Author Archive

RAK…

Random Acts of Kindness.

We need more of those.

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Yes, there’s something specific that brought this on today.

Nope, not gonna share it.

Let’s just say that good deeds and Random Acts of Kindness are their own rewards.

Here’s to all the people that know this and try to live the idea.

/cheers

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Cameras

About a billion different articles on about a million different (new) DSLR cameras in my news feeds today.

What gives?

Is it Camera-Review Wednesday and no one told me about it?

Creepy

Anyone else think Google Glass is just plain creepy?

Virgin Atlantic just announced that some flight personnel are going to be equipped with the things to assist at check in.

Huh?

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You mean it was too difficult to take your boarding pass, scan it across the barcode reader, hand it back to you and say thanks?

How does that process need further automation? How is Google Glass going to help?

I’m surprised the TSA would allow them. After all, don’t they frown on recording stuff in an airport?

The whole wearable technology thing is getting far too much attention for me. After all, it’s really nothing “new”. It’s just putting a smartphone/camcorder/gadget onto a pair of eye glasses frames.

Why do you need to WEAR that? You have it in your pocket already? Are you that lazy that you need your device plastered to your face all the time?

Now if it really did something cool, like allow you to see in a different spectrum of light, or even sense biofeedback from people so you could tell if they were lying to you, THEN that would be different.

You know what I’m talking about.

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Yeah…that.

That would be cool!

Instead we have Google Glass. The new tool for perverts, voyeurs and voyeurs wanting to document every possible fucking minute of their lives.

I think we as a race (meaning humans) need to have a serious, “Whoa there nelly” moment and rethink what tech is doing to us.

I read a lot, and consider myself open to a lot of things tech-wise in life. And yes, I know Google Glass is just a “stepping stone” to something different that we don’t know about, or maybe cant’ even envision yet.

I know I rail on this product a lot. But come one folks….how can you NOT find it silly.

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Wait, is that a Cylon?

Coding as a language

I read an article this week talking about how some schools in (I think) Kentucky have changed some language requirements for their students.

When I was in high school (and middle school and grade school) I never “had” to take a foreign language. Now, my parents had different ideas, but as for the school, there was no foreign language requirement for anything.

Nada…nothing.

That’s not the same as today.

My oldest is getting ready to hit High School and they have to take a least one language class. One semester out of four years of school. They recommend more as “college prep”.

The youngest is in middle school and he has to take a class called “Intro to World Languages”. It’s two semesters long and they sample Spanish, French, German and Mandarin.

I’m a big fan of all this. I think languages are really important and in today’s world, the more you can communicate the better. My parents believed that learning a language accomplished far more than just another communication tool. I tend to agree.

I took multiple years of private, tutored German lessons in grade school. In junior high school, Latin. Yes, Latin. Two years of it. My parents didn’t give me a choice. To be hones, it was a good thing. I learned how languages work in Latin, and how to learn a language. It taught me skills I still use today.

Later in High School, Spanish. Two years.

My parents were correct, I learned more than just communication tools. Today, I still use my Spanish here and there, and the foundations I learned in Latin are still relevant.

But spoken languages aren’t for everyone. They are difficult to learn and you have to practice them. A lot.

So what’s my point here?

Well, in Kentucky, some schools are now allowing coding classes to count as a language.

Yup. You have a language requirement? A Java class will satisfy the requirement.

Don’t like the idea of German? Try Python instead.

Mandarin? How about Objective-C?

It’s a different world and these schools are adapting to it.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. I’m having more and more “grumpy old man” moments and I was skeptical.

“Damn kids…I had to take a foreign language…hell…I took three! They should have to also!”

But now that I’ve pondered it, I’m a fan.

Think about it for a second.

Coding languages are just that…languages. They have their own syntax, structure and vocabulary. They function much like spoken languages, except that instead of communicating verbally, they communicate (often times) visually.

It’s an intriguing idea, and one that I’m all for.

I’m not recommending this for everyone, and I do NOT think they should replace spoken languages outright. But for some students, I think it’s a fantastic idea.

It encourages kids to get into coding; a skill set that has life-long implications. It’s a skill set that is in high demand today. It teaches critical thinking, organization, structure and often times collaboration.

And I also suspect that it encourages creativity.

There will always be a need for foreign languages. Yes, it’s good to start them early. But there is a stigma to them, and allowing an “alternative” such as this is a progressive move that should be applauded.

I know Kentucky isn’t the first to do this.

I hope they aren’t the last and other school districts follow suit.

38 seconds

Warning…rant ahead. Tread with caution.

/rant=on

Something I just don’t get lately. What’s up with the inability of people that work with technology to communicate.

With each other, with their “customers”, with their superiors, with anyone?

Were we always this way?

*** Disclaimer: I’m not talking about my staff here. So you call can chill. I’m speaking of IT as an industry. ***

Seriously though, for an industry that is supposed to facilitate communication, make people work more efficiently and collaborate better (why yes, I have been drinking the IT PR Kool Aid) why is it that communication is the last thing we do well?

Case in point. A situation at work necessitated that I send a rather annoyed (but professional) email to a group of people asking them politely (and did I mention professionally??) to get off their collective asses and remedy a problem that had been ongoing for weeks.

Not a simple issue either. An issue that was directly affecting users’ ability to work. So sort of important.

At the end of said email, I asked that someone get in touch with me to let me know the status of things and what the resolution plan was.

Simple request. Communicate with me.

Help me understand what is going on. What you are doing to remedy the issue. What is causing the problem. Anything. Just. Talk. To. Me.

Twenty four hours go by.

Nothing.

I had to send another email (still professional) asking, “Hey..um, hello? What’s going on?” Then finally, someone got back to me.

Communication. In the day of email, Twitter, instant message, and that thing called the phone, I got nothing. It takes 38 seconds to hit the reply button on an email, type out a short message saying something like, “Sorry for the issues. We are looking into it. We will contact you tomorrow with a follow up and more information”, and then hit the send button.

Thirty eight seconds. I timed it.

We in IT often times wonder why IT gets a bad rep. Why we aren’t respected more. Why, often times, management looks at IT as a necessary evil instead of a business asset.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you, it’s because we can’t take 38 seconds to send an email to communicate. I know we are all busy. Sometimes insanely so, but 38 seconds is nothing.

Maybe if we all spared 38 seconds more often, IT would be perceived as a customer-service focused business entity. Not just a group that spends money, complains about users asking stupid questions (that’s another post) and cant deliver on their promises.

Maybe we’d be looked at as a group that goes out of their way to help people. That is interested in making things better for the organization and the users.

Thirty eight seconds.

A missed opportunity to provide customer service. A missed chance to change the perception of a single person.

There’s a phrase I’m fond of; “Death by a thousand paper cuts.”

It unfortunately applies to IT far too often.

/rant=off

Too true

Mrs. Technocrat will appreciate this…

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I can’t speak for her mind, but this is totally how her computer is.

All. The. Time.

Too funny!! (NeSFW)

This is so funny in so many ways.   Take a moment and watch this.  If you’re at work, be sure you have headphones on or turn the volume down a bit.

The language just floors me.   And the fact that it’s poking fun at Time-Warner is even better.

Check it out…

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6949696/time-warner-cable-porn