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Reflections on life

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(No, my skin’s not that yellow. Bad video lighting, and I don’t have the skills to correct in software.)


Hi everyone. Leo Notenboom here for Today’s video is going to be a little bit different. There’s going to be just a touch of tech and a little bit more about, well, life.

So the tech part is this: I want you to go and read my article, “Preparing For The Ultimate Disaster” That article covers many of the important considerations that I think everybody needs to take into account should the worst happen to them. In other words, can your family get at your email or your important photos or documents encrypted in such a way that not only can the bad guys not get at them but the good guys can’t either should they need to?

Now, this is an article some time ago and I updated, I think, just a few months ago. I re-ran it in the newsletter but I’m mentioning it today because of essentially the rest of what I’m going to talk about in this video.

Please pardon me if I ramble a little bit, but as you’ll understand, it’s been an interesting and difficult few days.

Last week, we lost two internet entrepreneur friends, Brian Short, the founder of was killed as apparently a part of a murder-suicide. He and his entire family were killed, and then three days later, Scott Dinsmore of was killed in an accident while he was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.

Both of these individuals made tremendous contributions to the internet, to the world for what they put together in not only their businesses, and respectivel,y but as examples of internet entrepreneurs and just people living life and giving back and leaving a legacy.

Brian’s site,, covers (as you might imagine) nursing. It’s a community for nurses to connect and support each other and share information and just basically get support in what is a very difficult and sometimes stressful work environment. Brian as an internet entrepreneur, I knew him through a mastermind group that I’ve been a member of for the last 12 or 13 years now. He was a really a good-hearted, wonderful person and he will be missed not only in his community but in the world and certainly amongst my internet entrepreneur compatriots.

Scott Dinsmore was killed, like I said, in an accident climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. He had last, I think December, with his wife of five years now, taken the entire year to travel the world and basically lived life to its fullest while he had the opportunity to do so. He truly was, he truly exemplifies not only really choosing to live your life and live it with passion, but to die doing what you love and that’s exactly what happened in his case.

It was incredibly unfortunate and incredibly tragic that he would die at the age of 33, but like I said, I think his father said something to the effect of, “He packed more into his 33 years than many of us do in a lifetime.”

As you might imagine, the two deaths of individuals that ultimately died long before their time, and two individuals who made such a dramatic and positive impact upon the world around them is causing a lot of us, internet entrepreneurs and elsewhere, to think about what it is we do, what the life we’re living is, are we living it to its fullest, are we doing things that are meaningful in ways that are having a positive impact on the world?

I’d like to think that I am, but in the face of untimely death, you reflect, you do think about it even more.

So, with that in mind, the reason that I’m bringing this all up at all on Ask Leo! video is simply this: It’s an opportunity for us all to consider what it is we do, what is the impact we’re making, are we making a difference? Is the world a better place because we were here?

The impact you make, the legacy you leave doesn’t have to be a website that touches thousands of people. It can be as simple as being there for someone else. It can be probably even simpler than that. It has to be, it should be, I would want it to be something that has meaning for you so that you know when your time comes, whenever that might be, whether you’re given a warning or not, that your life was well lived, that you made a difference, you made a contribution somehow some way that’s meaningful to you.

That’s what I hope Ask Leo! is about. That’s what I hope parts of my career have been about, and that’s what I hope to continue for as long as I’m allowed to do so. What was driven home this last week was there is no warning, there are no guarantees. Life is a gift, and it can be taken away at any time for any number of different reasons, which we may or may not have control over.

So let me leave you with that thought: are you living your life in such a way that it has meaning? I keep coming to back to that phrase, “Is the world a better place because you were here?” I have no doubt that it is. I really do but my point is opportunities like this – as somebody called it a gut punch – of these two close friends passing away one after the other are also opportunities for us all to reflect and make sure that we’re doing what we really should be doing, what we know in our heart of hearts we should be doing.

So I’ll leave it at that for this week. I thank you for watching. I hope that I haven’t brought you down too much. Like I said, it’s been kind of stressful in my community, my internet entrepreneur friends have been struggling with this for several days now and I wanted to share some of what we’ve been thinking about and what I’ve been thinking about personally when it comes to this kind of thing.

Back to more normal tech next week, absolutely but in the meantime, as always you’re welcome to leave a comment down below if you’re seeing this on and I will see you again next week. Take care, everyone.

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Footnotes & References

28 comments on “Reflections on life”

  1. Hi Leo very awesome idea i will have to do this myself as i have allot of pictures that my family would love to have on my computer and uploaded to sites like instagram, facebook, and google photos from my phone, Thanks for the great video on this and i will take steps now to make sure my family has the relevant info to get into these accounts when and if something does happen. On a side not In your other article you mention options like truecrypt is it still available for download somewhere and does it work on windows 10 pro??.

    Thanks And God Bless.

    • I suspect it would work – which Mark’s post would seem to confirm. However, as you have Windows 10 Pro, you could use BitLocker instead. That would likely be a much better option as TrueCrypt is no loner being developed.

      • I tend to avoid bitlocker. Unless you take the proactive step of saving the encryption key/certificate (which most people tend not to do) if you lose access to your login for any reason at all you lose access to your encrypted data.

        • BitLocker prompts users to create a recovery key – in fact, it recommends that more than one key be created and that the each key be stored in a different location. Additionally, it’s really the same for any encryption solution: if a password is lost, so is the data (which is something people should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to use encryption).

  2. Thank you leo for caring and sharing.
    A timely reminder for us all, that we are but transient beings.
    It is good to grieve for, and recall the good and happy times with, those who pass.

  3. My condolences to you and the families of the deceased. From what you say, they were very valuable contributors to others sharing their knowledge and zest for life.

    Thank you also for your advice on making preparations for one’s demise. I have done that and it is such a relief knowing that those involved in my life will not have to endure the trials and tribulations of one who has not prepared.

    Leo, you are a wonderful person, and I and (I’m sure) the rest of the “Ask Leo” readers agree. Thank you for your wonderful insightful tech tips and advice for those of us who really appreciate it.

  4. Hi Leo,
    Sorry to hear about the loss of your friends.
    I will come to all of us “one” day.

    I like your new shirt with your logo, looks good.

    • Perfectly said, Barry Zander. Leo is the real deal and a blessing.

      So sorry about your losses, Leo. They must have been incredible men. How fortunate you were to have known them, and they you. Comfort and peace to all who mourn them.

  5. I was going to suggest adding red to the video to correct your “jaundice” appearance… then I noticed your shirt! Next suggestion is less color saturation .

  6. So sorry for the death of your friends Leo. Thanks for this great reminder to live life with with positive purpose. And thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

  7. Leo,

    I haven’t commented here before, but this article prompted me. I have been reading your newsletter for years. I don’t usually read all of it, but the parts that interest me. I work on computers and am self taught. I’d like to feel I’ve helped a fair # of people over the years. A large part of why I am able to do so is BECAUSE of your newsletter. You explain things in a manner “normal” people can understand. I cannot see a day I won’t be reading your newsletter and using your information to help others. In other words, thank you, you DO make a difference in my extended world.


  8. I am sorry for the loss of your friends, I feel a close loss of friends does make a impact, here today and gone tomorrow. If, it can happen to them… it can happen to you or I. Sobering ! I’ve always enjoyed your website, newsletters, you have helped me many times with computer problems. I feel you do make a difference in the world with your sharing of knowledge, Thanks

  9. We also lost Wayne Dyer, who taught me “today isn’t the beginning of the rest of my life. I like to think of it as the LAST day of my life and I’m going to live it like I don’t have anymore. “

  10. Hi Leo, I felt as I finished reading this that the most important thing of all was not even considered, which kind of surprises me. That would be what happens to us when we die. Do we continue to exist, does our existence end, what happens to us? I know many people thing that we do no longer exist after we die. It sure is something important to consider. If we are wrong about not existing that sure holds some significant ramifications. I think we as humans have a sense of eternity in our hearts. I for one do believe that we continue to exist and I also believe there is a God that has created us along with everything else. I also believe that everyone will be accountable to that God when they die. I also believe that everyone has done many things that have opposed God. It is an old fashion word that many don’t like to mention, sin. I believe that this sin will be punished, deservedly so. The good news is that this God loved mankind so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to take that punishment on Himself for anyone who would trust Him for that forgiveness. That is the most important thing to think about and know about when we talk about death. Nothing else compares to this at all. Our eternal existence is at stake. Forever and ever never ends. That’s what counts most.

  11. i join in your sadness, hope solace is on the way. the idea encouraging action to “make a difference” is one area i’ve slacked off on.. i owe it to ALL the
    wonderful people who been kind to me and others.. i HAVE something to give,, you’ve goaded me to GIVE IT,,,,,,,, MIKE

  12. There is much more than ‘is the world better place because you were here?’ We are behavior doomed primates who have realized who they are and how their brain works. It is possible that the only complicated life in the observable (for us) part of the Universe. When we reach the state we start understand ourselves, we must die.

    Today we can and must realize more: we don’t live our body’s lifetime 70-90 years. The most important part in us is the information which lives together with species homo sapiens. We are the information accumulated since 50 million years. The notion that I will die is partly an illusion because of our main instinctive demand for survival for any price. But for an individual’s feeling for unrestricted survival or ‘eternal life’ this changes nothing – he knows, everyone knows – he will die.

    The only change this knowledge gives to us is that we can realize the bigger scale about our existence, the possibility and must for unrestricted survival and rise above our primate biological nature. This is the only way that makes sense: create intelligent machines, reach higher intelligence, and reach much bigger lifetime made possible by passing developed individual consciousness to the next hardware. All this is possible and we have a duty to make it happen.

    From this we obtain, we develop the task, the duty of our existence today.

    Imants Vilks, editor.

  13. I found your comments uplifting, not bringing me down.
    As for “Is the world a better place because you were here?”, I know you were wanting us to think of what we do but I would like to reverse it – the world is a better place because of what you, Leo, do because of your considered view of matters, particularly computers and internet, which are fundamental to surviving effectively in the modern world. If not for you, I would be at sea, with no land in sight. With your informed information and advice, I can feel confident that I am making a rational and informed decision.

    Many, many thanks for your help.

    Kind regards

  14. Leo,
    Sorry for your losses. You sure have added value to my life, both for your articles and the get me out of trouble quick help. (computer view switched from normal to be like an accordion, and the every other character all of a sudden became a number.) You were recommended to me from others at work.

    The access for stuff after I am gone will go in my safe deposit box along with other relevant information as a start. I think the 2 person password might be best in the long run. Though there is the consideration that I might die at the same time as my spouse, since we normally are on the road together.


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