Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke: Rendevous With Life's End

The great writer Arthur C. Clarke has died. I was a fan of his for many years and read almost all of his earlier science fiction novels through my late teens and early 20s and kept up with his newer works over the intervening years since. I figure my friends Parris and George are writing their toasts to Mr. Clarke tonight as well. Cheers, kids.

Thank you for all the fine writing, dandy stories and the pleasure of reading them Sir Arthur. Goodbye.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Emptied E-Mail Box

I've been following a blog titled "How to Save the World" written by Dave Pollard. Recently he wrote A World Without E-Mail: Getting Our Lives Back in Synch with suggestions on how to manage our contact needs productively via calendaring. It made a lot of sense to me.

I commented that due to my leave from work due to stress related illnesses, that I'd deleted my email from my home computer -- purged everything regardless of what it was. And I did. Now, I check email once a week and am a lot happier for it. I said it freed up time I need for healthier activities like walking with my dog.

What did I let go of anyway?

7 years worth of CTIA and other mobile phone communications newsletters and email. I worked in the mobile communications industry which is the source of my stress related illness. As a customer service and tech support rep, I felt I needed to keep on top of anything that affected or potentially affected my employer's customers. Those emails included topics developing technologies, our products, competitors products, legislation, zoning, you name it. I even had email with links to manufacturers who made phones our company did NOT sell, but that our customers would buy to use on our network (or try to) back from before our company's intranet had a reference knowledge base addressing unsupported products.

I've gotten out of touch with the business and need to stay out of touch with it for a while. It is okay. Really.

Ditto C|Net, ZDNet, and Tech Republic with all their cross platform stuff that segued into my work related email. Years worth of updates gone in seconds.

I kissed off my news updates. Good bye NY Times, Washington Post, SF Chronicle, Irish Times, The Telegraph, et.al. Some of the news was so old the links were beyond archived and simply dead. The saving grace was if I had paper copies of those same circulars, our home would have been a firetrap. I told myself that I'd go back and read x,y and z stories, but the truth is once read and in the folder, new things came up and I seldom went back to them no matter how clever I was flagging & tagging them as "important."

I trashed email from friends and family that was chock-a-block with forwarded urban legends, scams and chain letters, not to mention jokes, cute pics and inspirational stories (which were often urban legends)! These were the emails that got read once then filed into the family/friend's folder and left to moulder. Very few ever got answered. Some vexed me enough that I'd send a reply with a link to Snopes or About.com showing that what they sent was bullsh*t and either not true or fraudulent or some combination thereof.

Oh! and with those deletions were thousands and thousands of unsolicited email addresses I got which had been included with each forwarding. Suzie forwards to Tom, Dick and Harry. Harry then forwards to Marvin, Tyson, and Sylvester each of whom gets Suzie, Tom and Dick's email addys and include them when they forward to Mom, Pop, Uncle Ted, Aunt Alice and Uncle Bob ad infinitum. (Some people never did learn how to cut and paste, you know? It's too hard, they say!)

Perhaps I have issues but seriously, it's discouraging to think family and friends can be taken in by some of this stuff. It's sometimes a bit scary when some of the email my well-meaning family members forward is also bigoted. Do these people I'm attached to really believe this crap even though the lies and rumors have proved again and again to be untrue and distorted? Even when investigative media has proved they're untrue? It worries me. Some of the screeds have such hyperbole, it's hard to believe that my family doesn't see through the language used to see that they're being told lies. So it's good to get that junk out of my in-box and out of my life.

The fact is I'm skeptical enough anyway.

Last to go were the catalogs. I'm not buying anyway.

How radical is it to delete the email box? Harried executives are now doing it. I misplaced the story, but apparently some hotshot CEO got fed up and deleted his mailbox and no one ever noticed that he hadn't replied to their emails. It was just so much noise after awhile.

So if you're overwhelmed, just give in and delete your email inbox once in a while. It doesn't hurt. I promise.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Add Some Spice To Our Lives, Please

I often like simple things. My title today links to a story about a simple thing. A bare bones cell phone made by an Indian phone company. No frills.

What's good about it? Keys people can read and aren't itty bitty. It has no bells and whistles. It is just basic. I work in the industry and know that a lot of the 65 and older age groups just want something easy to understand and use and the heck with the rafts of complex and confusing features that fascinate their grandkids and great-grandkids! People with poor eyesight, neuro-muscular problems and arthritis would benefit from a keypad that is more substantial than current offerings.

Mobile phone companies in the US would create a whole new loyal customer bases by offering these phones.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Romantic Steampunkery

As some of you might know from searching my links, I like to visit The Steampunk Workshop from time to time. Jake has a marvelous take on things we use today --- merging them with a Victorian design ethic that is handsomely machined and hand tooled - like steam engines. I like them. I like the aesthetics of them. Gilding the lily is often sweet.

Jake just featured Dave Veloz's steampunked mini mac setup that was a gift to his bride to be. It's a work of art, so go have a look. Just click on the the title line and you'll get there, ok? Have fun looking, but don't blame me if you start salivating. After all, you're also the types who imagined stuff like this while reading Well's "TheTime Machine" or more recently S.M. Stirlings "The Peshawar Lancers."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Just Another Liar

I'm really getting sick of these pseudo-memoir writers. I'm tired of people willing to lie like this. Screw it! I think she could've told the story as fiction and it could've sold on it's own as fiction.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Tis Monday....

Sigh. The weekend was mostly nice.

I've been keeping track of my walking distance on this place called Favorite Run. It has a nifty tool so you can map your route distances and it then will let you break down how far you've walked total per week/month, this month/last month and so on. My distance for February was 63.95 miles, for January (with healing sprains) my distance was just about half that. My total distance so far this year is 106.06 miles including what I did today. Here's an example of one of my routes: http://www.favoriterun.com/191319 You can click on the satellite to get more detail and even zoom in in ya want.

Saturday, met up with my friends Parris and George and their friend Chip at a cat show on the fairgrounds. Oh, my! Kitties everywhere. The handsomest of all were the Maine Coons. Parris ended up buying a lovely ginger Maine Coon female kitten about 3.5 months old. If she could've afforded it, there were only 3 more kittens she'd have taken home too, but it was just the one. For me, there was a handsome mackerel tabby MC, but hey, I'm broke. So I focused on my knitting and enjoying P & G get goofy over the ginger girl.

Sunday was frickin' cold! (The NOT nice part of the weekend!) A cold front moved through slowly heavy with moisture and a bitter wind made it feel icy. You can be sure that I was not up to a long walk and the poor dog got cheated out of said long walk. Jim and I went to Su and Kens to hang out watching movies. I howled through Richard Rodriguez's Planet Terror, a fun, bright homage to the old Grindhouse movies from back when. There were scenes I laughed at til my sides hurt including a damn hot sex scene between 'Cherry' and 'El Wray' that cut to a "missing reel sorry for the inconvenience" splice.

Meanwhile an arrest warrant has been issued in Philadelphia for 24 year old Jose Mendez in the slaying of Teven Rutledge Wilson which I ranted about last week. Mendez is on the run and authorities have labeled him as "armed and dangerous." No shit. Obviously he was dangerous before, too.

In Texas a 16 year old girl along with three others are being charged with murdering her mom and two brothers while her dad clings to life in critical condition. The reason? Her family didn't approve of her relationship with one of the boys who is now involved in that killing. Her bond has been set at 1.5 million dollars. Who's frelling idea was this? I don't wanna hear of any "mercy on accounta I'm an orphan now!" crap.

Hillary is hanging onto her campaign and tomorrow's votes in Texas and Ohio will tell the tale. Rhode Island and Vermont are also holding their primaries tomorrow. Ohio is the biggest prize I think, because it reflects the experiences of job losses due to NAFTA, cuts in the middle class, rising food and fuel costs and more that have trickled down through the rest of the country. Obama has every bit as good a chance in Ohio which I'm glad of as the polls show a very narrow gap between him and Hillary. The politesse has ended and the gloves came off with this weekend's spate of ads. After Tuesday, the next primary will be Pennsylvania. My money is on Obama, folks.