27 June 2009

19 June 2009


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Truth in Advertising

The story (somewhat edited to protect innocent parties) goes like this:

We realized about two weeks ago that we were heading toward an absolute train wreck. We did not have adequate staffing to support our converted customer base and had about 10x that number of customers to support in just about six weeks.

With the training cycle being five weeks, we scrambled to develop a contingency plan. Our options were severely constrained by call routing, training space and trainer resources as well as the need to continue supporting the non-converted customers. Nevertheless, a (about 85%) good plan was developed. The scramble then began to determine how to support this brainchild.

The plan was to pull additional resources (~75) into training in two locations. The first location would train about 45 of the resources in a room that was ready to go and sitting idle. The remainder would be trained in an idle training room, but PCs would need to be installed. After a couple of phone calls and calling in my last favor from IT, they agreed to make it happen.

At 3p on Friday, before the room was to go live on Monday, I received the dreaded phone call. There was a problem with the power draw that the PCs required. So bad, in fact, that they could power no more than 12 out of 30 at a time. We would need an alternate plan. It doesn't take an experienced project manager to know that 3p on Friday is NEVER the right time to deliver a bombshell. Scramble begins.

45 minutes later, I receive another in a long string of phone calls. This one telling me that facilities would "make it work" and would do so by Monday Morning at 8a when training was scheduled to begin. I asked that I receive a phone call when it was done just to be safe, and was told that it was safe to assume that silence was indeed golden, and I would receive a call only if it wasn't going to be ready for 8a Monday. I know that I should have not agreed to that, but at 4p on Friday, I'll take it.

Crises averted. Right?

Sunday I sent three texts to two different people to confirm. Silence.

Monday, at 715a, resent the text from Sunday. Two replies. Both said exactly the same thing: "Yes, you are ready."

Monday, at 930a, I get an IM asking why the room wasn't ready until 915a.

Four days later, that question remains unanswered.

The morale of my tale is simple: "Just tell the truth."

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

11 June 2009

Kindle Initial Thoughts

I'm now about two weeks into my Kindle 2 ownership. I have had a lot of people asking about my impressions and decided this would be a good point to share those.

The short impression is I LOVE it.

Here are some reasons why:

> Accessibility - books are easy to get and plentiful. The Kindle store has something like 300k titles available. These range in price from $.25 (Alice's Adventures In Wonderland) up to $9.99 (with some textbooks slightly higher). Additionally, there are multiple sites where you can get books in the public domain for free. I can go to the Kindle Store and enter the title of a book that I've heard about or that was a reference in the book that I am reading and download it or a sample.

> Easy on the Eyes - when I first heard that it was "like reading a paperback", I was very skeptical. However, I can tell you after several hours of reading, it is like reading a paperback.

> Dictionary - it's built-in! If you are not certain of the meaning of a word, or want more info on a topic, then you navigate to thw word and the definition is displayed on the bottom of the screen. Pressing the "enter" key will show additional information.

> Advanced Additional Info - from within a book, you can enter a search phrase and search multiple sources including Google and the Wikipedia for that phrase. For example, the other night I was reading Ted Gioia's "The History of Jazz". He referenced the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). I typed in "Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians" and searched Wikipedia. I read the entry for AACM. In the reference section at the end of that entry was the citation for George E. Lewis' book "A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music". I then opened the Kindle store entered the title of that volume, and 45 seconds later it was on the Kindle ready for me to read.

> Changeable Font Size - there are six or seven different sizes of fonts from which you can select.

> Clipping/Annotating - I'm an "underliner". I like to make notes in books as I'm reading and highlight and underline. Kindle allows me to do this. Additionally, it places my notes/highlights into a "My Clippings" area on my Kindle and syncs them to my Kindle page on Amazons website.

> Search - from the Home Page of the Kindle, I can enter a search word/phrase and the Kindle will scour through everything on the device and display every occurrence of that in a navigatable list.

> Mobile Web Access - while not the best web browser in the world (nor is it designed to be), it works well for quick jaunts of text info. It is relatively easy to get weather forecasts, news updates and sports scores. It works well with Google Reader (my choice for RSS feeds). It also works with Twitter.

> Range of reading material - I have found myself exploring books that I would not have likely gotten around to reading. I have something like 60 books on the device and 20 samples (when I come across a title, or hear about a title that I think I might find interesting I download a sample of it to peruse at my leisure) and the topics range from fiction in the public domain to heady history and specialized music books. People that have Kindles have told me that their range of reading material has widen dramatically since purchasing a Kindle.

What I wish it had:

> Reference book - as mentioned earlier, I can go to the Kindle Store and do this manually, but I would love the ability to click on a book title that is a reference in the book I'm reading and have it take me to that Kindle Store entry.

> Page Numbers - Kindle uses a "location" within the book. I'm uncertain as to what makes something a location. Yet, I wish there were something that translated a location to a page number. That way you could actually do functional research/citations. As it is now, if you are reading something that is research for a paper, you need to go to a hardcopy and find the page. Either that or someone needs to create an APA citation method specific to Kindle. (That said.... There appears to be a national one debate regarding how one should cite passages. It seems to be split between use the location number and say it is the Kindle edition, and get a book.)

> Onboard RSS reader - while you can use Google Reader (mobile), it would be nice to have a built-in RSS reader.

All-in-all it is one of the coolest devices that I've ever owned. It is pretty neat how much information you have access to when you carry it.

Thanks, Steph, Emily and Caleb!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

08 June 2009

Octo Slip Cover

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05 June 2009

My New Office

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