January, 2009

Jan 09

Very Important WSJ Op-Ed

Larry already pointed this out, but IBM CEO Sam Palmisano’s Op-Ed in today’s Wall Street Journal is incredibly important and spot on. There’s incredible pressure now to create jobs, to get money flowing — however possible. And it’s important for sure. But the situation we’re in now means that we have an opportunity to make investments that can not just fix the short term, but change our attitudes, our processes, our approach.

So I’m hopeful that like so many other positive signals from the transition government so far, that we’ll use this economic stimulus as a way not just to fix today’s (undoubtedly painful) problems, but to invest in structural changes that will make life better a generation from now.

Jan 09

7 things

Okay, here goes. Was trying to ignore it, but now can’t escape. Was persuaded by the words of Benjamin, who pointed out that in an increasingly online world, it’s more important than ever to try to understand each other in a multi-dimensional way. I think that’s a nice sentiment, so decided not to ignore. 🙂

I was tagged by Deb & Tristan. (you’re both on notice)

The Rules

  1. 1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. 2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. 3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. 4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

My 7 Things

    • My direct ancestors include Robert E. Lee and also people who came over on the Mayflower.
    • My dad was in the US Air Force growing up, and so I’ve lived in many different places, but all in the US. I was born in Sacramento, CA, then: Fort Walton Beach, FL, St. Simon’s Island, GA, Rome, NY, Omaha, NE, Las Vegas, NV, and went to high school in San Antonio, TX. I’ve lived in my current house probably longer than anywhere else in my life. (5 years)
    • I was a band geek. And a Latin geek. And a math geek. Competed in all of them in school, at state & national levels. For all the stereotypes, I  look back on all those experiences with exceptional fondness, and they were all foundational to me. Oh, also, computer geek.
    • I met my wife, Kathy, my freshman year in high school (1984), when we dated on & off (and in band, as it turns out). We got back together 10 years later, and then married in 2000. By total coincidence, her mother and my mother were in the same sorority at Emory at the same time and knew each other. (Dad was at Emory also.)
    • I really like television a lot. A LOT. The Wire is my favorite, and I really miss Arrested Development (although 30 Rock has its moments). And Buffy, a lot. But to tell you the truth, and I know this will be disillisioning to many of you, I’m starting to lose my taste for it, and often lately can’t even find anything to watch. Impossible, and very sad, I know. [“Teacher, mother, secret lover.” — name the quote!]
    • The job I held the longest in high school was as a short-order cook at a Chinese fast food restaurant called Qwik Wok. I was pretty marginal at that, but can cook a LOT of fried rice at once. One time I took an egg roll because I was really hungry. Got busted. I’m like the opposite of sneaky.
    • My favorite movie of all times, without reservation, is Bull Durham. I can’t escape it when it’s on.

      My Tagees (I’m terribly sorry)

      • Adam, because he needs something that’s not just BSG to write about this week.
      • Diego, because he’s awesome, is writing more lately, and I bet will have something gnarly to say.
      • Bob, because I’m interested to see whether he’ll do it or not, and what he’ll say.
      • Klep, because he’s funny as hell and should write more.
      • Mitch, since he’s been so interesting on Twitter lately. (mkapor — follow!)
      • Joshua, because he called me grouchy last night. Maybe you can use your 20% time for it.
      • Tariq, who I guarantee will say something surprising.

      Jan 09

      The Caves of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

      I’ve had a cold that’s kept me at home the past few days — have had a hard time focusing on anything long enough to read, even. So I scanned my old science fiction paperbacks and picked up The Caves of Steel — one of the 3(ish) robot detective books that Asimov wrote.

      It’s sort of comfort reading — characters and worlds that are super-familiar to me, that are baked deep into my reading consciousness — and so sort of like Ender’s Game in that I go back to them from time to time.

      These books aren’t as good or as important as the his Foundation books — especially the first three of those. But they’re fun, very readable, and fit like a comfortable sweater — great for when you’re sick.

      (I actually like the next book in the series, The Naked Sun, a little better — it’s a particularly unusual take on a locked room mystery, and very memorable.)

      Jan 09

      The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

      I have a bit of an indifferent relationship to Neil Gaiman’s writing — he’s great with high concepts (American Gods was a great concept); I find his characters and actual writing not always that interesting. This book is really in the vein of the Harry Potter books — a book aimed at mostly young adults that’s sort of a fantastical story about a boy who grows up in a graveyard and then does some uncommonly courageous stuff.

      Fun book to pass the time — doesn’t take too long to read. Won’t change your life or anything, but not bad.

      Jan 09

      1 year of Kindle

      A few quick thoughts on my Kindle now that I’ve lived with it for a year. I’ve purchased 46 books on it, reading at least some of each of them, and finishing about half.

      1. The integrated wireless store is absolutely the best part of it. I can literally think of a book and have it available to read within a minute.

      2. Selection of titles is getting better, but still only about 50% of what I read.

      3. Reading on it seems no different on my eyes than reading on paper — paperback pulp is probably the closest contrast-wise.

      4. I find that books do seem longer on the Kindle, mostly because I get a little lost in terms of where I am. The indicators are all good, but it’s hard to figure out how close we are to chapter endings, etc. As a result, it’s screwing with all my 38 year old physical book navigating abilities.

      5. It’s making book reading much less social for me, because nobody can tell what I’m reading. On airplanes, that’s a great thing. So great. At home with my wife, it’s not as good, because it means we don’t have as many serendipitous conversations initiated by her about what I’m reading. [A weird side effect was that I was trying to get through the last 50 pages of a mystery over break — usually people can tell where you are in a book and that you’re near the end, and will forgive anti-social behavior if you’re sprinting to the end — with a Kindle, they think I’m even less social than I generally am.]

      Overall, though, my sentiment is the same that everyone else who has one has: it’s a very flawed device, and I would never give it up at this point.