Can’t be Contained

does anyone know where google is going next?

Honestly, does anyone have any clue as to what google is doing, or what its priorities are in terms of products and services?

There, I got to the point.  So now allow me to preface…I know that Google is working on a ton of things at once and that none of them are easy.  It’s not easy to make something like Google docs.  So I know it takes time, and that there are going to be lags that make it seem like Google is disjointed when in fact each product team is working diligently on their little areas or features or whatever.  But I still can’t figure out why they have their heads so far up their butts.

Also, please note that I don’t think of myself as either a Google hater or a fanboy.  Google has some good stuff, and they are pretty darn creative.  But they also have their flaws.  My issue, here and now, is that they clearly have resources of amount X, and that they have shown at least a few times when they have not spread that amount effectively.  I’ll give examples of both great and terrible allocation of resources.

(more…)

get to the point!

After thinking a great deal about the way in which I write, and the sequence of ideas that precede the manner in which I put words to “paper,” I have come to the conclusion that I need to work harder on how I write.  I think that I need to focus on getting to the point right off the bat, rather than leading up with a whole bunch of qualifying statements.

In other words, I need to get to the darn point faster.

I have noticed a really bad tendency in my e-mails of late.  I start off with all of these qualifying comments – considering that I don’t know this, having look at various options, etc.  What I need to do is just start off with the point of my message, and then add in the reasons why I’m writing later.

This is my “almost done with the year” resolution.  To get to the point.

I wish I were a better blogger

I wish I were “blogfamous.”  Where I wrote stuff on here and people would comment on it, put it up on digg, etc.  I wish I stirred people’s imaginations or whipped them into a frenzy or whatever.  I wish I were more interesting, maybe.

This is more, I think, than just wanting to be famous or being a hero or having my 15 minutes of fame.  Of course, I would love it if I did something, preferably more like a career than a flash-in-the-pan kind of moment, that made me pop up on the radar of others.  It’s more that I want to write things that are meaningful to others, that resonates with them and makes them think, or laugh, or motivates them to do something (comment, yell at me, get upset, whatever).

I’ve always thought of myself as a good writer – someone who can string a few interesting sentences together and generally uses proper grammar.  I have no illusions of currently or ever being a notable satirist or anything extraordinary like that, but perhaps good enough in general.

What worries me is that maybe I’m simply…boring.  And more than a little bit lazy.  The former is just rather sad.  Maybe I don’t have that many interesting thoughts to share with others, or that those that I do aren’t fodder for conversation (I do post now and then, after all, but the issue is whether the infrequency of my posts is due to a lack of interesting ideas).

The laziness has to do with how often I make myself get up and post something when I’m struck by a bit of news or some commentary by others.  There are lots of really interesting people out there that really do make me think, for good and bad (the myth of the Death Panel gets me riled up a lot), but I don’t get up out of bed, away from the work computer when I’m in the middle of some administrivia e-mail, or jump on the computer in general when I read something that whips up a thought or two of my own.  For some reason I just don’t.  But I should.

So..anyway.  I wish I weren’t so full of self-pity, either :-).  I blog because I need an outlet for commentary when I feel I have something to say.  I know a few people follow what I write.  I know that that number is not large.  I don’t blog to be famous, but I think all of us wish we were the kind of writers, bloggers, commentators and thinkers that make others stop and want to blog about us.

Hm.  This was rather random.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Norway tests laptop exam scheme

BBC NEWS | Technology | Norway tests laptop exam scheme.

This is kind of interesting.  Many, many Law Schools use a variety of different exam software packages that do far more than what the Norway system does.  It actually reboots one’s computer into a secure state, where one cannot access the internet or any files on the computer.  After the exam is finished, the student then has to reboot again to upload the encrypted file.

compound sleepiness

A compound growth problem is an exponential one. Instead of things just doubling or going up by, say, 5% over time, where if you mapped it out you’d get a nice straight line that just goes up and up, exponential growth curves upward at a steeper and steeper rate. So instead of it growing at 2x (2, 4, 8, 16, 32), it grows at x^2 (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64).

Right now, I’m dealing with the usual apnea baseline. I keep my CPAP mask on for maybe 2 hours a night (though I have managed 4 hours 3 out of the last 7 nights, which isn’t bad). Throw in allergies, and I have congestion problems during the night, which makes it even harder to breath in general.

Then, during the day, allergies make me fuzzy, which adds to my existing sleepiness that I have everyday.

So my sleepiness curve is compound.

And it really, really stinks.

It’s amazing how something as “simple” as sleep deprivation, little by little, day after day, year after year (and decade upon decade now) just wears a person down.

WTF? RTFM!

I ran into a weird situatoin at one point in my life.  I was in an office where apparently it had become acceptable to shout out “WTF?” or “RTFM!” at a volume easily heard from a dozen or more feet away.  The acronym was fine, but obviously the actual words behind those letters would not be.  At the least, I saw no indication that saying “what the f**k?” in response to a surprising incident would have been acceptable, and I certainly hoped that it would not be in any professional environment.

I don’t really have anything else to say on the topic.  But it was weird.

life in the middle seat

I’m writing this as I sit in the middle seat of a 3-seat center section of a Boeing 767-300 (at first I thought this was the new fangled 767…not the case). It’s a red-eye, so it’s all about just getting to the destination (not about chatting or anything like that), and to top off the dynamics of it all the people next to me are actually together. They just didn’t want to have an aisle and a middle seat, so it’s Allan in the middle.

Often, when one is sitting next to someone in a center seat, that person is with someone else. So when you deal with that person needing to go to the bathroom, or a little elbow fighting on the armrest, it’s annoying but you just lump that person in with other experiences you’ve had with these darn’ed “middle-seat’ers” who just aren’t sufficiently considerate. [hyperbolic, of course. But I will admit to be rather judgmental when I am on the aisle and sometimes see the person in the middle seat as just a cause for problems. Legit ones – not that they don’t need to go to the bathroom – but problems nonetheless].

Well, I’m presenting the case of the middle guy. I don’t know where to put my arms right now. The person on the left is very nice and friendly but she’s using a lot of the armrest and I have nowhere to go (typing position in helping for now). The person on the right (again, this couple is together) isn’t using the armrest at all, but I think I annoyed him earlier when I asked if I could change the direction of his air vent-tube-nozzle thing (it was blowing right at me, full force, but it also requires standing up to change it). He has been gruff since then.

I also sleep with fear that I will be “that guy” and slump over out of the vertical space of mine as defined by the confines of my seat. My headrest has “wings” but I sleep with one eye (or inner ear, cochlear balance sensor) open.

I just got back from the lavatory. I felt a bit of an urge to go earlier but waited to be absolutely sure so I only had to inconvenience one or the other of my row-mates once. Not that I would not have gone eventually out of fear of annoying them, but I have to be careful. Or at least I feel that way.

And finally the two of them do in fact talk over or in front of me, I guess, from time to time. I really feel like I’m in the middle then. It’s just awkward.

Facebook sucks so much right now

Apparently this is account specific, but Facebook has been logging me out after about 1 minute for the last few weeks.  I’m at the point where it’s so much easier to update my status via my Blackberry that I don’t bother going to the actual FB site much anymore.  

I have written FB help twice now explaining this problem in detail.  I have seen other users log in on my machine, same browser, no settings changed, and surf around in FB for 10, 15 minutes.  I can’t get past 60 seconds.

If FB is a social networking site, maybe my friends just don’t like me…

Murphy’s Cousin in action

So if Murphy’s law states that “if it can go wrong, it will,” then is his cousin the one that states “if things could possibly be incredibly frustrating, they will be?”

There are a lot of conferences every year, for all kinds of fields.  In academia, there are quite a few, too, such that overlapping or back-to-back situations happen a lot.  On the other hand, for the most part, I notice that conferences of the same type don’t usually happen at the same time.  So technical conferences – how to manage a lab, stuff like that – are in early summer, then maybe late summer, then maybe in the fall.  Management conferences – the big one in Educause – is in the fall, as well.  But people who go to Educause are not usually the ones going to the technical conferences.  

However, right now I am facing a situation where the Law School Admissions Council – LSAC – has started a new, senior IT-related conference called ESCON (electronic services conference) and is actually significant subsidizing attendance.  It’s a big move on their part.  This is law school specific, though, yet it’s also leadership/management related.  Lots of admissions officers will be there, too, but part of the goal is to get the two groups together.

Now, that is from April 1-3.  Of course, as Murphy’s Cousin’s Law dictates, while usually management conferences are going to be spread out, the ACM SIGUCCS Spring Management Symposium, which is designed for those aspiring to be higher-level managers/CIOs/etc, runs from March 30-April 1.  I have applied for a grant to attend – again, very generous and I would be incredibly grateful if I were selected.  

But…c’mon.  Seriously?  One ends on April 1 and the other begins the same day?  And I don’t find out about the SIGUCCS grant until February but I book airfare for the ESCON now, which means I might leave SIGUCCS a day early, fly back to the San Francisco area, then basically meet my wife at the airport to change the contents of my luggage and jump on a plane to fly back to the eastern time zone for the ESCON.  And obviously if I get the grant I will go to both (I also have been wanting to go to the management symposium for a while now).

And yes, both are in a the eastern time zone, so I have to factor in minor jet lag, too.

Sigh.