Attributes of Successful People

Posted by one of my friends on LinkedIn .. Attributes of Successful People

Successful people:

  • Have a sense of gratitude
  • Compliment others
  • Forgive
  • Give others appropriate credit for victories
  • Read everyday
  • Share information and ideas
  • Embrace change
  • Keep a to-do and/or project list
  • Set goals and develop life plans
  • Continuously learn
  • Keep a journal
  • Accept responsibility for their failures
  • Operate from a transformational perspective

How to get a standing ovation

In HP Enterprise Security Products conferences, there are many presentations made by System Engineers, Customers, Product Development types.  Sridhar Karnam gave some excellent advice on how to get a standing ovation for your presentation.  I’ve saved his posting here:

In many surveys conducted people have chosen to jump off the building rather than face the crowd for public speaking. As I am typing these sitting in my cube and not facing people trust me with these tips, you WILL get a standing ovation at HP Protect or HP Discover events whether you are delivering breakout sessions or technical talks such as turbo talks.

My top 10 tips that will help you get the standing ovation:

  1. Number of slides: Divide the number of minutes by 2 and that is the number of slides you need to prepare. For instance, a 45 min breakout session would need a maximum of 22 slides and a 25-minute turbo talk would need a maximum of 12 slides
  2. Structure your story/ not content: Do not worry about adding too much content on the slides. You deliver the content. Use PPT only as a pointer not as a newspaper. This of your presentation as car driving and PPT as a GPS device. Use it to navigate, but you will drive the car to your destination
  3. Images/ graphics: Text is meant to be heard, and visuals are meant to be seen. People usually read faster than you if it is on slides. So, use PPT to put bullets and images, but have texts in the notes section so that you can still refer to notes when you need
  4. Entertain and storytelling: Even if you are presenting the advanced deep dive technical topic, make sure to entertain your audience with examples, use cases, results, and benefits. Always have a story. People can read story later, but they are in your room to listen to your side of the story
  5. Know your audience: Understand your audience. Start with a poll or few questions so that they know you and you know them. Ask them questions (quiz) in your presentation to make sure they are engaged and they interact with you
  6. Start with your Story: Who are you? People want to connect with you as a person before they want to hear your content. Spend a minute or two giving them your story and connect with audience personally. Tell a funny story (not a sad one). Also do not overdo it. Limit your story to 2-3 minutes max.
  7. Show & Tell: It is better to show than tell. Giving demo in the middle of presentation may be a lot of work. However, you can always embed 2-3 min videos in your PPT. At least create a screen shot storyboard if you don’t have video demos. Change of pace from slides to images to videos keep your audience engaged
  8. HP brand: Stick to branding requirement. You are a brand ambassador for HP. What you say or show becomes what HP thinks or shows. Use proper logos, messages, images, color, templates, and be a brand promoter
  9. No Architecture/ marchitecture diagrams: Avoid rectangles, arrow marks and abbreviations of words to showcase marchitecture. There will always be 10-20% of the people who have no idea of what those abbreviations are.
  10. Practice: Practice until you get it right. Record, look in the mirror, screen shot with voice recording, do whatever it takes to provide your best foot forward.

Good luck and go get the standing ovation…

Memories of Daniel Lawrence’s 3301 Westland Drive

Most realestate agents will tell you “buyer beware” .. certainly true purchasing property and used cars. Even the Romans knew this “caveat emptor”. So when we arrived new to town looking for a place to rent, it’s too bad the rental market was quite hot so there was really not much to choose from. After looking at over 50 places with our amazing realtor, we finally decided to sign a lease for 3301A Westland Dr. Now some opinions were it was the best of the worst, but we were actually quite happy to rent it at the time .. seemed like a nice enough place and we were under an immovable deadline.

Probably due to the unfortunate drainage issues at the front door area, but during the first couple of months there were quite a few spiders and other small bugs we found, I just thought that was relatively normal .. until the cockroaches started showing up. The first one was a bit of a surprise since the very attentive landlord indicated he had a pesticide treatment applied in January –  shouldn’t be due for another touch up for another six months … right? Well, at least it was dead when we found it. So when the other cockroaches started showing up alive, we started getting a bit concerned. To the landlord’s credit, he got right on the cockroach problem and was caulking any cracks or holes the buggers could be climbing in through. Easy enough since the landlord lives right next door.  Not the best if you’re a college student, but as mature adults, no problem.  No matter, we actually got quite proficient at dealing with the next four or five we found.

Hopefully the extremely loud furnace has been updated and it’s housing ripped out and upgraded .. even if to get rid of the mold found under the furnace that obviously wasn’t picked up in the home inspection.  When we looked at the unit, of course the furnace/AC wasn’t running so it sounded nice and quiet .. it wasn’t until much later when laying in bed in the master bedroom we realized just how noisy the HVAC was.

On to the next adventure .. with the bottom seal of the master shower completely decaying, with a strong mold odor that lead us to believe there may be water damage behind the wall, good lord, more mold?  Being good tenants, we agreed to remove the caulking for the landlord .. in hindsight we should have left that for him, since it appeared the mold was deeper than the surface.  Again yuck.

We certainly found the PitStop behind the house to be very convenient to have our annual vehicle inspections done, and really didn’t think much of a car repair shop located right behind us, since they would be quiet at night when we’re home, right? Oh, yes, that’s assuming they didn’t start work at 5:30-6:00am .. including air power tools. The worst was the schedule on which the industrial trash bins are emptied .. you can set your watch to it on Tuesday and Friday at 2:45am, but I have to admit there were a few nights I was tired enough I slept through the weekly cycle.

With the landlord living right next door, it was very convenient to discuss the state of his property, which we quite enjoyed. There are advantages to having a very involved landlord .. he certainly stayed on top of what he could.

Although there was a beautiful vine growing at the front of the house, they are often quite invasive, this one being no exception .. into the gutter drains, even the eves under the roof. Having the good fortune to have some good landscapers, they started the huge task of cleaning out the vine. So imagine the surprise when the landscapers came aross a garden snake as they are finally digging out the vine. Not a poisonous little guy, so No harm, no foul!

Well, the day eventually came when we had to move out, so caveat emptor part: beware when you move out to take pictures of the walls, hallways, etc. as the land lord did charge us for repairing nail holes in the walls … according to the Texas landlord / tenant act, damages cannot be charged to “normal wear and tear”.  Even though he did not have paint for us to use to patch and paint over larger mounting holes that had been put in the walls for mounting mirrors and such, we selected paint chips to get a good match, got the landlord’s approval with the color, bought the paint and then he charged us for having some areas repainted.  May be an area of mutual disagreement, but just be careful since he sets the bar pretty high.

Moving to a new place closer to downtown was nice, but we sure miss the walking distance to Red’s Porch, Kerbey Lane and Torchies.. nuf said.  We won’t complain, since we’re within walking distance to Maria’s Taco Express and Black Sheep Lodge – and with no landlord .. so it worked out even though we had to buy out our lease.

Reputation and Success Formulas

Your reputation is built from not only what you do but also how you do it and the level of knowledge others have about what you’ve done.

Reputation = Accomplishments x Communication x Attitude

Your probability of success on any endeavor can be calculated by ranking the following elements 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = high) ..

Motivation  1-10

Belief  1-10

Effort  1-10

% probability of success = ( (M + B) x E ) / 200

In other words if Motivation = 10, Belief = 10 and Effort = 10, probability of success = 100%

Drive for Meaning

Sometimes staying motivated in any particular role for a long time can be tough. In the information security world, the upsides include proactive customers that take protecting their company values, mission and intellectual property (shareholder value) seriously. The downside includes prospects that are completely clueless about the risks they face. Some very wise investors whos advice I follow say when evaluating a company to invest in, there are four M’s that potential shareholders should pay attention to: Meaning, Management, Moat, and Margin. The company has to do something that resonates with you, they need to have skilled management that has shareholder value in mind (they aren’t traitors that spend shareholder owned money for their own luxury or enrichment), they need to have some inherent competitive differentiator, and finally they need to have a current valuation that gives prospective shareholders a return on their investment.

Equally, to stay motivated in a role, individuals need a sense of accomplishment. Paul G gave a great synopsis of this by condensing it down to four key attributes that any role has to have to provide an individual with the motivation to do great things: Compensation, Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery. It’s been proven that money is not an effective motivator by itself .. an example being the difference between a cash payout versus some meaningful memory.  If an individual receives $5,000 in bonus money, although it’s appreciated and goes to some purpose, three months later, it’s difficult to recall exactly what that money was spent on.  Where that same individual receives an equivilent value item (prehaps a mountain bike or a trip to a vacation spot), three months later, the reward is still very tangible. Purpose, autonomy and mastery are all needed to give an individual the tools and space to make a tangible difference, where it may be difficult, if not impossible, for them to make a lasting difference without all three attributes.

The parallel between these two sets of concepts is clear: a company needs individuals that are motivated to be the best at what they do and compete for the win better than our competitors.  Individuals need a company that will not only provide these motivational tools, but has the capability to do so.  For a company that is not managed well, doesn’t have a competitve offering, or is under capitalized, they won’t be able to attract and retain the best individuals that they need to win and thrive.

With any major change, such as starting another degree, changing jobs or moving cities, things can be overwhelming. It takes every ounce of strength and stick-to-it-tivness to navigate these changes and focus on the end goal.  Finding ways to motivate yourself can be challenging when faced with the overwhelming task of taking on that degree or life change. Just like strength training in any fitness program, one fantastic outcome of these challenging circumstances is the realization that we can do it .. and that new strength is our new norm.

Al’s Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list. Some are written down, some are just in the person’s head. Sometimes it’s just a list of really interesting stuff you’ve done. This is kind of both for me. To get the creative juices flowing, I have both stuff I’ve done and stuff I want to do on here .. in no particular order. Maybe I should put some pictures in here some day too.

Live in a different city
Become a minister to officiate a wedding
Get a Masters degree
Take up mountain biking .. learn to ride technically challenging terrain

Learn how to pick a lock
Hike Mount Kilimanjaro
Learn how to swim laps
Re-learn how to shoot a pistol and how to handle a gun
Dive off Belize, Bonaire, Curaco, Great Barrier Reef, Mediterranean
Learn how to roll sushi
Become proficient in Spanish .. spoken and reading
Run a half marathon
Go bare boat sailing

Austin Pics

Here’s the start of a few pics from Austin that are either Al’s or Amanda’s favs.

Texas capitol building in Austin

Austin Java

Al's fav .. Austin and Apple

Fantastic Food almost for Free

Neat sayings

  • Are you where you want to be?
  • Are you who you want to be?
  • The getting lost was worth the coming home.  :-)
  • What I fear, I can create.  We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.


  • 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  CIA moto

How to give and receive feedback

From HP headlines:

Imagine setting out on a journey without a map and signposts. That’s what it would be like if you tried to do your job without feedback from customers, partners, members of your team, and other key stakeholders, said Piau-Phang (PP) Foo, managing director and senior vice president of Global Sales, Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), in a recent Leading Ideas webcast.

Feedback can be a powerful tool to foster learning and drive better performance. “When executed well and on a consistent basis, it helps get people on track,” said Foo. “It serves as a guide to assist people to know how they are doing and how others perceive their performance.”

Ten tips for receiving feedback and five tips for giving feedback.

Continue reading

Deep in the Heart of Texas

The stars at night are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas
The prairie sky is wide and high
Deep in the heart of Texas

The sage in bloom is like perfume
Deep in the heart of Texas
Reminds me of the one that I love
Deep in the heart of Texas

The coyotes wail along the trail
Deep in the heart of Texas
The rabbits rush around the brush
Deep in the heart of Texas

The cowboys cry, “Ki yippee yi!”
Deep in the heart of Texas
The dogies bawl and bawl and bawl
Deep in the heart of Texas

The stars at night are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas
The prairie sky is wide and high
Deep in the heart of Texas

The 1941 “Deep in the Heart of Texas” song features lyrics by June Hershey and music by Don Swander. The song was recorded by Perry Como withTed Weems and His Orchestra on December 9 of that year for Decca Recordsin Los Angeles, California. It was a single release on the flip side of the song “Ollie Ollie Out’s In Free.” “Deep in the Heart of Texas” spent five weeks at the top of Your Hit Parade in 1942.

9/11 Tribute Movement

Few human made disasters in recent history have had a larger impact on the United States, North America, and in fact the western world than the attacks on the World Trade tower buildings. I encourage my friends and acquaintances to visit the 9/11 Tribute Movement website and pledge their memorial activity.

Remembrance of those who lost their lives and those who gave their lives in the line of duty is an important act that we all should honor.

 We will be doing our most difficult cross country mountain bike ride and will give a minute of silence at the top in honor of those who lost their lives as well as in support of the survivors.

Visit and tell the nation what you’ll be doing on 9/11/11.

Update: At 6,398′ on Moose Mountain, we gave a moment of silence.Moose Mountain 9/11 Tribute

Movember is Prostate Cancer awareness Month

No laughing matter, prostate cancer. The guys at AESO have joined together to form team Mo Lecious to raise money for prostate cancer research. Movember is moustache month .. each team member needs to grow a moustache to raise funds.  No connection of side burns to the moustache .. that's a beard.  No connection of both ends of the moustache .. that's a goatee.  All else is fair game.

My Movember page here

In addition, I'm offering up a shiny new iPod Nano to the person who donates the single largest amount.

Please consider donating some money .. it's for a good cause.


Mom did it all

Jan Pomeroy passed away in May 2010. This is what some of her family had to say at her memorial:


Mom was the quiet strength behind our family.

We grew up in a very busy household, first on the Acreage then at Vicary Place. The activities that we participated in while growing up, be it; academic, sport or social were facilitated by Mom.

Throughout my life friends have expressed surprise when they learn that I can cook dinner, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, iron my shirts, and take out the trash. Of course I can, Mom would not have had it any other way.

I started mountaineering when I was young. Dad introduced it as one of the many activities the 31St Tiger Scout Troup was involved in. Climbing became a passion of mine, for many years I spent weekends and the summers climbing at Alpine Club camps or with a few friends. It was Mom that made sure that it was all possible, she made gorpe for breakfasts, she made biscuit and meat bars for my lunches, and she dehydrated everything required for suppers. Mom arranged transportation until I was old enough to drive, she then gave up her own car until I had my own.

The winters where for skiing, again it was Mom that made all the parts come together. Mom sewed gaiters for us. She then taught us to operate the sewing machine so we could make our down jackets and pants.

Mom had that ability to keep all of us kids under her protective umbrella while living a very busy and rich life herself.

It was not until a little later in life when I truly appreciated just how special Mom was. Mom rarely showed or gave voice to her fears about our life style choices. Although it did poke its head up a few times. Once, I was very late coming down off a particular climb on Yamnuska because we got had gotten off the route, a little lost. When the two of us were sitting behind the car taking off our climbing boots a RCMP cruiser pulled up, the constable rolled down his window and asked “Are you Pomeroy” I said “Yes”, and I got told “Call your Mother”.

Whatever I did in life Mom supported it, both the failures as well as the successes.

I consider myself very blessed to have been Janet Pomeroy’s son. I feel like I will always be under her umbrella as I continue through the journey that is my life.

I am very grateful that I was able to return a little bit of that protective care as Mom needed it.

Good Bye Mom.


People say that parents set the value and moral goal posts and hope their kids develop the ability to make judgment decisions that would make the parents proud. Jan did it.

Mom could cook. The whole gamut. For example .. Fresh bread right out of the oven; the kids slicing the heel off both sides of the loaf (before we got caught) .. of course smothered in butter and sometimes, brown sugar. Her famous Pomeroy family chili. The chili was just another example of Mom’s consideration for others. If the dinner table included guests that didn’t appreciate the Pomeroy level of spice, she made both Family and Company chili. Jan just did it.

Mom exhibited traits that we kids wanted to emulate .. humour, kindness, loyalty, class, complexity and yes .. clairvoyance. She almost always anticipated what was troubling us or what kind of trouble we got into. Mom’s really do have eyes in the back of their heads .. or maybe they are just very good at reading child behavior. As it turns out, sometimes those forensics really didn’t have to very good .. she just had to look for the abnormally clean house to know there was a party while the parents were away. Then Jan really did it.

Mom really knew how to do things. Whether it was her kids or her long time friends asking for help or advice on how to tackle a particular problem, we all thought: “Jan will know”. Of course. Jan’s done it.

Mom was the organizational glue that held the family and her friends together whether it was camping, skiing, hiking, making wine, or just keeping all of the kids in line, Jan did it.

Mom could make all of us kids (including Dad) and her friends succeed by quietly and gracefully supporting and encouraging us to do the right things. Jan just did it.

Mom will be missed, but she leaves a rich legacy: her kids and grandkids can cook, hike, camp, make beer, build houses and companies, perform forensics, engineer, and continually strive for more education and growth. I know her family and friends are richer because of her influence.

Now we all do it.

I would like to take this chance to extend a deep thank you to all the out-of-town travelers, our in-town friends and family, as well as the skilled and caring staff at EMS, Foothills Medical Centre Unit 100 and Chinook Hospice.

Steve Jobs commencement address at Stanford University

Stanford Report, June 14, 2005

‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Summarize the struggle

So while struggling to write my latest paper on mobile communication technology and the associated vulnerabilities found at the various layers of the network stack, I found this odd little graphic and thought: gee, this really sums up how I feel right now…

Of course it doesn’t make writing about 3G network implementation mistakes (Man-in-the-middle attacks on UMTS) any easier, but it did waste some time.

2009/06/05: Update: Ok, so the paper has been submitted. Now I’m a bit humbled, as I thought 3G mobile network connections were somehow sacred .. and somewhat ‘safe’ from hacking efforts. Alas, what a foolish concept. 3G (or UMTS) is no more immune to hacking than any other network technology that we currently use. UMTS is apparently vulnerable to (trivial?) man-in-the-middle attacks due to the carrier implementation of our shiny new 3G networks. Of course pure UMTS (3G) data networks would be best, however there is this entire encompassing 2G GSM network that includes base stations and controller infrastructure. Our friends K. Kotapati and associates outline some serious issues in A Taxonomy of Cyber Attacks on 3G Networks.  Unfortunately telecom carriers are not going to replace all the 2G infrastructure until absolutely necessary – this opens the vulnerability of 3G equipment (like our new iPhone 3G’s) as they roam onto 2G GSM networks until it has been replaced by all 3G UMTS (or various CDMA varients). Basically 2G base stations are not expected to protect the integrity of signaling messages and are subject to spoofing and manipulation by malicious parties. So someone can impersonate a 2G base station and force your shiny new 3G handset to operate in clear-text .. enabling subscriber information theft and eavesdropping on any non-SSL protected transactions. Hmm. Holy cr@p. Considering a friend of mine has demonstrated this in Calgary in January 2009, this is a bit too close to home for comfort. So if your phone indicates it’s on the EDGE network (E) vs (3G) .. I’d think about turning the power off or at least enclosing your precious iPhone (or Storm) in tin foil .. until you can get back on a 3G network segment.
Wow. So much for the new mcommerce, eh?

America .. Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!