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Commentary: For usability’s sake

My blood pressure is high.

I know it is because I’ve been monitoring it for some time.

But this is not a health editorial for those who pull their sleeve up daily for a pressure cuff — with memories of saltier meals — will testify.

We march through many stressful changes in the services. Some of us are managers and designers in the comprehensive technology that encircled us. And we know the universal question of what systems win battles and what makes us boil. Is it usable?

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Commentary: The U.S. Air Force’s ABU dances off

U.S. Air Force Airmen will end the month of March this year, leaving behind a threadbare and faded slate-blue battle uniform with equally ragged conversations on its wear during the last decade: the ABU, or Airman Battle Uniform.

Only when leisure suit wearers were cool has an outfit been so disliked and oppositely loved.

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Commentary: Experiences step up our insight

One of the biggest things you hear around the U.S. Air Force these days is accelerating change, so you read stuff like leveraging inclusion, innovation, and diversity.

We’re talking about open-minded approaches that welcome the input of all service members.

But how do you get that insight? We may repeatedly be looking at issues and asking ourselves, “How can that person, just because they look different than me, possibly influence this mission?” Maybe it’s unanswered because we don’t take the time to appreciate personal experiences.

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Commentary: ..it happens

They say mistakes happen as a part of life; they’re not preventable.

That was part of my planned response for an interview this week for a promotion board. And the particular question was among a dozen others that I had reviewed in preparation: Give an example of a mistake you made and how you overcame it.

I’m certainly not short of personal examples as a photojournalist. I’ve messed up pretty well throughout my 21 years of military service.

I’ve shown up at the wrong place for a photo assignment as well as arrived without a battery in my camera. Misspelled the name of a senior military leader? Yup. And I’ve heaped on countless typos, grammar errors, and just … moments of utter disappointment.

But I don’t let mistakes stop me. Thanks, in part, to good leaders.

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Commentary: Don’t wait to obtain crucial documents

I learned these past months that having advanced medical directives and other documents make a family emergency more manageable. It is one less issue to fix when emergencies arise.

I remembered that someone called them advanced directives during an event to provide them for families here at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. My First Sergeant announced it many months ago in an email. It was easy to shrug them off – powers of attorney, living wills, wills, health care proxies, and a plan.