Rubik’s Cube On Speed

A regular, traditional Rubik’s Cube is 3×3 by 6 sides. 


That’s a total of 54 moving squares to order by color on each side. 


This Rubik’s Cube On Speed is 7×7 by 6 sides.


 So this cube has 294 squares to figure out. 


(I did find another cube on eBay that was even larger, 15×15, called “Professional Level” selling for $384.40)


I’m sure there are some real whiz kids out there that can do these puzzles. 


And probably in under 3 minutes…


For me, I admire the dexterity and spatial skills. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hungry Pac-Man

Saw this in a window from the street. 


Pac-Man eating the dots/pellets and going for the ghost. 


The classic arcade video game from 1980s still speaks volumes. 


Pac-Man is goal-oriented and hungrily eat the pellet pieces, but if the ghosts touch him first then he’s toast (or at least one of his 3 lives are).


Not so different from real life…


We try to reach our goals, by taking one bite at a time until we “eat the elephant.”


But if those people who are naysayers, haters, Debbie Downers, and obstructionists, get to us first, then we can not only lose momentum, and but also eventually be forced to divert or miss out on achieving our goals. 


Ghosts aren’t hollow friendly creatures, but those who want to stop progress, stop you, and maybe even end your pellet-eating life. 


You need to eat the super “power pellets” to overcome and eat the ghosts.


Eating all the pellets can be a herculean task requirement strength, resourcefulness, and determination, but that’s what takes you to the next level in the game of life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who You Calling Ugly Baby?

So in multiple organizations, I have heard systems referred to as ugly babies!


Whether or not it’s true, it certainly doesn’t make the IT folks that develop, run, and support that system feel very good. 


Are some of these (legacy) systems ugly?


Well, of course, they are. 


Many of them work despite themselves. 


What I mean by that is they are awkward to navigate and use. 


The functionality is flawed or outdated.


The workflows are unnecessarily complex.


The user interface is inconsistent and sloppy. 


The user experience is punishing. 


I told someone recently in using a particular system that was so convoluted:

“Is this system what they give to prisoners and make them use over and over again to punish them for hideous violent crimes?”


Seriously, that’s how it felt, even as I knew it was still lightyears ahead of what a paper process still used in other organizations looks like.


Generally better than the waterfall methodology for the systems development life cycle, I understand that one dilemma with agile development is that requirements can be spotty from sprint to sprint and instead of doing the hard work and thinking it out upfront, users are made to expect a nearly endless series of enhancements and tinkering, which isn’t practical functionally or financially either.


Even an ugly baby is still ours, and we love it and nurture it, and even help it change for the better–that’s part of our responsibility. 


Whether we parented a real baby or an IT system, we have pride of ownership and a sense of accountability to the person, system, and future. 


My father always taught me never to throw out dirty water until you have clean water. 


Similarly, we shouldn’t throw out the (ugly) baby with the bathwater. 


We need to work together–technologists and system users–to make truly functional systems and a user experience more like gaming where the players are so happy, attached (and even addicted) to it that they sometimes don’t even get up to eat or go to the bathroom. 


We should love what we have and use, and we should, therefore, work hard to make these things great.


And an ugly baby can be made gorgeous again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Games People Play

Games.jpeg

The title sounds ominous, but I mean it differently.


People like to play games–the type you have fun at.  


We learn to play when we are kids. 


We get the attention of our parents and friends–and we have fun just being together, acting silly or even competing with each other. 


Whether it’s over a game of Life, Monopoly, Risk, or Connect Four, or even these days going online with a game of Minecraft or Crush.


Sports is another type of game–great to play and others like to watch and cheer for their favorite teams or athletes. 


This week at work, someone said to come to his meeting because:

“…everyone would have fun.”


Have you ever heard that at work–a fun meeting or for that matter anything being fun in an office setting?


The guy is a genius–people actually showed up in droves at the meeting. 


They had to choose between various meetings going on at that time–and low and behold, people chose this one that was going to be fun!


In the meeting, there was a big bowl of candy and chocolate in the center of the conference table.


And the mood was relaxed as we got down to some business. 


While we did the business, people felt free to be a little silly and laugh with each other too.


The tone had been set for some fun.


The person who hosted the meeting explained that he wanted people to have a good time coming to the meeting (and to work).


He called it “gamification.”


The idea is why not make things into a type of game and have some fun with it instead of everything being so stuck up and nasty all the time. 


Listen, it was still a meeting and work had to get done, but it was nice to see a different lighter perspective put on it. 


People want to enjoy what they do–whether it’s time with their family, friends, or why not even their work.


If we can make more things in life into a game of sorts and put “fun” into the equation of what we do–people smile, laugh, and let down their guards a little. 


Why shouldn’t adult play games and have fun too? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Entering The Oculus Rift Matrix

So this was my first time actually experiencing virtual reality. 


Using Oculus Rift and climbing this mountain…


I’ve got to say how incredibly fabulioso this was!


It is absolutely an immersive and real experience. 


When I looked over the side of the mountain and down at the water and “realized” how far up I was, I was freakin out. 


My feet were grabbing the floor like I was about to fall off the mountain and then I eventually did. 


This is the next big thing!


You can literally be anywhere and doing anything with this technology.  


The real world is not there. 


And now I believe more than ever, that just like we enter the virtual reality body and start to move around and interact in that make-believe world, so too our soul enters our human bodies and we are present in this material existence to experience the worldly wonders all around us. 


But like the virtual world, this earthly world is the playground for our earthly bodies are just a temporary vessel for us to face challenges, learn, and grow.


When the time is up, our souls depart our bodies and return to its maker, just like when the virtual reality game is over and we are back here. 


G-d is the greatest game-maker of them all, and we are copycats in every sense of the word. 


The body is the vessel, and the soul is the essence. 😉


(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Transitioning To Virtual Ease And Triviality

Mail Order.jpeg

I took this photo a few weeks ago on the streets in Washington, D.C.

This was a huge box from eBay coming to someone.

In my building, they recently built an extra storeroom for all the deliveries that are coming everyday–there is no where to put all of them.

Jeff Bezos was recently names the 4th richest person in America, as the stock price of Amazon is up 45% in the last year alone. 

While today in the Wall Street Journal, even the revered retailer of Herald Square, Macy’s, had their stock price shed half it’s value in the last year, and other big box retailers are hurting just as bad. 

eCommerce is threatening the very survival of brick and mortal retailers, as they are seriously eating their lunch–and breakfast and dinner too!

But this is part of a much larger transition occurring from our physical to virtual worlds…

As we abandon department stores and the Mall for online shopping, 

movie theaters and playhouses for home theaters and video streaming, 

physical activities for gaming and virtual reality, 

and even factories and office work for telework and robots

soon we will have no real place to go and nothing to physically do. 

From the bed and couch to the computer and gym, like hamsters on the wheel of triviality, we might as well package ourselves up in the big eBay box and send ourselves to outer space–but only as long as we can get Internet access there. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Playing The Work Game Can End In More Ways Than One

Work Hard

This game takes working to a whole new level of absurdity. 


It’s called “Don’t Get Fired!


And it’s by a 29-year old South Korean programmer who found a way to vent his own frustration with the crazy working world by making it into a mobile game. 


The goal is to “rise through the ranks of a nameless corporation by performing an endless string of mind-numbing tasks, while avoiding  a long list of fireable offenses.”


I did a screenshot here after I passed the interview and did the tasks that the various levels of management told me to by yelling at me with exclamation marks. 


The more exclamation marks means the more yelling and critical the tasks are from the seniors in the organization. 


Here the added stressor is everyone is in “fever mode,” because the president is in town, so now you are getting work from everyone and have to manage all the competing priorities. 


See me, the intern in the lower right corner with the work piled up on my desk.


You have to tap furiously on each task to turn them green and eventually make them disappear as completed.


In the game, you basically “get fired again and again in a cycle of humiliation and false hope.” 


There are no less than “29 ways to get fired, including opening a box of donuts that doesn’t belong to you,…addressing colleagues with the wrong level of formality, or failing to laugh hard enough at the jokes of a company vice president.”


One game player said, “sometimes you just have to laugh at the futility of life” or in this case I think he is referring to meaningless work tasks. 


Mind-numbing tasks and yelling in the office are not what decent work life is about.  

It’s no wonder that doing meaningful work, being treated with dignity and respect, and having the opportunity to learn and grow are some of the most important aspects of a satisfying job.


Then why get fired, when instead you can get promoted. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)