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Join me at Block to the Future in Brisbane

BLOCK TO THE FUTURE Friday 27 – Saturday 28 October 2017 BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA If you haven’t registered yet for our Block to the Future event in Brisbane, now is a great time. We have created a few pages to highlight the event, https://apf.org/gatherings/block-to-the-future/. On there, you will see links at the top to the schedule…

via Block to the Future in Brisbane — Association of Professional Futurists

I’m looking forward to attending this event next week. It will be a great time to network with colleagues and learn more about applications for blockchain technology. This will be my APF event since 2009.

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Scenarios for Disaster Preparedness

Previous articles in the series addressed the concepts of implementing strategic foresight, conducting horizon scanning, imagining black swans, and mapping existing systems. Now, we’ll look at developing scenarios upon which to base strategies for disaster preparedness.

The Future is Unwritten

The most important thing to remember is that the future is unpredictable. Yes, there will be patterns and trends that may continue into the future. However, patterns and trends can always change course, and the effect they have on everything else can also change.

Read the rest by clicking here.

Is Working through Upwork Viable?

I had a few weeks where I could do nothing but wait for business to respond. I’m in the middle of selling a client’s business. And this requires a lot more waiting than work. Plus, my other clients only need a bit of maintenance at the moment before business picks up after NZ’s winter.

I prefer to be working apart from the few hours I spend with the kids each day. Usually, I would fill this time with writing gists and trend alerts or cold calling and door to door marketing. However, cold calling and door to door marketing have time restraints. You can’t contact someone when they aren’t in the office.

Upwork and Fiverr

I needed to fill my evenings and free time. So, I thought I’d try out Fiverr and Upwork to see what I could dig up. I probably need to play around more with my Fiverr profile more, but Upwork had some interesting work available. It’s where I found Prepare with Foresight. It’s a fascinating site, but of course, my articles are the best thing about it. Yes, I’m just being cute. It’s a joke, a small joke but a joke nonetheless.

I also found someone through Upwork, Seocontent1, who said I could work according to my own schedule, and they would pay on a weekly basis. Well, the working at my own schedule was great, but their failure to pay was a little downer. I don’t like not being paid for my work unless it’s on agreed terms.

To be honest, I wouldn’t normally care except I downloaded a virus the other day. I’m really embarrassed about it, but I (or rather people like me) were specifically targeted. The Upwork ad was clearly written to attract a particular type of person. That means there is a real issue to address on Upwork. People are being exploited, and I feel like being a voice in the hurricane.

The Malware Enthusiast (Rebecca.Howard34)

So, the virus came from someone pointing me to Rebecca Howard on Skype. I’ve spoken with legitimate businesses from Upwork through Skype. So, this was fine with me until he/she sent me a .zip file. Well, the malware enthusiast sold themselves so well (actually a little too well, but I was too stupid to see it) that I despite the warning bells, I just had to open that zip file politely as “Rebecca” requested.

rebecca howard.jpg

This was not a good time for me to have cybersecurity issues. I won’t go into the personal details, but suffice it to say I was easy prey. And these people really should be searching for more appropriate marks, but that’s part of the joys of the digital age. I really did know better, but I wasn’t thinking straight.

The Non-Payer (Seocontent1)

So, I also wrote some short articles for the aforementioned Seoconent1. I have posted these articles under the category Seocontent1 minus 2 articles which have already been published.

seocontent1.jpg

So, it was a race to Copyscape to see if I could beat the non-payer to the punch. And it looks like I was able to beat a good many of my articles before they were published. Will that do anything to the non-payer? Probably not. However, as I said, I feel the need to be a voice in the hurricane just in case someone can hear me through the noise. I just want people to avoid the problems I’ve had. Always be cautious online and in business. People will rip you off if they can. People are not basically good or bad. We are all, at our core, selfish. Some of us choose to rise above the noise and confusion, but others just want their own gain.

Upwork in Question

So, I am left with a few questions about the viability of Upwork. There’s really no reason to blame the platform for these two issues. Of course, Rebecca Howard might be acting on their behalf to discourage people from leaving the site, but saying that would be pure speculation.

However, the site is not very friendly for newcomers. There is no way for Upwork to validate prior work which means everyone starts out at zero. They apparently used to have a “rising stars” classification that helped newcomers. Even that requires a bit of work to achieve. I’ve submitted a great many proposals, and only a handful have responded. Those who have have mostly been good, but even besides the two mentioned above, I have received some messages that clearly did not pertain to their advertisement.

Upwork is a great idea, but like everything else, there is a big gulf between its potential and its reality. Ultimately, you’re better off starting your own business providing either a product or service that does not require this type of marketing.

Think Different: Steve Jobs’ Early Years

I don’t usually write off topic. However, Steve Jobs’ had the ability to mix the harder sciences and engineering with the softer sciences of art, literature, sociology in an effective and profitable manner. Thanks to Jobs most techies now care about user experience, and digital innovation is bursting out of  Silicon Valley and spilling out all over internet and the rest of the world. So, I wrote a quick bio of his early years and how he thought different(ly). Actually this was originally written for someone else who changed their minds, but I liked it enough to post it here.

He was considered a legend in his own time. But even before 1976, when he and Steve Wozniak started Apple in Steve’s garage, Steve Jobs thought a little differently than everyone else.

He was given up for adoption by his Syrian father and Caucasian American mother. His adoptive mother, Clara Jobs, was born in the US to Armenian parents, and his adoptive father, Paul Jobs, was Caucasian American. Neither of them had a college education, and Job’s birthmother forced Paul and Clara to promise that her baby would attend university. While Steve attended Reed College very briefly before dropping out, his passion is what drove him to succeed.

Paul was a high school drop-out with tattoos who travelled the American Midwest looking for work during the Great Depression. Paul was abused as a child, and he was very aggressive as a result. Paul was a repo-man who loved rebuilding cars, and that love for mechanics fuelled the love of technology in him and his adopted son.

Initially, Steve was a loner who played pranks on his teachers and others. He felt bored at school because he learned to read as a toddler while the rest of the class had to catch up with him. By fourth grade, one teacher was so frustrated that she bribed Steve with money to do his bookwork. Steve took the bribery in good form and progressed so much that the school wanted to advance him two years.

Steve was anxious to leave that school because he was bullied, and when the Jobs family bought their own home in the Cupertino School District, Steve got his wish. The new school was no less welcoming, but Steve was able to make friends with Bill Fernandez who introduced him to Steve Wozniak, who was five years older.

At the age of 13, Steve wanted some electronics parts for a school project. So, he phoned up Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett was impressed by the young man, and he offered him a summer job screwing in computer parts. Steve loved the work. However, when he took an electronics course at Homestead High School—a school that has contributed significantly to Silicon Valley’s growth—Steve lost interest in his class largely over a personal clash with the teacher.

So, Steve operated outside of two primary groups, arts and engineering. He was too artsy for the tech nerds, and he was too techy for the art crowd. In 1970, Steve smoked marijuana for the first time. He also started listening to music and reading classic literature more than anything engineering. His best friends at the time were his artistic girlfriend and Wozniak who would soon build the Apple I computer single-handedly.

It was the amalgamation of these two primary interests coupled with hard lessons learned from Paul Jobs, most notably an affinity for being a loner toughened against social ostracizing.

He was more interested in pursuing his own vision. He started the Think Different campaign to focus on his childhood heroes. Steve always thought a little differently to everyone else around him, and that is why Apple has dominated technology, design, and culture.

Was he a futurist? No, I don’t think so, but he was an entrepreneur in the truest and best senses of the word.

Top 4 Highest Rated Stovetop Coffee Percolators

If you love the smell of coffee in the morning, you may have fond memories of stovetop percolators. In fact, when brewed properly a stovetop percolator is the best way to brew a hotter, more robust cup of coffee. So, if you love your coffee, you owe it to yourself to try a stovetop percolator.

Amazon has about 22 stovetop percolators available. The glass stovetop coffee percolators are particularly fun because you can watch the whole process while it happens. However, stainless steel stovetop coffee percolators also have much to offer. For starters, they are more likely to last you much longer. If you make a lot of coffee, you should certainly consider stainless steel. However, if you feel like you need to watch the process to get a better quality cup of coffee, then glass is your way to go.

So, out of 22 stovetop coffee percolators, which one do you buy? Here is a list of Amazon’s 4 top rated and bestselling percolators to choose from.

1. Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

This Farberware percolator is quite popular. It can make 8 cups of coffee at a time. The stainless steel is hardy and ready for a good beating no matter how much coffee you drink, or how quickly. And you can keep a good eye on the strong and clear plastic knob on top to know when percolation begins. Then you can gauge the best time to pull it off the stove. One of the best things about this percolator is the steel filter. You will never need to worry about paper filters ever again. The interior of the percolator is entirely non-reactive. That means the water you fill it with will not absorb any trace odors or tastes. Plus, it is easy to clean either in the sink completely immersed or even in your dishwasher. This is one of Amazon’s highest rated percolators with 4.5 stars (from 3,890 customer reviews!), and it is their number 1 best seller. It will cost you less than $20. Also, it does not work with induction hobs, but it will work with a glass stovetop.

2. Kabalo 350ml (6-cup) Espresso Stovetop Coffee Maker – Continental Moka Percolator Pot Aluminium

If you prefer espresso to Americano, you might want to think about this Kabalo percolator. It is another highly rated percolator on Amazon also with 4.5 stars from only 2 customer reviews, and it will cost you less than $10 with shipping. This percolator is made from 100% aluminium, and it has a steel base. It does not work with induction hobs. Since it is specifically designed to brew espresso, you will be able to quickly make a cappuccino if you can froth your milk and even a mocha if you have powdered chocolate. It makes up to 6 cups of coffee.

3. Copco Brushed 4 to 8-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Percolator

This Copco percolator is very similar to the Farberware percolator mentioned above. It is brushed stainless steel. So, both of them are quite durable. Like the Farberware, the Copco has a plastic lid so you can keep tabs on the percolation. And both are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Also, neither of them work on induction, and both work fine on glass stovetops. Although the Copco has a slightly lower rating on Amazon at 4 stars from 48 customer reviews, it also costs another $10 above the Farberware.

4. Medelco 8 Cup Glass Stovetop Percolator

The Medelco has the same rating as the Copco, 4 stars from 642 customer reviews, but it is less than half the price at slightly less than $12. This one is the first glass stovetop coffee percolator on this list. So, again, the reason you might want this is because you will be able to watch the whole process. If you are a bit of a coffee nerd, you probably should be eyeing this one. It is made from lab-quality borosilicate glass. What does that mean? I have no idea, but it is thermal shock resistant which is definitely a good thing. Basically, you can safely move the percolator from the stove to the table or even to the fridge without cracking it. As you can see in the title, it will brew up to 8 cups of coffee. It is also dishwasher safe along with the other 3 on this list. However, unlike the other percolators this one specifically mentions that the handle stays cool because it is heat tolerant. Does that mean that the handles on the others gets hot? I doubt it, but it is probably a nice feature all the same. It should only be used on electric range coils or gas stoves. And this is a key difference from the others on the list.

Bonus Perc: Vintage Pyrex 6 cup Glass Stovetop Percolator Coffee Pot

That’s right. It’s vintage, baby! And, it is Pyrex. Maybe you still watch Mad Men episodes, or maybe you are just old enough to remember what these things were. Or just maybe you still have a manbun. Well, all you hipster coffee fiends can get your fix in style. It is an almost entirely glass stovetop coffee percolator. Only the top and bottom of the filter basket are aluminium. Oh and there is an aluminium band around the outside of it. The photos on the Amazon listing do not include the filter. Since these are vintage, all of them are used. So, some of them may be missing important parts like the filter basket. And you should also be very careful using them on electric stoves. Being older glass, they could easily crack. If you fear you may leave it on the stove too long, you will need to move is as soon as possible because electric stovetops take too long to cool down. You should be able to put it in the dishwasher with no worries.

Stovetop percolators, especially the glass stovetop coffee percolators fell out of favour when the electric drip coffee makers hit the market in the 70s. They seem to be making a comeback now, but I’m not sure exactly why. One thing for sure is that people either love them or hate them. And most of the customer leaving reviews love them. If you like your coffee the way you like your guard dogs, strong and black; then you should give one of the above percolators a go. Besides, considering how inexpensive they are, you will not be out of pocket much if you decide you do not like it.