Monday, August 30, 2004

Suspicious Timing

The Republicans are good campaigners.

This past weekend, President Bush suggested that the campaigns should focus on the present, not the Vietnam war. This is after he has received much mileage from the 'Swift Boat' boys that have questioned Senator Kerry's war record and eligibility for medals. Why didn't he stop this at the outset?

Even bigger is the announcement by the VP that he does not approve of the attempts to ammend the Constitution to ban gay marriage (presumably since he has a gay daughter). Instead, he feels each state should decide. (It's a safe issue either way, since a Constitutional amendment would never fly.) My question is: where was he six months to a year ago when the issue first blew up?

I think that in both cases, the GOP campaign is trying cover both sides of the issues. Conservatives are kept in the fold while the issues heat up, and the undecides are lured in by the apparent turn around.

I'm worried that too many voters will be fooled by this ploy.

Six Year Old in Traffic

I was riding into work this morning, and rounded a curve onto a one way street. As I went to move into the bike lane, I was faced with another biker coming up the wrong way. As I swerved back into the street to avoid a collision, I mentioned to him that it was a one way street. His facial expression said to me that he had no idea that bicyclists are required to follow the same laws as autos - even in bike lanes. Most of these kids learned bike safety when they were six, and now that they're 18, they have no understanding of how an adult rides a bike. We don't use sidewalks, we don't run stop lights and signs, we don't dart in and out of traffic, and we don't go the WRONG WAY!


Saturday, August 28, 2004

Don't Use These Tired Sayings Anymore

When I'm King, I'm going to ban certain IT catch phrases:

Chop-O-MaticSlice and Dice: Used to describe the act of using a data analysis tool to sort, subtotal, and filter data. One could say that he is 'manipulating the data', or 'processing the numbers', or 'making a nice graph'. But, unless he works for Ronco, let's keep the Chop-O-Matic out of the conversation.

The 80/20 Rule: I hear this constantly, and it has no basis in reality. In a recent article by Steve Fox , he debunks the rule:

...but it evokes another overused catch-all -- the ubiquitous 80/20 rule. As Darryl Mataya, a chief development officer, points out, "First it was used to describe resources: 80 percent of your CPU time will be used by 20 percent of your jobs; 80 percent of the cycles will be used by 20 percent of your code; 80 percent of your network traffic will be generated by 20 percent of your users. Now it is used to describe every conceivable management concept. Don't believe me -- Google it! Eighty percent of your management time should be spent on 20 percent of your employees, (or is it the other way around?) 80 percent of your Web traffic comes from 20 percent of your pages, ad nauseam. … It is well known by students of urban legend that a key characteristic of successful legends is un-provability. Ironically, this legend drips it. Not only does it involve separate coefficients on two typically difficult-to-measure values, it has the convenient mathematical characteristic of implying that the two factors are connected by a direct and inverse relationship. Zillions of invisible hands at work all day long on a 4-to-1 lever."

Damn! I had another one, but I can't think of it now. More later...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Breaking Down the Barriers

So, I'm standing at the bus stop before lunch, and a college girl asks if this bus stops at Wabash Landing. I answered yes - thinking that would be the end of it. Then, she kept talking to me! We talked about how tough it was to park on campus, how she and two roommates shared a parking pass, that the college she used to attend had great dorms but they were far away from the classroom buildings, etc.

Trolley StopI had to stop her right there and explain that there is an unspoken law that adult campus staff and students don't speak to each other. We barely even acknowledge each others' existence. Sure, without them we wouldn't have jobs, and even though they don't realize it, it is the staff that make the whole education thing happen. However, we live in separate worlds, and it is better that way.

I think she understands now that she should get the yes or no answer she is looking for, and then glance nervously around - avoiding the adult's gaze - until the bus arrives.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I Don't Have to Post, Do I? - The Story of a Lurker

I read a lot more than I post. I'm just not the writer type, and I can't express myself in flowing, funny, interesting prose like Chucklehut can. Boz does a great job of gathering together whatever thoughts are jumping through his sleep deprived brain, and Raymi has found a way to turn stream-of-consciousness crap into a highly viewed site. (In both cases, pictures of near naked women help a little)

Hemingway at Desk
Tony says not to apologize, but Nancy does whenever she skips a day or two. Some of these fine folks post several times a day, but I'm lucky to come up with something once a month. Although, in my defense, I have family duties, a high stress, high responsibility type job, and hobbies I try to indulge once and a while. Jeff is worried that his writer's block is a sign of depression (maybe it is - I don't know), but I hope he's not feeling an unnecessary requirement to write to us.

Myself, I don't feel that guilty about it. I've been sitting here trying to figure out why I have a blog at all, and I think the main reason is that others seem to have so much fun doint it, and I'd like to experience that. I has to be cool to be able to share one's life in such an interesting way. When Rik was having troubles with his wife, he kept me riveted with stories of Peg Leg and the Mother-in-law. Now that he is in a loving relationship, the blog has stopped. Maybe I need some big problems in my life to make for interesting reading, although Lisa seems pretty happy (and slightly bored).

I could never divulge personal details about my life, anyway. I hear a lot of gossip about other people - at work, in my family, in the neighborhood - but I don't spread it too much. It seems to me that if I want to be "in the loop", I need to keep my secrets. If my sources didn't trust me, they wouldn't share anything.

Oh, well! I'll write something when inspired, and not worry about it when I don't.

(If you actually care to ready my occasional ramblings, use the RSS feed to notify you.)

Hang in there, Jeff, and only write if you want to.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

It Could Happen

Most people are quick to give the Indiana presidential election to the Republican candidate. Recently at work, when I mentioned that I was a Kerry supporter, a co-worker said that it was a good thing I voted in Indiana.

When the pollsters report their predictions, they use the results from likely voters. However, there are two groups that are not represented: unlikely registered voters and unregistered voters.

I talk with people here all the time that are frustrated with the current administration - the deception, the senseless war, the poorly planned war effort, poor economic decisions (and results), the tax cut for the cronies, and many other problems.

If you are one of these people, there are just two things you need to do to help change the country:

Wouldn't it be amazing if Indiana were colored blue on Election night? It could happen.