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dream_weaver

Franklin Planner Software

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As a young lad, I had clipped a cartoon illustration of a young man with a snare drum and sticks poised atop the saying: "I march to a different drummer, whose location, identity, and musical training haven't yet been established. — Ashleigh Brilliant.

I don't know where the original clipping is today, but I was able to relocate the quip. At first I thought it said: I march to the beat of a different drummer, whose location, identity, and musical training haven't yet been established. Without the original clipping, this will serve fine for now.

 

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Byrd's of a feather, flock together.

By age seven, my family had a house built, and we moved out into rural America. The American dream. 30 year mortgage, two car garage, a tree fort for the kids, local community church.

One of the new additions to the house, over and above what we had moved from the previous resident, was a new piano. A timely acquisition. As a kid, I was naturally curious and one thing led to another. An elderly widow from the church taught piano lessons in her home in addition to some gardening, and soon my mother had made arrangements to let her eager son get some unexpected lessons in life.

Mrs Byrd was an old-school piano teacher. One of the cliches/bromides that circulated in language at the time was how "Practice makes perfect." She wielded that phrase along with other lessons with the precision of a surgeons laser.

"Yes," she cackled, "practice does make perfect. If you practice a mistake long enough, you'll get really good at it." Then she would add, "Perfect practice makes perfect."

Her old-school lessons did not stop there. She insisted on things like memorizing the lessons, proper fingerings on the scales, scales—both major and minor, not looking at the keys, or the hands while they where on the keys, sight-reading.

Looking back, in conjunction with Rand's teaching that sight and touch can be integrated to grasp a solid object, Mrs. Byrd taught that they could be connected in a different manner as well. It was not a skill I mastered for reasons I'll have yet to go into, but by learning the feel of the keys under ones hands and fingertips without looking, the ability to play chords and scales by touch without looking, adding in learning sheet music and memorization (a task that took repetition of looking at the sheet music, while trying to guide the fingers without looking—hearing my mother sing the right note in the background when I struck the wrong one) the goal, as I gather it, would be to connect the sight to the touch in another way, the ability to see the notes on the page and have the fingers touch the keys accordingly. Powerful stuff, if you ask me.

Mrs. Byrd suffered a stroke several years into my lessons. She was moved to a home, unable to care for herself any more. My mother took me to visit her once. We had walked into the room after the nurse attending had announced us. She welcomed us in. She looked like Mrs. Byrd. She sounded like Mrs. Byrd. But soon I found out just how badly her feathers had been ruffled. She and my mother talked, while I did most of the listening. At some point in the conversation, Mrs. Byrd began to fondly recall planting F Sharps and B Flats in her garden. I recall this being funny and horrifying at the same time, but it sure connected to another phrase I grew up around "Say what you mean, and mean what you say."

I still play piano to this day. No, not every day, and not with the earlier rigor. At times, I think on the lessons, both the intentional, and the accidental, the explicit and the implicit, the seen and the unseen aspects all wrapped up in the time.

In closing, I recall the two metronomes she had. A windup version, made of square based pyramid of wood with the metal arm that would swing back and forth at a speed determined by a counterweight located on the metered arm, and the dark brown box, about six inches cubed, with a small half inch domed light that would flash while a click emitted electronically from a small hidden speaker, using a dial with a set of calibrated marks used to aid in turning the dial to the desired tempo.

Thanks for reading.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Another area of music Mrs. Byrd guided in was music theory. Music theory consisted of learning the various parts of music, such as differentiating between whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and so on, how these related to time, how to indicate time within the piece, how the musical score is set up, such as for piano, between treble clef and bass clef, and so on.

In other words, recognition that in order to bring the world of music into the realm of understanding by man, it has to be conceptualized, i.e., broken down into its constituent parts and identified as well as identifying the various relationships observed between the constituent parts.

Miss Rand points out early in the first chapter of The Romantic Manifesto:

The source of art lies in the fact that man's cognitive faculty is conceptual i.e., that man acquires knowledge and guides his actions, not by means of single, isolated percepts, but by means of abstractions.

To understand the nature and function of art, one must understand the nature and function of concepts.

The relationship between philosophy and the special sciences includes the domain of music. The epistemological guidance provided by a rational philosophy can aide in identify when the proper methodology has been followed, and indicate the questions to ask in order to identify if the path of knowledge has been abandoned along the way.

Between the speaker's of Russian, Spanish, French, English, etc., interpreters use their understanding of two or more languages to transcribe from one form of one language to the same or another form of another language. In regard to this and further matters, Rand provides some indications she regards as hypothetical in this context:

In regard to the nature of music, mankind is still on the perceptual level of awareness.

Until a conceptual vocabulary is discovered and defined, no objectively valid criterion of esthetic judgment is possible in the field of music.

In a courtroom, where no rules or standards of evidence are provided, the pretense of a trial only serves to placate the participants that are either ignorant of that fact, or are using knowledge of that ignorance to perpetuate some form of a charade to be passed off as justice. This ties in well with a line from chapter four, Art and Cognition on page fifty-six. "Where no objective proof is available, it's every man for himself—and only for himself."

 

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The Franklin Planner originally started out as a paper-based time management system. The founder, Hyrum W. Smith, provided a cassette tape with an explanation of a way to approach discovering values. I am recently reminded of the gist of the talk after watching the movie entitled The Walk. The example he used in his talk involved stretching a rope or wire between the twin towers with the question "What would you be willing to step out and cross the tightrope for?

A million dollars? Your child, being dangled over the edge of the opposite tower with the threat to drop your child if you did not cross? (Jokingly he adds that this doesn't necessarily work when the child has entered the teenage years.) But the point is rather saliently made. As Rand wrote in Galt's Speech:

Emotions are inherent in your nature, but their content is dictated by your mind. Your emotional capacity is an empty motor, and your values are the fuel with which your mind fills it.

What Mr. Smith does not get into explicitly is how "f you choose a mix of contradictions, it will clog your motor, corrode your transmission and wreck you on your first attempt to move with a machine which you, the driver, have corrupted."

The management of the company I worked for at the time was impressed enough with the product that they purchased and encouraged the engineering and design staff to become familiar with the product.

Management had purchased the 6" x 9" size. It also came in a couple of smaller sizes and an 8 1/2" x 11" larger size. I stayed with the size provided with their introductory offer. I listened to the tapes, and found them highly entertaining, enticing, but not very insightful into the process.

The Prioritized Daily Task List quickly became breakdowns of the projects I was charged with, while the Daily Record of Events became a journal, a breakdown of thoughts which weighed heavily on my mind, and various analysis' to try and put them into perspective.

The Address Section became a tedious annual event of copying last years Addresses and being sure to reorganize the latest additions alphabetically.

According to a note in my electronic version of the Franklin Planner software, I exchanged my television and stereo system for a computer system in early December of 1995, a little over 3 months after implementing an electronic version at work in late August of the same year.

The software, at the time, was most likely a Visual Basic program written to piggyback atop of a Microsoft Access Database undercarriage. Analysis of the Access database indicated that the original software was likely developed for yet another organization. This became even more apparent when the platform was converted to correlate with Microsoft Outlook. This was done when Ascend 7.0 migrated to Ascend 8.0 at which point I realized I had to migrate forward, or stay with what I, in essence, understood. 

Computer programming is an evolving phenomenon. Not being a bone fide programmer myself, I chose to stick with the Ascend 7.0 and avail myself to the ability to use the Ascend data to correlate with the relatively accessible Access database cross-references. A Windows 10 upgrade prompted that the Ascend 7.0 program would be incompatible with the Windows 10 operating system. The proved to be false, as Ascend 7 still operates under the new operating system.

Thanks to virtual operating systems, it is possible to install a virtual operating system of Windows 7 or earlier, within the Windows 10 environment. This makes it possible to extend the life-cycle of Ascend 7.0 for the foreseeable future.

Miss Rand indicated that concepts, in order to be validated,  ultimately need to be reducible to the perceptual level. As we move forward in computerization, this is a fact that should not be swept under the rug of "progress". Aristotle, no matter what his errors might have been, identified the fact that "existence is identity." Alyssa Rosenberg completed this partial identification with the additional fact that "consciousness is identification:." 

Edited by dream_weaver
removed italics.

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The Franklin Planner made its debut in 1984. A quick check of my reference binders shows an initial entry in August of 1989. Prior to that point my typical method of keeping track of appointments and other details involved jotting notes on wall calendars, keeping track of working hours in a separate binder with a perpetual calendar I used my drafting tools to construct an original template and logged onto copies hole punched and inserted in a binder. I continued to log my hours into that binder until May of 2000.

I still have that binder, though I don't use it any longer. The electronic version of the Franklin Planner has supplanted this method, providing a way to track time spent in the Appointment Schedule module. Through the day, when switching from one project task to another, a mouse-click and drag between the start time and current time provides an entry to copy the project identity, as well as create notes, generate links to key contacts from the Address Book module by either name or company or custom filters.

Alternatively, from a contact in the Address Book module, simple conversational notes can be entered as well as adding new tasks or new appointments. The little I've meddled with adding New Objects, File Attachments, or New Image Attachments suggest that complications easily arise trying to use these features across multiple computers.

 

With the paper-system, the portion of a calendar carried was delimited to three months, the current month with the next two months in the wings. (Plans are always made into the future. The past only records the difference between such plans for the future, and what actually transpired.)

I took my leather binder with me—always. In his taped presentation he described the planner portion carried with you as 'hermetically sealed' to your right or left hand. Whether at work, or home, or sitting at the counter of restaurant, I eventually found this to be a truism for the time I adhered to the system as outlined by Mr. Hyrum Smith.

Whether at a booth or a counter, (or a bar I oft' frequented and acquired the nickname of purse-boy) I tended to resort to writing and analyzing what I wrote to best make sense of the thoughts that ran through my mind at those times. In retrospect, and without delving into the many pages of writings archived in the paper system starting in 1989 and running through 1996 I established my metaphysics—more or less rationalistically. While in the form of a monologue, it processed much input from highly selective sources across that same span of time.

I have no qualms about the conclusions I reached during that stretch of introspection. While done in the form of a monologue, the fact remains that my mind was the only mind that mattered (to me) in regard to any conclusion that I reached during that period of time. Do such conclusions require collusion with conclusions reached by others, or is there yet another standard by which collusion with others is rendered essentially irrelevant?

 

This is where Miss Rand makes her mark. Her ruthless exploration of fact, independent of what others may think of what she ascertains to be fact, delineates the dividing line between what is considered to be fact and what is indeed factual. Existence is Identity. Consciousness is Identification.  From the rudimentary identification of metaphysics to her highly esoteric grasp of esthetics, Ayn Rand continually centralizes the core of her beliefs around this primary key—the tenants of reason.

Adventuring into the realm of if she were correct or not—lays open the undercarriage upon which she basis her fundamental  observations. If correct, she paves the path to a much greater tomorrow. If incorrect, tomorrow lies in the hands of Kant, Plato and other such ilk.

If I am mistaken here, then I must be casting my vote with cynics that view as man's innate nature as a depraved creature, incapable of greatness, and doomed to a life of eventual failure. Such a fate, IMHO, is a fate wose than death.

May those who read this be encouraged by the fact that there are others who have read this novel as well, yet not commented.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Excerpt from "Philosophy and Sense of Life", The Romantic Manifesto:

By the time he reaches adolescence, a man's knowledge is sufficient to deal with broad fundamentals; this is the period when he becomes aware of the need to translate his incoherent sense of life into conscious terms. This is the period when he gropes for such things as the meaning of life, for principles, ideals, values and, desperately, for self-assertion. And—since nothing is done, in our anti-rational culture, to assist a young mind in this crucial transition, and everything possible is done to hamper, cripple, stultify it—the result is the frantic, hysterical irrationality of most adolescents, particularly today. Theirs is the agony of the unborn—of minds going through a process of atrophy at the time set by nature for their growth.

Prior to 1989, record keeping of events was a hit and miss thing. Bills were placed into the appropriate manila envelopes and place into a filing cabinet. Over the course of 10 years, I averaged a move every 6 months. I could look in there to cross reference where I was living at a particular time. I would keep track of things on 3 x 5 cards, such as the year, make and model of vehicle, and the approximate date when I acquired it.

The excerpt selected illustrates the ongoing battle for the mind. She indicates adolescence as the period when he becomes aware of the need to translate his incoherent sense of life into conscious terms. She doesn't indicate the span of time, the duration, over which it occurs. How long a period does he grope for such things as the meaning of life, for principles, ideals, values and self-assertion? How long does an anti-rational culture try to hamper, cripple, and stultify it?

I don't recall where I ran across the analogy of existence being the laboratory, and that each individual is a scientist to the degree of his own ingenuity. Looking back in retrospect, there are facts dealt with in life that can be viewed as a sort of experiment in hindsight.

My case was announced, and I was called up to the witness stand.

The case was scheduled in the aftermath of an automobile accident. My drivers license had been suspended, yet I found myself on the side of the road after a minor fender bender trying to sweet talk my way out of the situation with the other party. I thought I was making headway. I had offered to pay for the damages to the vehicle, and the other driver seemed amenable to the proposal.

Then a patrol car happened along the scene. The officer pulled along side of the road, turned the flashers on, and exited his vehicle to identify what was going on. As the other driver, and myself explained to the officer our discussion prior to his arrival, the driver's mother, a passenger in the vehicle, offered to help add clarification to the police officer by telling him that this nice young man had his driving privileges revoked and they didn't want me to get into trouble.

The officer asked for our licenses, vehicle registrations and proofs of insurance, and returned to his patrol car. He returned all our paperwork to us, with the exception of my drivers license, (imagine that!) and patiently waited for the tow truck he summoned to impound my vehicle, and providing me with my notice to appear in court.

Being only a couple of blocks from home, I walked back to my apartment and called around, trying to make the best of a not-so-good situation. I managed to sell the impounded vehicle, and locate another vehicle to purchase and locate some transportation to help facilitate the plans.

The impound facility was rather easy to deal with. Between a proof of sale, the buyer standing there, after the impound fee was paid, the buyer took the signed over title and drove the previously impounded vehicle off into the sunset.

Next, having the money from the sale in hand, it was a matter of acquiring a different vehicle for transportation, and going down to the Secretary of State to register the transaction as required. While I was there, I explained that I had lost my driver's license, and needed a replacement. A new photo was snapped, paperwork filled out, and I was told to expect my replacement driver's license in the mail in about two weeks.

The judge, after reading over the paperwork in front of him, addressed me saying that it was obvious that suspending my license did not stop me from driving. He began to outline the conditions under which he was ready to return my confiscated drivers license back to me, on the condition that it only be used for driving to and from work.

I don't know why I did it, but I tried to politely inquire what was wrong with me just using the license I had (having received it prior to the appearance date in the mail) when the judge requested that I give it to the bailiff to hand to him.

He looked at the two licenses in front of him, and asked me how I had gotten the second one. I explained that I had told the Secretary of State that I had lost the one, and they had issued me a new one.

Instead of a restricted license, the judge ordered me to appear at a group scheduled to meet in the near future, returned my reissued license to me and told me that he did not want to see me in his court room again.

 

In retrospect, the situation could have turned out in many different ways, and granted, the details I provided here are in alignment with what appeared a few paragraphs before the earlier cited excerpt:

"Important"—in its essential meaning, as distinguished from its more limited and superficial uses—is a metaphysical term. It pertains to that aspect of metaphysics which serves as a bridge between metaphysics and ethics: to a fundamental view of man's nature. That view involves the answers to such questions as whether the universe is knowable or not, whether man has the power of choice or not, whether he can achieve his goals in life or not. The answers to such questions are "metaphysical value-judgments," since they form the base of ethics.

It is only those values which he regards or grows to regard as "important," those which represent his implicit view of reality, that remain in a man's subconscious and form his sense of life.

The quest of meaning in life, principles, values and self-assertion go on. Principles, I've found, can be grasped intellectually, they can be recited, held onto, attempted to be understood deductively, or more profoundly experienced as inexorably true, transformed inductively by seeing how they tie into the concrete events which transpire around us.

I have found the latter experience has never been open to debate.

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27 days with no excuses permitted, re-forming the habit of making better use of this product which I've had and used in some way, shape or form for coming up on 27 years.

Hyrum W. Smith made a big deal about things dropping thru the cracks.

Mother's day came and went. A friend of mine picked up a card for her mother last weekend and left it on the dining room table for her mother. We were over at her daughter and future son-in-law's for dinner when the alarm on her phone when off, reminding her to call her elderly father to remind him to take his insulin shot.

He was somewhat abrupt with her on the phone, and when we were on our way over there the day after mother's day to drop off some groceries, she remembered she had not picked up a card for him for his wife, of many years (thinking the lack of card may have had something to do with the shortness over the phone).

We stopped off at the usual store and discovered that the Mother's Day cards had already been replaced by Father's Day cards. Inquiring with the staff, it turns out they can return them to the supplier (and had), but there were cards that had been returned via customer service, one of which was a card "from Dad, to Mom".

A simple entry into the "Task List" will prevent this oversight from occurring again. Next year, at the beginning of May and part way into June is a note to remind that she needs two cards, not just one. (We've picked up two cards several years in a row—with other diversions vying for our attentions, it managed to "drop thru the cracks" this year.)

The options on the task allow for "Complete and Forward" marking the task complete for the current day, and simultaneously requests a date for rescheduling the task.

 

In a world replete with conversations, meetings, e-mail, PLM (Project Life Management systems), personal vs. business distinctions—identifying and subsequently prioritizing personal and business values and goals, keeping track of specifics; the Franklin Planner Software was written with this in mind.

A side note, garnished from analysis of the Microsoft Access Database (*.mdb file) lead me to believe that the software was originally pioneered for the Shacklee organization. with the Franklin Planner being a commercialized spinoff.

The last Franklin Planner software program that used the Microsoft Access Database (that I am aware of) was Version 7.0 (build date 2/8/1999) If you have familiarity with Microsoft Access Database, a linked Access database to the Franklin Planner *.mdb allows for customized queries to be built, over and above what the Franklin Planner software offered.

A disappointing factor of the Franklin Planner date structure is that it permits no task/appointment/DRE entrees prior to Jan. 1, 1970. I was 8 years old at the time. Such memories prior to this era, as they reoccur to me, can still be entered into the Journal section of the Information Manager.

 

For what it's worth, this is not a sales pitch for the Franklin Planner system. The benefits of this particular program is how it is able to flexibly allow entries to be made as introspection brings them back to mind.

It is a form of a journal. Not in the sense of being written in every day (although that is possible), but in the sense of organizing material relative to other material as it is recollected, with subsections that can be used to help organize it while the opportunity is still present.

 

On that note, once again, thank you for reading.

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A recent visit to the office supply cabinet revealed the fact that various refills to the paper-based Franklin Planner still exists in the corporate world.

After being somewhat chided about carrying 4 different colored pens and a notepad of paper to a recent product meeting to a roomful of individuals, mostly sporting laptops, highlighted the fact that differing approaches to processing information where afoot.

Electronic vs. hard-copy. As a hard-copy advocate, it is astonishing to me how I can advocate such an antiquated approach, and still be the individual that puts together an Excel file that "automates" an electronic, integrated approach to identifying quantitative differences along a stack path that distinguishes between three industry standards of tolerance comparisons.

Equally impressive, to me, is the ability to automate in VBA, a systematic approach to automating various functionality to generating and modifying routine tasks that most immediate users take for granted due to having it. Where is the world going to be in another decade? Will the successors to my generation be equipped with the epistemological know-how needed to persist?

 

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