mm475: An odd and disconcerting day

August 21, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

… and not much to say about it.

Worked on location at the beginning of it, and reasonably productively from home at the end. The middle, was smiling and grim, institutional and emotional.

And we, and our man-child, remain on a tightrope.

Some days, the blogger’s prime directive, Thou Shalt Blog Daily!, is best observed very simply, and with brevity.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

Technorati Tags: ,

mm455: Thou shalt blog daily

August 1, 2008
dreamstime_1413600
© Jcyoung | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’s Musings

… or so I’ve been told.

Worked from home today, finished up at about 4:30pm, left shortly thereafter for the first evening of an action packed family reunion weekend for my wife’s mother’s family.

Four generations gathered (age range: 5 cuddly months to 87 spry years); most live locally (a phenomenon of my wife’s close knit family), several flew in from Houston and Philadelphia, and we missed our own representatives of Generation 3 and 4 who are celebrating a family reunion of their own in Hawaii this week.

But it was a goodly crowd of nearly 30, enjoying food and drink at a local (for some) sports bar (watched Ken Griffey, Jr. get his first hit and RBI in his first at bat in a White Sox uniform, thank you very much), and then a brisk game of miniature golf played indoors under black light (its location in a popular strip mall makes it seem like a make-out palace for 15-year-olds, but I’m an old curmudgeon). Fun for all ages.

And, here it is after 11:00pm, and while the political and technological world didn’t cease spinning today, yr (justifiably) humble svt is ready to fold his cards and call it a long day, in a long week.

So, in the spirit of daily blogging, I submit this edition. Sorry, they can’t all be bold.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


mm449: Blast from the Past! No. 37

July 26, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Summer Saturday. Errands, and more errands. Chores. When’s the week start, so I can relax?

A DVD matinée. Very little time to blog. Ouch.

So, back into the archives yet again.

I console myself by guessing that most of you weren’t here nine months ago. As one of my favorite paper publications used to say: “If you haven’t read it yet, it’s new for you!”

lhc76019043_thumb2[4]

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last fall, and always in season, originally posted October 11, 2007, and originally titled “mm167: Writer’s Diarrhea.”

MUDGE’S Musings

… is the opposite of writer’s block, right?

So another blog about blogging. Why bother? Take two Imodium and call me in the morning.

There’s never a lack of news and features to write about. Although, today…

There are frequently referenced topics in this space that could stand another post, MUDGE: web conferencing, our latest profession.

Or, the odd current interest (some of you must feel) in UAVs: unmanned aerial vehicles or, robot aircraft.

Or, politics: impeachment (first Cheney, then Bush); Michael Bloomberg; this horribly mismanaged war.

Or, air travel, probably our most popular topic (thanks, Patrick Smith [who actually noticed and commented on one of our several references to his wonderful column — talk about finding a plankton in the Pacific]!).

Or, technology, especially One Laptop Per Child, a wonderful initiative deserving of everyone’s support.

But not today.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm435: No words left

July 10, 2008
dreamstime_5334997
© Duncan De young | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’s Musings

Spent the day writing.

Spent the last 90 minutes trolling the ‘Sphere for good topics with which  yr (justifiably) humble svt could wax heroic with strong opinions and typically pithy bons mots.

But when it came time to pull one of them up and start waxing and pithing, I found myself out of steam.

Because I spent the day writing. That pesky day job that pays (many of) the bills.

Writing a draft communication to three separate communities regarding our team’s upcoming (that light at the end of the tunnel might be an onrushing train) upgrade to the web conferencing application we support.

It was a challenge, about 17 pages (no big type! no pictures!) all told between the three documents, although there was much duplication and paraphrasing between them.

So, no glass half full, or glass half empty conversations tonight.

This glass is done.

Check back here next time, because first thing tomorrow I’m headed to the wordsmith station for a fill up. Hope I can afford today’s high priced blend.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


mm424: I, for one, feel smarter every day…

June 29, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Spotted a couple of references (most recently and indirectly at Arts & Letters Daily) to a most thought-provoking article in the Atlantic Monthly by Nicholas Carr, regarding the perhaps crippling effect of Internet use on the intellect.

atlantic

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

What the Internet is doing to our brains

by Nicholas Carr |  July/August 2008 Atlantic Monthly

“Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” So the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial brain. “Dave, my mind is going,” HAL says, forlornly. “I can feel it. I can feel it.”

I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

So I’ve noticed through the years that my ability, or even interest, to focus for extended lengths of time on a book had diminished. I have attributed this mostly to the natural effects of my alacritously advancing age. But maybe there’s more going on.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm420: Thanks so much, WordPress.com!

June 25, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© averages roughly 50 hits a day. As reading L-HC indicates that faithful reader indubitably has exquisitely refined taste, I’m not unhappy with that number, exactly. It’s about 50 more people than ever read whatever I might have written before taking up blogging.

Today, 96 hits.

Wow, did my latest post, on web conferencing, hit a nerve?

Not exactly.

50 people clicked on a link from last August, a story about Barack Obama. And I have WordPress.com to thank.

It seems recently they added a delightful feature when one publishes a post: Possibly related posts: (automatically generated) wherein the system pulls out three or four stories that share a tag or category with the article just posted. It’s a handy resource, one small example of the feature-rich service that WordPress.com provides (in my case, nearly cost-free) to nearly 3.5million blogs.

Turns out that FoxNews.com, of all sites, is the source of today’s doubled traffic.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm412: Choice Two

June 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

As I start to write this post, it’s 8:56pmCDT, pretty late to begin a project on a Monday night.

Mondays. (Or, I guess Sundays. If you observe the Sabbath on a Saturday). (Or, I guess Saturdays. If you observe the Sabbath on a Friday).

Any way you look at it, the first day of the work week is the tough one. The alarm clock, which if one is fortunate, stayed off for the entire weekend, resumes working its mischief on schedule, in Mr. & Mrs. MUDGE‘s distressing case, at 5:10am. That’s a hurtful note, indeed.

So, an advantage of beginning the day with the roosters, is that one has the capacity to end the day reasonably early. And, as is typical, the nine-hour workday, and the two-hour round trip commute still had me home and ready to hit the ‘Sphere at a very reasonable hour.

But there were responsibilities that had prior call on my precious blogging time tonight. Spent the past 2-1/2 hours reconciling bank accounts and paying my various creditors and other mid-month obligations, something I might have done when fresher yesterday, had my good friends at Comcast cooperated and left me with a connection I could depend upon while accessing my on-line banking resources.

By the time service had restored itself just as mysteriously as it had gone away, two lengthy waits in customer service jail plus an hour or two later, the impetus to do the responsible thing had seeped away, restored in full tonight, thankfully.

Now, faced with limited access to blogging resources (suitable computer, software [see the Blogging Process Hall of Fame in the sidebar], and most of all, time) yr (justifiably) humble svt has arrived at two tactics to honor the blogger’s prime directive: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

Read the rest of this entry »


mm397: Blast from the Past! No. 25

May 31, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

The Family MUDGE is happily celebrating the graduation of our youngest scholar with a party that will have taken prep time and cleanup time and party time, leaving no blogging time. So, as one must blog daily, we present the following in fulfillment of the obligation.

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

lhc250x46_thumb2

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last summer, originally posted September 9, 2007, and originally titled “Process, again”.

MUDGE’S Musings

Couple of months ago, we wrote about the process of blogging, as we understood it after about 2½ months of consistent posting.

Not sure that understanding has increased, although the consistency has remained. At least in frequency, if not quality.

The quality thing can always be improved.

Received a modest number of hits in the past four months; averages about 16 per day, day in and out. A couple of times about 90. A bunch of times, a loyal few. Some of the early weeks — totaled 20.

Thanks, loyal few!

Where do those statistics come from, you may wonder? From our weblog host, WordPress.com.

What a terrific organization! Hosting at this site is free. Support has been superlative.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm394: Yet another word about process

May 28, 2008

MUDGE‘s Musings

If this latest post looks different, there’s a reason.

A rather disappointing one, actually.

Yesterday afternoon, the official hard drive of the official desktop PC of  Left-Handed Complement died a very slow, lingering but apparently permanent death.

As it was the brains of a 4-year old PC, the issue was whether to dig in and replace the hard drive, which would have resulted in an attempt to reconstruct the world, based on the (of course) frequent backups we perform religiously.

Or, as several colleagues (after all, we’re in the IT business) advised, why put a fresh drive into a 4-year old machine? Starting over would require the same amount of restoration, without all the screwdriver elicited perspiration.

Anyone who knows yr (justifiably) humble svt also knows that I am the living embodiment of a wise saying I read long ago: “Beware the programmer with screwdriver.”

Read the rest of this entry »


mm389: A further word about process…

May 23, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

As an addendum placed at the end of the previous post, yr (justifiably) humble svt mentioned that Comcast had prevented timely daily posting because service, at least at MUDGEville, had been interrupted for 32 continuous hours this week.

Shortly after that post had been published, our connection, which had reappeared at 7:00am as randomly as it had disappeared two nights before, again disappeared.

The Comcast customer service protocols between the three calls that have been placed in the past few days were strangely different, but I really don’t have the patience to rehash — we all have our call center horror stories. At least all of these were domestic facilities.

The third call, though, was so refreshingly different, with so little harassing “protocol” compared to the first two, that I wondered whether I had reached the same company. Upon reflection, perhaps I reached a different outsourced call center. What a positive difference! While I hope never have to make another call to Comcast (except to cancel!), my reality ballcap tells me that of course I will! When I do, I can fervently hope that it goes to “Thomas.”

Read the rest of this entry »