Scheduling Contact Annoyances

While I’m on an annoyances kick this afternoon, I wanted to add one more. Today, I realized that my eyeglass prescription had changed. Because this is affecting my ability to read, I decided to see if I could move up my eye appointment. I logged onto my eye doctor’s website and found an earlier appointment that I could use. I got a confirmation message.

The next thing that happened is that I got an email from the website stating that I had an important message from my eye doctor. Obviously, the message couldn’t be contained in the email because that would be too efficient. I clicked on the link, to be taken to a page telling me that I rescheduled my appointment and should print that page for my records. Didn’t I already see that page when I rescheduled?

Don’t systems analysts think about these things when they design systems? I could see getting an email confirming my appointment reschedule, but an email that has me click on a link to get to a web page that tells me I rescheduled which I already knew is a little inefficient.

Text Messaging Annoyances

I have no idea if this is limited to Windows Mobile or not, as I’ve only used text messaging on two phones. I will occasionally get a text message that is informational. The pop-up toast will come up to tell me the text, which is short enough to read in the preview. I’ll read it, and hit Dismiss. However, my today screen will still show an unread text message. I have to open my text message in order for it to be marked as read. This is annoying.

Sometimes when I’m texting with my wife, I’ll have to close out the chat, then reopen it to clear out her last unread message from my unread message count. Again, annoying.

Nehemiah As an Example of Male Leadership

My church is going to start a new men’s group. It’s proven to be a real challenge as we are a “freeway church”, that is, our membership is pretty well spread out. We’re not a community church where our membership generally lives nearby. My house is currently about 10 miles from the church, and if we sell and move into my in-laws’, I’ll be 20 miles out. Some people come from even farther. We’re also incredibly busy. Trying to find a date and time for a men’s group to meet has been difficult. I can’t do breakfast meetings because I get to work at 6:30 AM. We finally settled on Thursday afternoon, with our first meeting being today. We’ll see how it goes.

In preparation for our first meeting, I read the book of Nehemiah from the perspective of male leadership. For the past several weeks our pastors have been preaching from Nehemiah. Several things stood out to me during this read. For one thing, Nehemiah considered Jerusalem as a reproach with the walls down. Putting the walls back up would make the city no longer a reproach. I have to wonder if there is anything I can draw from that. Is a person, a family, a church, a group, a society, etc. a reproach with a broken wall, a lack of boundaries, or no form of defensive security and self-containment? Is there a broader application? I don’t like to over-spiritualize or allegorize parts of the Bible for which neither was intended, but in many cases there is a deeper message. I don’t have the answer now, but I do plan to study this.

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Social Network Annoyances

Don’t get me wrong, I like social networks. At the very least, I like the social networks that I’ve already joined and still use, such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo. Needless to say, each has it’s own unique annoyances that drive me nuts. Here are some of the biggest:

  • Facebook- 3rd party application requests. I like the fact that Facebook has 3rd party APIs, that is, Application Programming Interfaces. It’s easy for somebody with a great idea to write a program that can then be integrated into Facebook. However, every single one of these programs feeds on constantly asking your friends to join (separate annoyance). Some of these programs are games which I don’t have time for, but I have one friend who does and every time I log onto Facebook I get tons of requests to participate. When I ignore them all, I get a text from my friend asking me to “join my tribe, man” from whatever game he’s playing now.

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Welcome, Obama Staff, to Crap IT

Interesting news coming out of the White House. 8 years ago, former President Bush’s staff arrived to find the place trashed. Current President Obama’s staff arrives to find it outdated. There is an interesting debate going on. Some people fell sorry for them. Others, like Valleywag’s Owen Thomas, consider them whiners, and offers them a welcome to “The way the rest of America works.”

It may be the way we work, but that doesn’t make it right. Where I work, laptops cannot be ordered with a wireless card built on. Currently, only Dell will sell a laptop without a built-in wireless. What do you do when you travel, and the only way to get connected to the Internet to access email or shared documents in a hotel’s wireless router? You can order a separate wireless card. I am NOT making this up. Somebody in the interests of IT security dreamed this BS policy up.

Just wait, Obama staff. It will get worse. Much worse. Welcome to the wonderful world of government/large corporate environment IT. It sucks, doesn’t it?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I got into IT because I love shiny new things. I resent when IT policies are made by people who aren’t quite ready for the release of the Apple II yet.

Security and convenience are two important factors, but they darn well SHOULD balance each other somehow. You can’t have security at the expense of convenience, nor can you have convenience at the expense of security. I only wish the people who made the policies seemed to understand that.

I Thought This Was a Joke: Mike Rowe Soft

I came across something interesting today that I honestly thought was a joke. Apparently, a Canadian teenager (not the Dirty Jobs guy) named Mike Rowe set up a website with the URL . Mic-ro-soft apparently had an issue with that and “defended” their trademark. A settlement was reached. The wikipedia article is here and the archived version of the page is here. The original URL brings up a search page.

I Joined Shelfari

As much as I love books, I joined Shelfari today. I found it was very easy to search for and add books that I’ve read and owned. It also looks like I’ll be able to add tags, so I could possibly use Shelfari to maintain my reading lists. If you have any interest at all in the books that I have read, the books I will read, and the books that I have for some reason or other, my page is here.

I also installed the Shelfari module into my blog to show the books I’m currently reading right now. Some of them are books I’ve started somewhere in the past and put down but plan to finish eventually. It looks like I’ll have an easier time maintaining my current readings on Shelfari, so I might drop the “What I’m Reading” typelist.

My Shelfari account is linked to my Amazon Associates account, so if anything on my “bookshelf” interests you and you’d like to buy it, consider it a way of leaving a tip. I won’t bring that up again, at least not for a while. For now I’m writing mostly for fun and to hone my communication skills.

Dude, the White House Goes Web 2.0!

This is an interesting surprise. The White House now has a blog, already complete with RSS. President Obama (please bear with me while I adjust to that as I wasn’t as enthusiastic as some of you) plans to have an open and transparent government. That will be interesting. I’m fairly cynical, and when I read that line in the White House’s first blog post, I immediately thought of former-President Clinton’s promise to have the most ethical administration in history.

I didn’t agree with the new President in many of his policies and proposed solutions, but now that he’s in office, it is my duty to support him as I am able, and of course to pray for him.

At this point, the best we can do is watch. I will say that while I don’t agree with many of his policies and proposed solutions, I do respect the man in many ways.

Anyway, I’ve already got the White House blog in my Google Reader feeds. I’ll pray for the new President as he goes through BlackBerry withdrawals. That would hurt me.

2009 Goal Update: Books

I figure I’ll be transparent about this one. I set a goal to read 100 books this year. I haven’t picked them out yet. So far, according to my records in Evernote, I’ve read 8.

Why 100? No particular reason, except that it sounds ambitious. I’m hoping over the course of achieving this goal, I learn how to read faster, and I learn how to absorb more. I’m not sure if I’m going to post reviews of a certain percentage or not. I’ll of course post them for the Thomas Nelson books I review, and if anything really stands out to me, I’ll post it as well. I’ll also add books I’m reading or that have influenced my life to my Amazon A-store. Check it from time to time, and feel free to buy anything that interests you from my affiliate.

What books am I going to read? I have no idea. No doubt I’ll read some from the bookcase full of books that I haven’t read yet. I’ll probably read some public domain books that I download online. I’ll also probably buy some new books and check other books out from the library.

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ABC News: Who Benefits from Keeping Salaries Secret?

ABC News has an interesting article/video about salary secrecy. I’d love to get a discussion going on this topic. They explore why companies keep salaries secret, and whether or not it would be a good idea to allow for salary transparency in the workplace.

ABC has a claim that salary secrecy allows for women to be underpaid. I know a lot of that has gone on. I have no idea if it still goes on at all. I don’t know if it’s some kind of conscious decision. Imagine a scene similar to a bad 70’s Christian movie. A bunch of evil looking men are sitting around a boardroom with cigars and brandy, and somebody says in an evil voice “Hey, why don’t we decide right now that any women we hire will automatically be paid 40% less than their male counterparts for the exact same experience and work!” to which the others reply in an evil laugh “Muuuw-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I’m sure it still happens though. I’m just saying that the thought process that leads to it eludes me.

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