Friday, December 5, 2008

I've Finally been Affected by the Recession

My small family and I live well within our means all the time, so when the recession was formally announced, we just kept on living like we always have. We'd already been though the exercises of looking at where we can cut costs and such, and really the only things we can cut are to travel less, which will translate into traveling further, less frequently, and doing a better job of turning off the lights when we aren't using them. And yes, we are replacing incandescents with CFLs as we go along.

I work hard at work, and I am a top contributor. Recently, I've made sure that my efforts are appropriately visible. Really, this has only meant being careful to accept praise for work I've done without demeaning the work or my efforts. I'm both very cocky and very modest, but about different things and in different ways. I think most people are, actually. I'm also doing better letting interrupters know when a better (less busy) time for chit-chat would be, which makes my life more pleasant when I'm hard at work, but also serves to let people know I am working hard. I work at a mega-corp, so being recognizable at all is a bit of a challenge, and being recognized as something good is even harder.

I'm young and have many more years of work before my 401K and other investments will be drawn against, so I look at the low stock prices as sale prices, not losses. We really haven't been too affected by the recession, even if it did start back in 2007.

But, despite my best efforts of being recession-proof, I found out today that my assistant, Sandy, is being laid off.

In case you haven't met, Sandy is a virtual assistant, but is personified as a friendly Web 2.0 service that processes e-mails (or even voicemail through Jott) and keeps my calendar up to date as well as reminding me of upcoming events and even looking up info for me when I request it.

I'd suggest you check her out, but she's getting the boot on the 19th. Quite a few users are happy for the good times we've shared, but I am also a bit disappointed that she won't even run through the end of the year.

There is more discussion on it here. Trevor Glen and others (including moi) have already begun creating an OSS Sandy. Here are some examples of how Sandy can work for you, in case you might be persuaded to join our effort.

Here is a thread on some alternatives.

Monday, November 17, 2008


So, it has not yet been a full month since my last weekly posting. I haven't been too busy (though receiving my Touch Pro last week did hurt my productivity - there's just too much cool stuff!), I've simply re-experienced an epiphany that I'd already had and since forgotten:

The web is already full of crap.

Yep, I knew it previously, and embarrassingly, had forgotten. Now, I know it again and am no longer going to post each week just to get in the habit of posting. I do like to think that I have insights and experience worthy of sharing with the wide world, but not all of them belong on the world-wide web.

It wasn't Sen. Stevens' comments about the nature of the Internet that reminded me, but looking for details on certain aspects of my new phone. The most useful sites have been diluted by people starting new threads for topics that were already covered, or hijacking live ones with garbage.

So, I'm only going to write on items that I feel are significant and not already covered elsewhere. Among things I've got in the queue are Proposition 8 in California (I'm opposed to it on the grounds that I don't want any government defining marriage. Marriage is a belief system; qualifying for hospital visitation rights, tax benefits, etc. is a very different, but still important matter.), Yama's crab tempura fondue (Excellent!), why I think that in the very near future, nearly all office workers, and many others, will program (though programming will change very significantly before then), a review of my new Palm Torrent Immersion Suit and a few other quick items.

Why then write the post I've just written? I felt compelled to explain my lack of writing up till now, and also to commit myself to write about the above topics.

and five-letter English words with only one consonant. Well, just the one five-letter English word with only one consonant.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Short List

Industries that refer to their customers as “users:”
illegal drugs

Credit to David Pogue - columnist, NYT

Spooky, more spooky than Halloween.

I love SF (Speculative Fiction - roughly the same as SciFi) and have been listening to EscapePod a lot lately.

So, to prevent premature click-through, first listen, then read the next two links in the order they appear.

I just listened to "Eight Episodes" a couple days ago, and today saw this in the news.

Spooky. Really spooky.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Short List

I'm testing out blogging from my phone and promised a list, so here you go.

The Different Kinds of People in the World
1. Those who over-generalize
2. Those who don't

More later....

Gross Insensitivity

Wow, how greedy of me to put adSense on my blog on Blog Action Day 2008, which is focused on fighting poverty. Certainly this is a noble cause and I do support it. I actually do quite a lot within my own community to give back to society and a substantial portion of that is directed at reducing poverty. Reaching further to those who really need help, I recommend Mothers Fighting for Others which helps kids in Africa. A remarkable model, though aimed at a different group, is microlending. Kiva has a good reputation, but as with any financial issue, check out who you're dealing with. One more great movement is "homeless newspapers." In Seattle, we have Real Change, a socially conscious newspaper largely (if not entirely) produced by the homeless and those who have found housing options by working for Real Change. Each copy of the paper costs ten cents to the distributors, who are all homeless, and is sold for a dollar each. Really great markup, but the paper is usually a good read, and it is only a buck. Plus, I like the model of people working and growing a business.

I love programs like Mothers Fighting for Others because there is very real, and far-reaching immediate need for assistance in so many places, and at the same time, very great capacities to alleviate this in so many other places.

I love establishment-busting ideas like microlending and "homeless newspapers" because they are long term solutions to help people who can help themselves and want to, but need a little outside help first. Bridging the Haves with the Have-nots has never been more effective.

Do Readers Care...?

I won't get any answers to this until I have some readers, but I've added adSense and would like to know whether people care, and if they do, what they think about it. I don't even notice the few ads that get through my filter. Anyhow, let me know what you all think if you ever find my blog.