Lloyd Blankfein’s Advice To Interns — Relax

Lloyd Blankfein’s Advice To Interns — Relax

Lloyd Blankfein’s Advice To Interns — Relax

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:15 AM PDT

Lloyd BlankfeinAt the end of the summer, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein had a fireside chat with the bank’s head of human resources Edith Cooper for the summer analyst class. 

During that discussion, Blankfein shared his best career advice. A video of the 42-minute discussion has just been released by the investment bank.  

Blankfein also took questions from the interns who were watching globally.  They asked him about his background, how he keeps grounded and his daily routine.  

Blankfein has a well-known rags-to-riches story on Wall Street.

He grew up in the projects in east Brooklyn.  He’s the son of a postal worker and a receptionist.  

After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School, he attended Harvard.  He then received his Juris Doctor and practiced law for a while before going into banking.  

One intern based in Salt Lake City asked him how his background and upbringing has shaped his perspective of money, power and the world. 

“I read those stories. I know they’re interesting. I’m not that comfortable with the old rail splitter walking three miles to return a library book like that whole thing. I talk to kids all the time who grew up in middle class or lower conditions in countries where there was no access and somehow they had much harder scrabble lives than I had and managed to get themselves to fill out an application and got themselves into an Ivy League in the United States and on and on and on….I think it’s like a common story here and I think it makes the culture of the firm better. This is not a place that recruits entitled kids for their entitlement…By the way…there are advantages to growing up in a place with a lot of access to a lot of privileges and there are burdens to that also. And the burdens of that are the insecurity that comes from having had things more easily. That knowing the confidence with having achieved in the face of adversity should come a higher level of confidence. Whoever you are, wherever you are stationed, these are the cards you got dealt. You can’t spend your time wring your hands about it. You play the cards you have. You accept the burdens in the context of which you came from and enjoy the privileges and don’t be guilty and either one of them.”

One of the main skills Blankfein thinks the interns should have in order to be successful is that they should be a “complete person.”  

“I think you also have to be a complete person. You have to be interesting. You have to be somebody who is interesting to yourself.”

A New York-based interns asked him what he does to be complete and what he does to stay grounded.  

“I go from the top of the totem pole to the lowest guy on the totem pole just by going home so that…I strive to get to the surface of the ground. That keeps you grounded,” Blankfein joked. 

“You know you have these positions and with these positions comes enormous responsibility, too. And it has to work out. You get grounded by circumstances….When you get jobs like this, it’s not the end in itself. The goal is to be successful in the job and to be though to well and to produce a good legacy. To me, leave the place stronger than you found it. That’s the thing. That’s not an achieved by virtue of getting a title. That’s something that weighs on me like doing a good job in your job weighs on you. That also keeps you grounded.” 

Blankfein added that some people can be “haughty” about their position, but he noted that there are people from this intern group who will have very significant accomplishment and do important things for the world. 

“When I look out, I don’t see people who I have risen above. I just see people who are younger than me.”  

Blankfein was a history major in college and he loves to read biographies. 

A London office intern pointed out that in a lot of biographies the author writes about the subject’s daily routine, so he wanted to know what Blankfein does. 

“This job is pretty consuming. Last week, I mean I don’t want to tell my sad story to you. But last week I was in China, since I was so close I stopped in on Sydney on the way back, which is only 11 hours away in the wrong direction. So I spend a lot of time at this and on Saturday I go to Europe again. When I’m on the plane, you think I’m reading all those…See, people say things that are different from what they do. I tell you how I like to read this stuff. But I’ll tell you when I’m on the plane I’m reading my notes for the meetings I’m going to have.

“If you look at what I do, I go out I like to run and laugh and jump with the other boys and girls and play golf and do all those things and talk to my kids and lie on the couch. Sometimes I pray for a rainy day so I don’t feel guilty about lying on the couch is what I really want to do. But come Sunday, which it may be depending on the time of the year, the football game will be on or I’m doing it in the morning or the early evening I’m living my next week. I get big briefing books over the weekend with the meetings that I have and notes on it and who they are and they may expect that I know something and I will and I do. There’s consequence. It’s not just window dressing. I’ll get caught up. But that takes time.  And I can’t do that five minutes before I’m scheduled to see somebody because my day goes blump, blump, blump…So on Sunday I go through my week and I remind myself during the week…” 

He went on to explain that his weekends involve a lot of communication with the folks at the firm, but he still goes on about his weekend life.  He also said that a lot of his social life involves being friends with folks in the industry. 

For his parting words, he told the interns to just relax and loosen up a bit. He also shared some words of wisdom from the golf course. 

“I would say people at the age of the people in this room could also relax a little bit too. Life is very unpredictable and uncertain. It’s good to have your ears open for opportunity. You don’t really know yet what business is like or what this industry is like or that firm. You don’t really know. Importantly, you don’t know yourselves. And so I’d be a little less concerned of where I should be at this time and what kind of skills I should come out of college with…I mean, I thought by now I’d surely be on the Supreme Court having gone to Harvard Law School and practiced in a law firm. It didn’t workout that way. That exceptional situation is not the exception, it’s the rule. And so it doesn’t relieve you from the pressure of trying to get it right as soon as possible right out of the dorm room. And there will be stories of people who do, but it’s very unlikely that you will and not highly consequential if you don’t get it right right away….I would advise you all to work hard, try to get it right and be a little less anxious….

“I came to golf late, and it’s stupid, and anyone who saw me play would be really weirded out that a I use a golf metaphor because I’m so bad. But they always tell you if you hold the club tight it won’t go as far and it won’t go as straight and if you’re loose and your hands are like strings it will whip around and go faster. So less energy is actually more. Loose is better than a hard group. I think that applies to your careers and your life too. If you’re loose and comfortable, you may not only be happier you may actually be more successful if you’re so focused and tightly wound about things. So lighten up.” 

Watch the full video from Goldman Sachs >

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The Number One Whisky In Canada Is Launching In America — So We Tried It

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:15 AM PDT

JP Wiser's Rye

You don’t just run around willy-nilly trying to sell whisky to Americans.

We love our bourbon, we respect a good scotch, and there is a time and a place for Irish whisky — but it had all better be good.

So when Wiser’s, the number one whisky brand in Canada, invited Business Insider to a tasting for its U.S. launch, our response was basically… ‘bring it on, eh.’

The tasting was held last night in a private room at Charlie Bird, a new NYC restaurant that’s getting a lot of foodie love.

And the most important person in attendance was J.P. Wiser’s Master Blender Don Livermore. He’s been in the business for 17 years — Master Blender for about two. He’s also basically a real life Ron Swanson, since he holds a PhD in wood management and brewing and distillery from Heriot-Watt University in the U.K..

Wiser’s itself is one of the oldest whisky brands in Canada, founded in the mid 1800′s by J.P Wiser.

Before the Highland Clearances had Scots leaving their homes for new lands, and before the American Revolution had loyalists running for the safety of our neighbor to the north, Canadians were rum drinkers.

A number of pioneering whisky barons (like J.P. Wiser and Henry Corby, who founded the distillery where Wiser’s is made) built the industry out of nothing. The U.S. got more and more of a taste of their work when Civil War and Prohibition took their style south.

So what’s the style? There are a few things that make Canadian whiskey distinct. It’s double distilled (in copper stills), light, aged at least 3 years (4 for the U.S. market), and blended after the grains in the whiskey have been distilled.

And of course there’s rye.

“Rye is the back bone of our whiskey,” said Livermore during his lesson. “It’s our style.”

During the tasting, Livermore walked through four different kinds of Wiser’s whisky.

  • First up was J.P. Wiser’s Rye, a recipe that dates back to the 1860s. It’s your standard, caramel toffee tasting with a sweet and spicy rye kick. It’s also aged in an American bourbon barrel. To us, it tasted Christmas-like, almost — Livermore explained it as a dried fruit flavor (same difference?).
  • After that we tried J.P. Wiser’s 18 — this was Business Insider’s personal favorite. It’s light, and in the taste you’ll note hints of green apple. This whisky is aged in odl whisky barrels.
  • The next whiskey was Pike Creek. Livermore ages this whisky in port barrels, so actually, it has kind of a red wine-ish taste to it. If you like a Cabernet, you’ll probably dig this too.
  • Last up was Lot 40. “This is my pepper,” said Livermore. And indeed this is for people who enjoy a swift kick on the tongue. While the rest of the whisky’s contained a various blend of grains, Lot 40 is made of 100% rye and aged in barrels made of new wood.

Now, whisky is a very personal thing. There’s no telling what someone is going to like, but it should be said that within Wiser’s universe of whiskies there is a lot of variety in terms of taste.

More importantly, that variety is delicious.

So Livermore can consider this one brought.

SEE ALSO: The 13 Best Bourbons In America

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GOLDMAN: The 23 Best Stocks For Fat Dividends And Huge Buybacks

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:15 AM PDT

cash dollars

The Goldman Sachs research team has released its report on dividend and buyback investment strategies.

“S&P 500 companies are buying back more than 3% of market cap, 2x the pace from the 1990s, and dividends are up 50% since 2010,” writes Goldman economist Stuart Kaiser. “80% of S&P 500 is buying back stock. We expect 10% buyback and dividend growth in 2014.”

Strong corporate balance sheets, low bond yields, and low U.S. economic growth has meant that investors want companies to return more cash to shareholders via buybacks and dividends, Kaiser notes.

And over the last 20 years, S&P 500 companies with robust buyback programs have outperformed the market.

Kaiser picks out 23 top S&P 500 stocks organized by total yield.

Assurant Inc.

Ticker: AIZ

Sector: Financials

Market Cap ($B): $4.1

Buyback yield: 11.5%

Dividend yield: 2.4%

Total yield: 13.9%

Description: Assurant is an insurance company based in New York.

Source: Goldman Sachs

L-3 Communications

Ticker: LLL

Sector: Industrials

Market Cap ($B): $8.3

Buyback yield: 11.2%

Dividend yield: 2.7%

Total yield: 13.9%

Description: Shares of L3 are up almost 20% year to date.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Northrop Grumman

Ticker: NOC

Sector: Industrials

Market Cap ($B): $21.4

Buyback yield: 10.6%

Dividend yield: 3.4%

Total yield: 13.9%

Description: Shares of the aerospace company are up 40% year to date.

Source: Goldman Sachs

See the rest of the story at Business Insider


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Pinterest Gets A Widget On Telefonica’s Android Handsets, A Deal That Will Give 316M Users … (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:15 AM PDT

Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:

Pinterest Gets A Widget On Telefonica’s Android Handsets, A Deal That Will Give 316M Users Instant Access To Its Social Network  —  Pinterest is ramping up its business development with new ad units, and also with some key partnerships with third parties.  Today the company is announcing …

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Brazil to host internet governance summit next year

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:14 AM PDT

Agence France-Presse, 10/09/2013

Brazil, which has slammed massive US electronic spying on its territory, said Wednesday it would host a global summit on Internet governance in April.

President Dilma Rousseff made the announcement after conferring in Brasilia with Fadi Chehade, chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

“We have decided that Brazil will host in April 2014 an international summit of governments, industry, civil society and academia” to discuss Brazil’s suggestions for upgrading Internet security, Rousseff said on Twitter.

Read more…

Rogue Planet

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:13 AM PDT

“A team of researchers from Hawaii has announced the discovery of an “exotic young planet” that is forging its own path in the universe by not bothering to orbit around a star… The free-thinking planet, the scientists say, is 12 million years old, located just 80 light years from Earth, and sports a mass six times that of Jupiter.” (More…)

[ Source: CNET News ]

Another day, time to earn money.

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:10 AM PDT

Imagine owning a piece of Facebook from the start. Imagine Facebook was a shopping mall. Imagine Facebook was an entertainment store. Imagine Facebook was an online gaming platform. Imagine users paying for all that. Now imagine YOU receiving commission for it. UN.LIMIT.ED. Are you still there? Ok. Now educate yourself on howto realize that. Because it’s possible. A new platform is emerging.

Click: THIS LINK now.


Contact the Lord: Contact

Have the best day ever!

Servaas Schrama, Lord of the NET

On modernity and the concealment of fire

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:10 AM PDT

I’ve always been interested in the elements. Not the periodical table per se, but our ancestral understanding of the elements: earth, wind, water, and fire. Scientists tell us that earth is made up of a complex mixture of elements each with their own mass, which translates into rocks, dirt, and mountains. Fire, we are told, is nothing but a chemical process where elements re-configure and release energy in the form of heat. Looking culturally however over the past 100 years we’ve drastically changed our relationship and thus our shared sense of meaning around ‘fire’. This renegotiation of fire may explain some of the debates around climate change and the future of energy.


Fire to our ancestors seemed to have an intrinsic power to devour physical material, but also provide life-giving heat. Its no wonder that complex cultural practices then (just as  now – think bbq), revolved around fire. For example, the Aztecs performed their New Fire ceremony once every 52 years in order to stave off the end of the world. In fact, the ‘New’ Fire ceremonies were performed before the rise of the Aztec empire suggesting that the Aztecs had inherited the ceremony from much earlier civilizations of central Mexico. In these ceremonies, fire was something to both befriend and fear. A delicate balance; a duality.

Controlling fire, on one hand, is essentially what it means to be human. British primatologist Richard Wrangham in his book ‘Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human‘ argues that cooking food was an essential element in the physiological evolution of human beings. Controlling fire and using it to cook allowed humans to evolve differently than other primates. However, examples of fire’s destructive capabilities extend throughout human history. Most famously is the case of the Ancient Library of Alexandria. In its time, it was one of the largest and most significant libraries of antiquity. It was a major center for scholarship since its creation in the 3rd century with collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied. The library famously burned, resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books, and has become a symbol of the destruction of cultural knowledge. Incalculable amounts of knowledge kept on papyrus scrolls and books lost in an instant. What is more, nearly every major world city has been at one point ravaged by fire. The frequency of its power to both benefit and destroy kept constant in the minds of humans through the ages.


Today, the reality and duality of fire is being renegotiated. Nowhere is this more clear than the climate debates. Technological developments and efficiency gains over the past 100 years have allowed humans to burn fossil fuels at a rate unimaginable only a few generations ago. The amount of energy created unleashes many and more of us from natural, spatial limits; we no longer depend on burning biomass created recently, but eons of biomass since the Earth was made. New industries and professions are made possible, and economic growth, if shared quasi-equally, has led to prosperous societies. Yet, unintentionally burning fossil fuels is very likely to be leading to a changing climate by disrupting the carbon cycle. Greenhouse gases trap heat, warming the planet. Rather than Alexandria alone burning, the planet is warming and the consequences may be globally devastating.

Taking a step back, what differs between our prehistoric relationship with fire and today is that we may have blindly overemphasized the positives of fire while forgetting or ignoring the devastating power it wields. But how did this happen?

I believe that twentieth century modernity was essentially about the control and the concealment of fire. Firstly, by believing we had fully controlled the power of fire and mitigated or reduced its destructive consequences, we believed that we have finally freed ourselves from worldly boundaries. Rockets to the moon! Secondly, modernity is about the systematic concealment of fire away from public perception and comprehension. In his book Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930, Hughes explains how prior to the 1920s, Edison direct-current systems were characterized by small generators that were housed in dispersed locations. From about 1890 until World War I, the major electric power utilities concentrated on supplying the most heavily populated and industrialized urban centers by creating the vision of a ‘universal system’ of supply. The universal system aimed at interconnecting characteristics of many independent and heterogeneous power stations. In short, the story of our modern fossil fuel energy system is how we moved from a decentralized, regionally based energy supply towards a modern, centralized system where fossil fuels are extracted faraway, traded, and combusted in gigantic power plants on the outskirts of everything. Too distance, too large of an operation  for any one individual to sensually grasp. With fewer and less devastating outbreaks of devastating fire, little reminds us of society’s reliance on it. In the matter of a generation, the benefits of electric light were realized, fire was concealed, and the destructive power of fire forgotten.

What is more curious is that many people today do have close interactions with fire on a daily basis, though like electricity production, they go unnoticed. The daily commute, trip to the market, or long summer road trip by automobile all rely on fire. Yet, fire here too is concealed and internalized with the advent of the internal combustion engine. Thus, our primeval experience with fire has been limited to a flick of the switch or a turn of key – departed from our consciousness. Only the family’s outdoor grill sparks a remembrance of fire, though clearly in a protected area.

In fact, the culturally produced forgetfulness of fire may explain why some peoples have such a palpable aversion to renewable and nuclear energy. Unlike fire, something we have experience with controlling and concealing, renewable energy is free and flexible and highly visible on landscapes. So called Nimbies (Not in my backyard) is a characterization of people in opposition to a proposals for a new development because it is close and visible to them, often with the connotation that such residents believe that the developments are needed in society but should be further away. The newness they experience and rally against is the uncontrollability and visibility of renewable energy, which is the opposite of our control and concealment of fire. Nuclear energy differs as it creates energy without the use of fire rather tearing apart atoms and using the residual heat to create steam and turn turbines. Psychologically, nuclear energy parallels with concepts of control and concealment of fire but differs largely in the perception of risk, control and consequences of nuclear failure.

Looking forward, humans will be always faced with the duality of fire. We would be wise to rebalanced our understanding and reverence of it.

Angel Ed at Mass Innovation Night 55

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:09 AM PDT

Bobbie Carlton’s Mass Innovation Night is always a good time for those who want to a sneak peek on the newest innovations, and last night was no exception. Angel Ed had the pleasure of showcasing their launched product to over 150 people ranging from students to VC’s.

Spin the wheel or Angel Ed?

Spin the wheel or Angel Ed?

The night began with guests mingling with showcasing entrepreneurs, while enjoying delicious food and drink in VMware’s modern-chic offices in Kendal Sq. It was a healthy mix of tech-centric, mission oriented, and product based companies which meant everyone could find a model to get behind.

As is Mass Inno tradition, four companies elected by the people present to attendees. Each company got five minutes to wow the crowd and share their innovations and sustainability, as well as field two questions. Presenting companies included EdTrips, Sbscri.be, BeeInPlay, and Gift Putter.

To Join Angel Ed!

To Join Angel Ed!

Angel Ed drew in quite the crowd, and even though they didn’t get to present, there was overwhelming support for the progress made towards debt-free and employable education. The people cast their votes in Angel Ed’s favor, who walked out with 2000 miles, courtesy of American Airlines.

We can’t recommend Mass Inno nights enough, both as a participant and as a guest. If you want to get involved – follow them on Twitter @MassInno and get on their mailing list.

Stocks Are Going Bananas As The Default Crisis Is Being Defused

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:05 AM PDT

alcoa aluminum obama american flag

Markets are surging today.

The Dow is up 230 points. The S&P 500 is up 27 points. Both rallies represent 1.6% gains for the day.

“It looks like House Republicans are preparing to move a short-term debt ceiling increase that would provide a framework for negotiations with President Barack Obama,” reported BI’s Brett Logiurato.

House Speaker John Boehner is expected to seek support for a six-week extension to the debt ceiling.

This news has been crushing Treasury bills.

The impending October 17 debt ceiling and potential default by the U.S. was arguably the biggest near-term uncertainty to the markets.

“Among the risks that we control, the biggest threat to sustained growth in our economy is the recurrence of manufactured crises in Washington and self-inflicted wounds,” said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to the Senate Finance Committee this morning.  “Unfortunately, we now face a manufactured political crisis that is beginning to deliver an unnecessary blow to our economy – right at a time when the U.S. economy and the American people have painstakingly fought back from the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

With the risk receding, investors appear to be increasingly willing to take more risk.

SEE ALSO: The Most Important Charts In The World

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Twitter’s new parrot

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:03 AM PDT

Today I was made aware of Event Parrot, a new Twitter “experiment” account where, if you follow it, you will receive various DMs with information and links that may be of interest to you, gauged by what you have tweeted previously and presumably, the other accounts you follow, who follows you and what you’ve ‘favorited’ and re-tweeted. So, I followed the account to see what it would be like.


So far it’s a bit underwhelming. Obviously it’s in its early stages and is just an experiment so the creases are being ironed out. I received one DM relating to Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I had tweeted about her and she was trending worldwide so that was an easy one for this old parrot to cop on to. I also tweeted about Lenovo possibly making a takeover bid of HTC so I was expecting some DM about that or related to smartphones or laptops (or just tech in general) to land in my inbox, but nothing.

alice munro tweet- event parrot

Clicking into Discover is a useful way of finding new tweets that match your interests (and of course checking what’s trending) so it seems like Event Parrot is sort of mimicking Discover but making it more personal with a DM. I imagine that it will become more and more intuitive in the coming weeks and send potentially new info to you, instead of essentially the same stuff that you just tweeted like the Alice Munro message. I’ll be keeping an eye on this anyway.

That’s easy for you to say

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:01 AM PDT

In the late 80′s, the company where I worked had a “Word Processing” department.  It only lasted a couple of years, which I thought was unfortunate, because they were very effective for me.

Here’s the way they envisioned their department working.  The client (that’s me) would receive a small, hand held, dictation unit with micro-cassettes.  The client then dictated one or more ‘documents’, such as personnel evaluations, software documentation, or white paper proposals.  The micro-cassette was then inter-officed (or in my case, just dropped into the in box.  They were in the same building as I.)  The word processor, armed with her (I never saw any hims) cassette player, headset and foot pedals (go, rewind) and her PC with Word Perfect software, typed what had been dictated.  The draft would then be printed and returned to the client, who then got his/her red pen out and corrected typos, reworded sentences, etc.  The marked up sheet would be returned to the department, where the changes were made and a new draft/finished document would be returned to the client, where the revised document could be marked up again if needed, or used if complete.

This was my spin on the process.  Being a computer savvy manager, with a PC and Word Perfect, and proficient in their use, would request the Word Perfect file.  They would send that to me on a 5¼” diskette.  I then loaded it into my computer and edited the document to my satisfaction.  Understandably, the technical jargon I used might not be recognized by the processor, and I would reword awkward sentences and the like.

On the whole, however, this was a very effective process for me.  I could dictate several PEs while on a 45 minute walk (actual case), and the next day ‘fix’ those PEs in a 45 minute editing session on my computer.  The processor had done the “heavy lifting” of the typing, certainly she could type much faster (and with less mis-keys) than I could.  But more importantly, dictating helped me avoid writer’s block.  When dictating, I could just start talking, knowing full well that I could move whole paragraphs from the beginning to the end, reword sentences, and the like.  Because of the two factors, I accomplished in half an hour (15 minutes dictating, 15 minutes later editing), what would otherwise take me 3 or more hours.  I know my estimates are reasonable since I had to do PEs the hard way a few years later when they closed the department :-(

Though I usually grimace when someone uses the phrase “the good, old days”, this was one case where I think it might apply.  I certainly looked for alternatives to typing it all out myself.

Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking software sure looked enticing.  They claimed that their system could take dictation through the computer microphone and type what was said directly into a text editor such as Notepad or a word processor such MS Word.  So enticing in fact, that I purchased the software twice.  Never worked for me.  The first purchase was quite a while ago, perhaps in the early 90′s.  The software ‘worked’, in the sense it installed and could hear me speaking into the mike.  But about 50% of what it typed was gibberish.  The documentation suggested more training (reading in a script provided by Nuance.  The software recorded how one’s particular voice sounded with each of the expected words/phrases.)  I did way more ‘training’ than dictation, in fact, I don’t recall ever successfully dictating any document.  They also suggested getting a better microphone, which I did.  Still no luck.

The dream never went away.  Sometime in 2007 or 2008 I purchased version 9 of the same software, installed it on my newer, much faster computer hoping for better results.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…

Nothing really different.  So I had my wife try it out.  Immediately, without training, it began typing what she said, almost perfectly.  My wife does have a lovely voice, and it sounds very nice on the phone, seriously.  But, of course, this doesn’t help me get my work done.  So I tossed the DVDs into the DVD pile, vowing to never buy that stuff again.

A few days ago, while looking for something else, I found the Nuance DVDs.  What the heck, I thought, I’ll give them a try again.  This time I’m installing them on Windows 7 64 bit system.  It won’t even install!  That strikes me as a way to ‘encourage’ users to upgrade, since Windows 7 certainly runs 32 bit programs.  I fumed.  Then I recalled my netbook is running Windows 7 32 bit.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a DVD drive!  But with considerable finagling (sharing the DVD drive from my other computer, etc.) I got it installed.  Then I tried it out.  SOS. (Same old stuff.   What did you think?)

I certainly won’t be buying any more dictation software without a successful trial first.  I’ll still fool around with my netbook.  After a training episode, I listened to my monologue.  There was a rather loud hum, i.e. too much noise.  My netbook was plugged into the power supply, certainly plausible source of electronic noise.  I’ll try it out running on battery.  But I’m betting still no go.

Until tomorrow…

TV-over-Internet service Aereo to come to Android

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:00 AM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Aereo, a service that delivers broadcast television stations over the Internet, will come to Android devices on Oct. 22.

The service started on iPhones and other Apple devices along with the Roku streaming box before expanding to personal computers. The company says that the Android offering took longer because of the many versions of Android available. Device makers are able to customize the version made by Google. Aereo says its Android app will run on phones and tablets with Android 4.2 or higher. It will be in a beta test mode at first.

Aereo is currently available in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston and Dallas. Service starts at $8 a month.

Aereo has won key court rulings against broadcasters who claim its service infringes copyrights.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

7 New Rules For Writing The Perfect Cover Letter

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:00 AM PDT

cover letter

It used to be that your cover letter was all about you. But things have changed.

The modern cover letter should focus first and foremost on the company it’s directed to, career experts say. Gone are the days where you could spend a few paragraphs detailing your own accomplishments. Today, you also need to demonstrate a genuine interest in the company and prove you know how to help it.

People need to focus their cover letters on the company they’re applying to, not on themselves,” says Dan Schawbel, author of best-selling book “Promote Yourself” and managing partner of consultancy Millennial Branding. “Show how you can make a difference for that company.”

That’s easier said than done, especially when you’re trying to distinguish yourself among dozens or hundreds of other applicants. Below, career experts weigh in on the new essential guidelines to writing a successful cover letter.

1. Keep your letter short enough for someone to read in 10 seconds. 

Three paragraphs is the ideal length, says Vicki Salemi, a career expert and author of “Big Career in the Big City.” Use the first paragraph as an intro, the second for the meat, and the third to wrap up. The hiring manager giving a first read to your letter is probably going to spend 10 seconds or less on it, Salemi adds. They want to read something succinct.

2. Hook your reader’s interest in the first sentence. 

“It is with great interest that I write to apply for the position of…” is a great first line if you want to lose your reader’s interest. It’s dreadfully boring. Assuming you applied to the job online, the hiring manager already knows what the position is and that you’re writing to apply. Instead, try a professional but bold statement that catches the reader’s eye. Salemi suggests opening with a pitch, such as: “Looking for a dynamic marketing guru? Look no further. Here I am.”

3. Pick two or three skills from the job description and show you have them. 

Read the job description carefully and identify the top two or three qualities the company wants in a candidate, Salemi says. Then use your cover letter to demonstrate you have those skills, giving examples of when and how you’ve used them in the past. Show that you’re equipped to make a difference from day one.

4. Use numbers and statistics to back up your claims. 

It’s good to say you’re experienced with social media. But it’s much, much better to say you led a successful social media campaign that generated 3.2 million followers and increased revenue by 3%. The goal, Schawbel says, is to present yourself as a proven results-getter and show that you can replicate your past successes at a new company. 

4. Don’t just rehash your résumé in paragraph form.

The cover letter is designed to showcase your interest in the company and your best attributes for the position. That doesn’t mean it needs an itemized list of your every job and achievement. To be sure, if you won an exceptional award or executed a stunning project, then make sure to highlight it in the letter. You should also discuss previous work that relates specifically to skills and experiences the hiring manager is looking for. But as a general rule of thumb, if it doesn’t jump off the page, leave it out. 

5. Address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager or recruiter. 

Nothing says “I don’t care about your company” like an opening of “To Whom It May Concern.” That may have been OK before the advent of modern technology, but today it generally takes as little as a Google search or a phone call to figure out the name of the hiring manager. Addressing your letter to the correct person (and spelling their name correctly!) will automatically ingratiate you to the reader and show that you’ve spent some time researching the company and position.

6. Customize your tone for the company culture.

You might be applying to a Fortune 500 company, a startup, or something in the middle. No two companies are alike, not just in mission but also in culture. An important part of tailoring your cover letter to the company is striking the right tone, Schawbel says. If you know the place you’re applying to has a casual vibe, then your letter can reflect that with pithy sentences and fun anecdotes that show an easygoing side of your personality. On the other hand, if the company seems to have a formal culture, it’s probably best to use traditional phrases like “Dear Mr./Ms.” and straightforward prose. 

7. Proofread carefully, and consider getting a second pair of eyes. 

How you absolutely don’t want to be remembered is as the person that submitted the sloppy cover letter. So proof, proof, and proof again, or enlist a friend to look at your document with a fresh set of eyes. A typo, grammar mistake, misspelling, or other error can “leap off the page in a bad way,” Salemi says, and is the easiest way to let a hiring manager knock your application straight from their desk to the trash bin. Don’t give them the chance.

What are your most pressing workplace challenges or concerns? What questions do you have on how to get ahead in your career today? Email the Business Insider Careers team at careers@businessinsider.com, and we’ll find the answers.

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Neurons Could Outlive the Bodies That Contain Them

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:00 AM PDT

Most of your body is younger than you are. The cells on the topmost layer of your skin are around two weeks old, and soon to die. Your oldest red blood cells are around four months old. Your liver’s cells will live for around 10 to 17 months old before being replaced. All across your organs, cells are being produced and destroyed. They have an expiry date.

In your brain, it’s a different story. New neurons are made in just two parts of the brain—the hippocampus, involved in memory and navigation, and the olfactory bulb, involved in smell (and even then only until 18 months of age). Aside from that, your neurons are as old as you are and will last you for the rest of your life. They don’t divide, and there’s no turnover.

But do neurons have a maximum lifespan, just like skin, blood or liver cells? Yes, obviously, they die when you die, but what if you kept on living? That’s not a far-fetched question at a time when medical and technological advances promise to prolong our lives well past their usual boundaries. Would we reach a point when our neurons give up before our bodies do?

Image above: Stainless steel sculpture “Neuron” by Roxy Paine. Outside the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Excerpt from an article written by Ed Yong at NATGEO. Continue THERE

Here Come Today’s Gallup Numbers…

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:00 AM PDT

Barack Obama

We’re bringing back an old, election-era tradition here at Business Insider.

At 1 p.m. ET, Gallup will be releasing the “Gallup Daily,” its latest three-day averages on trends in the economy and in the political world.

We’ll be looking specifically at President Barack Obama’s approval rating and Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, which earlier this week saw its biggest plunge since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

There were signs of potential breakthrough in Washington on Thursday, as House Republicans are prepared to extend the nation’s ability to borrow to pay its bills for six weeks. But their bill would do nothing to end the standoff on the government shutdown, which entered its 10th day on Thursday.

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CA-CHING! Amazon Wins Court Battle With IBM To Build A $600 Million Game-Changing Cloud For The CIA (AMZN, IBM)

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:00 AM PDT

jeff bezos

In the legal fight between IBM and Amazon to build a private cloud for the CIA, Amazon has emerged the winner.

Earlier this week, a judge for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled that Amazon can immediately resume work on the project. That’s a contract worth up to $600 million over 10 years, Federal Computer Week’s Frank Konkel reports.

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision and look forward to resuming our work on this important contract with our customer,” an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider.

This is Amazon’s first-ever “private” cloud and a real game changer in a fledgling market that’s already generating about $131 billion this year and growing 47%, market research firm Gartner says.

All the big enterprise IT companies are pursuing the cloud: IBM, HP, Citrix, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, Oracle, VMware, etc. They want to snag lots of enterprise cloud customers. They view it as a big opportunity for growth.

Amazon’s cloud, called Amazon Web Services (AWS), is the biggest player in the cloud market market by far. AWS, has more than five times the combined capacity of its next 14 rivals, according to market research group Gartner.

But, until this contract, it only provided “public” cloud services, meaning its users shared Amazon’s data center.

This CIA contract is for a “private” cloud, meaning Amazon will build a cloud in the CIA’s own data center that’s not shared with others. 

IBM, which had put in a competitive bid, protested the CIA contract. From court documents we learned that Amazon’s bid was a whopping $54 million higher than IBM’s, but the CIA chose Amazon because it thought its tech was better.

Many of Amazon’s competitors have been offering private clouds as a way to lure enterprise customers away from AWS. They position their tech as more secure and reliable than Amazon. But other enterprises now know that Amazon’s tech is secure and reliable enough for the CIA, which has a very high standard.

This contract also means Amazon is ready to compete for big private cloud contracts. That’s not good news for its competitors either.

With so much at stake, IBM may not be giving up the legal battle. It may try to appeal this judge’s decision, FCW’s Konkel reports. We’ve reached out to IBM for comment.

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Christian-Owned Forever 21 Is Selling An Ayn Rand Shirt

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 10:00 AM PDT

Ayn Rand fans are incredulous about this t-shirt from retailer Forever 21. 

The shirt reads: “The questions isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me. -Ayn Rand”  

“The quote refers to Rand’s capitalist-based theory of objectivism — that the moral purpose of life is rational self interest — a concept we highly doubt is taught in high school classrooms or discussed among teen lunchroom conversations,” writes Courtney Subramanian at Time. “And it’s not much of a theory to stand by for an age group that still financially relies on their parents.”

This tweet, by Think Progress editor Judd Legum, also mocks the shirt: 

Forever 21 is a great place for affordable, objectivist fashion (via @ellievhall) pic.twitter.com/JzVwHj0fQc

— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 10, 2013

Forever 21 is famously owned by Christians, while Rand was a staunch Atheist. 

The shirt sells for $11.80. 

SEE ALSO: 10 Awesome Free Things That Hardly Anyone Knows About

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O Canada.

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 09:57 AM PDT

healthcare.gov canada
When President Obama wants to waste a billion dollars designing the Healthcare.gov website, he doesn’t spend it on hiring American software engineers. He subs it out to Canadian firm CGI. This is a job we should have kept in-house. Not only because we have so many unemployed Americans, but also because of the sensitive private details consumers are being forced to give on this website.

We now see what Obama’s excellent Canadian adventure has given us. A piece of shit broken website. It was supposed to only cost $90 million, but at last count approached $650m. That is before this last week when we had to hire even more sub contractors and pay them overtime to fix the mistakes. Which means the Affordable Care Act is already half a billion in the red before its official start in January. President Obama said he wouldn’t sign the act if it added one cent to our deficit. This fuck-up is a clear indication of things to come. President Obama needs to do the responsible thing and pull the plug on this failure.

A computerized beer machine takes the legwork out of home-brewing – CNN.com

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 09:56 AM PDT

Founder Interview: Nirinjan Yee, President and Founder of BreathResearch

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 09:56 AM PDT

Nirinjan Yee, President and Founder of BreathResearch started her company after a series of experiences dating back to 25 years ago. An active outdoor enthusiast, Nirinjan was diagnosed with late stage lime disease. For a couple of years, she became partially paralyzed and her joints were swollen to the point where she couldn’t walk. A blood test showed that she had one of the worst cases of lime disease in Northern California. While being treated with IV antibiotics, unable to move and being told by the medical community that it was too late for her to fully recover, she discovered the art and science of breathing. After practicing for 3-4 hours a day, Nirinjan started to get better, feel less pain and finally was able to fully move again.

Now Nirinjan is back to being super active, hiking, dancing and cycling. She wants to show other people that while breathing is very personal and subjective, it is undeniably linked to your physiology and anatomy. She began a 10 year study on respiratory health, using audio to record and study breathing. Nirinjan found the right engineers to work with and they mapped out a way to turn the quiet sound of breathing into data and metrics, turning their work into the downloadable MyBreath app.

She is now creating a BreathAcoustics All-in-One Headset that combines her current research and development with a new, more exact breath training headset. I asked Nirinjan a few questions about her newest venture.

How does barometric pressure and altitude help form a picture of health?

“Our breath changes with altitude and it is important to measure our environment. People with chronic illnesses will say it is a ‘low pressure day,’ or they’re depressed or achy based on the weather. Breathing and heart rate is connected to our physical and emotional health as well.”

Who do you see using this? Do you have a target audience in mind?

“The goal of the headset is to bring breathing, stress reduction, and the ability to optimize our fitness all in one place. The headset is targeted to consumers who want to incrementally improve their health and fitness, de-stress, and get the most out of their exercise. The headset is also targeted towards athletes who are taking their health and fitness to the next level in their training. The headset can track breathing and heart rate to determine training zones and create customized exercise plans. The headset will be first available for consumer use, while we conduct further studies to take it to the FDA.”

When will the first roll out be?

While it could be sooner, Nirinjan is focused on making the best product possible. The release is targeted for the end of 2014.

What would you like people to know about your vision and the product?

Nirinjan is a designer at heart. She has a strong aesthetic desire to create a company that makes devices that are truly wearable. Her goal is to make products that not only look and feel good, but are high tech and performance driven. As Nirinjan states, “We take breathing for granted, you are either okay or you are not okay. I want to bring all the information that can be mined from regular, daily breathing and make it accessible and easy to understand for people. Breathing is at the very center of our physical and mental health.”

Been a While… Settled on WordPress After Frustrations Over Blogger

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 09:55 AM PDT

I have done a lot of reading on the benefits of different blogging platforms. One thing Blogger needs to do is make it easier to have multi-functional menus. So many views on the pros and cons of dropdowns. I personally like them. I also need them.  Were is not for my need of dropdowns, I would have left WordPress. I find WordPress cumbersome and not as user friendly as it should or could be.

I will write more later. For now, it is nice to have settled on the blogging platform. Maybe, just maybe it is a reflection of the inner transformation that is taking place within me. Maybe… We need to interact with the dynamic tensions of life and not be overcome by them. It is so easy to cave in under pressure, whether self inflicted or through the oppression of others. I am reminded of the words of Paul in Ephesians 6: “Stand, and after having done all, stand.”  OK, I am standing!

It also reminds me of one of my heroes, Martin Luther, who faced with excomunication, possible trial for heresy, and possibly execution if tried and found guilty, found the courage to heed the words of Paul, to stand, convinced that he was standing firmly on the words of sacred scripture, and his conscience, he stood, and could do no other. That does’t compare my struggle about blogging platforms, but it does settle a matter for me.

Luther was very cool under pressure. He was torn and tormented within for he sought to see the church reformed. As all reformers have stated, the church is reformed and reforming, and it never ceases to be reformed. I am glad to be in the same company of Christian believers who have put their trust in Jesus building His Church, and His leading and shaping what the Church will look in our own day.  We cannot remain cemented and entrenched in our old ways and patterns. Transformation from within us leads to outward reformation. It is an ongoing cycle of change. That is what we celebrate this month as we near Reformation Day.

43.448611 -80.569053

Greenwald wants Brazil to give Snowden asylum

Posted: 10 Oct 2013 09:55 AM PDT

Al Jazeera, 10/09/2013

The US journalist who broke the first stories about the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) global spying programme has asked Brazilian senators to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Glenn Greenwald spoke on Wednesday to senators investigating reports about US, British and Canadian spying on Latin America’s largest nation.

When the senators pushed him to provide the Brazilian government access to the leaked documents at his disposal, Greenwald balked and said there should always be strict separation between governments and journalists.

Read more…

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