software platforms on the Android platform today. If you want to cook something, its in Epicurious. For example, I went to the search section, put in the word ‘Avocado’, and could chose from 316 things I could do with an Avocado. It gives you the exact preparation and cooking instructions, but it gives excellent reviews as well. It even has a shopping list function.

Do you pay for newspaper subscriptions? Then just check out any number of newspaper apps available on Android. I haven’t picked up a newspaper in months because I can get caught up on local, national or international news with just a tap of a button on my phone. Oh, by the way, you can set up your phone to access your email when you are using free Wi-Fi. It sounds very basic, but if your like me and live on Gmail, you can actually share your gmail calender with other family members to let them know where you will be, and find out what the family is doing on any given day.

There is a free, (yes, free) video chat app called ‘Fring’. If someone you know has either an Iphone, or Android device, and they are sitting at home using their free Wi-Fi, you can have a video chat with them, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. And yes, it works on both the Iphone and Android platforms.

If you get poor radio reception where you live, and want to open your listening pleasure, there is an unbelievable app called ‘TuneInRadio’. that will give you crystal clear reception to hundreds of local and international radio stations so you can listen when your washing dishes, vacuuming, cooking dinner, or even washing the car if your Wi-Fi reaches out to your driveway. Hey, I could talk about this stuff all day long because there are so many advantages to using free Wi-Fi is ridiculous. Do you love playing scrabble? Try the free app ‘Words with friends’  and play several different scrabble games at the same time with people all over the world. (Or just your immediate family) It’s really up to you because when you start using the Wi-Fi waves that your paying for with you ISP already, you can literally communicate to the world right through your Android device.

Want to avoid paying for SMS text messages when you leave your cell providers service area? Check out ‘WhatsApp’. You can text anyone around the world for nothing, zilch, zero, nadda, no beans, (are you getting the point?) And don’t forget about all of the social favorite apps that you can get like: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Youtube and much more.

If you love your music, pics and movies then you’ll love the free technology that comes on your Android device. It’s called DLNA which stands for: Digital Living Network Alliance allows you to share your media with any other DLNA device you want. (Like a notebook computer) You can wirelessly tap into the media from one device to the other, set up sharing privileges, and will even let you copy the media to your phone, or to any media server (PC) that is using Windows Media Center. You can do the same with pictures and videos. How cool is that! And its all……..Free. Yes, your getting tired of me saying it, but I haven’t even scratched the surface with this kind of technology yet. Wait till we discuss all of the highly customizable  RSS readers that allow you to pinpoint exactly what you are interested in, and then delivers it in the form of news articles, pictures, videos and podcast’s.

Arlene bought an Android device, just like any other everyday purchase. What she didn’t realize is that this tiny little device that can fit in the palm of her hand, she could literally run an entire business on, completely update her website, social media and bank accounts, all while looking up a recipe for dinner from just one tiny little device. Way to go Arlene, you just joined the technical revolution and didn’t even know it. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Talk to you later. Rick.

(By the way, I’ll be following this blog post up with a video in the next few days)

 

Aug 26

This Weeks Special Guest: Laura Streifel


Laura has some secrets she wanted to share about creating a positive and happy workplace environment. She was with EDS for several years, and not only kept things organized, but taught all of us how to laugh. Not only that, but she showed us that we get a wonderful opportunity to chose our own attitudes everyday. She could easily be our new ‘fun manager’. Glad to have you aboard for this podcast.
I found a great article over on Yahoo. It basically outlines how to deal with people at work you befriend, and what happens when you have to or need to end that friendship. Interesting read. Click Here for the article.

Aug 25

Step away from your computer and go fishing

Technology is how we get things done in our busy world. Sometimes, we need to step back for an afternoon and just relax. We decided to go fishing with our Son, Daughter in law and Grandson, and had the most fun we have had in a long time. Make a decision to dedicate a little bit of time to getting back to nature. Enjoy the video. Rick and Pat.

Aug 25

If your unhappy, start pod-casting. I’ts good for you.

I love animals and grew up on a dairy farm. Recently I did a pod-cast on a very unique dairy farm not more than a 10 minute drive from my home that uses robots to milk the cows. Robots! That’s cool. Click here for the video link. I posted this a few months back on 2 separate youtube accounts, and got over 200 people looking at it. On another video posting, I just sat in front of a video camera and talked about something I felt very passionate about, which happens to be about Smart meters. Click here for the video. I’ts already got over one hundred views, so I know that there are at least 100 folks out there that want information regarding the issue.

A few years ago, we took a cruise to Alaska and I stood outside on deck when the wave were very near 30 feet high. In just a few months, almost 800 people viewed the video of it on youtube. Click here to see it. Awhile ago I bought the Magic Jack telephone system and did a hardware review on it. Almost 200 views. Check it out here. You see, it doesn’t matter what you video blog or podcast about. Someone out there needs your camera, opinion and passion to live vicariously through you, and it doesn’t matter if you think its not good enough. Just go out and press that record button to get started. I’ll tell you why I think this works so well for curing unhappiness. It’s almost like looking in a mirror and seeing yourself, but not the ‘negative’ side of you, but the curious and expressive side of your personality.

I’ll video blog about almost anything. I did an interview with my Reflexology instructor, Yvette Eastman that in a very short period of time got over 100 views. I threw together a short video called ‘Our Blog Intro’ and it has close to 400 people that have looked at it. Click here to see what I did when I was going through a very stressful time in my own personal life. Here’s a video of my practicing Yang Style Tai Chi. The moral of this story is this. Video podcast and blog about your life. Doing this (putting together a video podcast of interesting stuff in your life) is incredibly cheap. You tube is completely free. A flip or Vado cam only costs about a hundred bucks, and I’ll bet you already own a computer. If you want to edit your videos, there are free programs for that, and all you need is an inexpensive microphone to complete your artistic talents.

Aug 23

Want better tech manuals? Don’t talk to engineers.

I have finally found someone who has hit the nail on the head, and I’m extremely excited that I actually got to hear what they said. It was on the latest TWIT show. (This Week In Tech with Leo Laporte) It was show 315 for August 21, and I am still thrilled with the results. One of his guests on the show said “I have been talking to allot of engineers lately, and they tell me that is it the responsibility of the consumer to know what it going on with technology”, or something like that. Anyway, he went onto say, “I think it is the responsibility of the engineer to educate the consumer” or something close to that.

The ‘jist’ of the statement was to act as a thought provoking concept that helps you realize that engineers will almost always assume that the average consumer knows the basics of engineering, and thinks like an engineer as well, and that’s why engineers are the worst choice to write a technical manual, period. You see, engineers will jump ahead of steps they fully understand because in their minds they may think that the next step is just ‘common sense’. That means, that the person or persons who designed the latest technically based thingy majingy should never write the manual, but should work with a consumer or group of consumer to put thinks into perspective.

I have seen some of the most horribly written manuals that you could imagine written by well meaning people who thought they were contributing a service to humanity. Confusing, bizarre, off balance, dead ended and obscure can be the principles of crafting a manual that only a PHD could understand. Trust me, when I was part of the training and development center for one of the largest technically based call centers in North America, you see the good, the bad and the ugly. So, we’ve covered the huge chasm of distance you can acquire between engineers and the ‘common folk’, let’s take a look at some other variables that can drive you crazy.

What if the company is offshore? Well, someone had to ask. Have you ever read any kind of a manual from China? I have seen spelling mistakes, bad grammar, horrible punctuation, and yes, even bad tech instructions. If the manufacturing company has sharp people that double and  triple check their work, there is a reasonable chance that you may get something that is just barely readable. Notice I said barely readable. Personally, I think that consumers should be able to help contribute to a well written technical manual, and I know just the site that does it. It’s called ifixit.

This is possibly the best fix it site on the internet. They are well seasoned professionals that make certain they explain what they are doing in text, pictures and videos. If you want to see an example of a group of people who are ‘doing the right thing’, then ifix it is for you.

Aug 19

Oh Doctha, I don’t agree with your business philosophy

I absolutely love Leo Laporte’s collection of podcast shows. He is the ultimate authority on tech, hosts fantastic guests, has proven himself extremely professional and is beloved by hundreds of thousands of techies and non techies alike through his daily and weekly shows. I listen to his information on the way to work and to be honest, its one of the best ways for me to keep up with what is happening in silicon valley with all of the movers and shakers. He’s balanced, cultured, quick witted and knowledgeable, and I hold his opinion in high esteem. In short, he’s a class act that will continue to grow and dominate is his field for many years to come. Now you know how I feel about Leo’s integrity and position within his cultural community. That’s why I was shocked, saddened and more than annoyed with a comment from one of Leo’s guests not long ago on one of his podcast shows.

The episode was on TWIT (This Week In Tech) show number 313. If you listen from the time stamp of thirty four minutes and eleven seconds, you will observe a conversation between Leo Laporte, Oh Doctah (Owen JJ Stone) and Jolie O’dell. They were talking about how some companies in the USA are less than scrupulous, and then they dropped the bombshell.

Jolie O’dell said ‘Do we have to be aggressive to do the right thing?’. To which Oh Doctha said ‘Yes, this is America, I will take twenty dollars out of Leo’s pocket and not pay it back if I don’t have to, I’ll tell you that right now because this is America’. Now, please understand that I am not personally attacking Oh Doctha, but a mass marketed pervasive attitude that seems to be the new ‘standard’ in our business culture. I think Jolie O’dell had a great point, in that she framed her question with honesty, and put it out there expecting some sort of supportive answer. What she got is a knee jerk reaction fueled perhaps by someone else’s life experiences. Be aggressive, take money and don’t pay it back if you don’t have to.

Case in point. We are launching our own seminar program soon, and after we complete our marketing, gather information that will benefit our future clients, then ask for pre-payment for the class and not bother showing up to educate our students, whats wrong with that? After all, we don’t ‘have to pay the money back, do we?’. Did we follow the formula correctly? If I’m wrong, I will be glad to make an apology on this blog, but if your anything like me, this formula just feels wrong, empty and full of holes. Aggression. Let’s look at it for just a moment. I am a Canadian, and yes, we are famously known for being polite (which could be the opposite of aggressive) so perhaps I have a natural aversion to an aggressive stance in business. But, I’ll tell you who else shares the same principles in business that I admire. Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Zappo’s, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jim Rhone, and a host of others who believe that you can attract allot more clients with honey than you can with vinegar, and without being overly aggressive.

Have we forgotten how the United States was almost  driven to bankruptcy by mass hysteria concerning the attitude of money, and how easy it was to get huge amounts of credit, and not deal with the harsh reality of the consequence’s of paying the debt back? And who could forget the famous ‘Ninja’ loans. No ‘Income’ ‘Job’ or ‘Assets’. People were treated aggressively from one end of the financial institutions (mortgage brokers) that sold them the loans, and then, people found it extremely difficult to pay back the loans when the economy collapsed. They simply did not have the money, so there you have the unbalanced philosophy again. Being aggressive, and not paying back the money if you don’t have to.

Maybe it has to do with core values, or lessons you have learned from business leaders you have spent time with. Hear me clearly, there is nothing wrong with being aggressive in business, but, when you attach it to the statement ‘this is America, I will take twenty dollars out of Leo’s pocket and not pay it back if I don’t have to’ then it suggests an entirely new thought pattern that poses a personal problem for me. Aggression means not paying people back money owed to them. Surely Oh Doctha knows that once something is put on the Internet, it’s there forever and it can either help you or hurt you both in your personal and your business life. I wonder if he will still maintain this unique business philosophy a few years down the road if he runs into folks who make a point of paying back every single penny they owe because it is the right thing. Jolie O’dell, you asked the right question, and deserve another opinion, and here  is mine.

No, we do not have to be aggressive. We need to listen, really listen to our clients to find out how we can help them fill a want or desire, then give them the best service we can, and realize that if we are in the goods or service industry we owe it to the clients to treat them with courtesy, honesty, integrity and truthfulness because that kind of business model will never get old, nor be rejected by anyone who wants to do business with us. Everyone has an opinion, and most folks feel that their opinion is the correct one. But there is only one question that can solve this question of ethics. How would you like to be treated as a client? There’s your answer.

Rick