Monthly Archives: April 2004

Putting things on “pause”….

Putting things on “pause”….. What are your “pause buttons”? I was on stage with Beverly Kaye this morning in Phoenix, and she mentioned a wonderful little trick that we all do, but probably not enough. She said, “What do you do to put the pause button on, so you can just stop and reflect about what you've been doing (like, this week) and what you want to be doing (like, next week)?” I reflected on what my own “pause buttons” were, and was heartened that I was able to come up with quite a few. A hot bath, pruning my trees, a nice dinner with my lady and friends, a good massage, a good movie, playing GO on my computer, to mention a few. These are real doing-nothing-with-a-vengeance kind of things that interrupt my patterns and give me very different kinds of zones to get into. I also do spiritual retreats at least once a year, sometimes more, and those are a biggee in this regard. My a-ha is that I could use more of that pause that refreshes during my weekly review, or perhaps once a month, that's neither a completely think-of-nothing space nor a totally operational kind of debrief like my weekly review. Writing in my journal comes close to what I think I need more of, but it's still not exactly what I saw I could use. There's still a place to develop for myself for a kind of self-reflection about how things are going…perhaps mapping to what I consider “20,000-ft” thinking – the checklist of areas of focus and interest in life and work. Hmmm. And I teach this stuff…! … [David Allen]

Instant Messaging — a corporate tool?

Instant Messaging — a corporate tool?

From the Smart Mobs weblog comes word about the popularity of Instant Messaging, or IM, as it is usually called. I don't use IM all that much. But I do use it to contact my daughters, who use it constantly. In fact, if they are upstairs in their room and I'm downstairs I find it easier to just IM them rather than shout up to their room. And if they are at a friend's house they are usually reachable quickly by IM, although a phone call will work in a pinch.

So what does this IM stuff, which is clearly the province of young people, have to do with corporate culture? Right now, not much. But eventually it will be a mainstream tool. In fact, if you read the PDF download of a recent speech by West Publishing's President Mike Wilens you'll see an interesting discussion of IM starting on page 11. West's support personnel (who are called 'reference attorneys') use IM to provide support to law students who use the computerized legal research service Westlaw, and according to Wilens West has gone from providing 100% of their law student support through phone service to only 20%. They now provide 80% of their support to law students by way of instant messaging.

Lest the point be lost, there is apparently a huge benefit to West by providing service in this way. According to Wilens, the West representatives can do 4 to 6 IM sessions simultaneously (of course, we all know that phone sessions are a strictly one-to-one interaction). So if a legal publishing company like West has found efficiencies in using IM to provide support, how long do you think it will be before this becomes a more widespread phenomenon? It's true it won't happen on a massive scale anytime soon, but it's going to happen on a massive scale eventually. My oldest daughter is going into the 9th grade next year. I'll bet by the time she graduates from college most companies are going to have started using IM to provide tech/customer support. And one can easily envision it happening even faster than that.  [Ernie The Attorney]

Realistic Argument for Broadband Access

Realistic Argument for Broadband Access. While many communities around the country vaguely hope that wireless networks will bring business to town, this Indiana town has some very real reasons for wanting broadband: Scottsburg, Ind. couldn't get any kind of broadband access from the incumbents so it spent $350,000 to build a wireless broadband network. The network equipment comes from Alvarion, which means that it's probably proprietary gear based on 802.11. The network has a very tangible economic affect on the town. Apparently, Chrysler promised to shut down the local Chrysler repair shop, which employs 60 people, if they couldn't get fast Internet access. Other local workers who telecommute threatened to move if they couldn’t get high-speed Internet access. Plus, the school system is saving a bundle with the new service. This Indiana town most certainly isn't alone in wanting broadband but failing to get it from the incumbents. While we already see lots of wireless ISPs serving these small markets, clearly they aren't serving every community that wants broadband. Perhaps WiMax will drive down prices enough to encourage WISPs to build out in more small towns…. [Wi-Fi Networking News]

Free Mall Wi-Fi on the Rise

Free Mall Wi-Fi on the Rise. Taubman Centers, major mall operator, adds free Wi-Fi to Virginia mall; sign of things to come: The reporter did his homework, and this isn't a unique installation. We know from this article that there are 1,130 malls in the U.S. with only a tiny fraction having Wi-Fi. (Two are in the Seattle area, University Village and Bellevue Square, operated for fee by Cometa Networks.) But 100 malls operated by either Westfield America Trust and Taubman may have free Wi-Fi added, with Westfield strongly committed…. [Wi-Fi Networking News]

Dishing Song's In-Flight DISH Network

Dishing Song's In-Flight DISH Network. Gizmodo reader Aaron Feibus shares his experiences with Song's in-flight TV system:

I took a red-eye flight from LA to Orlando last night on Song on a Boeing 757. Although I'd flown them before, this was the first time they had their long-promised TV system installed in the seats. The channel selection is pretty good and provided by the Dish Network, but there's more to than just television.

The screens are touch sensitive allowing you to choose from regular stations, pay-per-view movies, a GPS map of your flight, or my favorite “Music Trivia.” Music trivia is set up exactly like the trivia games that are so popular at bars. A question appears and immediately the score for the correct answer starts to drop 50 points at a time. After each question, it shows the rankings of all players logged in, their name, and what seat they are sitting in.

They had to reboot the system real quick right before takeoff and we were able to see the system booting in our individual screens. The system is running entirely on Red Hat Linux.

Song Inflight Entertainment Product Page  [Gizmodo]

Tinderbox weekend update

Tinderbox weekend update.

Registration for Tinderbox Weekend has been open for about two days, and we're already getting close to capacity. (If necessary, we've got some ideas for getting extra space)

Some people have written to lament conflicts. Yes, if you're getting married or your kids are graduating that weekend, we understand. Another time.

But, if you'd like to support us and receive the handouts and such, we've added a “corresponding membership” signup. You'll receive the handouts, and maybe we can set up some electronic links for a session to answer your questions. I'm hoping these will include a CD with a bunch of sample files, unsupported examples of interesting ways to use Tinderbox. Not nearly as good as being there, but it's a start.  [Mark Bernstein]

Bush Shredding Constitution

Bush Shredding Constitution

The Bush administration's lawyers are currently arguing before the Supreme Court their right to seize and detain any American citizen they see as a threat to the United States. President Bush's lawyers are claiming that he has the right to authorize “indefinite executive detention” without oversight by Congress or the Judiciary.

President Bush is using the “War on Terror” to undermine the checks and balances in the US Constitution that prevent this country from becoming a dictatorship. He is attempting to bypass the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment right of habeas corpus, and the Fourth Amendment right prohibiting the unreasonable search and seizure of American citizens.

But President Bush is not just asking for the right to arrest a citizen. If he wins this case, he'll have the legal authority to snatch people secretly in the middle of the night and make them disappear. It's the kind of thing for which they hold remembrance days in South America.  [Democrats & Liberals Watchblog]