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How the Government Could Fix the Economy

During this global COVID-19 crisis, most of us have two concerns on our minds; the first one should be our safety, but for many, it’s the economy. With businesses closed, our economy will suffer.

In simple terms, our economy is merely numbers circulated. These numbers are what enable us to buy what we need and want. Maslow’s Law of Hierarchical Needs teaches us that there are levels to what each of us needs and wishes. The basic needs are food, water, and shelter. These expand to love and community to self-actualization.

With the economy in danger, our core needs and expenses are food, water, electricity, home, and medical care. When you reflect on your core expenses and the ordinary expenses of everyone else, our needs are simple. Businesses need to pay for their building, employees, and vendors. The cycle is redundant.

If the government ensured that the basic needs of its citizens, businesses would not need to carry that burden. Companies would also not need to charge each other because the “need to eat” would be satisfied.

I believe our economy is overcomplicated, and this is because everyone needs to justify their existence—job security. But most of what we do the efforts that we make are entirely unnecessary. Our economy could be streamlined and ensure that no one goes hungry again.

Is that Communism? Is that socialism? Maybe elements resemble those “dirty words.” But for all the bias in American culture, we have areas we could improve. There is a lot of wasted effort.

Yes, many would like to be artists. I am not saying to end this. I am saying that we need to leverage technology and efficient processes to ensure that no American sleeps on a sidewalk. We should also ensure that Americans have time to themselves.

How is it fitting that some Americans are always at work while others are not. Yet the ones who do not work have more than the ones who do.

I know the common rebuttal already, but I’m asking you to think differently. I’m asking you to reflect on the way we currently operate our economy, and I’m asking you to come up with a more efficient and equal one. I’m asking you to consider what it would take to ensure that the economy is resilient instead of fragile.

Progress is an improvement. Let’s fix the economy so that it is a second or third concern to our health. The economy should not be our first concern. The economy is numbers in a spreadsheet. It’s a line of code. Fix the program, so it does not crash.

If one does not work, they do not eat. This logic justifies letting our fellow Americans suffer. Work is defined very loosely. Please think about that.

Charities exist because we failed to fix the root of the problem for so many. Yet fixing the economic inequality for good is somehow wrong? Please consider the contradiction.

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Unboxing MOTILE 14 Performance Laptop Walmart

If you’re stuck at home and need an affordable laptop to get your work done, the Motile 14 made by Walmart will surprise you!

Kara needed a laptop to complete her required courses at her new hospital job but did not want to spend the price of a new MacBook. Luckily, I had just watched a glowing review on the Motile 14.

The Motile 14 is available in three colors: silver, black, and rose gold. For Kara, the choice was clear.

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Thoughts on Dreams and Dreamers

Do you remember what it was like to dream?

Maybe you wanted to be a singer, or an artist, or perhaps even the owner of your own business? Some dreams are silly. Impractical even.

As children, many of us wanted to be rich and famous. And while some of these desires appeal to our vanity, some are noble.

For the Wright Brothers, their dream was to fly. For Nikola Tesla, he wanted to provide free wireless electricity for the world.

Some dreams are simply goals.

Goals can originate from a variety of motivations. For Ferruccio Lamborghini, an insult from Enzo Ferrari egged him on to developing his supercar. Pride, anger, passion, or frustration with the status quo motivate many to pursue an idea.

Just as there are negative motivations, joy, and a charitable spirit can also drive someone to achieve greatness. This joy comes from doing something worth doing, usually for the good society. A caring heart and benevolent soul leads some people to solve pain points for those around them.

Creativity and achievement are also motivations. For me, I enjoy creating something new and crave the thrill of achieving another level.

The appeal of achievement is that it cannot be bought or given; one must earn the victory. Once obtained, no one can take away your success. It is a distinct honor to achieve something.

Many look to those who have achieved great success with envy. Others idolize these individuals. But, the proper way to view those who have received notoriety is to recognize their equality with yourself.

There was a time when Shakespeare was learning his ABCs. There was a time when Einstein was learning to count. There was a time when Steve Jobs was nervous in front of the TV cameras. And now is your time before your next success.

Whatever it is that you want to accomplish, remember that the journey begins at the bottom, not at the top.

Dreams dare to exist before their path to their obtainment is made clear. Dreamers are fragile at first, cowering when the first failure or critic pokes a hole in their glowing vision. But the path to success is filled with failures. Failure makes us stronger. We learn from them.

It is challenging to include all people in the same category without allowing for exceptions, but in this instance, I would say that all people share the same core feelings. There’s a canon of desires, fears, and needs that make us human. Regardless of what languages you may speak or period you are born into, a few characteristics tie us together.

We are all on the same chassis with a different body.

If you dream about world peace, there is your answer. Summon that which connects us all, and we will all fall in line. Find what unites us. While we may have many differences, it is challenging to be wholly unique.

So when we dream, we develop. These push us forward. Dreams are promises to future generations. What we have now is inherited from dreamers who chose to pursue them to fruition.

Those who have developed a vision to realization appreciate those who are beginning their journey. Those on the journey find comfort in the knowledge that others have made it; the success stories cheer us onward.

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People Before Profit

In this challenging economic time, our priorities are tested. And while we would think and hope we would make the right choice, usually it’s material things that we care about most.

One can always reclaim wealth, but a life once lost is lost forever. The time that you have with those you love and the time of your existence slips away never replaced.

I know this concept is a struggle. Like everyone else, I struggle with the love of money too. I worry about it, stress over it, and fight for it. But if there is a lesson echoing through the ages, it is this to let your love of money go.

All the riches of the Kings end up in wills. Nothing lasts forever.

Switchfoot

Love people, appreciate your limited time of being alive, and let go of your obsession with material possessions. Either you possess your possessions, or they possess you.

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Remote Work Obstacles

In 2010, I opened up my laptop by a pool in Corpus Christi. I was on vacation, and my geeky personality could not be without a computer. Using a Clear WiMax USB stick, I was able to remain connected to the Internet my entire trip. It was at this moment that I dreamed of working from anywhere in the world using a laptop.

Later I discovered that was called Remote Work and that many were doing this already. With my idea validated, I began to dream of one day working by a pool for companies around the world.

It takes a particular employer to let you work from anywhere. The Digital Nomad lifestyle is only possible if your job trusts you enough to be reached by phone and your computer only.

The coronavirus seemed to push many employers to open up to the idea of working from home. With a computer, one can accomplish most meetings and tasks, and that computer could be anywhere.

There is a small problem, though.

One reason for bringing people physically together for a face to face meeting could be due to the limited attention spans many naturally have. You have to get in front of people and direct their attention. One can ignore an email or not be able to visualize a concept over the phone.

Communication and the ability to draw attention to particular topics become challenging remotely. One can no longer walk across the hall and explain, pointing on screens and communicate via body language, how important something is. For this reason, screen sharing is vital to a thriving remote work environment.

But screen sharing is technical. That means that all parties need to complete all their work on the screen—no handwritten side notes or off-screen tasks. Also, all parties must be comfortable navigating the user interface to use the video chat successfully. How many times have you witnessed someone struggle to log in or be unable to find the icons needed to initiate the conference call?

And then there’s fragmentation—the fragmentation of people working in different time zones on different schedules within those time zones. Mutual availability becomes limited, and phone tag delays a project’s progress. One team member may prefer phone calls. Another team member may prefer emails. And another team member may prefer instant messaging. Multiple communication tools fragment communication across mediums and creates the opportunity to overlook messages further delaying the project.

Another form of fragmentation is the plethora of apps that are separate but achieve the same result. Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, just to name a few. At least all phones can communicate with all other phones, but these apps are exclusive to themselves. Most businesses are not likely to pay for these, so freemium models are needed to encourage adoption.

So mutual availability, scattered attention, varying computer literacy, and delayed communication can make remote work ineffective—any tasks or information off-screen can impede discussion.

And if a job must be completed by several team members simultaneously because each holds exclusive access or knowledge, mutual availability and choosing a universal communication medium can become debilitating factors.

So there are certainly challenges to remote work. I had envisioned a perfect world where my laptop untethered me from an office desk. But there is a reason for environments like this to exist.

When working away from your office, there are many distractions. For those with kids barricading yourself into a bedroom to concentrate can be difficult. And if your home is messy, clearing a space to work can be challenging. At the office, one has a designated area to work. Using the kitchen table to both work and eat is a disaster.

I believe many are coming to these conclusions while working from home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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How the Coronavirus Changed Our World

The Coronavirus came suddenly. It felt like just a week ago; we were not concerned about anything. After we became conscious of the pandemic, it consumed our attention.

There was a part of me that recognized immediately how serious the situation could become, and another part of me that believed it would pass quickly without much consequence. The advice to purchase groceries came a week ago. I questioned the advice believing that if I had bought groceries, they would all spoil before I needed them if I needed them at all.

Then came the shelf hoarders who bought all my local store’s inventory. Photos of empty shelves trickled into my social media feeds. Still, I did not feel alarmed. I believed that it would pass, just like the gas crisis—maybe three weeks of inconvenience tops.

Now I find myself glued to my news apps, foraging for any updates that I can find. I see the map the world light up in red. I can foresee the virus spreading to those I love in my community.

I’m ready for this melodrama to be over! Tell me that this is sensationalism at work! The situation is becoming too real and lasting too long.

Unfortunately, this is real. And while this crisis has not fully engulfed my community, which I hope it never does, I know real people who I may never meet have been affected by this forever. That’s a heavy thought. I can never go back to not knowing the pain others are facing right now.

And then there is the economy. With so many closures and lockdowns, consequences are indeed looming. I have never witnessed anything of this scale before; I do not know what to expect. These new realities are unsettling.

But even in the darkest of times, the sunrise is over the next horizon. We will recover, and we will benefit from the advancements inspired by this crisis. Even in tragedy, improvements result. Wars brought us jets and drones. Tragedies inspire research.

Terrible tragedies occur, but our victory comes when we squeeze something good from them.

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Coronavirus Inspires Overdue Changes

The need for social distancing is pushing businesses to embrace digital in a hurry. For those clinging to in-person meetings, paper documents, cash, and on-location work, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will provide enough motivation to let those aged practices go.

While this is a terrible situation, it is also an opportunity. Challenges are opportunities. This situation is an opportunity to adapt and to embrace change as a whole world rapidly.

Remote work, increased sick-leave, computer literacy, and awareness of globalization, are overdue changes. We are quickly learning as a world how we all impact each other.

We may have needed a common enemy to unite us. The virus is not even alive. Yet, it must be defeated. And we do so by working together, putting aside our biases and silly feuds to focus on a greater good.

We are all in this together, and whatever our differences, they pale in comparison to what we face. We all know someone who has been or could be negatively affected by the virus when allowed to spread—our actions matter.

While much of the news leaves a feeling of uncertainty, there are undoubtedly many unpleasant realities looming, let this shadow prove the sunshine. Let us learn to work together and let us embrace advancement.

The time for obstructing progress must end. The time for not recognizing the world as one must end. We all impact each other.
Stop fighting and start helping.

I believe digital solutions can help in many areas. Going digital will enable us to practice social distancing. It has already helped us to mobilize much quicker than in previous centuries.

Our only obstacle is ourselves.

I hear many downplaying the danger. There is a myopic view that prevents the misinformed from seeing the dominoes waiting to fall. Others around the world already appreciate the gravity of the situation. The sooner those downplaying the situation recognize how serious this is, the better.

Panic is not good. But alertness is. And this alertness is what will hasten the changes needed.

The love of profit must be set aside for the love of people. The willingness to embrace the future must overpower the desire to cling to the past.

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Unboxing Cheapest 1080p Walmart Monitor Surf Onn

When I make my weekly rounds at Walmart, shopping for groceries, I always swing by the electronics section once or twice. I love electronics and enjoy the thrill of experiencing new products, even if its just for a few moments with the display unit.

On my most recent trip to Walmart I noticed the Surf Onn 22-inch monitor for the incredible price of $75! I had been looking for a second monitor to use at work, but since its work, I didn’t want to buy anything too expensive. The lowest I had seen online was on Amazon; a 19-inch monitor for $79. So when I saw this 22-inch FHD monitor, I knew right then I had to get it.

There were only two left on the shelf and I decided to take the plunge and buy them both. I think it’s a great buy and after unboxing it and using it to write this post, I can give you a confident review.

Simply put, it will do what you need it to do. It’s a great computer monitor. No it’s not an extreme gaming monitor that costs 4 figures, but if this is where your budget is at, I do not believe you’ll be disappointed.

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Fediverse: Mastodon the Alternative to Twitter

I am always looking for new Social Networks to join. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, Vero, Reddit, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, SoundCloud, MixCloud, and the list goes on and on.

There are about 250+ social networks (the last time I looked for a complete list). I thought I had joined most of the big ones. All of the ones I had joined so far were owned and hosted by a single company for profit.

A few days ago I discovered Mastodon. An alternative to Twitter. Mastodon is different because several servers called instances host the network. It is a federation of servers hosting the same protocol. Because of this, no one company or person owns it. The servers are hosting the site from around the world.

And it gets better! I discovered shortly after that Mastodon was part of a larger Fediverse of alternative social networks. Which include diaspora, Mastodon, PeerTube, GNU Social, Funkwhale, Socialhome, Misskey, Hubzilla, Pleroma, PixelFed, and Friendica.

All of these social networks operate similar to Mastodon in that they are community created, powered by an alliance of servers hosting the same protocol. And all of these networks are integrated together using ActivityPub. So not only are the networks federated themselves, but also with each other. Not even Facebook and Twitter do that.

To join me on Mastodon follow this link: https://mastodon.social/invite/wU8KzJra

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Anyone Can Change the World or Delay Our Progress

Ideas do not belong to people. The ideas always existed, always will exist, and are not contingent on your existence. Ideas are not ours to hold, they are to share.

Withholding or rejecting an idea delays our progress.

Realize that we could be further along in our technology, if we shared and accepted ideas sooner. These ideas prevail eventually, but its the obstacles that prevent many generations from witnessing their fruition.

I have an idea. It’s about the employment process. I would like to make it faster. The idea came to me when I was attending the University of the Incarnate Word.

The year was 2010; I was learning how to create the ideal resume and answer interview questions when it occurred to me that the process of getting hired was incredibly inefficient. During my college years, I had become obsessed with the perceived inefficiencies that I encountered in my daily life.

My solution to the employment process was to consolidate efforts to improve efficiency. Imagine an app or website where you could be vetted, recommended, and answer all possible interview questions once for the ability to one-click accept your next job. I wanted getting a new job to be as easy as liking a Facebook post.

Of course, there will be objections. Like, it shouldn’t be that easy… it takes the human aspect away from the process. But to me, I saw that speeding up the process was beneficial for society as a whole.

Politicians recognize that the economy is a major concern of all working citizens. Why? Because income streams are slow to replace. Get laid off from a job, it may take several months to even a year to replace it. This delays the employee’s ability to participate in the economy. Delays purchasing decisions, which then affects others. Layoff in mass and you can cause a major economic downturn.

So, it is in our best interest to speed up the hiring process.

From the perspective of the manager, losing talent is also a problem. Someone quits, gets a better job, and now your operations are hobbling along. That position needed to be filled, “like yesterday.” And the shoddy effort to fill this position then leads to a poor candidate choice, causing the need to fill the position to cycle over again.

And let’s not forget company culture! A poor candidate choice made in haste can leave toxic effects on morale.

Wouldn’t it be better to fill every position with the ideal candidate faster? A vetted, well-trained, best fit, candidate?

As the recruiting process stands now, finding candidates and opportunities is more like digging through an assorted bin of $5 DVDs at Walmart. One shuffles through 5-7 options and then settles for what is there.

The process is simply not convenient. Meaning, there will be minimal effort put into finding the ideal opportunity/candidate. This also applies to job descriptions themselves.

A hiring manager has many other tasks to perform. So in their haste the job description is most likely not their best work. The collective shoddy descriptions accumulate into chaos.

Am I exaggerating? I think not.

Why? There is no structure. No agreed upon definitions. Everything is ad hoc.

Now I recognize that innovation thrives in organic chaos. We need it, but not too much of it. Not everything has to be this disorderly.

I believe that we can collectively build clearer definitions and use these as templates to make our lives easier. I also believe that this will help us develop the structure we need to properly career plan.

Ultimately, this can be studied. It can be better. The excuses for not at least trying to speed up the employment process are against society’s best interests.

The sooner people are hired, working, and earning income, the sooner they can buy things. That’s good for the economy.

The more defined a career path is, the better we can train our workforce. How do you know what to study, if you do not know where you are going?

I understand that some of our studies begin as interests. And that some of the knowledge we acquire now is for an occupation that will not exist for another 10 years. I am not removed from this reality. I am simply saying, we can do better than what we have now. And we should try.

I also understand that free Enterprise is autonomous and hard to unify to a standard. But hey, we all use resumes and Facebook right? I think it can be done.

This is the very start of this conversation. I have held these thoughts in for sometime. I have more to say.