From sea to shining sea

If there is anything I have learned in the past 15 years since coming to America in 2000, it is that America is beautiful. Today, I will be dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean as I spend Fourth of July with my parents in Jacksonville, FL this year. I can't help but think that exactly one year ago, my breath was being taken away, in much the same way, by the Pacific Ocean at


, and for everything in between, I am endlessly grateful.

Looking out into the Atlantic Ocean (Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, FL)

America is great because it is so vast. It's not only vast in landscapes, but also vast in ideas and in diversity of its People.

Each city that I have had the chance to visit in the past year has been so absolutely different, each so absolutely gorgeous, energizing and vibrant in their own ways. Yet, what is more noticeable is all the things that weave us together as Americans and the common story, aspirations, hope and Dream we all share, whether born here or not.

America is not perfect and we have made mistakes, many of them. In fact, the manner in which we became such a vast Nation is not one of our best moments. But, as Emily Mortimer (MacKenzie McHale) says in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom,"America is the only country on the planet, that since its birth, has said over and over and over that we can do better. It's part of our DNA."

People around the world look to America when they need a leader, a Nation that has a moral compass to stand up for the fundamental rights of all People and a Nation that recognizes the values it was created for. There's a lot to easily be cynical about, but it is the moments where America acts uniquely that we so often forget about how great our home is. From creating some of the brightest minds and promoting creativity to taking action on some of the world's hardest problems, America still remains both a force for good and a beacon of hope for much of the world. We are not in that position because we are perfect—we are in that position because we can so honestly, openly and vigorously have the tough conversations publicly, while still remaining one Nation.

A lot of people compare America with China nowadays. They talk about the Chinese government working so efficiently, a comparison that scares me. Efficiency is not what we want and was not what our Founding Fathers intended for. That's also not how democracy works, even if the world is moving faster now. For all the gridlock we have, we should also keep in mind that this Nation was built on the notion that there is no one right way and that all ideas should be put on the table, to be considered and discussed by the American People.

So, this Fourth of July, while you celebrate with friends, good food and amazing fireworks, also take a moment to reflect on all the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans and all the responsibilities so many of us, so often, shy away from. Reflect on how different we each are as Americans, but also everything that makes us One Nation. Reflect on all the mistakes we have made, how We the People can all work together to make this Nation better and all that we can be proud of and celebrate.

And so...

I pledge allegiance, to the Flag, of the United States of America,

And to the Republic, for which it stands.

One Nation, under God.

Indivisible. With Liberty and Justice for all.

Cross-posted on Google+:

Ballmer, don't be the jealous goat.

Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, is at it again, complaining about +Google and blaming its dooms on Google's success ( via +ReadWrite). In the past years, Microsoft has gotten so jealous that it has practically forgotten all that's good with itself. And so, a short story...

"A farmer in a village had a goat and a donkey. The farmer used to make the donkey work hard and fed him good food - carrots, radish, corn, etc. The goat was very unhappy since it had to find food on it's own and eat grass. It became very jealous of the donkey.

The goat thought of a plan. The goat thought that if the donkey stopped working, it would get the good food the donkey got from the farmer. So the goat pushed the donkey into a large hole. The donkey was badly hurt and it could not walk.

The farmer became very sad seeing the donkey's bad health condition. He wanted the donkey to recover soon from illness since he had to get work from the donkey. The farmer thought that feeding the donkey with goat's soup might make the donkey recover from illness soon. Hence, the farmer killed the goat and gave the donkey it's soup.

So instead of getting the donkey's food, the goat itself became food for the donkey."

Microsoft is a strong company. With lots of potential. But instead of focusing on how it can fulfill its potential, it has entered an endless cycle, twisting itself into a windsor knot, to try to take out Google. To try and use taxpayer's dollars against a company which individuals choose to use at his or her discretion. To try and get governments to "control" Google, even after the Federal Trade Commission found no wrongdoing.

Ballmer, stop with the fabricated claims Microsoft and continually create, especially when Microsoft does the same thing. Stop being a company so jealous of another that you forget all that's good with yourself. Stop getting so hell-bent at destroying Google because you think their success has led to your doom. Stop yourself from deteriorating, caused by your laser focus on Google. Stop being the goat.

Or else one day, Microsoft will vanish into the state of nothing. Don't Scroogle yourself.

Ballmer, you're leaving soon. Stand for something. Leave a legacy of morality at Microsoft. Of instilling values that were lost in the past decade. Of humility. Of innovation. Of truthfulness. Because Microsoft can achieve so much, if it focused on what mattered, itself.

Courtesy of:
Look at +T-Mobile. Look at +Yahoo! These companies were perceived to be doomed. Yet, in the past months, they have refocused on themselves and they're becoming the underdog that people are starting to take seriously again. T-Mobile, whose focus on innovative plans and programs, and not its CEO's harsh criticisms of other carriers, is now a beacon of hope for many people who are fed up with traditional mobile carriers. Yahoo!, whose focus on recreating a gorgeous experience, has attracted back both users and employees.

Microsoft. You can do it. I want a day when I can't wait to get my hands on a Microsoft product. A day when I am excited about Microsoft's releases. But that will not happen when all you do is steer me in the direction of looking at Google.

(short story: via Kuttees) 

A free Windows 8 is the best strategy for Microsoft

To consumers, Microsoft has claimed that Windows 8, released in October 2012, is beautiful, fast and flexible. In the business world, Microsoft knows that its newest operating system is critical for its future and the entire Windows 8 lineup, if it succeeds, will allow Microsoft to stay competitive and relevant in the technology industry crowded by younger companies. That's true, and that is exactly why Microsoft should have launched Windows 8 at the price of "free."

Paid Upgrade, No Thanks.
Currently, Microsoft advertises an upgrade to Windows 8 on the PC to start at $39.99. That price is too steep for the typical PC user, without even mentioning the $69.99 base price for the Pro version at Best Buy. For many who are running Windows 7 or earlier, and are content with their system, Windows 8 will just be another cycle that's insignificant to them.

Instead, back in October, and even now, Microsoft should have sold a Windows 8 upgrade for $0.00. They have the resources to do so. It might make me look crazy, but think about it this way: it's a gateway to other Microsoft products (the rest of the Windows 8 lineup, RT and Phone) and a true introduction to the new Microsoft.

Windows 8 boasts "Live Tiles."

Incentive Needed for Learning Curve.
Technology enthusiasts may understand that Windows 8 actually consists of a traditional PC and mobile ecosystem, all wrapped into one. It may be clear to them that Windows 8 is built for laptops and PC's, Windows 8 RT is built for tablets and Windows Phone is built for smartphones. All three versions have Live Tiles and similar features that show all are truly from one family.

But what about the general public? Many people have no clue, and could care less, what Windows 8 is, much less Windows 8 RT (Surface) and Windows Phone 8. The market is filled with Android and iOS devices that are much more familiar than the Windows 8 interface.

How do Live Tiles even help keep track of what's important in life? How is Windows 8, along with the RT and Phone version, "reinvented around the user?" The new interface scares many people. And, those same people will not want to pay fo something just to have to learn how to do the simplest tasks all over again, especially if nothing is broken the way it is now.

The word "free" speaks volumes. No one likes change, but everyone likes free and new things. The confusion and nerves would disappear if they were somehow exposed to Windows 8, and that's the best way. If Microsoft pushed a free upgrade to existing PC users, who then became accustomed to Windows 8, Live Tiles and all the features that come with it, guess what will happen when they see a Surface tablet or a Windows Phone 8 with Live Tiles the next time they're at an electronic store looking for a tablet or smartphone?

By introducing people to Windows 8 in the PC environment, which Microsoft undoubtedly dominates, more and more people will understand the new Windows brand and interface, in turn spurring sales of the mobile versions of Windows (RT and Phone) because they've been familiarized with it. Microsoft could even have given away free SkyDrive storage, and required download by way of signing up for an Outlook address, further tying in all of Microsoft's properties, in a full-throttle marketing ploy.

This would have done more for Microsoft than what the $39.99 for a Windows 8 upgrade ever will.