Friday, October 27, 2006

I was listening to "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad" -- love that wailing voice part -- and thought I would look up Moby on Wikipedia.

Moby (born Richard Melville Hall) is an American singer, electronic musician and the name of his live band.

Aha, I thought, I see from his middle name why he calls himself Moby. I read on.

He took his nickname from the novel Moby-Dick which was written by Herman Melville, his great-great-granduncle.

I guess it must be true. It's on the Internet.

I know, I know. His songs were popular 10 or 15 years ago.

I remember once listening to a song on the radio and kind of liked it. I thought to myself, I must not be so old because I still enjoy new stuff on the radio. After the song, the announcer said "Boy, that takes me back. I remember where I was first time I heard that song."
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The early bird may get the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.
Monday, October 16, 2006
random info. off the subject.

If you are a member of the AAA auto club and need a new battery, you can call roadside assistance and have the auto club send someone out with a new battery and they will install it on your car. Sure, you can have them jumpstart your car and drive to your favorite auto repair shop, but for some of us, that's one less appointment to schedule and place to get to and back.

After they installed it, they ran a check to make sure it was charging (making sure the battery was the problem, not the thing that recharges it).

I don't know if they offer that service in your area, but just file this away, if you're ever in that situation.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I never liked Microsoft Project

I confess I never liked Microsoft Project. It didn’t seem to help me do my work, just added forms to fill out as I’d have to break the work stretching out before me into little horizontal bar chart rectangles that represented arbitrary start-and-stop points in time.

Whenever you are working on a project, there are parallel things to be done. For any action, there is generally some previous action that had to be completed and actions that can only be worked on after that action happens. Generally, I keep these trains of activities in my mind and work on them until a project is complete.

I needed a better way of mapping out all that is left for me to do on any given project. I recently downloaded a program called Inspiration used in schools across America to help children organize thoughts and communicate ideas.

Inspiration is an elegant outliner that lets you rearrange the outline easily and move items around in the sequence and hierarchy with simple drag-and-drop or toolbar button clicks. But wait. There's more.


As a brainstorming tool, I like being able to pop new symbols onto the design surface and link them together in sequence or as spokes of subordinate ideas to a central idea. Inspiration lets you capture and view items in a graphical shapes-with-lines-and-arrows-between-them. It looks a lot like Visio, but it's a bit more flexible.


The outliner is like Microsoft Word's. In fact, I would not be surprised if Microsoft Word outline view borrowed some ideas from Inspiration. It's hard to remember how inelegant the outliner in Microsoft Word used to be. It's still burdened as an outliner by being merely an interpreted view of the document the outline represents.

Switching between Outline and Diagram

The beauty and simplicity of this application is that you can click a toolbar button to switch instantly between outline view and graphical view.

For me, seeing my ideas as individual ellipses and rectangles and being able to draw lines between them to represent sequence or dependency has been immediately helpful. I wanted to give a presentation to demonstrate all the features of something I was working on and found the easiest way to script out the points I wanted to cover was to create an outline and diagram and switch between them, adding something here and rearranging something there.

I think this would work well with a tablet PC. I was pleased I could use Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition to create my outline inside Inspiration. I assume this would be great for capturing ideas in a group activity.

As a spur to creativity, and getting the herd of cats of things I need to do on any given project down onto paper, I think the $69 to download the program (there is a 30-day trial) will free up my memory and help me follow up on getting information and decisions more effectively.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Our nation is in the grips of a terrible epidemic, according to a TV commercial I saw.

RLS (restless leg syndrome) a.k.a."happy feet" afflicts one person in 10. That means there are 30 million people (60 million legs) with this particular problem. I can't remember if the commercial is for a special pill, but I think it must be for some medicine.

Of course, one cannot speak of widespread highly-advertised diseases without mentioning ED. I don't know what it is about giving something an acronym that gives it more of an identity and makes it more real and more a part of the fabric of modern life.

When I was a kid, the only mouthwash was Listerine. They didn't have to compete against better-tasting products. Their TV commercials had doctors in white coats recommending Listerine as a cure for "halitosis." I only found out recently that this was not a medical term, but a pseudo-Latin pseudo-word for bad breath that an ad agency coined.

The lesson is to beware of any advertisement that has fields of flowers or concerned human beings of your sex and age. Especially if they use general words like depression, aches, trouble sleeping, weakness, listlessness, lack of enthusiasm, or "not being your old self."

The ultimate prescription medication commercial is one that shows a person out in a field of fall flowers dancing in silhouette with only the violin background music and the name of the medication with the announcer's voice saying, "Ask your doctor about Tomoxiflum," but they don't say what disease it's supposed to cure.
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