Remembering Covering The Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion On College Radio

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 12:23 PM with 0 comments

AP news alert on the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger

When we think of major national and international events that occur in our lifetime, we also remember the impact of it on ourselves – where we were, what we were doing and how we felt as it unfolded. As today is the anniversary of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, I would like to share my day after first hearing about it and how I remember it today.

Twenty-nine years ago I was in the production studio of my college radio station, WNEK-FM in Springfield, MA, preparing for my first newscast of the semester. Where our newscasts were far from anything that would win a local Emmy and could easily be called “rip-and-read” reports, we always did a professional (or as professional as we could) job at presenting world and local news on the air. I was sitting at the console board recording audio clips from a network audio feed we had to accompany the stories I had collected thus far from the Associated Press teletype printer, or commonly referred to as the AP machine.

I was well aware of the Space Shuttle Challenger launch, especially as the crew included Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher from the neighboring state of New Hampshire, around whom there was a lot of buzz for her being on board. I listened for the reports from the audio feed and there was to be one for the Challenger launch, so I was prepared to “cart it up,” or record it on a tape cartridge to play along with what I was to read from the AP machine story.

As I was listening and getting ready to record, the audio feed cut out. I recall calling out something like, “what the hell?” and then I heard the bells on the AP machine ringing as I had never heard them ring before. The AP machine, which was nothing more than a dot-matrix printer that printed on rolled paper, would sound bells when there was urgent news. In the few months on the college radio station I would hear bells ring, maybe once or twice, but not non-stop, or what it seemed. As I and others went to look at what was printing out, we saw initial stories about the launch of Challenger, then that “there appears to be a major problem after the launch of the shuttle ‘Challenger.’”, which was then followed with what is pictured above, “’NASA’ says the vehicle has exploded.’, which was then followed by messages about the successful launch of the shuttle, which apparently were written and sent before the explosion message.

My memory of this is amplified by the fact that for some reason I kept the initial news feeds that came off the AP machine on the explosion. Typically news stories are ripped, read and then discarded (thus, rip-and-read). I kept about 2 feet of the scrolled paper, which included the above alert, and the complete scanned images of the entire scroll are at the end of this post. Note the above alert went across 2 scanned images, thus I made this composite from both.

Following these alerts, there was a lot of activity in the radio station, which was located in our campus center. As there were no TVs in the campus center, we became the primary source for information on the explosion, and we even got the radio signal piped in over the campus center PA system. What was to become a 10-minute newscast at noontime engulfed more time from music programming and more people as well, as we were reporting on what was coming off the AP machine, as well as the network audio feed, which we had cut to directly, unedited, for a portion of time.

For most all of us, in our late teens to early 20’s, we had really never lived through a large national tragedy like this. Then add to it our role in broadcasting it. Where we tried to not be chaotic and somewhat organized about it, for most of us we were making up our approach as we went along. There was plenty of stepping on each other’s toes and voices and literally bumping into each other as we moved around our small studio space. The doors from the broadcast studio and lobby were all open – a major faux pas – as station members and students and faculty were coming and going to hear what was transpiring.

As the day went on, TVs were brought into the campus center, allowing all of us who had only heard about the explosion to actually see it. I remember being in awe as I saw the video played over and over and over and over. I also recall a mix of emotions, from tragedy and sadness, to thinking of all the school children who were watching this live, to why it happened after so many successful launches. The last loss of life for NASA happened before I was born, and after growing up seeing other launches, moon landings and successful returns to earth, this was something entirely new to think about.

Nearly three decades later, we know about O-rings, known engineering flaws, the loss of another shuttle vehicle and the remaining ones are now on their way to museums. Then President Ronald Reagan’s speech to the nation was perfect for the moment then and reflecting on it today, and you can view it here on YouTube. I share the images and memory of this as the these types of stories need to be told, not just the headlines but what happened behind and around them, as these show the complete fabric of our society.

AP news feed on Space Shuttle Challenger explosion

AP news feed on Space Shuttle Challenger explosion


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


AnnouncementsDiversions • (0) CommentsPermalink

My Guest Post On The CorporateStays.com Blog

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 06:51 AM with 1 comments

CorporateStays.com logo

I was recently invited to write a guest post on the blog for CorporateStays.com, a service which matches luxury accommodations for travelers in select cities in the world like Montreal, Miami and Panama City. Digging into my experience with travel, I decided to write about tips for traveling in the winter months. My post, Travel Tips for Travelling to a Wintery Destination, is now live.

Where my typical writing is about business and technology, I file this under the “occasional diversion” I refer to in the description of The Hot Iron. The more I write, the more these come to mind, and the more these may be available to read by you and others.

Thanks to my good friend CT Moore and the staff at CorporateStays.com for the opportunity to write this.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


AnnouncementsBloggingBusinessGuest PostDiversionsThrive • (1) CommentsPermalink

Viivant Powerbank Unboxing and Initial Thoughts Video

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 09:26 PM with 0 comments

photo of Viivant Powerbank batteries

It’s a power grab out there, and it’s every woman, man and child for themselves!

No, I am not talking about politics, rather something even more daunting of a challenge – the battery life of mobile phones and other portable devices.

The more we use these devices, the more we need them powered. In addition to this take into consideration that these devices can drain power from batteries unbeknownst to us, due to everything from leaving features turned on when unneeded to poorly written software running on them. Add to it that batteries are not made to last forever as well as many devices are not made to let you change the battery, it is no surprise a market has been unleashed over the past years for portable, external battery chargers.

When I heard about the Viivant Powerbank product line, I was interested to see what they were bringing to the marketplace for batteries – from design to features. I just received a Viivant Powerbank set to evaluate, and below is the video of the unboxing of the batteries (yes, 2) and my initial thoughts and impressions. You can view the embedded video or click here to view the Viivant Powerbank unboxing video on YouTube.

My initial thoughts can only be related to the appearance of the batteries, prior to me putting them to the ultimate test of charging my various devices around the household. As I mentioned there are 2 batteries – a larger one which can charge a device up to 7 times and has the ability to charge 2 devices at once. It also has a stylish case and power remaining display. Also included is a smaller, short cylindrical battery which can hold a single charge for a single device. It also has a color indicator for charging, but the light is within the case and is only illuminated when something is plugged into it.

Compared to other batteries I own and have seen, these are very comparable in size and weight. The larger battery has a unique design to it, and the fact it can charge 2 devices at once is an extremely functional and needed feature. I am also impressed that both of these are bundled together – most other batteries I have seen are only sold individually, and I bought my own current high-capacity battery and smaller-capacity ones separately. Couple this with competitive pricing on Amazon, the Viivant Powerbank batteries are also a very affordable option as well.

Next Stop, Wonderland

As I write this I am charging the batteries and will put them to the true test. I plan to report on how they do – either here and/or on my Twitter account @thehotiron.

I must also note that I did receive these batteries from Viivant for evaluation, and there was no expressed or implied contract as to how I use them or what I say about them. Why am I saying this? Read this post here on The Hot Iron about the FTC and I’ll leave it at that and wait for these batteries to charge.

Do you own a Viivant Powerbank? Are you considering getting one? Do you have any questions for me as I evaluate them? Please leave your message in the comments to this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


TechnologyMobile TechnologyStrategize • (0) CommentsPermalink

Mixing It Up In 2015 And The Hot Iron Turns 8

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, January 02, 2015 at 07:52 AM with 0 comments

photo of 1983 Boston Red Sox program

Happy 2015! As today, the second day of January, officially marks the first business day of the year, and by now most have recovered from the merriment of New Year’s Eve, I would like to wish you all a great new year.

Where rolling to a new calendar also comes with resolutions, mine is simply to mix it up in 2015. I started the new year off much differently than I did in past years: sans kids, just me and my lovely wife at a Spanish restaurant, where just about every year that I can remember has involved Chinese food (a Boston tradition) and the past several years have been with our kids, even if they were sleeping in the next room. This was a fun change, and a great way to ring in 2015.

So in mixing it up in 2015, I am not looking to make major strategy changes, but smaller, incremental changes that I see as adding up to something bigger and better. Maybe I take a different route to go someplace, or a different approach to reaching out to someone, or simply wear a different color socks on occasion – I am hoping to stop and think when I get into doing something routine or that comes too natural to me, and think how to change it in some way.

The Hot Iron at 8

December 30 marks the official anniversary of the launch of this little blog which is now 8 years old. It’s almost wild to think I have been at this, at varying degrees, this long. Writing is something I have enjoyed more and more over time, and it has been both a creative outlet as well as a way to vent some of my frustrations over business and technology – the overarching theme of this repository. Whether this is your first time reading or you are a long time subscriber – thank you!

I have written an anniversary post of mixed sorts over the years, and if you’re so inclined you can read them for the following anniversaries of The Hot Iron: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


AnnouncementsBloggingBusinessTechnologyStrategizeThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink

Celebrating Christmas 2014 In A Traditional and Non-Traditional Way

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, December 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM with 0 comments

photo of my nativity scene

To all of my family, friends and readers who celebrate the holiday, Merry Christmas! To everyone else, have a great Thursday!

As the origin of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, I share the above picture of my nativity scene. This was a gift from my Mom many years ago, as she gave myself and my sister identical nativities. I am proud to share it with my little ones.

So that is the traditional celebration of Christmas. Now for the non-traditional way.

I ran across this video the other day and I was speechless. It is a Star Wars Christmas special that aired on TV back in 1978. You can read the full story about it here if you’d like, or you can just view the show embedded below or by following this link to Vimeo.

Though I was a young lad back in 1978, I don’t remember this show that aired only once. After watching it – ok, even reading the premise of it – that is probably a good thing. If you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or just a casual one, you will find this amusing to say the least.

If you like it, then consider it my gift to you. If you don’t, then we can just forget about it.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


AnnouncementsBloggingDiversionsThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink

My Worst Managers Never Took Me To Lunch

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, December 22, 2014 at 12:02 AM with 0 comments

photo of menu at Starbucks in Gold Coast, Chicago

When I look back across my career at the variety of managers I have had, there is a broad spectrum of them from amazing to horrible and everything in between. As I was recently thinking of those I considered the “worst” – those whom I had a poor experience working with – a common denominator came to light that I feel is central to why things did not work out well.

They never took me to lunch.

More Than A Meal

Don’t get me wrong, I am not just looking for a free meal, nor do I think these people are cheap in any way. Frugality with a corporate spending account has come up in dealings with past managers, and for me it is near the bottom of the list.

The fact these managers did not take me to lunch goes well beyond the meal itself and its cost. It has to do with the overall action itself – getting out of the office, a 1-on-1 meeting in a different setting and the discovery and insight about each other that comes with the conversation over the meal. Or in short – the manager getting to know me better, and me getting to know the manager better. This deeper knowledge about a person is important for a working relationship, going beyond the surface and skillsets to truly get the most of that person, and ensure they are happy and satisfied in the work environment.

Meals Alone Don’t Make A Manager

Where I feel that the invitation and act of taking someone to lunch is important in a working relationship, it is not the defining moment for a manager if they do so. In all honesty, most all of the managers I have had in all my years have broken bread with me, some at least once and others on a regular basis. And those managers would be represented across the above-mentioned spectrum. Even those whom I would rank along the lower end of that spectrum, I feel by having had a meal with them, and getting to know them as more than what was written on their business card, outranks those few who did not take this time or see it as important.

My Own Experience With Meal Invites

Where I have been talking about being on the receiving end of a meal invite from a manager, in my own role as a manager over the years I have taken many people to breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, snack or food in some capacity outside of the office and away from the grind to have a conversation. Call it the Italian-American in me, or just call it effective, but this opportunity to further connect with a team member or colleague is a very important part of how I have been successful throughout my career.

Here’s a couple of ways I have integrated lunch and my teams.

Re-energizing After Being Dazed And Confused

It was one of those meeting where you sit there and wonder, with all of this brain power, could we possibly cure cancer? But alas in the end really nothing was accomplished other than puzzled looks on everyone's faces and bad tastes in everyone's mouths.

I was asked to come to an "emergency" meeting and to bring my developers and even my graphic designer. As the manager of the front-end design and development team part of my job was to be the conduit between my team and senior leadership, who called the meeting and the people who did the great things to make our application a reality. In short, I would shield them from the insanity of such meetings. However the requesters pulled rank - literally - and demanded all of us in the meeting.

To make a long story - and long meeting - short, we all didn't need all of the king’s horses and all of the kings subjects to be in the meeting, and after an hour or so we all staggered out of the meeting room with the above mentioned looks and tastes.

Once we all collected in the lobby I decided the team needed to be rewarded for enduring this, so I told them that I would be taking them to lunch. The meal would be on the company, but only if we did not talk about work; if anyone brought up work they would have to pay for their own meal. Needless to say everyone agreed. As we walked back from the restaurant, I realize that we had bonded even deeper as a team than we had before and learned a lot about each other's backgrounds and beliefs, and I feel it had a great impact on our teamwork going forward.

Not When But When I Want To

After joining a start-up company and signing my life away (and possibly my future first born) I was then given our business plan our operating guides, policies and procedures. Reading through all of it I noticed there was no mention about specific business expenses, namely meals. I raised this with our HR director who told me to talk with our CFO, and my conversation with him went something like this:

Me: “Hi Homer (not his real name), what is the policy on expensing meals?”
CFO: “Um, who are you taking to lunch?”
Me: “Members of my team, and others in the company?”
CFO: “Um, when?”
Me: “Whenever I want to!”
CFO: “Um…”

At that point I talked with the company president, whom I had interviewed and talked with extensively during the onboarding process to the company, and he knew my leadership philosophy and told me to take whomever, whenever, and to expense it. These meals, sometimes, at the local mall food court, sometimes at a sit-down restaurant, were integral to me getting to know the team I inherited at the start-up, who they were, what motivated them, and importantly issues they had within the company. Although I was only with the start-up for 6 months and 5 days (a story for another time!), it was a productive time and I got some great things out of our team.

More Than A Skillset

If you read other posts here at The Hot Iron you will see I talk quite a bit about managing and leading people, and it involves a deeper knowledge of who they are, in addition to what they do. Frankly, it just works for me – always has, and I believe it will in the future. Some have labeled my approach as “touchy-feely” and so be it – we all have our styles, and in the end it’s up to the person as to whom they want to work for. Needless to say, I am not looking to work again with those past managers who didn’t take me to lunch.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on my approach in the comments to this post. Has meetings over meals worked for you or not? Do you see it as a way to deepen a working relationship, or just fill your belly?


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


BuildBusinessStrategizeWeb Development • (0) CommentsPermalink

Join Me And Support Barrel Of Monkeys For Giving Tuesday 2014 #givingtuesday

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, December 02, 2014 at 09:57 AM with 0 comments

Barrel of Monkeys logo

After Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, if you have anything left, I welcome you to join me and support a great organization, Barrel of Monkeys, for Giving Tuesday.

Though I don’t know the story about how Giving Tuesday came to be, I know well the story of Barrel of Monkeys – what they do, how they do it, and the impact they have made on school kids in Chicago.

In short, Barrel of Monkeys teaches elementary school kids creative writing in several Chicago Public Schools and an after-school program. They learn how to create a story from beginning to end, journaling them in their notebooks. These stories are then adapted into sketch comedy by the Barrel of Monkeys company members and performed for the students in their schools. So not only do they learn how to write creatively, they also see their work come to life!

But that’s not where it ends – every week there is a performance by the Barrel of Monkeys company members, where several of these sketches are performed to audiences live. Each sketch is introduced and the student author is acknowledged, and the program given to each audience member has what the students actually wrote – sometimes it’s just a sentence, other times it’s several paragraphs and everywhere in between. The company members donate their time to perform, and all money raised goes back into the overall program.

The preceding gives only a synopsis of the great work Barrel of Monkeys does – you can read more on their Web site @ barrelofmonkeys.org or see for yourself their programs and some of their sketch comedy performances on their YouTube channel.

Below is a funny video promoting Giving Tuesday and Barrel of Monkeys, performed by Barrel of Monkeys company members and staff Elizabeth and Joseph – watch the embedded video below or you can view it directly on their YouTube channel.

Thank you for your support! And why would I be thanking you and promoting Barrel of Monkeys? I am proud a member of their Board of Directors.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


AnnouncementsSocial MediaThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink

What I Learned From Writing What I Learned This Past Year

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 12:15 AM with 3 comments

photo of the last page of The Giving Tree

Earlier this year I decided to write weekly posts here at The Hot Iron about what I learned over the past 7 days. Over 8 months I wrote 32 posts sharing numerous things that I learned. I wrote the last one on August 29, 2014, which will be my last in this series.

Fun for me while it lasted

The catalyst for this topic thread was simple - I had too many things I learned and/or wanted to write about but not enough time to write the posts. As much as I would like to simply “bang out” my thoughts on the keyboard, for me the writing process is more elaborate than that, from the thought on the topic to writing, to editing, to an accompanying photo… it takes me time. That being said, writing is something I enjoy and is a great creative outlet for me.

Writing posts that were more of a collection of nuggets of information was a good idea at first and something that interested me. I was also hoping to write single-topic pieces as well. Over time though the thrill waned and then it got to where I was not writing one every week, then the most recent gap of a couple of months. As for those single-topic pieces, they were few and far between.

Back to where it began

I've decided to retire this thread and return to writing as I gave before - posts on single topics on business and technology and other occasional diversions. For those of you who are my loyal readers I thank you and I hope that you'll enjoy this change as well. As always, I will never fully promise any number of posts, but am hoping to at least write one a week.

Still learning

As I still get disappointed when a day goes by when I don't learn something, I am still logging those thoughts and will be sharing them on my Twitter account – you can follow me there at @thehotiron. Of course there may be more diversions than in the blog itself, as well as more conversations and other thoughts but I still share all the business and tech news with my unbiased opinion as much as possible.

I hope you won’t miss my “learned” posts – or will you? Please let me know either way in the comments to this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


AnnouncementsBloggingBusinessStrategizeDiversions • (3) CommentsPermalink

Quick Poll – What Is The Work You Do Really To You?

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, November 02, 2014 at 11:15 PM with 6 comments

Is the work you do a vocation, career or simply a job?

This is the question I am asking in this quick poll. As I am reading the book 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal by Dan Miller, this question is the activity of day 6 of the 48, where one is supposed to discuss this with 2 people about what they do for work and if it is a vocation or their calling, part of the progression of their career path or if it is merely a job where they are collecting a paycheck.

I have decided to go wide with this query and am asking all readers of this post to answer this poll. In addition, I am interested in the discussion of why you made your selection and welcome your thoughts in the comments to this post. As the comments are moderated, you may respond anonymously, and providing you are not spamming the comments with ads for knock-off merchandise, I will post them.

Thank you in advance, and I am eager to see your votes as well as your comments as to if what you do for work is a vocation, career or job.

Please make your selection below - if you cannot see the poll question please answer the poll here.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


Book Take-AwaysBusinessThrive • (6) CommentsPermalink

My Takeaways From The Book Who Moved My Cheese?

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 11:36 AM with 0 comments

photo of What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

I was aware of the book Who Moved My Cheese? for some time, yet I had no idea what the story was about. When I found the book after moving, I decided to take it and give it a read. It was a short book yet it was packed with a powerful message to me.

Written by Dr. Spencer Johnson, the co-author of The One Minute Manager (yet another book I have not read, but I digress) Who Moved My Cheese? is a story of people telling the story and discussing “who moved my cheese?” and what they took away from it. When you read the story it's hard not to put yourself into the characters of the story, whether it’s those who are hearing the story or those who are in the story “who moved my cheese?” Interestingly, the discussion of the story takes place in Chicago.

After putting down the book, my takeaways were very obvious to me.

  • Everything is in constant change – whether we realize it or not, things are always changing. This may be obvious for some things but for many things in our lives it probably isn't as obvious as others, yet we need to be aware of all change.
  • Laugh at yourself – This is something I have always felt that I was really good at, but it's something that when you go down a certain path you may forget to do. By stepping back and taking yourself out of the situation, it will help you see things much clearer and allow you the opportunity to laugh at it a little bit.
  • Be the “haw” – The character “Haw” in the story Who Moved My Cheese? is the hero, the one who decided to move on when things were bad. His line in the story about what you would do if you weren't afraid is something to take to heart.
  • It's never too late to change – Even if things are very bad and you don't think there's an opportunity to change, there is a choice to make to remain where you are or get out and move on.

Granted this isn't the only book that has ever been written about picking up and moving on, but I think it tells it in a way that it realizes the struggles people have with just doing that and spells it out in a way that makes it easier for you to relate to it.

At 96 pages, Who Moved My Cheese? is an extremely quick read and I read it in about an hour. Though the book was originally published in 1998, it is a timeless story and very relevant today for what I'm doing and what other people I know are doing. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of the book. As I am done reading it, if you would like my copy please let me know and I'll share it with you.

I welcome your thoughts on the book Who Moved My Cheese? in the comments of this post. Was it a good story for you, or a silly read, or something else?


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email


Book Take-AwaysBusinessThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink


Page 1 of 78 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »