Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turtle Club Baseball Is Back

Baseball started today.

The Turtle Club in LaSalle, Ontario started their winter clinics.


The Turtle Club has a great little setup in a gymnasium down the street from the famed Essex Golf and Country Club. There are five little workstations for throwing, ground ball and pop fly practice, and two batting stations.


Each of the thirty little girls in our session was eager to be there.


Faces smiling.


Trying hard.


And no one complaining to go home.


Baseballs bouncing on a gymnasium floor. Coaches standing with the kids helping them get their fingers right on the ball, stepping through to get leverage on the ball. Elbows raised and hands positioned on the handle of the bat to strike the waffle ball on the tee with force.


Balls bouncing off of heads in the pop fly station.


Balls being whipped at coaches in ground ball station.


It's wonderful.


In an icy cold January like this one, I need any hint of summer that I can get.


Sure, there is no smell of fresh cut diamond grass, or no red clay, or the chalk of the baselines yet.


Not yet.


But there is baseball, and baseball is alive in the hearts of my girls.


Alannah and Ashley-Rae did well. I was happy with how hard they were trying – and in how fgood they were doing. They were paying attention – not spinning around while waiting their turn – doing dance moves and chatting and giggling with their friends.


They cared.


That's all I can possibly ask.


You can't make a kid like baseball. They either like it or they don't.


And at least for this first practice, they liked baseball.


I know some of you may wonder why this means so much to me. But it does.


The Turtle Club is a fantastic organization, their facilities are just around the corner from our house, and most times when we go someplace, we drive right by it. And when we do we look down the laneway as we pass and we all remember how pretty it is there in the spring and summer – the green white and yellow colors of the parks and clubhouse – the old fashioned white scoreboards with numbers hung by hand in the squares.


The history there is grand. National titles and trips to the Little League World Series by Turtle Club teams.


It means something.


I want my daughters to grow up being a part of the Turtle Club. To have the experience with them of being a part of such an organization while they grow up. To contribute to such an organization – to care about something and give back to it.


To learn sportsmanship and team work.


And maybe even learn some leadership skills – if the opportunities present themselves.


Opportunities always present themselves.


Last year I took a stab at becoming a Turtle Club coach. But they didn't seem to think my application and references were up to their standards. And that was ok. So I helped out where I could.


But this isn't about me. I'm happy to assist however they ask me to.


So here we sit on the last day of January – the first day of Turtle Club baseball. And I am so delighted that it started on such a fantastic note.


Most other little kids in Canada right now are wrapped up in hockey or ringette right now. Both are fantastic sports in their own rite. Both teach the exact same things – but in different ways.


But to me there is something special about baseball, and what it can offer a little kid. And what a little kid can learn from learning such a diverse set of skills.


So for this moment I am savoring how positive 2010 baseball started out this morning.


And I think the best is yet to come.


Suddenly January doesn't feel so cold anymore.


Suddenly spring doesn't feel so far away.


The Turtle Club is playing baseball again.


Even if it is inside a gymnasium.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why I Write - Revisited

As time goes by, our goals and objectives are bound to evolve.

Mine certainly have.

I still long to strive to reach my potential as an IT professional. That goal remains unchanged. And I'm not done yet. My commitment is strong.

In fact, tomorrow I have my performance review first thing in the morning. So I have spent the evening with the standard form – answering the questions to the best of my ability – unbiased but still intentionally putting my best foot forward.

That's how it works, right?

But as I reached the exercise of examining my goals and objectives, my mind started to wander.

And I went through some of my favorite headstuffing posts – and I started once again to reconsider my goals and objectives for headstuffing.

Back in April of 2008, I wrote a post called "Why I Write". I liked this post so much that I decided to put a link on the side bar under my profile – and use that as my statement to the world … my justification if you will … why headstuffing exists.

But that was almost two years ago.

And this performance review has me in mind of reflection.

So why do I write headstuffing now in 2010?

I still stand behind my original mission statement that I am writing these stories about our life for my daughters so "they can remember us as we are now, for as long as I keep writing these stories – as long as I keep documenting our life – and they will be use these stories to keep us alive in their hearts".

But there is more now.

No, not to make money off my Google Ads. I still have yet to see a penny from my Google Ads.

I have come to realize that I really enjoy writing stories that touch people. That inspire people. That make people laugh and cry.

And think.

If I can make you laugh and think at the same time, I have reached my objective with my story.

I'd just as soon you not cry. There is enough in the world to make a person cry. I don't want to add to it.

And my goal to strive for? To achieve should I consistently meet my writing objectives of touching you with laughter and thought?

Easy.

I want to do this for a living … my retirement profession.

After I am done with the IT profession, or after the IT profession is done with me.

I want to write stories like the sideline columns my favorite author and hero Lewis Grizzard used to write.

People used to pay for the whole Atlanta Constitution just to read Lewis Grizzard's column – running down the left side of an inside page in the front section – about an inch wide the length of the page. And then leave the paper for the next person to pick up – likely only to read Grizzard's column as well.

A grandiose goal to be sure.

But we gotta dream. And why not make a goal out of dream.

But I don't charge for headstuffing. It's just a blog.

And take it from me, if you go telling people that you write a blog, the eyes roll back in their head, and you can see your credibility fall from right off the edge of the world by the smirk of the smile on their face.

But to me, headstuffing isn't a blog.

It's a collection of stories. My stories.

My heart.

My soul.

I consider headstuffing being referred to as a blog is an insult. Even though you and I both know that a web site with posts archived like this is really just … choke … a blog.

But I want these stories to be read. I hope that these stories are enjoyed. And I desperately want the writing that goes into these stories to be respected.

Would it be great to make a living off these stories? Of course it would be.

But for right now, this is the venue that I have to share with you.

And I do love headstuffing. It is my passion.

Silly eh?

Perhaps.

But it's also my legacy – for my little girls to really know their Daddy and remember our family by.

And it's my only way to share with the world what I have to offer.

All I have to offer.

Google Ads? I still don't need no stinking Google Ads!

But I do love your comments. And I do love your feedback.

So since I'm sharing with you, why not share a bit back with me by sharing your opinion by leaving a comment.

And your still welcome to click a Google Ad or two while you're here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rack ‘Em Up Daddy!

It's January. It's cold. It's wet. And it's very uninspiring outside right now.

The girls are successful in the school year so far. And my work continues on today as it did the day before, and the day before that.


The weekend is the rest time. The rest of the week is dedicated to throwing ourselves into the commitments and obligations we hold to the outside world.


In the non-summer months, we like to turn our attention to the pool table downstairs in the family room.


My lovely wife Darlene can no longer lean over the table to make her shots. This is very sad to both of us, as we had a ball in earlier years playing marathon tournaments trying desperately to defend our own personal household honors and humiliate the other.


True love at its finest.


But this year, at the ages of ten and eight – my daughters Alannah and Ashley-Rae are now finally old enough to learn the games of pocket billiards with their old man, supervised of course.


So most evenings, after work and after school, after home work is done, and baths are taken, and after dinner is consumed and cleaned up after, the three of us head downstairs to play pool.


They ask from the moment I walk in the door - "Daddy, can we play pool now?"


"Is the home work done?"


"No?"


"Have you had your bath?"


"No?"


"Sounds like you better get busy then, eh?"


And off they march to meet those obligations, just usually in time for dinner to appear magically on the table.


Then, finally, in the early evening, I will mix myself a nice drink, and haul my freshly scrubbed and slightly better educated little girls down to the family room where we go through the ritual of removing the pool table cover – a formality that I have introduced the maneuvers that look like a military honor guard folding the flag.


With little girls on each side of the table, they grab the corners of one end, and fold it to the middle of the table, then do the same from the other end of the table. Then work the folds until a small square of the heavy faux pas leather pool table cover lays squarely in the center. I inspect the square for defects (which I never find) and remove the cover.

At that point, each of us removes our pool cues from the rack on the wall. And ceremoniously chalk our cues while politely discussing the night's event:


"I want to play cut-throat" - a game where each player has five balls assigned to them, and each player tries to sink the other players balls – the last player to have a ball or more on the table wins.


"I call the balls one through five"


"No way! You were those yesterday!"


"Let's draw numbers" ,I will always suggest.


We have a little plastic bottle full of numbered peas - one through sixteen – with no fifteen – I don't know why – so the sixteen is to us the fifteen ball.


We draw one pea at a time each – concealing our peas – until each has five and the bottle is empty. And each of us goes off to hide our peas in a corner so the others can't see – but so we can refer to them as we lose track of which ones we are.


As this is happening, I have racked the balls – one through fifteen – into a triangle on the table.


Then all hell breaks loose.


"I want to break!" – says one.


"No way, I'm breaking" says the other.


"Let's lag for break", I will always suggest.


So we each take a turn to lag the cue ball down one end of the table – off the rail on the other end – and roll back up the table – the one who's ball comes closest to the near rail without touching it wins.


I usually win the lag.


"No fair Daddy, you always win!" will say one of the two.


"Okay – you came second closest – you break", I usually reply.


The little girl who was second stands at the end of the table – and in quite good form I must say – she lines the stick up behind the cue ball – like a text book example of a pool player taking a shot.

tink


The cue ball slowly drifts down the center of the table and lightly bumps the triangle shaped arrangement of balls – and a couple drift away from the clump remaining.


My first shot is into that clump to really break the balls up.


Now the game gets interesting. Because my little girls use various tricks to figure out which balls are mine. And while their skills at breaking balls up in the break are subject to the constraints of the tiny frames of eight and nine year old girls, they can both line a shot up and sink the ball they are aiming at.


And – truth be told – quite often they knock me out of the game first.


There are the odd occasions where I simply run them off the table in my first or second turn at the table – but usually I do my best to keep them in the game as long as I can – fairly to each one.


And when one gets knocked out – it is treated as to mean that I like the other more.

Sad long faces as they go to sit on the stool to watch the remainder of the game.

But quite often, they succeed at knocking me off first.


Every night they get better. And every night they learn more patience. Each of them is starting to see the angle needed for each shot – off the ball or off the rail to hit the ball.


And each of them is starting now to actually think their way around the table – one shot ahead – so then can try to have that second shot.


So they are actually learning stuff – they just don't know it.


And I am not going to tell them.


The other night – I quizzed them at the supper table – what the color of each billiards ball in our eight ball set was. And they both knew them cold.


And when Ashley-Rae was doing her math homework – describing shapes – she started to write down that one of the shapes was impossible because a pool ball couldn't bounce off the rail that way.


I let her go ahead and write it.


I wondered what Ashley-Rae's teacher thought – as she read my daughters explanation that a trapezoid shape couldn't be true because the ball wouldn't roll that way.


The next day, I pulled Ashley-Rae's notebook out of her school bag, and I found her homework with the teachers markings on it. At the end of the question about trapezoids, the teacher had written "You have to put spin on it Ashley!".


Very cool.


I remember my Dad telling me about being a boy and getting in trouble from his mom when he came home with blue cue chalk on his clothes, and how disreputable it was to be known as pool player in those days.


Sad.


Because my little girls are learning a lot.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Hearts Go Out To Haiti

The scene in Haiti is horrific.

What Haiti is experiencing right now is so enormous in scale that our strongest descriptive words like horrific and insurmountable and tragedy and incomprehensible – seem meager and unqualified to describe it.

Like the recent catastrophe in China was. As was the catastrophe in Pakistan.

But the plates that comprise our planet earth are held together by only their sheer weight and the gravity of the earth spinning on its axis.

When a poor population has to make shelters and structures, they do not have the luxury of using state of the art engineering principles to survive the incredible force of a quaking earth.

Haiti just fought off two hurricanes – those structures withstood them.

The 7.0 earthquake's epicenter was only 25 kilometers away from the Port-au-Prince.

Cement structures crumbled and fell down on top of those who occupy them. With in an instant a huge portion of the population were expired. It will be sometime until we find out how many.

The majority of the remaining population is now homeless, without shelter or facilities or services.

The structures fall down and cover the roads the roads impeding the ability to get into the most densely destroyed area.

Earthquakes don't kill people – poorly constructed structures that crumble in earthquakes kill people.

Such an overwhelming catastrophe.

And as typically happens – humankind shows its best side.

I'm impressed with how hard the Americans are trying to help.

I'm impressed with how quickly the U.N forces pulled together to jump right in to do … something.

My God, where do you start?

I am impressed with the Haitian people who managed not to be crushed immediately getting to work to find those that were.

Impressed is not a grand enough term.

Right now it's a horrific exercise in rubble removal to look for survivors – and the sorrowful task of recovering the bodies. And the insurmountably urgent task of determining what to do with those bodies. Bodies of fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers and friends and loved ones – not just bodies – but the bodies of those that you love.

The heartbreak.

Tons and tons of debris must be removed to find those trapped underneath. But how do you move such mass quickly? Where do you put it after you remove it? How do you get machinery in there to move it? And how do you move it so gently as to not crush anyone who might somehow still be alive in there?

But also - as such tragedies unfold – you not only see the greatness of the human spirit, but also the despicable.

The looting has started. Chaos is looming like a finely balanced tight rope walker on a windy day. The dark side of humankind arises as well.

It's not constrained to only the Haitian's. The worst comes from the lands looking on.

The "elite" news journalists covering this event, and then I only mean the elite faces – who are taking this opportunity to be videoed holding the hand of a screaming boy in agony because his body is crushed and his parents are killed – only to add this to their portfolio of events covered to qualify for the elite status of journalists – then off to the next opportunity for advantageous video.

The Katie Courics and the Cooper Andersons. They should be banned from ever going such places. They add no further insight by their presence.

Ego. The side of the fifth estate that is journalism that I despise.

Then there are the political winds that swirl up from such catastrophes are as well despicable. Pat Robertson – the evangelist politico wannabe inferring the Haitians deserve this tragedy as their payment to a deal made with the devil. Or Rush Limbaugh declaring the democratic right and specifically Obama – using this event for political positioning.

If there was ever a pot calling a kettle black …

No help – just political posturing. Yes, I believe Robertson is more a political opportunist than a man of the holy word. The proof spews out in his words of contempt.

As well, we now must also be aware of the scammers trying to fool the rest of the world into giving money to phony aid programs.

But why is such a place as Haiti – so geographically positioned and so culturally rich – so poverty stricken to begin with?

History unveils the facts that Haiti's poverty is the result of the French forcing the re-payment of 70 million francs - a bill that in today's dollars would have been over twenty one billion dollars – as the remaining debt owed by Haitian freed slaves after succeeding in their battle for independence. The same era of time during the years of America's Deal with the French for the Louisiana Purchase.

In those days – Haiti was an incredibly rich and profitable nation as a shipping hub and exporter of tropical goods. But the high price of this bill allowed little left over to build a proper infrastructure. This problem further accentuated by multiple reigns of ruthless and greedy dictators – scraping the profits remaining to build palaces and fund their extravagant lifestyles.

But that is history. Those people are no longer around to blame or to hold accountable.

The task ahead of Haiti is enormous. They cannot solve this problem alone. They need to world to help.

What can we do?

What can we – people like me – people most likely like you – the common person in the landscape of the world – do?

We can give money.

We can't go to Haiti and start removing rubble. We can't go to Haiti and start performing medical aid. We can't go to Haiti and cook meals in person. We can't go there to physically assist in this disaster.

We would be in the way.

So we can give money.

As you sit this moment and read my words on your monitor or LCD screen or cell phone – please think about how incredibly lucky that you are that you are not going through this horrific tragedy. And think about how you would feel if it was you, or someone you loved deeply, trapped under rubble still – alive or dead – and how helpless you would feel not being able to do anything.

Then do something.

Do what you can do.

Send money.

Send a thousand dollars, or a hundred dollars, or ten dollars.

Anything will help.

Please visit http://www.redcross.org/ today and determine how best you can assist.

My biggest regret in writing this post is that I wrote it five days too late.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Face Down In Four Feet Of Snow

It's weird sometimes how ideas come to you.

This morning I was getting for ready work, and while showering, I started making up this song.

Okay – pretend I said I made it up shoveling the driveway – that's a better mental image. Sorry.

It's been in my head all day – and it had a tune like an old Tennessee bluegrass mountain song with banjos and fiddles – I don't know why. But since I can't write music and you surely do not want to here me sing, let me share the verses with you in the form of a poem.

Again, I have no idea why I made this up.

But it sure was fun. I hope you like it.

Feel free to sing it in the shower.


Face Down In Four Feet Of Snow

Old Jebs been dead since two weeks ago

I gotta go bury Jeb in four feet of snow


Jeb died after livin a pretty good life

Had good children and he had a good wife


We come up north to go lookin for gold

But rocks is all we found, if the truth be told


Two weeks ago when we got this big snow

Jeb left the cabin cause he really had to go


I found Jeb an hour later, he was frozen up stiff

With his old worn boots stickin out a snow drift


I found Jeb dead, face down out in the snow

It was horrible dang cold – 'bout fifteen below


So I dragged Jeb in the cabin, no place else to go

He's been here since cause we got this snow


I wrote a letter to his children and a letter to his wife

Explaining best I can that Jeb loved his life


Explaining to them about not finding any gold

Explaining to them that Jeb didn't like the cold


And I told bout how he loved them very much

And bout how he always talked all bout them 'n such


And that I'm sorry bout Jeb dying out in that snow

How his last breath of air was fifteen below


But I can't mail the letter till I get into town

And I can't get to town with all this snow on the ground


The mule that we had died about four weeks ago

Cause we couldn't feed the mule cause our rations was so low


So I gotta find a way to get to town in all this snow

But I gotta bury Jeb before I can go


Cause if I don't make it and I freeze to death too

Then I aint no use to no one if I'm all frozed up and blue


So I'll put on my boots and my coat to protect me from the cold

And I'll grab my diggin shovel that never found us any gold


And I'll dig a hole in the frozen earth to put Jeb in

I'll cover up the hole and I'll come back in


Well, I'm back inside from burying Jeb in the snow

Took me four hours but he's at peace now


He's buried down deep in the frozen cold

But while I was diggin Jeb's grave, I finally struck gold

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I Could Get Used To This

I could get used to this.

A two week holiday is rare for me.

Waking up late in the morning.

Spending my free time writing.

As you might be able to tell from the last two weeks of head stuffing posts – I have certainly had my share of free time.

This morning is the last day of those two weeks off. I haven't checked my email at work for nearly ten days now.

Another vacation not likely to be taken until the sun is much warmer and the back yard pool is open again. When Tiger baseball is back on the radio. When the girls are wrapping up their last few days of the school year.

When I can take my golf clubs out of hibernation and try to remember how to hit a slight draw drive around the tree on the corner of the dogleg left par 4 seventh fairway.

When the barbecue will be uncovered on the back deck and in full use – emitting the aromas of steaks and burgers , sausages and dogs.

Please don't confuse my eternal longing for summer weather as a dissatisfaction of the last two weeks – the holidays have been wonderful this year.

Great holiday meals – and the snacks – oh my yes and the snacks.

Turkey sandwiches on fresh baked buns with nuts and chips and salads. And a nice cold beer.

Chocolates, and cakes and pies and cookies.

And morning coffees rich and warm – and often enhanced with a drop or two or three of Bailey's Irish Cream.

Did I mention sleeping in until ten in the morning?

Playing pool with my girls in the basement – they are starting to get good – when the take their time to line up the shot. Last night our family of four played until midnight. We lost track of the time.

And playing Wii games with the girls too – who were kind enough to put their new DSi games down for a few minutes to let me lesson them on the finer points of Grand Slam Tennis, or Tiger Woods golf, or Mario Cart racing.

I am worried to see what they may add to the 2011 version of Tiger Woods golf – a whole new collection of trophies – that might not be rated "E for Everyone".

Some visits with friends like John and Darlene, my Cousin Ellyn and her husband Glenn, and their two kids – like nephews and nieces to me – Thomas and Beth.

Like Don and Sheila Donlon dropping by only yesterday – where Don managed to clean my clock handily on my own pool table – letting me win only two of the dozen or so games that we played.

And I have watched the new Star Trek 2009 DVD I got for Christmas so many times that my lovely wife Darlene has threatened to hide it away with my new Lewis Grizzard book (which I eventually did get back by the way).

And my faithful black lab Suzy – who is now a very smelly dog in need of a bath – spent most of her holidays curled up on her new big sheep-skin pillow bed – adorning her cheery red Christmas sweater.

I have never been one for dressing up pets in clothes – but the sweater actually looks good on her – and she likes it on during these minus ten degree Celsius days we have been enduring of late.

I could get used to this indeed.

Funny, as I sit here this morning writing this in the freezing temperatures of the garage – heat dish pointed at me warming a quarter of my body enough to move my fingers – Pat Caputo is again on the radio talking now about today's Lions football game debating seriously between Mathew Stafford and Calvin Johnson as the Lions most valuable player – as if the Lions could have such a thing having won only two games this season.

I listen only in hopes that they may speak of the Tigers – and baseball – and I can imagine it's summer for only a moment or two.

But they seem only to be interested in the Lions.

Tomorrow at this time I will be back in the thick of work again. And this wonderful two week vacation will feel like a distant memory. All the stress that I have dissipated from my nervous system this last year will start to creep back in – and my endurance for heads down focus will have to be regained.

I hope this will be a good 2010.

I hope somehow I can incorporate what I love doing – writing my stories on headstuffing – will somehow contribute to my ability to earn and income for this little family of mine. And while I am confident that the team I am a member of at work will rise to the forseen challenges of IT needs for 2010 – I am hopeful that we not only meet those expectations but that we go further and far exceed them.

I am optimistic. I am hopeful. And I am wary of what losing focus on these goals can mean to not only my family – but to all that I hold dear in this next year.

And maybe somehow my writing won't be done in my "free time". Maybe, just maybe – someone might actually pick headstuffing up and pay me for this – or something like this.

On the side of course. But no longer on my free time.

It's going to be a challenging year.

But there is truly something to be said for this lazy lifestyle I have enjoyed over the last two weeks. And I would be a fool not to work for a way to make this lifestyle the everyday norm.

The girls are excited to get back to school.

They miss their friends and teachers. And they miss the faster paced series of activities that do not present themselves on two week holidays at home with Mom and Dad.

But I could get used to this.

My coffee is now cold though – it was not in the direct path of the heat of the heat dish pointed at me. And my fingers are now starting to get just a little bit numb. And Caputo is still taking and making predictions on this last Lions game of the NFL season.

Time to go in.

I wonder how much Irish Cream is left in the big Baileys bottle under the sink?

I could get used to this.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Optimistic About This Era Of Integration

A new day.

A new year.

A new decade.

A time for optimism – even though the pessimists will tell you we are doomed.

Some will tell you this is just another rising of the sun this morning. Just another rotation of the planet Earth on its tilted axis. They will tell you that the sun comes up every day – so don't get too excited about this sunrise.

Perhaps.

I see this morning as a great excuse for a milestone. A great place to put a landmark in time. A great opportunity to revisit our goals, evaluate our progress, and forecast our next course.

A great time indeed.

If you think about the progress in technology that we have made in the last ten years – then think now about the opportunities for we will encounter to extend that progress. By two or tenfold – the degree is up to us.

Here is a sample of what I mean – my predictions for what the next ten years may come to bear:

The past decade saw a complete transformation in how we communicate. The local phone call has been replaced for the most part by the text message. And the ability to keep in touch has been enhanced by social media forums like Facebook and Twitter. The next ten years will see this function become more and more convenient – ubiquitous – integrated into our lives – as cell phones continue their metamorphosis into mini communication computers allowing us to always be connected with those that we care about even though we are far apart. To create this next level of togetherness – video communications will be enhanced so that we will feel like we are right next to each other as we toil through the tediousness of our days.

As well, these little devices we currently call cell phones will continue to evolve to provide applications to assist us in every manner of our day to day lives – to do banking – to do shopping – to answer all of our questions – and to help us see opportunities we may not otherwise see.

The past decade showed us a transformation in the way television is made available to us. We saw the advances in Cable and Satellite technology – high definition broadcasts over the air. As well we saw new Internet services like YouTube reshape our definition of entertainment.

No longer does one have to be reliant of a massive communication enterprise like a television network, film studio, a recording company or a newspaper, or publishing house to accept your talents. Those that are motivated can now self produce and self publish – at very little expense – to get your message out.

Like I'm doing here.

But right now we are in the "wild-west" days of the reshaping of these mediums. Over the next decade we will see the ability of these means of expression to become much more simple. And much more available.

And much more structured.

In ten years it is likely that YouTube will be only one of a dozen or more such services – in much the way the major television networks and film studios evolved into the incredible amount of cable TV stations available today.

Likely it will be ten years from today – that the TV in your living room is no longer simply a TV – although we will likely still call it a television. It will provide you with the Internet as well, now expanding its use beyond just a medium to sit and watch – but now to interact with – to share with – and to communicate and express yourself with.

The television will no longer be your window to look outside to the world from your living room, but will also allow the world to look inside to appreciate you.

Right now, our devices are bound by cables – by independent devices like cameras and camcorders needing to be hooked into by a wire to your personal computer so you can download your pictures to your hard drive and then find a special program that will take your pictures and video burn them to a CD or copy them to a memory card that can be inserted in another device to be played and appreciated – like a DVD player connected to a TV (by wires) or a stereo system in your home or car or in your pocket.

Wires.

But over the last decade we have seen tremendous inroads made by wireless communication protocols like WiFi and Bluetooth. These fundamental foundations will be built upon over the next ten years to redesign these multiple layers of products so that they instinctively talk easier to each other. For example – as you will pull your car into the laneway – it will detect your home's wireless network – and start communicating with it. Information from the car will be shared with information from home – not only synching trivial things like music and video stored in the cars entertainment system with the home entertainment system – but also news of the day – global, local, and even personal. It will synch calendar schedules and grocery lists and such detail that will be of use the next time the car is to be driven.

It's really not so far-fetched. And people will appreciate the necessity of such data transfers as they start to make their lives easier.

At the workplace – the tools you will use to perform your duties will be made simpler – and even more portable. You will become more accessible than even the texts and emails on your Blackberry or iPhone – with greater access to decision making data you won't have to gather and compile before you leave your desk.

In fact the office desk – or workstation that so many of us now feel ourselves confined to may become less and less as we find ourselves collaborating in groups more and more. Team collaboration will evolve into collective thinking and decision making.

It won't be perfected in ten years – but we will be moving in that direction as decisively as we are moving into the more mobile direction of connectivity now.

The argument against this movement currently is security. It will continue to be so in the next ten years. And rightly so as the threat of identity theft and the security of corporate information is very much a valid concern. But as in the past – these concerns will continue to be met by enterprising ingenuity that answers each and every niche concern with a product or a process that solves the problem momentarily for a fee – such as the anti-virus and security system providers of today.

In short – security concerns will continue to be the checks and balances that ensure each solution is well thought out – but likely those lessons will be learned at the expense of those who adapt each new phase of integration early in the cycle of development.

Leadership will continue to be redefined as leaders coordinate collaborations to determine direction – not simply dictate direction.

As I see it, this is the path we are currently on. The direction the flow of progress is taking us. The momentum seems to be behind connected collaboration – and the integration of all components that can play a part in it. Be it your car talking sharing data with your home PC – which is also talking to your TV; or be it your role in a team as a collaborator – or leading a team of collaborators – in the exercise of collective thinking.

This is the way things seem to be moving now. And I see nothing ahead to yet to stop or curtail this period of integration.

This era of integration.







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