Month: October 2012

Texting & Driving, & …

I’ve heard so much discussion about texting and driving. Mostly angry rhetoric about “those guys”, and how terrible they are. But the real culprit here is our lack of taking driving seriously.

Operating cars is a core part of American culture, a rite of passage, cultural status symbol (what you drive says so very much about who you are), etc. We drive so much (we invented the ‘Sunday Drive), and from such a young age, it’s hard to remember how dangerous this is.

Thousands of pounds of mass hurtling through space, bearing an amazing amount of force. And yet we eat, apply makeup, text, talk…rarely do we fully focus on driving. Funny, really, that we minimize the power of driving. Such a powerful act, controlling amazingly powerful forces, keeping everyone around you (as well as yourself) safe. That wound be worthy of adding to your resume for anything less mundane.

The solution requires a more rudimentary cultural-psyche change than many realize. We must elevate driving from the mundane to the serious. Or, I guess we can automate it. Acquiesce another thing to our machine overlords at Google. Taking the human out of the equation might be for the best.

War, Ceasefires and Respecting Soldiers

Pulling into work, my iPhone’s AP app (here’s CNN’s bit on this) pinged me with the news that Syria had agreed to a four day truce starting Friday. Though magnanimous and all, my first thought was “why tomorrow?” I never understood why ceasefires aren’t implemented immediately, regardless of whether we’re talking about today’s story in Syria or WWI’s armistice. I understand that it takes time to communicate out to the lines. But why didn’t the negotiators, or the government at a higher level, have a plan before they walked into the conference room. Perhaps its the finer details that need ironing out before communications can be launched. Perhaps the 1 day timeline is actually aggressive. However, it’s hard to imagine anything more simple than a radio communication of “stop shooting”. Mainly, I expect the Syrian forces are more organized and able to disseminate and act on this info quickly. The resistance, however, I expect to be more disconnected and chaotic. Perhaps that the limiting factor. Anyway, I’m really thinking of the WWI armistice as the ultimate example, where the ceasefire was held back for days so that we’d reach a poetic date. Of course, soldiers were still thrown over the wall to their deaths in the meantime. Some see glorious poetry, I see horrific waste. Perhaps these leaders forget that they aren’t discussing pieces on a board, or numbers on a sheet; rather, lives. Lives of civilians caught in the middle, families, and, of course, soldiers. That dementia disrespects those troops on the line, for those lives lost. For me, that’s unconscionable.

Swimming in Contacts

A self-observation: I have several hundred contacts in my addressbook. Synced automatically with the cloud, my laptop, and OTA with my iPhone, I just haven’t thought about them. I can search for who I want. Or, even better, when I’m typing an email, boom, it pops up. Done!

However, I’m certain I have duplicate info, and, worse for a data-driven geek like myself, bad data . I know I have expired email accounts, old phone numbers, and worthless addresses. A quick skim shows people I haven’t talked to in years, as well as people I don’t know. (I’ve long had the habit of making sure key project contacts were in there “just in case”. Some never needed calling, and, thus, their relevance to me has faded form memory.)

Cheap storage and good search tools have made this something of a non-issue. But I like my data clean and accurate. Plus, this does provide opportunities for confusion. I have a few folks I infrequently email, and have with multiple email addresses. I’m sure only one is accurate or active. So when I email I send it to all, then clean out based and bounce-backs. Not efficient, but effective.

I’ve thought about tools like Plaxo, but have found many folks won’t respond. Facebook solves many of these problems. Most of my friendly contacts are on FB, so I don’t need a contact at all.

So, I’ve identified a problem, but not a solution. Or even if its worth the time to repair. But it nags at me.

What I’ve learned from migraines

One thing I’ve learned from my migraines: limits. I can’t do it all. My system stops me too often, and too completely. I’m completely ineffectual once a migraine sets in. Intense pain, light sensitivity, and an inability to focus collude to stop me cold. Sleep is the only way forward. Though my meds work amazingly well, they aren’t perfect.

The scattered foci of my life can’t flourish anymore. One main drive, with my other interests secondary. That’s all I really can muster anymore.

Though part of me is saddened by this realization, mainly I feel relief. I don’t need to save the world. Just do as much good in my place. Go in piece, I guess.