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A "Mission Critical" Holiday Gift

Travel - trav·el, [ trav-uhl]; verb, -eled, -eling 1. To move or go from one place or point to another. Over the last four weeks my travel schedule has been as follows: Boston - Ireland - Boston - New York City - Boston - Puerto Rico - Boston - St. Louis - Boston - St. Louis - Boston - Chicago - Boston Give or take, that amounts to about 35 airborne hours over the past month. Now, depending on who you ask, this could sound like a nightmare, but to some (myself included) its not so bad.  Those of us in the latter group don't mind traveling, and some even enjoy it whether its a business trip or pleasure. One of the main reasons my outlook has remained this way I owe to my Dad.  During the holidays four years back he bestowed upon me truly one of the best gifts i have ever received to this day - Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. If you are not familiar, noise-canceling headphones reduce unwanted ambient sounds which make it possible to enjoy music without raising the volume excessively or even sleep in a noisy atmosphere.  Bose, an audio industry leader, arguably makes the best noise cancelling headphones on the market. Dr. Amar Bose (founder of the Bose Corporation) began work on his noise-cancelling headphonesin 1978 on board a noisy international flight. During the flight, he was provided with a set of headphones from the airline and almost immediately realized how dissatisfied he was with their quality. His realization gave him an idea about how it might be possible to achieve active noise reduction in headphones ' and he sketched out the math for the technology right there on the plane. After nearly a decade of research, Bose released their first noise-canceling headphones under very special circumstances... In 1986, plans were being made for history's first non-stop round-the-world flight. But the pilots were at risk of losing 30% of their hearing. When Bose engineers learned this, they submitted a noise-reduction headset prototype for consideration. This headset was evaluated and deemed "mission critical" for the pilots' safety. The test was a success ' the pilots did not lose any of their hearing. Thanks to Dr. Bose I can easily survive 35 hour of flying without listening to the loud talker in row 5, the woman on her cell phone at the end of my row, or the crying 9 month old baby in the row in front of me - all i hear is what I want to hear.  Sometime that's music, sometimes its silence.  But the fact that i can make that choice is why i deem these headphone "mission critical" for everyone, not just pilots.  So with the Holidays right around the corner, consider gifting these to the traveler in your life just like my Dad did - if they are anything like me, they will be forever grateful...even if they are going to St. Louis on business.

Why Cross Media Planning Matters ' A Focus Group of One

I recently went on a short non business trip to London to see my sister and her new baby sans my teens.  No kids... what to do with all the downtime? I decided that I was going to leave my laptop home and use my iPad, so I downloaded my free Pride and Prejudice, paid for Gladwell's The Outlier and added the Glamour magazine app for the trip. I didn't go totally digital though - I couldn't leave for a flight without my newly arrived business mags as well. During my flight over, I finally had time to catch up on the week's news with The Week and Fortune's 40 under 40 (sadly I didn't make the list). Actually, I'm sure Gladwell will say, it's because most of the ones on the list were all born between 1971-76 and spent 10,000 hours doing something special that gave them their success.  The few others who do not fall in that range were outliers. As expected, with the time difference I was wide awake at 1am London time and nothing to do except watch NCIS on iTV, engage in 'Poke war'? on FB with my teens, texting them on my day's events, and researching online this new interesting mila seed.  This was pretty much my routine the couple nights I was there. I know, I'm in London and really, I'm excited about facebooking and browsing on the iPad?  Yes! And if the iPad had a camera so I could skype with my kids, take pictures or video the new baby I would be even more excited.  And boy do I wish the publishers would stop using flash on their website design and plan for the mobile web browsing experience! I realized on my trip why I continue to support traditional media channels for my clients and why I love digital media. I truly enjoy reading magazines, ripping out articles to save for later, watching my favorite TV shows ' and even abroad I can stay connected with my loved ones anywhere and anytime. Consumers learn to embrace new digital channels without dropping the old comfortable media.  By the way, I never got around to the glamour app, I wonder if I bought the magazine, would I have leafed through it??

Ding! It is now okay to use portable electronic devices'?¦to play Solitaire!!

The second the plane is safely in the sky and cruising toward its destination, the flight attendants give us the go-ahead to utilize our precious electronic devices. Out come iPods, iPhones, PDA's, laptops, portable DVD's, and the myriad of other devices that now litter the marketplace. And I am not immune'?¦I reach for my own laptop and dive into my own agenda of things I have told myself I can 'do on the plane'? as I make my way to my destination. That is when I spot it'?¦and no matter how many times I see it, it still shocks me. The white collar professional'?¦wearing the outfit (black pants, colored collared shirt, nice belt and dress casual shoes) and carrying the bag (black leather with bag tag containing a business card)'?¦hunched over their company provided and paid computer or PDA'?¦playing Solitaire!!! This singular act irks me more than I care to admit, especially in today's tough economic climate. There are still people who have the time and inclination to play Solitaire all the way from Philadelphia to Atlanta? I am not afraid to admit that this is a sick fascination that has gotten to the point where I will actually get up and walk the plane to see if I can identify any transgressors. I will move seats if someone near me is blissfully lost in a game, as I am unable to concentrate on anything other than what else this person could be doing and why they are wasting life's precious time. I have even started a group on Facebook where people like me (I am the only member to date) can discuss alternatives to playing solitaire'?¦alternatives that lead to personal and professional betterment instead of wasted time... Some popular options include: '?¢ Create to-do lists to organize what you need to do and by when '?¢ Merge/enter to-do list with PDA or Computer calendar program '?¢ Write a hand written note to family, friends, clients, politicians, etc. '?¢ Pay bills and/or manage finances '?¢ Update charts/activity reports/spreadsheets/proposals '?¢ Brainstorm ideas that you think would make your company/group make money, operate more efficiently, or increase morale. Put into an e-mail and send to your manager '?¢ Write an article for your company's monthly newsletter '?¢ Create e-mails saying hello and checking in with family members or business clients you have not spoken to in over 4 weeks '?¢ Read a book that is relevant and beneficial to your person or profession '?¢ Review general company correspondence or industry trades/news '?¢ Review and study sales materials for a product or service that you are not very familiar with at your own company or a company you do work for '?¢ Download and/or sort through digital picture library '?¢ Enter information from collected business cards into computer contact list Some of you out there might be Solitaire players'?¦or Bubble Breaker, or Texas Hold 'em, or Tetris'?¦.and all I ask is that you stop yourself the next time you go to tap or click on the 'games'? folder of your personal electronic device. Ask yourself if there is anything else you can do before you lose yourself in Solitaire?? And if all else fails'?¦I recommend Spider Solitaire and challenge you to beat my score of 1504, playing with all four suits.

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