Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Apparently, this little doodad called The Babble, that looks like a box or one of those aromatherapy-spa thingys, scrambles your voice to people around you when you are on the phone or in the cube farm. Way cool. The product is created by a company affiliated with Herman Miller, the folks who make those chairs that makes your butt feel like it's in a hammock.
Looks like the entry price will be around $400, but I'll wait until it comes down under $200 before I give it a serious look. The Sonare Technologies website says they'll be demoing the device at the upcoming NeoCon World's Trade Fair show in Chicago on June 13th.. I wish I could be there to hear how it sounds. Right now, I'm picturing the voices of the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
May 31, 2005
Bless Me, Blog, for I've Sinned
By SARAH BOXER
Online confessors are like flashers. They exhibit themselves anonymously and publicly, with little consideration for you, the audience. Browse some of the confessionals on the Web: grouphug.us (a simple log), notproud.com (organized by deadly sin) or dailyconfession.com (where you can barely find the confessions for all the promotional stuff). You can see for yourself.
One online confessional, though, breaks the mold. At PostSecret, found at postsecret.blogspot.com, the confessions are consistently engaging, original and well told. How come? The Web site gives people simple instructions. Mail your secret anonymously on one side of a 4-by-6-inch postcard that you make yourself. That one constraint is a great sieve. It strains out lazy, impulsive confessors.
For PostSecret, you write, type or paste your secret on a postcard, and then, if you want, decorate the card with drawings or photographs. Next the stamp and then the mailbox. Yes, it's work to confess. And it should be, if only for the sake of the person who might be listening.
One message says: "I lied" under the word "oath." Another says, "I deleted the pope's funeral unwatched off my TiVO to make room for an episode of 'Survivor.' " The postcard picture - a split image, top half funeral, bottom half 'Survivor' - captures the moment of sin.
Some secrets cannot be separated from the cards they're on. One sad little postcard has a lineup of seven 3-cent stamps, each with a picture of a Conestoga wagon on it, plus one 2-cent stamp of a locomotive: "I found these stamps as a child, and I have been waiting all my life to have someone to send them to. I never did have someone."
The following typed message was pasted onto a card made out of a $50 parking ticket: "I got a parking citation and so did the car next to me. I replaced the ticket on the car next to me with mine. My ticket got paid. And the one I took? I mailed it to PostSecret." It isn't so much a confession as a live performance of sin.
PostSecret is simple to navigate. You scroll down to read one postcard after another. There's little else on the site. O.K., you will occasionally run into little self-congratulatory landmarks: announcements that PostSecret will be onstage in Melbourne, Australia, newspaper clippings from all over the world, scores of compliments from readers. But basically it's all secrets.
And the secrets are regularly refreshed. Each Sunday, Frank, the keeper of the secrets, posts a new batch straight from his mailbox in Germantown, Md., and removes some old ones from the site. One virtue of the resulting chronological lineup is that you can look for patterns emerging, certain kinds of confessions clumping together. And clump they do.
For instance, the most recent confessions tend to be the most graphically and ethically hip. They look like the work of Barbara Kruger, Damien Hirst or Sophie Calle. "I want to be anorexic," says one card with a photo of a skeletal woman, "but I can't stop eating."
And for some reason many of the secrets posted on May 8 follow a certain form, a confession followed by a coda with a dash more guilt: "I don't care about recycling. (But I pretend I do.)" "I had sex with strangers for money. And I liked it." "I hate loving families... Because I don't have one."
One odd thing about PostSecret is that there's a real disconnection between what the confessions are and what the readers think they are. One reader from Texas wrote, "Thank you so much for building a window into so many souls, even if it only shines light on the darkest part." A reader in Australia wrote: "Each is a silent prayer of hope, love, fear, joy, pain, sorrow, guilt, happiness, hatred, confidence, strength, weakness and a million other things that we all share as human beings... there is no fakeness here."
No fakeness? Oh, but there is. And it is the fakeness, the artifice and the performance that make this confessional worth peeking at. The secret sharers here aren't mindless flashers but practiced strippers. They don't want to get rid of their secrets. They love them. They arrange them. They tend them. They turn them into fetishes. And that's the secret of PostSecret. It isn't really a true confessional after all. It is a piece of collaborative art.
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
Monday, May 30, 2005
Unfortunately, every other person has the same template, so I had to change. Plus, now mine is more personalized with my initials and colors I chose.
I was influenced by a chair from the architect Bruno Paul and a geometric jacket by Sonia Delaunay. Both of these talented people worked in more than one art form using different materials. I got the idea for my initials, with their mirror image, from a beech chair by Bruno Paul, page 96 of Art Deco: 1910-1939 by Tim Benton, Charlotte Benton, Ghislaine Wood. There's a better picture of Sonia Delaunay's (another link) jacket in the book on page 163.
There were some cool Art Deco fonts I got from free Fonts sites.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
This is better than those heel shock absorbers or the little lights in the heels. I can't wait to try a pair on. You can see different views and colors on the Freshness Magazine site.
Friday, May 27, 2005
I recently checked out How Men Think by Adrienne Mendell from the Sunnyvale library. It was very enlightening and helpful. The gist of the book is that Men see Work as a game. Since Men are still are the dominant number in some fields, such as technology, it's to Women's best interest to learn the unwritten rules then modify their behavior to get along better.
We could debate about the degree to which Ms. Mendell writes about is relevant today, 10 years after the book's publication. I found everything she said was true. Nothing she wrote was ridiculous or exaggerated. She gives plenty of real examples to make her points, plus the examples of situations and suggested responses are from both Men and Women. Plus my own life experience in the Technology field confirms the reality of what she has to say. I can give examples from my own life that parallel the samples in the book. And I'm still in the 1st half of my work career.
I liked that the suggested behavior changes for Women don't include turning themselves into some weird version of men. Instead Ms. Mendell suggests using humor as much as possible to keep your poise. The point is more to put the person on notice that you are on to their attempts to "put you in your place" and you will act accordingly. This is achieved by:
- Encouraging Men to pause and relect on what they just said or did. (Hopefully they'll consider if they'd do or say the same thing to their mother or sister or how they'd like it if some guy at work treated th their wife or girlfriend way.)
- Recommending actions that may increase the probability that Men will take you seriously and give you your due respect
- Reassuring you to keep your dignity when you are put in an awkward position, usually with humor
- Educating you on alternatives when the other techniques don't work
Thursday, May 26, 2005
I did find one article that I didn't even know existed. I remember talking to a report for The Sun local paper, but I never followed up to see if anything came of it. I'm happy to say it did, in the form of the article, City looks for resident help in redesigning main website. I was glad to see that some of my suggestions made it to the redesigned Sunnyvale City website, especially the part about incorporating more local pictures.
The Sun Article Where I'm Quoted
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Rational Unified Process
PMBOK Process Overlap
- Can show within context
- Goal oriented
- Action use is focus
- Broad perspective
- "The system shall"
- System oriented
- Easily converted to test cases and other documentation
- Small perspective
Saturday, May 21, 2005
For the most part, the artists are happy to have you come see their work, talk to you a bit and generally welcome you. Unfortunately, some didn't want to interrupt their socializing with their friends to acknowedge you. I even ran across a couple of women who hovered too close between me andi their displays with their arms crossed, legs in a defensive stance. Hmmm, think they had problems letting go of their "babies"?
A complaint. The maps in the guide did not include street addresses, so I was not able to find some studios because I couldn't tell what street they were on. That could also be the fault of the Artists since they didn't have their signs out in a visible location. A kudos. Thanks for collecting the artists URLs and e-mails online.
Some Open Studios I visited:
- Sonya Paz: I love her nergetic egraphical style and bold colors. Sort of reminds me of Carribean colors, but not quite. Her style brings to mind Britto, who was on the Apprentice earlier this year. I got two matted prints and some bonus cards. The cool thing is that she collaborates with E. Moises Diaz, an author whose work I bought as a wedding gift a few years ago.
- Rhythm City ~ Wishful Weather #1 (I have this one)
- Agua Fresca (I have this one)
- Tulips in the Big City (mine is similar to this one)
- Nancy Wong: I love her naturalistic water colors, especially the wood scenes. I wish I had more space to put some of her paintings. I need to get in touch with her about prints for Woods with Bent Tree or Voluminous Bay Tree in sizes smaller than her orignals.
- The cool thing about Michael Gesundheit's open studio is that he had part of his workshop on his front driveway. So you knew something artistic was going on when you turned in the street. Not that you'd miss the laser cut steel sculptures on the front lawn. He was representing at least 5 other artists at his house. From Isreal, Russia, Ukraine, Africa and New England. I totally loved the beads made out of African grass that looked like little bamboos.
The Ukraine artists included a master, Michael Rozenvain -bio and some of his students, Galina Dor -bio (aka Galina Didur), Nathan Brutsky -bio and Yuri Tremler -bio (aka Yuri Trembovler). You could totally see how his pupils extended and evolved his style but still made the style their own. Michael Gesundheit sells their artwork on the west coast, so get in touch with him if you are interested.
(aka Galina Didur)
(aka Yuri Trembovler)
- Bea Gee not only does wonderful watercolor and Chinese calligraphy, but she also paints on gold paper treated with gum arabic or alum. I want to try to get some of the paper to see if it would work in an illumination project.
- Of course I had to make a stop at the open studio of one of my fellow Pacific Scribes guild members Melissa Dinwiddie. She's part of an awesome set-up with other artists. That stop didn't disappoint. Plus the artists in the neightborhood took it uppon themselves to come up with their own little neighborhood open studiios guide. Very nice.
- A great place to see more than 10 artists over a variety of disciplines was the Cubberley Community Center. A couple of artists even had a work in progress as people filtered through for Open Studios. Laura Klein was particularly nice and patient in talking about how she creates her paintings.
- Hands down, the best gallery was David Howell's. Not only did he have a studio, easels and folding displays like many of the artists, he had a garden. David's world travel inspired paintings were all over the backyard including several winding footpaths that lead to "hidden gardens". Speaking of the actal artwork, I like how he experimented with different textures. At first I thought it was nature printing but he said he uses stencils and other stuff. Maybe he'll use the whale krill filter thingy he had on display. (I see it's called a baleen.) It would make some interesting patterns.
- Rochelle Ford's house is truly magical. If you live or go through Palo Alto, you've no doubt noticed her house. She and her husband have both regular sculptures and furniture scultures in front of their brightly colored house. The inside of the house is chockful of different artworks. Art is everywhere including hallway, stair case, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, den, backyard, etc. Both functional and just for looking. You KNOW you are in an artist house.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Still Life with Mums and Lemons
Opening Credits Scene
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Last night, Navigant Consulting's Bradley McCord and Rick Ostiller gave an overview on the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to the PMI Silicon Valley chapter in an evening program. I learned quite a bit. Before the meeting, I just knew it had something to do with accounting.
Some other interesting points:
- SOX only applies to public companies, with stock that's publically traded
- Only the CEO and CFO are liable and responsible for certifying the company's
financial numbers to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC). So no matter what other company employees contribute to the final
report, only those two will get dinged if there's a problem.
- Other high profile company scandals that SOX was involved:
Worldcom (DBA MCI), HealthSouth, Qwest, Homestore, Marsh & McLennan
- Company boards must now include a financial expert and oversee an audit comittee. The board audit committee cannot contain an employee of
- Every audit will not raise ever issue or error. The goal is to work
towards a fair conclusion.
- 404 Internal control is based on guidelines from
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of
the Treadway Commission
. This part seemed to be the most relevant to project management:
- the conrol environment
- risk assessment
- control activities
- information and communication
- the conrol environment
Sunday, May 15, 2005
On the Feral Scholar blog of Stan Goff, I found a copy of Catharine MacKinnon's New York Times article, Who Was Afraid of Andrea Dworkin? She gives a fond farewell to her friend and does a nice job summarizing the conflicted relationship Ms. Dworkin had with the media. I’ve long admired both Andrea Dworkin’s and Catherine MacKinnon’s writing. After being introduced to them in college, I learned what happens to people who don’t toe the line. I learned not to believe everything told to you, just because it comes from a “reputable” source. I guess that's why I'm such a fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. They get such a kick out of poking the sacred cows and saying stuff you aren't supposed to say.
Friday, May 13, 2005
I got a kick out of the Jay Bookman article, When Facts Don't Match Beliefs, Reality Sometimes Twisted. (Jay has been described as a progressive Associate Editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, so that tells you a little about his spin on things.) The article talks about
how Dubya Bush's administration comes up with a version of reality and acts according
to the stories they tell themselves. Even when facts surface that contradict the made up reality, the adminstration tends to steamroll ahead with the original plan. At least until they change their story about their original goal. Like the love of democracy was the primary reason for going to Iraq.
Every administration tries to manipulate public perception, but this is
something different. In many cases, this administration actually believes
in the false reality it tries so hard to create. It weaves an illusion around
itself of how the world really works, then makes policy based on that illusion.
In time, that must inevitably lead to big trouble.
I'd like to see Jay Bookman on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It'd be fun to watch them spar. I like the show better when they have authors, pundits or other people with points of view rather than bubble headed entertainers. Don't take this to mean I dislike all actors/actresses, singers and sports stars on the Daily Show. I don't. I just get annoyed by inarticulate ones and who can't string together a coherent thought. So many times, a Jon has finished up with a guest and I sat there thinking, "What the hell was that about?"
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
I ran into a former co-worker, Mike Crocker, and got an update on what happened to our project after I left and before he left. Good luck to him on his interviews.
I met Randy Englund, another of those enterprising folks with their own consultancy. Plus he's an author with a book on the Amazon Best Books on Project Management list, Creating an Environment for Successful Projects. Looks like he's coming out we a new book next year too, Project Sponsorship.
I think their point of view dovetails nicely with the message of The Long Tail (see below). Although most people think the majority of mass communication are through big boys* [General Electric, Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom and Rupert Murdock's News Corporation], the amount of intercommunication between people through the other avenues actually exceeds what these companies can spew out.
*Source: National Organization for Women Foundation Digital TV Project: Who Controls the Media
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
I met a couple of interesting people. One was, Athol M. Foden. I had taken at least one UCSC Extension Marketing class from him. Now he has his own company, The Silicon Valley Marketeer in addition to consulting and teaching. Another was Mary Sullivan, who does Product Marketing & Competitive Intelligence for KickStart Alliance. Mary gave me a great lead to Women in Consulting. Now I'm so glad I didn't sit in my chair reading back issues of eWeek liked I planned to do.