If Man Landed on the Moon Today

Sunday, July 19th, 2009


I remember watching the first lunar landing, narrated by Walter Cronkite. Exciting, yes. What would that same landing look like 40 years later? Here's one look that imagines how TV news would cover that historic event if it happened today.

Yes, it’s true

Thursday, July 26th, 2007
EricAtOneyearOld.jpg

It's hard to hide from the web.

Thank you, Michael, my friend, for your kind words and birthday greeting.
I learned a very painful lesson today about sitting on your wallet and I'd like to share it with you and perhaps save you the extreme pain and a visit to the doctor's office.

Photo source: www.walletsciatica.net

When I got off the plane in Boston for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, two weeks ago, I was barely able to walk. The pain was almost unbearable - so much so that I even called my wife and mentioned that I might need her to fly to Boston to help me return to California. My roommate, Michael, got me some Motrin and ice packs and I rested for the night. By morning, I was feeling a little better, and I was able to make it through the conference with small recurrences during the week. I was even able to blog the conference with Michael.

Continue Reading "Leg Pain? You may be sitting on the problem!" »

Five things you probably don’t know about me

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
The tagging meme has caught up to me. I've recently been tagged by several people, including Jason Womack, Brendon Connelly (SlackerManager), Katy Whitton, and several others; I've lost track. (sorry).  Here, a little late, is my post in response.

Five things you probably don't know about me.
  • I almost got blown up by terrorists in Mons, Belgium
  • I used to produce championship wrestling videos in Barbados
  • I once got in trouble for "visiting" a computer center uninvited
  • I gave up "playing with computers" to became a professional
  • I have living proof of the power of prayer
    Continue Reading "Five things you probably don't know about me" »
This year marks my 25th year as a technology consultant and eProductivity specialist. In that time, I've learned a lot about working with staff, being self employed and, in the past 12 years, about working from a home office.

As I reflect on the past and think about what I want to accomplish in 2007, I decided to make a list of some of the things that I enjoy about my work and about working from home.

Some obvious aspects that I enjoy are the ability to follow my interests, choose my clients (that's a big one) and my work, and work from home.  

Here are a few more ...

Twenty-five things I like about my work:

Continue Reading "25 things I like about my work and working from home" »
A bicycle wheel that is out of balance won't run true. Neither will a life.

Just as a bicycle wheel must be adjusted periodically to run true, in life it's important to focus on the areas that require daily attention to stay in balance. Otherwise, the bumps in the road will get you.

20070101ZiglarPriorityWheel.jpg

I've kept a record of both and I find that the gap between my stated priorities and my actual priorities can be large at times. I needed a better way to manage and track my performance so that I could see if what I did matched up with my stated priorities.
Continue Reading "Is it time to rebalance your life's priorities?" »

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 31st, 2006
As I close this chapter, called 2006, and I look forward to 2007 I am thankful for the many blessings I enjoy. One of them is the friendships which have developed as a result of this blog. I'm delighted to have been able to help and encourage so many and I'm truly thankful for those who have come along side to do the same for me.

2007 marks the beginning of a new adventure for me - big changes ahead. Lots to blog about.

I would like to wish all of my readers good health and happiness in the coming year.

Eric

Sampson Family Quiver Expansion

Friday, June 2nd, 2006
The Sampson family quiver continues to expand. I won't be surprised to receive a robotics challenge from across the pacific for a Sampson vs. Mack.

At this rate of growth, the mini-Sampson population will soon be sufficient to support not one but TWO teams, a company of research analysts, or something grand. All kidding aside, I'm excited for Michael and Katrina. As the parents of four daughter's, we've learned that children are indeed a blessing from the Lord.
"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them..." (Psalm 127:3-5, NASB)
I've known Michael for close to 9 years and I'm honored to count him among my closest friends.

Congratulations to Michael and Katrina, on this latest addition to the Sampson family.

Photos of Sampson quiver can be found
here.
I'm looking forward to taking a few items off my projects list and moving several Someday/Maybe items to my active projects list. For those of you that find my blogging challenges entertaining (or amusing), stay tuned, I have a few new ones coming.

On the completion front, I've recently completed my last final exam in managerial accounting & finance. While the A that I earned in this course only raised my GPA, by  .001, I know that the information I learned will be invaluable. I wish I had taken this course many years ago. That knowledge would have saved me more than my tuition.

I'm presently working on my capstone management project, which I will present this summer. Once I mark that project off as completed, I plan to move several projects from my Someday/Maybe list over to active status.

These include:
  • The next release of the ICA eProductivity Template for Lotus Notes
  • My own 10-week start-up school adventure
  • A Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) project
  • A few other interesting projects, some using MindManager and ResultsManager.

Continue Reading "Completion on the horizon. New challenges ahead" »

Christmas surprise in Ojai

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004
For the past many week's I've been immersed in a large client project, one which has required several trips and which will culminate with a series of meetings this week in Ojai. I do not like to be away from my family, especially during the holidays, but sometimes I must travel at this time of year to accommodate my client's schedule. In addition to being tired from a string of very long days, I've been feeling a little melancholy as I return to the hotel room at the end of each day; no Lassie to bark hello, no kids to greet me, and no kiss from my sweetheart.

Image:Christmas surprise in Ojai

Tonight, I returned to my hotel room to find that something was very different; it was not as I had left it. Indeed, for a moment I thought I must have walked into the wrong room. While I was away, a live Christmas tree -- complete with lights tree-skirt, and ornaments -- had been placed in the room and home-made cards and decorations had been put up around the room. Wow!

Apparently, during the day, Kathy had contacted the hotel manager to work out the details before she drove the few hundred mile round-trip to carry out her mission to decorate my room and return home. You can imagine my surprise when I returned exhausted to find this cheery welcome. It's not a substitute for being with my family, but it is a delightful reminder to know that I am loved, and blessed.

Mental laundry - follow-up

Saturday, September 25th, 2004
It's been a busy week -- lots of consulting and client projects to deliver and work to do for the kid's robotics team. I was pleasantly surprised to return to the many encouraging comments and e-mail that I received to my recent entry, Minds ready for action. The Bible is full of wisdom and admonition concerning the effective use of time and effort - productivity. While not a trivial task, a cover-to-cover survey with this focus promises to be most interesting.

The concept of collecting these notes in one place has been one that I have been kicking around for about a year. While I spend most of my time as an eProductivity Specialist, showing my clients how to put technology to work for them, I also invest time researching methodologies and systems that I can put to use. I can think of no better place to start looking for key principles. While I do not claim to be a Bible scholar, I am an eager student in this area, and this subject has my interest.  

For those of you who took the time to write this week, thanks for your words of encouragement. I'll think about moving this off my Someday/Maybe list.

In the mean time, I'll continue to share my observations from time to time. If you would like to receive a ping when I do, or if you have any further thoughts or observations, feel free to post a comment or send me an email, using the contact link above.

Eric

Italian food and children’s software

Sunday, August 15th, 2004
Last week, I took my family out to Buca di Beppo for an Italian Dinner, served family-style. Kathy took my daughters to the rest-room. Apparently, in the ladies rest-room there were several pictures on the wall.

Emily pointed to a reproduction of a painting and said, "I know the name of that painting, it's the 'Birth of Venus.'"

Kathy asked her how she knew that, and she said she learned it from JumpStart Second Grade.

Cool.

The dinner? It was fantastic. Recommended.

Look at Eric’s Shoes!

Sunday, March 28th, 2004
Last week's blog entry: Is the Chicken Cooked? now has wings of its own. Within days, bloggers all over the world were linking to it and several people even wrote me e-mail to share how the story resonated with them.  (Michael Sampson, Dennis Kennedy, Libby Ingrassia Schwarz, Skingery, to name a few)  As a result of your encouragement, I will share another important lesson that I learned early in my career; but first, I would like to share some good news....  

After posting my blog entry about cooking chickens, I looked up Jim Hill and gave him a call; I wanted to personally thank him for the lessons he had taught me so many years ago. To my delight, Jim was home and when his wife told him I was calling to thank him for something, he said "you must be referring to cooked chickens...." We had a great conversation and agreed to get together in person soon.

Now the lesson:  In the early 1980's, at the ripe old age of 20, I began one of my first consulting assignments for The Air Force Flight Test Center, at Edwards Air Force Base, California.  My assignment was to help the communications squadron deploy some of the first microcomputers in the U.S. Military. (see below) Part of this deployment involved an initial presentation in the base theater with 750 people in attendance, along with a live video link to Hill AFB.  General Pete Odgers, who was the commander of the Flight Test Center at the time, talked about how microcomputers would revolutionize work at the Test Center, and then for the next hour and a half, I gave a presentation (using Harvard Graphics - sorry, no PowerPoint in those days) about how the technology worked and how we would be equipping the people to use this new technology

I worked for six months to develop a series of technology seminars for the 2-letter chiefs and their civilian counterparts as well as the base personnel to bring them up to speed on the capabilities of the new microcomputer technology.  One of the seminars that I developed, was a 3-day computer management course for senior managers.  Keep in mind that while I certainly knew my stuff, I was still the "young" computer wiz -- probably about 1/2 the average age of my audience.  I wanted to make a good impression and I worked hard in preparation.

The seminar began at 8:00 AM each day, and I drove up each day from Los Angeles, which was a few hours away. On day two of one of my seminars, the managers began passing around a note while I was speaking; this went on for much of the morning while I presented.  Finally, curiosity got the best of me and I stopped my presentation to ask what was so important.  

A person with a sheepish grin held up the paper for me to see:
Image:Look at Eric’s Shoes!
I looked down at my shoes and this is what I saw...
Image:Look at Eric’s Shoes!
Apparently, before I left Los Angeles at 5:00 AM on that dark morning, I grabbed two similar but different color shoes from the closet and headed off for my presentation a hundred miles away.  It was too late for me to do anything about it so I smiled, quietly took off my shoes, placed them on the floor next to the podium, and gave the rest of my presentation in my socks which were fortunately the same color.  

At the end of my lecture, I was presented with the note that you see above. I have kept it as a reminder for these past 20 years, and as a result, I have never repeated the experience.

Needless to say, it was a very valuable lesson.  Fortunately, it did not hurt my presentation, and I continued to successfully deliver services to the base for another 10 years after that event.

Lesson learned: Whenever I pack for a seminar, I always check the color of my shoes. Twice.


-Eric



For those of you who are still reading, this is the actual computer I used for my work at Edwards.  I keep it on a shelf in my office.  It's a Zenith Z-100: a "powerful" Pre-IBM PC dual-processor 8085 and 8080 2 megahertz design with a whopping 64K RAM!  Sorry, no hard drives in those days.  There wasn't much to fill them up with anyway.  A typical word-processor, WordStar, only needed 32K (that's kilobytes) of RAM, and could be run from a floppy. The was also before the days of the 300+ megabyte MS Office installations. No color either.  A green screen CRT was state of the art at the time.  When Zenith called it a desktop computer, they were not kidding. You needed a desktop to use one. Still, it was better than using punched cards, but that is another story for another day.
Image:Look at Eric’s Shoes!

A sign from God

Thursday, July 3rd, 2003
I am on my way up North to visit some family today. While driving on Interstate 99 North of Bakersfield, California, I was contemplating some business decisions and thinking to myself, "God, just give me a sign."

As I rounded the corner...

Image:A sign from God

Advice for Gatsby

Monday, March 10th, 2003
I am presently completing a course in American Literature, which I have found particularly interesting.  This is not your typical AM Lit course.  We are studying American Literature from a Christian Worldview and specifically, the influence that the Bible had (or did not have) on the writers and their works.
Image:Advice for Gatsby
For the past several days I have been in hiding as I work on the outline for my final paper.  My assignment is to write about F. Scott Fitzgerald's work: "The Great Gatsby," and how the wisdom literature of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes would relate to some of the character's dilemmas.

I'm tired and punchy, so here's a bit of my own advice for Gatsby on the consequences of sin:
"If a man is having a relationship with a woman who's husband is having a relationship with a woman who's husband owns a gas station and a gun, it would be unwise for the man to let the woman drive his car when she is not sober. He just might end up getting shot by her husband."

I guess that pretty well wraps up the moral of the story, huh?  Now, all I have to do is expand that to 8 pages, double-spaced.  I wonder if I can use 36 pt...

Bible Places

Thursday, August 8th, 2002
This evening, in my Old Testament Survey Course, I had an unexpected treat. We have a guest professor for the next two weeks  - Todd Bolen. This evening he presented part one of a lecture on biblical archeology, geography and history.  What I found fascinating was the photos and stories which Todd had to share.

Todd is an American who has lived and taught in Israel for the past 7 years. One of his activities is a web site, Bible Places, which features photographs and descriptions of sites in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Greece with an emphasis on biblical archaeology, geography and history.
Image:Bible Places
During the lecture, we were treated to a PowerPoint presentation of all of the places which he was discussing in his lectures. It really gave me a new sense of perspective as well as a greater interest to learn more about Israel and the Middle-East.  This evening I learned more about the geographic and climatic aspects of the region and its impact on the history.  One of the things that Todd has been doing is to retrace the various journeys taken by famous people of the Bible so that he can share not only a photographic perspective but a narrative as well.

Anyway, his web site shows some of his work and I believe that the smaller images are available for free download.