Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I had an interesting visit with the allergist today. I had been tested and have a sensitivity to tree pollen and grass pollen. I had no allergies to food and weeds (he said weeks usually occur in the fall). I had a bit of allergies to dust, none to mold. I'm also allergic to cats, but he said not much. I have no allergies to dogs (hooray Toby)! 

He answered some of my questions and gave me a few insights. I thought I'd share them here (and also so I can remember them).

Note: I'm only recording here what I remember which may not be accurate. Don't use this as any medical advice. Consult with your own doctor for your own situation.
  1. Tree pollen peaks in New Jersey usually in May and lasts about 4 weeks. It's a very steep and high peak. Some years it's spread over more weeks so not quite so intense all at one (usually if there is a warm April). Usually after June 1st, the tree pollens go to zero.
  2. Grass pollen has a more broad peak that is not as high. It also starts in May and hits it's height toward then end of May and continues a slow decline through June. It's usually fairly low in July and August and peaks again in September for a little while. Of course, if you have grass pollen allergies and spend time in the grass, it will be aggravated.
  3. Are allergies hereditary?  They believe the propensity to become sensitive to allergens is hereditary. It's the exposure to the allergens that develops it. For Example: people with a propensity to latex allergies will develop the allergy if exposed to a lot of latex. Nurses usually get it about 3 years into nursing school if they have the propensity.
  4. Why does it seem that I'm more sensitive some years than others: It may have to do with the temperatures and how the pollen season is spread out or more concentrated. It may also be according to how much time you spend outside.
  5. Sometimes people get injections of allergens to reduce their sensitivity. The course is usually injections once a week for 6 months, then 6 months every other week. Sometimes it gradually wears off after a few years
  6. Skin has layers. The top layer protects from allergens. The second layer is like the rest of your membranes (inside nose for example). When the top layer is compromised (like in the dry Fall and winter), then the allergens can get to the 2nd layer and exacerbate the allergy reaction.
  7. Eczema comes in two ways: one is from environmental allergies, the other from chemical allergies. Chemical allergies are usually due to something touching the skin and so is somewhat random: according to what touched you somewhere. Environmental Allergies (allergies to dust and pollen for example) usually occurs in the same place and lasts for days or weeks. It is more common in the hands, and inner elbows and areas where the top layer of the skin gets rubbed off.
  8. Prescription cortisone creams usually should be used for a few days (3 to 5 days) and don't help if only used 1 time. Also, if they are used for a prolonged period, they will thin the skin and cause wrinkles. So, since facial skin is thin, it's probably not best to use them there.
  9. Dust Allergies: They found that every house they took samples, they found the same insect materials, it's just more prevalent in some houses than others
  10. Antihistamines are only one type of allergic response, so an antihistamine may not work for all situations. Usually for skin itching, a cream is best (see above) rather than an antihistamine.
  11. Colds can become extended by allergies. Allergies can be exacerbated by colds.
  12. I mentioned that we already have covers for our mattress and pillow cases. He said the pillow case allergy cover is most important because that's where you put your head.
  13. I asked why my eczema seems to be aggravated by certain dogs when I was shown to have no dog allergies. He said it may be something else on the dog, like dust or something else which I am allergic to. Dogs go outside, so I'm thinking maybe they can collect allergens too.
  14. My allergies are mild to medium, so allergy shots are not really mandatory

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Make Social Business Contagious; How to Infect Your Team For a Viral Productivity Boost

I'm sharing a poster at the IBM Technical Leadership Exchange (TLE) in Palisades New York on Thursday April 17, 2014.

The topic I'm sharing is "Making Social Business Contagious; How to Infect Your Team For a Viral Productivity Boost"

I'm going to be pointing interested IBMers to this link for more information.

If you're reading this and you are attending the TLE, please stop by and say hello. I'm also going to be asking folks who stop by to "Ask me how to win 100 Grand"

The Main Points in my Presentation are:
  1. Social Business is about tools to get work done
  2. Using Social Is a Paradigm Shift
  3. Change is Primarily about People
  4. People will Use what helps them
  5. People will Share what they like
see more information about social business below
Please spread the word right now in one of the following ways:
Here's where you can find more information about Social Business and IBM:
And, for more information on IBM Social Business and "Connections", IBM's Social Business Tool:
And if you are an IBMer, find more information here: https://ibm.biz/BdR86Y

Help me to make this viral by using the suggestions above to spread the word right now!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

You can save 15% in 15 minutes by looking twice at your Medical Bills

Well, maybe not 15%, but you can save a lot. Sometimes even more than 15%!

With our piles of paperwork we are doing lately, we have found that we shouldn't pay a medical bill right away until we thoroughly check into it. 

We've found that they will often send a bill expecting you to pay when sometimes they've already collected the money from insurance. We wonder how many people pay these bills without questioning them.

You might say "Well, if you paid and they received the payment from insurance, they would refund you the overpayment."  Ah, don't be so sure. Just in the past few days we found two bills where if we paid them, we probably wouldn't have ever received a refund.

So, check your bills folks. Think twice. Call them and question the charges. Check with your insurance company.

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Optional Details:
Note: for those who want some real life stories and more details, here are two recent cases we had:

1. We had a bill with two charges. One charge went through insurance and the other had not been sent by them to insurance. The bill expected us to pay the second charge in full. On first glance, it looked like the first charge was covered, but the second was not. Before paying, I called them. They looked at it and realized they hadn't put the second charge through insurance. If we would have paid, they would have probably just saw a zero balance and would never have submitted the second charge to insurance.

2. We had a bill where we realized that we had received an Explanation Of Benefits (EOB) from the insurance company that matched the amount on the bill.  When I called the medical billing company, they said they had no record of being paid by insurance. Probably, if we hadn't called them, they would never have realized they were already reimbursed and continued to bill us the amount.

So, you can see, in both cases, if we would not have questioned the bill, we probably would never have received a refund.

So, question those medical bills folks. Save some money!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Is it backup time again?

What if your hard drive on your computer crashed right now?

What if all the data was wiped out?

Would you be able to restore the files from your latest backup?

The first round of questioning is: how often have you done backups? When was your last backup?

The second round of questioning is: If you've done a backup, is it any good? Is it usable?

Time out for a story:

Years ago, back in the days of my developing video games on the Apple IIe computer, I had 3 backups: "Son, Father, and Grandfather" as we knew them: 3 generations of backups that we would cycle through.

My machine crashed and destroyed my work.

I went to the "son" backup, the most recent. The backup was not readable! Panic set in!

I went to the "Father" backup, the 2nd most recent backup. This one also was unreadable! Panic raised!

I only had one more backup: the "Grandfather" - with some help, we put it into a "good" machine and found out it was readable. We put the "father" in this "good" machine and found it unreadable, same story with the "son." It was then that we realized that the crashed machine was causing the backup media to be reformatted when we were trying to restore!  What a mess!

I was then able to use the "grandfather" backup on a good machine and move it over to a new copy of the work. I had lost the work of several days, but it was better than loosing everything!

The "moral of the story" is that we need to test our backups regularly (and be careful about the machine we restore them to).

Please comment with your stories and tips on backup and restore solutions. Also, please click "like" if you liked this article.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Drums for Sale! Drums for Sale!

Drums for sale!

1. If you've heard me play my wooden cajon, I know someone selling one - contact me if you are interested.
2. I'm also selling a few parts still left from my drum kit:
  1. Sabian 20" Ride Cymbal (see photo above)
  2. Rototoms with mounting bar (no stand) 8" and 10" Great working condition
  3. Three (3) Chrome boom Cymbal stands - double braced - great quality
  4. Wuhan 10" Splash cymbal
  5. Wuhan 8" splash cymbal
  6. Remo O's - Drum Rings
  7. Cymbal silencers/mufflers (used to quiet while practicing)
  8. LP Double Sambago Bell
  9. Clamp for Double Sambago Bell
  10. Remo 14" drum head
Make an offer! If you don't have a contact for me, use the contact email on my website henrywill4.com or comment below.