Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Geospatial Revolution Project

Doing some research and found Geospatial Revolution Project a little while ago (see, for example, posts from Boing Boing and Google Maps Mania). Described as an integrated multimedia educational initiative exploring the use and impact of digital mapping, the Project is scheduled to produce a series of web videos that would form, once finished, a 60-minute documentary. A five-minute trailer gave some idea of what was to come.

The Project’s first episode (of four) went live. In less than 14 minutes it introduces the subject, sets out the origins of geospatial technology, and explores its use in disaster relief for the Haitian earthquake. Something that I am proud to say that I was able to help with. 

I am looking forward to what will come in the remaining segments. The next episode is scheduled for release on November 2; episode three will come out on February 1, 2011, with the final episode following on March 15.

Via All Points Blog and many other sources.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

World's 'oldest beer' found in shipwreck

via CNN -- First there was the discovery of dozens of bottles of 200-year-old champagne, but now salvage divers have recovered what they believe to be the world's oldest beer, taking advertisers' notion of 'drinkability' to another level.

Though the effort to lift the reserve of champagne had just ended, researchers uncovered a small collection of bottled beer on Wednesday from the same shipwreck south of the autonomous Aland Islands in the Baltic Sea.

"At the moment, we believe that these are by far the world's oldest bottles of beer," Rainer Juslin, permanent secretary of the island's ministry of education, science and culture, told CNN on Friday via telephone from Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland Islands.

"It seems that we have not only salvaged the oldest champagne in the world, but also the oldest still drinkable beer. The culture in the beer is still living."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beware of fake Facebook 'dislike' button

With new technologies and advances in the social realm it's bound to happen where there are programs aimed to 'attack' or otherwise fool the user into accepting something that may otherwise look harmless. While on the surface this may be true but in recent article written by CNN's John Sutter we find out that there may be more happening behind the scenes of 3rd party applications. So be sure you know what, why, how and who you are sending your personal information to. 
(CNN) -- Lots of people think the Internet is a bit too chipper -- so much so that they'veclamored for a "dislike" button on Facebook, which, to date, only officially allows people to "like" content on its site.

Now, some social-media spoilers are trying to turn the public's desire for that dislike buttoninto a scam, according to a security researcher.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at the British security firm Sophos, wrote in a blog post on Monday that fake dislike buttons are going viral on Facebook.

Watch out for posts that look like this, he says: "I just got the Dislike button, so now I can dislike all of your dumb posts lol!!"

That statement on Facebook is typically followed with a link, Cluley writes, that takes people to a fake Facebook application.

Instead of installing a dislike button, Cluley says, the application uses a person's social network to continue spreading the fake program.

"If you do give the app permission to run, it silently updates your Facebook status to promote the link that tricked you in the first place, thus spreading the message virally to your Facebook friends and online contacts," he writes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Forget Brainstorming

What you think you know about fostering creativity is wrong. A look at what really works.

A Half Hour of Exercise Can Boost Creativity for Hours
Brainstorming in a group became popular in 1953 with the publication of a business book,Applied Imagination. But it’s been proven not to work since 1958, when Yale researchers found that the technique actually reduced a team’s creative output: the same number of people generate more and better ideas separately than together. In fact, according to University of Oklahoma professor Michael Mumford, half of the commonly used techniques intended to spur creativity don’t work, or even have a negative impact. As for most commercially available creativity training, Mumford doesn’t mince words: it’s “garbage.” Whether for adults or kids, the worst of these programs focus solely on imagination exercises, expression of feelings, or imagery. They pander to an easy, unchallenging notion that all you have to do is let your natural creativity out of its shell. However, there are some techniques that do boost the creative process:

Dont tell someone to be creative.

Such an instruction may just cause people to freeze up. However, according to the University of Georgia’s Mark Runco, there is a suggestion that works: “Do something only you would come up with—that none of your friends or family would think of.” When Runco gives this advice in experiments, he sees the number of creative responses double.

Stargazing in Pittsburgh

via googleblog; Humans have always been fascinated by the night sky. And Googlers are no exception. Over the years, Google engineers have used their 20 percent time to create Google Sky, Moon, Mars and most recently Google Sky Map for Android. This handy app, built by engineers in our Pittsburgh office, turns your Android-powered phone into a live map of the night sky. You just point your phone to the sky and it gives you information about the stars and planets that you’re looking at. Since we introduced the app a year ago, Sky Map has been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With Zuckerberg Gone Android, Will Facebook Get Better Mobile Apps?

Android users, rejoice! Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg will now be forced to feel your pain.

The Android app for Facebook could be charitably described as less functional than the iPhone app. We’re sure there are good reasons for this, the greatest of which is likely market share. With iOS-running phones composing more than half of all smartphones, according to recent research, it’s in Facebook’s best interest to focus on this segment first.

Still, for the ever-growing number of Android device users who also would like a little Facebook mobile action, the pared-down feature set of Facebook for Android makes us feel neglected — the redheaded stepchildren of Facebook mobile users. But now that “Zuck” is one of us, all that’s about to change… right?

Historically, Facebook has made fairly few gestures toward the Android platform. It launched its official Android app last fall and rolled out an SDK for Android devs just a couple months ago.

Old Spice Sales Double With YouTube Campaign

Who says social media doesn't work... 

via mashable! You know those YouTube videos with that manly Old Spice guyand his hilarious responses to Twitter fans? Of course you do. So does everybody, it seems, because Old Spice body wash sales have increased 107% in the past month in part thanks to that social media marketing campaign.

read the whole article on mashable!

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Google Alarm Tells You If Google Is Watching You

Google reports:

Another rad browser plugin called Google Alarm hit the Internets this week, which alerts you every time your personal info is sent to Google's servers. How? Via notifications, a running tally of dangerous sites and, naturally, a super annoying, vuvuzela-like alarm.

Read the whole story:

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Global Temperature Anomalies, May 2010

Global Temperature Anomalies, May 2010

This color-coded map shows global surface temperature anomalies for May 2010 compared to average temperatures for the same time of year from 1951 to 1980. Above-normal temperatures appear in shades of red, and below-normal temperatures appear in shades of blue. Gray areas indicate areas of insufficient data.

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Using your GPS Nav on your is now Illegal in Mass


"people can still use a GPS while driving, but not if the GPS application is on a phone. People won't be allowed to use a phone to go on the Internet and search for m


"...bans texting while driving, prohibits drivers younger than 18 from using a cell phone, and orders more frequent eye exams for certain elderly drivers..."

Read the whole article here: 

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two New Facebook Scams Make the Rounds [WARNING]

Hot on the heels of the Coca-Cola Facebook scam, which promised to reveal the “truth” about Coca-Cola (but in reality simply aimed to get a hold of your personal info), are two more spreading via Facebook status updates.

The first one contains the message: “OMG!! Guys, you have to see this: This mother went to jail for taking this pic of her son,” with a link to a page that tricks you into sharing the story with your Facebook buddies. Once you’ve done that, the page will take you to a survey designed to take your personal info.

The other scam is also spreading through Facebook status updates. This time the message says, “OMG!! McDonalds might soon shut down because of this, you have to see this,” followed by a link that roughly duplicates the process above.

Our advice, as always, is not to click on links like these. If a Facebook page or any site insists that you share a piece of content or do a survey before reaching the promised destination, it’s likely a scam. Never give away your personal info. Finally, if you’ve fallen for these (or similar) scams, remove the message from your status, newsfeed, and your Likes and Interests in the “Edit my Profile” menu.

[via Sophos
[via Mashable!]

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Over 55 Percent of Android Devices Now Running Version 2.1

Let’s face it: Android will probably always be fragmented over three or four major versions. Some phone manufacturers are slow to adopt the newer versions of the platform, while some launch their phones with no updating in mind.

Still, as far as fragmentation goes, the recently updated Android distribution chart is looking better than ever, with 55.5% of devices running Android 2.1 and 22.1% are running Android 1.6.

Of course, an alarmingly high 18.9% of all Android devices are running the now quite obsolete version 1.5, while Android 2.2 is now showing up on 3.3% of devices, so an average user’s Android experience can still vary a lot, depending on what device/OS version he or she has.

What does this distribution mean for developers? Well, looking at the chart (above), if a developer wants everyone to be able to use their app, he’ll have to develop for Android 1.5 (all Android APIs are forward-compatible). If he or she wants to develop an app with all the latest bells and whistles of Android 2.1, then approximately half of Android users won’t be able to use the app at all. It’s a continuous race against the clock, but no one said that developing apps for smartphone platforms (especially if you want to develop a cross-platform app) would be easy.
via Mashable 

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Space Saving Furniture - Resource Furniture

For anyone who lives in a small space or is just looking to re-purpose a room. Here is a great company creating smart space saving furniture just for you. 

Founded in 2000 by Steve Spett and Ron Barth, Resource Furniture has gained a reputation for providing Interior Designers, Architects and Specifiers access to European Furniture not widely distributed in the US.

Our Mission at Resource Furniture has always been to provide our clients with the finest of European furnishings at competitive prices, with speedy delivery and a focus on unmatched customer service. 

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

What the Future Holds for the Checkin

Movie Theater Image

Kate Imbach currently leads marketing at Skyhook Wireless, and is a co-founder and organizer for Mobile Monday Boston, Silicon Valley and Brooklyn.

Location-based apps and checkin features are dominating interest in mobile. In the last year, apps like FoursquareFoursquare

 andGowallaGowalla exploded onto the scene and are still at the center of the conversation in the tech media community. Mobile users are starting to see the value in broadcasting their current location in order to earn points, gain mayorships and meet new people. But skeptics still ask how these apps will make moneyand what comes after the simple notion of a checkin. Is the checkin a feature, or the beginning of a whole new class of mobile experiences?

For early users of these apps, checkins and leaderboards were novelties. Until very recently, you would check in to a venue alone, or with just a handful of other users. Low mainstream adoption made spontaneous socializing hard within the app. Even if it persists as a behavior, the initial excitement of the checkin wears off over time.

But as applications like Foursquare and Gowalla gain traction beyond the early adopters, checkin numbers are just beginning to get interesting. Today, it is common to check into large events like conferences or baseball games with 50+ other people. These growing real-time checkin numbers are opening the door for a new set of features. So, what happens next?

In 2010, we’re likely to see verticals that don’t typically use location-awareness, like movies, music, and sports, add checkin features to their social software. These features will create exciting new “in-venue” user experiences that will change the way we use mobile applications. Here are a couple of examples of what might be possible.

At the Game

Baseball Field Image

Sports applications present some of the most interesting in-venue opportunities. Imagine the next time you go to a Red Sox game, you and hundreds of other fans might check in to Fenway Park via your favorite sports app.

Before the game starts, you could enter an InstaFantasy game by picking three players on either roster. During the game, the progress of your “team” is ranked against all the other InstaFantasy teams that have been picked by other fans in the ballpark that night. Between innings, the app shows a trivia question about players along with an in-game trivia leaderboard. Comment and trash talk about the game while there and connect viaFacebook with other season ticket holders who you play against every night. Using location, any sports app could add these types of in-venue features.

At the Movies

Movie apps will also get in on in-venue features. Moviegoers could check in to a theater on the opening night of a film with their favorite app. The venue could offer discounts on popcorn upon checkin, and users could vote on the movie previews shown before the feature. While the movie is playing, they could get trivia questions fromIMDB about the current movie and comment on the movie with other app users a la “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” The theater could award that night’s trivia winner a discount on their next visit to the theater and could gather information based on answers about which type of movies each customer likes.

When movie apps start adding these experiences, going to the movies will turn into a much more social and interactive experience.


Users will soon be able to interact with a whole new set of features built around the checkin, making activities around a single event that much more social and interesting. There is a major opportunity here for apps and brands to own consumer engagement everywhere — from the couch to the stadium, from the bar to the office — and gather highly valuable targeting information about consumers. The apps that win will provide mobile experiences dedicated to every venue.

Article via Mashable:

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1 in 5 Android Apps Pose Potential Privacy Threat [REPORT]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Google Earth: Hiker’s Edition

by Erick Schonfeld on Jun 14, 2010

Today, Google Earth released a new edition of its desktop app which hikers, runners and cyclists are going to love. They call it Google Earth 5.2. I call it the Hiker;s Edition. One of the new features allows you to recreate the path of a hike or bike ride by ingesting geo-data from one of your GPS devices. The visualizations show you the speed, elevation, and other stats from your hike, which you can see as an animation inside Google Earth.

If you collect other data about your trip, such as your heart rate or other body monitoring stats, those can be overlayed as a graph below at the bottom of the screen. I’d love to see an iPhone or Android fitness app that takes advantage of these new capabilities.

Another new feature in Google Earth is the ability to launch a regular Web browser from within the desktop app. Hopefully, that is the first step towards bringing Google Earth completely from the desktop to the Web. Otherwise, it might end up like Second Life.

Below is a video Google Earth product manager Peter Birch made of his bike ride to work.

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Profiling the Facebooks of the World

The Pattern-Seeking Fallacy

Monday, June 14, 2010

Making community health information as useful as weather data

hhsframeworks.jpgThe chief technology office of Health and Human Services, Todd Park, is fond of using the National Ocean and Oceanographic Association (NOAA) as a metaphor for the innovation that may be unlocked through releasing public data. NOAA data underpins and nearly every commercial meteorological service in the United States. Park has been working closely with other government officials and the technology community to put community healthcare data into a parallel role as a catalyst for innovation. In other words, HHS is creating a framework for government to act as a platform through the Community Health Data Initiative.

"The idea to make our community data as useful to the world as weather data or other types of data is to other parts of American life," said Park yesterday at a media briefing. "The real magic is that HHS put data out there on March 11 and the world responded. Innovators responded -- from Google to Microsoft to startups -- and have built amazing apps that HHS could never have built itself. That's built amazing value for citizens."

It's clear that at HHS, as Tim O'Reilly observed in his post on NHIN Connect and open healthcare records, "there's some fresh thinking going on here, influenced by the best practices of open standards and rapid Internet development."

This morning, Park will join HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House CTO Aneesh Chopra at the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science, where they will host the Community Health Data Forum.

For those unable to attend the event in person, the CHDI event will be streamed at and through this livestream. The agenda is available online. After the jump, you can get a sneak preview of some of the applications that will be going live today.

Apps, games and platforms for open health data

Yesterday's preview featured fascinating creations from the National Association of Counties (NACO), GE, Bing, Healthways and Google. Collectively, they hold promise for enabling citizens to make better health decisions and providers to make data-driven policy.

Google Fusion Tables and health data

hospital finder.jpgGoogle's Fusion Tables are essentially a lightweight online database powered by Google's cloud that allow users to examine data, combine it and share. Instead of the "best place to live," users can search through community health data, mash it up with maps and see which regions are, for instance, the "best places to have chest pain."

Using Fusion Tables and CHDI data, Dr. Ronnie Zieger, Google's chief health strategist (and a practicing doctor) showed at the media briefing how to filter for region and a certain value, like heart attack mortality. He called his particular mashup Hospital Finder, though the datasets could be adapted for may other users. Users can restrict a search to just hospitals with a "lower than" value, zoom in to maps or customize search results with metrics aggregated under "Heart friendly" or "People friendly" labels.

Bing visualizes health data

bing-search.jpgEarlier this year, Bing quietly began adding public health data provided by patient ratings immediately below search results for hospitals. The box also includes nearby facilities, ranked by distance, and the ability for searchers to share with their social networks.

Bing's product managers say they'll be introducing a “virtual supermarket” program that lets policy makers identify "food deserts." A new app called Bing HealthMaps -- live today -- allows users to search using geolocated data and add overlays for the incidence of health conditions, like Diabetes or obesity. Bing will also integrate Oodle classifieds with health data, enabling searches to load rentals, school ratings and layer on different conditions.

Network of Care for Healthy Communities

network-care.jpgNetwork of Care for Healthy Communities is a web-based portal that targets individuals and policy makers. The portal includes multiple components, including:

  • A service directory of every service that deals with health for a region, with more than 2,000 entries.
  • A library with more than 50,000 volumes. Both the directory or library can be dropped with a click into a personal health record.

  • A selection of links, including nearly 20,000 health-related links from around the country.
  • A legislative section that includes every bill dealing with health in state legislature and in Congress

  • The web portal could be adopted by other counties. For example, the template that's applied to Sonoma County can be replicated fairly easily. The portal is built upon a number of open source and proprietary applications. As it's also a service, there would be a cost associated with customization.

    General Electric commits to health apps


    GE launched in May of 2009, focusing on showing data to drive change. Infographics and visualizations, like those that show the cost of getting sick, have received hundreds of thousands of views with no promotion. An interactive health visualizer has been particularly popular. GE will be adding new apps that present more health data in aggregate, including community health rankings. An interactive map, for instance, provides visualization for regional public health data all across the United States.

    Social gaming for better health?

    community-clash.jpgA health game called Community Clash will marry public health data to game mechanics. Users can get their own "well-being score" and then share their results with friends.

    The game mashes up four data sources: CHDI, Twitter, Gallup polls and well-being assessments. In the future, the game's creators hope to build leader boards, encourage social comparison, and add geo-location and sentiment analysis.

    Open data as a means to healthier communities

    By releasing data and empowering the technology to build applications, HHS CTO Todd Park hopes to catalyze healthcare policy, delivery and services. The same evidence-based medicine that bids to make healthcare better could be applied on an even grander scale, and yet only for the cost of releasing good data. That's a bargain Park seems willing to make. "In less than 90 days, we've had a growing number of innovators team up to take ideas that originated on March 11 and then expand upon them to turn into beta applications," he said.

    Park formally announced the launch of an interim CHDI website, which is already accessible through under the "Connect with data" button. He also said that there will be a new HHS Health Indicators Warehouse, launching in December 2010, that will have Medicare community-level indicators.

    The Community Health Data Forum will kick off the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge (, which will extend through this fall. Over the next four months, the Challenge will host a series of code-a-thons and team competitions to build apps based upon CHDI data.

    "We're going to ask developers to submit the coolest apps they could use to improve the mission," said Park. Regional events will culminate in a final challenge during the fourth annual Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

    Todd Park on open health data and innovation

    At the recent Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, I spoke with Park about the Community Health Data Forum, NHIN Direct, innovation and much more.

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    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Demographics of Fast Food in America

    Fast food restaurants have strong regional affiliations, and by analyzing Twitter and other social media services, we can figure out which restaurants are dominant in which parts of the country (based only on who's talking about them there). On the map, blue represents a particularly strong presence compared to other states. Giants like McDonald's are equally popular throughout the US, but smaller chains like White Castle and In-N-Out Burger have clear regional presence. 

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    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Flights Resume over Europe: A Visualization

    This video is a visualization of the resumption of flights over European airspace after everything got shut down due to volcanic ash. ITO World combined flight data from with OpenStreetMap map data; there are some gaps in coverage (France, the Atlantic), but you get the idea. 

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    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    By the Numbers: Facebook vs The United States [INFOGRAPHIC]

    via Mashable! by Muhammad Saleem on 4/5/10

    Muhammad Saleem is a social media consultant and a top-ranked community member on multiple social news sites. Follow him on Twitter for more social media insights.

    Facebook’s official company statistics outline the breakdown of the sites over 400 million active users. While the site points out about 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States, it doesn’t dive deeper into the U.S. numbers.

    To find out more about the average American Facebook user and how he or she compares to the average American, we dug a little further. After crunching the numbers and comparing the data, this is what we found.

    Click the Image for Full Size Version

    Editor’s Note: The DC number is greater than 100% because of the disproportionate amount of people who technically reside elsewhere but live in DC, and it would include people in surrounding cities who claim to live in DC on their profiles.

    For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

    Reviews: Facebook, Twitter

    Tags: data, data visualization, facebook, infographic, trending, united states, visualization

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    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    7 Amazing Lessons from 7 Distinguished Billionaires

    via Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life by Mr. Self Development on 3/16/10

    Schneier, Mark Cuban, Doctorow
    They say that a million dollars in $100 bills is 43 inches high, but a billion dollars in $100 bills is almost three times the height of the Empire State building. A million dollars in $100 bills would weigh 22 pounds, but a billion dollars would weigh 11 tons.

    Suffice it to say that the accumulation and maintenance of a billion dollars requires much wisdom. Today I want to look at seven amazing lessons from seven of the world’s most famous billionaires. These billionaires range from Bill Gates to Mark Cuban and each of these individuals have accomplished amazing things.

    There are many things that we can learn from them so enough with the monologue; here we go!

    7 Amazing Lessons from 7 Distinguished Billionaires

    1. Look for Opportunities

      “It's through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we've always mapped our path at Dell. There's always an opportunity to make a difference.” – Michael Dell, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Dell Inc.

      If you never look for an opportunity, you will never find one. The Wright Brothers were looking to see if it was possible for man to fly, they didn’t stumble upon it, they were looking for it. What are you looking for? The Scripture says seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be open to you.

  • Believe in Yourself

    “I always knew I was destined for greatness.” – Oprah, Media Mogul

    As the famous poem goes, “If you think you’re outclassed, you are, you have to think high to rise, you must be sure of yourself, before you can ever win a prize.” You must believe in “you” before anybody else will. Oprah believed that she would be a success, and she is. What do you believe about yourself, whatever it is, that’s what you will become.

  • Create an Atmosphere of Success

    “It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction.” – Warren Buffet, Investor

    You can’t soar with the eagles, if you spend your time hanging with the chickens. Find people who are going where you want to go, and “conspire to aspire before you expire.” Atmosphere is critical, diligently guard who enters your inner-circle. Your friends are a prophecy of your future.

  • Empower Others

    “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates, Co-founder and Former CEO of Microsoft, currently the 2nd richest man in the world behind Carlos Slim.

    Who are you empowering, who are you helping, who needs you. You can’t go forward without helping others go forward. Instead of being concerned about how you’re going to get ahead, find a way to help others get ahead, and you will get ahead in the process. Empower others and you will empower yourself.

  • Focus

    “In the end, you're measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.” – Donald Trump, Real Estate Investor/Developer, TV Personality

    Don’t be a “jack of all trades” and master of none. Don’t bite-off more than you can chew. Decide what you want to accomplish in your life, and spend your time accomplishing it. Work hard, take breaks, and in the end, if your focus is single, you will have accomplished it.

  • Learn From Your Mistakes

    “I'm the type that thinks if you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it.” – Mark Cuban, Internet Entrepreneur and NBA Team Owner

    It sounds simple, but many people live a life of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

    The “cow in the ditch” example below gives us a pattern for how we should deal with our mistakes.

    Here are the three steps you should follow whenever a "cow ends up in your ditch:"

    Step 1: Get Cow Out of Ditch
    Step 2: Find Out How Cow Got in Ditch
    Step 3: Make Sure Cow Does Not Get in Ditch Again

    Using these three simple steps, you can solve many of life’s problems (from debt to relationship issues).

  • Only Go Forward

    “We will go forward, ... We will never go back.” – Michael Bloomberg, current New York City Mayor and Founder of Bloomberg LP

    You can’t make much progress forward if you keep on taking steps backwards.

    Make a decision to go forward, never settle, never stagnate, life is about growth, it’s about development. You are supposed to grow, you’re supposed to become all that you are capable of becoming, so go forward and never look back!

  • Thank you for reading and be sure to pass this article along!

    Additional Details on the Image Used: Bruce Schneier, Mark Cuban and Cory Doctorow. Mark is the only billionaire although I am sure the others are working in it. Bruce and Cory were recipients, along with Yochai Benkler, at the EFF Pioneer Awards.

    Written on 3/16/2010 by Mr. Self Development who is a motivational author that offers a practical guide to success and wealth; support him by visiting his blog at .Photo Credit: eschipul

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