Archive | January, 2012

Google Privacy – the Shift Has Hit the Fan

30 Jan
Sidewalk Chalk Art from Blog of Francesco Mugnai

Sidewalk Chalk Art from Blog of Francesco Mugnai

The lines between safety, privacy, and access are blurring like that chalk hopscotch board the kids drew on your sidewalk on a sweltering day in July. Google tells me that their privacy rules are changing, all the better for me to share across multiple platforms and so on. Since Facebook already tracks my friends and interests, and it’s become clear that Google Earth knows where I live and that I don’t even have a sidewalk for chalk drawings (you know the satellite can see your house, right?), what difference could it possibly make?

But wait. Then I read Josh Bernoff’s Empowered post: Five Stages in Dealing with Google’s Control of Your Data and I began to worry. Does Google really need to know everything about me? If Google is telling me it’s okay, should I assume the opposite? My life is quite ordinary and I’ve nothing to hide, but shouldn’t it be my choice to share or not share? Apparently by using Google and joining online communities like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, I’ve made that choice, carefree of the consequences. There’s no undoing it now.

Our private business is increasingly public. With that in mind, I recommend you treat your online connections as politely and considerately and with as much aforethought as you would in person. Keep your parental and spousal grievances, drunken rants, mean-spirited text messages and other dirty laundry off the internet. Facebook, Twitter, and Google are forever.

Sidewalk Chalk Art photo credit: Blog of Francesco Mugnai


Important Legal Materials Enclosed

23 Jan

My little red Honda CR-VIt looks like junk mail, but the bold-face type below the return address (unfamiliar to me, I should note) exclaims: “IMPORTANT LEGAL MATERIALS ENCLOSED”. The fact that it’s addressed to “Resident” does nothing to add to its importance, but I cannot resist opening ……… and very disappointing….

It’s from United States District Court District of New Jersey, containing a Civil Action Proposed Class Action Settlement for problems with air-conditioning and compressor units of *certain older (2007 and prior) Honda vehicles. These lawyers have apparently identified me as a Honda owner (I owned a Honda CRV once), but for some reason cannot recall my name. The law requires that I be notified, but I know I don’t meet the requirements for joining in the Class Action Settlement fun. That little red CR-V was one of the most trouble-free cars I’ve ever owned. 

Honda gets credit for offering to “partially reimburse any out-of-pocket expenses incurred”, even if it did take them 10 years to find me….

If you are or were a Honda owner and need help filing a claim, go to for more information.

* Honda Odyssey, model year 2005 – 2007, Honda CR-V, model year 2002-2004, Acura TSX, model year 2004


Honda CR-V

23 Jan

Honda CR-V

My little red CR-V

New Year’s Revolution

1 Jan

Skating at Rockefeller CenterEach January, I review and renew my list of self-improvement practices. I recommit to exercising my body and vocal cords, so I can be comfortable on stage as a singer – obviously these habits provide beneficial side effects every day, not just in performance situations. “Be in the moment” has been my mantra for years – as a younger person, my tendency was to always worry “what happens next?”. Not that I don’t plan ahead, I certainly do, but I also make an effort to find a way to enjoy where I am now, right this moment. Even if I’m in the car, in traffic, and I need a rest stop soon. Here’s my little remedy for this situation: crank the volume on your iPod or radio and sing at the top of your lungs until the next rest area appears on the horizon. You’re welcome!

The next practice I’ll renew and continue is daily gratitude, requiring increased mindfulness on my part. It doesn’t always occur to me to feel grateful for the small pleasures in life, like a cup of french roast coffee in my own kitchen, a full refrigerator, or that parking space waiting just for me in front of the dentist’s office. I’m often wearing blinders against these small gifts, taking them for granted, when I should be giving thanks to the universe for allowing me these simple delights. Gratitude practice reveals more to reasons to feel grateful – I see that when I remember to look.

Each year I vow to challenge myself: learn a new computer skill, take on an unfamiliar duty within my  business, add a new yoga stretch to my morning routine, smile at strangers or be more loving to my family, friends, colleagues. I like having the New Year as a reminder to press on, to do and be a better person. I haven’t fleshed out what the 2012 challenges will look like, but getting back into the gym is one routine I’ll restart this week.

For the past six or so years, author, speaker, media and marketing whiz Chris Brogan has published his January 1 edition of “My Three Words“, an alternative to resolutions where he states his focus for the coming year in three words, which for 2012 are: Temple. Untangle. Practice. Chris challenges his readers to respond with their own three and focus on defining goals and experiences related to the chosen words. My three words for 2012 match the Fisher-Price toy company’s tagline: play – laugh – grow.

What’s your plan?

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