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Showing posts from 2002
In response to this:
Mark's comments are spot on for the place where I work. Almost all of my work is electronic, my desk has hardly any paper on it. Feeding some more words into a different place, such as a blog, is the same as writing an email.

"They" are paper based though. They print out email. They print out procedures and write on them, and never type it back in the original document.

I'm still pondering solutions though. Maybe just a simple email interface to a blog. Has anyone done it?

One thing that will shake them up is TQM which is being implemented in our finance functions, but over the next couple of years, so watch this space.

We'll be asking just what we do, and why. What can we stop doing. Maybe this will start people doing meta thinking, and writing the results down.
I came here from Dave's link from Scripting News. The reason it caught my attention is because I was thinking the other day as I was washing-up, I wonder if anyone is doing audio blogs, then I could catch up with them now instead of just listening to the radio.
How RSI is changing the way I work

I used to flick between applications easily, retaining names and numbers in my short-term memory. But the vocal effort required in switching applications (I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking all the time) now means that these things easily are lost, so I have to write them down. For someone who avoids paper wherever possible, this was strange. I understand why people print out procedures when they need to follow them step-by-step. For them when the window changed on the screen the context was lost. As time goes by, I am finding I can retain more while I switch applications. I wonder if the speech centres in my brain are getting wired to the part that controls the fingers.

When composing e-mails I find myself staring into space a lot more, while I tried to put my words together. When I was typing them the words would flow more easily, and I would delete and reword things if they didn't look good in front of me. This is probably because there is some sor…
Two new internet radio discoveries. Radio 4, my talk station of choice, has some of its old programmes available. NME radio plays all new stuff, well some of it is a couple of weeks old, but I like it. You can find it by following links on their overbusy home page.
Holiday reading part 3

"Every Child's Book of Answers", written around 1967. Full of scientific information presented in a highly patronising way. One of my favourite quotes: "the atmosphere is like hair, it is thin in places".
Holiday reading part 2

I read the 25th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, The Truth. Even after 25 novels his flow of ideas still continues. Some of them are a bit laboured, but this is one of the better ones.

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins.
"My title is from Keats, who believed that Newton had destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to the prismatic colors. Keats could hardly have been more wrong, and my aim is to guide all who are tempted by a similar view, towards the opposite conclusion. Science is, or ought to be, the inspiration for great poetry."
Even though I disagree with his conclusions about evolution, this is a good book, giving you back your sense of wonder, and exposing bad science.
Holiday reading part 1

Robo sapiens is a broad survey of what is going on in Robotics. There are lots of lovely pictures and annoyingly little detail on each robot. The range is large though, from humanoid robots, to real robots doing useful things.

Coincidentally one of our sons got a robot for his birthday. It is from Teksta and is called a "Boy-bot". Like the old Tamagotchis it needs to the looked after. It responds to sound, movement and pressing buttons on its front and back. For the first day I wanted to make sure that it was looked after. But after that I got tired of it. My wife wanted to make sure that it didn't get too sad for several days, however it just lies forgotten in a corner now.
The last mile/km

This is a term from the telecoms industry used to refer to the distance between the exchange and your home. For me it is the gap between my brain and the computer. Because I suffer from RSI I don't want to be doing a lot of typing in the evenings, and I would rather spend my breaks at work (I talk to my computer) having a break. Hence the gap between the last entry and this.
Managing your manager
I was talking to someone the other day about someone who had recently got a new manager. I asked him if he knew how to manage his manager, and he looked at me strangely. Everyone needs to know how to do this, it's the art of getting your manager to do what you want in order to get your job done. I think most managers need managing, my present one excepted ;-). It's a combination of psychology and business sense. I think I need to write a book on it. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Night shopping
As we had run out of milk, I went to the local supermarket last night at 10 pm. The otherwise quiet streets echoed to the sounds of my two-stroke motor. I was surprised to see at least three families, husband, wife and young children, out for a shopping trip. Maybe it was a special treat for half-term, but not my idea of fun.
One of my best friends from school got in touch with me through Friends Reunited. If you went to school in the UK you must have a look at it.
I saw the latest Star Wars at the weekend. For some reason it matters to me what critics think of a film, even if I disagree with. The consensus seems to be that the plot and dialogue are pretty hopeless, but better than the first episode. I couldn't see anything wrong first episode, but then I'm pretty unsophisticated. This time I was much more conscious of how believable it was, and I can see what critics mean.

However, still loved it. Just give me futuristic cities, spaceships, aliens, the more the better and I will be happy. The film critic in The Times put it number one on his top ten, so I feel better now.

They've got an interview with Anakin too. I heard someone in a park on Sunday call their child Anakin. Is that a nickname or for real?
Really good spy programme on last night: Spooks. Smiley's People went away over my head when I was a kid, but this was a lot more fun. The script must have been tweaked after September 11 because they drop a couple of references to it. Lots of action, the Internet, mobile phones, very up-to-date.

The new enemy is terrorism. This week it was extreme pro-lifers, safely avoiding any international political hot potatoes.
We had some students around our house last night. They must be half a generation behind us. Some of the things they were talking about are the things that our children do, some were the things that we do.
I watched the Edwardian Country House programme last night. It's a cracking series. As others have commented they really do seemed to have picked the right people for the right jobs on the whole. I don't know if it is deliberate policy but the scullery maids seem to have no clue as to what was involved. One of them said, "this job isn't all its cracked up to be".

If I lived around that time I don't know what job I would have, there being no computers. I would probably end up being an accounts clerk or some other office worker. I certainly wouldn't want to be below stairs, too much like hard work. I would feel guilty being above stairs, being the idle rich. Though probably if I was born that way I wouldn't question it.

A good cause to give a few clicks to.
Published posthumously: The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams. Front Row reviewers said for fans only. I guess I'm a fan, so I'll try and get to read it.