Archive for November, 2007

The Best Holiday Shopping Tip This Year (Updated)

BUY LESS.  No, seriously.  Think about this:

Fast Company wrote that the National Retail Federation predicts that Americans will spend almost $475 billion dollars this holiday season.

On November 7th I listened to Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada, President of the Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speak about how healthcare in the United States is a $2 billion dollar institution and any organization, or individual, that attempts to improve the healthcare system in the United States would need more than $2 billion dollars based on how the business of market impact works today.

What about $475 billion dollars?  Does that sound like enough?

Think about if we all bought half as much.  That’s about $237 billion dollars. 

What problems could we fix if we had $237 billion dollars? 
According to Dr. Yamada, we have a shot with healthcare.  But there is also education, national disaster relief and debt to consider – among many other broken institutions. Not only would we have $237 billion dollars to spend on significant issue in our society, but also reap the benefits of less consumerism:  we would create a lot less trash from our all gift garbage (have you been to a landfill lately?), we would need less oil for the shipping trucks and our cars to transport all the gifts, and – best of all – you’ll probably be spared receiving that handful or crap gifts from co-workers, friends and relatives that feel obliged to give everyone something.  Oh, and you’ll be spared needing to rush out with the holiday crowd to get gifts for them.  See? Everybody wins!!

So next time you’re thinking about joining the droves of holiday shoppers this year, think about the gift of giving and what that could mean for you and your family this year if you bought less.

Where to Start (Update)
Ann (Grease Girl) made an excellent suggestion for a web site that has a great assortment of non-material gift suggestions: http://www.changingthepresent.org/:

Our gift registries and wish lists are a wonderful way to let your friends know just how you would like to commemorate a birthday, wedding, memorial, or any special event. Whether you ask them to provide a child with her first book, fund an hour of cancer research, or dig a well in Kenya, your friends can make a donation and send you a beautiful, personalized greeting card to announce the gift.

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Improve Your Reading Instantly with Kindle!

Amazon just announced Kindle a wireless device for reading books, newspapers, blogs and more.  The best part is the no-glare screen that works more like paper than the common display of today’s laptops, cell phones and PDAs.

There is so much to Kindle that rocks you just have to explore for yourself:

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Maybe now I have chance in hell at finishing War and Peace!

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Announcing Windows Live Writer 2008

Come and get it! http://www.windowslive.com

The very first beta release of Writer was in August 2006.  Since then we’ve had 2 more beta releases and over 1.5 million people, all over the world, installing the product and send feedback our way.

This has been a really fun product to develop and I look forward to planning out the next version with even more cool and exciting publishing features!

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Seeing Bill Clinton

I never though anything could be more exciting than meeting Keri Russell but today I saw Bill Clinton speak at Microsoft and it was very exciting.

I arrived at the Microsoft Executive Conference Center on my bike around 8 AM this morning.  Today was a cold morning in Redmond and there was already a line the length of the building of employees waiting to get in.  If you were lucky enough to be a member of the Microsoft Political Action Committee you were allowed admittance before anyone else.  That’s how I got in.

Steve Ballmer made introductions.  Witnessing two people like Steve Ballmer and Bill Clinton on stage at the same time was pretty inspiring in itself. Not sure you’ll feel the same awe looking at the picture from my crappy cell phone but it was the best I can do (didn’t think they would allow cameras so I didn’t even bother to bring a good one).

As you can imagine, the room was pretty crazy, in my opinion this picture captures a lot of that: everyone standing, trying to take pictures with whatever device was in their pocket, people cheering like they were at a concert (you can see the woman in a green sweater) – kind of nuts.

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I have to admit that I was most influenced by Bill’s response to the question: "Is it possible for you to be Secretary of State to Hillary, should she become president." 

It turns out that this is illegal based on Article 5, Section 3110 of the United States Code that was Passed in 1967 in response to John F. Kennedy’s appointment of Robert F. Kennedy to the post of Attorney General of the United States.

Regardless of that fact, Bill Clinton stated that even if it were possible that he believed that Hillary should not appoint him to Secretary of State in that he believed he could be more effective as a non-government figure when needing to represent her in places where she is not able to be and to continue in driving his foundation – a statement very similar to one made by Al Gore when explaining his reasons for not yet entering the 2008 elections.

This actually got me thinking…while I love the idea of Hillary as the first United States President in history, I have to say that in reality I had not been won over by her.  In fact, I found myself getting pushed closer to Obama by the minute.  But now the notion that electing Hillary is really like electing both Hillary and Bill, while a little bit scary, is also very powerful to me and something I might be willing to vote for.

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