Archive for December, 2007

Who are these people and why are they looking for me?

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Several times a week someone comes to one or the other of my blogs after doing an search for my name (often with the word "blog") on a search engine. Some or Google, some on AOL Search and some on Live Search. They are doing it from all over the world. Today it was someone using (Japan) but its also been from all over the world. Places as random as Brooklyn NY and Manila the Philippines.  South Africa and Norway. North, south, east and west.

But why? Are they looking for someone else with a similar name? Perhaps. But the ones that include the name of the company I work for along with my name are, I am pretty sure, looking for me.

On one hand it is sort of flattering. On the other I just have to wonder "why?"

As Seen on TV

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Mrs T picked up some little lights that stick up anywhere and run on batteries. I noticed that the packaging said "As Seen On TV." Wow now there is a reason to buy something.

OK I know perhaps someone is shopping for the same item they have seen on TV and this will tell them these are the same items. But if they meet the need do you really care that they are the same ones as on TV? Not unless you believe that somehow being advertised on TV makes them better. Generally it just makes things more expensive.

Or perhaps you are not deliberately shopping for this item but see them and the notation on the box reminds you that you thought they looked cool when you saw them. Here now a chance to buy them without making a telephone call and paying for shipping and handling. Such a deal! How can you ever pass this up?

I’ve seen other things advertised in magazines with the comment "as advertised on" followed by a list of impressive shows or networks. As if somehow the fact that the company has paid a lot of money for ad time on those shows that somehow the product gains some sort of imprimatur or extra credibility from the experience. Do people fall for that? I assume that some must or the companies would not do it.

What kind of people come up with these marketing ideas? How does their brain work? And how can I avoid it happening to me?

Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

So Mrs T is out shopping with our son. Apparently they have already got him a suit for an amazing price. They are having fun. Shopping on one of the busiest shopping days of the year is not my idea of fun though so I am glad I got to stay home.

In theory I am cleaning up from Christmas. In practice I slept very late, fixed some leftovers and have gotten very little done. I hope to get some things done before they come home though. At the very least I will put away my Christmas presents and break up all the cardboard boxes for the recycle bin. But I get distracted.

One of the first gifts I moved out of the family room was a special "day light" light that is supposed to help with seasonable affective disorder.  I don’t know that I have it for sure but I do know that I really crave the sunlight when I don’t get any for a while. I set up the light in my office which has no windows and there for no natural light. I like the way it feels so I decided to blog a bit for a while. It’s medical – that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

I have a number of things that I have to put together. Why is it that I always get stuff like that? One or two I will try to do today but that garden wagon can wait I think. There is too much snow outside to use it anyway. So I will move it down to the cellar and put it together there one night when TV is boring. Given the writer’s strike there will probably be a lot of boring TV nights real soon.

Besides things that have to be put together I seem to get organization tools. This year I got some sort of box with 31 slots (one for each day of the month?) and some drawers. It’s nice but will it help? History suggests no but I’ll try. I think the only thing that would really get me organized is a professional assistant. Though to be fair Outlook has been a huge help and goes a long way towards keeping me on track and sane.

No clothing this year. Thank goodness. I have more clothing then I know what to do with already. A few gadgets though and those are always good. A handheld Sududo game which I expect to enjoy on some flights. And the best gift of all is a new Magellan GPS. That will get lots of use.

Well I have another week off now. This is the only time of the year when I take a vacation that doesn’t involve traveling somewhere and doing something.  It sort of feels like a waste but I can really use the mental and physical down time. I hope you are all getting and enjoying some down time of your own.

I’m Not Laughing

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

This is ironic. That’s a lot of security holes to patch at one time. But I understand how hard getting security right in an OS. So I feel sort of bad. At the same time I’m glad I didn’t buy the hype they keep trying to sell me.

Blogging Burn-out

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

I’ve been blogging for about four years now. There has been some ebb and flow in both the amount I post and the amount of other blogs I read over that time. Lately though its all become less fun and somehow harder to do. In my other blog  I actually missed posting on several business days in a row for the first time in months. Usually I have so many posts in my head that I post several days worth at a time and am a week or more ahead. Not lately.

I don’t post as often here as I would like but there was a time when I posted daily at another blog that has been effectively abandoned. I had thought to move more of that blogging here but instead I just cut back. So total posting is really down about half or more from my peek. I still think about blog posts. I even write them in my head. What’s different is that I don’t actually get them written and posted. Why? Complicated.

Of course some of it is time. I have been traveling a lot lately. A week in Texas and couple of days in New York with lots of local New England day trips in the mix. And there is all this stuff to do because of the Christmas holidays. But that’s not all.

I used to take the computer into the family room and read and write blogs while watching TV. Lately I find I just want to get away from the computer. A bit of information overload I think. I just want to rest my brain.

Recently my brother and I talked about visiting a family owned home that is not much used in the winter. My brother said "but the cable TV and Internet connections are shut down for the season. Why would you go?" I answered "because the cable TV and Internet connections are shut down." Time with my thoughts. Time to pray. Time to just disconnect from the hustle and bustle of a world trying to live on Internet time.

I realized today that I have been programming computers for longer than more than half of Microsoft’s employees have even been alive. It’s been 35 years since my first computer program was written (in FORTRAN) and I have been running as fast as I can to keep up with the technology ever since. I’m not as young as I used to be.  I think now and again I need to get off the treadmill and take a breather.

I’m planning on taking some time off from work for the week that joins Christmas and New Years. My wife is threatening to confiscate my Treo so I can’t check email while away from the computer. I think she’s planning on getting me out of the house and well away from the computers as well. I think it will be good for me.

The only question is will I come back revived and roaring to go again or will I perhaps find that I like being "off the net" better than on it? And if the latter then what do I do?


Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

So I’ve been looking for ways to save money and energy. One of the most obvious things to do about the house is to replace conventional bulbs with lower power bulbs. For the longest time I have been replacing conventional bulbs with compact florescent bulbs. There are two problems with this.

One is that they just don’t work very well in a fixture with a rheostat such as our ceiling fan. There are some bulbs that claim to work with them but the ones I have seen are too low in lighting power. I’ll keep looking though. Those are the big power eaters in our house.

The second problem is that they don’t work well outside in winter.  They take a while to warm up and the light you get is not so hot (minor pun) until they do warm up. So I can’t use them every where.

A seasonal expense has long been lights on Christmas trees. Put several strings of 9 watt bulbs on a tree and you quickly get up to some serious wattage. Even the little bulbs require a lot of power. Ah but this year I think I have the answer – LED Christmas lights. Yes, both Wal-Mart and Home Depot (probably other places as well) are selling LED Christmas lights for both indoor and outdoor use. I figure I am using about 1200 fewer watts of lights this year. A savings on between 80-90%. And best of all I really like the way the lights look so I am not giving up anything.

The LED and compact florescent bulbs cost more to buy but they should last long enough that between using less power and lasting longer they should save money in the long run. If enough people buy them maybe the costs will come down as well.

What I really want to look into next is alternate energy. Perhaps solar to power the light bulbs? It could work couldn’t it?