TED Talk Feature – What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

In this week’s Featured TED Talk we learn what keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life?

If you think it’s fame and money, you are not alone however according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you are mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction.

In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 11 – “The City on the Edge of Forever – The Original Teleplay written by Harlan Ellison”

This is a great graphic adaptation of a classic original Star Trek story that has a long history for those who call themselves “Trekkie’s”.

Much has been written and debated over the years about this particular Star Trek episode. As for my side of the debate, Eillison’ original concept could never have been filmed in the 1960’s due to the lack of technology (and money) that would have been necessary to ssee his original version on the screen. In addition the social mores of the time would never have permitted this past the TV censors. yes in late 1960’s TV you could depict prejudice if done just right, but drug addiction and dope pushers were not permitted on television society of the time

“The City on the Edge of Forever – The Original Teleplay written by Harlan Ellison” is simply a brilliant masterpiece of science fiction and I believe it could be made as a computer animated movie today with the original cast – and I believe it is possible to use the recorded voices of the original ST:TOS actors who are no longer with us.

What particularly struck me about this adaptation is that we see Spock willing to kill Kirk in order to keep history on its right course, and we get to see Kirk’s reaction to Spock’s rather emotional logic behind his willingness to kill his captain and friend. We also get to see Yeomen Janice Rand in a stronger role, and she assumes command of the landing team at one point.

“The City on the Edge of Forever – The Original Teleplay written by Harlan Ellison” is no doubt different then the aired television episode and in some ways it is indeed better – however I would not say it would have made a better Star Trek episode; yet both have their merits.

Harlan Ellison’s version as written here as a graphic novel is no doubt better science fiction then the original episode mainly because it has a greater depth and shows the souls of all characters with equal flawed grace.

But is it better Star Trek? This debate – among fans may never end.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 10 – “Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man”

This book is really misnamed. It is not an account of a Shatner’s fifty year friendship with Leonard Nimoy. By Shatner’s own admission, he did not truly become friends with Nimoy until the making of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979 which was about thirteen years after the two men met on the set of Star Trek. Also by Shatnber’s own admission their friendship actually ended a few years before Nimoy’s passing. Shatner reports that he never knew what it meant to be or to have a friend. This book is not an account of a fifty year friendship. It’s an unauthorized biography with a few personal remarks thrown here and there. This may be of interest for anyone interested in Leonard Nimoy who has not read much about him. For anyone who considers himself a fan who has read a lot about him over the many years, the book holds very little new, which was very disappointing to me.

I must say I was excited when I heard Shatner had “wrote” a memoir regarding his friendship with Leonard Nimoy, who was (and is) responsible for one of the most fictional characters of my life.

The book reads as though Shatner sent his ghost writer out to research Nimoy. This must have been done as soon as Nimoy had passed, as the book was completed and advertised within three months of the passing. It was not of course released until the anniversary of Nimoy’s death.

The information in the book comes from many sources: the Mind Meld DVD, Nimoys’ autobiographies “I Am Not Spock” and then his about face “I Am Spock”, his son Adam’s book, the many books about the making of Star Trek, Shatner’s own book “Up Til Now” among many others. Much of it reads as though whoever wrote it had simply paraphrased Nimoy’s IMDB credits into history. Also very surprising is that much of it is factually inaccurate. Much of it, if you already know anything about Star Trek and Nimoy, is frankly boring. Shatner did speak movingly and personally about the death of his wife and the support he received from Nimoy (most of which was in his own autobiography already) but most of the book was the recounting of details and incidents which had been researched from other sources freely available to the public.

By his own admission, Shatner does not “remember much”, which probably is the reason this book reads so “well researched” but not really – truly from the heart.

Shatner says he has trouble relating to others. This is clear from the book. My opinion is that this book is not truly a personal account of his friendship with a much missed man as the title suggests. In the end it is a heavily researched biography, with a personal note put in at the end to express his love (whi I believe he does have) for Leonard Nimoy.

In the end what you have here is a relatively reasonable if not mediocre biography, but it is not what the title says it is.

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Windows Build 14295 Arrives for Insiders

I had taken a break from the Microsoft Windows Insider Preview but now I am back. What this means is that my Windows PCs (including my Microsoft Book & Microsoft Surface 4) will get Windows 10 updates on a “fast ring”, several months ahead of the regular market. This also means that I am sure to have some technical glitches along the way but that is part of price you pay if you want to experience what Microsoft has offer with Windows 10 ahead of the masses. The good news for you, my dedicated readers is that you will get a preview right here about what is around the corner for you in respect to Windows 10. So with all of this being understood my first new build occurred today with Windows Insider Build 14295.

windows 10 insider preview

So here is what I found after installing the new build.

The biggest fix for PC users is that this repairs a problem that caused Kaspersky security products to not work as expected.

Gamers should also be happy with this patch, since Microsoft fixed a bug that caused Windows 10 PCs running the previous beta build to crash when users plugged in Xbox One or Xbox 360 controllers. The company also fixed a problem that prevented the Xbox app and other Xbox Live-enabled apps and games from signing in.

On the mobile side of things, users will now be able to reset their phones and restore from a backup and get all their applications re-installed. On the previous beta build, they’d be stuck looking at blank gray tiles on the phone’s home screen.

These updates don’t mean the release is bug-free, however. PC users who rely on a PIN or Windows Hello to log into their devices will see performance reduced because of a bug in the underlying Microsoft Passport service. To deal with that, they can type in a long terminal command to temporarily disable the ability to log in with those methods until Microsoft pushes another update.

windows 10 insider port ios apps to windows 10 preview

Mobile users will find that after upgrading, they’ll experience “sync issues” with both versions of Microsoft’s Band fitness tracker. To deal with that, users will have to reset their phones and re-pair their Bands to get them working properly again.

These updates just go to show how frequently Microsoft is releasing new builds of Windows 10. This is the second release in two weeks of a beta build for both Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 for PCs and tablets. The good news is that Microsoft is putting out more bits faster. The bad news is that people who are willing to spend time on the cutting edge will have to deal with some rough edges to get the latest features.

This build will reportedly be the last released before Microsoft’s big Build developer conference, taking place in San Francisco next week. Users and developers alike should expect some fresh news there about where Windows 10 is going in the near future and what they can look forward to from Microsoft’s operating system.

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Wi-Fi Calling Starts to Catch On

Here is a new feature – at least to Verizon Wireless that I have been waiting for and it has finally arrived, at lest for some of us. Wi-Fi Calling is arriving and for those of us who work, live or visit areas that have poor cellular coverage this will be a winner.

 

What is Wi-Fi Calling and How To Use It

Wi-Fi calling allows your iPhone to place and receive phone calls and text messages over a Wi-Fi network. If you have a weak cellular signal but a solid Wi-Fi signal, your iPhone will automatically switch over and route calls and texts via Wi-Fi.

Apple first added support for Wi-Fi calling to the iPhone with iOS 8, and it’s gradually becoming supported on more and more carriers, including the latest addition of Verizon Wireless on iOS 9.3. You can only use this if your cellular carrier supports it.

This is disabled by default, so you’ll have to enable it before it will do anything. Once you’ve enabled it, it will “just work” and your phone will automatically switch to Wi-Fi when necessary. You’ll see this indicated in the status bar — for example, it will say “T-Mobile Wi-Fi” rather than “T-Mobile LTE” if you’re using T-Mobile and your phone is currently connected to Wi-Fi rather than the LTE cellular network. Dial a number or send a text message in the normal way while “Wi-Fi” appears in your status bar and it will connect over the Wi-Fi connection instead of the cellular one.

It’ll automatically switch between cellular and Wi-Fi networks as you move out of an area covered by Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to do anything different or even think about it.

This only works if your carrier has enabled the necessary support on their end. The carrier has to be able to automatically route calls and texts to you over the Internet.

How to Set Up Wi-Fi Calling

You just need two things to use this feature:

  • A carrier that supports Wi-Fi calling: In the US, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T support this. Verizon is also very recently began to support this – as long as you are running iOS 9.3 or higher.  More carriers should support it in the future.
  • A special note about Verizon Wireless. As of this report Verizon Wireless only supports Wi-Fi Calling on iPhone 6 and newer and Samsung Galaxy S6 and newer. I am sure more models will be supported soon so stay tuned if you have a different mobile device.
  • An iPhone 5c or newer: Older iPhones don’t support this. You’ll need an iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6s, or a newer model to use this feature.

How to Enable Wi-Fi CallingIMG_5619

To enable Wi-Fi calling, open the Settings app on your iPhone, scroll down, and tap Phone. Tap “Wi-Fi Calling” under Calls and activate the “Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone” slider.

You should also tap “Update Emergency Address” and ensure your carrier has a correct address. If you ever dial 911 over a Wi-Fi network, the emergency responders will see your call associated with the emergency address you enter here.

You will also need to log into your cellular account and turn on “Wi-Fi Calling” for each phone. Be aware that Verizon calls this “HD Voice”. Turning this feature on is free – but you will need to do this as well.

Living With Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi calling isn’t a feature you willl notice a lot after you enable it, but it will make your iPhone work much better in areas with low cellular reception but a solid Wi-Fi signal. For someone like me where I have very poor cellular coverage in and around my home this is huge!

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Is You iOS 9.3 Stuck?

If you’are using an iPhone 5s, iPad Air or older Apple gear, it looks like you you may have to wait a bit longer for iOS 9.3.

It has been reported that the update Apple just pushed installed the new version but required users of older iOS devices to enter their Apple ID and password to complete the setup process. You can’t use your iPhone or iPad until you enter these correctly.

From Apple:

In some cases, if customers do not recall their password, their device will remain in an inactivated state until they can recover or reset their password. For these older devices, we have temporarily pulled back the update and will release an updated version of iOS 9.3 in the next few days that does not require this step.

If you’re stuck with the update installing itself and either you can’t recall or enter your password correctly, Apple has posted instructions for a workaround on this page that you can use to restore your device.

iOS 9.3 brings a host of useful features like Night Shift for reducing blue light emanating from your screen, a more secure Notes app, and the ability to pair multiple Apple Watches to a single device.

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What is a CGCIO?

If you are a regular reader of this fine technology blog you probably are aware that I am the Chief Information Officer for the Borough of West Chester. I have proudly been a part of the Borough of West Chester for 29+ years. In fact this May I celebrate 30 years working for one of the best communities anyone could hope to live and raise a family in.

Anyway back in 2015 I earned my CGCIO (Certified Government Chief Information Officer) certification which was a 16 month long course of study provided by PTI (Public Technology Institute) and Rutgers University. Many of you may not be aware of what CGCIO means or why it is so important to me. If you are a CIO or a technology leader (in government) I highly recommend this course of study.

I am so proud of this achievement that my CGCIO certificate adorns this very blog on the right side panel!

Check out Professor Alan Shark’s course description video to learn more.

If you are interested in checking our my Capstone Report you can do that right here!

You can learn more here.

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TED Talk Feature – How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed

I first viewed this TED Talk last year and I have actually returned to it a couple of times. We all have suffered through days like the one Daniel Levitin describes at the introduction of this amazing TED Talk.

I hope you find some good information here on how to better deal with stress, I know I did.

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Is Selling Passwords Really a Risk?

Here is yet another story regarding security that fully demonstrates that relying on passwords alone to protect our information is unreliable.

It turns out that all of the security in the world won’t stop a disgruntled or adequately incentivized employee. According to research done by Austin, Texas-based security company SailPoint, one in five employees would sell their work passwords for money.

And not even a high sum, either. In the report, 44 percent of those who responded affirmatively said that they would sell their credentials for less than $1000.

Screenshot 2016-03-22 17.05.02

It’s not the only poor password practice that workers engage in, although you could argue that it is the most nefarious. Apparently nearly two-thirds of employees actually admitted to sharing passwords and credentials with coworkers, and 16 percent confessed to only using a single password for all of their credentials.

It is clear that companies are doing a poor job of locking the door after letting an employee go: 42 percent of those responded said they could access corporate accounts and data after termination.

For ex-employees it is clear that the organization should immediately disable all of their accounts and secure the information. Going further security must eventually grow beyond the use of simple passwords.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 9 – “The Latter Fire”

In this most recent Star Trek novel by James Swallow you have a little of everything that works in the TOS universe. You could also say that here Star Trek meets “The Plnate of the Apes” and “Godzilla”. So what would not be to like.

This is also the first time I’ve read about the transition of Chekov from the Command track to the Security track (where he ends up when TMP debuts in 1979) and his replacement, Arex (who arrives in 1973 with TAS). For those of you who watched the animated series, Arex is the red alien with three legs and three arms who mans the navigation position. He, along with other characters from the animated series, offers different personalities and insight into Starfleet, the Federation and our crew.

New blood, new ideas. Overall the story is solid and plays our in a very big way while at the same time feeling very much like a episode as well. The Enterprise deals with not only the Syhaari, but two other races, in a show down to prevent the destruction of the entire system and its inhabitants. The adventure here deals with tthe ypical problems of humans, just infused within other races.

Greed. Lust, Pride. Desire. Envy. Ignorance, and most of all Fear drive this story.

What makes this book unique is that the Syhaari, though quite intelligent, have lived in isolation for their entire lives until they go beyond the “Veil” that surrounds their system. They finally take those incremental steps beyond their system and find stars and darkness and it sparks the desire to know more. This leads them to an encounter with the Enterprise and years later with another encounter with the Enterprise, but this time in a more advanced state of exploration.

James Swallow displays the charm and flair of the classic series perfectly throughout this novel. Especially the dialogues between the familiar characters – particularly the amusing banter between Spock and McCoy. And also on the animate series is nodded to here and the story settles between the last episode of TOS and the first episode of TAS. The action itself is well paced, and the book kept my interest from start to finish. You are have here two competing nations working together at the end of the story to avert a terrible catastrophe celebrates Roddenberry’s underlying philosophy. That alone makes the novel a wonderful reading experience for any Trek fan.

 

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