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Lots of memories in a wooden bat

 

While growing up in Southern California I played four years of Little League Baseball. For me, nothing said baseball more than a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. A wooden Louisville Slugger, of course. It wasn’t as if we had a choice back then; in those days, a bat was only made out of wood.

I hadn’t really thought much about bats in recent years until my boss returned from Kentucky. He was visiting Louisville Slugger. He got to hold bats made for The Sultan of Swat (Babe Ruth), Jackie (Jackie Robinson), and The Splendid Splinter (Ted Williams). Actually, Ted Williams was so great a hitter that he was also known as “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.”

Dave, our marketing guru, is a lucky guy to be sure. Who doesn’t want to hold the bat of “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” or the bat of “The Great Bambino” or the bat of Jackie, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball and who broke barriers in more fields than just baseball? But lucky us to be protecting the data of Louisville Slugger who made bats for of all of those great hitters and continues to make bats for many of today’s great hitters.

Mozy backs up the data of the makers of the Louisville Slugger. That’s a win-win in my book.

The Louisville Slugger has been around a long time. Long enough for my dad to have used the bat, though not always for the right reasons. I remember him telling stories about growing up in San Francisco and knocking down advertising signs along Taraval all the way to the dunes with a bat as a youngster. I know, not the best reason for swinging a bat. But he redeemed himself long ago by becoming a rocket scientist and working closely with the Apollo Space Program. And teaching my brother and me the finer points of playing baseball and the proper use of a Louisville Slugger.

I still remember those batting fundamentals that my dad was always drilling into my head and my older brother’s head:

-The label goes up!

-Hands together—and line up the knuckles!

-Don’t break the wrists!

And, of course:

-Keep your eye on the ball!

Always keep your eye on the ball. That made such an impression on me that I can hear those words today as if I were hearing them for the first time. When I followed that rule and the others, and when I managed to hit the ball on the sweet spot on that wooden bat, the sound was enough to tell me that fielders were gonna be moving—and I’d better be hustling my way to first base.

Although memories tend to intensify our experiences from years ago—for better or for worse—I can remember that I was just an average ball player who never batted above .200. But I loved the game, and some of my choicest memories are playing catcher and feeling the sting of a fast ball popping in my glove, watching my brother pitch against future Hall of Famer Robin Yount, and knowing that my dad was logging stats in the announcer’s box.

Throughout my life, I have strived to “keep my eye” on life’s proverbial baseball. That has helped me to focus in spite of life’s distractions and disappointments. In some ways, I suppose I’ve succeeded from what I learned by focusing on those batting fundamentals, which for me really come down to three words: focus, focus, focus. If it’s important enough, you’ll focus on it. Looking back, playing baseball certainly taught me more about life than I ever could have appreciated as a youngster.

Say what you want about the financial benefits of the aluminum bat, but there’s nothing like the wood of a Louisville Slugger. And there’s nothing better than good memories, except making tomorrow’s memories today. So, keep your eye on the ball. Good things are bound to happen, including those few but wonderful moments when you hit one out of the park.

See why Louisville Slugger uses Mozy by EMC. http://mozy.com/product/testimonials/louisville-slugger

For more baseball, check out our infographic Social Media at the Old Ball game.

When good vibrations led to touchdowns

I remember it well, that electrifying experience of watching 22 plastic players vibrate on the field as my brother and I screamed at our players to do anything even remotely resembling what occurs in real gridiron football. If you were offense, you screamed even louder, wishing against all wishes, hoping against all hope that your team would make a coordinated and vibrated effort to move the ball closer to the end zone.

Truthfully, there wasn’t any coordination, but there was plenty of loud buzzing as your 11 team members vibrated wildly down the field—or up the field or across the field or in tight circles anywhere on the field, depending on the unpredictable characteristics of the shiny metal turf. Would there be a touchdown this time? Please, let there be a touchdown, just this once!

I’m talking about Electric Football. My brother and I were having fun with this game sometime in the mid-1960s, long enough ago that today’s gamers with their Madden NFL 15 or other digital football games might find it hard to imagine that little plastic men in undistinguishable uniforms could be propelled to glory by an electrical charge.

 Although we had options like punting or kicking field goals, they were just as likely to fail as was the man with the little felt football that was on a vibrating path that hopefully ended in the promised land. The right promised land, that is.

And speaking of field goals, in Electric Football, each team included a plastic phenom with a catapult leg that was capable of “kicking” the puny pigskin through the goal posts, and even way beyond the boundaries of the stadium. But unless you were lucky or highly skilled with these kickers, the only play resembling an actual field goal would be my brother or me flicking a player through the goal posts out of frustration because the ball carrier vibrated up the field for a touchback when he should have vibrated down the field for a touchdown. I remember there being a lot of touchbacks, but far fewer than there were players just vibrating off the field as if they’d lost their desire to play.

Times have changed, of course. Mine and my brother’s Electric Football game is long gone (though you can still find versions of it for sale on eBay). Consider that early versions of Electric Football used solid-color plastic players to represent whatever team you favored. That worked great, as long as you didn’t mind an all-yellow team). Yesterday’s teams were comprised of 3D unknowns without statistics or college pedigree. Today’s games emulate the actions of professional athletes. In fact, Madden NFL 15 pulls game updates throughout the real NFL season and updates player ratings in the game.

But maybe times haven’t changed as much as technology has. Sure, with Madden NFL 15 games can be saved in the cloud and synced to other devices, but it’s still just a game. Win or lose, it can be a lot of fun. And it allows us to compete in a game whose outcome can never be fully predicted. Likewise, it allows us to keep things in perspective, unlike the old days when you could flick a player across the field and through the goalposts for an extra point.

Be sure to read Mozy’s blog next week. It will feature an infographic about the progression of the football video game. From plastic and metal to LED blips, to trackball to showboating and even late hits, we can still enjoy the game without turning on the TV.

MozyHome and MozyFree new support option

MozyHome Free and MozyHome paying customers receive support via our comprehensive knowledge base. MozyHome paying customers receive additional support via a live chat support line. These are great options to find answers to any questions you may have about your Mozy service. However, if you are more comfortable speaking with someone on the phone, Mozy now has a Pay for Support phone service offering. You can purchase a single incident of telephone support by calling 1.866.789.6699 and entering your Support ID (after you log in, your support ID is located in the upper left of the support.mozy.com page). Phone support is available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. The cost for one incident is $19.99.

Read more >

Trust me, I’m not lying

We trust people who lie, in a roundabout way. Come again?

Recently, I read Ryan Holiday’s national bestselling book, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator.

Holiday claims he made his living by manipulating the media, by distorting the newstelling. He did that by manipulating, distorting and spreading half-truths, and creating and promoting rumors that he knew to be false and then letting them enter the public’s imagination through blogs and other sources. Once respectable media picked up on the story—even if only to link to the blog without confirming or denying the accuracy of the information—the public often assumed it must be true.

Holiday says he wrote this book “Because I’m tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it.”

Now, Holiday wants people to understand how the media works.

If what Holiday writes is true, then all of us bloggers are manipulators to a certain degree. After all, we want to convince you of something—to do something, buy something, believe something, or even to not believe something.

According to Holiday, “Blogs must—economically and structurally—distort the news in order for the format to work. As businesses, blogs can see the world through no other lens. The format is the problem. Or the perfect opportunity, depending on how you look at it.”

What Holiday means is this: A blog writer has just a few seconds to hook the reader. The so-called “bounce rate” on blogs—the percentage of readers who leave the site without clicking any of the links—is very high. If we remember that the purpose of the blog is to promote an idea or sell a product or service, then a successful blog writer has to follow certain rules to decrease the bounce rate.

High on the list of rules to follow is to create a catchy headline. A great headline means that you are going to grab your readers’ attention, at least long enough for them to remain on the page and read the first line. Of course, the first line has to be catchy, too, if the reader is going to continue reading. And keep the paragraphs short. And always remember that readers are busy and have quite a few options when it comes to where they are going to spend their time reading. So the blog should not exceed a certain number of words.

I learned early in my career as a journalist that no matter how mundane or complex a topic may be, a good writer has to find an angle. For example, a famous actor becomes more interesting when the local newspaper highlights that he attended high school in town and was the one who spray painted something derogatory on the water tower at the edge of town the night before the homecoming game against the school’s biggest rival. Then you jump the story to page 4 because on page 5 there’s a full-page ad announcing a sale at the local department store. Good stories sell papers, and advertisers buy space so that readers will see their ads and ultimately buy their products or services.

As Holiday emphasizes, writers need to find not only the angle, but the click-driving headline or an eye-catching image in order to generate comments and click-throughs.

But it’s important to remember that there are many things worth reading, doing, buying, believing or not believing. The onus is on each of us to do the research. In other words, we need to study the issue; we need to do our homework; we need to avoid being manipulated. We need to make a genuine effort to figure out what’s accurate or inaccurate.

So how do you do that? For starters, figuring it out should involve more than simple Internet searches. It certainly involves more than just reading a blog or two. To be sure, technology has made our lives much easier. We have a number of tools right at our fingertips. Literally. But we have to do more. As one of my old journalism professors used to say: “Dig deep for the details!”

Getting down to the nitty-gritty—that which is essential, those specific details about why something is real or true or valid—may take more time and effort, but in the long run, truth is always worth finding. Trust me, I’m not lying.

It’s not about the bike; it’s about what you can do with the bike and technology

1818. When you think about cycling, you probably don’t think of 1818. But the velocipede—as that first two-wheeler was known—for all practical purposes was the first bicycle to hit the road. (Some might argue that the velocipede wasn’t the first bike because it didn’t have a drivetrain and riders had to push themselves forward with their feet. But take a look at a picture. The velocipede is a bike.) It was invented by Baron Karl Drais, who called his invention Laufmaschine or “running machine.”

Cycling has come a long way since the Laufmaschine. If the Baron were alive today, he would be astounded by how cycling has evolved. First, consider that the Laufmaschine was made from cherry wood, brass, and iron and weighed nearly 50 pounds (22.7 kg). No carbon fiber or lightweight alloys back then. Even so, Baron Drais must have been pretty proud that on his first ride he was able to cover 8 miles (13 km) in one hour. For comparison, the speed record on a modern bicycle is 83 mph (133 km/h), unless you’re racing down a volcano. That record is 102 mph (165 km/h) (it would have been faster had the volcano been erupting).

Next, consider that today’s modern racing machines in the Tour de France weigh 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Interestingly, these bicycles could weigh less. They are required to weigh at least 15 pounds. It’s not uncommon for riders to add dead weight to the frame to meet the minimum weight requirement. BTW, if you want lightweight and are not planning to race in the Tour de France, there is a road bike that weighs 6 pounds (2.7 kg). Got $45,000? (Yes, even your bank account will be lighter.)

But these days, it’s not just about the bike. It’s about getting the most out of the bike by adding high tech to the riding experience. The following are some of the ways technology can change the way you approach cycling and improve your performance.

Do you want to track your ride? You can with Strava. By using your iPhone, Android, or dedicated GPS device, you can analyze and quantify your ride. But Strava does more than just measure your performance; it’s designed to motivate you to seek continual improvement in how you ride. You do that by comparing your performance to past rides and other riders who have ridden the same route. If you’re faster than another rider, then you know you’re doing something well. If another rider is faster, then you’ve got some catching up to do. Which might motivate you to train harder to stay at the front of your imaginary peloton. But Strava is more than just about competition; it’s about camaraderie in the biking community. It’s kind of like riding with others who are not riding beside you.

If you like the idea of having a personal trainer but don’t want to pay for a personal trainer (the human kind), there’s the Garmin Edge 305. This GPS-enabled device attaches to your handlebars and automatically measures speed, distance, time, calories burned, altitude, climb and descent, and records all of this data to analyze later. If that weren’t enough, this personal trainer also includes a barometric altimeter to tell you the elevation. The Edge includes a heart rate monitor and a speed/cadence sensor. Clearly, this isn’t your father’s bicycle speedometer.

If you cycle, you know that eyewear is a must. But today’s glasses are more than just eye protection. Consider Recon’s cycling glasses. The Recon Jet glasses provide heads-up display for the serious cyclist. They’re kind of like sunglasses on steroids (but since we are talking about cycling, let’s be perfectly clear that we’re not talking about those kind of steroids) just for the cyclist. Recon’s on-board sensors provide speed, distance, elevation gain, and more. And they connect to your heart rate monitor, power meter, and cadence sensor. Talk about instant information in your face, literally.

Today’s cycling gear can make you look and feel pretty darn good. Carbon frame. Check. Form-fitting Lycra shorts and jersey. Check. Cool looking, multi-functioning glasses. Check. Aerodynamic helmet with catchy design. Check. Technology device to measure and analyze your progress. Check.

But let’s not get too serious about all of this high tech cycling gear. After all, no one says you can’t have a little fun, right? If you’re game and you’re willing to embrace a bit of LED low tech, consider adding rainbow Hokey Spokes to your modern Laufmaschine. Attach these blades with LED lights on your bicycle wheel spokes to brighten your image—and even display text. If the Baron could only see you now! Come to think of it, everyone will be able to see you now, at least at night.

You can have smart technology but still drive like a dummy

A few weeks ago I noticed one of those beautiful $20K motorcycles coasting down the street. Yes, with a rider on board, sort of. Let me explain. The bike was nearly impossible to miss—and hear: classic design, two-tone paint, plenty of chrome, and that unmistakable rumble. But it wasn’t any of those characteristics that held my attention; it was something completely unexpected and unrelated to the bike itself. With one hand on the left handgrip, the rider’s right hand was holding a smartphone and using his thumb to punch in numbers. I assume he was texting or using a GPS. You can’t easily talk on a cell phone with that kind of rumble. Granted, he was coasting down a hill and there wasn’t any oncoming traffic, but still, a motorcycle is best controlled with two hands on the bars. Besides, it’s only with two hands that a rider is able to manage the clutch, front brake, and throttle.

As a motorcycle rider myself, I wasn’t impressed. I have learned that if someone is behind the wheel of a car or is riding a motorcycle unsafely, they not only endanger themselves, they also endanger others on or near the road, be that another driver, motorcyclist, jogger, pedestrian, or cyclist.

Today, many states restrict the use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. In fact, some laws are so specific that they spell out the restrictions. For example, in some states cellphone use is banned while motor vehicle operators are traveling through school crossing zones. This and other laws are defined as “distracted driving laws.” Some states prohibit all drivers from using a handheld cell phone while driving. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking or texting. It’s a primary law and you can get pulled over for breaking it. Some states just ban novice drivers (that is, teenagers) from using a cell phone while driving. But really, anyone who drives distracted is a novice. An experienced driver should have learned that lesson long ago.

In case you’re interested in the distinction between primary and secondary laws when it comes to cell phones, a primary law means that an officer can ticket you for using a cell phone without any other traffic violation taking place; a secondary law means that an officer can issue you a ticket for using a cell phone only if you have been pulled over for another violation, such as speeding or coasting through a stop sign.

What are some of the results of using a cell phone while driving? If you consider this one fact, then it’s easy to see how quickly an accident can occur when you’re driving and texting: “Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph (88.5 kph), that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field [about 91.5 meters] blindfolded,” according to one source. And it’s not just texting, it’s other related behavior. For example, talking on a cell phone or even listening to one increases your risk of causing an accident. Even reaching for a cell phone is considered distracted driving and increases your risk of being in an accident. The National Safety Council estimates that each year 1.6 million crashes involve drivers who are using cell phones and texting. In other words, one in four accidents is the result of using a cell phone while driving.

And if you think using a hands-free device makes it all right, you would be mistaken. Using a headset or hands-free device does not result in fewer accidents. You’re still multitasking while driving. You’re still driving distracted.

You might be familiar with Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and very funny guy Dave Barry, who wrote a number of newspaper columns during his career about what he called “driving stupid,” wherein he highlighted some of the crazy things people do while driving. I still vividly remember something I witnessed not long after reading one of his columns. Call it “fact is stranger than fiction” or “I never would have thought of doing that.” A woman was flossing her teeth while doing her best to steer her vehicle by using a very small percentage of the sides of her hands against the wheel. I can barely floss my teeth standing in front of a mirror. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have believed that a driver would endanger not only herself but also endanger those driving near her for the sole purpose of cleaning her teeth. (Hey, why not just gargle while you’re at it?) You’ve probably seen other more common distractions as well, such as drinking coffee or soda from small to very large containers; shaving (fortunately—if there is a fortunately in this situation—shaving with an electric shaver and not with shaving cream and a razor); applying mascara or lipstick; eating burgers, donuts or other fast foods; or letting Fido rest his paws on the wheel so that his owner can pretend that Fido is pretending that he can drive the car. The list is probably endless.

A tool is only as smart as its user. The car will move if someone starts it and steps on the accelerator. A cell phone will function if it’s in someone’s hands and fingers are pressing buttons. But sometimes a car or a smartphone isn’t in the hands of a smart person. The bottom line: when you’re driving a motorized vehicle, drive the vehicle and focus on what you’re doing and where you’re going. If you need to use your phone, be smart about it and pull off to the side of the road. Or better yet, wait until you arrive at your destination. Sure, there are always “emergencies” or excuses to justify driving distracted, but by doing so you risk creating another emergency. And there’s no excuse for that.

Homemade makeup, shoes, guns, hearts, hands, and casts? It’s all possible with a 3D printer!

You’ve probably heard of 3D printing, but you’ve probably never heard of Chuck Hall. Hall is the inventor of 3D printing. He’s even known as the father of 3D printing. Hall patented the process of stereolithography—otherwise known as 3D printing—in 1986. The technology allows you to produce prototypes and parts one layer at a time using resin that hardens when exposed to UV light. My first real exposure to this from a practical sense occurred last year when a friend designed and then created a part using his 3D printer to replace a broken door latch on the family’s clothes dryer. Although the reproduced part wouldn’t hold up for long, it would serve its purpose until the manufacturer’s replacement part arrived later that week. When you have four children, a properly functioning dryer comes in handy.

Years ago a 3D printer would have cost you tens of thousands of dollars. A couple of years ago, the 3D printer Tom used to create the part for his dryer set him back a relatively small amount of money: $2,500. Today, a quick search on amazon.com reveals 3D printers for considerably less than that. These printers use resin, rubber, plastic, plant-based plastic, powdered metal, etc. to print in 3D. It won’t be long when most households will include a 3D printer that will be used to make replacement parts for everyday items or create items that today are purchased from department stores, sporting goods stores, hardware stores, or even hospitals.

What are people using 3D printers for today? Women are going to love this one: printing your own makeup at home. Inventor Grace Choi, founder of New York-based Mink, has created a desktop 3D printer that prints makeup she calls the Mink. This Mink can take any image and transform it into a cosmetic, and you choose the color—any color in the world! So, what kind of makeup can you create? Eye shadow, blush, and lip gloss. The possibilities are endless. (I will not be sharing this info with my wife and two daughters.) The Mink can take any image and instantly turn it into a wearable color cosmetic. Although still in development, Choi, a Harvard School Business graduate, says that when her 3D makeup printers become available they will retail for about $300 and then decrease in price once popularity increases. Choi says that her makeup printer will be about the size of a Mac mini. With what little I know about makeup but with what I know about how much the women in my life spend on makeup, the price should decrease very quickly.

3D printers are also being used to create the perfect cast to speed up the healing of broken bones. According to Deniz Karahasin, founder of Osteoid, the company that’s created a concept design for the custom cast, these casts could reduce the time required for a broken bone to heal by up to 38 percent and increase the healing rate by up to 80 percent in fractures. If you think this is more than a cast, you’re right. The cast uses low intensity pulsed ultrasound to stimulate bone healing. By using a 3D body scanner, the area with the broken bone is scanned and then the data is transferred to the software that creates the cast. The web-like design can make anyone look like a superhero. And no more itchy, stinky, and heavy casts made from plaster. (I still remember when my daughter broke her arm and two months later the doctor cut away the cast. What a smell! And what was that pen and part of a coat hanger doing in there?) Kids are going to love this. No more whining about broken bones. Hopefully, no one will be breaking bones on purpose for the bragging rights of wearing one of these cool-looking casts.

Other items that have been made with a 3D printer include a kayak, which an engineer made using 58 pounds of resin; shoes and shoe inserts for a custom-fitted feel; and even parts for semiautomatic weapons. Yes, you read that right: the 3D printer has been used to print lower receivers for the AR-15. (If you’re not familiar with the AR-15, it is a highly modular, semiautomatic rifle that’s similar to the M16 used by the U.S. military. The lower receiver is the part into which the barrel, stock, and other parts are added to complete the weapon.) As controversial as making gun parts might be for some people, there is no controversy surrounding the surgeons who used a 3D-printed model of a heart to study the problems with a 14-month old baby’s defective heart. The surgeons used the printer to create a larger-than-life model prior to surgery, which made it much easier for them to “see” the actual defects and then figure out how to solve the problem before opening up the tiny patient. Some items printed with the 3D printer are not just models. For example, a father used a 3D printer to print a prosthetic hand for his son using $10 in material.

If you aren’t quite ready to purchase a 3D printer, you can still enjoy the benefits of one. Shapeways will print models you send them, or you can choose from thousands of 3D print shapes designed by professional designers.

What does the 3D printer mean to the masses? That someday in the not-too-distant future, the printer is going to be churning out a lot more than just words and images on paper. Things like saving life, perhaps protecting and taking life, making life prettier, and making it more enjoyable and comfortable. The possibilities are as endless as words on a page.

G-O-A-L: Good Old American Leisure

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not watching soccer now. Maybe you just took a break from watching the World Cup to get some work done, and reading the Mozy blog is as good as it’s gonnaget for the moment. Besides, the games have monopolized so much bandwidth that work seems to have slowed to a crawl.

But since we’re on the topic of the World Cup, the following soccer facts might be of interest to you. For example, did you know that the last World Cup (2010) drew upwards of 112 million viewers? That’s just viewers in the United States. As if that isn’t amazing, how about this: worldwide, the audience for the final match between Spain and the Netherlands at the 2010 World Cup was 1 billion. You read that right: 1 billion television viewers watched at least part of the final game. Who knows what the viewership will be for 2014, but viewership is already up 26 percent from the 2010 World Cup. Sometimes it’s hard for Super Bowl-watching, World Series-watching, and NBA Finals-watching (heck, might as well throw in March Madness-watching for good measure) Americans to believe, let alone understand, that the World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event. When you consider that 111 million viewers tuned in to the last Super Bowl, 19 million fans tuned in to watch the last game of the 2013

World Series, and 18 million viewers tuned in to watch the last game of the 2014 NBA Finals, World Cup soccer is clearly the winner in viewership. That’s right; when you consider worldwide viewership, soccer is bigger than U.S. football, baseball, and basketball—combined.

If you live outside the U.S., none of this will surprise you. And for good reason. Football (that is, soccer) has been around much longer than any American sport. Although the modern game has its origins in England in about the mid-1800s, the game can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Yes, those Middle Ages. If you’ve ever seen a modern-day football game in England, you know how passionate fans can get. Think about that in the 10th century with few if any rules. No wonder it was sometimes called “mob football.” Eventually, football caught on around most of the world. The need to organize play gave birth to FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football, which governs the sport worldwide and is now comprised of 209 national associations.

But things are changing in the U.S., and as the ethnicity of the U.S. population continues to change, so too does U.S. interest in soccer. Heck, more and more Americans are starting to call it football or fútbol. In fact, Major League Soccer, which represents the best of soccer in the U.S. and Canada, is currently comprised of 19 teams, including Real Salt Lake, winner of the 2009 MLS Cup, and contributor of two players (Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando) to the U.S. 2014 World Cup team. (Being from Utah, I felt I needed to say that.) MLS was founded in 1993. That’s relatively new when you consider that the National Football League, which is comprised of 32 teams, was founded in 1920; the beginnings of Major League Baseball, which is comprised of 30 teams, was founded in the late 1800s; and the National Basketball Association, which is also comprised of 30 teams, was founded in 1946.

If you didn’t have a chance to watch at least some of Monday’s game between the U.S. and Ghana, you missed a victory in a highly anticipated match (at least in the U.S.). Having lost to Ghana in the last World Cup, it was good to see Team USA win.

Waiting for a return flight to Salt Lake City, I watched the first part of the U.S.-Ghana game from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Watching a World Cup from an airport can be a bit unnerving. “Oh my gosh, what was that noise?!” Answer: thousands of U.S. fans in a relatively closed space watching or listening and cheering at the top of their lungs as the U.S. scored the first goal early in the game. The eruption was seismic in comparison to the usually quiet mood of an evening at the airport. Consider that 16 million ESPN and Univision viewers throughout the U.S. were watching the game and cheering for their team. That’s remarkable when you consider that interest in soccer in the U.S. is comparatively new, at least when compared to our history with football, baseball, and basketball. In fact, the U.S.-Ghana game was a TV ratings hit for ESPN, which had more than 11 million viewers (Univision, which broadcasts in Spanish, claimed nearly 5 million viewers). ESPN says that’s the most-watched soccer game in the U.S. ever.

What does all this mean? That U.S. soccer isn’t taking a back seat to any of the other great American pastimes and the U.S. is learning what the rest of the world has known for a very long time: football is the world’s most popular sport.

Enjoy watching  the World Cup, but make sure you get your work done. That should be your G-O-O-O-O-O-A-L!

Up In Cloud Cuckoo Land

Recently, I was listening to a story on the radio about the London real estate market and how prices are now 40 to 50 percent above the city’s 2007 highs. The real estate agency executive being interviewed was asked about efforts by some to put restrictions in place that are designed to prevent wealthy foreigners from buying too much of the prime central London real estate. Apparently, some 45 percent of the pricey London homes are being purchased by non-Brits. The realtor’s response was that people who think that restrictions are good are “up in cloud cuckoo land” because the foreign buyers are living in London and contributing to the local economy.

Double decker bus in fron of Big Ben

I just love that expression, “up in cloud cuckoo land.” I’d never heard it before, but after talking with a co-worker who lives in London, he assured me that it’s a legit quip by the Brits. “Up in cloud cuckoo land” got me thinking about other “cloud” expressions.

The following are some of my favorites.

“The clouds ye so much dread.” Hmm, I think I’ll talk to Mozy Marketing about this one. This could be the beginning of a clever ad campaign about why you want to stay away from our competitors.

How about these: “Dropping from the clouds,” “Thy cloud drops fatness,” and “O, clouds, unfold!” I’m pretty sure that some of the competition is guilty of those cloud faux pas. As for Mozy, our data centers have never been breached. No dropping data—or fatness—from our cloud. And rest assured that our cloud never unfolds.

“Cloud of unknowing.” You know Mozy; we’re the most trusted name in cloud data protection. That’s definitely worth knowing when looking for a cloud service provider.

“Get off of my cloud!” I remember watching Jagger strut around the Englewood Forum back in ’74 shouting, “Hey! You! Get off of my cloud!” So many years later, I can picture him encouraging everyone to join him on the Mozy cloud. Even rock stars know where their data is safe. Hey, Mick; I, too, am sick and tired, fed up with all of those other clouds. “Hey! You! Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you! Get on the Mozy cloud!”

“Every cloud has a silver lining.” Well not ours. The Mozy cloud is lined with the triple-protection of Tritanium. Yeah, that’s just our Marketing team having fun. Tritanium is a fictional compound, but it’s non-fictional strength. The Mozy Tritanium® Cloud is military-grade security, world-class data centers, and has the backing of storage leader EMC.

“His clouds removed.” I don’t even want to go there. You competition, keep your dang clouds on! Now that’s embarrassing.

After this light conversation about clouds, let’s drift back down to earth, shall we? Mozy by EMC (NYSE: EMC) is your cloud provider. There are a number of reasons why you’ve chosen Mozy to back up and protect your data. Maybe it’s because Mozy seamlessly protects your endpoints and remote offices. Maybe it’s because Mozy helps boost workforce productivity with real-time file sync and mobile access. Or maybe it’s our award-winning customer support. And unlike London real estate costs, Mozy offers data protection at seriously low prices. Whatever the reason you use Mozy, the cost of backing up with Mozy makes good sense and provides peace of mind. There is nothing more important to us than ensuring that your data is protected and accessible. Any other approach is just, well, up in cloud cuckoo land.

In the immortal words of writer A.A. Milne, “How sweet to be a cloud.” Yeah, the Mozy backup cloud.

Help! These Beetles Don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand


I woke up early this morning in a cold sweat after a bad dream. It’s those dang mosquitoes I read about last night. Actually, it’s not just any mosquito; it’s the new and improved mosquito.

I am not afraid of mosquitoes. I am not fond of them either, but I do respect the role they play in nature. Since I was young I’ve had an interest in entomology, so most of my life I’ve been around six-legged critters, including mosquitoes, of which there’s something like 3,500 described species. The larvae and adults provide a bounteous supply of food for a variety of animals, including birds, bats, and fish. However, it’s a fact that we humans don’t like any animal that sucks our blood. It doesn’t matter if it has six legs or two legs (I have daughters, so I know all about Edward and Bella from Twilight fame). But these mosquitoes from my dream are completely different from your everyday mosquitoes.

You’re probably wondering how a mosquito can be improved. Depends on who you ask. According to an article in Daily Tech, researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hope to grow insect nerves into silicon computer chip connections to allow real insects to be remote controlled like remote-controlled airplanes. But the more realistic approach is the fully robotic type. Of course, when it comes to the government, there are lots of “I can’t confirm or deny that we’re doing this,” which everyone knows always means, “Yes, we’re doing this.”

But the more important question you’re probably asking yourself is why anyone would want to improve one of those blood suckers. Apparently, the U.S. government is developing new types of flying machines for the purposes of national defense. These machines are basically mini-drones—six-legged, two-winged flying machines called micro aerial vehicles, or “MAVs” for short. One version looks like a mosquito. And believe it or not, just like the real mosquito, it sucks. But not to feed. Apparently, future models will be able to pierce the enemy’s skin and take a DNA sample. Or worse, these diminutive drones, these minute minions of the military may be able to—at least in theory—leave behind something more than a welt on an opponent’s skin: radio-frequency identification tracking nanotechnology that’s capable of keeping tabs on an unsuspecting victim’s movements. You can run, but you can’t hide! It’s not fool-proof, of course. Just like the real mosquito, the robotic version could be swatted, squished, and squelched (though “squelch” takes on new meaning for these radio-controlled suckers).

Apparently, another insect on the list of MAVs is the beetle. Big deal, you may be saying to yourself. But it is. We have a framed beetle specimen from Africa in our home that has an impressive set of jaws and a wingspan of eight inches. If the military could do to the robotic beetle what it does to members of Seal Team 6, you not only have a formidable opponent that fights on sea, air and land, but one with the added bonus of some very large mandibles capable of making mincemeat of hostile forces. Kind of scary when you think about a battalion of beetles advancing from the air with absolutely no fear of death—because they’re not alive to begin with. I can almost hear Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries.”

If you ever encounter these MAVs, you will want to shout “Help!” Make no mistake, these beetles do not want to hold your hand, nor do they love you, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, they’re out to wreak havoc.

Think about the benefits of these tiny flying machines in fighting the war on terrorism. According to one source cited in a recent National Geographic article, these MAVs, or “entomopters” as they are also called, could look for Al-Qaeda operatives inside caves or other hideouts. But who really knows all of the applications for these MAVs? So the next time you see a mosquito, beetle, or any suspicious-looking six-legged creature buzzing around you, before you squish it or reach for a can of Raid, carefully consider what you’re up against. Sure, you may successfully squish it or spray it out of commission, but remember this: there’s more—many more—where it came from.