Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Reverse Planning

Reverse planning, also known as backward planning, is a simple concept that took me a long time to learn.

I was raised in a very "casual" family where 90 minutes late, to family gatherings, was considered on time. Sometimes, we'd arrive at Mass after the Gospel (very late into the liturgy). The Marine Corps was less tolerant of tardiness; 15 minutes early was considered on time. In the military, being late is referred to as UA/AWOL – a punishable offense.

I had two key experiences in the Marines that got me focused on time management. Reverse planning is a cinch once you learn it since it requires minimal attention. Simply start with a place you need to be, by a certain time, and work backward.

12:30 PM: Airline flight departs.
12:00 PM: Airplane begins boarding (unless it's Alaska Airlines, they begin boarding 45 mins early).
11:30 AM: Allow 30 minutes to get through security.
11:15 AM: Allow 15 minutes to get your boarding pass and check-in your baggage.
10:55 AM: Give yourself 20 minutes to park and walk into the terminal.
09:10 AM: Drive to the airport. Give yourself an extra 50% for traveling. So, if it typically take 30 minutes to drive to the airport, then give yourself 45 minutes.
09:00 AM: Allow ten minutes to gather your stuff and load it into the car.
8:00 AM: Reveille, reveille! Wake up at 8 AM if it typically takes you 45 – 60 minutes to shower and get dressed. Add an hour or so if you need to pack.

There's nothing difficult about reverse planning other than having the discipline to do it and being honest on your time allowances. I frequently do it, even for trivial events, to keep my skills sharp.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New Art Installation: 'The Daily Duty'

I have pictures of people pooping in my potty.
The Daily Duty art collection installation in my bathroom

Ok, I know that sounds weird, but it's true. I got the idea from Buona Forchetta, which has the most authentic Italian wood oven pizza in San Diego. Buona Forchetta (good fork) has large pictures of celebrities and heads of state on the throne in their public restrooms. You can't not notice it (apologizes to my English teachers). The first time I walked into the restaurant's bathroom, I immediately asked myself if this was tasteless. But, the artwork is so well done --- with fine creative taste --- that it inspires as it pushes the boundaries of art. Even my mother got a big kick out of artwork. After all, "art is what you can get away with."


Cristina Guggeri, AKA Krydy, Born In 1973


The Artist and Her Art

Christina Guggeri, AKA Kyrdy, is the Sardinian-born artist who's created hundreds of photo-realistic pictures of celebrities on the throne. The collection, The Daily Duty, includes pictures ranging from the Pope to the Queen and Albert Einstein to Freddie Mercury. Rather than purchasing the prints, which you can do, she encourages fans to purchase the digital images to be printed, locally; and that's exactly what I did. The JPEGs each cost €22 – €27 (about $30) which I had printed on poster board. I installed this art collection in my bathroom with simple binder clips, thread, and thumbtacks. The poster board may warp a little from the humidity. If it does, then I'll velcro the bottom, which has worked very well for me in the past.




Cheeky or Tasteless?

Even though my socially conservative mother enjoyed this art collection, I still questioned its tastefulness. Would I want someone to display photo-realistic pictures of me, or my mother, on the toilet? The short answer is, "It depends." Like all art, its value is based on the artist that created it. While I wouldn't want random photos sold of my mother or me on the throne, I wouldn't mind at all if Guggeri created it.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Kitchen Upgrade

I heard someone complaining about their real estate estimates after a $25,000 kitchen upgrade. It seems the homeowner didn't understand pricing.

Let's say that, today, a home is worth exactly $500,000. After tearing out the old kitchen and installing the new one worth $25,000, the home's value does not increase by $25,000. Hence, the home may end up selling for only $515,000, after the upgrade. The reason for this discrepancy is "overlooked" math. After tearing out the old kitchen, the value of the home may have dropped from $500,000 to, say, $490,000. So, in fact, the $25,000 upgrade was added to a $490,000 home since the previous kitchen, that was demolished, still had a value of $10,000. That's how real values are calculated.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My Oldest Friend

Wynne Matheson Trenholme
13 August 1914 – 15 March 2018
A lifelong friend of mine and second father, Wynne Trenholme, passed away this morning at 103 years old.
What a run!

Although it had been several years since I last saw him, we still spoke, from time to time, especially since he turned 100.

He was still sharp as a tack. One of his oldest memories was sitting atop of his father's shoulders while watching a WW I parade.


Stories

I first met Wynne when I was five years old. As a kid, and throughout high school, Wynne taught me about electronics, ham radio, the steam cycle on ships, and firearm & motorcycle safety, to name a few things. He always had great stories from the South Pacific during his time in the Merchant Marines in WW II. 


Apollo LEM

Wynne's career highlight, while employed by Grumman, was the work he did on the Apollo Lunar Module program. (The Lunar Module is the spacecraft that landed on the moon, best know for becoming a life raft for the Apollo 13 crew.) 

Wynne gave me several astronaut training manuals which I still have. Here's one that I scanned to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing: https://goo.gl/9v8VNo

Wynne Matheson Trenholme
13 August 1914 - 15 March 2018
An amazing man who lead a very long and full life.
He was my oldest friend. 

Carpe Diem. 


Wynne Trenholme from Joe Moreno on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Augmented Reality in the Bedroom


I need new end tables, next to my bed. The space is small and I don't mind having something cheap. The challenge was getting end tables that were as big as possible, yet still fit in the limited space.


While shopping with the Amazon app, I found some simple end tables. But, would they fit and how would they look? I've used augmented reality apps, over the past ten years, but this was the first time I used it for such a practical purpose.


I almost overlooked the augmented reality feature in the Amazon app since it was benign text, "See how this product fits in your room." But, as soon as I saw that, I knew how it would work. It turns out it worked much better than I expected. Instead of a gimmicky hack, I could move and rotate the end table, in real-time, via my iPhone's camera and the Amazon app to see how it would look and fit next to my bed. It was intuitively obvious and simple. 




Update: Here's the actual end table which fits exactly as expected.




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Entrepreneur's Challenge

What makes an entrepreneur different than an hourly or salary employee is their willingness to face challenges.

It is extremely difficult for a single person to create and grow a company since they need to oversee every aspect of their business's operations. Nearly all entrepreneurs have an Achilles' heel. If the entrepreneur comes from a maker background (meaning they are career individual contributors like engineers, writers, designers, etc.) then they may have challenges dealing with people such as employees, customers, investors, etc. On the other hand, if they're a "people person" with a background in management, then technical decisions might be their weak point.

The good entrepreneurs are the ones who recognize their shortcomings and work to improve themselves. But, regardless of an entrepreneur's background, it seems that marketing is always a challenge when venturing into new areas. No matter how good the idea, if you can't market it, it probably won't be successful. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

HomePod Shortcoming

The HomePod fits very nicely into my lifestyle. It certainly sounds great for its size and it fills up a room with music you can feel – something we lost when we started using tiny earbuds. Unfortunately, the biggest shortcoming of HomePod isn't its sound or Siri (Siri on HomePod is so much better than on the iPhone.) The HomePod's biggest shortcoming is Apple Music. Apple Music doesn't measure up when playing tunes of a specific genre or artist. Instead, I use Pandora to play music on my HomePod via Airplay.

I've been a subscriber of Pandora for years, specifically due to Apple Music's limitations and it's served me well. Since the beginning of Apple Music's streaming service, it's had a problem playing relevant tracks. Very frequently, Apple Music will start off playing relevant music and then, perhaps ten songs later, it gets off track. My most recent experience is when I asked HomePod to play music by Cole Porter from Apple Music. About 30 minutes later, Apple Music started playing Country Music covers of Cole Porter songs which is an entirely different genre. I've experienced the same thing with Apple Music songs from Philip Glass and Billy Joel. If I ask Apple Music to play songs by Billy Joel, it should not play classical music from his most recent album. That's not what anyone means when they ask to hear Billy Joel.

That got me wondering about the difference between how Apple Music and Pandora choose tunes. Perhaps I'll do a little digging.

Friday, February 16, 2018

LimeBike Dockless Bike Sharing in San Diego

LimeBikes ready to roll
Yesterday, LimeBike.com launched their new dockless bike sharing program in San Diego. Today, I took it for a spin. I couldn't resist when I saw the bikes spread throughout my neighborhood.


My first ride was free. I haven't yet taken a second ride, but it seems that the bike rentals are $1 for 30 minutes for a regular bike and, for electric-assist bikes, it's $1 for 10 minutes plus a $1 unlock fee. This is much better than the local competitor DecoBike, which requires docking and cost $5 for 30 minutes.


Docked-up DecoBike
To get rolling, I downloaded the LimeBike app (available for iOS and Android), opened it, and simply pointed my phone's camera at the QR code on the back fender of the bicycle. Within a few seconds, the bike played a tone as it unlocked the rear wheel and I was ready to go. Like a DecoBike, the bike has multiple speeds, a headlight, and basket.

When I was done, the rear wheel locked and I was prompted to enter my credit card info for future rides. The app gave me an option to save a map of the route that I rode, along with time, distance, calories burned, and grams of carbon emissions I saved. I will definitely be using LimeBike, again.


Conveniently located nearby
Trip report


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Dealing With Terrorism and Mass Shooting News

Many of us continually watch terrible news like incidents of terrorist attacks or mass shootings. What we really should do, instead, is stop watching cable TV news and, perhaps, watch This is Your Brain on Terrorism.

On the surface, watching cable TV news (left or right) makes sense because we want to be informed and safe. But, this type of news ends up having the opposite effect, especially if we're not involved in the incident. We know that TV news is important, but we forget that, by definition, news is something that almost never happens. Because shocking news brings an audience, it ends up being broadcast nonstop which tricks us into thinking that it's a common problem.

Just to be clear, no one wants mass shootings – even the NRA doesn't want mass shootings. But, the reaction of people who immerse themselves in this news, and feel helpless at the senseless violence, end up doing nothing effective to make things better. Their typical reaction is anger, talk, and posts to social media where they express their fury without doing anything to fix the problem or its side-effects that spread the fear.

My point of this post is to show you that continually watching cable TV news coverage does very little to help the situation and actually causes more unnecessary anxiety.

If you're scared and you continue to watch scary news then your fear will increase. Ask yourself what would happen if you didn't watch cable TV news. Instead of watching, read a couple news articles, ideally from different sources, and then go about your day while being thankful for how fortunate you are.


Do Something

Feeling helpless? Then find a cause where you can make a difference. Want to right a wrong in the world? Do a YouTube search for "puppy torture" or "puppy abuse," etc., and then foster a pet or do volunteer work. Want to join a big team to right the wrongs on a global scale? Then run for office, enlist in the military or join an NGO. Make the world a better place. At what point does emotional protesting become useless complaining? It seems that the people who complain the most tend to do the least. Stop complaining and start doing. 



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

HomePod after 96 Hours

After using HomePod for four days, I'm still happy.

I was considering ending my Pandora subscription until I realized that streaming music from Pandora, on my iPhone, to HomePod, via AirPlay, works perfectly. (AirPlay, which uses WiFi, has a much better range than Bluetooth.)

This morning, I played music on my Mac, with iTunes, while streaming it to my HomePod. This added an unexpectedly intense depth to my experience as the music was in perfect sync from both sources. It's a cheap version of surround sound.

I've been considering the thought that went into what HomePod currently does. I know there are more features to come, but the current level of integration with iCloud, iTunes, etc is impressive. For example, when playing music on my Mac while streaming it to HomePod, if I ask HomePod to stop playing the music, it also stops playing on my Mac, which is exactly what I expected. If I ask HomePod a question, the music continues playing on my Mac while the music on HomePod fades out as Siri answers my question and then resumes playing. 

Plus, I like that I can use HomePod to control other apps (see video). Very nice.