A guy who was born in Canada, grew up in Indonesia, went to high school in Australia, spent half a year in Hawaii, and ended up back in Canada.
This is my story...
DR's Corner
Thursday, February 24, 2005

Information overload

Ever notice how quickly we get tired these days? Ever notice how we long for a nice vacation, even though we just took one a couple weeks ago? Ever notice how cranky, confrontational and unfriendly people seem in our daily lives? Ever notice that there seems to be tons of depressed, crazy and suicidal people in today's society?

Welcome to the world of information overload. Although there are many reasons for those situations I mentioned above, I would suggest that one common reason in all of those is the abundance (and sometime too much) of information that people have to deal with in their daily lives.

First, let me define what I think 'information overload' is: It's the flow of information, that comes way too fast and furious, causing us to take new information before we've had the time and chance to think about or use the previous information.

These are the days of instant solutions, instant news, instant food; people demand express availability of almost everything, including information, and that's why there's so much information flying around the world. People have enough problems to solve in life, and to solve problems, sometimes we need information. The overload of information just complicates the solution. It gives us too many choices to think about and how to best solve the problem quickly.

Let's examine a couple examples from my morning trip to the office:
- I get off my shuttle ride, and in front of me are 5 or 6 free publications, including 2 newspapers, condo/home buying guides, employment newspapers, car buying/selling publications, training guides, and you know what? They're all free to grab.
- On the train, advertisements galore, printed ads, electronic display ads, people reading newspapers, people listening to the radio, people listening to music, people using laptops to view their work ... If you look outside, billboards, cars with printed ads, buildings with advertisements ...
- Off the train, vendors selling food, people promoting a cause all over the station, advertisements on the floor, train display on the LCD monitors above.
- Walking to the office, the usual ads on the walls, people rushing to work all over the place, courier vans parked all over the place. I noted this because I've seen many courier vans get tickets for parking illegally in front of office buildings downtown. Information has to be delivered on time you know...

That's within an hour of me leaving my house, can you imagine how much information we're taking in a day? That's why our mind is churning almost 16 hours a day (even more because sometimes I still think while I try sleep, causing me to lose many hours of sleep). Isn't it any wonder that we're stressed out all the time? Trying to solve problems, and yet the information that's supposed to help us solve our problems just adds to what we have to process in our minds.

I'm bringing this up, because I notice that I'm quite confused as what I want to do in regarding to my income. I know that someday I would like to have my own business, and yet when I think about what I have to do, I just feel hopelessly overwhelmed. The information that I have to go through is just enormous in size. What kind of business to start, who I need to deal with, what I need to know, etc. etc. My first instinct as an IT guy would be the internet, and we all know how much information there is out there; filtering the information becomes a priority. Ditto with books, there are tons of authors out there, tons of books, and I need to research them first, which brings me back to the internet, and around the circle I go.

In this day and age, I do not believe that the 'traditional' vacation of 2 weeks/3 weeks out of the year works anymore. People need time off monthly, even weekly from the world. We need to take a break from the fast paced life we live in, time to process the information we have, relax and make good decisions.

I know it's hard to just shunt out the world every now and then, heck it's even hard to stay still in one place for a couple of minutes. And I know this, because I'm one guy who can't stand doing nothing; I'm always doing something, checking email, browsing the web, going out on weekends. Sitting down in front of a fireplace and listening to music just isn't me. And yet, I know that if I don't take time off every once in awhile, I'll be overwhelmed by this abundance of information around me.

That's why for the last few weeks, I've resisted getting the free newspapers on the way to work, so I can relax, gather my thoughts and reflect on the train. It's hard to do, because even if I'm sitting still, my mind still wanders around !!! But I suggest you try do this, it'll keep your mind from being overloaded.

I'll end this long post with 2 verses from the Bible:
Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Psalm 46:10a
"Be still and know that I am God;"
Monday, February 21, 2005

*ha-choo* - bless you ... *cough cough* - robitussin

The person who came up with the robitussin cough ads should really get a huge promotion and pay raise. In my opinion, this ad is one that will live in lots of people's minds for a long time to come, and bring lots of profit and sales to the makers of Robitussin.

Of course many of you have seen a couple of the ads, where someone coughs and another says 'Robitussin ... it's bless you for coughs'. It's been running for awhile, and I see it around me, workplace, church, people on the commute. When someone coughs, they would say 'Robitussin'. I've seen many ads, and don't remember most of them after while, but this is kinda hard to forget.

In some way, although we all know that it's just an ad, you would try it the next time you get a cough won't you? Just because of that ad. I know I did :)

NBA All-Star game

After watching a 1/2 hour introduction process for the players and coaches for both teams, I was treated to a funny picture: Tim Duncan vs Vince Carter, and Kevin Garnett vs Grant Hill in the front court, while Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady took on Allen Iverson and LeBron James in the backcourt. LeBron vs Kobe and Yao Vs Shaq I could live with, but the other 3 out of the 5 positions were completely out of whack.
Consider:
PG: TMac = 6'7" vs AI 6'0"
SF: TDuncan = 7'0" vs VC 6'6"
PF: KG = 6'11" vs GHill 6'8"

The East were at a height disadvantage, and it looked funny on the court. Oh well, at least it's an entertaining picture :). Thankfully the coaches soon went to different lineups that gave better matchups for both teams. VC had the play of the half when he was running the break, lobbed the ball off the backboard and threw down a vicious one handed tomahawk as he caught the ball back himself.

After trailing by as much as 17, the East, thanks to AI's change of pace put the game away in the last 2 quarters. It didn't help much that Duncan and Garnett didn't play a single minute in the 4th quarter. It wasn't a flashy game or anything, and the scoring was pretty much balanced, and was quite competitive with some defense here and there. Hey, it almost looked like a normal NBA game :)
Sunday, February 20, 2005

NBA All-Star Saturday

I managed to catch the ending of the skills challenge where Steve Nash beat out Earl Boykins for the win, then proceeded to watch the 3 point challenge as well as the slam dunk contest. The 3 point contest wasn't too much fun to watch; nobody broke the 20 point mark at all, and many of the shots seem to clank of the back iron... maybe there's something wrong with that rim, or maybe it just wasn't a great day for the shooters. Imagine Ray Allen not getting to the second round.

The slam dunk contest was a bit more interesting. The first round saw Chris Andersen get booed for attempting too many dunks and failing before finally making one, and one of the highlights of the competition: Amare Stoudemire lobbed the ball off the backboard, Steve Nash then heading the ball ala soccer back towards Amare, who then proceeded to reverse jam it. That was quite a sight, and brought the house down. Of course, the real story of the competition was Josh Smith, who won it. This guy dunks with grace and flair (left handed too), and showed respect to Dominique Wilkins by wearing his retro No. 21 jersey.

Looking forward to watch the actual All-Star game today, hope it'll be fun to watch.

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