Home Network

Tonight I am preoccupied with building a home network. I am having electrical work done to my house starting next week. As part of the work I am having some network cables installed.

One of the questions I have to answer is how I want these terminated. Should I have a patch panel installed? Should I just work around a switch? Where should all of these be located physically? Lots of questions to answer.

Along with these concerns I would like to make sure there is a strong wifi signal in my garage and to the furthest reaches of my yard. I also want to wire the backyard for sound, but I am unsure whether to create a separate audio system for the backyard or if I should integrate it into the data network I am having built.

Because I cannot think of anything else to write about at the moment, this is what you get. Please feel free to comment if you have advice or stories of your own about being in similar straits. Also, any complaints? I would love to hear them.

Getting Out of Bed is a Bad Idea

Most days during the week, getting out of bed seems like a bad idea. Sure, I will have to get out of bed at some point to go to the bathroom or because I am hungry, but that is a natural progression. I am talking about getting up for work in the morning. Getting out of bed to get ready to go someplace where you would rather not be.

I know there are folks who love their jobs and enjoy getting out of bed to go to work. I am not one of those folks. On a workday I have a tendency to put off getting out of bed as long as possible. There is, however, a problem with that tendency that goes by the name of Jasper. Jasper, it seems, has no problem with getting up at any time of the day or night. He is particularly good at getting up between 6:00 AM and 6:30 AM and sticking his nose on any exposed part of my flesh to let me know that it is time to let him, and Ginger, outside. On weekdays this also means breakfast for the dogs, and cats, turtle and the fishes. On weekends I sometimes get up to let the dogs out and quickly get back into bed. Sometimes I stay up. But staying up on weekends feels different than getting up on weekdays. Perhaps because I don’t have to immediately start getting ready for work. I can sit down and watch TV, or do some work in the yard, or on my computer. On weekends I have a choice. On weekdays I have a routine.

I once worked from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM at an old job. I could wake up at 9:00 in the morning well rested even if I had been partying the night before. I had time to shower and watch an episode of divorce court while I got ready for work. I usually got to work early and had time to settle in before I started working. My lunch came after the typical lunch rush so I was free to eat wherever I wanted. Traffic was not as bad when I left for home. I ate around 8:00 PM. By 9:00 PM I was free to go out and party until one or two in the morning, go home, and still get enough sleep to easily start the cycle anew the next day.

My routine is set by the dictates of industrial age factory work. It is silly that work hours are set according to the dictates of an age long past and now obsolete. I am bound to a schedule that has me getting to work hours before I am fully awake. I have to eat quickly at crowded restaurant because the geniuses who oversee the work of the masses let everybody out to lunch at the same time. I am also fighting traffic to and from work. None of this makes any sense when you consider that I interface with nobody other than my coworkers throughout the day. My bosses say it is because they need coverage, of what I could not say. They stuck in habits that stopped making sense years ago.

A Little Thought Experiment

I have some expertise in the field of negotiation, some training and experience. Sometimes as an exercise I like to think about negotiations from a different perspective. Something akin to Einstein’s thought experiments; though perhaps not as profound. One of my favorite thought experiments is thinking about how I might teach a dog to negotiate.

Dogs possess a few weaknesses as negotiators. Dogs are seemingly not strategic thinkers. They display their emotions openly. They react to a different set of stimuli than people. Dogs are much less complicated than people.

They are not hopeless, however. Dogs are excellent observers. They read us very well. I have two dogs and on watching them interact I suspect they are good at reading each other. I cannot be entirely sure of this, but they seem to know how to get on each other’s nerve as well as any pair of siblings. A couple of things I noted as a weaknesses a paragraph ago, that they display their emotions openly and that they are less complicated than people, could also be considered negotiating strengths; that is, if they are dealing with a trustworthy counterpart. I suspect that dogs dealing with each other would generally be trustworthy.

So how do you teach a dog to negotiate? They already do it to a certain extent. My dog Jasper is always running around. He is a whirlwind. However, if he thinks there might be a snack involved he sits perfectly; telegraphing that he is a good dog and deserves a treat.

Ginger, my other dog, generally shows no interest in treats. However, if she knows Jasper got a treat she will usually show up to make sure she gets a treat too. Ginger communicates that she does not want to be left out.

Thus, I know my dogs have negotiating styles. Jasper is direct and immediate; Ginger is indirect and usually shows up well after the negotiations with Jasper have started. Jasper gets more treats because of his directness. Sometime Ginger misses out because she is late to the table.

I have watched other dogs in action. I have watched dogs play tug of war with whatever toy of the moment is at hand, until one of them gets away with the toy and a chase ensues. The winning dog will attempt to keep the prize from the other. When the other dog loses interest in the game, the winning dog will drop the prize, and they both move on. The game will pick up a little later when a new toy is discovered or the old toy is rediscovered. Thus, they are playing a zero-sum game.

The first lesson I would try to convey to a dog is the difference between distributive bargaining and integrative bargaining; that is, the difference between zero-sum and win-win negotiations. The winner take all of a session of tug of war is a fine example of distributive bargaining in the context of dog negotiation.

This would lead into the second lesson: tail control. In a distributive bargaining situation a dog’s tail will give them away. They might start wagging their tail as soon as they received an offer they liked, giving their counterparts insight into their positions. In an integrative negotiation this would just be a signal that the negotiation is on the right track. In a distributive negotiation this could lead to the current offer being rescinded and replaced with a worse offer.

The hard part is teaching a dog the difference between a distributive and integrative situation. They are pretty straightforward creatures. When I figure this part out, I will update you all.

Another Nightmare in Texas

Since Labor Day is a holiday, I didn’t post anything on Sunday night as per my usual schedule. Just want to remind people that this was not a slip from my regular writing schedule.

So, this happened. I am not generally a fan of Texas, but it is still heartbreaking to see the state torn by its second mass murder in a month. August was a horrible month in the United States for mass murder events, and not just in Texas. I do not imagine that September will be any better.

I am aghast at how common these have become. The only thing Republicans  can offer in the face of this growing list of grotesque incidents are their thoughts and prayers. Democrats can only display the ineptitude that allows these incidents to continue unabated. Again, I do not foresee September being any better.

Last year I had the opportunity to see Dr. Jeremy Richman speak. He talked about his work in founding The Avielle Foundation and his research into brain health and mental wellness. I thought he was inspirational and courageous, especially considering what he and his family had to endure. I spoke to him after his speech. He was warm and friendly and happily answered every question he was asked. It was heartbreaking to hear that he committed suicide. Though I had only met him briefly, his death was heart wrenching for me.

Dr. Richman’s suicide reminds me that the trauma of these mass shootings does not go away once the public has forgotten about them; the pain and suffering will endure long after life has moved on. As these mass murders continue–and they will continue as long as congress and the moron-in-chief take their marching orders from the NRA–the injury to this country will continue. Communities suffer as badly as any victims in these incidents. Now we are left to wonder how long it will take the poltroons in charge to even attempt to fix this.

Toastmasters Night

The second and fourth Wednesdays of the month I am in Toastmasters. I belong to the Crown City Toastmasters Club in Pasadena, CA. Tonight I was General Evaluator and we had a good meeting; two good speeches and a couple of guests.

All this to say that this post will be short. I just wanted to post something for the evening. It may be a cheat but it is feels good to post something even if it is feeble. Also, it is a warning that this may happen again. Or, I could write about the meetings. We shall see.

Good night all!

Introducing My Reading List

About a month ago I decided that I would start taking my blog more seriously. A couple of posts ago I figured out that I had written just over 50 post in the last 7 years. As you might have noticed I am not the world’s most prolific blogger.

Part of my goal was to start reading more books. Not just reading them, but finishing  them as well. I have read hundreds of books over the years. I read some all the way through; others I read only partially because I didn’t enjoy them or I found what I wanted and didn’t need the rest. I have never really kept track of what I was reading except in the chaotic recesses of my mind.

I have been doing well. I have read a book a week since I decided to make this a goal (this week notwithstanding, I have until Friday to finish my current book). I am quite proud of myself.

Last Friday I cam across this tweet:

I thought this is brilliant. So I decided to add a reading page of my own. I can only reliably go back to the last week of this past July, but you have to start somewhere. Please feel free to peruse my reading list, question me about it, and ask me about any weeks with missing books. Great thanks to Frank Chimero.