antipaucity

fighting the lack of good ideas

35 great questions, part 5

Part 5 of 5 in my condensed reprint of Inc’s article, “35 Great Questions” from the April 2014 issue. (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

  1. Who have we, as a company, historically been when we’ve been at our best? –Keith Yamashita
  2. What do we stand for – and what are we against? –Scott Goodson
  3. Is there any reason to believe the opposite of my current belief? –Chip Heath & Dan Heath
  4. Do we underestimate the customer’s journey? –Matt Dixon
  5. Among our stronger employees, how many see themselves at the company in three years? How many would leave for a 10 percent raise from another company? –Jonathan Rosenberg
  6. What did we miss in the interview for the worst hire we ever made? –Alberto Perlman
  7. Do we have the right people on the bus? –Jim Collins

the ultimate measure of financial success

How many times have you heard someone suggest that all their financial problems would magically disappear if they only made more money? But high incomes can’t guarantee financial freedom; there are countless examples of people who earned millions yet still ended up bankrupt. The common thread among folks who get into financial trouble — no matter how much money they make — is their inability to consistently spend less than they earn.

The bottom line: The ultimate measure of financial success is not the size of your paycheck. Rather, it’s the money left in your pocket after paying for all your obligations.


source: Len Penzo

germline by t c mcarthy

As promised when I finished Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy, I did read Germline by T C McCarthy.

I wasn’t able to get into the second book of the trilogy (Exogene), and haven’t attempted the last (Chimera) – but Germline was amazing.

A quick disclaimer first – this book is most certainly NOT for the faint of stomach, or those who cannot ignore vulgarity.

Taking place in a not-too-distant future, T C McCarthy takes us into the on-again-off-again underground hot war being fought somewhere in Kazakhstan. We find our main character, Oscar, a journalist for Stars and Stripes, spinning out of control in a drug-induced stupor but getting that “one last chance” to earn his place as a journalist. Oscar hasn’t paid his dues, but has managed to make friends among the “important” players on the US side of the war.

This book reminded me of a novel I read years ago that took place in the Vietnam War, written by a vet of that arena – it’s visceral, gritty, and the words seem to fly off the page into your eyes, converting your mind into the exact place and time Oscar is in when he’s in it. You are there with Oscar as he suits up, plugs-in, shoots-up, crawls through the subterrene with the Marines unit he’s assigned to.

This is perhaps the single best future scifi I’ve ever read that doesn’t require an entirely alternate universe to exist.

be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one – law 34 – #48laws by robert greene

Law 34

The way your carry yourself will often determine how you are treated: In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

lobachevsky – by tom lehrer

Tom Lehrer, for those who don’t know, was a fantastic satirist and musical humorist in the 20th century.

Lobachevsky is one of my favorites of his (YouTube edition):

[spoken] For many years now, Mr. Danny Kaye, who has been my particular idol since childbirth, has been doing a routine about the great Russian director Stanislavsky and the secret of success in the acting profession. And I thought it would be interesting to stea… to adapt this idea to the field of mathematics. I always like to make explicit the fact that before I went off not too long ago to fight in the trenches, I was a mathematician by profession. I don’t like people to get the idea that I have to do this for a living. I mean, it isn’t as though I had to do this, you know, I could be making, oh, 3000 dollars a year just teaching.

Be that as it may, some of you may have had occasion to run into mathematicians and to wonder therefore how they got that way, and here, in partial explanation perhaps, is the story of the great Russian mathematician Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky. 

[spoke-sung]

Who made me the genius I am today,
The mathematician that others all quote,
Who’s the professor that made me that way?
The greatest that ever got chalk on his coat.

One man deserves the credit,
One man deserves the blame,
And Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name.
Hi!
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobach-

I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.
In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics:
Plagiarize!

Plagiarize,
Let no one else’s work evade your eyes,
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
So don’t shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize –
Only be sure always to call it please ‘research’.

And ever since I meet this man
My life is not the same,
And Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name.
Hi!
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobach-

I am never forget the day I am given first original paper
to write. It was on analytic and algebraic topology of
locally Euclidean parameterization of infinitely differentiable
Riemannian manifold.
Bozhe moi!
This I know from nothing.
What-i’m going-to do.
But I think of great Lobachevsky and get idea – ahah!

I have a friend in Minsk,
Who has a friend in Pinsk,
Whose friend in Omsk
Has friend in Tomsk
With friend in Akmolinsk.
His friend in Alexandrovsk
Has friend in Petropavlovsk,
Whose friend somehow
Is solving now
The problem in Dnepropetrovsk.

And when his work is done –
Ha ha! – begins the fun.
From Dnepropetrovsk
To Petropavlovsk,
By way of Iliysk,
And Novorossiysk,
To Alexandrovsk to Akmolinsk
To Tomsk to Omsk
To Pinsk to Minsk
To me the news will run,
Yes, to me the news will run!

And then I write
By morning, night,
And afternoon,
And pretty soon
My name in Dnepropetrovsk is cursed,
When he finds out I publish first!

And who made me a big success
And brought me wealth and fame?
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name.
Hi!
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobach –

I am never forget the day my first book is published.
Every chapter I stole from somewhere else.
Index I copy from old Vladivostok telephone directory.
This book was sensational!
Pravda – well, Pravda – Pravda said: “Zhil-bil korol kogda-to, pree nyom blokha zhila”[1] It stinks.
But Izvestia! Izvestia said: “Ya idoo kuda sam czar idyot peshkom!”[2] 
It stinks.
Metro-Goldwyn-Moskva buys movie rights for six million rubles,
Changing title to ‘The Eternal Triangle’,
With Brigitte Bardot playing part of hypotenuse.

And who deserves the credit?
And who deserves the blame?
Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name.
Hi! 

35 great questions, part 4

Part 4 of 5 in my condensed reprint of Inc’s article, “35 Great Questions” from the April 2014 issue. (part 1, part 2, part 3)

  1. Did my employees make progress today? –Teresa Amabile
  2. What one word do we want to own in the minds of our customers, employees, and partners? –Matthew May
  3. What should we stop doing? –Peter Drucker
  4. What are the gaps in my knowledge and experience? –Charles Handy
  5. What am I trying to prove to myself, and how might it be hijacking my life and business success? –Bob Rosen
  6. If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he do? –Andy Grove
  7. If I had to leave my organization for a year and the only communication I could have with my employees was a single paragraph, what would I write? –Pat Lencioni

automatically extract email attachments with common linux tools

I had need to automatically process emails to a specific address to pull attachments out, and this is how I did it:

$ yum install mpack

$ cat extract-attach.sh 
#!/bin/bash
rm -rf ~/attachtmp
mkdir ~/attachtmp
mv ~/Maildir/new/* ~/attachtmp
cd ~
munpack ~/attachtmp/*
rm -rf ~/attachtmp

$ crontab -l
*/5 * * * *	~/extract-attach.sh

Why, you may ask? Because I get a report a few times per day to the email address in question.


Note – this runs in my crontab every 5 minutes on a CentOS 6 x64 server; I’m sure the process is similar/identical on other distros, but I haven’t personally tried.