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Archive for September, 2017

WHY WE GET PEEVED

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 29, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Probably because we haven’t been paying attention to the changes around us.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I was recently talking to a friend who was commenting on some of my pet peeves, many of which he could relate to. Inevitably, he asked me why the world was so screwed up today. I thought about this for quite some time afterwards and believe I finally have an answer; it has always been screwed up, we simply weren’t paying attention. Let me explain…

As we enter the work force, usually in our 20’s, we’re full of vim and vigor. We tend to tackle assignments brashly, some would say recklessly or impetuously. Because we want to make a name for ourselves, we tend to knock down obstacles in order to reach our goals and be rewarded. What we lack in knowledge and experience, we make up for in sheer energy.

In our 30’s we’re still energetic but we become smarter as we gain experience in what we do. As we enter our 40’s, we tend to slow down a bit but think of ourselves at the top of our game.

In our 50’s, we’ve become fully experienced in our profession and life, and from this we become acutely aware of our limitations. It is then when we begin to realize time has passed too quickly and we finally start to recognize the changes in the world. In other words, in our youth we were preoccupied with starting our lives; so much so, we were distracted and did not realize the world was changing around us. As we get older, we slow down and suddenly become cognizant of the changes and ask why things aren’t the same as they used to be in our youth.

Our world is a big and complicated place. So big, it is impossible to stay on top of all of the changes going on around us, even in spite of the 24/7 news media. Changes come at us from many directions: politics, science and technology, the arts, competition, fashion, customs, public opinion, social issues, international affairs, and a wide range of changing laws, rules and regulations. However, change is so slow, it is almost transparent to us and if we become distracted, as most of us do, we don’t recognize it. Only after a few decades do the changes become vividly clear to us and by then, it is usually too late to do anything about them as we should have been paying attention earlier on. Suddenly we realize people are acting and looking different, particularly the next generation, that social and moral norms are different, and the world has changed.

So why do we get “peeved”? I think it is simply because we have suddenly realized the world is different and the status quo is unlike what we remembered from our youth. And we don’t like it.

First published: October 23, 2009

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  INTUITIVENESS, THE SIXTH SENSE – Some recognition for the Radar O’Reillys of the world.

LAST TIME:  WHY WE LISTEN TO RUSH & COMPANY  – Maybe because they are “right”?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

“PENNY FOR PINELLAS” FACES UP-HILL BATTLE

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 28, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– There is a question of whether it addresses the true problems of the county.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The November 7th referendum to renew the “Pennies for Pinellas” tax is not a slam dunk. The Pinellas County Commissioners would have us believe it is a done deal. Not so fast. There is a lack of accountability in the wording which will not address the problems of Pinellas County effectively. To illustrate:

Pinellas voters will remember the 200 million gallons of sewage St. Petersburg discharged into local neighborhoods and waterways in 2015 and 2016, along with other spills throughout Pinellas County. Some might believe the County corrected the problem since then. In reality, No, it did not, as proven by Hurricane Irma. Most residents are unaware sewage problems erupted during the storm. Throughout the county, 33 spills were reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) totaling millions of gallons. According to the Department, Clearwater alone experienced sewage spills of just under two million gallons, and St. Petersburg just under 500,000 gallons during this period. Sewage spills are common when inundated with water, but this was after only 3.67 inches of rain and low tides, a scenario that should have been easily accommodated.

The point is, in terms of Pinellas County’s sewage problems, we’re far from being out of the woods.

Coupled with this is the county’s electrical grid which also failed during Irma. Over 100,000 Duke Energy customers in Pinellas lost power, some for up to a week or more. Fallen trees were often the culprit. Workers eventually restored power replacing some 3,000 poles and many transformers, but did nothing to assure such an outage occurs again. This is like putting several fingers in a dike, when the dike itself should be rebuilt. Perhaps burying power lines is the answer, and perhaps other alternatives. The fact remains, what we have in place today is fragile and prone to failure from high winds and even moderate rain, both indigenous to our county. What is necessary is to look at the problem from 50,000 feet and formulate a new alternative.

Enter the “Pennies for Pinellas” referendum which will renew the sales tax for another ten years. If you will recall, the “Pennies” tax was initially created in 1990 to support infrastructure needs, such as the Bayside Bridge. Since its creation, it has been used for other pet projects of the Pinellas Planning Department, such as parks and recreation and other projects, including emergency and law enforcement vehicles. Interestingly, most other counties do not have a “Pennies” tax, yet seem to find ways to pay for such vehicles.

If passed, the referendum will result in a whooping $2 billion over ten years. However, the language used on the ballot is such that if it passes, the Planning Department is free to spend it anyway they want, not by what is critically needed. The question on the November 7th ballot reads as follows:

County Referendum Question-
Ten (10) Year Extension of the Penny for Pinellas One-Cent (1¢) Infrastructure Sales Surtax – Shall the levy of the Penny for Pinellas one-cent (1¢) local infrastructure sales surtax be extended for an additional ten (10) years to finance county and municipal projects, including roads, bridges, flood and sewer spill prevention, water quality, trails, parks, environmental preservation, public safety facilities, hurricane sheltering, vehicles, technology, land acquisition for affordable housing, capital projects supporting economic development (pursuant to section 212.055(2)(d)3, Florida Statutes), and other authorized infrastructure projects.

According to Barb Haselden, candidate for County Commissioner in District 6 (northern St. Pete, from Gulf to Bay), “This would be giving the county commission a blank check for $2 Billion Dollars!” She believes the wording is too vague and doesn’t focus on such things as the county’s sewage, storm water and electrical problems, areas she is committed to addressing.

There is one big problem though, it is too late to change the wording on the ballot, which will start being mailed out to absentee voters beginning in early October. Haselden’s advice, “Just say NO to the referendum.” Correct the verbiage and vote on it again next year.

Those who want to see the “Pennies” referendum pass are counting on a naive public who will be apathetic in terms of voting in an off year. Whereas heavy voter turnout will likely defeat the referendum, a light turnout will assure its passage. In other words, someone is trying to pull a fast one on unsuspecting voters in Pinellas County.

The “Pennies for Pinellas” referendum is the only question that will appear uniformly on all ballots in the County. This highlights the fact, this is not just a St. Petersburg problem, but one that is county wide, and why it is important for all Pinellas County voters to get out the vote, be it north, south, east, or west.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  INTUITIVENESS, THE SIXTH SENSE – Some recognition for the Radar O’Reillys of the world.

LAST TIME:  WHY WE LISTEN TO RUSH & COMPANY  – Maybe because they are “right”?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WHY WE LISTEN TO RUSH & COMPANY

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 27, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Maybe because they are “right”?

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

When you hear the name “Rush Limbaugh” mentioned by liberals and the press, the adjectives “controversial”, “polarizing”, “bombastic”, “inflammatory”, and “shock-jock” are often mentioned. Actually, such descriptions are also used to characterize Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and anyone who opposes liberal policies and positions. Although these on-air personalities are generally regarded as the “Dark Side” of politics by Democrats, they also enjoy great ratings on the air waves.

I contend the reason they are condemned by the left is not because of what they say, but how they say it. After all, conservative doctrine is well known and rather predictable. Yet, people tune in regularly to get their daily dosage of conservative viewpoints. The difference lies in their tactics; whereas the liberal media is more covert in their spin on politics and world events (at least they like to believe they are), Rush & Company are more overt and unafraid of a good argument, some would even call it an “in your face” form of broadcasting. They actually relish a good challenge and welcome the opportunity to spar with virtually anybody. Whereas liberals like to spin their agenda using repetitive subliminal messages through the media, conservatives have become more proactive and animated in their discourse, which leads to better ratings.

Liberals have been orchestrating attacks against conservatives for quite some time; yet, when someone like Rush & Company openly fights back, the opposition is appalled and cries foul. Since they will not publicly debate Rush & Company, for fear of losing, the liberals vilify them through innuendo and sniping. Such attacks doesn’t discredit or deter them one bit; In fact, it emboldens them. Any time the liberals openly attack them, on the air or in print, their ratings actually go up, not down, and fills their coffers. In addition to confounding the liberals, it puts them in a no-win situation with Rush & Company; if they attack them, they invigorate their ratings; if they do not, they suffer guilt by silence. Rush & Company, of course, are cognizant of this and know they have nothing to lose.

The Democrats only have three options to thwart Rush & Company; first, they can continue their program of vilifying the opposition, which only makes them stronger; second, they can publicly debate them, whereby they run the risk of losing an argument, or; third, they can completely ice them out by not recognizing them in any manner or form. As Oscar Wilde correctly observed, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Then again, Rush & Company has already developed legions of devoted followers. I’m betting they will simply continue with the first option.

I find it interesting that personalities such as Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews are not considered “controversial”, “bombastic”, etc. They can hardly be called newscasters as they openly spin liberal doctrine. Yet, they are not criticized by the press. Hmm…I guess what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. If you say you agree with Rush & Company, you are openly accused of being “as crazy as they are.” Yet, the opposite isn’t true.

One thing is for sure, Rush & Company is not going away any time soon and will continue to publicly gnaw away at liberal principles (and become rich in the process). I’m not so much convinced the left despises them as much as they are afraid of them. Regardless, whether you love them or hate them, it all makes for great political theater.

First published: October 14, 2009

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHY WE GET PEEVED – Probably because we haven’t been paying attention to the changes around us.

LAST TIME:  ROBO CALL HEADACHES  – Are they really necessary?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

ROBO CALL HEADACHES

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 26, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Are they really necessary?

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It seems I do not receive too many telephone calls from humans anymore. Rather, most are from computers (aka, “Robo Calls”) either soliciting something or informing me of the schedule of a maintenance worker. Like a lot of you, I am not immune to the absurd spam calls. One of my favorites is, “Stop what you’re doing and listen carefully…” Yea, like I’m going to drop everything and listen to some dolt trying to sell me something. I can usually hang-up on such calls within one second.

Health insurance companies use robo calls, as do travel agencies. Many companies just want to get you on the line so they can transfer you to someone in Tibet who reads a script to sell you something. I take pleasure in hanging up just as the person is getting on the line.

During political seasons, it is not uncommon to be bombarded by robo calls from various campaigns. My friends complain about it, but rarely do I get any. Maybe it’s because I’ve told them all to go where the sun doesn’t shine so many times, I’ve been blackballed by both Democrats and Republicans alike. Quite often, these political calls are soliciting donations for campaigns. To my way of thinking, they wouldn’t need more money if they simply stopped using this obnoxious form of communications.

Service companies like to use robo calls, such as for deliveries or to keep you abreast of when their people are going to be working at your home or office. For example, my lawn service, which applies fertilizer and pest control, dutifully calls me early in the week to let me know when an appointment is made. I then receive another reminder the day before. Interestingly, there is nothing for me to do or respond to, which makes me wonder why they don’t either send an e-mail or text message instead. Maybe they believe we need to be reassured by the soothing voice of a recorded message. Frankly, I find it to be a colossal waste of my time.

Following one of Florida’s legendary storms which knocked out power and cable, we naturally had trouble contacting both companies. We had to traverse voice mail jail and wait in queue a long time to talk to a representative who would only say their people were “assessing and evaluating” damage as opposed to fixing the outage. I became so frustrated with my cable operator I decided to switch companies again. As an aside, it seems I have to do this every two or three years.

My latest cable operator scheduled an appointment to install the service. From then on, robo calls took over. On the morning of the day when the technician was to arrive, I received my first call…

“This is Tampa Cable (fictitious company) calling to remind you that one of our technicians is scheduled to be at your home at (address) at …2 to 4pm… today. It will be necessary for someone with a photo ID to be present for work to be performed. We estimate this work should take no more than …1… hour.”

Okay, fine, I get the idea. However, at 1:00pm I received robo call number two:

“This is Tampa Cable calling to remind you that one of our technicians is scheduled to be at your home at (address) at …2 to 4pm… today. It will be necessary for someone with a photo ID to be present for work to be performed. We estimate this work should take no more than …1… hour.”

It didn’t end there though. My third and last call said:

“This is Tampa Cable calling to let you know your technician is on his way to your house at (address) and will be there in less than 30 minutes.”

Now they had crossed over the line of obnoxiousness. I realize they are trying to keep the customer informed and their technicians on time, but it occurred to me what would happen if something went wrong along the way thereby causing a delay. Maybe I would get a robo call like this:

“This is Tampa Cable calling to let you know your technician has been delayed. He ate a burrito supreme at the Clearwater Taco Shack at …1236 US-19… and has had to make a stop at a gas station at …1457 US-19… and will be delayed …15… minutes. We thank you for your patience in this matter.”

Frankly, I don’t need too many reminders. Just make the appointment and keep it. Simple, right?

The one sad thing about all this, robo calls are normally more articulate and understandable than the average customer service rep.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHY WE LISTEN TO RUSH & COMPANY – Maybe because they are “right”?

LAST TIME:  EASTER ISLAND STATUES  – “If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted.” – Bryce’s Law

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Communications, Life, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

EASTER ISLAND STATUES

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 25, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– “If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted.” – Bryce’s Law

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Have you ever gone into a fast food franchise and felt you were being processed essentially no different than their product? I think we all have, and frankly I don’t like it. Let me give you a couple of examples.

First, I had a friend who recently visited a Taco Bell and placed an order that came to $3.17. He then paid the cashier with a $5 bill, but for some reason the cash register wasn’t working properly and couldn’t tell the cashier what the change was which, according to my scientific calculation, is a whopping $1.83. My friend waited patiently for his change, but noticed a strange blank look coming over the cashier’s face, kind of like the gaze of an Easter Island statue. After waiting a sufficient amount of time, he snapped the cashier out of her trance by simply asking, “Can I have my change?”

The clerk responded, “Ah, ah….,” as she looked like a deer caught in the headlights on an oncoming automobile. The food order itself was efficiently processed, bagged, and presented to my friend, but he grew impatient for his change. He insisted, “Miss, can I please have my change?” Her look now turned to fright as the machine steadfastly refused to tell her the correct amount.

“Look, it’s really quite simple,” my friend said, “You owe me $1.83.”

“Are you sure?” she responded.

This probably upset my friend more than anything. Instead of performing simple math, she was as locked up as her computerized register was, and the line of customers grew and grew behind my friend.

The next incident involved a recent visit I had to a KFC in Georgia. It had been several years since I had visited the home of the Colonel, and it will probably be several more years before I return. Probably the biggest thing commanding the consumer’s attention in the store is the impressively large menu board, with dozens of food combinations displayed on it. As for me, I just wanted six chicken wings, but couldn’t seem to find it in the menu maze. The only thing that came close to matching what I wanted was something called “Hot Wings.” Thinking this was it, I ordered it from the cashier who dutifully asked me what kind I wanted.

Innocently, I said, “original recipe,” thinking back to a time when there was only two types of KFC chicken, original recipe and extra crispy.

“No sir, what kind do you want?”

Unbeknownst to me, and not marked as such on the menu maze, there were three types of coating you get, probably some sort of honey glaze or different levels of heat, none of which I wanted.

I then said to the cashier, “No, I just want six original recipe chicken wings and that’s all.” Sounds simple, right? This caused the clerk to turn into another Easter Island statue as she was dumbfounded how to answer me. If it wasn’t on the menu maze or her cash register I guess you were SOL. The impasse was finally broken by the manager who said it would take too long to cook the wings and cost more than the regular “Hot Wings” which she recommended instead. Realizing a line of impatient customers was building behind me, I just threw up my hands and said, “Thank you, you’ve been a great audience,” and I exited stage left.

I learned quite a few things from all of this. First, you can, in fact, program people as easily as you can any machine. Simply create a dependency on technology and tightly control the parameters by which it works. In most cases, the human being will trust the machine’s judgment over their own. Second, deviation from the system is simply unacceptable. You can either take it or leave it, but you dare not ask to have it your way.

More than anything though, I learned that I won’t be returning to these franchises any time soon. Call me old fashioned if you want, but any time you put the machine ahead of the human being, I think you’ve got a problem.

First published: September 22, 2009

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  ROBO CALL HEADACHES – Are they really necessary?

LAST TIME:  FUN WITH HAIR BLOWERS  – How to kill a few birds with one stone.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

FUN WITH HAIR BLOWERS

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 22, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– How to kill a few birds with one stone.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

During this time of the year, when tourists are flocking to Florida, traffic can be quite congested on our highways, not to mention fast. Although the posted speed limit is 45mph for the highway in front of our office, motorists frequently exceed the limit (loudly I might add). Like any local government these days, our county has to tighten its belts, particularly the sheriff’s office which has been experiencing budget cuts. Not surprising, they tend to overlook speeding in certain areas, such as in front of my office. So I took it upon myself to devise a cost effective way to slow traffic.

I tried an interesting experiment whereby I wondered if I could get cars to slow down simply by holding an old broken hair blower which people might confuse for a radar gun. To make myself look somewhat official, I wore a light blue Columbia fishing shirt and navy blue trousers. I then went out to the side of the road, and pointed the hair blower to on-coming traffic. Lo and behold, cars began to slow down as soon as they saw me. So far, so good, but I wanted to make sure it was the hair blower and not my clothing that caused the motorists to slow down. I next tried it wearing a red shirt and experienced the same success. I then tried it dressed in shorts; then in a loud tee shirt; with a baseball cap on; wearing sandals; and many other combinations. Again and again, the motorists slowed down the moment they saw the hair blower. Finally, I tried it with a stuffed dummy sitting in a lawn chair with the hair blower prominently displayed. I tilted the head down so the motorists couldn’t see the dummy’s face. Remarkably, despite the hair blower in plain sight, people paid no attention to the dummy and sped along unabated. From this, I concluded it was necessary to have a human being present in order to sell the deception.

As I was disassembling the dummy, a homeless man happened to approach me walking down the side of the road and solicited a handout. I asked if he would rather earn a few bucks instead of accepting charity. He replied he would be delighted to do so. I then asked him to sit by the road with the hair blower for which, in turn I would give him some money. He was a little scruffy looking but I thought it would be an interesting test. To his credit, he sat near the highway for approximately three hours and during that time I observed traffic did, indeed, slow down as I suspected it would. I paid the man who then went cheerfully on his way.

It occurred to me there were several such people like the homeless man who would be glad to render such a service, but instead of canvassing for such people, why not ask those who are receiving unemployment benefits or food stamps to perform such a service. Surely, that is the least they could do for all the benefits they are receiving. Imagine this; people sitting along the side of every road in the county holding broken hair blowers. What could be more cost effective to slow traffic? Now and then, the sheriff’s office could even randomly assign a real radar gun in the field to keep motorists honest.

Imagine –
Price of a broken hair blower: $0
Cost of unemployed person to slow down traffic: $0
Slowing down speeding traffic by welfare/food stamp recipients: Priceless

Wow, talk about killing a few birds with a single stone. All that is needed are a few broken hair blowers and a little common sense.

EPILOG

Since this article was produced, the concept has been picked up and used elsewhere around the globe. One specific instance was in Scotland where is proved highly effective in slowing traffic in a village.

First published: February 10, 2012

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  EASTER ISLAND STATUES – “If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted.” – Bryce’s Law

LAST TIME:  IS SOFTWARE HARD?  – “Systems are logical, programming is physical” – Bryce’s Law

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

IS SOFTWARE HARD?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 20, 2017

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– “Systems are logical, programming is physical” – Bryce’s Law

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

For something that is supposed to be “soft”, computer software exhibits some pretty “hard” characteristics. The original premise behind the COBOL programming language was to devise a language that could be easily ported to several computers. This never truly happened due to computer manufacturers who tweaked the language to suit their particular needs. What ran on an IBM machine, for example, didn’t necessarily run the same on Honeywell, UNIVAC, or the rest of the BUNCH. Consequently, software developers had to maintain different versions of source code to suit the particular needs of the various computer compilers. This plagued all third generation languages until Sun introduced JAVA in the 1990’s. The JAVA premise that a programmer should “write once, run everywhere” was the right idea and the language began to gain momentum, until it ran into Microsoft who didn’t want to turn the operating system into an inconsequential afterthought. JAVA lives on, but not to the extent it should have, and developers are back to managing separate versions of source code.

The point is, software does in fact exhibit some very “hard” characteristics as it is married to the host computer configuration which doesn’t make it very portable. As mentioned, this creates headaches for those of us, particularly commercial software vendors, in terms of maintaining consistency in the different versions of our products.

What to do?

Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s our company was faced with the dilemma of managing a single product on over a dozen different computer platforms. We quickly came to the realization we would go stark raving mad managing multiple versions of source code and came to the conclusion we had better come up with a solution pretty quick. Because of our experience in converting software, we became well versed in the nuances of the various compilers and devised a Repository (we called it a “filter program” at the time) which maintained the rules of the various compilers. We were also very disciplined in writing code to specific standards and embedded certain switches in the base source code. When we were ready to produce a new release of our product, we would feed the base code into our “filter program” which would then create the different versions of the source code ready for compilation. This saved us an incredible amount of time and brought consistency to all of the versions of the product. In other words, our programming staff worked with only one set of programming code (not multiple variations). The “filter program” then analyzed it and created the necessary permeation for a targeted platform. As compilers changed, we would update the “filter program” accordingly.

We also learned to maintain print maps, screen panels, messages and help text separate from the source code, which greatly enhanced our ability to create a new version of the product to suit a foreign language and culture; see “Creating Universal Systems.”

Let us take it a step further, for years we have touted there are logical and physical dimensions to Information Systems. We look upon Systems and Sub-Systems (business processes) as logical constructs, and Procedures and Programs as physical constructs. Further, data components such as inputs, outputs, files, records and data elements can be specified logically and implemented physically many different ways. Let me give you an example; back in the 1980’s one of our customers (a large Fortune 500 electronic conglomerate) bought into our logical/physical concept and decided to put it to the test. Working from their headquarters, they designed a complete Payroll System which they wanted to implement as the corporate standard across all of their divisions and subsidiaries. They completed the system with a recommended programming solution they wrote themselves (no packages were used) which I believe was an IBM MVS solution using COBOL. However, they recognized this implementation wouldn’t work across the board in the company. Consequently, they gave the system specifications to all of their divisions who would then program it themselves in-house. The project turned out to be a major success and the company ended up with multiple implementations of the same system under IBM MVS, VM, Honeywell GCOS, UNIVAC Exec, HP MPE, DEC VAX/VMS, and Prime; all working harmoniously together. Other customers experienced similar successes, particularly in Japan.

All of this drives home the point that systems are logical in nature, and that programming is physical. If systems are designed properly, there is no reason they shouldn’t behave identically on whatever computer platform you come up with. Better yet, it allows us to easily migrate our systems from one configuration to another. Uniformity and consistency in execution; and portability to boot. Imagine that.

First published: January 24, 2005

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  FUN WITH HAIR BLOWERS – How to kill a few birds with one stone.

LAST TIME:  LESSONS LEARNED FROM IRMA  – A lot of the problems were our own doing.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM IRMA

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 19, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A lot of the problems were our own doing.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Well, we survived Irma… not just the hurricane, but a ratings hungry news media, power and gas outages, and lack of reliable news. Frankly, I’m surprised we still have a sense of humor. Contrary to what the media told us, Irma was not the most devastating hurricane to hit Florida “ever, ever.” Have we already forgotten Andrew of 1992 which wiped out Homestead and left thousands homeless? What about the legendary “No Name Storm” of 1993 which produced more debris, downed trees, boat damage, and power outages than Irma? Or 2004 where hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan crisscrossed the state leaving a swath of destruction behind? Of the storms I have witnessed in Florida since 1985, I would place Irma a distant fourth.

So why all the hubbub? Hurricane Katrina in 2005 showed what a real hurricane could do to a grossly under prepared area. The public was also keenly aware of the destructive images recently coming out of Texas from Hurricane Harvey. Destruction and the possibility of death seems to have a way of unnerving the strongest of us.

What was different though between the Florida storms of the past and Irma? Irma shut down the state and created panic conditions, the others did not. Three important lessons emerged in its wake:

First, the news media used fear to prod the populace. Fear is a powerful motivating factor. Have you ever noticed how animals in the wild react when they smell the smoke of a wild fire? They all retreat from it in their own way, but can be coerced to stampede under the right conditions. The human animal does likewise. Most of us calmly and methodically prepared for the coming storm, but many panicked and stampeded out of the state. We see this same use of fear used by the media in political campaigns.

Pandemonium reigned on the Saturday before the arrival of Irma. You didn’t dare go out on the roads unless you absolutely had to. Tempers flared on the roadways and in long lines. People began to hoard more supplies than they really needed, booked hotel reservations up north which they never used, and there were accusations of price gouging.

All of this in the name of ratings.

The second lesson was the anger created from ghost town conditions. When the power went out, and the gas stations closed, a domino effect occurred. One-by-one, all of the stores, restaurants, car dealerships, and public service institutions closed their doors. Even the post office closed and refused to accept mail. The old adage of, “through snow, wind and hail…”, is now an obsolete notion. Basically, the area came to a standstill, something I have never seen in Tampa Bay in the 32 years I have lived here. There is something eerie about standing in an empty Home Depot parking lot with tumble weeds around you. Virtually all stores and malls were closed, with no gas or water to be found anywhere. Super markets looked like the food shortages of Venezuela. Frustration grew.

The power grid of Florida is obviously inadequate to serve the state. It is frail and barbaric, and led by people who prefer to react to situations as opposed to planning. Let me give you a small yet typical example; in my neighborhood alone, my house is on a circuit that always seems to be the first to lose power and the last to regain it. Due to the many pine trees in the area, they fall and snap the lines hanging from above. Obviously, they should have buried the lines long ago but refuse to do so, claiming the cost would be exorbitant. In reality, it would be cheaper in the long run to bury the lines and keep their paying customers on line. The point is, they are content putting their fingers in the dyke as opposed to permanently fixing the dyke. This is a classic example of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Immediately following the storm, there was a noticeable absence of power company trucks, cable operators, and county utilities helping to clear debris from the roadways and neighborhoods. The only group that appeared to know what they were doing was law enforcement who safeguarded our streets and maintained order. Everyone else was “evaluating and assessing damage” as opposed to getting the job done. Even now, days after the storm, many people are still without power and access to the outside world. Even if the service providers are working, their low visibility creates the impression they simply do not care about the public.

The loss of power and utilities caused many people, including yours truly, to become nomadic in search for a place to relax and breath air conditioning. Several thousand people sought refuge in public shelters, mostly under crowded conditions. All of this required patience to maintain sanity.

The third lesson of Irma was when the power went out, cable and the Internet died along with it. Cell phone tower coverage was spotty at best. All of this meant reliable information was limited. Even our local newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, stopped deliveries. It was rather amusing to receive the Sunday paper on the following Tuesday. Why bother?

The one medium that got us through this period was AM/FM radio which provided news during the day, and entertainment at night. While it is being claimed AM/FM radio is obsolete technology and on its deathbed, they were the only ones there for the public 24/7. Thank God for AM/FM.

So Irma has passed Florida and gone into the history books. What was left in its wake was an incredible amount of angst caused by fear, anger, and the unknown. It was difficult even for the best of families, thereby creating high levels of stress. Aside from the laborious task of cleaning up their homes and restocking food supplies, Floridians need to regain their composure. This was a highly charged emotional roller-coaster we have been on for several days that left the populace burned out. All of this would be funny if it wasn’t so exhaustive. And we must remember hurricane season will not be over until November 30th.

Throughout this ordeal, we had several friends and family from the north pray for our safety, for which we give thanks. Next time though, I would ask them not to pray for us, but for some sort of sanity to deliver us from the madness of the media, power companies, and information blackouts.

The next time a storm like this occurs, I believe I will take a vacation to Las Vegas until it has blown over. I am confident my home will survive, but my personality will not.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  IS SOFTWARE HARD? – WEDNESDAY (SEPTEMBER 20, 2017) – “Systems are logical, programming is physical” – Bryce’s Law

LAST TIME:  THE OFFICE SHRINK  – Who fulfills the role in your organization?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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THE OFFICE SHRINK

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 18, 2017

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Who fulfills the role in your organization?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Are there any Industrial-Organizational Psychologists out there anymore? After looking over the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the numbers don’t look very promising. Pity; It’s a useful profession aimed at studying human behavior in relation to the work environment and making recommendations for improving productivity. I’m afraid the position has diminished and defaulted to individual managers who are not properly trained to be office shrinks.

I am not such a psychologist by training but I have an appreciation of the work involved and understand the fundamentals. Bottom-line, the Office Shrink considers such things as worker intelligence level, motivation and attitude towards their job. From these observations, the office shrink will formulate a style of management, either autocratic or allow more worker freedom and participation in the decision making process. See “The Three Theories of Management” (X, Y and Z) in my PAPER.

Whether you are looking at your workers collectively or individually, these analysis tips will help. Perhaps the best place to start is to analyze in-house Employee Evaluation Forms which, in theory, should be performed on a regular basis. Here is a SAMPLE. Where such forms do not exist, the Office Shrink will be forced to evaluate workers based on nothing more than interviews and personal observations.

For each individual, the Office Shrink needs to consider:

Intelligence:
– What formal education does the worker have and what were his/her grades?
– What training certificates does the worker possess?
– What is the skill set of the worker?
– What is the IQ of the worker?
– What is the level of the worker’s intellectual curiosity? Is he/she apathetic or do they ask questions, read trade related publications, participate in groups, volunteer to help, etc.?

What motivates the worker?
– Job security?
– Money?
– Recognition/praise?
– Special attention?
– Personal/professional integrity?
– Other

How does worker respond to:
– Criticism (Good/Bad)
– Praise (Good/Bad)
– What are the “likes” of the worker, incl. hobbies (develop a listing)
– What are the “dislikes” of the worker (develop a listing)

Senses; How acute are the senses of the worker (sharp/dull)? Such analysis may provide some insight in adjusting the physical environment.
– Sight
– Sound
– Smell
– Touch (incl. sense of temperature)
– Taste
– 6th senses – intuitiveness, reaction to clutter, etc.

Attitude about job:
– Professional vs. ambivalent vs. wishes he/she were elsewhere.
– Output – Very industrious vs. minimum effort vs. sub-par performance
– Discipline – Consider work space, personal appearance, and approach to work; Clean, organized, methodical, punctual versus sloppy, tardy, many errors in workmanship.

Socialization skills:
– Communications skills – communicates well? (oral and written)
– Interpersonal relationships – Extroverted versus introverted.
– Courtesy – refined versus crude

From this analysis, the Office Shrink will understand a few things; first, the personality types in his work force (A, B, C, and D); (see “Personality Types”). More importantly, the shrink will form an opinion on the workers collectively in terms of their capabilities and note patterns of personality traits. From this, the shrink will determine two things: a suitable approach to management and how to manipulate the Corporate Culture to suit his needs.

If the Office Shrink perceives the workers as people possessing low intelligence and motivation, most likely the shrink will recommend more supervision until the problem is rectified (aka, “micromanagement”). However, if the workers are perceived as intelligent, take initiative, and produce superior results, he will be more inclined to recommend worker freedom and empowerment.

The Office Shrink may also recommend modifications to the corporate culture, such as dress, protocol, ethics, office layout, ergonomics, paint and lighting, possibly even adjustments to sound and smell which may affect the focus of workers.

As I said, I have considerable respect for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists. In the absence of such a person, the manager must assume the role. Unfortunately, without proper training the manager makes decisions based on his rudimentary perceptions of the situation. The smart manager though has no problem playing the role of Office Shrink. With a little education and/or consulting assistance he can take charge of his area of responsibility and run it like a fine watch.

For more information on these management concepts, see my e-book entitled, “THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! – Empowering Managers in today’s Corporate Culture.” If you also need consulting assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

First published: January 30, 2012

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  LESSONS LEARNED FROM IRM – A lot of the problems were our own doing.

LAST TIME:  THE SWEETENING OF AMERICA  – Whether we are aware of it or not, our tastes are changing.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE SWEETENING OF AMERICA

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 15, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Whether we are aware of it or not, our tastes are changing.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I find as I grow older I tend to gravitate towards simpler things. Take coffee for instance, I’ve always found pleasure in a simple cup of black coffee. I honestly believe I can distinguish a good cup of coffee from a bad one simply by drinking it black. Adding sugar, cream, and any other additive only masks the flavor. Then again, the bitter taste of the coffee bean is what a lot of people try to avoid, preferring instead a variety of sweeteners transforming it into more of a ice cream sundae as opposed to a hot cup of coffee in the traditional sense. Now coffee comes in a myriad of flavors including vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, and peppermint. Its whipped with cream, sprinkled with chocolate, and chilled with ice. Perhaps the best way to describe coffee’s transformation is from the “the rocket fuel of business” to Bosco.

Coffee is not alone in this regard. I recently visited a local liquor store to buy libations for the holidays. I don’t normally drink vodka but I was surprised by the variety of flavors now available including lemon, lime, apple, marmalade, raspberry, apple strudel, and dozens of other flavors (What, no kumquat?). I also noticed various liqueurs now come in an assortment of flavors as opposed to just one, especially the coffee flavored ones. I took most of this in stride as I typically don’t imbibe such drinks. However, as a whiskey aficionado, I was stunned to see apple and cinnamon flavored whiskeys creeping onto the shelves. Only then did I realize whiskey was also beginning to undergo a sweetness transformation.

I suppose this movement to sweeter alcoholic beverages was to be expected as the kids who savored sweetened fruit drinks and power ades years ago have grown up and cannot tolerate some of the bitter flavors of adult beverages. Nor will this be a passing fancy as young Americans have been conditioned to crave soft and sweetened drinks. Take iced tea for instance, whereas older people tend to enjoy unsweetened tea, younger people cannot palate it without some sort of sugary substance. Also consider Americans fascination with sweetened coffee drinks is directly rooted in chocolate. It kind of makes you wonder if we are really enjoying the flavor of such drinks or are we simply hooked on chocolate and sugar. I suspect the latter.

As for me, I’m a single malt scotch man who appreciates the simplicity of a good glass of whiskey, particularly when coupled with a fine cigar. I do not need to sweeten it up, just quietly sip and enjoy it at the end of a busy day. I enjoy its full bodied flavor with a touch of smokiness from its casks. Like I’ve always said, it’s the little things in life that make it enjoyable, such as a black cup of coffee, unsweetened iced tea, and a glass of single malt scotch. The day I am given a glass of tutti frutti whiskey is probably the same day I’ll stop drinking it.

I do not need to put in additives to enjoy such beverages, just simply to appreciate them for what they are and how our forefathers designed them. Like I said, keep it simple and enjoy the ride.

First published: January 13, 2012

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE OFFICE SHRINK – Who fulfills the role in your organization?

LAST TIME:  EXPANDING GOVERNMENT  – Why it has gotten so.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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