Archive for the Uncategorized Category

After a Trump Win

Posted in Uncategorized on November 9, 2016 by daviddiel

Trump has won against the odds of most pollsters. Now is the time to look for positives.

Trump said he wanted to be the president of all Americans. In business, and on his show, he has historically been moderate toward ethnic minorities and those who are LGBT.

He has been a supporter of the arts.

A wall may be a waste of money, but he also claims that he will make legal immigration much easier, and would support a guest worker program.

According to most analysts, he will be less interventionist overseas, meaning that we are less likely to overthrow governments now. Let’s hope he doesn’t start an unnecessary war.

He claims that he can stop our national debt from spiraling out of control. It’s a dubious claim, but it could not go on increasing at its previous rate without an eventual crash.

The TPP would have sucked jobs and money out of the US. We probably won’t sign on to it now.

Contrary to Al Gore, the climate is changing more slowly than his hockey stick predicted, and humans cannot actually influence it much in 4 years.

If he had not been elected, then it seems that the other 50% of the population would be angry. Now they will get some of their wishes. This can be seen as a cycle of releasing some tensions while others are created. Because of division in Congress, the rate of change will be moderated.

Even in true blue Massachusetts where I live, almost 40% voted for Trump. Remember the purple nation maps from previous cycles. The divisions that have been highlighted by the media are partly a temporary side-effect of the two-party first-past-the-post voting system. Most of those who voted for Trump are more centrist than their candidate or their party.

Love thy neighbor, live long and prosper, and all that jazz.

Creative Collaboration

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2016 by daviddiel
I searched the web for a succinct summary of how to do creative collaboration, and many articles addressed the subject in parts. They often went in depth regarding the team, the process, or the tools. Here, I put together my notes.
No team is perfect, but here are some key characteristics of successful teams:
  • Has a history together or shared motivation that keeps them united when the going gets tough.
  • Agrees to leave personal ego at the door. Instead of “Listen to me because I make the best decisions.” try “How can we merge our ideas?”
  • Agrees to avoid personal attacks (i.e. “You’re unqualified. You’re stupid. You don’t get it.”).
  • Agrees to a structure with roles, whether hierarchical or peer to peer.
  • Chooses a process and a set of tools and agrees to use them throughout.
The process should include one or more time frames for each of the following:
  • Defining high level objectives, criteria for success, and deadlines.
  • Individual research, day dreaming and deliberation.
  • All parties are given a chance to express their ideas, which should be recorded.
  • Open critique of ideas, focusing on the promotion of ideas that achieve objectives and satisfy constraints over those that do not.
  • Practicing group synthesis (working together on an unfinished product).
  • Tests and checks, which result in either validation or contingency plans.
Some projects do not require sophisticated tools, but others do. Here are some features to think about:
  • Do you need to store text, images, structured data?
  • The simplest structure is a list, then a tree, and the most general structure is a linked network.
  • A revision or rollback feature is the key to refining and organizing intermediate results, because nothing will be lost. Google provides some of the most widely accessible free tools with this feature.
  • A system for meta comments and ratings can be helpful if there are many collaborators or customers to provide feedback.

Boston Sports Club Screws Another Customer

Posted in Law, Money, Sports and Recreation, Uncategorized with tags , , on August 25, 2014 by daviddiel

Why do gyms routinely screw customers out of a final payment? Every business that charges a fee to cancel service should be sued into obscurity. This letter from Boston Sports club at Wellington Circle sounds nice, until the part about processing one last payment…

Hi David,

Thank you for your membership cancellation inquiry, I’m sorry to hear you will be leaving us. Do you mind if I ask why? I’m happy to help you with your request either way. I need to collect your final payment for your 30 day notice and then your cancellation will be finalized. Please call or email me at your convenience to provide me with the billing information you would like to use for your final payment. Unfortunately we cannot use the card you have on file as for your security we only have access to the last 4 digits and all 16 are needed to process the payment.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you for being a valued member of our club over the years.

General Manager
Boston Sports Clubs
Wellington Circle
70 Station Landing
Medford, MA 02155

Edit: It turned out that the corporate office was able to cancel my membership without a final payment, but only because my case had special circumstances. The underlying business practice is still going on, and that’s why I’m leaving this post up for others to see.

The future of links in publications

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2011 by daviddiel

It’s pretty cool that WolframAlpha can provide plots and explanations given an input in one of several formatted string notations. In the future, I hope that this concept is expanded to provide greater depth of understanding to academic publications through embedded links. Ideally, several recommendations would be auto-generated for the author, who would choose which ones to include in the paper. This could go a long way toward making academic publications easier to understand.

It’s not about money

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 by daviddiel

In my opinion, the institution of negative externality is the root of all evil.

AT&T One Time Charge for Upgrade Fee

Posted in Money, Uncategorized on November 11, 2011 by daviddiel

If you upgrade to a new smartphone from AT&T, then an $18 One Time Charge for Upgrade Fee will magically appear on your next bill without warning or explanation. AT&T must have forgotten to advertise this, so let’s help them out by spreading the word.

Solving the current unemployment problem in the US

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2011 by daviddiel

Here’s how we can solve the unemployment problem people. Everybody ask your employer for one day off from work every other week, and take 90% of your former salary and benefits.

The idea is a synthesis of Keynes, Hazlitt, and my own experience.

Keynes would observe that the US has a production glut and/or consumption deficit in most sectors except medical (in which unemployment is not a problem). However, the Keynesian solution of increasing money supply to stimulate consumption increases welfare dependency, militarism, and trade imbalances while devaluing the dollar.

Hazlitt would observe the problem of inefficient production and/or markets. His solution might be to reduce welfare and offer education and job placement programs, possibly focusing on the medical field. However, the pressure of “he who does not work, neither shall he eat” would have cruel consequences during the 5-10 year transition period.

On a microeconomic scale, I see an imbalance between the overworked and the unemployed. Due to the recession, employers are pressuring their workers to do more in less time. Some encourage unpaid vacations, which solves cash flow problems for for the individual employer, but is probably not helping the economy at large. However, when overworked employees initiate a 10% proportional reduction of hours and wages, the overall effect is an increase in job openings (or reduction of layoffs). In addition, many of the stressed out workers would be more productive during their working days, and most importantly, they would create a day for exploring alternative entrepreneurial ideas.

I am already practicing what I’m preaching, and have doubled down, taking off every Wednesday for 80% of my former salary. My employer is happy, and I am absolutely loving it.