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April 28, 2005
Email threat to Intelligence

Someone sent me this interesting article the other day, so I thought I would share it. We've actually had talks about this at work, so it was interesting to see there was an actual study. Below is the link for the article, as well as the article itself.

"Email threat to Intelligence"

(22 April 2005) Modern communication can have a massively adverse impact on users according to a study by King's College, London University, to the extent that it can actually lower IQ.

The study, commissioned by IT powerhouse Hewlett-Packard found that extensive use of email and text messaging could cause IQ to drop by as much as 10%. To put that in context, regular cannabis use has been found to lower IQ on average by 4%.

The report highlights a condition termed 'infomania', where people become addicted to checking their email and text messages.

This can result in productivity decreases, as users feel compelled to respond immediately to emails. Consequently the brain can find multitasking difficult and the ability to differentiate between important and trivial messages becomes impaired. The damage to cognitive faculties is the equivalent to going the night without sleep.

"The impairment only lasts for as long as the distraction. But you have to ask whether our current obsession with constant communication is causing long-term damage to concentration and mental ability," said Dr Glenn Wilson, psychologist at the University of London.

Within the study group, 62% admitted to checking work-related emails while at home or on holiday; half said they always responded immediately to an email; and 21% thought it was acceptable to interrupt a meeting to do so.

Although nine out of ten people thought it rude to answer messages or emails in face to face meetings, a third thought it showed diligence.

The volume of email shows no sign of abating: 50 billion are sent every day all over the world, compared to less than 12 billion in 2001. Similarly, text messaging has nearly doubled over the past four years.

The challenge, in an increasingly 'always-on' age, is for firms to increase productivity through the use of mobile technologies whilst ensuring their workers are disciplined enough to complete the task they are working on. When John Caudwell, the owner of Phones 4 U, banned email he claimed it had an instantly positive effect on his staff.

So I thought I would give my $.02 cents on some suggestions on how to avoid the constant distraction of emails, phone calls, text messages, etc.
  1. Set your email client to check for messages once per half hour.
    This way you are not constantly being disturbed by emails as you work on other more important things.

  2. Turn your phone off during meetings or important tasks.

  3. Set your "out of office" up to say you will only be checking email sparingly during the day. This way people won't expect an immediate reply.

  4. Learn that it is OK to call someone back...that is what voicemail is for!

Posted by Don at 01:28 PM
April 27, 2005
Luxor, Egypt

So, just a couple of days after arriving back from Miami, Barbie and I headed to Luxor in Egypt (April 15th). Barbie was there to give a presentation for work, and I was there to site see. :) Well, if there was a direct flight from Munich to Luxor, the total travel time would be about 4 hours. Unfortunately, we had to go through Frankfurt, then Cairo, then finally Luxor. And to top things off, we had a 4 hour layover in Cairo, that was extended an additional 4 hours for a total of 8 for some unknown reason. The Egypt Air employee just came out and said our plane was delayed, then left with no explanation. Anyways, to make a long story short, we got up at about 4:30am to catch a 7am flight to Frankfurt, and didn't arrive into Luxor until Midnight!

Luckily for us, that was the worst of the trip. For those that know Vegas, you know that the Luxor Hotel is in the shape of a pyramid. Funny thing about that is that there are no pyramids in Luxor. All the pyramids are up in Giza, which is a town outside of Cairo. Back in the day, the Egyptians were tired of having looters raid the pyramids for treasure, so they decided to have tombs hidden in the mountains in Luxor. Unfortunately all the tombs except one were still found and looted, but at least they figured out that they shouldn't build pyramids which basically say "Hey thieves and looters, all of our treasure is hidden here!"

So, Saturday morning we all went to the "Valley of the Kings", which is where all the king's tombs are. As I mentioned before, only one tomb was not looted, and this was the infamous King Tut's tomb. King Tut died unexpectedly at an early age, probably early 20's, so his tomb wasn't finished being built. Therefore, they had to quickly (within 40 days) build another smaller one and ended up just shoving all his treasure in there. Since the tomb was so small, another king later on accidentally ended up building his tomb on top of King Tut's, and thus why King Tut's tomb took until the 1920's to be found. Anyways, his body was still there in the large casket looking thing (I forget the name of it), but the original head piece is actually in a museum in Cairo.
After King Tut's tomb, we went into the Tomb of Ramses IV. This was an extremely larger tomb than King Tut's, and the walls we completely decorated with all sorts of heiroglyphics. Amazingly enough, the heiroglyphics all still had their color...red, blue, green, etc., and it didn't even look that faded. Scientists are still in the process of trying to figure out what chemicals the Egyptians used to have the paint last for 7000+ years!
After the Valley of the Kings, we drove to an old temple on the other side of the mountain, which actually had a tunnel that went through the mountain so they could transport the King's bodies through the tunnel to the tombs on the other side. Not quite as cool as the tombs, but still interesting.

We ended up getting back to the hotel around 1pm, and they began their meetings. I was actually required to attend the meetings in the beginning, b/c they had bought a birthday cake for Barbie, and they wanted me there. I must say the cake was gooooood! After the short intro, I ended up going back up to the room and relaxing since I was fighting a cold. That evening they had all of us go to a small island on the Nile for a dinner with some festivities...including belly dancers, a band, some other dancers, and this guy who spins/twirls. However, the highlight of the night was in the beginning. We were sitting at our table, and someone decided to bet on when this guy named Mark would first get on the floor and dance. So everyone threw in some money and put their times on the paper. Barbie, being the last person, saw that the current time was about 8:45pm, and the earliest guess was 9:15pm. So, being the "Price is Right" fan that she is, she put 9:14pm. At about 9pm, this guy Mark comes to our table to see how everyone is doing, and Barbie nonchalantly asks "So Mark, when are you going to dance?" Mark, not being the bashful type, says "Why don't we go now!" Of course Barbie stood right up, went to the dance floor for a little while, then came back and promptly collected her winnings. Needless to say our entire table was shocked and stunned, especially b/c this was the ethics lady of the company! I must say I was proud. :)

The next day we went to the Karnak temple, which is the largest temple in Luxor, and is also about 7500 years old. The heiroglyphics on the pillars and obelisks were again quite impressive, and in some cases you could still the color that they were. The thing that is most amazing is that when you are walking around, you have to imagine seeing all of this built up, and being someone that had to come and meet the Pharoah. You must have just been awe struck by the size of this place. Remember, this all before the Romans and of course Christ. That night we actually headed back to the Karnak temple for a "light" show, where they explain some things and light up the pillars in Obelisks, not with lasers, but with flood lights. Overall it was just cool to see.

Monday morning we headed back to Munich for some much needed rest, as Barbie had caught my cold, and I wasn't 100% healthy yet. Luckily for us we didn't have any plane delays this time. We actually tried to stay in Cairo for a night so I could see the museum and Pyramids, but the plane schedule didn't work out. Egypt is definitely very interesting to see, but not sure I would want to live there, as you have to go through metal detectors and bomb searches everywhere you go, plus it gets to be about 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Remember though, it's not the heat that kills you, it's the humidity...and Egypt is quite dry. :)

Pictures from Luxor

Posted by Don at 12:03 PM
April 21, 2005
Good ole' times in Miami

Well, it has been a while since my last personal post, but that can be explained by the fact I haven't really been back home in Munich (geez, that sounds weird still) for a while. Two weeks ago I spent the week back in my original hometown of Miami for my Grandad's 90th b-day. Unfortunately, Barbie couldn't make it down b/c she had just spent the past two weeks in CA. However, it seemed the rest of our family tried to compensate since Debbie with Avery and Ashton, Jimmy and Madison, Dottie and Ralph, David and La Hing, and Tori and Jackie all came down. Hopefully when I turn 90 my family will be as gracious.

Well, I arrived home to that fearful time when you realize your parents have moved on and converted your old room into something that has been in the back of their mind since you first moved in. Well...luckily for me the room looked great and still had a bed, along with the air conditioner, which I must say helps me sleep better. The majority of the week was spent working in the morning, followed by some sort of activity in the afternoon, whether it be shopping, riding the bike, hitting golf balls, or just plain relaxing. I actually did play a round of 9 hole golf at Grenada, but it was more like hacking than playing. That is what I get for not touching my clubs since moving to Deutschland.

Saturday was the big day...breakfast at our house with the family, followed by some bball in the early afternoon, then followed by the birthday party at Nancy's that evening. Everything went smoothly at all the get togethers...no kids messed up my dad's house, Hal, Jose and Jon didn't get injured playing bball, and no one drowned at Nancy's. :) At one point at Nancy's house it became quite apparent how binding family can be. I was sitting outside talking with Sherry, and she commented on how amazing it was that all the kids were getting along so well, despite the fact they had not seen each other in years. They just seemed to pick up where they left off. After agreeing with her, Ashton, who is Debbie's 2 or 3 yr. old, comes up to me and just wants to sit on my lap. I literally had met Ashton the day before for the first time, and spent all of 3 minutes with him. But, since he knew we were family, he came over and just wanted to sit and watch people play ping pong...kinda cool. On a side note, I was the ping pong champion that night. :)

So, if you don't have a big family, you probably won't understand the whole craziness that is involved with getting together for anything and everything, but for those who are lucky enough to have a large family, enjoy it...b/c there's nothing like it!

Posted by Don at 03:45 PM
April 09, 2005
Swatting Flies

A woman walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around
with a fly swatter.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

"Hunting Flies" He responded.

"Oh. Killing any?" She asked.

"Yep, 3 males, 2 Females," he replied.

Intrigued, she asked. "How can you tell them apart?"

He responded, "3 were on a beer can, 2 were on the phone."

Posted by Don at 12:52 PM
April 07, 2005
Have you Forgotten?

I'm not sure how many of you have seen this through an email or not, but it definitely worth taking a look. It's a memorial on 18 wheels to commorate the memory of the victims of September 11th.

9/11 Memorial

Posted by Don at 08:47 AM