John Klossner's Ink Tank


Better security requires changes not in technologies, but in user practices

I have flown into the Dominican Republic on numerous occasions. When landing in Santiago, the (mostly Dominican) passengers break out into applause. The first time my family and I experienced this it was surprising–and quite different from the scrum that takes place when we land in Boston. Being an American who lives in the Northeastern United States, I assumed the applause was cynical, a sarcastic statement that "we made it."

I have taken the trip enough times now to understand that there is nothing cynical about the Dominicans' cheer. Passengers applaud because they are sincerely grateful for safely returning to their or their ancestors' homeland, and for the anticipated experience they are about to have. I have found that letting go of my cynicism is a useful transition for visiting the country.

By contrast, when landing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on a recent trip, I could feel all the passengers physically tighten up, as if to brace themselves for what lay ahead. My family and I were preparing to spend 10 days in Hispaniola visiting a friend and delivering relief supplies in Haiti, and then taking a bus across the island to visit friends in the small Dominican village we spent five months in several years ago. (Nobody on the bus applauded when we crossed the Haiti-Dominican border.)

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Posted by John Klossner on Jun 25, 2010 at 12:19 PM0 comments


Contest: How many federal employees does it take to change a light bulb?

Update: Click here to check out Klossner's roundup of the best entries to the "How many feds..." contest.

My recent blog entry about change in the workplace made me wonder if the old "How many [fill in the blanks] does it take to change a light bulb?" contest had ever been done for federal employees. And, even if it had, there must be more than one good answer. So here goes:

How many federal employees does it take to change a light bulb? Please submit your answers in the comments section. I'll run the best, the worst, the oddest, and the most common answers in a month or so.

Light bulb vote

Posted by John Klossner on Jun 04, 2010 at 12:19 PM48 comments


Is it leadership and innovation? Or leadership vs. innovation?

Klossner goalieMy closet is a mess. I am reminded of this as the seasons change and I have to make the transition between readily available cold-weather clothing to readily available warm-weather clothing. This transition does not necessarily take care of my mess -- I have developed a system over the years of pushing the sweaters to the side and pulling the T-shirts to the front, and vice versa. The world outside of my closet would not see me as disorganized: I run a relatively successful freelance business, I speak in complete sentences (except when the Boston Celtics are involved) and I like to keep my kitchen sink area clean at the end of the day. (Okay, my lawn is not a uniform height, but that is an experiment to see at which height grass growth will slow down.) But I know that my closet is a mess. Does this mean I, too, am a mess? Should closets in general be a place of order? After all, this is a small room where we choose to hide our clothing from the world. Weren't closets, in fact, created to hide our messes?

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Posted by John Klossner on Jun 04, 2010 at 12:19 PM2 comments