Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Imported models deemed safest vehicles

An interesting article I read today in Yahoo when I was checking my email. Is the car that you are driving equipped with the electronic stability control? According to the U.S. Insurance Instutute for Highway Safety, they mentioned that their studies show up to 10,000 fatal crashes per year could be prevented if every vehicle had the safety feature. And apparently none of the U.S. made cars make it to the U.S. insurance industry's list of safest vehicles.

By TOM KRISHER, AP Business Writer
Tue Nov 21, 8:43 AM ET

Imported models took all 13 spots on the U.S. insurance industry's list of safest vehicles this year, due mainly to a new requirement that all cars and sport utilities on the list have systems to keep them stable in an emergency.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn't bashful about its reasons for pushing electronic stability control, saying that its studies show up to 10,000 fatal crashes per year could be prevented if every vehicle had the safety feature.

"The research is so compelling that electronic stability control could help prevent many crashes from happening in the first place," institute spokesman Russ Rader said.

The list of 2007 model year winners being released Tuesday includes the Audi A6 in the large car category; the Audi A-4, Saab 9-3 and Subaru Legacy (with optional stability control) for midsize cars; the Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona minivans; the Mercedes M-class and Volvo XC90 luxury sport utility vehicles; the Acura RDX, Honda Pilot and Subaru B9 Tribeca midsize SUVs; and the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester small SUVs.

All 13 vehicles are tops in protecting people in front, side and rear crash tests based on institute tests during the year. Pickup trucks were not included because the institute has not yet tested their side crashworthiness.

Electronic stability control senses when a driver may lose control of the vehicle and automatically applies brakes to individual wheels to help make it stable and avoid a rollover.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring the technology on all new vehicles by the 2012 model year, but institute President Adrian Lund said that's not soon enough.

"We think that they are too slow," Lund said. "Automakers will probably have it as standard equipment by the time the federal standards actually take full effect."

Domestic manufacturers had no models on the list of safest vehicles because they haven't moved quickly enough to add stability control to their models, Lund said in a telephone interview.

For instance, Ford Motor Co. would have had three cars — the Ford Freestyle crossover and the Mercury Montego and Ford 500 sedans — make the list if they had stability control, the institute said. The 500 and the Montego earned top safety picks last year.

Ford spokesman Jim Cain said all three vehicles will get stability control for the 2008 model year, with versions equipped with the safety feature on sale sometime next year. The company has not determined whether the feature will be standard or optional, he said.

"We're moving in the same direction as the institute," he said.

Ford has said previously that it would put stability control on its entire lineup by the end of 2009.

General Motors Corp. said nearly two years ago that it would make the technology standard in all vehicles by 2010, including all SUVs and some full-size pickups in the 2007 model year.

Toyota has said stability control would be a standard feature across all its models by 2009.

DaimlerChrysler AG said it will have the technology on 54 percent of its vehicles this model year and will meet the federal government's timetable for the rest.

All 2007 SUVs, pickups and minivans produced by Honda Motor Co. carry the technology, while Hyundai Motor Co. said it is standard equipment on 70 percent of its 2007 vehicles.

Several other vehicles, including nine Toyota Motor Corp. models, would have made the list if they had stability control, the institute said.

No small cars made this year's list. The Honda Civic, which won last year, was knocked off due to lack of stability control on most models. The one version that has the feature doesn't have head restraints for rear crash protection, the institute said.

SUVs were eligible to win for the first time this year because the institute conducted side-impact tests on many models.

The institute said the overall awards will help people quickly compare vehicles without having to review results from multiple tests.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mr. Steve Job Final Story about Death

This is the final story that Mr. Steve Job shared with the graduates of Stanford University at Commencement on June 12, 2005. In this story about death, he mentioned, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” How true it is and it truly challenges you to live life differently.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that your are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept: No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish

Thank you for following these 3 stories of Mr. Steve Job which I had shared with you.
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Which is Easier? Create Wealth or remain poor? by Robert Taylor

We have been led to believe it is much more difficult to obtain wealth than it is to remain poor. Common sense tells us this cannot be true.

The great majority of poor people will work hard their entire lives just to pay bills and purchase essential items such as food, clothing, shelter and utilities (not to mention taxes). There is little or no money left over for entertainment, recreation, travel or nice vacations. Poor people will in most cases be forced to work hard right up to the time they die.

On the other hand, most wealthy people also work hard for their money, but with a drastic difference. They are willing to work extremely hard for a shorter period of time in order to create wealth. In some cases, they simply work smarter instead of harder.

They perform at peak periods for a season and spend the rest of their lives enjoying the fruits of their labour.

They are willing to innovate and try new projects in order to create wealth.

They refuse to be limited by what others tell them they can or cannot do or what can or cannot be done.

They are willing to step outside of their comfort zones. I define these as those areas of your life where you have done the same things over and over again until they have become the only way you know to live. You have become so complacent and comfortable that unless something drastic happens you are not willing to step out of those areas. You are unwilling to leave the known for the unknown.

A great definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results. You have to change things to change results.

We can create great wealth in our lives. We have merely to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and reach for new and higher levels of achievement.

Don't believe me? Take a good look at all those who have either achieved great wealth or performed great feats in their lives.

Their education or lack of it, financial condition, health, background or environment made no difference. They became dissatisfied with their comfort zones and stepped out of them.

It is truthfully stated that five years from now you will be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people with whom you associate.

Give this some thought. When you habitually associate with people who have nothing and want nothing, this becomes part of your mental attitude and outlook. On the other hand, associate with people who are excited about changing their lives for the better and creating great wealth. They will literally pull you with them.

Read books with no redeeming social, economic, motivational or educational value and you have only entertainment. Books and/or audio tapes which are educational and motivational will keep you going when all else tends to hold you back.

Many will say they work really hard and need to relax when they have finished their labours. The first inclination is to hit the couch or sofa and watch television. How many hours each week do you waste watching television? Could these hours be put to better use?

Rather than watch television, devote that time to reading or listening to educational and motivational materials. This can be more relaxing than watching television.

Study and if possible, associate with those who have accomplished what you wish to achieve. It is not really that difficult, for you will find those who are truly successful are enthusiastic about helping others. Please do not waste their time if you are not serious about what you wish to achieve. Let them give that time to others who will use it wisely.

Wealth and success are within the reach of every person on this planet. Decide today to get out of your comfort zone and accomplish more with your life.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mr. Steve Job, The 3 Stories, Part 2

This is the second story to the 3 stories of Mr. Steve Job about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mr. Steve Job, The 3 Stories, Part 1

I received this in my email some times back which I would like to share with you. Yet another inspiring story. It actually consists of 3 parts which are independent of each other in a way. So I would break it up into 3 posts.

This is the prepared text of the address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, who spoke at Commencement on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms. I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
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