Lessons from Randy Pausch, and what I’ve read this past week or so

As we get ready for a week off for spring break, I thought it would be good to lead off the with the reading section with this article. Randy Pausch has a piece in today’s weekly Parade, The Lessons I’m Leaving Behind.  It’s adapted from his book The Last Lecture, written with Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey Zaslow, and scheduled for release this week.

“At many colleges, professors are asked to give a “last lecture.” In this talk, they ruminate on what matters most to them. As they speak, audiences mull the same question: What wisdom would you impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?

“Last year, I agreed to give a last lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, where I’m a professor in the computer science department. A few weeks later, I learned that I had only months to live—I was dying of pancreatic cancer.

“I knew I could cancel. I have three young children, I’m married to Jai, the woman of my dreams, and there were so many things to be done. But by speaking, I knew I could put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe. Here’s what I want to share.”

Here are the seven things that matter most to Pausch:

  • Always Have Fun
  • Dream Big — Give yourself permission to dream. Fuel your kids’ dreams too. Once in a while, that might even mean letting them stay up past their bedtimes.
  • Ask for What You Want — More often than you’d suspect, the answer you’ll get is, “Sure.”
  • Dare To Take a Risk — Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted. And it can be the most valuable thing you have to offer.
  • Look for the Best In Everybody
  • Make Time for What Matters — Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.
  • Let Kids Be Themselves

See this link to the article on Parade.

And now, on to the reading list, and then excuse me whilst I go play Guitar Hero II with my boys, after a full weekend of hanging out with them.  CJ, our 7-yr-old, has mastered all songs on Easy and is just finishing Kansas’ Wayward Son.  Have a good week.

Microsoft Finally Makes Things Right — “Three weeks ago I told the tragic tale of Nathaniel, a passionate gamer whose custom Xbox 360 got “cleaned” during an extended stay at the Microsoft repair center… Today brings the final chapter to his story…”

What Makes Customer Satisfaction Research Useful? (IndustryWeek) — Marian Singer, of FiveTwelve Group Ltd. says that “the issue is not whether or not you are getting information about customer satisfaction; it is whether or not you are using information about customer satisfaction to act differently.”

Comcast customer service guru at your service – Inside Bay Area — Rick Germano is SVP of Comcast’s customer operations. In a recent interview with Mercury News Columnist Vindu Goel, Germano discussed Comcast’s efforts to improve every aspect of customer service, from repair and installation visits to billing.

Apple Software Update Includes Safari (John’s Blog – — Whoops.  “The problem here is that it lists Safari for getting an update — and has the “Install” box checked by default — even if you haven’t ever installed Safari on your PC.”

Help us Neelie! Please, help us! Safari via Apple Software Update (Jesper’s Blog) — Apple has decided to distribute its web browser, Safari, if you installed QuickTime (with no additional options) you will be presented with the dialog noted on Jesper’s Blog.

In 24/7 Web world, some writers blog till they drop (Seattle Times / New York Times) — They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home. MATT RICHTEL The New York Times

Microsoft gives Yahoo a deadline, threatens hostile takeover | Seattle Times Newspaper — Benjamin J. Romano, technology reporter at the Seattle Times, writes today that “Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer issued an ultimatum to Yahoo’s board of directors on Saturday morning: Agree to our “generous” acquisition proposal within three weeks

U.S. Health Agency Forbids Sensitive Data On Apple MacBooks — Security — InformationWeek — Employees who store medical records on laptops must use systems that run either on Microsoft’s Windows operating system or Linux. By Paul McDougall InformationWeek, April 4, 2008 11:38 AM

Apple patches 11 QuickTime flaws | Zero Day | — Apple pushed out the latest version of QuickTime and patched 11 vulnerabilities in its third security update of 2008.

Alltop, all the top stories — You can think of an Alltop site as Guy Kawasaki’s new “dashboard,” “table of contents,” or even a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points — they are not destinations per se… saved by 1457 other people

Public face of Windows Vista leaves Microsoft (Betanews) — By Nate Mook, BetaNews, April 3, 2008 — Nick White left MS… sad. BetaNews calls Nick “the man who became the public face for Windows Vista — and often bore the brunt of criticism directed at the OS — through blog posts and community events has resigned.

Comcast swaps HD quality for quantity (BetaNews) — By Jacqueline Emigh, BetaNews, April 2, 2008 — To carve out room for more HD channels, Comcast has now made the decision to sacrifice on the side of quality. But will customers, already hesitant to pay extra for HD content packages, accept this compromise?

Aztec math code is cracked (Los Angeles Times / Seattle Times) — By Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times — “It has long been a mystery of Aztec arithmetic: What is three arms plus five bones? Now researchers know: Five hearts.”

Microsoft Announces Extended Availability of Windows XP Home for ULCPCs — Here’s a Q&A with Michael Dix, General Manager of Windows Client Product Management — April 3, 2008 – Today Microsoft announced the worldwide extension of the availability of Windows XP Home for an emerging, new class of mobile personal computers commonly known as ultra-low-cost PCs, or ULCPCs.  Also see Windows XP to get reprieve for low-cost laptops on Yahoo! News

Ars Book Review: “Here Comes Everybody” by Clay Shirky: Shirky contends that the really big impacts are still to come, as these technologies spread to our less geeky relatives, friends, and neighbors.

Windows Mobile 6.1 Phones – Reviews by PC Magazine — Looking to upgrade your Windows Mobile smartphone? These six handsets are the first ones to sport Microsoft’s new and improved mobile OS. by Sascha Segan, April 2, 2008

Mobile Media Mavens – Reviews by PC Magazine — Tired of carrying a dedicated digital music player? Want to watch TV and movies on your phone? These are the handsets to get. by Jamie Lendino

The Strategy of the Fighter Pilot | Fast Company — By: Keith H. Hammonds, Business is a dogfight. Your job as a leader: Outmaneuver the competition, respond decisively to fast-changing conditions, and defeat your rivals. That’s why the OODA loop, the brainchild of “40 Second” Boyd… saved by 25 other people

Microsoft vs. Apple: Who patches zero-days faster? (computerworld) — Apple’s teasing commercials that imply its software is safer than Microsoft’s may not quite match the facts, according to new research revealed at the Black Hat conference on Thursday by researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology…

Experiencing the goodness that is Windows Mobile 6.1 (The Windows Experience Blog) — Brandon covers the upgrades to Windows Mobile 6.1 – he has “had the pleasure of running around with Windows Mobile 6.1 on my Samsung BlackJack II for the last few weeks and would like to share some notable improvements and new features…”

Panoramic Stitches from Around the Pacific Northwest (The Windows Experience Blog) — Brandon loves panoramic stitching. He did a little roadtrip and created several super panoramic stitches (Grand Coulee Dam, Dry Falls, Seattle, etc). Check it out.

Substance Abuse: Debunking a bogus claim about Clinton’s legislative record ( — Jess Henig of Newsweek (Apr 1, 2008) looks at “a misleading e-mail has been making the rounds, alleging that Clinton has fewer legislative accomplishments than Obama, and that they are less substantive.

Lawmaker seeks end to daylight savings (Herald Tribune Florida) — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:30 a.m. — TALLAHASSEE — One Florida lawmaker wants to end the annual rites of springing forward and falling back. State Sen. Bill Posey wants the state to stop using daylight-saving time.

Home Server Hacks: Add a 500 or 750 GB Hard Drive to your Windows Home Server — Microsoft MVP Donavon West asks: “Want more backup and shared storage capacity for your WHS? It’s quick, easy and relatively inexpensive to add a 500 or 750 GB hard drive to your HP EX470/475 Home Server.”

BetaNews | How big is your ‘environmental footprint?’ asks Xerox — by Michael Hatamoto, BetaNews March 26, 2008, 3:57 PM Xerox has created new “Sustainability Calculator” software that allows customer businesses to evaluate the impact of their printers, copiers, and other devices from any manufacturer…

Wowio : Download Copyrighted eBooks for Free. Legally. | — If you’re comfortable with reading books on a monitor or mobile phone, this site might be for you. Wowio lets you legally download copyrighted ebooks from leading publishers for free. These include works of classic literature, varirty of college textbooks and more.

BetaNews | How does the US really rank in broadband access? — By Jacqueline Emigh, BetaNews, March 24, 2008 — In numbers that differ markedly from those cited by the US government and other sources, the European Commission is reporting that eight European countries all have higher household broadband deployment…

Hidden Value In Customer Calls — Customer Call Centers — InformationWeek — Companies are using call-center apps to learn more about customers By Rick Whiting InformationWeek August 12, 2002 12:00 AM (From the August 12, 2002 issue)

Unintended Consequences of Overlooking the Obvious with Technology

Comcast accuses FCC of impotence | The Register — Comcast has told the chairman of US Federal Communications Commission that he has no legal right to prevent the company from busting BitTorrents.

A Conversation with Michael Gerber (businessweek) — March 24, 2008 — The small business guru and best-selling author argues that anyone can become an entrepreneur.

Microsoft’s Ultimate Extras overhyped, users underwhelmed — By TODD BISHOP, P-I REPORTER — A Microsoft plan to reward some of its most enthusiastic Windows users has instead frustrated them by falling short of its promise. The company acknowledges the problem, says it ran into unexpected complications and vows to

Smoothing the Way for Web Video — Live streaming video still has its fair share of hiccups, but the industry is working to ensure the supply of bandwidth keeps up with demand by Peter Burrows

Miro – Reviews and free Miro downloads at — You can subscribe to channels of Internet video, download videos, and watch them full screen, one after the other, all in one application. Internet video becomes Internet TV.

How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong — Wired, By Leander Kahney 03.18.08 — “Jobs’ fabled attitude toward parking reflects his approach to business: For him, the regular rules do not apply. Everybody is familiar with Google’s famous catchphrase, “Don’t be evil.” It has become a shorthand mission statement for Silicon Valley, encompassing a variety of ideals that — proponents say — are good for business and good for the world: Embrace open platforms. Trust decisions to the wisdom of crowds. Treat your employees like gods. It’s ironic, then, that one of the Valley’s most successful companies ignored all of these tenets.”

Corporate employee blogs: Lawsuits waiting to happen? | Tech news blog – CNET

Customer Experience Management Conference – Mar 27-28, 2008 — At The Conference Board’s 2008 Customer Experience Management Conference, industry leaders will reveal how they have created customer centric organizations that deliver results.

(Current to end of March.)

Tags: misc, articles, what I read, Randy Pausch.

5 replies on “Lessons from Randy Pausch, and what I’ve read this past week or so”

This is a fantastic piece!  ABC is profiling a special tonight on Prof. Pausch, actually.  Incidentally, anyone who needs a great web host – should hook up with Server Intellect – they are one of the first Windows Web Hosts and Microsoft Gold Certified Partners to offer Windows Server 2008 ‘Longhorn’ on all Dedicated Servers.

The last lecture is an excellent piece.  the 7 things bullet list is wonderful too.  worth posting somewhere, if I did that kind of thing:)

Sidenote: convenience of embedding wikipedia link on people is much appreciated.

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