» Permalink | Comments (0) | Computers,Useful,Web browsers
The Java browser plugin has a sordid security history and you’re better off uninstalling it entirely if you don’t need it. However, if you use sites that require the Java plugin, such as USAA’s Deposit@Home, DinkyTown Financial Calculators or even the official US time, the java plugin is a necessary evil.
I kept running into problems with the installation because the Java plugin auto-installer would detect Windows 7 64-bit and install the 64-bit version of the Java plugin. But Chrome is a 32-bit application and couldn’t see the updated plugin and would continue to insist I needed to update the plugin.
If you’ve experienced this, or don’t want to in the future, here is the list of steps I use whenever I need to update the plugin (like today when I deposited a check from the comfort of my computer by scanning it in).
Steps to Update Java Plugin in Chrome
1. Visit https://java.com/en/download/manual.jsp and download the Windows Offline (32-bit) installer.
2. Close Chrome and any other open web browsers (be sure to do it yourself before running the installer, especially if you have multiple browser windows open).
3. Run the Java installer you downloaded in Step 1.
4. Run Chrome again and verify the Java version.
A few notes
And so you’re aware, Chrome uses a click-to-play method for Java applets, meaning you will be asked to allow it to run. This is a good thing, because it means you won’t get any drive-by malware from a naughty applet on a random site you visit.
Also, if Chrome insists you don’t have the latest Java plugin, make doubly sure you installed the right architecture (most likely the 32-bit version, even if you’re running a 64-bit operating system).
And once you have it installed, you might as well give it a hearty test by playing some games. You know, for science.
» Permalink | Comments (2) | Language
During Secret of the Wings they used the phrase, “resting on your laurels.” My 8-year-old son asked what it meant, guessing it meant sitting on your butt. I laughed because he’s obsessed with butts and said no, it meant they were being lazy and enjoying themselves without working. My explanation satisfied him, but I remained unsatisfied. I didn’t know what laurels were. If you don’t know either, here’s the explanation.
The phrase originates from Roman times when wearing wreaths made from the Bay Laurel leaf symbolized victory and status. The laurel is also the origin of a ‘laureate’, such as a Nobel Laureate, or a person who was crowned with such a wreath.
And though the phrase to rest on your laurels means to be lazy now, it was first used as a sign of respect and honor. When someone retired, they would speak honorably of them reposing on their laurels. It was only later that the term took on a less than respectable meaning.
It’s a little sad that a phrase initially used to honor respected elders is now used to insult those deemed inactive or unproductive, but that’s the unfortunate truth.
I gathered this information from laurels in Wikipedia and Phrases.org.uk.
» Permalink | Comments (0) | My Thoughts
In school I used to think they had everything down to a science. My school had been around for a long time and I just figured they’d worked out the kinks and it ran smoothly and without any issues. Then I got to know one of the school secretaries and learned they had to deal with all sorts of problems every day. That’s been my experience. Every time I think of an organization, big or small, from the outside, I assume they’re running well, but when I start working at a new company or organization I see all sorts of mistakes and bungles.
Every organization or person has their bumps and warts. Even celebrities who we vault into grandiosity regularly screw up their marriages or get involved with drugs. Pro athletes aren’t exempt either. 78% of NFL players are bankrupt within five years after they retire. It’s “only” 60% with NBA players.
I learned that Gene Wilder dealt with self doubt in his career, which was encouraging at first to see that someone as capable and wonderful could feel that way. But then I thought, if Gene Wilder had self doubt, where does that leave me? It’s easy to understand that logically you can’t be perfect, but the inner critic still expects perfection and attacks the slightest failure.
The imposter syndrome as a formal syndrome is derided as pop psychology, but the closest science-backed explanation doesn’t fully address the issue. It’s known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, and is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people think they’re incredible because they don’t know enough to realize they stink. It explains why most drivers consider themselves to be above average drivers. The main issue I have with Dunning-Kruger is it can give you a perverse sense of pleasure at feeling like an imposter, taking it to mean you’re actually a genius.
As for the impostor syndrome, there’s all sorts of advice out there from crushing or overcoming it to calling it healthy if it moves you forward.
The responses to this Quora post suggested that it’s unavoidable. The highest rated response said to the questioner who felt he couldn’t become great at anything.
I urge you to make peace with that feeling, because for most people, it never goes away: and I’m talking about the people who are the best in the field. It never goes away for them. Most of them don’t feel like the best in the field. They feel exactly like you. They are hugely aware of their mistakes and hugely aware of the ways they are lacking. Einstein tried and failed to unify the fields. You can say, “Yeah, but he was Einstein!” But that’s you. What was important—to Einstein—was how he felt.
I wonder if history giants like Einstein, Lincoln, Shakespeare or Mozart really did feel that way. Couldn’t Leonardo da Vinci see that he was so much better at such a large variety of skills? He’s said to the most diversely talented person to have ever lived. I have to believe some people are so good at what they do that they know it and have a healthy confidence in their abilities. But is it possible for everyone to feel that way? Is it innate? I wish I had the answers – at this point I’m just posing the questions.
I do know that as you become more knowledgeable, you realize just how little you know. Two more luminaries from history back me up on that.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” — Socrates
“The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.” — Benjamin Franklin
The main conclusion I’ve come to in thinking about this subject is that even if you don’t have it all figured out, it’s better to create something and get feedback on it, even if you think it stinks. Then you can take whatever feedback you get and improve it. There’s no use creating a masterpiece in your head if you never put brush to canvas.
Interesting, even Woody Allen is concerned about making his creations public. He said, “You always set out trying to make Citizen Kane. By the time you get to the editing room, you just try not to be humiliated.” (via Cal Newport)
There’s a story of two pottery classes where the first was told their entire grade would be determined by their best single piece of pottery by the end of the semester. The second class was told their grade would be determined by the total weight of all the pottery they made.
Members of the first class spent more than half the semester researching pottery skills and techniques, reading books from pottery masters and visiting museums of fine art. They studied and focused and learned how to make the best pottery possible. The second class got to work making pottery on the first day and continued until the end of the semester.
How did the quality compare between the two classes? The quality was much higher in the second class. Why? The second class practiced and improved their pottery-making skills all semester, while the first class spent so much time studying they didn’t have the skills necessary to create what they saw in their minds.
Dreaming about creating an incredible product or service is easy. But regular deliberate practice over a long period of time (10,000 hours according to Malcolm Gladwell) breeds success.
The next question is how do you decide what to devote 10,000 hours of your life on? I have no idea But I’ll share my thoughts on it in a later post.
» Permalink | Comments (2) | My Thoughts
Someone robbed a bank within a mile or two of my kids’ elementary school the other day and the school had a soft lockdown. Apart from not being able to go outside for recess, the soft lockdown barely changed their day. The teachers closed classroom doors but visitors were still allowed to sign in at the front desk. And I was okay with that.
On a side note, bank robberies have been around for a long time. I’m a little surprised we haven’t come up with a way to prevent them. Then again, there are always trade-offs to added security and maybe the banks are willing to put up with robberies in the same way that credit card companies are okay with some identity theft because they want to make it as easy as possible for people to spend money. And it could be worse.
A bank robbery with no violence is not all that bad compared to other crimes. It’s not your money being stolen. The insurance company pays for the loss and if the actuaries did their job, the robbery was accounted for in the bank’s insurance premiums. If not, a bank may choose to pass the increased premiums to customers. So of course I’m not condoning bank robberies, but if I had a choice, it would come out above plenty of other crimes, especially those including violence.
The part I found most interesting was people’s reactions to the news of the bank robbery. When I heard about it I was disappointed, but it wasn’t a big deal. Some, however, felt it confirmed our society is falling apart and crime is running rampant. But that conclusion isn’t supported by the facts. As a whole, violent crime has been decreasing since colonial times. It peaked in the early 1990s, and has dropped steeply since then. The Verge just wrote about the decline of serial killers.
We also have a tendency to vilify the present and romanticize the past, but the facts again contradict that viewpoint. In short, the world isn’t swirling down the toilet, no matter how much religious zealots want you to believe otherwise. It may seem that way because of our hyper-awareness of information, where a tornado on the other side of the world has eye witnesses posting on Twitter seconds after it touches down. Compare that to the citizens of Great Britain learning of America’s declaration of independence almost a month and a half later.
Crime will never go away entirely, just as illness, death and taxes. And no matter how safe you think your town or neighborhood is, criminals have cars and can travel to your small, safe or gated community if they choose to. But fear is not the answer. Holing up in your home, afraid for the safety of your children is no way to live. It’s also no way to teach your children to deal with the uncertainties of life.
When Mr. Rogers was a boy and saw scary things in the news, his mother would say to him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
The effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our personal liberties (and air travel) is far greater than the attack itself. By giving into our fears, we’ve paid a huge price. In TV interviews after the 2005 London bombings I was impressed by their attitude of defiance. It reminded me of a kid being knocked down by a schoolyard bully, then jumping back up to face him (or her).
Fear is never the answer. I know it’s turned into a cliché, but the reason FDR’s quote is so well known is because it’s so true. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” There’s only one way to get rid of fear, and that is to take action. To Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.
Next time you see something scary on the news, look for the helpers, or better yet, do something. Find out how you can help, even if it’s unrelated to the event. Helping will make you feel better and remind you that the helpers vastly outnumber those doing harm.
» Permalink | Comments (0) | Entertaining
Avast ye scurvy mateys! Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day and here be a video fer ya.
P.S. The above be cleaned. In the original (with 114 million views!) they swore like a sailor. E’en though it be talk like a pirate day, it didn’t seem proper.