Where is the “wow”?

The new iPhones

This week Apple unveiled the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus. While the improvements to the phone such as larger display and faster processor are nice, it is a far cry from the innovative changes Apple has been known for. Many have said one of the glaring features that Apple is loosing ground on is it’s Siri assistant. While the first Siri was revolutionary, they claim Siri have significant shortfalls when compared to Microsoft’s new assistant, Cortana. Are there some differences? Sure. Are they that expansive? I doubt most users would note the difference.

Many criticize Apple for the “Retina display.” It isn’t true HD. My response is…It’s a mobile device! If you want true HD go home and watch your television! The “Retina display” works just fine. In most cases, I do not notice a difference.

There has bee much criticism about the size of the iPhone. In recent versions of the iPhone, the display size have increased. The 6 comes in two sizes! I am interested to see, but my prediction is that the 6 will do much better than the 6 plus. Who wants to walk around with a belt clip for your phone?

The bottom line is that apple continues to innovate, the change is in our level of expectation. As Apple continues to create new ways to impact our lives, our expectations about what is possible also go up. This is what creates the sense of disappointment in the product. It is an inversely proportional relationship. As expectations increase, satisfaction decreases.

Until next time, just a thought from the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs; “Our goal is to make the best devices in the world, not to be the biggest.”


By |2016-11-03T10:15:10+00:00September 12th, 2014|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Where is the “wow”?

The Beasts of Burden

For the past 10 years, Lockport, NY, has been host to the annual Beast of Burden Ultra Marathon. Traditionally, there is a 50 mile and 100 mile distance. The race starts in Lockport, through Gasport; and into Middleport. No, it isn’t that simple. Once you get to Middleport, you have to turn around and go back to Lockport. To get to 50 miles, you need to do this twice! Just imagine the 100 mile!

This year, it was my pleasure to crew for my brother, who ran the 50 mile race. It was his first 50 mile race, and my first time crewing such an event. There were runners from all over the United States. Obviously, most were driven and focused people.

As Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” We were definitely prepared for this race. iPhones synced, so I could see exactly where we was at all times, fluids, snacks, salt tablets, sneakers, hats, etc. All coordinated to minimize the time he would need to stop.

In the end, he finished 3rd for the 50 mile distance. Not to bad for his first race! Congrats brother!

By |2016-11-03T10:15:12+00:00August 12th, 2014|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on The Beasts of Burden

Must read…

"Sometimes what you want is right in front of you."

So, I recently finished a book for the book club I am in. This book blew me away. It  had been recommended for several months by one of the other member of the book club. I thought to myself, “if it isn’t available in print, it cant be THAT good.”  Well last month we settled on Memorizing You, by Dan Skinner.

As the (virtual) pages turned, I found myself enjoying this book more and more. Skinner is a true wordsmith, making the most mundane of comments seem lyrical, almost profound.  Set in the Midwest, this book explores what life was like when trying to find oneself during the turbulent counter culture of the late 60s.

This book will take you on an amazing emotional roller coaster ride that will leave you examining your own life. I can’t recommend this book enough!

By |2016-11-03T10:15:17+00:00February 21st, 2014|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Must read…

TNC 2014

THERAP  wrapped up it’s 2014 National Conference in Kansas City, MO last week. Every year the conference improves from the year before. From my perspective, this year seemed to be much better attended than the last few years. I think moving things from year to year is a smart move. I am glad I got to meet with the other certified trainers and look forward to working together on Moodle… until THERAP decides to develop their own distance learning module.

Stay hungry, stay foolish.
Steve Jobs

By |2014-02-05T12:13:28+00:00February 5th, 2014|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on TNC 2014

TMS Update

Nice! One of the problems we had is that when someones account was inactive, no one could see it unless the Provider Administrator reactivated the account. This required a call to reactivate, and a call to deactivate. Now users have the ability to look up inactive users, which is an amazing resource  when dealing with employees that may have switched positions in the agency, or sadly, placed on leave for one reason or another.

Another new change in TMS is the ability to add certificates individually for each class session participant. Between their ability to access their own training profile and certificates for trainings, employees have full access to their training information. Yet another great time saver!

The road

This weekend I got a small reminder of what it feels like when you are a “fish out of water.” While visiting my brother in Albany, we decided to go for a bike ride. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong! Its been about 20 years since I have been on a bike. Not only did I need to regain my comfort on a bike, but I needed to be brought up to date on the new gear system for his bike. This was no Huffy on Mongoose (Do they even make that bike anymore?), it was lightweight Schimano road bike. Almost immediately, I noticed a difference, the turning seemed to be very sensitive; not like a heavier mountain bike.  The gears were quite different. On the left side; there was a thumb toggle on the left to go into low gear. To go into high gear, you pushed the brake to the right. On the right side things were different the thumb toggle put you into a higher gear, while the brake would put you back into a lower gear. It took a while to get the hang of it.

If that wasn’t enough, it took very little effort to keep up with traffic. In a car, 30 mph is a snails pace.  Try it with nothing to break your fall but the the gritty pavement beneath you.

Given my experience, I find it slightly insane that I am , in fact, researching a quality entry level road bike to continue this activity.  Who knows, perhaps the Iron Man is in my future (Probably not, but a triathlon may be)


The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a (wo)man’s determination.
      ~Tommy Lasorda



By |2016-11-03T10:15:23+00:00July 6th, 2013|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on The road

George Miller Recognized at 31st Annual Keuka Lake Conference

Each June, employees from voluntary agencies around New York State descend upon Keuka College for the annual Keuka Lake Conference.  The conference, which has been operating for the past 31 years, selects one Direct Support Professional that has gone above and beyond in the performance of their job.

Joe Pendergast, George Miller and Helen Hanes

From left: Joe Pendergast, Keuka Conference Committee member, George Miller, and Helen Hanes (NYSACRA representative)

I am pleased to announce that this year the award went to George Miller. George has been employed with Community Services since June 2012 as a Day Hab Instructor at 1377 Abbott Road program. In his time at CSDD, George has worked to provide those attending the Abbott Day Hab with numerous opportunities to become more actively involved in their community.

George recently connected some of the folks that had an interest in cars and trucks with Basil Chevrolet. In addition spending some time at the dealership, they were able to participate in creating a commercial with the dealership. What an amazing opportunity!

George has also worked to connect those attending the Abbott Day Hab with their local politicians; including the Buffalo Mayor, Byron Brown; Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski and NYS Senator Tim Kennedy. These meetings created an opportunity to learn about the things that were happening in the community; as well as to express concern over New York States recent 4.5% cut to not-for-profit agencies under the auspices of OPWDD.

Thank you George for you dedication and for truly  Living the Community Services Mission!

By |2016-11-03T10:15:23+00:00June 19th, 2013|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on George Miller Recognized at 31st Annual Keuka Lake Conference

TMS Spring Cleaning

So this weekend I took an opportunity to refine our classes / courses / curricula in THERAP. Community Services has been using the Training Management System for about 4 years now. When we began using it, only a curriculum could be assigned to an employee. In addition to all of the “classes” that were listed under Curriculum, we also had a specific curriculum for every job title at the agency. As you can imagine, over time, this became quite unwieldy. Even though I use TMS daily; and am very familiar with its function, I was nervous.  CSDD employees about 850 staff. If something were to go awry, it would create a nightmare to repair. After many hours, I was able to delete all the curricula and courses, create a few new  consolidated courses that would work for a large number of employees and assign those courses to the staff. This is not to say their were not any glitches in my plan. For one, there were a handful of curricula that I was unable to  delete without reassigning the classes that comprised the curriculum. The correction for this glitch requires looking at each employees class assignment and un-assigning the surplus classes.  There were also a few group of employee’s that required a course other than the one I initially determined was the best fit. This was a simple correction. The moral of the story?  Trust the plan, but prepare for pitfalls.

By |2016-11-03T10:15:30+00:00March 25th, 2013|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on TMS Spring Cleaning

NYS to cut $240 Million from Voluntary Service Providers for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Please let Governor Cuomo and the NYS Assemby that these proposed cuts will decimate the program offered through the Voluntary and Not for Profit providers in NYS. Over the past three years, New York has cut almost 9% from these same programs, about $350 million. This current proposed cut would push already cash strapped agencies over the edge, requiring a cuts to programs that will directly impact services to the states most vulnerable citizens. The cuts to program and services will invariably create concerns in program quality and even potential Health and Safety risks as agencies are forced to prioritize increasing needs with diminishing resources.

All of this from the same Governor that spearheaded the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. This program was specifically designed to improve protections and the quality of care for the most vulnerable of New Yorkers.  These two platforms are incompatible with each other. Please tell the Governor Cuomo that the proposed cuts are unacceptable if he truly believes in the ideals espoused by the creation of the Justice Center.

Follow the link below to sign a petition  supporting the restoration of these cuts:


You can also contact your member by telephone:

1.  Aileen Gunther, Chair of the New York State Assembly Mental Health Committee: 518-455-5355
2. David Carlucci, Chairmen of the New York Senate Mental Health and Disabilities Committee 518-455-2991
3. Senator Schumer : 1-202-224-6542 or email Senator Charles E. Schumer
4. Senator Gillibrand : 1-202-224-4451 or email Senator Kristen Gillibrand
5. Your Member in the House of Representatives: Call the Capitol Switchboard at 1-202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your Congress Members Office. If you don’t know who your Member of Congress is, ask the Switchboard operator or go to www.contactingthecongress.org and fill in your address to get the phone number and email of your representative.
6. President Obama: call the White House Comment Line at 1-202-456-1111 or the White House Switchboard at 1 202-456-1414. If the lines are busy, please keep trying! Keep hitting the redial button!

Thank you!


By |2016-11-03T10:15:30+00:00March 15th, 2013|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on NYS to cut $240 Million from Voluntary Service Providers for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Don’t Forget to Vote

Tomorrow is Election Day. Make sure your voice is heard. If you havent participated in early voting in your state, do it tomorrow. Go into the booth informed. Selecte the candidate that you think will truely do the best job for America.

“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison(wo)men because they are different from other (wo)men. ”
Lyndon B. Johnson

By |2012-11-05T01:00:28+00:00November 5th, 2012|Categories: Joe Pendergast's Posts|Comments Off on Don’t Forget to Vote
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