Saturday, March 23, 2002

Gonzo steps?

Well, I got word Friday that an article I submitted about blogs and the legal field will be published in California's legal newspaper, The Daily Journal (which is not yet available online, unfortunately). It's definitely "remedial reading" for this group, but if anyone is so inclined please feel free to take a look.
Is there anybody out there?

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Resistance is Futile

I once showed a manager of mine an article (sorry, no, I don't still have it. wish I did) where it said that those moments where your employees stare out the window day-dreaming are to be considered the most productive moments of their employment. Don't just leave them alone, encourage them to take more such moments! (As long as the work is getting done, natch) At the same time I also had one that said that the manager of your internal IT network (guess who?) may be responsible for the single most valuable asset your company owns. Cut them some slack and show them some respect. (wish I still had that one, too)

I guess the point which I am attempting to fashion with such glacial slowness and amoebic intellect, is that working for people who think that you're doing more for them because you *look* busy really is futile.

It'll kill you dead, man. It'll destroy your faith, shatter your hopes, and extinguish what little respect you may have had for them or the organisation to begin with. I've found that resistance is truly futile, I will just leave when this sort of shit goes down. I have better things to do with my life than waste it on dickheads.

Like hang out with you guys!

Yeah . . . . .

Don't be afraid Marek J, you're far too cool to fall for that corporate dominatrix emotional transference freak show. Show yourself the door, babe. Hell, you know that much better than I do!

Just hop on the bus, Gus
Make a new plan, Stan
Drop off the key, Lee
And set yourself freeeeee
- The Man, aka Paul Simon, from 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

We are Bor - uh, Sony

One thing can be said for the maker of this and of this: it is nothing if not free of all human understanding.

Robot heal thyself

Well, crap, Marek. The further we come in here, the further back we slide out there. Don't use the Internet? They actually tell you that? I haven't heard that at work since 1994. I understand that training and professional development budgets have all but washed away, so there's no hope of actually learning something via the workplace, but it sounds like someone's actually trying to make sure you stay stupid (uh, not "you" Marek--that's the royal "you") by *prohibiting* Internet access at work. Like, gosh, next thing they know you'll be questioning the "war effort" and the "axis of evil" and then what? You might turn into a Muslim. And then what? Well, you know what those people do. And then what? We might as well kill him before he kills us. And so it goes.

As for the robot, I'm sick. That's all. Maybe they'll strap some interchangable parts on it, and we won't need spouses either. Or teach it how to build stuff with legos and say "Yes, mother" and then we won't need kids anymore. If one of these things chugs up to me with a diet coke while I'm in a meeting, I'm taking out my pocket wrench.

how depressing.

Sony robots dream of becoming submissive employees

Restrictions in a workplace? Well, I can't use Internet at work. I was asked politely twice. Last time it was a hush-hush "You better not use the internet. We got the reports and we don't want you in trouble so just don't use internet". I wonder if they come the third time. On the other topic why bother having humans when you can have Dancing Robots. Who knows, maybe your next employee produced by Sony will not need to surf the net. He will dance for you anytime you want it to.
Sony's SDR-4X, bigger and better than the 3X unveiled a year-and-a-half ago, sought to steal the spotlight from Asimo, which Honda is already leasing out to International Business Machines Corp and other companies as a high-tech receptionist and hospitality robot.

GONZOID! (and that ain't a good thing)

Everything, absolutely everything, about this bothers me. Corporations, you stupid goobers, wake UP. Please don't make us leave you. We like living split lives. It's good for the company, and it's good for our health and happiness (which, incidently, you may not care about but which is also good for the company). Don't you hear us? Don't you see us? We're not surfing porn sites. We're creating a universe over here!!! And we'd really like to have you--well the people you think are you, the ones you make buy all this spywear stuff--with us. But if not, we're happy to go on without you. We have to. That's why we all do this. We HAVE to.

The restrictions -- which range from bans on instant-messaging programs to time limits on recreational Web surfing -- are an extension of the already commonplace practice of blocking access to offensive websites in the workplace.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Uses of the Blog, Continued

Dave Rogers, a sometime preacher by his own admission, wrestles with the difficulties of preaching in today's hyperactive, warp-speed times, and muses on ways of adapting to them:

"But I keep wondering if St. Paul meant "preacher" as only as a person who stands in a pulpit and speaks to a congregation. Or can/should "preaching" extend itself beyond that to incorporate new forms and media? Paul himself certainly adapted his preaching style to that of the prevailing culture (see Acts 17). Shouldn't we do the same?

I'm not suggesting using PowerPoint or overhead projectors to augment the spoken message. I'm wondering about new paradigms and means and technologies. I'm wondering about interactivity, about team preaching (where messages are prepared by a multidisciplinary group), about (for lack of a better term) "blog-type" sermons that don't end at 12:15 sharp--about sermons that nest in cyber-space where people can chew the fat together, debate, question and mull. (Much like we do right here on a variety of topics.) And where the pastor is freed by the congregation to engage in such delightful conversations."

I'd say go to it , Dave!

. . . . The Final Frontier

Well, I really *wanted* to look at all those blog articles - no, really! - but I got kind of blogstracted, and I ended up looking at SkyCars and Rotary Engines instead.

Now I'm totally consumed in imagining some sort of snorkelling water craft, a really groovy swoopy rad Jetsons kind of bubble thing that can operate underwater for a couple of minutes at a time but spends most of its time on the surface. An entry for Kevins new blog perhaps? Maybe a super-cavitating lumo fashion statement model for the really obscenely over-monetarily-endowed, such as those who spend their time blogging can only dream of becoming.

But I spose the biggest give away for me was that, in spite of having some inkling that "something is going on in BlogsVille, Missouri" these guys at Fast Company persisted in popping up annoying little windows every time I moved around their site. To me that is spamming, no better than hacking (messing with *my* PC for their own ends), and closer to FuckedCompany than anything else.

animals think
they're pretty smart
shit on the ground
see in the dark

- Animals, from the album Fear of Music, by Talking Heads.

Monday, March 18, 2002

question for the technobility

I can't wait to dig into the articles below. But first a question. Is there a way (i.e. easy way) to track hits on a site that isn't your own?

thank you
the mgmt

Blog-Fest at Fast Company

Fast Company is featuring a slew of articles today about blogging. I'm just starting to cruise through them, and would be more excited about doing it if this one from last month hadn't turned my stomach. According to Messrs. Mathews and Wacker, micromarkets are just little mass markets waiting for "more media coverage" to help them grow up; five-yard penalty and loss of down for jargoneering, crediting Cher for taking tattoos to "the next level," and fizzled meme attempt: "Devox." Not everything about the article is distasteful, but it's hard to get around its infomercial tone: "Now you, too, can put *Deviance* to work for you!!! With just three easy payments of $19.95, the *Secret* can be yours!!!" The authors end on a Gonzo note, so maybe I should just take an Alka-Seltzer and cut 'em a break: "The challenge to business is simple: Think deviant. Start by finding the most deviant person you know. Take her to lunch. Do it today."

Anyway, in the current series of blog articles, the "Devox" who inspired this blog is listed as one of Fast Company's contributing bloggers, along with David Wienberger, Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, John Ellis and Heath Row.

Community and other musings

For me the difference between a discussion group and a team blog is the feeling that we are all here for the same thing. That's not always the case with discussion groups. We have a community here and that means that certain conversational niceties have to be observed - keeping quiet while others have their say, smiling, nodding encouraging, or shaking our heads. What it isn't is a public meeting where people shout at the podium or each other.

As far as the Jenkins article is concerned, he hits on the essence of communication using the web. If you cast your bread on the waters,then it will come back to you. It may be wet, mouldy and unpalatable when it arrives, though. Traditional journalists have spent most of their lives saying that they understand their readers without really doing anything to get to know them better. When the readers have turned up and given their opinions, there is a tendency for journalists to suddenly rely on their position in the "establishment" and stick their tongues out and waggle their bottoms with a "I know best, so there" attitude.

That's not good enough any more. People can and will answer back. The challenge is going to be to come with a measured and valuable response to the hail of criticism that might result from an article.

PS please don't take me of the list because I have been so bad at posting Jeneane, my silence has been an eloquent comment on things. (honest)

More on authenticity in writing

Anita Brookner writes in a review of Margaret Atwood's book on writing 'Negotiating with the Dead":
No man is a hero to his own body, observes Margaret Atwood in her disquisition on writers, still less a woman. In the act of writing (or painting, or acting, or composing) the limited corporeal self is left behind, so that another component is free to gain strength and live. ‘The author is the name on the books. I’m the other one.’

[...]the writer has two lives. He, or more probably she, is the hapless character who goes to the supermarket, performs domestic tasks, and is invariably worsted in arguments, and that other one to whom Margaret Atwood refers, the cold logician who observes a beginning, a middle and an end, who determines causality, although subject, like everyone else, to the irrationality of circumstance.