Archive for September, 2003


playing go

i’ve been playing go using the new version of goban which has a built in player now. i just got my butt kicked! hopefully this will help me improve as a player so todd and i can get into some rumbles when he’s out here next…

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the corporation like a body

thinking about it some more, a company is like a body. sales people might be like the mouth that brings in the nourishment, but without the brains to think of it, or the stomach to digest it, or the heart and blood to distribute it, then it’s really a worthless organ.

my thinking in the past several days has revolved around corporations and their ass-backwards way of thinking. i haven’t changed that. the brain can make the body go into the dentist as often as it wants and get those teeth in the mouth polished till they are white. it doesn’t change the fact that they don’t need to be white, just functional, and that the mouth can’t really eat anything without the hand to put it there. well, unless they want to be really gross which many sales people are anyways.

it’s a sick brain that neglects most of its body for benefit one part. ask any medical doctor. but that’s what i see in every company i’ve worked for or heard about.

we’ve heard about the body politic. maybe we should hear more about the body corporate, and i’m not talking about lobbies, unions, and such crud. i’m talking about fixing our american corporations which in turn will fix our ailing economy.

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HP layoffs

incidently, HP is about to layoff approximately 35% of its workforce. i guess they want to buy more jets?

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pissed off

i am pissed off. i’m still on a rant about corporate america.

why is it that companies feel obligated to court sales people? they have their cell phones paid for, they go on business trips with convenient extra days tacked on, they keep their own hours, they get to go on team building trips (often to exotic locations). why? what more do they contribute that any other employee doesn’t?

i work for a magazine. i’m in the IT department. i don’t sell a single thing to anyone and in fact, from the companies point of view, i cost because my department spends money. sales people, on the other hand, bring in money. they sell advertising space, they generate interest in consumers to buy our product (if you lump in marketing with sales, which is often the case). yet without our support they would soon not be able to do their jobs. without us, there eventually wouldn’t be any sales.

look at the typical editor for our magazine. they help make the content that sales people sell. if we didn’t have editors, the content would either suck or not exist, then sales people wouldn’t have anything to sell.

look at the typical assistant. they do all the grunt work for whoever they work for so that person can focus on their jobs. without that support the person wouldn’t be able to do their jobs as efficiently, time would be going into making photocopies, or sending mailings, or simply answering the phones.

not a single one of us is appreciated by the corporate aspect. i mean, yes, they pay us, but it’s like we are expected to do our jobs and if we have to work extra they don’t feel too badly about it, do they? no. when i have to stay late to fix a computer some incompetent sales person destroyed because they deleted some system files, they don’t stay late. they take a mini-vacation because they can’t get any work done anyways. in fact often we are complained about because, as we are in charge (supposedly) of technology, it must be our fault the computer doesn’t work. it’s our fault.

freaking idiots.

specifically, what is pissing me off today, is that our sales department just went on an all expenses paid team building trip. loads of them. i’m sure there was some actual work involved, maybe a few hours in the day of motivational speeches and videos, little seminars, etc. however, they also went white water rafting, went to saunas for massages and steam bathes, had meals at nice restaurants and went to the bars afterwards where they didn’t pay for a single drink. why? i can’t even get a decent raise, and how much money did they spend on this trip?

let’s assume only 20 people went. this is a gross understatement, but let’s just use that figure.

airline tickets: $250 x 20: $5000
hotel. $100 x 20 x 3 nights: $6000
meals: $15 x 20 x 3 days x 2 meals: $1800 + tip: $2070
presentation areas: rental ~$1000
transportation for trips: ~$2000
whitewater rafting: $50 x 20: $1000
saunas: $50 x 20: $1000
bartab: $4 x 2 drinks x 3 nights x 15 people: $360 + tip: $410

total: $18480

i know for a fact there were more than 20 people at this sales meeting. not too shabby. note that i severely understated the actual cost of things. airline tickets probably cost more. the hotel is surely not a cheap hotel. meals cost more than $15 normally, and they probably went to fancy locations. the rest is surely off, too. for example while i’m sure not all of them drink, those that do probably had more than two drinks, and not just $4 drinks.

however -assuming they did it the cheap way i outline- i suppose any company would think this was a great price tag to motivate their sales force to do better.

you’d think they would spend a proportionate amount of money to motivate my department (or even let us take classes). you’d think they could divide that up by 40 and give each of our magazine editorial staff a $500 gift certificate as a way of saying thanks. you might even think they would take a fraction of that and send the assistants flowers (or concert tickets or whatever) and a thank you note for all their hard, thankless work.



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how much is enough?

i’ve just read this article about hewlett packard purchasing two brand new gulf stream V jets. this is from the company that has been laying off american employees to get cheap cost replacements in foreign countries because the company hasn’t been as profitable as expected. apparently HP is still hiring for a few jobs, however; as the article points out they are hiring flight attendants.

i read this and have to ask myself: what is with the executive level of corporate america? they lay off thousands of employees at the first sign of lessening profitability, they cook accounting books, they overwork salaried employees, they cut even little things like christmas parties. it is irritating. it doesn’t make sense. who purchases their products? how can anyone purchase another printer with toner cartridge or computer when they are unemployed? they rationalize that it saves the company money, but then they buy jets. i wish i could reward myself as richly everytime i cut off my finger, or crash my car.

now i’m reading an article followup to the one mentioned above that HP is now trying to cover up their purchases. ethics seems to be the rarest commodity of all.

i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, corporate america at the executive level sees themselves as feudal lords, and it’s time democracy was brought to their doorsteps.

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writing based on real character

tonight, based on a link from lars, i’ve been looking a bit into a language system by john wilkins called real character. while i am not sure i agree with the “universal language” aspect of it, the writing system itself intrigues me. i can see where its basic premise can be adapted to a writing system based on CVC, CV, VC VVC and CVV phonemes, much as the korean writing system is. i spent half an hour tonight coming up with the outline and plan on looking into the symbols actually used in real character to examine which are distinct enough to warrant adaption to my own version and style.

examples can be found here, here, and here, with some of the language’s generalized categories here. i like how it can look arabic with the lines and somewhat like sanskrit as well. it will definately give whatever i use it for a more exotic feel than the current systems i am using. even better the vocabulary aspect of everything i’ve worked on so far does not need to be adapted which is a huge plus in my book.

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new look

i’ve been tweaking the general look of sp.ookee again as i wasn’t satisfied with the previous incarnation. we’ll see if i stick with this one… meanwhile i’ve also been working on getting the pictures back into the system. you can access them from the navigation bar, but as they aren’t being rendered through blosxom, they have the old look and feel. this is fine for now as remaking the entire pictures directory will be a long process.

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proxy server woes

i apologize to everyone for the sites being down today. apparently the old web server, which is still up and running mail, was also running a proxy server that i wasn’t aware of. spammers discovered it and were using it to send loads of spam. speakeasy, my great ISP, warned me about it and took it down till i could fix the problem. unfortunately i was at work and couldn’t do anything.

but the site is back up, as is evidenced by the fact that you are reading this. too bad it happened to occur on talk like a pirate day…

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Bjork. Debut. Post. Telegram.

i decided i missed bjork too much and picked up maybe a touch more than i expected. bjork has one of the most distinctive voices in music today, and the music that supports her is catchy, electro-acoustic, and sometimes most ethereal.

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Barenaked Ladies. Disc One. All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001).

Barenaked Ladies rock. i picked this up primarily because of one particular song, but i’ve liked many of the others already, and the few i hadn’t heard already i’m picking up. the liner notes are great, with witty commentary (desires not to be pelted with macaroni and cheese boxes anymore) and ironic observations (we wanted to write a song about a perfectionist who discovers the joy in failing). i’ll probably have to go out sometime and pick up some of the actual albums soon, because there’s a few songs not on here i would like to hear still.

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