Tag Archives: Communication

Could all of Life’s Conveniences be Killing Us?

Reading this blog post on Geeks earlier stopped me dead in my tracks. I saw myself in what the author wrote, as I’m sure many of you will. He talks of how we have so many gadgets and gizmos to make our lives easier… and then wonders if it’s in fact making things more difficult:

People around the world are moving so fast, trying to do so much, that humanity as a whole is slowly choking itself with its own progress. We’re trying to cram so much into a day, so much into our minds that we don’t know how to do anything else. What we need to learn how to do, more than anything else, is to slow down. If you’re worried about progress, think about this, the best way to gain a clear perspective is to back away and let everything focus. People are supposed to smell the flowers that they plant. Just take some time to enjoy what mankind has done, rather than waste your time coming up with the next best thing that no one will take the time to enjoy.

All the ‘conveniences’ that we use and abuse only serve to get you to the next minute faster. Every inch of the way is packed with time savers that allow you to use more time savers. Just slow down, take a breath, get to know people, go to new places. Enjoy life before it passes you by, just to get to the next generation.

Wow. I’ve been pondering something very similar to this in my own life lately. That is why you’ve seen me out of the office more – trying to take time to relax and have fun. We tend to get so caught up in the daily grind of life that we often forget to live.

When is the last time you took a day completely “off”? I don’t just mean off of work… I mean OFF. OF. EVERYTHING. When did you put away all of your gadgets, your phone, your laptop and even your iPod and just chilled out? Can you even remember when it was, or what you might have done?

If you can’t bear to part with your computer, maybe you can take time out from working yourself into the ground, and enjoy what others are hard at work doing. They are writing excellent articles, like the one mentioned here, every day. They are sharing their thoughts with the world, and I sincerely hope you will consider doing the same. There’s something to be said for being able to write out what’s in your mind and heart, and it takes a very special type of person to be able to do so. The next time you’re stressing over the little things, and everything yet to do on your list, why not just let it all go and write? We’d love to have you join us on Geeks or Lockergnome.

Travel Back in Time

Earlier tonight, I saw people in our chat room talking about time travel. They were laughing about the places they’d like to go back to, things they might want to change in their life. Some of them wanted to meet a famous person who has long since passed on, and others wanted to simply have a “do-over” for a wrong they had committed.

This got me to thinking – would I want to travel back in time? The answer to that is no, really. Sure, there are historical figures I wouldn’t have minded knowing in person. Wouldn’t it be cool to shake Abe Lincoln’s hand? Or maybe you’d rather hug Amelia Earnhardt. I wouldn’t mind doing some of those things, I suppose. But I definitely wouldn’t want to go back and redo anything in my own life.

If I were to do that, then I wouldn’t be exactly who I am now, nor in the place I am with my life. Sure, there have been some rough patches recently. But all in all, I’m very happy with who I am, and what I’m doing on a daily basis. Going back and changing even one thing in my past would change everything that comes after. I don’t want that!

Would YOU want to go back in time within your own life, and redo things? Why or why not – I’d love to hear your answers.

While you’re debating what you would do, make sure you check out what the rest of the community has been up to!

Summer is Half Over Already?!

I can’t believe we’re already into July. Where the heck did June go? How did I miss it? I haven’t gone out to tan yet, nor have I played any beach volleyball. Wait a minute… I must have had some odd out-of-body experience for a moment there. Let’s call it a momentary lapse of sanity, ok? I don’t tan. I’m as ghost-white as it gets. The only “sun” I get are the rays that come from my monitors. We all know I’m not one to play sports, either. I’m not sure who took over my keyboard and wrote that garbage!

In any case, summer is half over I suppose. Time flies when you’re too busy to stop to breathe. Gnomedex is only six weeks away, and the team is working hard to get everything ready. I want to thank all of you who have offered your help and services to help make this year rock more than ever before!

Never fear, young grasshoppers. Even though I’m busy, I still make the time to see what you have to say! Your community contributions are the backbone that makes everything I do so much fun.

How Has Social Media Changed Your Life?

What a powerful and loaded question that could be, eh? I came across a blog post on Geeks earlier, where the writer discussed this subject. He talked of the ways that social networking has changed his life. I can’t help but to sit here, and think of all the ways being so “out there” in the social media world has changed me. Have you ever stopped to think about this? How has being on Facebook changed you? What about Twitter and maybe LinkedIn? Heck… what about Geeks? What about you is different, now that you have incorporated all of these fantastic ways of meeting others into your daily routine? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so leave me a follow-up comment with your story!

This author wasn’t the only one to put something thought-provoking on our sites today. So many of you are busy, writing your thoughts and opinions. Make sure you take the time to nose around, and see what others are doing, as well!

Is There More to Life than Gnomedex?

After today, it feels as though Gnomedex is my life! I’m not complaining, though. We’ve been quite busy getting things ready for all of you to descend upon Seattle in just a few short weeks. We announced some ticket price drops today, in the hopes those of you hit hard by the economy may be able to join us. We’ve opened up ticket types, as well. I also wrote an in-depth blog post, answering some questions from a potential attendee. I certainly hope the answers I gave will help any of you who are still on the fence as to whether or not Gnomedex is a “must attend” conference for you.

Even though we’ve accomplished so much today on the conference front… I didn’t forget the rest of the community! I spent much time reading everything you’re doing. Keeping up with your thoughts, dreams, passions and ideas is something that I make a regular part of each and every day. To me, this wouldn’t even BE such a great community without all of your contributions. It’s not MY community – it’s OUR community.

If you aren’t posting anything… what are you waiting for? You can blog on Lockergnome or Geeks, or you can contribute to a forum discussion on Geeks. Heck, you can start your own Group, even! Come hang out with us in chat… and just try and keep up with everything going on in there!

In the meantime, here’s what your peers have been busy with:

Can You Describe Yourself Using Only One Word?

In my travels around my community today, I came across another thought-provoking post: Can You Describe Yourself Using Only One Word?”. ONE word – are you kidding me? That’s honestly harder to do than one would think. There are many words that can be used to describe each and every one of us. Kat, for instance, has an “about me” page on her blog, listing fifty words that describe her. They are all perfect – so how could she sort through and choose the one word that describes her and all she is? I know I couldn’t do it for myself, either. It’s nearly impossible to come up with that one word that sums up who you are, what you stand for, and what you believe in.

Can you do it? Can you come up with one word to describe yourself to all of us? Leave a comment here, and let us know what it is – and even what one you would use to describe me! While you’re thinking of your answer, why not take a read through everything else that’s been catching my eye today on Lockergnome and Geeks?

Has Social Media Changed Human Beings?

Geek!This is Patrick John OMahony’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Let me introduce myself. I am Pat O’Mahony – and I am a PRE Baby Boomer. I was born 64 years ago in 1944, during World War II. Most people consider “Baby Boomers” as “a person born between 1946 and 1964, following World War II”. So officially, I am NOT a Baby Boomer. Admittedly, not by much – but I got here ahead of them.

I see the NEW Social Media as an old progression and continuation of what makes us “Human Beings”. In my lifetime, I have seen a lot of things change. Lately, I have been studying and researching the manifestation of the New “Social Media”. The proponents say that New “Social Media” will change everything. Actually, I think that they are understating the case by several degrees of magnitude.

We not only have to be social, belong somewhere – we have to interact and communicate with other people. We do this, just to be Human Beings. It is what makes us human.

First, let us look at the essence of a “Human Being”. Above all else, “Human Beings” are social creatures belonging to a tribe or group. People need to be with people, preferably with people just like ourselves. We all know that “no man is an island”, that a former punishment was to be “a man without a country” and that even today, one of most extreme forms of punishment is solitary confinement.

Second, “Human Beings” communicate. They communicate like crazy. I remember reading about anthropologists suggesting that the reason we are human and not apes, living in the trees, is that we can communicate with language. It makes sense.

Third, “Human Beings” have always been inventing ways to communicate. We have invented hundreds of verbal languages. Thousands of years ago, before writing, our ancestors drew exquisite pictures of bison and horses on cave walls to communicate (with the Gods or with other Human Beings, we do not know). We “Human Beings” invented writing, pictographs, ideographs, signs and symbols. Do you want to express a word, a thing, an idea or a process? We can do it!

Fourth, in every aspect, we invent something and then we make it better (and better). In every way that we can measure, our communication systems are getting better. In speed, our communication systems have been improving. From early telegraphs to today’s digital magic, the speed of communications has been getting faster (and faster). In bringing the communicators closer together, the barriers between the two has been decreasing. From the early Post Office letters, to the early telephone, to today’s digital and visual phone calls, the “media” has been getting us closer and closer to the real thing.

This new “Social Media” is nothing new. This “Social Media” is just the latest chapter in mankind’s ability to communicate, in mankind’s improvement in his communication systems. Sure, some of the old ways to communicate have been superseded by this faster, “closer” method. Newspapers are the some of the first to fall – along with TV stations, and the music industry.

But, overall, our ability to communicate is changing: faster, closer and changing for the better.

Yes, some of the communicators will even write and talk about sex on the internet. Sex is also one of the things that make us human. But that is for another essay.

Can Marriage be Saved without Talking about It?

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Any book that Ponzi has ever given me on the subject of relationships makes me shudder. I’m a dude. Dudes don’t read those books! However, when she handed me this one, I couldn’t help but reading it after I saw the title: “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It“.

The review of this book on Amazon says it all:

“If you’ve ever told your spouse, ’I talk until I’m blue in the face,’ or ’It’s in one ear and out the other,’ stop whatever you’re doing and read this book immediately! You’re about to discover why talking things out isn’t always the best way to get through to your spouse or achieve more closeness and connection. More important, you’ll learn exactly what you need to do today to truly transform your relationship forever.”

It’s a short, easy read, which is important to guys. It was really interesting to read, from a Geek standpoint, and from the ‘guy’ mentality. You know what I mean: a guy doesn’t TALK about his relationships. *gasp* Are you kidding me? That can’t happen.

I was afraid to read the book, truth be told. Most of these books are either written by women, for women… or by a guy who wants me to think like a woman. However, the introduction of the book made me sit up and take notice. It validated the way I tend to approach things. It helped me understand why I do the things that I’m doing inside my marriage. The book didn’t want to try and change me, which is important to me.

Ponzi and I are very different with our communication styles. We co-exist somewhat peacefully when we remember that we are two different people. This book is wonderful for helping us to keep that special connection we have, without over-complicating things by talking in the wrong way. It helped me understand how I was doing things and saying things, and see how they impacted Ponzi. Marriage is a learning process, and it takes a lifetime to master. When you learn more about yourself, any relationship you’re in is going to become stronger.

If you’re a Geek (or even not one!) and in a relationship of any kind, I highly recommend reading this book.


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Do you have Tips for Presentation Style?

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Richard sent me the following email, which I feel is an excellent discussion point:

You do not come off as a shy person, as I am, but how do you manage to stay so calm and relaxed when you are presenting your live feed to the community? When I give presentations to my classmates, I have the bad habit of speaking too fast and not enunciating my words clearly. You, however, seem very relaxed, you pace yourself, you are easy to understand, and you speak very eloquently while using mature vocabulary. It also appears that you are able to speak very professionally off the top of your head, assuming that you do not write out what you say beforehand. I just really admire the ways you go about presenting information. I was just wondering if you had any tips at all about pacing yourself, focusing on what you are saying, and just staying relaxed. I think this would be a good thing to bring up with the community, unless you already have, because first impressions are very important.

I’ve pretty much been a ham all my life. I’m someone who always upstaged other people. I really enjoy doing the videos every day, for that very reason. Even though I’m energetic about it, I’ve refined my style over the years. I am a perfectionist when I record. I am known to literally do take after take, to get one I am really happy with. I want to always make sure I’m coming across the best way that I can. I’m always cognizant of the fact that most people who see my videos will see them after the fact, instead of live.

Practice, practice, practice… it really does make perfect. In High School, I tried out for what was called “Speech Squad”. Most of the comments I got were along the lines of “SLOW DOWN!”, because I always tended to speak too fast. Being on radio and tv has helped me to really think about what I do and how I do it. I’ve been able to refine my presentation style over the years.

Heck, no matter how much you practice you’re going to be nervous. That’s normal. Tap into that emotion and passion. Do your best to surface your thoughts in a way that is clear, cohesive and coherent. Connect with your intended audience. Even though I tend to throw in those $10.00 words at times, it’s really about what’s in my heart… not my head. For me, it’s about relaying useful information to the world. My approach has always been honest, genuine and transparent. It’s true… sometimes I am over the top. I get excited, and get increasingly louder as more and more thoughts jump into my head. I fall victim to saying “uh” and “Uhm” as much as anyone.

That’s my biggest tip. You don’t have to fill every second with noise. Take a breath. Take a pause. There’s no ‘undo’ button or delete key if you say the wrong word, but you can still correct yourself. You’re human, after all. Don’t try to be too perfect. People will connect with you more when you come across as human and imperfect. Show your passion, put your heart and soul into what you’re doing.


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Free Communication Tools

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If I tell you that you can screen your calls, find out why they’re calling, record calls on the fly and play them back later online, and even send phone numbers to several lines at once… would you be interested? Of course you would! What if I also tell you this service is completely FREE?

GrandCentral is a free service that was recently aquired by Google. In addition to the features I listed above, here are a few other things you can do with this service:

  • Block unwanted callers
  • Have one number that rings to all your phones, or even different phones based on who is calling
  • Receive voicemail notifications by text message or email
  • Personalized/different voice mail greetings based on person(s) or groups
  • a WebCall button that allows people to call you from a Web page without showing your actual phone number
  • Click to Call, which allows you to call from your address book and save you from typing out numbers

Why wouldn’t you want this? From a personal standpoint, this is simply amazing. From a business standpoint, there are a few features I would miss. I’ve been using the subscription service from Vonage since the late 1990’s. It allows me to have one toll free number that rings to all my phones, and I can receive faxes and voice mails directly into my Email when someone sends them to my phone. Those two features alone are worth my staying with Vonage. But as I said, if I didn’t have the business to worry about, I’d definitely be using GrandCentral.

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