Category Archives: Musings

Blog posts by Peter DeHaan; the musings of Peter DeHaan.

Login Fatigue

Do you suffer from “login fatigue?” I know I do. Login fatigue is that overwhelmed feeling produced by having too many computer login names, passwords, and codes to keep track of. (A Google search for “login fatigue” resulted in 75,400,000 entries, more than a hundred times higher then when I last checked. I am sure that number will keep growing.)

It’s not that I’m lazy or trying to make a statement about logging in. The sad reality is that I had way too many logins to keep track of.  As a result, I’ve had to resort to maintaining a list of my various cyberspace logins. For the most part, I needed every one of them to conduct business. There are a variety of financial websites, secure access for numerous services, a plethora of logins for my diverse Internet presence (email, Websites, blogs, search engines, and so forth), and even a few—a precious few—for personal enjoyment.Login fatigue is that overwhelmed feeling produced by having too many computer login names, passwords, and codes to keep track of. Click To Tweet

Because of this frustration, I used to regularly close websites that require I login just to peek at their treasure trove of information. I’m not talking about those pay-for, subscription sites—which I steadfastly avoid. I’m referring to those free sites that demand that I setup an account and login with each visit. Nope, it’s not going to happen.

Its been suggested that we need some sort of universal login, one login that will work for multiple sites. That sounded great to me; I needed it. And so when I’ve heard about Last Pass a password manager, generator and vault, I tried to use it.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

The Cost of Daylight Savings Time

Did you change your clocks over the weekend? (About 70 countries currently observe Daylight Savings Time, though they may follow a different schedule than in the US.)

As I was adjusting clocks over the weekend, I contemplated the cost of switching to and from Daylight Savings Time—and the amount of time it takes, not saves!

Did you remember to change your clocks over the weekend? Click To Tweet

First, doing some projections based on my personal clock setting experiences, I calculate that in the United States alone, about 150,000 hours is collectively spent adjusting clocks each fall and spring.  For businesses, there is direct labor cost associated with this effort.  In most cases they can address this on Monday morning, however, for some businesses clocks must be adjusted at 2:00 a.m., generally requiring overtime pay as well.

To determine the full cost, however, add in devices that are inadvertently broken while trying to set them and that are then replaced.

Next, consider all the commitments, appointments, and flights that are missed because people show up at the wrong time.  In the fall, it’s not so bad, as you arrive early—and end up waiting.  In the spring it’s a killer, because you arrive too late.

Altogether, this adds up to a huge cost, burden, and time waster—all for the delusion that we are saving time by doing so.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Save a Tree

In 2010, on a mailed statement, there was a notice that “for every 13 people who go paperless, one tree can be saved.” Really? What does that mean?

  • 13 people go paperless with this company for one month and one tree will be saved, or
  • 13 people go paperless with this company for one year and one tree will be saved, or
  • 13 people go paperless with this company for as long as they’re a customer and one tree will be saved, or
  • 13 people go paperless with all companies for the rest of their lives and one tree will be saved…

None of these explanations makes sense. The first two would not save much paper, while the last two contain too much variability to be accurately quantified. What does make sense is going paperless when it is sensible to do so.

Going paperless and then printing out the paperless statement gains nothing, so if a hard copy is needed, don’t go paperless. However, many statements can be received electronically, stored electronically, and later on, destroyed electronically. A tree can be planted to replace the one I used, but the time lost in trying to save the tree is gone forever. Click To Tweet

I enjoy receiving invoices as email attachments.  I don’t like the alternative of receiving a notice that a statement is available for me to download.  Although a desirable precaution for banking and investment records, it is a hassle. You need to log into a secure site, enter your login and password, navigate to the right page, and download the statement. To make matters worse, it is inadvisable to click on email links, as they can direct you to a bogus site. It is also inadvisable to use the same login and password for each site, which adds another level of complexity and confusion.

I’m all for saving trees and doing whenever it is practical.  However, when saving a tree is time-consuming and frustration-laden, I’ll pass. After all, a tree can be planted to replace the one I used, but the time lost in trying to save the tree is gone forever.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

A Sad Situation

sad situationEight years ago, locally, a 16-year-old girl was tragically killed in a house fire—because her parents had her chained to her bed.I'm not sure what bothers me more, a child being chained up and dying in a fire or the people who caused her death claiming that it wasn't their fault. Click To Tweet

After they were given appropriately long prison sentences for her death, the father vented to any who would listen. While he admitted a “possible error in judgment” over chaining her to her bed, he justified the action as being warranted and needed.

According to reports, he then said it wasn’t his—or his wife’s—fault, launching into a tirade of blame. He accused the local school system, the children’s protective service, the local law enforcement agency, and the state, asserting that they either knew about—or should have known about—the situation and intervened. These diverse and varied authorities should have stepped in, he claimed, to help them properly raise their daughter and prevent her unfortunate death.

I’m not sure what bothers me more, a child being chained up and dying in a fire or the people who caused her death claiming that it wasn’t their fault.

What were they thinking?

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Facts For the Fatherless

According to recent figures from the Census Bureau, over 27% of children (more than 1 in 4) in the U.S. lived without a father in their home in 2017.

'The epidemic of fatherlessness causes a strain on young lives and leaves many young men with the burden of trying to figure out how to be a good man without any solid examples to look at,' writes Carl Kozlowski. Click To Tweet

That is sad, but even more shocking are the ramifications.  Children without fathers are:

  • 5 times more likely to live in poverty
  • 5 times more likely to commit crimes
  • 9 times more likely to drop out of school
  • 20 times more likely to end up in prison

“The epidemic of fatherlessness causes a strain on young lives and leaves many young men with the burden of trying to figure out how to be a good man without any solid examples to look at,” writes Carl Kozlowski.

“Ninety-four percent of the prison population is male, 85% of which are without fathers,” cites Donald Miller.

This is a sobering reality to think about.

[To get involved, check out www.thementoringproject.org and www.bbbs.org ]

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Gandhi’s Seven Deadly Sins

Mohandas Gandhi considered these to be society’s seven deadly social sins:

  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Science without Humanity
  • Knowledge without Character
  • Politics without Principle
  • Commerce without Morality
  • Worship without Sacrifice

It sure gives one something to think about.Mohandas Gandhi considered these to be society's seven deadly social sins. Click To Tweet

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

The Mathematics of Influence

Once, while at a party, I made a new friend. She was pursuing her PhD in Mathematics. Her course work was finished and she was focusing on her dissertation. Interestingly, at one point in my life, I too wanted a PhD in mathematics, but she was the first person I’ve met who was actually doing it!During a career, the average teacher will directly influence 500 to 5,000 students—a profound amount of influence that one person can make. Click To Tweet

Aside from the math part, another intriguing aspect is what she’s researching.  At the risk of over simplification, she was studying the teaching techniques used by the people who teach the math teachers.

Consider, depending on the circumstances, that during a career, the average teacher will directly influence 500 to 5,000 students.

And, again depending on the circumstances, during a career, the average teacher of teachers will directly influence 500 to 5,000 teachers—and thereby indirectly influencing 250,000 to 25,000,000 students.

Now, if she can help these teachers of the teachers be more effective, say 500 to 5,000 of them during the course of her career, the span of her influence will be vast and pervasive, beyond what is reasonable to calculate. That is a profound amount of influence that one person can make. There is the very real possibility that she could improve and even change the way math is taught to the next generation.

And if you’re one who struggled with math in school, that should be some welcome news!

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

So Long Summer

summer to fall

Summer is officially over (for those north of the equator), lasting from June 21 to September 22 this year. For me, summer effectively covers a slightly different span, starting on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day, regardless, we must move from summer to fall.

Each summer, I have a mental list of things that I want to accomplish, some fun, some relating to home improvement, and some regarding work. Each year, summer ends before the list is completed. Even so, this year I did better than most—regardless of when I mark the end of the season. So long summer. Hello fall. Click To Tweet

The weather, of course, is another transition that occurs on the migration from summer to fall. We usually start fall with highs in the seventies and lows in the fifties, even forties. (Of course we end fall with snow and below freezing temperatures.)

So with summer over, I need to review my to-do list. Some items will be moved to my non-summer list, while others will be put on hold until next year, and the remaining items will be discarded on the junk heap of good ideas and mercifully forgotten.

So long summer. Hello fall.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Is Your Website Working?

There was a local coffee shop that I frequent, which given that I don’t drink coffee seems a bit strange. Even so, it was a great place for meetings and I generally found myself there at least once a week.If site is still under development you would not prominently advertise it. It would be like publishing a phone number knowing it was not working. Click To Tweet

I noticed a free newspaper there.  Actually, calling it a newspaper was generous; “news sheet” might be more accurate. It was a single 11 x 17 piece of paper, printed on both sides and folded twice. On each side was a center column of random news trivia, with a column of local ads on each side. Presumably, they had not sold all the space, as many ads were repeated on both sides, along with a couple of “your ad here” fillers.

Ever curious, I checked their Website and was treated to a “Website coming soon message.” Assuming the site was down, I called them only to learn that they were still working on it. The owner was not embarrassed by this fact, but was rather nonchalant.  Three weeks later, the site was still “coming soon.”

You would think that if your site was still under development you would not prominently advertise it. That does not send a positive message to potential advertisers. It would be like publishing a phone number knowing it was not working. What right-minded business owner would do such a thing?

Upon further investigation, I found that the content of the “news sheet” is syndicated and distributed to local, exclusive franchises who sell ads and distribute it.

How do I know this? Because the franchiser’s website was working.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Seventeen Years Ago

Seventeen years ago I entered the publishing world when I bought Connections Magazine from its founder, Steve Michaels.

The transaction was done in parts, that is the documents for the sale were not signed at the same time or at the same location, but on different days via fax and mail. As a result, I don’t know what day the sale was official, but what I do know is that the package of publication’s records and files arrived on September 10, 2001.As we remember the events of 9-11 and the people who innocently lost their lives, we can also celebrate the resiliency of our country and our ability to prevail and succeed. Click To Tweet

Early that next day, I dove into the treasure trove of information that would set my career in a new direction. I was understandably excited and wanted to quickly grasp the nuances of my new business.

My morning bliss, however, was interrupted by my bride who uncharacteristically popped into my office to inform me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center building. Assuming that it as a novice pilot in a single engine plane, I dismissed the news and resumed work. But not for long.

Soon I was drawn to the TV and the horrific events that would forever change life in the United States. For a time, my labors no longer mattered; ceasing all attempts to work, I watched the news in shock. I wondered what this would mean to the future of business and commerce—and the magazine operation I had just bought. Would I end up being a victim of bad timing?

For the rest of that week, I did only the work that was absolutely required. Then, life slowly began to reclaim a degree of normalcy, even if normal no longer existed.

As we remember the events of 9-11 and the people who innocently lost their lives, we can also celebrate the resiliency of our country and our ability to prevail and succeed. Personally, I can also celebrate Connections Magazine and the new path it has provided.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.