Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Note to the President

At the recommendation of Ace of Spades, I sent President Trump a short note of support today:
Dear Mr. President,

I just wanted to send a short note of support, and say how happy and proud I have been since you became President.  You are taking on not only the democrats, but also the press and a good portion of the republican party.

No matter how much screaming and negativity you hear, know that there are millions of us that are behind you. 

Also know that a large number of business people in tech are behind not only your immigration plans, but also any restrictions you can put on H1B visas.  I have worked in technology for over 25 years, and am appalled by the rampant abuse of H1B visas at tech companies who pass on seasoned American engineers in favor of cheap laborers from India, China, and other locations.   These CEOs have benefited from being in America, but then purposely turned away from American workers to fuel their growth.  

Keep up the good work and remember that we believe in you.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hillary Tech Supporters Getting What They Deserve

I have commented before about the rampant H1B visa abuse by Silicon Valley.  There is open age discrimination at companies like Facebook and Google, who pass on seasoned American tech engineers in favor of cheap slave laborers from India, China, and other locations.
So I was smiling quite wide this morning upon seeing Google's head explode on Trump's first immigration restrictions.  And note this is even before the H1B visa abuse is even addressed.
The Silicon Valley titans have benefited from being in America, but then purposely turned away from American workers to fuel their growth.  The idea of an "engineering shortage" is BS.  I have been in tech for over a quarter a century and have seen scores and scores of American engineers be laid off and desperate searching for jobs at the same time that Microsoft and others openly lobbied for more H1B visas.  I have seen even low-level workers making as little as $80K (not a whole lot in California) be laid off so an H1B worker from the Middle East could be brought in making $40K less (poverty wages in Silicon Valley).  Then the old worker had to train the new worker.  Repeat this en mass, as seen in public reports at IT departments like Disney or even California's University System.
In the mean time the CEOs pull in millions upon millions of dollars in salary, see their stock in the billions.  And instead of investing in training Americans, or hiring older US workers at higher cost, they rather import cheap labor. 
It is payback time.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Pretty Humous Take of Trump From the Netherlands

Except for some throw away lines to the left at the end, this is pretty humorous

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Six Months of TMJ Tennitus

Six months I ago I woke up to loud, constant ringing in my ears. While that is my "start date", the fact of the matter is that T had been sneaking up on me for years. For a long time:
  • When I yawned I heard a high-pitched whine. It had gone on so long (years) I thought it was normal
  • When I swallowed a big drink (swallowing a few times in a row), my ears whined. I also thought this was normal

What I didn't know was that jaw misalignment plus night bruxism was slowly pushing my jawbone further and further up into my skull, pinching and damaging my inner ear. It was getting worse for years in the background, and finally became constant 6 months ago.

But when the tinnitus started, I didn't remember all this. All I knew was there was loud ringing in my ears and seemed to be getting worse. It started at a 5/10, and panic and anxiety (and unknown to me more grinding of my teeth) just made it go up as high as a 7. I went to specialist after specialist getting more desperate as I searched for an answer. I heard everything from ear infection to "you're just getting old" (I am younger than 50). It took a month before I found a brilliant specialist who with a CT scan diagnosed it as TMJ+bruxism.  For the previous 4 weeks I thought I was going deaf, could hardly sleep, and couldn't work or concentrate. I was in despair.
Once I was diagnosed I could come up with a treatment plan.  Today after 4 months of orthotics and PT - and now in orthodontics to permanently reset by bite - my T is usually at a 2/10, with occasional dips into 1 and spikes into 3. This is "manageable".  Yes, it sucks, but I can work and function. I have also adapted enough that a 2 is forgotten when I am absorbed into work/pleasure/reading, but I do miss my silence.

On the downside, other TMJ symptoms have shown up, including jaw soreness and tenderness of bite. So I haven't eaten anything firmer than fish for 5 months and will have a metal mouth for the next 12-18 months.

Some thoughts/tips for anyone out there who has this:
- Meds - Get anti-anxiety/anti-depressant drugs and sleep meds ASAP after getting tinnitus. I was having panic attacks and took meds for that at first. After stabilizing I don't need anti-anxiety meds any more. Sleep is also critical since stress dials the volume up.  With sleeping aids I now sleep 8+ hours a night and the T runs low.  When I can't sleep much I notice it results in a bad day of T, which gets to the next point.

- Reduce Inflammation - For TMJ and many pulsatile T sufferers, I am a big believer that inflammation is a huge part of the problem. Try to keep that low with diet, sleep and NSAIDs. For me Aleve lowers my T half a notch, plus relieves pain in my jaw. Aspirin didn't do anything for my T, and Advil actually increased it a notch. You will have to experiment on what works for you.
- Less Coffee, More booze!  Eliminating coffee is something that most T sufferers recommend.  I read about this when my T first started and stopped my 2-3 cups a day immediately.  Six months later I miss my coffee a lot, but when I decide to try a bit, my T goes up within 30 seconds of taking a sip.  On the plus side alcohol, like Aleve, lowers the T half a notch.  However, too much increases inflammation and affects sleep, so don't overdo it. 

- Try Various Therapies - When this all started, the TMJ inflammation was not only in my jaw, but had spread to my neck. I could change the tone and volume of my T by pressing on different parts of my neck for the first 4 months. I did massage therapy for three months, and still jump in the Jacuzzi daily, plus ice my jaw every evening. Now that inflammation has gone down to only my TMJ area, I no longer can change the tone/volume of my T by pressing on my neck - and I believe this is part of the reason my T went from a 5 to a 2. I can manipulate my T today only by rubbing on my TMJ area.

- Be patient. It took a month of orthotics and PT before I saw improvement (month 3). I then saw pretty quick improvement in month 4, then have been stalled for 2 months. My braces are on for 12-18 more months, and I hope to get down to a 1, but I actually don't think I will get to a permanent "0", which gets me to...

- Acceptance. This is probably the hardest part. I accept the worse case that I will always have some level of T (which will leave me pleasantly surprised if things get all the way better).

- Compassion. I know I am "lucky" in that I know what caused my T, have a treatment plan, and have had improvement, with the potential for more improvement. While that brings hope, I know that I am an outlier, and the vast majority of people with tinnitus (especially those with nerve damage due to loud noises) have to live with their condition as-is with little hope of getting better. This is why I am doing these posts plus contribute to the site Tinnitus Talk (TT) every so often.
- Remember the Limitations of the Internet -  I write these posts in hopes that someone with T finds them and finds the helpful. I also linked to the Tinnitus Talk site above, but one word of caution: many (probably most) of the posters at TT are in despair, and you can find a few who are suicidal.  As a "newby" of T, one might go there, see all the negativity, and become desperate.  Remember that people who had T and got better don't post any more on sites like that, and there are lots of sufferers who do get better.  Also you do eventually adapt.  The first month is total hell, but today (even at a lower volume), my T is constant but I don't hear it most of the time.  Your brain does adapt, and there are treatments from various clinics that can help your brain adapt if you can't do it on your own.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

And Stay Out!

I've traveled to over 20 countries on both business and pleasure.  That puts me probably in the top 5% of traveled Americans.  And what I have seen - and what most Americans don't really understand - is how most of the world is an ant-pile, overflowing with people and waste.  And the open borders crowd has been trying for eight years under Obama to bring this overflowing waste to the US.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting on Wednesday that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries, according to several congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter.
Let's add in something specific about Muslim countries:  No one in the West would ever live in a Muslim country, but democrats want to bring them here?  Never mind the simple fact that Islam is incompatible with democracy. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Eight Year Nightmare is Finally Over

Loved the Donald's speech today.  For eight years democrats have put the interests of foreigners over the interests of Americans.  Trump's speech today was compelling and truthful.  He sees what America has become, away from the enclaves of the tech stock-option holders, upper-crust elites and out-of-touch press.
My peers in Europe are thrilled (they are all Continental Europeans who wish they could follow Britain in Brexit).  My colleagues in Asia avoid political conversation, but they seem pleased, probably because everyone knew Hillary was in the pocket of the Chicoms.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

You Can't Forecast the Business Future

One of the tasks I have absolutely dreaded over the course of my business career is the annual forecast.  It would save everyone a lot of bother if the executive in charge would just state the number that will give him his bonus and be done with it.  But instead there is a big kabuki theater of staff doing market analysis, market inputs, competitive analysis, inflation and currency trends, and creating giant spreadsheets of models that generate a number.  Then the executive then says "too high" or "too low", a few variables are tweaked, and the model generates the number desired.
In my 25 plus years of business I have never seen an accurate business forecast.  They were either cooked (revenue already signed and in the bag, then the model tweaked to match the sales manager's give-me), sandbagged (forecast put waaaay below the number the sales manager knew he could hit so it would be a slam dunk), or totally optimistic forecasts that everyone knew was impossible, but presented to executives so everyone knew they had time to interview before everything fell apart.  
I have been in several situations when things were definitely going to be bleak 12 months later - no question about it - but didn't end up in the forecast. A flat or slightly up forecast was presented and everyone hung on 9-12 more months until the truth was out.  The forecast-lie was sort of an extended layoff package for those in the know.
Sandbagging is my usual tactic if things are not bleak.  I might have contracts lining up for $80M, but forecast $60M.  This gives the sales team wiggle room for contingencies, but makes everyone look good when the forecast is blown out. 
Of course the problem when you blow out "forecasts" is that you have to explain the next year why that won't happen again.  The easy explanation is that the upside was due to "blue birds" - one-time customers who came in out of the blue and could not be forecasted.  Because these upsides were out of the blue and one-time events, you can go back to your previous baseline, plus a couple percent, successfully sandbagging for another year.