Waitin’ On A Friend

It’s been a slow week of blogging, I admit. Part of that is because I was on a business trip that had me doing a bit of running around, but it’s mostly because I have little to say. Just one of those patches, I suppose. I never really stop and think about the volume of writing I do here. It’s a fairly significant task to write something almost every day and be employed full time and own a house and maintain real, human relationships. So there’s bound to be times (like now) when I’m rambling. Way it goes. Maybe some of you can leave a comment and give me some ideas on things to write about in the next week. Or ask me my opinion on something. Go ahead. That could be an interesting experiment – you dictate the content to me.

One more thing, by the way: I have a Hotmail email account which I never use and I have never given the email address to one single person or entity. Ever. In the last 3 days, I’ve gotten a deluge of email into it – all spam – and all addressing me as “Harry” and not Jeff. Doesn’t say much about Microsoft’s policing of spam. In fact, it doesn’t say much of anything good about Microsoft. How else would any entity have received my Hotmail address? Shameful.

Minimum wage. This is a tough issue, right? For ev…

Minimum wage. This is a tough issue, right? For everyday liberals like me, it’s not so tough, really. You look at the fact that in each of the last nine years, a minimum wage increase has been shot down by the administration, yet Senate has voted for raises for themselves in each of those years. That doesn’t seem fair, does it? Minimum wage hasn’t changed one cent since 1995 but Senate’s had a raise every year? Think about your cost of living since 1995. Now think about it if you made $5.15 an hour.

Opponents of the increase say that enacting this would force small businesses to stop hiring entry-level employees. Sort of a weak argument and one that hasn’t necessarily played out that way in the past. So tell me something. If you hadn’t gotten a raise in nine years, how would that make you feel? It’s stories like this that make me realize how lucky I am and how sad it makes me to read about some of these people who just can’t get ahead, despite their efforts. Granted, some of the people making minimum wage probably deserve their paltry salary, just like some white-collar corporate types don’t deserve what they make.

But my original point still hits home for me:

Senate: 9 raises in 9 years
Minimum wage: 0 for 9.

Think about that.

People Who Lead, Some Who Don’t

Hey man, what’s up?

As I continue to read about the amazing life of Harry Truman (now on page 436 of his bio), Time Magazine puts an older obsession of mine on its front cover this week. Two years ago I was knee-deep in not one, but two 800+ page biographies on Theodore Roosevelt, whose life story feels like incredible fiction, but it’s not. A Republican, yes, but an amazing man who also did some very liberal-leaning things, such as creating and protecting America’s beautiful national parks and resources. I walked right by his boyhood home this morning as I walked NYC streets on my way to work…..

Turning Over A New Tree

How dumb was my day yesterday? I had to get up at 5am to catch a 7am flight down to Atlanta, in order to connect to another flight at 10:30 to get to a much smaller city. So I get to the airport at 6:15 in a daze and I’m sitting on the plane at 6:40am. So far so good. At 8am, I’m still sitting on the plane in Boston because of weather delays in DC/NY and I’m thinking “well, it’s cutting it close, but if we leave in the next 15 minutes, I should make it to my connecting flight.” We’re finally cleared for takeoff around 8:20. It’s going to be real close.

We fly around the weather in DC/NY, which adds time and we touch ground in Atlanta at 10:25. This is where I start to wonder why – for ALL flights – they don’t unload the plane from the front and the back instead of just the front. I’ve never understood this. I step off the plane, look up at the monitor……and see that my connecting flight departed 4 minutes prior. The next flight to that “much smaller city” is at 3pm and doesn’t land until 4pm and my meeting is at 2. Look at some other options to nearby cities – nothing available. I’m screwed. I’ll have to dial-in to the meeting, which I hate doing. By 11:10, just 30 minutes after I arrived from Boston, I’m sitting on a plane back to Boston.

Great day so far! Get up at 5am, fly to Atlanta at 7am, walk off the plane, then get on another one right back to where I came from. Very productive. My plane lands at 1:45 and I end up sitting on the floor at Gate 27 of Terminal A at Logan Airport dialed into this call. Of course, the meeting is held in a large conference room and I cannot hear half the people in attendance. I’m tired and bordering on frustrated. My contacts are drying out.

But a series of events recently have produced a self-inflicted vow to no longer get too stressed, upset or overly frustrated about things I just can’t control. Weather. Airlines. Work. Barely discernable speaker phones in meetings. Hey, it happens. It just happens. It’s not worth the stress. Trust me on that one. Really.

Took Ya Long Enough

Originally uploaded by rustedrobot.

For those of you who haven’t experimented with RSS yet, today’s post will hopefully encourage you to give it a try. Many everyday or casual web users have probably heard of RSS, but then they get turned off at the prospect of actually using it, thinking it’s too complicated or confusing to set up. It’s not. It’s SO not.

Here’s the best way to describe it. You know how when you get an email, your inbox turns bold and the number of new emails you have appears next to it, like this:

Inbox (5)

Well, think of RSS as your email for your favorite websites. You tell the RSS “reader” what your favorite sites are, and when those sites get updated, the “reader” will let you know, like this:

ESPN – Major League Baseball (12)
Boston.com – Red Sox (3)
New York Times Business (14)
WWE Wrestling (3)

Almost everyone I know has a list of favorite websites that they have bookmarked which they refer to. Many of these people each day or each week simply scroll through their favorite websites, looking at each site every time. With RSS, you don’t have to do that. RSS collects all those websites and puts them all into one central outlet for you. In the above example, you simply click on “Boston.com – Red Sox” and all the new stories posted to Boston.com about the Red Sox appear to the right. Now go and click on the picture I posted above to see an example. It’s that easy.

I use Bloglinesas my RSS Reader for obvious reasons – in my eyes, it’s the easiest and best RSS Reader out there and it’s also owned by the company I work for. You “subscribe” to your favorite sites by simply clicking a button that Bloglines makes available. So if you’re surfing a new site and you think you’d like to read it on a regular basis, you click “Subscribe with Bloglines” and that’s it. Next time you log in to Bloglines, it will be there. Give it a try, you’ll be amazed at how easy and streamlined it makes your surfing. It’s also an invaluable tool for staying informed on work-related matters – press releases, news, etc.

Other: what a DAMN great piece of writing today on Lefsetz’s blog. His site is fast becoming a favorite of mine.