Inspiration: Rising Above the Noise

The world is much kinder than we know. Even when our world comes crashing down and hope feels out of touch, scratching beneath the surface will reveal perspective. Thats not to say that struggle and pain will disappear. Those are constant and are not going anywhere. But, if you look in the right places, you will be surprised by how much love there is. Sometimes we overlook it and get drawn out by the noise inside our head. Blaming ourselves. Hating ourselves. Even for things that we had no control over. But the reality is that we all have something to be grateful for. The history of humankind is not void of pain and we forget all too easily the conditions of our forbearers.

In many ways we are our worst enemy. We live in a war of thoughts. Constantly measuring ourselves against our neighbour, celebrity, and future self. You only get one shot at life so pay attention and embrace the beautiful moments. And when you struggle, because you will, use it as inspiration to grow.

Life without noise is not possible, so you can either dance to it and make the most of it or be out of sync. The choice is yours.

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Apple Cheated on Me

It was March of 2011 when I was first introduced to MacBook Pro. My attraction to it was magnetic. And over time our relationship grew stronger, transcending and withstanding the trials and tribulations of life. We eventually decided to have some children together and named them iPhone, iPad, and iMac. All of them pitched in around the house and contributed in ways they were expected. It was truly a lovely affair. Then, in late 2016 I learned that Macbook Pro was getting very sick and needed to either be replaced or fixed. The latter scenario didn’t make sense. I wanted to put my late Macbook Pro to rest and give it the peace it deserved. So, there I was, MacBookless, in search of a new partner to get me through the next 5 years. It was then with great excitement that I discovered that Apple would be releasing a refreshed model in October.

So when the day finally came, I was locked and loaded, with a credit card in my hand, eager and willing to fork out some dough to complete my family again. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out the way I had hoped. While the new model was brimming with youth and excitement, surpassing virtually every feature and quality I had come to expect from a modern age laptop, I discovered that buying one would be like the equivalent of adopting a spoiled, self-entitled, naïve child who holds zero compassion and is entirely driven by an acute case of greed.

The price was so steep that even our Great Patriarch, Steve Jobs, would be rolling in his grave with contempt. It goes against everything Apple stands for. If they truly want to provide the best computing experience to students, educators, and creative professionals, as their mission statement says, wouldn’t it make sense that they price their products at a price point that is accessible to them? While it’s true that some privileged students will be able to afford these fancy, fully loaded devices, it alienates millions of others who grew up using OSX. Indeed, the pricing for these new models are decidedly evil, forcing people to make tough tradeoffs in a world where student debt is souring. It is not only an example of greed but also a total disregard to the communities in which they serve. I can appreciate the fact that Apple’s pricing is driven by their status as a premium product manufacturer. In fact, I accept it. But this year was different.

Never knowing what being cheated on was like, I was in for a treat. With no shame or remorse, Apple laid it on me with style. I was told that I wasn’t worthy enough. That my paycheque wasn’t sufficient enough to keep my place in the family. To add insult to injury, I was also told that iPhone would no longer allowed to talk to MacBook Pro. With no USB 2 port, iPhone would need to be supervised by Dongle, which would add another $30 to the already super, obscenely expensive MacBook Pro. As a loyal customer and backer of Apple I always knew they had some chutzpah and hubris but this year definitely took the cake. They broke a record. And now I ‘ve realized that I deserve better. Goodbye Apple. Hello Windows.

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Dating & Fading

I’ve never been the kind of person who rushes to secure a relationship shortly after meeting someone. I believe that if it’s meant to be it will happen naturally. And so I tend to just go with the flow and let things happen as they come. Not having much success with this approach I decided to walk a different path. I decided that whoever I met next will get to know me on a very personal level, which doesn’t happen often because of how guarded I am. It takes a lot for me to open up to someone. And so I thought that maybe that was the problem. Maybe I wasn’t letting people in and that was pushing them away. If there was ever a time in my life that I was totally off the mark it was this. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When you’re in a fantasy you tend to ignore all the warning signals. Every time they pop up you brush it under the rug and make some kind of excuse for the other person. He didn’t mean it. He won’t do it next time. It’s just one flaw and no one is flawless. It takes a great deal of honesty to confront a problem, even when it’s right in front of you, if you’re under the illusion that what you have with someone is so special that you can overcome it.

The story starts in Florida where I met, what seemed at the time, an amazing Jewish doctor who shared the same value, principles, and background as me. I loved the fact that he was warm and expressive. It allowed me to venture out of my shell and explore my own feelings in ways I had never done before. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. Things were moving insanely fast. And even though I knew it I didn’t care. I made a commitment to try something new and different. After all, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again expecting the same result. So there I was. Giving this budding relationship a real chance and ignoring every single red flag possible.

For starters we lived in different cities. But I didn’t care. I was willing to do long distance. At one point we talked about sex and whether we would date someone who was a virgin. He said that he wouldn’t because he wanted to be with someone who had some experience. My response was the exact opposite. I said that not only would I date someone who was a virgin but I would actually respect them a great deal for dignifying their body in that kind of way. This was another red flag I chose to sweep under the rug. Clearly our priorities were different. A relationship should never be based on sex. And besides, even if the sex was bad, it’s the most workable thing in a relationship and the worst reason to break up with someone. Anyways, we obviously saw things differently but no worries. It didn’t matter. It was just one flaw.

The next red flag I feel kind of ridiculous about. He essentially forbid me to eat onions. Yes. That’s right. Onions! He had this belief that even with mouthwash or gum, the smell would not go away. And so he gave me an ultimatum and said if you chew gum you’re not kissing me. I complied like a stupid sheep. In hindsight what I should have said was “don’t you want me to enjoy my meal?”  And he would have responded “well, then you’re not kissing me.” And then I would have said “well then we’ll wait until the smell goes away.” The truth is that getting to know someone is not about kissing. That’s just a physical distraction that blinds you from really getting to know someone. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy it. But no one should ever try to change me especially if we just met. In any case. This flag showed me how selfish and immature he was. But no worries. Let’s tuck that under the rug as well because it’s just one thing and no one is perfect.

I then learned that he’s a huge socialite. He loves to constantly be around people and hates being alone. Here is missed that he actually had insecurity problems. He was also in a different mind space than me. I had no interest in clubbing and drinking. I did it. Was fun. And now I’ve moved on with my life.

Eventually I ended up making a trip to visit him and that’s when things really started to change. All of a sudden he felt like he had the power in the relationship. The chase was over and the excitement died very, very quickly.

What I learned from this experience was that you should never avoid the red flags. They are there for a reason. No matter how badly you want it to work, if the foundation is not there, a relationship is doomed to fail. It’s important to take things slow and to keep your life going without getting your hopes up. I also learned that when you meet someone you should never assume that they are on the same page as you. You should never open up until you are sure they are worth opening up to. After all, no matter how you feel towards the person, they are still strangers and should be treated as such. I am now wiser because of this experience. It gave me personal growth. And I don’t regret it happened because I now have a perspective that I believe will help me when I do meet the right person! In the meantime, I’m focusing on myself right now and if the right person happens to come along then I’ll be open to exploring that opportunity.

 

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A website to read and write reviews of factories in china

I recently started a new website called www.ratemyfactory.com.

It’s in the beginning stages right now and only has a sign up page so that people can be notified when it’s up and running. The intent is to create an online community of people who can read and write reviews of factories and suppliers they’ve worked with in China.  Sourcing agents can be expensive and this can help bridge the gap.

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Smart investing is like sex

Mr. Market: “The party is over when I say it’s over”

Investor: “When is that?”

Mr. Market: “When the music stops playing”

Unfortunately, no one actually knows when the market will blow up in our face. If someone tells you they do, they are lying! Timing the market is impossible. Sure,  it might work in your favour in the short term but it always fails in the long run. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the stats. Most mutual funds under-perform the market in spite of the impressive resumes of the managers who manage them. The way I’m playing the market is very simple. I have 50% cash to buy stocks when we have a 10%-15% correction. The other half is used to track US, Japan, and European indexes. Why complicate things by gambling your money into oblivion? Be smart. Diversify. And you’ll soon discover that doing so is like sex. Always puts you on top. Good luck guys!

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Will the Keystone XL Pipeline Survive?

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It may not be this year or next but the XL pipeline, which will connect Alberta’s oil sand to the Gulf Coast, will get passed eventually. The support is just too strong. With Democrats losing ground in key States, it’s just a matter of time when the tides will turn in favour of a Republican led stance on the issue. While it may be true that the President can veto any bill that seeks to authroize such a project, it is not in his best interest to do so as it makes him look like he’s incapable of compromising at a crucial time when Republicans have power over both houses. No matter what what the case though, he probably will not stand by the sidelines. He will veto the bill. He will flex his muscles. And that is why I am not optimistic about the bill passing this year or next. But there will come a day when it passes. When the next administration, which I predict will be Republican, will pass the bill, either to show a dose of good faith to a Republican led House and Senate at the commencement of their presidency or to simply do it because it’s the right thing to do. Because it’s good for the economy and because it leads to a more productive, energy independent America.

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Iphone 5S – Biometric Technology – A Danger

While I believe that biometric technology has many benefits, especially when it comes to simplifying our lives, I believe that commercializing it in a smartphone is a mistake – at least for now.

That being said, I’ll be honest with you in admitting that I’m not an early adopter.  I never have been.  And, with good reason.  Why should I suffer through the testing phase and become a lab rat when other people voluntarily enlist themselves to do it? I rather wait until a product works the way it supposed to.  Does that make me biased?  Yes.  Yes, it does. But, why don’t you keep reading and tell me if my line of reasoning is off? If my bias is any reason at all to discredit my argument.

Unlike passwords, which we manufacture through our brains and can change easily at any time, biometrics, by its very definition, is a permanent, unduplicated, “physical password,” that can identify one person out of the many billions who inhabit this world.

Ok, so why does this make a difference? Well, I’m glad you asked. The world today is more integrated than ever.  The technologies we use to make our lives more simple and efficient come with a price.  We are constantly susceptible to security intrusions which could compromise our identity.  Of course, companies work really hard to build codes which blocks such attacks from happening.  But, usually, these updates only come after a flaw is identified, making us susceptible to an attack in that window of time until the issue is finally resolved.

Let’s assume that our identity was compromised.  Our credit cards, social security number, drivers license number, banking information.  Let’s assume the hacker got so deep through our firewalls that they took every single piece of information about who we are.  That sucks.  It really does.  But, you at least have options.  You can call your bank and get them to issue you new cards.  Call your government and have yourself issued a new social security number. Screw it. You can legally change your name if you really want to.

But, with biometrics you are completely screwed.  You can’t buy yourself a new fingerprint.  Our physical, non-duplicated, password is now in the hands of a hacker, who could use it unlawfully, and potentially incriminate us in the process.  Imagine, hypothetically, hackers will be able to use our digital fingerprints to create a physical synthetic version that would then be applied onto gloves.  I realize I’m talking hypotheticals here, but at this point, due to the fact that this technology has never been tested in such a way, even the farfetched scenarios are on the table.

Like I said before though, I’m not an early adopter.  So, I will wait patiently.  Watch from a distance. And reassess my options once I am given more proof that this technology has ironed out the wrinkles.

My advice to you is this: Caveat Emptor. Which in Latin stands for buyer beware.

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