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Posts Tagged ‘off-topic’

Goodbye, Mr Kennedy

Posted by iammarchhare on 26 August 2009

Well, “Senator Edward Kennedy dies at age 77” reported Reuters via Yahoo! News this morning.  Without a doubt, he was the most influential of the clan after the deaths of John and Robert and up until his own death.  He had been suffering from brain cancer, diagnosed just a little over a year ago, May 2008.

Please forgive me for speaking in generalities.  I’m posting the same article in both blogs today.  Maybe it’s just because I feel a little older myself today, with the realization that even with the best of fortunes and the best of health, old age and death overcome us all at least once.  However, as one door shuts, another one opens, and I believe that death is just the closing of a single door.  Afterwards, another door opens.  Some will have the door to eternal life opened and others will have their first real chance in a physical life in a much better world.

To a certain extent, you had to admire him.  He became the leader of one the most well-known and influential families that ever existed.  Many did not believe he was up to the task, and some did not even believe he deserved it.  However, he was able to overcome many obstacles along the way.

I definitely did not agree with many of Mr Kennedy’s ideas.  As the Reuters article wrote:

Yet during his nearly half century in the chamber, Kennedy became known as one of Washington’s most effective senators, crafting legislation by working with lawmakers and presidents of both parties, and finding unlikely allies.

At the same time, he held fast to liberal causes deemed anachronistic by the centrist “New Democrats,” and was a lightning rod for conservative ire.

Of course, his life was not without its own share of controversy, especially the Chappaquiddick incident.  Even more controversial might have been the slap on the wrist treatment for what these days would amount to a felony.

Be that as it may, it remains to be seen what the new generation of Democrats will do from here.  There are signs that President Obama has lost his luster, but that was inevitable given the expectations many, not a few but many, had of him.  He is still popular and could well remain so.  However, the results of some of his policies have a potentially crippling effect, and neither party really seems to have the ability to come up with real long-term solutions.

There were odd statements and many jokes about who was running the Republican party a few months ago.  Well, as of today, the Democratic party has one less leader, and it is one less leader in a branch that Mr Obama really needs right now.  Who will emerge to be take Mr Kennedy’s place in the Senate?  Can anyone really fill his shoes?

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Networking Events, Part 2

Posted by iammarchhare on 11 August 2009

So, yesterday, I wrote in Networking Events, Part 1 about some of the downside of networking events.  And yet, most of them really are positive overall.

For one thing, all network events, even staged ones, give you an opportunity to network.  That may seem obvious, but it surprises me how many people don’t get out there and do it!  Whether you are looking for your next job or your next contract opportunity, go!  Even if you aren’t looking, go!  You never know when you’ll be forced to, even if you are comfortable where you are.

Next, even though I ragged a lot about the etiquette presentation, there were more good hints than silly ones.  For example, I’ve never really thought about what side I put a name tag on.  In the Army, it was a given that the “US Army” was over your heart and your name was on the right.  However, since becoming a civilian, I usually put a name tag on the left because I am right handed.  However, when you shake someone’s hand, they will be looking at your right side, not your left, so it helps someone to remember your name if the name tag is on your right.

See if you can answer these questions:

  • What do you first do with a business card when you receive one?
  • Is networking about quantity or quality?
  • If a call gets dropped in the middle of a conversation, whose responsibility is it to call?
  • What are some ways you can keep a conversation going if you feel stuck?

If you don’t know the answer, then try an event put on by one of the consulting/contracting/recruiting firms in your area.  TEKSystems has some going on.  Don’t forget that some local PMI chapters are doing networking events as well.

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Networking Events, Part 1

Posted by iammarchhare on 10 August 2009

Networking events can be interesting.  There is the good, and there is the bad.  Of course, this is Monday, so I’m ready to do my Monday rant.  So, this first part covers some of the negatives.

If I hear about “personal branding” one more time, I may just heave.  Why is it we humans want to recycle and repackage old ideas with new names every few years?  Once upon a time, your “brand” was a simple idea: Your reputation.

Then, there is the whole etiquette stuff that every other networking event seems to want to go into.  I’m all for etiquette actually.  Being polite is simply showing respect for others.  However, some of what is considered “etiquette” really is a matter of taste.

For example, who really cares whether or not someone is wearing short sleeves in the office during summer?  It’s kind of funny that someone isn’t allowed to wear a “dress shirt” when they “dress” for an occasion.

Another even stupider one I have seen disseminated on the net is the myth that you either wear suspenders or a belt but not both.  So, where do you clip that cell phone belt clip on your suspenders, anyhow?  Not only is it impractical, but there are those who are in the business of knowing that say a belt with suspenders is OK.  Therefore, if a future employer really is going to judge you on such a petty matter, then it is just proof you don’t want to work for someone who not only doesn’t know fashion but is too dumb to realize they don’t know anything about fashion.

I also have to wonder about worrying about how much someone’s shoes tell you about the person.  It is always important to appear your best.  On the other hand, there’s also a reason a person is looking for a job.

A lot of times, I will wait until the food arrives before putting a napkin in my lap, unless I’m eating bread or whatever is put on the table beforehand.  I guess I get docked points for that one.  I wonder how many points I would get docked for tucking my napkin into my shirt collar to keep food from ruining my coat and tie.

Whenever it comes to which water glass to use, it seems there are a million rules.  I’ve always been told that it where the knife points.  Now, I guess it is always on your right (something about “b” and “d” and “d” stands for drink).  Funny, don’t they do it differently in Europe, though?

Which just all goes to show that the “experts” cannot even agree.

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Microsoft Dropping the Ball?

Posted by iammarchhare on 3 June 2009

According to Jason Hiner at TechRepublic, there are 2 big trends that MS have dropped the ball on.  He writes in “Sanity check: The two tides that are turning against Microsoft”:

However, Microsoft’s role at the center of the information technology universe is very much in doubt, for two reasons. The first culprit is Microsoft’s own lack of focus and the second is a pair of industry trends that Microsoft is not well-positioned to exploit:

  1. The migration of applications to the Web browser
  2. The rise of the computer phone

I’m not so sure about the first one, but I am personally disappointed on the 2nd count.

I am not sure about the first one because MS has been pushing Windows Live for everything.  There is even an Office Live, which I have to wonder if that doesn’t cut into their pocketbook somewhere.  MS has also launched a beta social networking site called Microsoft Vine.  If you are like me, you’re probably wondering if we really need another social networking site.  However, MS has usually found a way to push out other competitors in the past, so I’m not ready to bet against them.

The smartphone seems to be a different story, though.  When it comes to the smartphone, I want to ask, “What have you done for me lately?”  I mean, where are the hardware enhancements?  Where are the software enhancements?  Where are the bug fixes?

In fact, when my T-Mobile Dash had problems – again! – T-Mobile “upgraded” me to a Blackberry Pearl.  I’m not impressed with the Pearl.  It is more stable, but then again I cannot do half of what I did on my Dash unless I want to pay more!

I’m disappointed in mobile computing in general, but twice so when it comes to MS smartphones.  The capabilities are there.  Windows Mobile is a decent OS, but it needs an upgrade.  The hardware and OS needs to be able to take more memory – easily.  At the moment, the hardware and software is like the 286 with expanded memory.  It works, but only sort of.

The Blackberry, while nice, means dumping my Windows apps and paying more for the same level of service.  Yet, it looks like MS is not going to topple RIM any time soon because they’ve been asleep at the wheel.

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Not Out of the Woods Yet! Conficker Worm Still Active

Posted by iammarchhare on 26 April 2009

Yahoo! Tech news reported on 24 April that the “Conficker virus begins to attack PCs: experts”.  Some considered it an April Fools joke, but soon after 1 April, the virus activated and began searching the Internet for downloads.

One of the things Conficker does is prevent you from accessing standard antivirus web sites.  That is why there is a Conficker Eye Chart that helps determine if those sites are blocked or not.

If you have not checked your PC out yet, please do so today!

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Check Out My New Lens on Squidoo!

Posted by iammarchhare on 23 April 2009

I’ve finally finished my first Squidoo lens, John D Carmack PMP.  It is basically an online resume.

What is Squidoo?  It is an online publishing tool, but it also is much more!  You can create your own "lens" (Squidoo-speak for a web page), and it can contain all sorts of customizable widgets to suit your needs.  If you are good at putting together web pages and attracting people to them, you can also attract people to your lens and under some circumstances earn money.  You can interact wth other Squidoo users.  You can setup a lens to attract people to your blogs and web sites.  Basically, you can do just about anything but create spam!

Neat, huh?

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