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What is bad technology?

As Americans, our favorite hobby (next to eating and blathering on about complex issues we don’t understand) is knocking down the successful. We love it when celebrities get caught improperly using automobiles, or showing parts of their bodies that they probably shouldn’t show, or otherwise acting nuts. It’s part of the bizarre tabloid morality play we use to reinforce what we consider right and wrong.

Which brings me to the Apple Maps debacle.

I’ll say something that may offend and shock most of you: Apple Maps really isn’t that bad. Really. For the things I need it to do, it does it well. It even offers some pleasant surprises like useful turn-by-turn directions. I also like how it shows my present location, even though I have a WiFi-only fourth-generation iPod Touch.

So, why all the hate about Apple Maps? Why the dire proclamations and Mapspocalyptic declarations of Apple’s doom? Why is it considered so bad that Apple CEO Tim “I’m Not Steve Jobs, So Everything I Do Is Wrong” Cook had to issue a public apology?

I’ll answer with this question: Would Apple Maps have been such a publicity disaster if Apple wasn’t so successful?

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What I Learned at Big Orange Book Festival

I went to the Big Orange Book Festival at Chapman University in Orange, California this weekend. I came to give a couple of speeches, volunteer (and got a nice cap and shirt for the effort), and learn from other writers. The learning part was especially important. Here are four things I learned.

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Welcome to the Big Orange Book Festival!

If you are in Southern California this Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, come to the Big Orange Book Festival at Chapman University in Orange. You can listen to a number of great writers, including Alice Sebold, Sapphire, Mark Levin, Lizz Winstead…and me! I will be giving a 10 at the Top talk, “Using Humor in Storytelling” on Friday at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Look for me at Station 3 in front of the Leatherby Libraries. I will also be volunteering on Saturday afternoon. I’ll be at Information Booth 2 at the entrance off North Glassell Street 3:00-5:00 p.m. If you like, you can download this flyer about my books. I look forward to seeing you at the Big Orange Book Festival this Saturday and Sunday in Orange.

The two paths to fame

There are two paths to becoming famous: You can be either very good or very bad. Guess which path is the easiest.

There were examples of both recently.

Wednesday was the public memorial for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. He devoted his life to flight. He got his pilot’s license before he could drive. As a pilot, astronaut, engineer, and professor, he not only achieved humanity’s greatest dream, he helped produce innovations that benefit all of us. His achievements have earned himself a permanent place in history.

Then, there are the producers of “Innocence of Muslims.”

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How not to be an “Ugly American”

At my work, a writer from India will be here for training during the next two weeks. So, my coworkers and I will be entertaining her and being good hosts.

As Americans, we like to think of the United States as The Greatest Country on Earth. Part of being great is being polite. So, I’d like to share a few tips on how we can avoid becoming “Ugly Americans.” Since a growing number of companies have teams spread across different continents, learning to get along globally isn’t just good manners, it’s good business.

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