Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Business Thoughts for the Day

If both parties walk away from the table a little pissed off, it's a successful negotiation.
- My EVP

There is a kind of success that is indistinguishable from panic.
- Edgar Degas

Test of a vocation is the love of drudgery.
- Anon

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This Wasn't A Religious Memo

This is a verbatim sentence from an email I got today:

It is much easy for us to qualify this GOD.

I sat there and looked at the sentence a moment, wondering why this business memo suddenly got religious.

Then it hit me: the writer was using shorthand for Good Optical Die (and if you don't know what that is, I'll just say it is a rather prosaic technical widget and nothing to do with theology).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

All Psychic Stuff is BS

And I took the test to prove it.

take the psi-q psychic test yourself

While I maintain this is all nonsense, I do predict several people who read this post will take the test.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tech Jobs Fleeing Europe

Not exactly surprising news from Instat today: Despite Prospects of Growth, West European Electronics Industry Continues to Face Global Pressures

According to an annual survey published by Reed Electronics Research... production in the (European) region amounted to Euro 192 billion in 2004, around 19% of the global total...a sharp decline between 2000 and 2003, when electronics output fell by just under 30%...Output in real terms declined by 0.7% in 2004 and was forecast to fall by 1.3% in 2005.

Other findings include:

The sharp decline in the communications and IT sectors, in particular, has had a significant impact on the industry and most notably in France and the UK, where a combination of lower demand and the migration of production to lower cost locations has seen output fall by 37% and 45% respectively between 2000 and 2004.

Europe is obviously seeing the same outsourcing to China and other parts of Asia that the U.S. is experiencing. However, once jobs leave the U.S. they are replaced by new ones, as seen by the current U.S. unemployment rate of 4.8%. Once jobs leave Europe, however, they stay gone. The unemployment rate in France is 9.6%.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Just Over Two Days to Go

After a long dry spell, my favorite show - even more than BSG - is coming back Sunday night. I am getting ready, having converted my "premium" channels back to HBO (they have nothing else worth watching).

This week HBO is running the previous season leading up to the new season, as well as showing a really good season six clip trailer, which you can link to from here.

I was mesmerized by the trailer's music since it reminded me of...the Doom video game. Seriously. Sure enough, the music is The Mark has Been Made by Nine Inch Nails, the guys who wrote music for Doom.

Update: The season opener was a good episode, and I think a foreshadow of what is going to be a great season.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Most Annoying Thing About a Disk Crash? iTunes

My laptop hard drive went up and died on me last week. Surprisingly I took it with equanimity, but only because:
  1. The laptop was only about 12 weeks old, so I didn't have too much new stuff on it yet. Most of the files on there were transferred in December from my old laptop, which I still have.
  2. I had SOME of my newer files backed up on a company network
  3. All of my email - which is 70% of my work - is kept on a server, so my loss there was zero. And I recovered a lot of files from email attachments.
So my total loss of work since December was probably only ~15%. Not too bad. The good thing was that the drive failed early ("infant mortality"). If the drive had gone on for a year or more and then failed the damage could have been a lot worse.

That's not to say that this wasn't painless. The most annoying things were, in reverse order:

3. Pictures - I had some pictures I had taken over the last couple of months that didn't get backed up. Gone forever.

2. Financial Files - Microsoft Money lost about two months of transactions. I keep paper copies of everything, so this required just sitting down and inputting it again. A pain in the ass, but maybe it will make me remember to back up more often.

1. iTunes - Hands down the worse. I think everyone knows that Apple makes it nearly impossible to download from the iPod to the hard drive, so the first thing I did was copy my old library from my old laptop, which got 99% of my music. When I did this, Apple was good enough to remind me that I had to "reauthorize" my "new computer" (it's just a new drive, Steve), and that the tunes I bought on my old computer have now been used three times (my old laptop, my failed drive, and now my new drive). Only two more computers to go for those songs.

Then there is the music that I bought since January. It's sitting on my iPod, but I can't get it into my computer unless I dig deep into the iPod files (doable, but a pain), buy software to do it for me (At $20-$30, a lot more expensive than the music I bought), or buy the few songs again (only a few bucks, but we are talking about the principle here).

Whatever I decide, I can only say that I am really happy I downloaded like mad during the closing weeks of Napster.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New Business Phrases for Today

Seventeen years in business and I still run into new terminology. Two new ones just today:

"Woffy" - Verbal expression of the acronym WFOE, or Wholly Foreign Owned Entity. Usually refers to a business entity in China set up by a non-Chinese company (there are three different types of organizations a foreign company can set up in China, but that is a topic for another time).

Velcro Organization - An organization that pulls itself apart and reassembles itself in order to respond to new opportunities.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Babes of Blogging

Many of you have sent me emails wondering why I haven't posted any pictures of Mrs. Director. So to silence those, and to provide some eye candy for the rest of you, here is a picture taken just this week.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Off Skiing

Mrs. Director dragged me off skiing this week, so I am up in Lake Tahoe, which is that body of water you can just make out in the middle.

So blogging will be light, but I can tell you about an interesting thing that happened to me today. Mrs. Director went off to ski a triple-diamond black called "Certain Death", which is quite beyond my skiing skills. So I went off by myself to ski some easier runs.

I hooked up on the lift with another "single", and as usual in these sort of circumstances I decided to make some conversation.

"So," I asked, "what do you do for a living?"

"I just got out of prison."

I looked around me. The lift was up quite a way by this time. There was nothing I could do, so I decided to continue.

"Uh, what were you in for?"

"I pushed a total stranger out of a ferris wheel."