11/30/2004

You know you're famous when...

You are a Jeopardy Category

It's official!

Look here...

According to Webster's, the dictionary upon which dictionary.com is based, "google" is a word.

11/25/2004

The Google Scholar

Look here...

Excellent!
I love Google. I love the ideas they come up with and the stuff they do. I love that the motto for this website is "Stand on the shoulders of giants."
I am sure Sir Isaac would be proud.

11/22/2004

What I saw on a children's website...

Look here.
Now scroll to the bottom.
Do you notice anything odd?
...
...
Why is there a link to Adult Material @ Sex.ca on a children's website?
Does this not strike anyone as being somewhat problematic?

CyberTales

Last night I saw a commercial for CyberTales. It is a joint venture between Telus and The Northern Alberta International Children's Festival.
It's an interesting idea. Children work on portions of a story, and their teachers post them online for everyone to read. Students at other schools are also working on portions of their own. All the bits are combined online to create a larger story.

11/19/2004

Cheer up Max

Do you remember these two blog entries?
Feast your eyes upon this sucker.

Spatula Clark

Last night two of my many sisters and I were teaching my Dad some of the finer points of messaging.
What a hoot!
I'm not sure what was funnier, his curious question about what was "making that tinkling sound" (me trying to get his attention on MSN) or Spatula Clark.
With him being away, MSN is a great thing to use to keep the family within communication's reach. I am sure he and mom will both get the hang of it quickly, especially when they see it cutting down their phone bills.

11/18/2004

Making good use of technology

My husband and I want to put our wedding pictures on CD.
He took them to Black's. After all, Black's is photography, right?
Well, they wanted to charge $2 a negative. When you have more than 200 negatives, this is not a reasonable price. Apparently, each negative must be scanned individual, and it is a time consuming process.
So last night we went to Walmart.
They will throw the whole lot into their machine, change us $3.97 for the fist 40 and $0.97 for every 10 pictures after that. We can have them back tonight.
Hmmm....
$26 vs $480

This is an excellent demonstration of the correct use of technology. Make it fast, make it cheap and people will appreciate it.
I know I do.

It must be true...

Occaisionally, a quiz can be fun.
I took the What herb are you quiz? by Quizilla.com. As is my habit, I did the test several times, just to check my results. Each and every time, I got:
You are catnip

Interestingly enough, mint is not an option.

11/17/2004

What a girl wants...

I need a good forum where people discuss IT Management ideas.
Can anyone recommend a good one?
I don't need a tech support one where everyone complains about their stupid customers. There are plenty of those and most of them are highly repetitive.
What I need is a place where people swap ideas on what works and what definitely does not when introducing new technologies into their companies, and I need it to be free.
Do you know if such a Utopia exists? If so, send me an email or leave a comment.

The Ars Technica site was suggested, but I'm not sure it's what I really need.

11/15/2004

Window dressing

Window Blinds is a cool program.
It doesn't allow for the same amount of customization that GNOME, Enlightenment or Sawfish do, but it's a start.

11/11/2004

We Remember...

Today is Remembrance Day.
I am too young to remember the wars. They happened long before I was born.
If you are like myself, working, and cannot make it to a service, please think on your freedom and consider those who gave their lives.

Nerdy Humour

// The Bridge of Khazad-dum in pseudo-code.
// Written by: A greater nerd than I

// import required classes
import gandalf;
import balrog;
import bridge_of_khazad-dum;

public class GandalfvsBalrog extends Moria
{

//declare variables
Wizard Gandalf;
Balrog misterSparkles;

// main program
main()
{
Gandalf.print("You Shall NOT PASS!!!);
misterSparkles.print("RARARARRRRARR!!!!);

Gandalf.HitGroundWithStaff_MakeBridgeFall;

if(misterSparkles.isFallingWayDown)
{
misterSparkles.whipGandalf_bringHisAssDownToo;
}

while(Gandalf.isFallingWayDown)
{
Gandalf.GrabSword_KickAssandYellAlot;
}

return One_Smoted_Balrog;
}
// end main
}
// end GandalfvsBalrog

11/09/2004

The Perfect Number

In an effort to make our department more customer friendly, it was suggested in a meeting today that we either publicize the acronym for our help desk extension (2-Help) or we pick a new (and shorter) number.
411?
No, that's already in use everywhere outside the system. That would be confusing.
...
...
We could pick a two digit number.
Hey, that would be great!
Yes, but what would be useful?
What would really show customers that we are here to solve their problems?
...
...
Aw, c'mon guys. You're making this too easy for me.
What's the answer to life, the universe and everything?

A Silver Bullet

In my last post I told you that a banking issue was resolved in about five minutes.

I am sorry to say that I lied unknowingly.
I won't explain all the gory details, but let's just say this is the banking experience from hell. If I ever needed proof that the government hires only the incompetent, I had more than enough yesterday. It's bad when not even a Branch Manager can get enough information from the Student Loan Centre.

What financial institutions need is a Silver Bullet, an Omni Program, the Great Communicator. They desperately need something that will talk to all the other programs they run and provide any information they need in a clean, concise and understandable manner.
Yesterday I watched as the Manager of my branch typed (into a blank screen no less) a cryptic string of letters and numbers that looked something like:
TX 678BDA42
That brought up some information on my loan.
However, it brought up different information than was showing at the Loan Centre. She then typed in another cryptic string of letters and numbers hat looked like:
TX 65FG4269
(give or take).

I was floored!
I cannot believe that this is how banks operate.
No.
I take it back.
I once worked at a bank for two summers in a row and I remember a program used for checking customer information that was not so lovingly referred to as The Big Green Monster. I have no idea what it was really called. I know it ran on a mainframe somewhere. I know it was brutal to use.

You would think that big institutions that are making hundreds of millions of dollars a year could afford to do better.

11/05/2004

Online Banking

The best thing about online banking is that you can see mistakes as soon as they happen. You don't have to wait for an incorrect bill to show up in your mail, then take it to the bank, wait for them to process it, wait for them to mail you back indicating the correction has been made.
For example, this morning I noticed that I was charged interest on a loan that has already been paid off. I called my branch, informed them of the error, and the mistake was fixed over the phone.
It took a total of five minutes.
Everyone should do business this way. It was quick and painless for both parties.

11/04/2004

Confessions of a Web Addict

Hi.
My name is Ruth and I'm a web addict.


It's terrible.
Yesterday, on one of my preferred communities, I came perilously close to trolling an inexperienced debater. She was simply too easy a target.
"Bush won! The world is going to end! The democratic process has failed! The people voted wrong!"
How could I resist?
And there I was, hitting refresh as I waited for her next, very predictable response, two or three steps ahead of her, laying my bait.
Besides, I had to work late anyway.
As I drove home, I found myself thinking of possible responses, arguments, witty replies and so forth.
And there it was.
My old habit.
I thought it had died.
It makes you feel like a hunter.
I began thinking about the old days of bb.net. What a great community that was. It's too bad it's gone. I am not the only person who misses "the good old days." I still keep in touch with some of the original group. It's interesting to reminisce about shared online experiences.

Dr. Alan Kay once said everyone is a communication junkie. That description of the human need to communicate and interact with other individuals may not be far from the truth. In his book "The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier," Rheingold describes a community experience he once had. A member of one his communities used to tell the most outrageous stories, that he knew millionaires and famous people. He was one of those disruptive individuals that used to annoy everyone with his obnoxious behaviour. When he told the group he had a crack problem, no one believed him. He claimed that the group was now filling the void his crack addiction had.
And then, after many months of absense from the community, this fellow died. He had returned to his old crack habit, and accidentally killed himself by overdosing.
Rheingold, among others from the community, went to his funeral.
Imagine their surprise when they discovered everything this fellow said was true.
In her book "The Psychology of the Internet," Patricia Wallace also tells a few interesting anecdotes of communitiy experiences she has had.

Manwe is up to its eyeballs in presidential debates. Many months ago, however, someone asked why people would argue and debate. Responses ranged from learning, to sharpening their wit, to the desire for basic interaction with others, but the underlying need to meet and communicate was always there. Many members hone their skills against particular "worthy opponents." Nearly everyone says things they could not possibly get away with in public at least once.
It's curious though.
TORc is trying to have their annual awards ceremony.
Most of Manwe is not interested and very few members have voted.
This particular portion of the community doesn't need a badge to tell them they are good. You just know.
When someone you know is probably smarter than you finally caves and says "That was brilliant," you know you're good.
Most of the community aims for that, the respect of their peers and intellectual equals or superiors.
Those who cannot argue or cannot express themselves in an articulate manner are ignored. It's harsh, too harsh for some, but that's reality. When you enter Manwe, you have to learn to leave your emotions at the door, and learning can be hard work.

11/03/2004

Website of the week

Arts and Letters Daily

This is such a useful website. I like to read it to find interesting articles to post here on my blog. There is always something good to read, especially in the Essays and Opinions section.
Given the amount of information it displays, I would say that it is very well laid out. The only problem is that the main page can tend to be rather long. I rarely, if ever scroll. I simply look at the first few entries.
Scrolling down, however, reveals this marvelous link: da Vinci the consultant.

11/02/2004

More on Elmasry

The UW Daily Bulletin for October 28th.

The Canadian Islamic Congress announced yesterday that Mohamed Elmasry, the UW professor who has been in the national news following his comments about Israelis and Palestinians on a TV talk show last week, had offered his resignation as president of the CIC. The congress's board turned down the resignation, the statement says, but did accept an apology "for the way I expressed myself last week on the Michael Coren Show . . . for the distress I caused . . . for any public remarks I made which offended Canada's Muslim, Jewish, Palestinian, and Arab communities and Canadians at large." The CIC board said Elmasry has made a 30-year contribution to social justice and Muslim communities, and "one unintentional mistake does not wipe out an exemplary record." An article in today's Globe and Mail reports on reaction, and points out that other groups including the Muslim Canadian Congress are questioning the CIC's claim to speak for all the estimated 600,000 Muslims in this country.

Of course the CIC didn't let him resign.
Why would they?
"There there Mo. It's ok that you advocated genocide. We all do that sometimes. People will forget about it before long and everything will be as it was."

I hope UW does the right thing and fires this guy. It doesn't matter what the CIC says, he had no business making that comment, especially on live TV.

Helpline Categories

I should add BSOD as a CallType.
I should also add PEBKAC.

The problem is that only one person on the Helpline would get it and only a handful of people in the entire department would appreciate the humour.
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