Friday, February 24, 2006


This morning, I was griping about the weather in San Jose dipping down to the low 40s ( 7 degrees Celcius). After an incredulous pause, I was informed that in his neck of the woods, it rarely gets *up* to that temperature. In his mountain city of Denver, it got down to -15 degrees (-26 C) last week. If high school science class memory serves, that is roughly the temperature at which fire freezes. And the snow! Every now and then I gotta get a reminder why we moved from NY -- that snow and winter is so much better when seen on a postcard as opposed to appearing in one's driveway.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Simplicity Rules!

I remember a couple of years ago, we'd actually use things like "words" and "sentences" to communicate with colleagues in the company. Today, we've dispensed with such primitive tools and have come to rely exclusively on PowerPoint picture slides to get our points across. No one reads Word or Excel anymore -- those are so 2003! PowerPoint rules every bit of our lives -- in fact, my son's kindergarten teacher sent progress reports via the .ppt extention.

It's most prevalent at work, however. No more, "Good Morning, Bill" as we pass in the halls. Now we just flash a slide of a sunrise casting its rays across a bucolic spring landscape. So much more pleasant! So much more conveyed!

But I sense the winds of change are a'blowing again. Even this talk-via-slides culture is too complex and can benefit from rationalization. Thankfully, the wizards in Redmond are hard at work for the next upgrade to the Microsoft Office Suite -- Microsoft HandPuppet 2006!

Friday, February 17, 2006

And Don't Slouch When I'm Talking to You

New fangled technology. Today, the company passed out a bunch of little webcams as a test of personal-level video conferencing. So the idea is, if I pick up the phone and the coworker on the other side has the same setup, a popup of the person's picture instantly pops up on my screen. And the picture quality is like watching a movie; super sharp and real time. Pretty neat. It also supports multi-user video conferencing. I haven't used it yet, but I imagine it'll look like this.

Inevitably the initial Christmas new-toy feel wore off. The little globular webcam perched on my monitor now seems to be LOOKING at me constantly. Am I working on that budget excel, or am I really checking sports scores? The Webcam knows. Am I ignoring that phone call and pretending to be away so I can eat my sandwich? The Webcam knows. And its blinky green LED expresses its disapproval.

I suspect that the little bugger will send a silent scream for help were I to move it from atop my monitor to a more convenient locale -- the back of my third desk drawer where the empty CD cases, dried-out ballpoint pens, leftover plastic forks and packs of ketchup are haphazardly stored. But it is too late. Even if the compliance gremlins come knocking to check up on the little web-Snitch, I have an almost indistinguishable copy to take its place on the monitor!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Good to see ya

Pretty cool how this thing can show where folks are coming from! Also pretty spooky that clicking on the image allows me to track down to where my visitors park their cars in the morning. Hey, you in Delhi, you forgot to lock your door. There, much better. You're welcome.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Trim Away

One of the more fascinating aspects of my job involves reviewing and providing feedback on marketing material prior to it being sent out in postcards that get thrown away or via emails that get deleted. I must've done a thousand of these in the past year, but rarely do I get comments on my feedback. Typically, I get a "thanks for the notes. We'll make sure that we take these into account" email, but never anything specific. I started to suspect that no one reads these things. As annoying as that would be, it would also be a relief -- in the future, I could just sit on these requests, reply back with a Looks Good, and be secure in the knowledge that no one would have read 'em anyway. But I needed proof before I could act!

About a week ago, I reviewed a stack of material and made my usual comments. But as part of my commentary, I put in a line that read,"Photo of man on his laptop needs to have excessive nose hair photoshopped out." I had forgotten all about that until today. Sometime after lunch, my instant messenger came to life with a message from my marketing communications colleague: Great catch! she wrote. So which nostril are we talking? After writing back something incoherent about how excessive nose hair has been linked with fatty foods and partaking of too much grain alcohol, I sheepishly logged off. My faith in the system is renewed! Someone does read these things!

Denial and Acceptance

I have a secret that I've been harbouring. Others have been looked down upon or even ostracized because of this weakness; in fact, I often joined in with the mob, hoping that it would deflect suspicion from me. But it never felt right. I always felt guilty for not being able to be like all the other folks out there. I think it's time I admitted it. I...I love 80's music!!!

Back in college, I'd listen to Classic Rock from the 70s, which was considered cool. Sure, I dug Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Derek and the Dominoes and CCR, but they never really *meant* anything to me. After all, hearing those tunes didn't hearken me back to a younger, more innocent age. I suppose it could have, if I tried hard enough. But that would have harkened me back to a really young and innocent age -- heavy diapers and all-day naps. So I stashed 80's mixes in my sock drawer. After waking up at the crack of noon, I would secretly pop in the contraband cassette tapes in my wobbly walkman, and go for a run.

Fast forward to present. Now that 20 years have gone by, I think I can confidently load up those same 80's tunes on my iPod. It is, after all, Classic Rock now, no? Granted, I still feel the need to wear a cloak of conformity. You have to dig way deep in my play list of modern U2, Death Cab for Cutie, and Maroon 5 to find the Sarah McLachlan, Journey, and Cars songs. One day, though, I'm gonna proudly wear my Def Leppard shirt to work on casual Friday. Torn off sleeves and Top Gun Ray-Ban glasses and all!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It Depends

ow. ow. ow. mornin' John. ow. ow. ow. Hey Bob, didya get my mail? ow. ow. ow.

It is now 72 hours after my Sunday mechanical malfunction. I was running in a half marathon in San Francisco. Beautiful day, did some stretching, felt great. Then right past mile 7, my right foot sorta just started feeling numb. I thought I could just tough it out for the rest of the distance, but the numb turned into an ache, the ache into a obscenity-spewing roadside stop. Alas, my race ended far short of the 13.1 miles required to finish.

The thing is, I think I injured myself. It still hurts to walk. Worst part is, the painful jolts of electricity I feel whenever I push off on my right foot is causing me to walk funny. How so? Well, picture a two-year old that has had experienced an...accident. See how he waddles? That's me (Hey buddy, you obviously need to use the restroom more than me -- go right on ahead).

At any rate, I'm going to get this thing X-rayed on Friday. Hope I didn't break anything.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Day After XL

So the Super Bowl has come and gone. I was totally not into the game this year as I have zero affinity for either team -- I'd have to dig way deep into the Seven Degrees of Separation game to see if I even know anybody from Pittsburgh, or has actually been a Seattle fan for longer than say, this year.

Gotta tell you though; the ads this year were inspired.

The FedEx one made me laugh out loud initially, but ended up gnawing away at my psyche for the rest of the evening.

FedEx Commercial:

Caveman: But..but FedEx hasn't been invented yet!
Boss Caveman: Not my problem
Caveman: (walks outside, gets stomped by dinosaur)

Juxtapose that for a moment, with some scenes from next week's exciting episode of HideoWork:

Cubeman: But..but I don't have budget
Boss Corporate: Not my problem
Cubeman: (walks onto presenter dais, gets stomped by salespeople)

Maybe I should try harder to identify with one of those BudLight ads instead.

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