Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Review: Second Suns by David Oliver Relin

When I first received my copy of this book as an advanced reader copy, I had skimmed the cover and dove directly into reading the first chapter.  It was only in a brief moment, when I had set my book aside that I head realized that the author, David Oliver Relin, was dead.

Suddenly, what was once a compelling story, became now also a very bittersweet tale, knowing that while the world now knows the bright and hopeful tales of two doctors, it also is the last story for Relin to tell.

At the end of the book, Relin writes "Some books you want to write. Others you have to write."  You don't have to get farther than the first chapter to realize that there is a sense of destiny that brings the American ophthalmologist Geoffrey Tabin together with his Nepalese counterpart Sanduk Ruit.  Tabin, a bombastic character with a sense of adventure, and Ruit, teaming up to bring eyesight to the blind and innovate surgical procedures to be cheap, believing that everyone should have access to eyesight, not just the privileged.

Through the span of time covered, Relin is very adept at weaving their collective tale as they fight against not just less-than-ideal conditions in remote areas, but also political machinations, in order to ultimately build a base for artificial lenses in Kathmandu that makes it possible for them to spread their practices, and provide sight to people in China and Rwanda.

Some other customer reviews I have seen have argued that Relin's account can get a little tedious at times, and to a certain extent I agree.  However, the profound goodness in these stories covers the majority of tediousness, and Relin overcomes slow points with more engaging anecdotes soon to follow.

All-in-all, a beautiful read that reminds you of the amazing amount of good that can be accomplished to bring light to a world shrouded in darkness.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Things I Don't Get: Time Warner Cable vs. CBS

 If you are like me and live in one of the zones where Time Warner Cable and CBS are fueding, you know that your cable television lineup now no longer includes CBS.

Now, my question is, why don't television and cable executives understand that no good can come of their feud?

Anyone who has any interest in following the evolution of entertainment, knows that the ratings system and structure of broadcast television is changing faster than the antiquated system can keep up with.  Viewers now have options to record or stream content at any hour of the day with many of their favorite programs, or sometimes delay gratification for an entire season and the gobble shows in binge-viewing.  So, needless to say, this does affect an already faulty ratings system that depends upon randomized viewers with boxes recording viewership of live programming.

So, with declining viewership to begin with, what good does it do to play chicken over ridiculous profits? Both sides need to get a clue that the only result will be customers driven away to getting most of their programming other ways.  Either people will get fed up enough that they switch to DirectTV or AT&T U-verse and switch off the cable entirely.  Then once they do negotiate, undoubtedly Time Warner Cable will end up offloading the ridiculous amount that CBS offers onto paying customers who will no longer be able to pay and will quit.

In the meantime, we all have to suffer through radio ads where CBS encourages listeners to call up and demand that Time Warner Cable cave and bring back CBS.  Meanwhile, those of us who have heard the other side, know that CBS is demanding a new contract with a 600% fee increase.  No wonder Time Warner Cable refused to pay.

Normally I wouldn't side with big cable, but when CBS also feels too big to fail as the most watched television network, maybe we all need to reconsider when television and cable networks get too greedy for their own good and send a message to both by fleeing in droves.

For a business model that doesn't want to change, they are only enabling consumers to start an even bigger revolution whether they like it or not.