Friday, June 13, 2003

Stupid Corporate Tricks

In U r sakd: Is there a nicer way to fire?, The Economist describes how most of the staffers at a British company were fired by text message on their cell phones:

There are, Paul Simon once sang, 50 ways to leave your lover. There may be fewer ways to sack your staff, but most are unpleasant — though rarely as nasty as the method chosen last week by Accident Group, a firm that specialises in personal-injury claims, after Amulet, its Luxembourg-based parent, ran out of money.

Accident Group’s 2,500 staff received a series of text messages on their mobile phones, telling them to call a number.

There, a recorded message from the company’s insolvency administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers informed them that, ‘‘All staff who are being retained will be contacted today. If you have not been spoken to you are therefore being made redundant.’’

The new CEO of VodaFone evidently saw this story in the news -- a clause in his contract prevents him from being fired by "electronic mail or any other electronic messaging service."

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Everyone else ( link, link, and link) is getting transferred to this spiffy new version of Blogger. But mine looks the same as always. I think I have software envy.
Random Wednesday Happenings

After a number of false starts, I finally met up with an acquaintaince from high school in Maryland who moved to Nashville with her husband last year and is now randomly running for city council! We hung out for a few hours at a Chili's out in Hermitage, which is so far outside of my normal downtown Nashville orbit, it's scary. We gabbed about all the old band gossip, who's now living in strange foreign countries, what we've been up to for the last ten years, etc. Got them interested in the UFO club at Flying Saucer. Now I'm not just drinking my way to fame, I'm helping spread the word!

I might end up using my pickup truck to help them move sometime in the next few weeks. And two weeks ago I made a run with a friend to drop a load of brush at the city composting center. I'm actually starting to feel like I'm doing my part to live up to the pickup truck image.

On an unrelated note, I just got the missing pieces that let me use the new phone as an MP3 player -- which is pretty cool. I loaded about three hours of music onto it, and can listen skip-free while carrying the phone around. The headphones even have a button that will mute the music and let me talk if the phone ring. I'm starting to feel better about the small fortune I had to shell out to get this thing. I'll be even happier when I get all my assorted rebates and refunds back.

Tomorrow and Friday I've got a professor from the university I visited for a week in November coming to see how I do my job. I think he's going to find that it's much less exciting and glamorous than he thinks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

"The presentation on P.T. Barnum was especially helpful." - Farouk Bakoh

It's not too late to register for the The Third Annual Nigerian Email Conference. Sessions this year include:

  • Keynote Address: Dr. Hamza Kalu's adds some historical perspective in his keynote address: "From Postal Scams To Email Scams: We Have Come a Long Way Infant Child.
  • Debate: Attend a lively debate between Lady Mariam Abacha and Mr. Godwin Oyathelem. Topic: "The effectiveness of using all UPPERCASE characters."
  • Economics: A round table discussion: Is email now Nigeria's top export?
Registration is, of course, via a confidential money transfer.

Link via MacInTouch

And now, from the "Greek to Me" department...

I'm currently taking what I consider to be the first "hardcore" computer science class I've taken since I started working on my Technology Management degree. (I took a database class and a networking class, but I don't consider those to be hardcore since I already knew a lot about those topics.) So in this accelerated summer session, I'm getting to read scintillating material like:

Each check bit operates on every data bit whose position number contains a 1 in the same bit position as the position number of that check bit. Thus, data bit positions 3,5,7,9 and 11 (D1, D2, D4,D5,D7) all contain a 1 in the least significant bit of their position number as does C1; bit positions 3,6,7,10, and 11 all contain a 1 in the second but position, as does C2, and so on. Looked at another way, bit position n is checked by those bits Si such that Σi = n. For example, position is checked by bits in position 4,2, and 1; and 7=4+2+1.
Riveting stuff, no? I can't wait until Hollywood gets ahold of it.

I'm starting to remember why I majored in English.

Culture Shock

West coast habitue Margaret Berry is currently perambulating through the South, enjoying its unique ways and culture. She writes:

We crossed the border into Virginia late last night and spent two hours this morning trying to find a place to get an Internet connection. Finally we found WebCity. I'm currently sitting in a dark room with five guys who've been talking about how much ammo they have stored, how much they got paid for not killing that one guy, and so on, for the last hour.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Pretty Colors

This weekend was Fan Fair, Nashville's annual country music festival. That means lots of traffic and tourists, but also occasional fringe benefits like fireworks you can watch from your kitchen window.

Fireworks over Nashville

(And other than a quick grocery run, that's about the most exciting thing to happen to me this weekend.)