Show me some skin(care)

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My younger daughter is offering the best line of affordable skincare products on the market. One of their many features that doesn’t come with most other skincare products is a hassle-free 60-day money-back guarantee. They’re for women AND men, so “as beautiful as my skin is” =;-D I am using them myself. Click the little FB logo below, or click here, to enjoy the video and learn more.

Never Mind the Carnivores, Here’s the Vegans

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To me, “going vegan” is not about being trendy or better-than-thou, showing anyone up, or guilting anyone into doing what I have come to believe is the right thing. It’s just what my wife and I have done in our household after our younger daughter introduced us to it two years ago. I’m thrilled to see this new nutritional path increasingly going mainstream, including stories in major media venues.

I also laugh or cringe at some media “findings” about plant-based nutrition.

One editor wrote about quick-eats-and-treats for Super Bowl parties. To me his one token vegan entry was unappetizing in print and after trying it, his taste buds agreed. So, to him, that was it. Case closed. Settled science. Forget anything vegan for your next party! You and your guests should keep chowing down on hamburgers and wings and hot dogs, and pizzas drowning in meat. Jam as much animal product down your throats as possible.

Not that I am bitter.

Another writer dug deep to find out that one of the popular new plant-based burgers had, she said, “similar levels of sodium to a regular beef hamburger.”

This feels like two other glaring examples of hypocrisy, of people who otherwise worship at the altar of “choice” shooting down new choices:

#1 – Big Tobacco tricking everyone into attacking e-cigarette makers…as it rolls its own e-cigs.
Big Tobacco’s big money has learned media types blathering on about the health impacts of e-cigarettes (vaping). [Cue Dave Barry describing “a highly trained TV journalist making a frowny face” to let us know we should worry.]|a| I don’t deny the danger! A number of deaths have been attributed to people buying vaping products — “on the street,” not through licensed vendors — and any needless death is a tragedy. But let’s light up a little perspective here: the tobacco industry has been poisoning children and adults since 1602. Cigarettes are on track to kill 10 million humans per year by 2020.|b| But, by God, we must protect the public from vaping! And here’s the kicker: as the tobacco companies continue to stoke the media fire to kill the small independents in the market, they are quietly launching their own vaping products. See the “pmi” in the link? It stands for the world’s largest tobacco company, Philip Morris International.|c|d|

#2 – Music critics attacking and marginalizing Christian rockers.
In the mid-1990s, Christian rockers started being signed by major mainstream music labels. Virgin Records signed dc Talk and the Newsboys; Jars of Clay were doing Letterman and soft drink commercials; dc Talk’s Jesus Freak elbowed its way into the #4 slot on Billboard between Kiss and Marilyn Manson. Music critics born and bred on sex-drugs-rock-and-roll, satanic lyrics, and wasted singers falling off stages suddenly got all scholarly about things like song structures. They penned headlines such as one in Rolling Stone that I paraphrase from memory: “Christian rockers are hitting the charts and the stage; but how’s the music, and what’s the message?”

Media aside, I also marvel at some of my non-media fellow humans who stop wolfing down steroid-laden, processed meats, Cheez-its, and Mountain Dew just long enough to shoot down positive vegan stories with scattered concerns and cheap shots, such as:

Q: “If you vegans don’t want to eat meat, why do you want something that tastes like meat?”
A: Um…why would Tesla and others make EVs that drive like gas-powered cars (or way better)?

No one ever said they didn’t like the TASTE of meat and dairy products. We’re eating differently for three main reasons: [1] We are no longer willing to contribute to the demand for meat and dairy that causes “humans” to torture and kill animals for food.|e| [2] We want no part of the human health issues around eating red and processed meat, which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. [3] We will no longer contribute to the demand for meat that accelerates climate change and drains natural resources to raise livestock for food.|f||g|

Point: “These plant-based foods are too processed.”
 Counterpoint: As laid out here, and paraphrased in this post, Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger have better nutritional profiles than beef burgers: fewer calories, more protein, and less fat.|h|

Compared to a four-ounce beef burger with 20% fat content, a Beyond Burger has 20 fewer calories, three fewer grams of fat, and one MORE gram of protein. An Impossible Burger has 50 fewer calories, eight fewer grams of fat, and the same amount of protein. Both plant-based burgers have zero cholesterol, compared to 80 milligrams in a beef burger. And both have more fiber, another essential to good health.|i|

Statement: “You can’t get protein unless you eat meat.”
 Fact Check: WRONG.

We get plenty of protein every day at every meal in things like soy milk, oatmeal, nuts, chia seeds, tofu, beans, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, whole-grain breads, green peas, quinoa, wild rice, and high-protein fruits and vegetables. One thing we don’t get is vitamin B12, and we take that as a supplement. |j|

Often Heard Locally: “I’d like to try vegan, but my husband’s a meat-and-potatoes man and he works hard and he needs his meat.”
Speaking Truth to Carnivores: a growing number of the world’s top athletes in the most demanding physical sports are vegan, so…whatever your job may be, I’ll bet it can work for you.

Who are they? NFL players including DeAndre Hopkins, Malcolm Jenkins, Matthew Stafford, and Marcus Mariota. NBA players including nine-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Wilson Chandler, Al Jefferson, Garrett Temple, Enes Kanter, JaVale McGee, and Jahlil Okafor. Pro soccer players in the British Premier and other leagues including Jermain Defoe, Chris Smalling, Fabian Delph, and Jack Wilshere. World-class athletes across the most demanding physical sports such as tennis icons Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams, boxer David Haye, UFC mixed martial arts fighters Nate Diaz and Abel “Killa” Trujillo, bodybuilder Barny du Plessis, snowboarder Hannah Teter, skater Meagan Duhamel, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, and more. NFL living legends Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are not fully vegan, but their diets are reportedly 80% plant-based.|k|l|m|n|o|

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Mac Links LIVE!

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Ha, “I’ll explain.”

For I think 10-15 years now I’ve been using the Office suite on PC to make PDFs of Word, Powerpoint, and Excel files and never gave links a second thought. You embed links in text like this in the source file and they’re live in the PDF. Fonts and layout are identical to what you created in the source file.

Not on Mac.

Oh, if you simply type out links as text, e.g., https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jeff-cotrupe, they do save as live links in PDFs. But it is self-evident why that is sub-optimal. Pretty much everywhere in all applications people embed links in all content like this, and that is the standard.

Create a file in Office on the Mac, save as PDF and you’re presented with two choices:

  • Saving your PDF as “Best for printing” preserves fonts/layouts but kills the links.
  • Saving as “Best for electronic and accessibility (uses Microsoft online service)” gives you live links, but is also dependent upon which fonts Microsoft has loaded on those servers. In any file I’ve ever tested, this method massacres fonts and layouts and is unworkable.

After much experimentation and testing, here are the only two ways you can use Word on a Mac to create PDFs with embedded live links AND the fonts and layout of your choice:

[1] Use Word for Mac to create your doc. Save as Best Print Quality. Your embedded links are dead. Buy Acrobat Pro DC for $450 or license it for a year for $180. Open your PDF and the source Wordfile. Copy link locations for all links in Wordfile and paste them in into new link boxes you create over those same words or phrases in PDF.

[2] Buy Parallels, Windows 10, and Office for your Mac. Parallels virtual machine frees Word to do on Mac what it does on PC: save embedded live links in PDF. Not sure what it cost my company to buy Parallels and Windows 10 licenses, and the new separate license for Office to use in Parallels. 

Long way and lot of money to go just to create live links AND not demolish your fonts and layouts when saving Word to PDF on a Mac, right? But those are your choices.

I bet Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe could get together and fix this in a New York (or Seattle, or Silicon Valley) minute. But there’s a lot of money changing hands in #s 1 and 2 above, so…

I’m now at MongoDB!

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I am now a proud member of the Product Marketing team at MongoDB: the first database company to go public in more than two decades (NASDAQ: $MDB), its business growing at ~50% YoY, with the technology and vision to take on the multibillion-dollar incumbents as it disrupts and reshapes an entire industry. As an analyst I had forecast a total market opportunity of $67.89 billion in big data and analytics by 2019, growing to nearly $111 billion by 2022. I am excited to be at a truly global company capturing a sizable and growing share of that opportunity!

My role is Senior Solutions Marketing Manager, a core part of an energetic and globally distributed team reporting to the Senior Director, Products and Solutions, based in the UK. I am responsible for driving solutions marketing and GTM content positioning the UVP of our product/services portfolio to a senior audience.

If you are not already using MongoDB, let’s talk about what it can do for you and your organization. If you are, I’d like to hear how you are doing. You can find me at any contact point on the Connections page and I’ll be in touch soon.

Your two most pressing Outlook iCloud Sync issues SOLVED

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If you are reading this, you probably want to be able to add or change contacts or calendar items in Outlook on your computer and have them reflected, ‘through the magic of iCloud,’ on your iPhone, and vice versa, from phone to computer. That was all I wanted, but I hit some walls that seemed insurmountable until I found solutions posted by some expert and helpful users. I decided to post them together to offer you, the reader, one-stop shopping to these fantastic fixes.

ISSUE: “Setup cannot continue because Outlook is not configured to have a default profile.”
This one smacks you in the face right out of the gate, after you have installed iCloud and are in setup. You check the box to tell iCloud to sync Mail. Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks, hit apply–and you get the message above. After rapidly descending on an estimated 11 zillion sites with solutions that did not work, I found one that did.
SOLUTION: Close iCloud. Open File Explorer, go to c: \ Program files(x86) \ Common files \ Apple \ Internet and find the file simply called iCloud (it’s icloud.exe, but the extension may not be visible). Right-click it and choose Properties. Click the Compatibility tab and you should see something like this:

The compability troubleshooter button is highlighted, and I pressed that and put the system through its paces, but ultimately all you have to do is check the box and select the pulldown menu so it reads as it does here: “Run the program in compatibility mode for Windows 8.” Press [OK] at the bottom.

Now open iCloud again, check the box for Mail. Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks, hit apply, and it should go through its sequence to set up iCloud and Outlook to sync.

ISSUE: Contacts are syncing but calendar items are not.
I again found a number of sites with well-meaning solutions that weren’t, but thankfully found one pretty quickly that worked.
SOLUTION: Open Outlook, choose calendar, and double-click in a date box to set up a new Appointment. You’ll notice Calendar at top left.

Your calendar may be defaulting to Outlook Data File as mine did:

If so, use the slider to page down, find your iCloud calendar, and check the box for Calendar:

I was going to say this is not a permanent solution because you will have to do this every time. However, it appears that if I just remember to keep the iCloud calendar checked instead of letting Outlook select Outlook Data File as the default calendar to show, new calendar invites I create are coming up correctly in iCloud calendar.

To close the loop, I double-checked whether calendar entries I create in iCloud are syncing to Outlook. iOS lets you preset the calendar in which new Appointments are created. So yes, new Appointments I create on my phone are syncing fine in Outlook without any adjustment.

As some of my friends in other parts of the world like to say: “There you are. All sorted.”

I am guilty of having saved content and screenshots in my files, but not links to the pages where I found this sage advice, to give credit where due. Thank you, solution providers. You know who you are, and you have my eternal gratitude.

 

WELCOME to a more competitive e-commerce market

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Attended the eTail West event two years running…placed two online orders during roughly the same period with a company I lovingly dub the Retail Death Star…had a deadline to meet for the IDG Infoworld blog…and it led to one of my most fun-to-write blog posts ever. The WELCOME mat above plays a pivotal role in the piece, but IDG wouldn’t run this photo because it doesn’t publish anything but its own internally approved pix. So here it is in all its boldly leaf-strewn glory, beckoning you to walk right over it and enjoy all the e-commerce action here.

Before I go: some of the arboreal wonders giving the mat that leafy look.

Innovating for Dollars: AI / ML / Deep Learning / Cognitive for Financial Institutions

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When Letterman was still hosting the Late Show, from time to time he’d say: “And if all THAT weren’t enough…and by golly, don’t you think it ought to be,” and would go on to mention something else that was noteworthy about the show or a guest.

Bear with me, I’ll go back to that in a moment, and it will tie into our discussion…which is about AI. AI is forecast to drive GDP gains of $15.7 trillion globally by 2030.* No organization can afford to miss out on its share of those trillions in opportunity. Adoption is low thus far, however. In Stratecast’s 2017 Big Data and Analytics Survey, only 20% of organizations said they are considering, planning, implementing, or using it. We think one part of it is market confusion; another is organizations not seeing the link between AI and revenue—both growth and retention.

Let’s first dispel some confusion surrounding AI. My practice analyzes big data and analytics (BDA), and here is where AI fits at a functional level: the Business Process and Strategic Analytics (BPSA) area of the BDA market. BPSA represents about one-quarter of the overall BDA market, which we assessed at more than $53 billion in 2017, and which we forecast to grow to nearly $68 billion by 2019.

Now let’s talk about other linkages between AI and money. Ever heard of Alexa and Siri? Amazon? Facebook, Google, Netflix, Tesla, and Uber? These and a multitude of others are making money right now by applying AI to their businesses. But wait, you say, what about financial institutions? Well, how about one of the largest online financial trading services in the world? It has used AI to reduce support costs by 80%. Or consider how, with hundreds of forms and more than 350 online apps, associates at a top-10 Wall Street investment firm were spending an average of 20–30 minutes looking for each form or app. The firm is now saving an estimated $32 million annually by applying AI to those and related processes. Even these examples, however, reflect a financial services market that is only beginning to scratch the surface of all the ways AI can benefit financial institutions. Customer-facing applications of AI include learning customer patterns and motivations to help guide them toward better financial decisions. In the back office, AI can, similarly, guide a financial institution’s own investment decisions. AI can automate tasks in many areas including underwriting, reconciliation, the development of risk models, and basic handling of incoming data and queries.

Sounds good, right? But delivering on the promise of AI requires a vision for applying smart analytics to the business. Nowhere is that concept more fitting than when talking about Tableau. Tableau provides the foundation underpinning the adoption of new and emerging technologies with an enterprise platform that covers all the bases in governance and security to help financial service companies guard against security breaches and ensure privacy compliance. Tableau offers rapid performance against massive datasets, an effect now accelerated by Hyper, its fast main-memory database system designed for simultaneous OLTP and OLAP processing (transactions and analysis in a single system) without compromising performance. Powerful, self-service analytics drive innovation, encouraging employees to discover opportunities for new products and services, contributing to customer and revenue growth—and enabling them to quickly run scenarios to assess the impacts of new business models such as blockchain.

Back to Letterman: “And if all THAT weren’t enough…and by golly, don’t you think it ought to be,” Tableau also has a vision for smart analytics that transcends AI-supporting BDA firepower with some pretty impressive AI building blocks. On the NL front, Tableau acquired Cleargraph and is combining Cleargraph’s NLP capabilities with Tableau’s existing Eviza natural language interface; and the company has partnerships with Automated Insights and Narrative Science to add NLG capabilities to the mix. In development are Tableau’s new Recommendations Engine, which will enable discovery, help users reuse the work of others, and leverage knowledge of their communities; Model Automation, which will offer smart defaults, saving time and providing ease of use; and Automated Discovery, to help customers discover hidden insights and answer more complex questions.

Planning on revenue growth? Failure to harness the power of AI could be a showstopper. Tableau has the content and the connections to ensure that the show will go on.

*PwC, AI to drive GDP gains of $15.7 trillion with productivity, personalization improvements, available here