Tao Te Ching – Modern Political, Economic Wisdom »


Interested in learning more about Taoism and how it relates and differs from Buddhism, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching has been on my reading list for the past year. While the text’s true authorship and date of publication are debated, according to tradition The Tao Te Ching was written by Taoist sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, “Old Master”) in China around 600 BC. There are numerous translations of The Tao Te Ching; I settled on Stephen Mitchell’s English translation which is available on Amazon, free online, or as an audio book download from iTunes.

Surprisingly short, I listened to the audio book version several times over the weekend and was struck by three verses that seem to ring true during the ongoing Iraq war, current U.S. economic crisis, and the role of the United States, China, Russia, and aspiring countries in the Middle East. Perhaps there is some 2,600 year old wisdom to draw on here?

From the Tao Te Ching: A New English Version by Lao Tzu and Stephen Mitchell.

Book cover: Tao Te Ching: A New English Version by Lao Tzu and Stephen MitchellWhen a country obtains great power,
it becomes like the sea:
all streams run downward into it.
The more powerful it grows,
the greater the need for humility.
Humility means trusting the Tao,
thus never needing to be defensive.

A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow that he himself casts.

If a nation is centered in the Tao,
if it nourishes its own people
and doesn’t meddle in the affairs of others,
it will be a light to all nations in the world.

The great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.

When rich speculators prosper
While farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
while the poor have nowhere to turn-
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.

Whoever is planted in the Tao
will not be rooted up.
Whoever embraces the Tao
will not slip away.
Her name will be held in honor
from generation to generation.

Let the Tao be present in your life
and you will become genuine.
Let it be present in your family
and your family will flourish.
Let it be present in your country
and your country will be an example
to all countries in the world.
Let it be present in the universe
and the universe will sing.

How do I know this is true?
By looking inside myself.

Interested to know your thoughts.

New Blog Design »


So, it has been quite awhile since my last post. 7 months and 17 days to be exact. There are a number of reasons (excuses) for this. Besides being generally busy with work and play, it seems that 2008 has been the year of the social networking sites, specifically Facebook and Twitter. With the advent of the status update, a short blurb about what you are doing at any given moment, and the wider reach of social networks, personal blogs just seem…less relevant. If you want to know what I’m up to, you can simply follow me on Twitter. Of course, there are those times when 140 characters do not suffice. The other main reason is that I started on a blog redesign earlier this year which I finally got around to finishing. Posting in the interim created an issue of version control so I opted to create less work for myself and held off on posting. There’s a bit more work to do, but some of the new blog features include:

  • Total custom design (not based on a pre-made blog theme)
  • Integration of Twitter feed (on sidebar)
  • List of where to find me on various social networks (“Find Me On…”)
  • New Subscribe page where you can subscribe by email and/or RSS. I am also creating category level feeds (i.e. – subscribe only to Triathlon posts, etc.)
  • An Archive page listing previous posts
  • Photos (linked directly to my Flickr photo stream)
  • A number of behind the scenes code improvements
  • Overall cleaner, more Zen appearance

I hope you like the new design.

Top 10 – Personal Highlights of 2007 »


It’s that time of year. Time for the obligatory top 10 list. Walking home from getting coffee this morning I tried to think of the most memorable personal events of 2007. Here’s what came to mind. In chronological order…

1. Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. One of six triathlons I did this year. It was a tough day but was a memorable experience to race in Hawaii and to spend time with friends on the Big Island. (Thankfully, the sunburn has mostly healed.)

2. TrendMedia office. This year TrendMedia made the leap from home-based business to a office in downtown San Francisco. While web developers can work from anywhere, I admit it’s nice to work more directly with others and to have a place to call “there”.

3. Santa Barbara Triathlon. Highlights were the beautiful surroundings and the opportunity to spend quality time with my mom who came from Chicago to see the race. Would like to do this again. (Could even skip the racing part.)

Fred and Nicole at Alcatraz swim
4. Alcatraz 100 (Swim of the Centurions). My second swim from Alcatraz. Somehow I thought it would be easier than the first. Hmmm. Tough swim but great weather and post-race breakfast with friends made for a memorable day. (Right: Nicole tends to Fred’s minor injuries.)

5. Birth of Miles Prescott Grover. Born Tuesday, September 4, at 7:58 am. Congratulations to friends Traci and Jojo! Miles’ blog.

6. Fred and Nicole’s engagement. Congratulations to friends Fred and Nicole! (Fred found a caregiver.)

7. Meditation class at IMC. The most significant thing I did for myself this year. Surprise. It’s not triathlon or technology related.

8. GTD. Consider me late to the party. David Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity came out in December 2002 but I didn’t get around to reading it until this year. In fact, I cheated and downloaded the audio book from iTunes. Applying the GTD principles and Merlin Mann’s Inbox-Zero approach has given me a framework for getting more done with less stress in every area of life.

9. First marathon. A classmate in grade school once told me that I “run like a Chester”. I never understood the reference but it was clear that someone who ran like a Chester was clearly a poor runner. Despite being a triathlete, I’ve always felt like a Chester on the run course. Thus, training for my first marathon this Fall was a big deal. While I’m still no Prefontaine, the training and race was a challenging and rewarding experience, and I managed to finish the marathon in under four hours. (So, Adam F., wherever you are, who’s the Chester now?)

10. Christmas in Chicago. Spending time with family. What’s more important?

What were your highlights in 2007? Looking for some inspiration for the coming year.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and great 2008!

Amazon Kindle – End of Paper Books? »


Kindle demo movie (link)

Today Amazon introduced the Kindle, a lightweight and powerful electronic book reader that features a new display technology that reads much like paper. Three years in the making, the Kindle has built in wireless connectivity and can display books, electronic newspapers, blogs, or just about any type of syndicated content. Weighting 10.3 ounces, the Kindle weighs about the same as an average paperback yet holds approximately 300 titles and retails for $399, about the same as a high-end cell phone or 2-3 college text books. Is this the beginning of the end for paper bound books? Read more at Amazon.

Bay Area – 5.6 Twitter Quake »


We just had a bit of a shaker in the San Francisco Bay Area. Magnitude 5.6
to be exact. No damage here but it was certainly felt across the twittersphere.
You know you’re a technology geek when…

Screenshot of Twitterrific - everyone Twittering the 5.6 earthquake near SF

Neat to see the real time responses, and glad everyone is alright. Picture
below of the shake map.

Earthquake map

Howto: Setup Gmail IMAP on the iPhone »


Above is a video from Google demonstrating how to setup IMAP email on the iPhone. The primary advantage of IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) over POP (Post Office Protocol) is that IMAP maintains the state of messages across email clients. For example, if you delete an email at Gmail.com, then that email is automatically deleted from your iPhone and vice versa. This means that you never have to deal with the same message twice and can save a lot of time when it comes to filing and deleting messages.

With IMAP, folders are also synced across email clients. When you switch to Gmail IMAP, the Gmail spam folder will appear on your iPhone. This allows you to flag messages as spam directly from your iPhone, something you couldn’t do previously with POP.

Follow the video above or these simple instructions to make the switch.

Install OS X Leopard on PC »


Mac / PC spoof. PC guy pointing gun at Mac guy, saying shut up.Is been only a day since Apple released OS X Leopard and already hackers have found a way to install Leopard on PC. Not for the novice PC user and most certainly illegal, the hack makes use of a modified install CD. Hackers say the install is still experimental and things like sound, video settings, and wireless will most likely not work until new drivers and system workarounds can be developed. (At the current rate, I predict this will be a matter of days.) Details at DailyApps.net.

(Image by: rbeforee.)

Southern Culture on the Skids (San Francisco) »

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SCOTS TV room (picture of SCOTS on old TV set from their website)

Don your polyester pants and John Deere hat and saunter over to the Great American Music Hall this Sunday at 7:30 PM for a little Southern Culture on the Skids (“SCOTS”). For those “undst-familiar”, the SCOTS sound is best described as surf-a-billy, a mix of rock, surf guitar, and “y’all guessed it”…hillbilly. Always a zany lowbrow time, tickets are still available. $18 total — a true surfabilly bargain. View videos from recent concerts, the Conan O’Brien Show, or sample SCOTS music online (more on iTunes).

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Twitter – For Yourself, Business »

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Twitterrific iconIf you work in technology or a related field and are not Twittering, start. If you own a small business, be sure to reserve your business name on Twitter immediately; like your URL, it’s important that you claim your business name before someone else does. (Some organizations on Twitter.) Not updating your company site or blog as frequently as you should? Twitter. It’s the easiest way to start micro blogging and to stay top of mind with customers and colleagues, at the same time in a relaxed and social way. Want to know what others in technology and design are doing, eating, thinking about, or where you can join them for a beer at this very moment in time? Follow them on Twitter.

What should you be doing now? Twittering. I won’t waste any more of your time so you can get started. Oh yeah, and if you’re on a Mac install Twitterrific.

Need someone to follow? Start with me. http://twitter.com/mcnitt