From the Atlantic:
This moment we’re in right now—where humans and bots find themselves in an unprecedented admixture—is one more step in the automation of different kinds of human labor. In the quiet, white-collar automation that swept the world in the last quarter of the 20th century, the messiness of human processes required many intermediate steps in the transition from paper and human to computer and computer. Much of what service work used to be was automated over the last few decades. Now, computers make the decisions, and the main role of the human is to deliver this information after pressing some keys on a computer.
Governments are looking into universal basic income programs because they can see where the technology advances are leading: to a society where most will not have work of value.
“2001’s” official premiere was at the Uptown theater in Washington’s Cleveland Park neighborhood, with stars and MGM brass in attendance.
By intermission, attendees were “streaming out. It was a disaster. No one liked it,” Benson recounts in his book.
Wrote one British journalist: “There was not a single handclap. … The audience just rose, stunned and thoughtful, and shuffled out to the pavement.”
The next night, after the New York premiere, Clarke reportedly heard MGM suits saying: “Well, that’s the end of Stanley Kubrick.”
50 years later? One of the most influential of all science fiction films.
This film tops my list of the best science fiction movies. Others include Alien, Blade Runner, Inception, Metropolis, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Matrix, Interstellar, Mad Max:Fury Road, Gravity amongst others.
But 2001: A Space Odyssey remains at the top for me.
April 2nd, 1968. I cannot believe it has been 50 years since it was first released.
After Bill Collings’ passing last July, we wanted to build an instrument to pay tribute to him and to show the world that we would be continuing on the trail that he’d blazed for us over many years. One of the most rare and coveted instruments we offer is a carved acoustic archtop guitar, which Bill Collings built personally over much of his career. Whenever he completed one of these impeccable instruments, it was clear that he had accomplished a craftsman’s dream; a perfect union of exquisite lines, colors, and proportions, equally inspiring to play or simply behold.
I’ve owned three Collings guitars and I still have two of them: one acoustic and one jazz. Exceptional craftsmanship and amazing tone.
Hard to believe that he is gone. Good to see his team still creating such terrific instruments like the AT 16.
I started travelling light back in 2011. Or at least, travelling lighter back in 2011. Lorraine and I were still hauling 40 pounds or so of luggage when we travelled.
We eventually found a way to really cut down on our luggage and with numerous trips to Europe, we found our stride and we can now comfortably tour with one small carry-on bag and one small personal bag each.
As retirement approaches, I am re-thinking the whole clothing thing. For the past decade or so, I have been working in a predominately business casual environment with the odd business suit day.
I have two suits, six dress shirts, six pairs of casual pants, four jackets, as well as a rather large collection of clothing that I wear when I am not at the office: shorts, jeans, t-shirts, casual shirts, jackets, sweaters.
Clothes. Lots and lots of clothes.
Time to simplify that part of my life.
But where to start?
Steve Jobs embraced the minimalist approach. His wardrobe: black turtlenecks, Levi’s jeans, New Balance sneakers.
According to Wikipedia, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that do not go out of style and can be augmented with seasonal pieces.
For a man, a capsule wardrobe could be as simple as the following:
- A suit
- A pair of jeans
- A coat
- A few t-shirts
- A few cotton shirts
- A sports jacket
- A pair of casual pants
- A pair of dress shoes
- A pair of casual shoes
- A sweater
- A watch
- A jacket
How many items? Well, Project 333 would say 33 items or less for 3 months. They even offer a microcourse on how to dress with less and create your capsule wardrobe.
My motivation is practical. In just a few months time, Lorraine and I will be heading south in our motorcoach and we will need to be very minimalist in what we take with us as we will not have much space for an extensive wardrobe.
Upcoming retirement – Information Technology
Richard has announced his plans to retire in the third quarter of this year. Richard joined our company as Senior Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer in 2008.
Over the past decade he has ably led our Information Technology division, tackling the myriad of issues that come with the rapid evolution of technological change and digital innovation and ensuring the organization’s IT and project management capabilities are keeping pace with the change.
We will miss his deep knowledge and his ability to share complicated ideas and concepts in a clear, simple and engaging way.
We are focused on a transition plan in light of Richard’s well-deserved retirement and will share news with you as decisions are made. In the meantime, I am fully confident that the strong IT leadership group Richard has built will continue to enable their teams to meet the needs of our business.
Please join me in thanking Richard for his many contributions and in wishing Richard and Lorraine all the best for a long, happy and healthy retirement together.
Details on a retirement reception will be shared within the next few weeks.
President and Chief Executive Officer
I do a lot of indoor riding. Even now with the weather finally improving after a pretty brutal start to Spring. Weekdays usually see me entering the pain cave around 6:30am for an hour or two.
They do something very clever in that they pair a high definition video source of an actual ride and manage to create an eerily realistic feel. So close to being out on the road. There are now over 200 rides from Europe and the U.S. to choose from.
As Lorraine and I will be touring Norway in a couple of months, I’ve decided to focus my BigRingVR trial period with Norwegian rides.
I took it a bit easier this morning and the map below shows you how the ride follows a stunning part of the country. Although the elevation on this one is nominal — most of the rides have much tougher elevations — all of the ups and downs feel just like the real thing.
These rides make you work.
I spin about 15 – 20 minutes before tackling the actual ride as most of the routes on BigRingVR have pretty steep climbs right from the front. I also take about 5 minutes at the end of the ride to spin out the legs.
These rides are proving to be just as challenging as the Sufferfest and Zwift. Unlike Zwift, which has a strong social element, BigRingVR is more like Sufferfest with a strong focus on solo riding albeit with no formal training overlay.
All three have strengths. After spending several years with the Sufferfest, I am welcoming the variety that BigRingVR brings to virtual cycling. Having the world go by in high definition video creates more of a realistic feel to an indoor session. I download the full videos before launching the ride and I experience a very smooth video feed. BigRingVR also supports streaming.
And, most importantly, BigRingVR uploads to Strava.
If you do a ride and it isn’t uploaded to Strava then it never really happened.
Here is a sample video without the comprehensive dashboard.
On a quiet day, I receive 30 to 40 unsolicited vendor emails in my corporate inbox. Google conveniently puts many of them into my spam folder. I check the spam folder every so often, just in case, and often find interesting chains of emails.
This one I call the Ode to Dilip.
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2018
Subject: Meeting request
Hope you’re having a great day!
My name is Dilip and I am with one of the leading providers of analytics services.
Our customer-centric approach, deep domain expertise, and a strong focus on operational excellence, combined with innovative analytics solutions, enable us to help our clients differentiate in the market.
We offer data analytics services which empower companies to monetize data from across the organization, eliminating data and application boundaries and silos, to make the right information available to the right users at the right time. This helps fully leverage the power of analytics to drive competitive advantage and business benefits.Please let me know your convenient time to schedule a meeting to discuss further.
Look forward to your reply. Have a great day!
Almost all unsolicited vendor emails follow this same pitch. Generic corporate bingo phrases like “empower companies to monetize data from across the organization” and “make the right information available to the right users at the right time” generally reduce a vendor’s credibility almost immediately.
Five days pass. Dilip tries again.
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Subject: RE: Follow upDear Richard,
I am writing this to follow up on my earlier email. I’d like to set up a call to discuss any quires you might have, Please let me know if you are still interested, and if so, which day works for you.
I look forward to hearing back from you. Have a great day!
“If I am still interested”? Dilip does not give up however.
Three days pass. Dilip strikes again.
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2018
Subject: Can I block 15 minutes on your calendar.
Dear Richard,Hope you’re having a great day!
The reason for my persistence is that I’m confident in our ability and strongly believe our analytics services could really help you to drive competitive advantage and business benefits.
I would like to arrange a quick call with you to discuss possible collaboration. How about next Wednesday 3:00 pm for you? If this Date/time doesn’t suites you let me your convenient time to schedule a call.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
I see this tactic used frequently as well. A specific date and time is requested. I wonder how many people respond positively to this tactic? Given that all of his emails are going to spam, he may not be aware that I am reading his entire email chain in one sitting.
Nonetheless, he tries again. Before the Wednesday. Four days later.
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Subject: Awaiting for your reply.
I am writing to follow up on my earlier email. I haven’t heard from you for a while. If you are still interested, Please let me know your convenient time to schedule a call. I’ve been keeping space open in my schedule, but if you’ve decided to go in another direction that’s no problem. Just let me know.
“I haven’t heard from you for a while.” Actually, you have never heard from me.
“If you are still interested…” Actually, I was never interested.
Dilip soldiers on.
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2018
Subject: Trying to connect
Since I have not heard back from you, I have to assume you are not interested in our product at the moment. If you are still interested, Please let me know your convenient time to schedule a call.
I’m looking forward to your reply. Have a great day!
Yes Dilip, you had to assume that I was not interested although you were unaware that Google had placed all of your emails into Spam.
When I retire in a few weeks, all of those unsolicited vendor emails will bounce back undelivered.
I might miss a few of them. Like the ones from Dilip.
I had posted about a recent experience at Jump Plus here which pushed me to use an online retailer to replace my aging iMac.
I watched the order as it went through these various stages:
- Order Placed:Your order has been placed.
We’ve received your order and payment information. Though you can’t make changes to your order right now, you’ll be able to when we start preparing your order.
- Order In Progress:Your order will be available soon.
We have all the information needed to complete your order. As soon as the item is ready, we’ll send you an update and prepare the shipment. You can still make changes to the order at this point.
- Preparing to Ship:Your order is being prepared for shipment.
We’re completing some final details before we ship your order. As soon as it ships, we’ll email you the delivery information. At this point, you can no longer make changes to the order.
- Shipped:Your order has shipped.
You can use the “Track Shipment” button to follow your package online. This information will be available within the first 24 hours of shipment.
- Delivered:Your order was delivered.
The package has been dropped off at the shipping address specified in your order. If you need to return any part of your order, you can initiate the process online.
This particular iMac was a custom order and Apple had it ready to go in just a few days.
It was shipped yesterday from Fremont, California and it will arrive at my home in Kingston tomorrow.
Pretty impressive. I remember when it used to take weeks, even months, for an order from the U.S. to make its way into Canada.