hankrules2011

Book reviews, health, hockey, publishing, music

A New Book Review: Has the West Lost It?: A Provocation

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 9, 2019

Hi All. Sorry I haven’t been posting and I don’t have time to explain now, but my schedules and the degree of my responsibilities and overall business have radically changed, my health is rapidly deteriorating, and we’ve been EXTREMELY busy house hunting, which looks like it’s finally going to pay off after over seven long, grueling months of hellish work.

In any event, I wrote a new book review today and published it on Medium, an excellent combo online magazine/writing community/source of extremely diverse information and ideas. I’ve published a couple of things there before. They publish writers from newbies to writers for The Atlantic, NY Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker, etc. In order to read their content, you’re supposed to be a member, which involved a very small fee. However, not everyone wants to be a member, but some people still want to access specific articles. Fortunately, Medium’s cool enough so that they provide a “Friend Link,” so non-members can access a specific article. Thus, I’m going to post that link here and invite anyone to go read it. It’s a little over 800 words, so not too long, and it’s on a very interesting book discussing the deterioration of the West as world power shifts to the East — a subject I’ve read a ton of things on, but nearly all by American/Western writers — and the thing that makes this book very unique is it provides analysis, commentary, critiques, and suggestions regarding the West from a presumably Eastern world citizen who is quite astute and who wants the West to hold strong and make a comeback. I thought it provided an interesting perspective. I hope you are all doing well, and here’s the link. Feel free to comment. Thanks!

 

Has the West Lost It?: A Provocation : A Book Review

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Read My New Article on LinkedIn’s New Breed of Spammers

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 2, 2019

Hi! I hope you have all been doing well. I’ve been both ill and insanely busy, which is a rough combination.

I don’t know how many of you are on LinkedIn, but I have been for 14 years, building a 20,000 person network over that time. Today I published an article there titled “Several Words on LinkedIn Spammers (with a Modifiable Pitch Response Template).” The preview description I used for it on LI was generally “My feelings (shared by many) on LinkedIn’s new breed who send unwelcome pitches or outright spam. Contains a modifiable pitch response template…. There once was something called “LinkedIn etiquette.” It seems to have disappeared ….”

If you ARE on LI and this interests you at all, you can read it at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/several-words-linkedin-spammers-modifiable-pitch-response-holstad or https://bit.ly/2FMbO4w. Naturally, I appreciate both Likes and comments, so one or both are welcome, though no one is obligated.

Meanwhile, LI was once partially to largely open to anyone to view profiles. Apparently that is a thing of the past, which doesn’t make me or many others very happy. Meanwhile I recently opened on account with Medium, an interesting, intriguing online publication that focuses on high quality writing in many different categories while still presenting a publishing platform for anyone who is willing to pay the small fee to become a member. And while many of the pieces on the front “Wall” originally appeared in places like The New Yorker, Washington Post, NY Times, etc., technically anyone who writes something deemed good enough is eligible to have their work featured on the main Wall, which is then marketed and distributed to a wide array of sources. The site is growing and while similar to a blog in a few ways, it’s really probably the best “independent” quality writing I’ve ever seen online.

So, there are several cool features I particularly appreciate about it in addition to others. One is, you can obviously import articles that have previously appeared elsewhere, provided you have reprint permission, and can “count” as an original publication as long as you were indeed the author. This means, I can import blog posts, stories and articles I have published in various areas, and best of all, select LinkedIn articles no one who’s not a member would not be able to access. Well, now they can!!! Wait, you say! You said Medium was a paid service, so is their content free to all? Unfortunately, the answer is No. You have to be a member in order to get behind THEIR wall and read the content inside. Which I find rather bothersome and seems to defeat the purpose. Except for one thing… They provide, upon request, not only the URL for the article so you can let any friends who are on Medium know about it and read it, but they also provide a “Friend Link” for you to provide anyone at all so anyone, regardless of membership status, can access and read that piece! Which I’ve never done, but I’m about to try. And BTW, for those of you who ARE on Medium — the site pays for “member engagement” with each visit to your article by members, so if you ARE a member and you read this, I’d be very grateful if you gave me a Clap or even a comment, no matter how brief! Thanks. So I’m going to provide both the Medium link for those already members AND the Friend Link so the rest of you can go read it, should you want to. And I’d be very grateful if anyone did, but by no means feel obligated. While this topic may deeply interest some, I can see why certain people out there wouldn’t care at all about the topic of this piece. No problem, I understand. In any event,

 

Medium LinkedIn article URL:  https://medium.com/@qbitsof/several-words-on-linkedin-spammers-with-a-modifiable-pitch-response-template-61909f1b8038

 

Medium LinkedIn article’s “Friend Link”:  https://medium.com/@qbitsof/several-words-on-linkedin-spammers-with-a-modifiable-pitch-response-template-61909f1b8038?source=friends_link&sk=b0119c36f81089d4c8ef4d507e587f14

 

Incidentally, you can find my Medium profile at: https://medium.com/@qbitsof and my LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottholstad/.

 

Cheers! — Scott

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It’s Not Just Huawei and ZTE…

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 4, 2019

I published an article on my LinkedIn page on April 4, 2019. This is the gist.

There are other technology-based companies in China, some much bigger and wealthier than Huawei, that *could* be capable of things some accuse the more famous companies of while hiding beneath the surface. Here is the link to it if you’re interested: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-just-huawei-zte-scott-holstad.

 

Well, what I found after publishing the link on my blog here was that while, if memory serves me correctly, for many years LinkedIn has been an open site, if not for posts, articles, original content, etc., at least for people’s profiles, often viewed as expanded digital resumes. The impetus was simple. Your profile, and hence your digital resume, could be located by anyone, anywhere, most prominently headhunters, recruiters, HR professionals, etc. That was, after all, the original point. But no more! I really don’t know when changes started happening, but I discovered sometime last year that if one searched for me by name and my LinkedIn profile came up in the search results, clicking on it would take you to a black page with a login, and subsequently ever since, everything I’ve posted, shared, written, published, created, and yes, even my ever fluid profile has been completely off limits to anyone who cannot log into LinkedIn, presumably anyone who does not have an account. I’ve said publicly what I think about this new trend, but for this particular purpose, that’s a topic for another post.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In any event, when I posted the original post with the link to my article here, I heard from some of you telling me you couldn’t access the article, was there another way for you to read it? And yes, there is. Forgive me for taking so long to address this, but I’ve been ill, busy and out of town, so I’m only now getting to it, but my solution is to simply reproduce my article in its entirety as it appears on my LinkedIn profile here on my blog, at which point it will be accessible to all. The formatting may not be as perfect, but the content will be the same. So, as requested,

 

It’s Not Just Huawei and ZTE…

 

Yesterday, Foreign Policy magazine published an article titled “The Improbable Rise of Huawei” with the tagline reading “How did a private Chinese firm come to dominate the world’s most important emerging technology?” (https://bit.ly/2HXEcU2) Current trendy topic, legitimate questions. I get it. And I don’t blame the authors or the journal. It’s a good piece, well written in a quality publication, and it’s one that needs addressing, although in my opinion, there’s probably been a little bit of overkill recently.

Huawei Mobile Phone\

[Huawei Mobile Phone]

I’ve been researching this myself. But I’ve been researching some other things, other companies, their owners, and shell games – all Chinese. And I’ve got a LOT of questions, and one thing I’m curious about is why the founder of Huawei, a Communist party member and former PLA soldier, is getting so much notoriety, and everyone knows how fabulously wealthy the company has become, yet no one is talking about another Chinese entrepreneur who started a company of his own, also under mysterious and unusual circumstances, and who has been so very successful, that he is worth about 20 times what Huawei’s Ren Zhengfei is worth and according to this year’s Forbes, is the 22nd richest man in the world (https://bit.ly/2HYsbhq), compared to Ren, whom Forbes lists at #1,425 (https://bit.ly/2G1jnFb)!

Do you know of whom I refer? Does the name “Jack Ma” ring a bell? Does the company, “Alibaba” (or Alibaba Group) ring a bell? (https://www.alibaba.com) Let’s just say that his background is of a person who was largely a massive failure, who found out about the Internet and somehow found 20 grand to start a web design company out of his house with his wife. (I intend to write more about this some other time, so I’m leaving a great deal out…) Around 1999, with his wife and a group of friends, Alibaba had been formed as a B to B technology marketplace start-up. (https://bit.ly/2fcoC5c)

Then Ma disappears. Nothing on him. I’m sure it’s possible to find stuff, but just take a cursory glance and see if you can find him in, say 2006 or 2010. Yet, in 2015 he surfaces and takes the company public at the NYSE in the biggest IPO in the history of the world! Now how did he get from poor, miserable failure (rejected on 30 out of 30 job applications after barely making it through a minor teacher’s institute with a BA in English, just as one example), start two companies in three years, start making bank and then disappear from view for 15 years, only to emerge in the public’s eye to become, by today, owner of a relatively unknown (in much of the West) Chinese company that is literally worth twice as much as the notorious, world famous Huawei, and whose own net worth as of this year is over $40 BILLION compared to Ren’s $2.2 billion, as of two days ago? Doesn’t that strike anyone besides me as just a little … odd? And while Huawei is everywhere in the world, so is Alibaba. Indeed, I have very senior level contacts at both companies (C-level), both in China and in the US. I’ve interacted with some people at different times. And the Foreign Policy writers, if I recall correctly, noted that Huawei is everywhere now – specifically in 170 countries. Guess how many countries Alibaba operates in? Going on 200. Yep, bigger, richer, more successful, founder possibly more mysterious than Huawei’s, and while the company hasn’t become notorious for making devices like mobile phones, they sell the hell out of them! I know, I bought one. Recently. A high-end Kyocera, unlocked international, for half the retail cost elsewhere. But I didn’t keep it. There were multiple reasons why. I looked at it, tested it carefully, and returned it. The company actually has a program where they award certificates, of a sort, to third party resellers whom they deem sufficiently good enough to represent them. And while the company is not a manufacturer, like Huawei is, it has access to and sells more (I believe) items, generally technology items such as … mobile phones…, than most companies in the world. And while people are up in arms about Huawei’s alleged ties to China’s communist party, certainly in the company’s beginnings, many analysts believe that NO “private” company, especially such huge, successful international behemoths – that are everywhere throughout the western world, for instance – could possibly operate without both the permission AND most likely the backing of the CCP, or at least elements of the CCP. Think about that. And think about the fact that Alibaba sells a virtually unlimited number of Huawei and ZTE products, as well as many other international products (including from other Chinese companies), in more places than Huawei! And how hard is it to modify a mobile phone? If MSS, or one of the newer agencies that have been created over the past few years, were to somehow be involved in some way – and I’m NOT saying they are at all!!! – it wouldn’t be too difficult to replicate or even improve on some of the possibilities that some people are accusing Huawei of. Think about that too. And just in case you’re wondering if the company is just a giant marketplace, understand this – like many other companies, they’re ambitious. And they’ve developed a cloud program so massive, it can be rivaled only by the likes of AWS, Google, IBM and it seems Oracle is also moving up the ranks. Literally, Alibaba has come out of nowhere to become one of the roughly 5-6 biggest cloud providers in the entire world! And yes, I have connections with people at Alibaba Cloud (https://us.alibabacloud.com).

Server Farm - Alibaba Rev

What does one make of this? I guess my primary point is to not discount this company simply because it does not manufacture high tech wireless devices. It’s a technology company, first and foremost, and it’s gone from reseller to a very big player, essentially under most people’s noses. Which begs another question: how big do and will they get? I anticipate acquisitions, partnerships, new divisions in other areas. I would think AI would be very attractive to them at the moment, especially in light of Xi’s announced ONE TRILLION-dollar goal to have the biggest and best quality (by far) AI industry in the world by 2025. And with the R&D available in China, and that kind of financial backing, and – forgive me if it seems like I don’t know what in the world I’m talking about, because I know enough to be dangerous, but I’m not a scientist – with the likely advent of advanced quantum computing, it’s virtually impossible to imagine the possibilities of that bizarre universe as a base for AI. And what could come from that. Need I continue?

But that’s not all. I’ve been delving into other, smaller and lesser known, but increasingly popular, Chinese wireless manufacturers and companies, and have turned up quite a bit of interesting information in the process. I’m not ready to name names, but one company that interested me turned out to be owned by another company – in the same district in the same city – that turned out to be owned by yet another company – same district, same city – all of whom had unlisted, but official representatives who shared the same email domain – that of one of these companies. And their items and inventory are similar, but grow more diverse, and you start hitting walls, have to find ways around them, and continue on, while more and more companies pop up. And they go out of their way to hide their connections with the others, and the next one and next one. Standard shell game. Makes one wonder who the ultimate owner is… Possibly Huawei? Or ZTE? Or MSS itself? Who knows? All I know is there’s a lot more going on in China than many realize, particularly with certain types of technology being sold and provided in the West. And that begs an interesting question – could Huawei simply be a distraction – a large one – thus allowing an untold number of much smaller, relatively unknown companies (or in Alibaba’s case, certainly not smaller, but definitely not a household name) to produce and distribute goods that actually might do what Huawei’s products are often accused of? Let’s not forget, there are a lot of devious people in the world, including in some governments (I think the US learned that in 2016, although preparations for that began many, many years earlier). Face it, many Westerners, and especially Americans, are – or have been for decades – simply naïve because we haven’t bothered to study other peoples and cultures and so on much more the way so many other countries have studied the US. Kissinger himself said that was probably his biggest mistake, circa the ‘70s. Not educating himself properly, not getting to know other peoples, other cultures, others’ goals and ambitions, even among one’s perceived allies. I would like to hope many Americans have come a long way since then, but I fear that most US geopolitical policy efforts since the Cold War have finally brought many to realize we have not, that we sat on our haunches, focused on the wrong agendas while ignoring important issues, and now there could be some major prices to be paid, if not already, then almost certainly in the near future.

I’ll wrap things up now, although I have much more to say. As mentioned, I hope to continue researching and digging and be able later to publish a more detailed piece with more specific information and harder analysis. Besides, I’ve been banging this out for too long now, and I have to move on to other projects. And while everyone is focusing on Huawei, I’d encourage people to take a hard look at some other entities, such as was mentioned here, as well as numerous other examples, and then do some reflecting. Feedback is welcome.

 

Scott C. Holstad

Founder, COO, CTO, Chief Strategy Officer, VP Cybersecurity @ WireMe Designs, LLC – Retired!

WireMe Designs, LLC

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“Project Dumbphone”

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 26, 2019

I’m sharing an article written/published today about her hopes, intentions, actions and results in going back to “dumb phones,” aka, good old flip phones. I intend to write a piece of my own about the same subject sometime, because I’ve recently done the exact same thing, although I’ve not yet come to any definitive conclusions. Still, this makes for an interesting read, and for those of us who have been getting sick of smart phones owning our damn lives and of being unable to live with constant social media, good old fashioned clamshell flip phones are sounding mighty appealing these days. Here’s the story…

Project Dumbphone

by G.A. Cameron

Feel free to leave comments on the article’s webpage or here.  I’m interested in what people think about this topic…

 

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Book Review: Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 4, 2019

Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic PlanningLosing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning by Andrei Martyanov
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have to admit I bought this book because the title and premise were intriguing, matching some of my own concerns about the recent, current and future state of the US military. But, wow, what a crazy scenario! I’m prepared to listen to and accept criticism regarding much about our military, particularly the state and status of many of our frontline weapons, a number of which are largely obsolete now, or have never been produced after throwing hundreds of billions away because of scope creep and countless other issues. Legitimate stuff, and some criticisms I’ve been making for years. And there are many reasons for this, which could probably fill a number of books. Fair enough.

What I did NOT like about this book was the author’s continual comparisons between US weapons and modern Russian weapons, ALWAYS gloating over Russian superiority, boasting how their navy could crush our navy like sardines, citing the fact that our most recent nuclear subs are, largely, ancient while Russia just produced eight new “state of the art” nuclear subs with “superior, world class” technology, apparently any one of which has such Superman-like powers, it could completely demolish our entire military in one shot, followed by wiping out the US with a second. Serious superiority issues, and a real attitude problem.

Okay, I lived through much of the Cold War. I’ve heard enough Commie propaganda over the decades, whether Soviet, Chinese, North Korean, Cuban, North Vietnamese, etc, AS WELL as most of the Arab hardliners like Saddam and Libya’s and Syria’s typical leaders, among many more, and the boasting, bragging and chest thumping is something that any two bit junior college analyst could identify, define, etc, and moreover, ultimately, with many of these loud mouths, some put their money where their mouth is, and some are total bullshitters, witness Saddam, most of the traditional 20th century Arab powers, the beloved Kims, etc. And, yes, the Russians, because as has been found out in most military encounters between many US advanced weapons vs Soviet advanced weapons, typically through proxies, the Soviets have usually had their asses handed to them. And their house came crumbling down, the giant threat a house of cards. So I take it with a grain of salt when a RUSSIAN analyst starts boasting about how their few new ships could take out all of America’s, for all intents and purposes, and I’d love to see the author, via Putin, try to put their money where their mouth is.

Which is not to say his criticism of the reductions in our military personnel, our loss of experience in crucial areas, such as nuclear, our lack of producing virtually any new world class advanced weaponry since the Cold War, at least in quantity, isn’t entirely legitimate. It’s just his snarky and frankly very odd and suspicious personal circumstances as a person and professional that make this book and it’s whole “my penis is bigger than yours” infantile attitude so damn bizarre and frustrating! He’s a Russian, was in their navy, left Russia, immigrated to America, became an American citizen and somehow found gainful, if unspecified, employment with some unnamed … US defense contractor, I believe, possibly working on US weaponry, presumably naval. Now, think about that. The US lets some Russian ex-naval vet immigrate to America, magically become a US citizen, and then let him have freaking clearance to do defense work for our damn military??? Since when does THAT happen? I haven’t heard of such things since the Manhattan Project, and those were largely German JEWISH scientists, who had everything to lose if they stayed in Germany. Of course they’re working to defeat Hitler. But this guy is working to help the US and make our military better? All the while bragging about how much our military sucks now and how fucking awesome Russia’s is??? I mean, you should read some of his claims and assertions. They’re inane! He has a warped grasp on reality, particularly when bragging about Russian military technical superiority to anything the US has got. MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE WE’VE ALLOWED GODDAMN RUSSIAN SPIES TO COME WORK IN OUR DAMN DEFENSE INDUSTRY AND SABOTAGE OUR MILITARY!!!!!!! What I want to know is, who the hell approved this, who approved his application for citizenship, was he fully, let alone adequately debriefed when he came here, how many polygraphs has he been given, is his work audited, who’s in on it with him, what’s his REAL motive, what’s his ulterior motive, who is he REALLY working for, and yet, if he’s so damn obvious, he wouldn’t be so damn obvious now, would he? So makes you wonder if this isn’t merely IW, put on by the DoD, if the author even exists at all and we’re merely playing at information warfare and propaganda games, and so many other options and possibilities. Frankly, I’m too busy with more important obligations, but if I had the luxury of time, I’d consider doing a little digging, because it seems to me that something’s rotten in Denmark.

Ultimately though, let’s assume the author is correct in his assessment of the wasting away of US military power, which has some truth to it. Again, fair criticisms to put forth. But the antithetical, virtually rabid, boasting, gloating, stiff dick factor for Russian military technology in its alleged superiority of everything American (which is frankly horseshit, in most cases), when he’s supposed to be a US citizen working in OUR defense industry to make our military better, all the while gushing about how damn awesome Russia is and we suck??? Doesn’t that strike you as odd? WTH don’t we deport him back to Russia if he’s got such a hardon for Putin and thinks his new country is pathetic? Why did he even bother coming here? Perchance another Oswald, a US plant? Just a thought, but then I like to conjecture all types of scenarios for most things.

Ultimately, right or wrong, propaganda or truth, the book is unreadable because the author is presented as having such a one sided superiority hangup, for the side he allegedly left. Which makes many Americans ticked off enough to stop reading the book. And so, possibly, maybe the project worked for the DIA or DARPA or RAND or whomever. It stinks too much and too obviously to be legit.

Work of fiction and not recommended. Two stars for amusement and creativity, as well as intended “mystery” scenario given to the author. Sadly, a waste of time and money.

View all my reviews

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A “Major” Status Update

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 18, 2019

I published this article on LinkedIn today. I thought I would share it here. If you wish to see it at the source, you can find it on my LinkedIn profile. However, I’m going to republish the piece in its entirety here, since not everyone has a LI account and some would not be able to read it.

 

A “Major” Status Update

 

Hello. I’ve decided it is long past time to write a personal status update with explanations about several issues regarding myself, our business, and my goings on here on LinkedIn. Sorry for taking so long. My last update was in September (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/major-changes-scott-holstad/) and a lot has happened since then, and I frankly haven’t had the time to write another until now – and many of you have been inquiring into my status, so I feel I owe you a promised explanation.

As many of you know, I’ve had some severe health problems for awhile, which worsened considerably last year, resulting in three near-death experiences, ample time spent in and at various hospitals, countless tests, procedures, medications, etc. In November, several things occurred which resulted in a number of injuries, for which I’ve had to undergo more tests and past and future surgeries. What I didn’t realize was there apparently was more under the surface, which when added to some pre-existing conditions and issues, resulted in new and worsening symptoms that didn’t initially make much sense, but which accelerated at a shockingly fast pace, week by week. I won’t list most symptoms, but suffice it to say that among them were signs of increased cognitive impairment. That actually isn’t entirely new, but the rate of progression was astonishing, compared to previously, and new symptoms were disturbing and confusing.

Typically, I started researching like crazy, about anything remotely associated with these symptoms, and a pattern started to emerge, which when added to a series of events dating back to at least 2016, chronologically showed evidence of growing problems. Indeed, I was diagnosed with a particular condition as far back as 2017 and put on some strong medication. I was overseen by several specialists, but that was largely put on the backburner last year when I “died” in June, and then with the chaos that followed.

In any event, I began to figure things out in January, started making more notes, and came up with not one, but two related conditions, which when one considered the symptoms, the ways in which such conditions emerged, and events in my life that chronologically matched periods of memory impairments and numerous other issues, really made sense. I developed a detailed theory and discussed it with my wife, who was resistant. I wrote a lengthy logical document detailing what I just mentioned, gave it to her and she was finally convinced. I then met with doctors, discussed this/these with them, gave them the information, and they agreed with my self-assessment/diagnosis. So, I’ve been put on some new medication and I was given some information, advice, and an outlook which wasn’t very … optimistic. The potential exists that I am in an advanced stage of this/these conditions, generally related to cognitive impairment, potentially quite severe. I’m sure you can figure things out for yourselves. I have an appointment for far more extensive testing soon. We’ll know better then what we’re looking at. At this point, the doctors currently overseeing me have generally given me six months to two years to live, with a strong emphasis on the former. Basically, they said it would be surprising for me to see 2020. I haven’t told my elderly mother, nor has my wife told her family. We’re discussing this with no one. Only my doctors know anything, and I want to keep it that way. Of course, anything is possible and further testing may show these specialists are wrong, or at least their prognosis is off base. But I’m pretty convinced. I’ve been keenly aware of my progressively worsening state on a daily basis, and my wife admits that she too has observed me worsening regularly since December. I’m looking at an incurable, irreversible, terminal condition. I’ve never been afraid of death. I’ve come so close to death in so many ways over my lifetime that I simply have no fear. I DO fear a few ways to die. For instance, I never relished the notion of crashing to earth in a plane. And like my parents, none of us wanted to ever get something like Alzheimer’s (who does?). Whatever the case, one rarely gets to choose what method, what time, under what conditions. For most, it just happens when it happens. So my concerns now are to take care of details for my wife and her future, do whatever is necessary to slow down and stop working, to shut down the company (Yes, I intend to shut down WireMe Designs, LLC sometime this year.), and to try and make it day to day. For many months now, my life has radically changed. My usual habits and patterns have been altered. Now, I am constantly fatigued, but I often can’t sleep at all and will go 48 and 72+ hours without sleep before having a night where I sleep to 11:30 the nexmorning. I’m also a lot weaker, more prone to falls, and have been having more trouble walking. I’ve used a cane for some time, but doctors insisted in late 2018 that I start using a walker, which has really taught me humility. Severe stomach problems have also returned, notably severe nausea, incredibly extreme pain, and often an inability to eat at all; there are days I simply don’t eat. Furthermore, I have suffered from Trigeminal Neuralgia Type 2 for a decade, as well as many serious back conditions, resulting in dozens of surgeries. For years, I’ve lived daily with indescribable pain, and it impacted me terribly the first two years, but I came to adapt to a large degree, and my pain tolerance level is actually extremely high by most accounts. However, my pain is greater than ever and my entire body hurts nearly constantly, and now most of my days consist of attempting to do some necessary things, now very difficult, and then of simply existing, at various time, barely cognizant. I shut down my Facebook account and am no longer active on virtually any social media except LinkedIn, and my time here has decreased. And as many of you have found out, it’s nearly impossible for me to reply to the large number of messages and emails I regularly receive. I’m having to limit my interactions because my window of opportunity for daily productivity has been radically shortened. So forgive me if it seems like I’m ignoring you because it’s not that I don’t want to interact with you – I’m just very limited now. So, I’ll do what I can to keep sharing relevant articles, posting commentary, writing the occasional article, and I’ll keep making connections with people, but I can’t do what I’ve typically done in the past, and that’s give significant time, energy or effort to any project or favor requests that come my way. With many apologies. So, I wrote more than I intended, but I felt like after all this time, I owed an explanation, and I needed to explain my current and future status, as well as that of the company’s. I appreciate everyone in my network and those who follow me, and I appreciate any support thrown my way. You have my gratitude. I’ll probably be on here less than normal, but I’ll try to get on regularly for as long as possible. Cheers to you!

Scott Holstad

April 18, 2019

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Good “Pain” Article: “25 ‘Scary’ Side Effects of Chronic Pain We Don’t Talk About”

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 16, 2019

I subscribe to a health e-zine some of you may know: The Mighty. It tends to focus on areas such as cancer, mental illness, disability, chronic pain, chronic conditions, rare diseases and many more topics. I have several primary categories I read it for.

Today I found an article there that I really felt like I could seriously relate to. As many of you know, I’ve been having to deal with, among other things, an increasing number of diseases, disorders, and conditions that result in chronic pain for the past decade, foremost of which is Trigeminal Neuralgia Type 2 — but there are many others. And just like with other health categories, The Mighty often comes through with a really relevant article, and I thought this one on chronic pain was good today. Entitled “25 ‘Scary’ Side Effects of Chronic Pain We Don’t Talk About,” I can relate to many of these, and I could add many more of my own. I thought about just putting a link to the article here, but thought readers might not be inclined to click on it, so with apologies to The Mighty, in addition to the link, I’m going to re-post the entire (short) article here for you to read. I welcome comments. Thanks.

Paige Wyant authored this.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________pain

As those who live with it know, chronic pain can result in so many more symptoms and side effects than “just” pain. Pain conditions can have an impact on just about every part of your life, thus provoking a wide range of emotions.

Living with a chronic, unpredictable condition that is tough to manage can naturally affect your mental and emotional health – and one of the most common side effects pain warriors experience is fear. Many may understandably feel scared and anxious about their health, and worry about what their future might look like.

To help others better understand why those with pain conditions might struggle with feelings of fear, we asked our Mighty community to share a “scary” side effect of chronic pain they experience, and how they cope with it. If the following sound familiar to you, know you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. You get so used to being in pain you don’t always have a firm grasp on what’s serious pain anymore. I just got a stress fracture in a new surgical area but I never felt the pain was high enough to be concerned over. Thankfully I’ve learned over the years to err on the side of caution and check with my doctors more often than I’d personally prefer. But every time it turns out to be something serious, it drives home the fact that to me… that serious problem presented as only minor pain.” – Amber R.
  2. If I’m this sick and have this many complications at at 29 years old, what will 39…49… 59 look like for me? It’s scary.” – Stephanie B.
  3. The toll it can take on my overall mental health. In the middle of a flare, days can blend together and I start feeling pretty depressed. I have to be extra intentional about interacting with others and getting outside of my head.” – Laura F.chronic pain, 
  4. The fact that no one can see what I’m going through, and that it will never go away. Pain caused by central nervous system disorders can’t be seen, there’s no evidence, so the only person who knows what I’m going through is me. That isolation scares me.” – Amy C.
  5. Unknowingly lashing out at loved ones and friends when I’m in a pain flare. I don’t even know I’m doing it at the time, and when all is said and done I’ve usually hurt someone’s feelings. Relationships can suffer because of pain.” – Kathryn M.
  6. CollapsingI hate it. It just happens in a flash and I can’t always feel it coming first. My biggest fear happened recently – my pain surged, my legs collapsed, and I fell flat on my butt in a crowded room. I have never been so embarrassed.” – Katelyn I.
  7. There are times when I cannot get out of bed. I can barely move at all, including my jaw to be able to eat or take meds. To cope, I focus on what I need to do to improve my situation. I slowly do gentle stretching exercises starting with my fingers and working to other joints. When I’m able to move enough, I get a protein shake from the mini fridge next to my bed and drink it through a straw, which I keep on my nightstand. Usually by that time I am able to open my jaw enough to take medications. Then I take deep breaths and remind myself the symptoms are temporary while I wait for the meds to kick in.” – Jackie R.
  8. Trying to keep my job for the health benefits when I can barely function.” – Ceil B.
  9. The financial repercussions. Not being able to work full-time, plus medical expenses and raising three girls on my husband’s salary is scary. I don’t know how people do it. I’m not depressed – I’ve been there – I know what it is, but some days I feel like they’d all be better off without the burden of my health issues. It’s just exhausting, and frustrating, and infuriating… all the time.” – Jen M.S.
  10. Forgetting for that split second that you can no longer accomplish a certain natural action of your body, and making it hurt worse. The forgetting of some things is very scary, very. I think our minds need to over compensate in other areas, so we simply become forgetful. For me, very very scary, especially at first. And looking back and realizing things that occurred before I was diagnosed were signals. Scary stuff.” – Sky C.
  11. Wondering if this is the way it will be forever or if this is only the tip of the iceberg and it will get worse. Is my 10 today the same as my 10 next month?” – Sarah E.
  12. My memory loss. Ever since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, my memory has been getting progressively worse. I’ll forget what I’m doing as I’m doing them. I’ll forget what I’m saying mid sentence. It’s scary because I’m 18. It shouldn’t be this way. I cope by writing everything that is important down and making sure that I’ve got notes and lists of everything.” – Abi S.
  13. Not being able to be the mom I want to be. Feeling like I’m not enough for my kids physically, emotionally, or financially. I’m not just a single mom but a solo mom to my youngest since his ‘father’ isn’t involved at all. And I’m the primary parent to my oldest.” – Sarah N.M.
  14. The doctors’ inability to help me manage it. There are so many laws governing what pain medicines can be given and for how long that it’s almost impossible to get effective pain management. It seems like doctors are now trained to assume everyone (especially those with relatively invisible illnesses like EDS) is seeking pain meds for an addiction. This results in an environment that discourages those who have legitimate pain from asking for the help they need. I’m literally terrified to ask for pain medicine, and usually my husband has to speak up for me or encourage me to seek the help I need.” – LeAnn H.
  15. Suicidal thoughts. Before the pain I loved life and the future but now I’m scared of it all driving me into some pretty dark places. Spending time cuddling with the kids and cats helps temporarily.” – Shayla F.W.
  16. Symptoms that mimic stroke or heart attack. I have lost feeling on the entire left side of my body, lost my ability to speak, and also had severe chest pain due to the various chronic conditions I have. It is always difficult to decide if I need to go to the emergency room, or if my symptoms are ‘normal.’” – Lisabeth B.D.P.
  17. Fear of the unknown for me. My pain changes day to day with EDS and has gotten significantly worse while moving to more and more joints and organs of my body over the last few years alone. I fear not knowing how much pain there will be in 10 or 20 years, when at 30 I’m already not sure what tomorrow’s pain will look like. I have to remind myself every day that God is in control and I only need to take things one day at a time.” – Meg S.
  18. When I get a different answer every time I go to the doctors of what is exactly wrong.” – Samantha K.
  19. “The times when I’m incoherent and on the verge of losing consciousness due to how severe my illnesses are. I purposefully avoid medications that alter my mental state because they cause me such great anxiety, but, when I am in a long bout of severe pain, my mind and body can no longer handle it and so I succumb to being unconscious and it is terrifying. Waking up and not knowing where you are or what happened. How long you were out. I cope by staying away from social situations and staying home so if I do pass out I’m in a safe environment and less embarrassed.” – Caitlin M.
  20. Feeling like I’ll never reach my potential because the pain limits me more than I want to admit.” – Jacqueline B.
  21. Applying for SSD and getting denied, after giving 30 years in service to this country in the Corps and government agencies. Now a SSA bureaucrat tells me I’m not disabled enough. Financial ruin because I can barely get out of bed in the morning due to the pain. As a single parent, just trying to grocery shop is something I have to mentally gear up for for hours because I dread the pain. I feel deserted by friends, family and my government. Literally don’t know where to turn. That’s my scary…” – Jim R.
  22. Making plans and not knowing if you’ll be able to come through. The feeling of letting people down can be as just as bad as the pain itself, knowing others are counting on you… but you just push through and pray you don’t collapse for good.” – Erica F.
  23. I never know what I’m able to do. I can be OK one day trying to catch up on all that I’ve slacked on. Then be completely debilitated crying for two weeks.” – Nikki D.
  24. Watching the symptoms evolve in our daughter is by far the scariest and hardest thing about this condition for me. I know exactly what’s she’s in for and I can only pray that early diagnosis will give her an easier future.” – Crystal F.
  25. The worst part of my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and all the other things that seem to come with it is guilt. Mostly, I feel guilty of the toll this has brought to my family. The guilt doesn’t seem to end there though. It trickles into every aspect of life itself. Guilt of the day going by with nothing productive done. Guilt that I’m not the mom and wife I used to be. Guilt that my family isn’t nourished with healthy meals because I haven’t been able to cook for so long. Guilt that my children are showing the exact same symptoms of this genetic illness. Guilt that my brother [died by] suicide over this same illness. Guilt that we didn’t have answers sooner. The list could go on and on. Chronic illness never ends, not even if we are tired and are begging for it to go away. The only way I know how to deal with it, is to take one day at a time. Every day I try and remain hopeful and remind myself that I’m not the only one fighting chronic illness and every day I just try and do what I can.” – Melissa D.

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It’s Not Just Huawei and ZTE…

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 4, 2019

I published an article on my LinkedIn page today. This is the gist.

There are other technology-based companies in China, some much bigger & wealthier than Huawei, that *could* be capable of things some accuse the more famous companies of while hiding beneath the surface. Here is the link to it if you’re interested: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-just-huawei-zte-scott-holstad.

Thanks!

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Giving up my smartphone

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 24, 2019

I’m considering this very thing and have been researching good flip phones for many weeks. I have steep technological preferences, so unfortunately, most don’t work for me, and I did order a decent and highly rated Kyrocera, only to find when I hook it to my computer, it’s not recognized and I downloaded the current device driver updates from their site and it STILL won’t work — AND they’re 13 years old! And I’ve done a lot of research and found tons of people have the same problem and AT&T (the carrier) actually has a lot of support pages for this phone, including several on this problem, none of which can currently help me.

However, after ordering this phone, I found ANOTHER phone I liked even more! A Samsung, and I’ve discovered they make some very cool ones (as do some other companies) that are “smart” flip phones that are WAY advanced and can be pretty pricey — BUT they’re not available in the US and may never be, even though there’s huge interest and demand. But many of these are sold in unlocked “international” versions, so that theoretically they should work with any 4G GSM network and carrier, such as AT&T. So I ordered one and am still waiting to get it. My main worry is no one here will know how to activate it since they’ll have never seen it, even if I have an AT&T sim, which I do. Still, it’s a Samsung Galaxy Folder 2 G1650, and while it’s not the “best” on the market (the “best” costs in excess of $12,000!!! — 12 THOUSAND!), it’s pretty freaking good and the retail price is pretty high (although not as high as a Galaxy S10+!) for a flip phone, but with my recent technology luck — which surprisingly has not been good — I’m not only worried this phone won’t work either and I’ll have to return both, but I may NEVER find the phone I’m looking for, unlike the author of the following blog, which I thought was good and wanted to share and which — if and when I get a flip phone that works and satisfies me — I’ll probably write about too, in terms of my reasons for wanting to “take a step back…”.

via Giving up my smartphone

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This Is Why Tennessee Will Win the 2018-2019 Men’s Basketball National Championship!

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 8, 2019

This Is Why Tennessee Will Win the 2018-2019 Men’s Basketball National Championship!

Best Team in America, Best Players in America

 

 

The Admiral

https://youtu.be/RMcziFVu2GE

 

Admiral Schofield vs (former) #1 Gonzaga (12/9/18)

https://youtu.be/GxkvluZ8_ic

 

Admiral Schofield, 6’6″ 245 lb Power Guard Pushes People Around

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25880289

 

 

Grant Williams, 2017-18 SEC Player of the Year, Going 23 of 23 at the Line vs Vandy, Best in 60 years, 43 Points. Future 2018-2019 Wooden Award Winner, National Champion

https://youtu.be/0fjxUdxd-Iw 

 

Grant Williams, 2017-18 SEC Player of the Year

https://youtu.be/fwfQyvTiSDw

 

Williams with the Athletic Game Saving Block

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25802926

 

6’7″ 245 lb Williams Can Use Big Frame to Clear Space and Slam it Home!

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25802437

 

 

Jordan Bone, the Quickest, Best Point Guard in America

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25910601

 

Bone, Dominating

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25910601

 

 

Kyle Alexander, Tennessee’s 6’11” Talented Center. Can shoot outside, inside, hit free throws, assists, and yeah, he blocks shots!

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25934201

 

Alexander Can Throw Down a Mean Slam Too!

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25910356

 

Another Power Block by Kyle Alexander

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25835596

 

 

Lamonte Turner, 2017-28 SEC 6th Man of the Year

https://youtu.be/NplyLOAsO8k

 

Turner Plays Both Ends of the Floor

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25880177

 

 

UT Guard Jordan Bowden with Possibly the Most Incredible Slam Dunk of the 2018-19 Season!

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25836043

 

Jordan Bowden, Tennessee Guard, Awesome Slam vs Vandy, 1/23/19 [Language]

https://youtu.be/J1kIxWsWk4o

 

Yeah, Bowden Can Slam It

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25858693

 

 

UT French Athletic Animal, Yves Pons

https://youtu.be/0bKrLPhHcmk

 

​Pons is Only 6’6,” But He Can Sky!​

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25802370​​​

 

 

​6’9″ Guard/Forward Sub, John Fulkerson

https://youtu.be/L4rYiUAlEKA

 

 

And if those videos don’t convince you, check out both the SEC and NCAA national team stats to see where this team is. I’ll list some of the highlights for you.

SEC

Team

  • #1 in points per game: 86.0 ppg
  • #1 in assists per game: 20 apg
  • #1 in field goal %: 51.5%
  • #2 in free throw %: 76.6%
  • #4 in rebounds: 38.8 pg
  • #1 in blocks per game: 5.9 ppg

Individual

  • Points per game:
    • #1 Grant Williams. 20.1 ppg
    • #6 Admiral Scholfield. 16.6 ppg
    • #18 Jordan Bone. 13.5 ppg
  • Field Goal %:
    • #2 Grant Williams. 57.9%
    • #4 Admiral Scholfield. 48.6%
    • #7 Jordan Bone. 46.1%
  • Free Throw %:
    • #1 Jordan Bowden. 91.4%
    • #7 Grant Williams. 83.5%
    • #11 Jordan Bone. 81.4%
  • Assists:
    • #1 Jordan Bone. 146. 6.6 apg
    • #11 Grant Williams. 74. 3.4 apg.
  • Rebounds per game:
    • #5 Grant Williams. 7.4
    • #6 Kyle Alexander. 7.3
    • #13 Admiral Scholfield. 6.3
  • Blocks:
    • #6 Kyle Alexander. 42. 1.9 bpg
    • #7 Grant Williams. 35. 1.6 bpg

 

NCAA

Team

  • Points per game: #6
  • Assists per game: #1
  • Field goal %: #2
  • Free throw %: #12
  • Blocks: #3

 

 

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