How to Protect Your Online Reputation

The Scope of the Problem

Given the recent events in the internet security world, I am pleading with you to secure your online identity. For those just joining the fray:

In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

I’m sure you’ve seen commercials like these regarding identity theft, and, funny as they are, they probably leave you slightly troubled… even if you think “that could never happen to me” (NB: I don’t have Citibank Identity Protect and do not endorse their particular product in any way).

Continue reading “How to Protect Your Online Reputation”

Physical Health

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I’ve been using MyPlate from Livestrong for a couple of years now to track my food and exercise intake, and initially saw very impressive results – over about 10 months I dropped from 205 to 168 pounds. I would go to the gym in my apartment to do the elliptical for ~30 minutes three times a week or so and tried to eat as healthily as possible, mostly keeping track of foods and being aware of what I was eating so I would ration my calories (“I could eat this candy but it’s 45 calories and I only have 200 left for today…”).

I certainly didnt’t subscribe to any new fad diet or anything, I basically ate the usual foods but exercised portion control. And as I’m fond of saying, I’ve discovered the secret to weight loss: eat well and exercise. I recently heard of Timothy Ferriss‘ 4-Hour Body and it sounds like an interesting idea, although as an MD myself, I’m certainly skeptical; maybe I’ll give it a read in my spare time.

And despite being a doctor myself, I make sure to have my own primary care physician to make sure I’m getting the necessary “health care maintenance” advice and screening. A few months ago, I had somewhat elevated triglycerides but an otherwise good lipid profile (LDL 70’s and HDL 50’s) and was told to cut out things like pastries and take-out food… not that I have. I recently came across the FitBit and as a gadget-oriented guy, I thought it’d be neat to get one, but just like those fad diets versus eat well and exercise, I feel the $99 price tag is not justified in my case. It’d be just as effective making sure I take time to get to the gym and remain mindful of my eating (and logging it in MyPlate!).

What do you think? How much do you depend on gizmos and gadgets and the latest in weight-loss hardware and software to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

No One Understands!

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I have a hard time communicating with my parents. I’m pretty sure the majority of people my age feel the same way, but it’s particularly difficult with me since I’m adopted. I work in a white-collar / upper middle-class occupation and my parents grew up decidedly blue-collar. I’ve finished graduate school and then some, and they graduated high school and my sister barely finished seventh grade. When I go home, there’s such a divide between what I think is important and what they think is important or are even able to comprehend.

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I’m in a liminal zone between my family and my friends (who are much better able to understand me) but suffer under the yoke of “we’ve done so much for you, why can’t you be grateful?”. I do appreciate what they’ve done for me, but it’s nevertheless hard to spend time with them just because it’s so dissatisfying. I was watching a TED talk by Eric Whitacre about a virtual choir of Youtube singers, and was profoundly moved by the beauty of such a disparate group of people spread out through the world. I wanted my father to experience it but within seconds of the performance starting, he was making comments like “he’s a real new agey kind of composer” and “they can’t show everyone’s face because there are so many contributors.” It kind of comes down to the fact that he likes to hear himself talk. It kind of ruined it for me, and I became frustrated that I couldn’t share this seemingly simple thing (after all, who doesn’t like a well-performed song?).

I’m on a personal development quest to rid myself of judgment, recognizing that I am very critical of myself and by extension, of other people, but it’s such a challenge when I come home, I’m not sure I can do it.