Victor Rozek's award-winning and thought-provoking "Out of the Blue" column was consistently one of the best things to read in any IT publication on the market. We are pleased to add his voice and thoughts about the computer industry and the world at large in this column, which runs once a month in The Four Hundred. That's Victor above with his other half, Kassy Daggett.
July 24, 2017 Victor Rozek
I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs!
Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!
While we’re on the subject:
You can talk and talk till your face is blue!
But they still just do what they want to do!
Why can’t they be like we were,
Perfect in every way?
What’s the matter with kids today?
That little ditty was sung by the wonderfully snarky Paul Lynde from the 1960s musical Bye Bye Birdie, still performed in high schools around the country. Beyond …Read more
June 12, 2017 Victor Rozek
Corporate leaders like to compare business to the military. From top-down command structures, to having a “mission,” that can only be accomplished by “capturing” market share, and “crushing” the competition; it all sounds very Ramboesque. Given the languaging you would think every CEO was the second coming of George Patton. Turns out Patton had more regard for the people under his command.
Besides the fact that the color of corporate bloodshed is green, there is a core difference between military ethics and corporate ethics. Author and TED Talk regular Simon Sinek succinctly summarizes the difference. The military, says Sinek, “gives …Read more
May 22, 2017 Victor Rozek
Maybe she just didn’t want to carry a purse. Or maybe she liked to wear tight jeans and having anything in the pockets spoiled the look. Or maybe she wanted to keep it handy, or thought it was trendy or “dope.” But whatever the reason she, like a growing number of women, carried her cell phone tucked into her bra.
She was 39 at the time of diagnosis, a Chinese woman, non-meat eater, with no genetic or lifestyle predispositions to cancer. Under the circumstances, what her doctor found was highly unusual: multiple primary tumors in her right breast. It was …Read more
April 24, 2017 Victor Rozek
“I should sell my tongue and buy a thousand ears.” – Rumi
Rumi would not do well on social media. Not much listening going on there. We are a culture of speakers. From the advent of email through the current suite of thumb-enabled apps, all are designed to amplify the mouth. From sea to shining sea, we have become one long declarative sentence fragment.
Let’s face it: Most of us speak because we want to be heard. Only a priest in a confessional begins a conversation in anticipation of listening to someone blather on about their dysfunctions. But that’s the …Read more
March 27, 2017 Victor Rozek
It is quite possible that two of the most unexpected and consequential events of recent times had their origins with a student in Warsaw. Perhaps if he hadn’t been accepted to Cambridge University, the fates of two nations would not now be spinning off in unforeseen directions. But he was, and in Cambridge, the ripples of his fascination with psychometrics grew into an unintended tsunami. His name is Michal Kosinski, and there are a lot of people angry with him.
Psychometrics is the reality-based branch of psychology, at least in so far as it is data-driven. It is rooted in …Read more
February 27, 2017 Victor Rozek
For those of us accustomed to ingesting information in scraps, the Lincoln-Douglas debates would have been a month’s worth of forced-feeding. Lincoln, the challenger, and Douglas, the Senate incumbent from Illinois, jousted seven times in seven cities adhering to a format that would shrivel today’s sound bite-spouting politicians, and overwhelm voters with truncated attention spans.
The first candidate would speak for a solid hour, followed by a 90-minute rebuttal, topped-off by a 30-minute rejoinder from the first speaker. Three hours of political debate; three hours of issues and remedies, analysis and inspiration, with speakers erudite enough to keep audiences engaged …Read more
January 30, 2017 Victor Rozek
Blitzkrieg is a German term meaning “lightning warfare.” It describes a rapid, overpowering mechanized strike. Armored columns pour into enemy territory with overwhelming speed and numbers, crushing any opposition.
While this concept is now well integrated into modern warfare, in September of 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, it was revolutionary. Portions of the Polish border were still defended by cavalry, matched against waves of tanks and heavy armor.
A year before the invasion an industrialist received the highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Nazis: The Grand Cross of the German Eagle. He received it for his support of the Nazi …Read more
December 12, 2016 Victor Rozek
It was a known problem 16 years ago. And for 16 years it was largely ignored, even though it poses a direct threat to representative democracy. It is a problem well understood by IT professionals and cyber security experts, and it haunts the entire spectrum of computer-dependent users from the military and political establishment, to corporations and the public. It was the subject of debate, accusation, and investigation during the recent election, and it has the power to cast doubt on its legitimacy.
The problem: Through neglect or deliberate intent, computers that decide elections have been allowed to remain vulnerable
November 28, 2016 Victor Rozek
The grand paradox of humanity’s quest for wisdom is that the truly great questions have no definitive answers. Age-old questions such as: Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? And does the recent election prove that God exists, or that He doesn’t? These are the eternal questions that haunt us and rob us of sleep. But once in a while, like the proverbial blind squirrel bumping into an acorn, we stumble upon an elusive answer.
The question in question is: What single quality in a spouse will be most useful to advancing your career? It’s a deliciously
October 31, 2016 Victor Rozek
It was Fitzgerald who is credited with making what is surely one of the more self-evident observations in history. Namely that “the rich are different from you and me.” To which Hemmingway supposedly replied, “yeah, they have more money.” It didn’t actually happen that way, but small matter. The exchange–more literary than conversational–stuck in the popular imagination.
Different though they may be, the rich have the same essential needs as their less affluent brethren. Like the rest of us they crave connection, but that craving is informed by a fear of being taken advantage of. That, in brief, is the