I have one Google apps account for my domain (nunonunes.org) and in it I have my canonical email account. Associated with this account I have the XMPP (google talk) address, the Google Docs stuff (where I keep the pdfs, spreadsheets and whatnot) and my Calendar and “official” Contacts list.
Then I have another totally separate Google account (a plain one, not on my own domain) where I have my Google Reader, Latitude and a few other bits and pieces such as Blogger, Google Wave and so on. Also, because of the social nature of some of these services, I must maintain a separate Contacts list on this account. This Contacts info is not synced to the main Contacts list because, well, there simply is no (sane/safe) way to do it.
Do you see a problem here? Do you?
Also, can you see how the new Google Buzz exacerbates this problem?
Just yesterday a friend was telling me how he wished Google had a tool to merge all the multiple accounts he has on it due to the services they’ve been acquiring over the years.
Me, I’d like to have a single account for all of the Google stuff on my own domain.
Come on Google, it is high time you let me merge my accounts or, at the very least, allow me to have something as obvious as a reader feature on my apps account!
Buying companies left and right, launching new products and disrupting the markets is all very well and lots of fun, sure, but how about a little love for those who want, who really want to use your stuff in a productive and sane way?
This schizophrenia you are inducing in my on-line presence is really becoming a major nuisance. People don’t know whether to look up my own address or the address of the “fake” account and are sometimes not even sure how to get in touch with me on the web (on your services).
This is just shoddy on your part Google. I know it must take a bit of effort to get this particular bit together, but if anyone has the talent and resources to do this in a heartbeat, folded and with both arms tied behind your backs, you are it!
I’ve recently been in the market for a new compact point-and-shoot camera so I did the rounds and decided that I should get Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500.
To that effect I went over to a FNAC store, on my lunch break yesterday, to see if they had it available for sale. It turns out they did not have it in the store, but there was another FNAC store nearby which had it in stock and they could transfer it to the store went to for my convenience. It would take 3 working days for the camera to get there and the price was X.
Fair enough, but I decided that maybe I should look around at some on-line stores and do some price comparison, so I took a peek at the usual suspects and ended up ordering it from Expansys.
The order was placed yesterday during the afternoon.
It took Expansys slightly over 18 hours to deliver the camera to me (all the way over from Marseille, France to Lisbon, Portugal) at slightly over two-thirds of the price that FNAC was asking for it.
Yes, it’s the globalization, I guess.
I have multiple ways of using my iPod in my car, while driving to work: sometimes I listen to podcasts; other times I select an album or artist to listen to; others, still, I listen to my “mixed tape” (or other, thematic) playlists.
All of the above stem from a conscious decision to listen to that particular show/artist/album/compilation.
But then, some other times, I just put it on shuffle and let it rip, usually inside a restricted context —shuffle all of the songs which are rated 3-stars and above, which have been played least recently — (yes, I do actually have automagic playlists such as these, I am, after all, a geek).
And then there are those days when I feel like listening to a good shuffle, but I want to feel somehow productive while doing it. And on those days, instead of stuffing the iPod inside the glove compartment (where the “aux” connector is) and controlling it with the remote, I just lay it on the passenger’s seat and make it shuffle through the “Unrated” playlist. I then listen to the songs, one by one, without the benefit of the whole album they belong to, and after I’ve caught the gist of them I rate them on their own merit. On a bad traffic day I sometimes rate 20-30 songs. It sure helps to pass the time!
So what does this have to do with perception?
Well, I found that when I’m doing this kind of (supposedly) objective listening, I can have my perception thwarted in a huge way if I’m not careful about it. And I find this to be most amusing.
This is what happens: some days I’m mostly stuck in traffic and I’m stalled most of the time. On those days I tend to look at the iPod whenever a song begins and upon seing the artist and album it belongs to, I immediately get a sense of how I’ll rate the song. After a few seconds I just rate it and then (if I’m not in the mood for that particular song) I just skip it and get to the next one; Other days, though, traffic is a bit lighter (or I’m just distracted with something else), and I don’t bother to look for the details of the song, I just listen to it, usually for a much longer time than when I know who’s playing and what it is and then I rate it.
And it is at these times, when I rate it before I know what it is that I truly appreciate each song on it’s own. And the funny thing is that I sometimes get some huge (and great) surprises.
Case in point: today I was doing just that kind of rating, while driving to work and I started listening to a song which fell a bit out of my usual league (and definitely out of the groove of the previous ones, which were mostly hard rock). This was a song which had a slight country feel to it, but was still enough of a rock song for me to enjoy. It was not an absolute marvel, but it had a good vibe, which I really quite liked (it sort of fit the mood of the day, which also helped). Now some songs you just know what band they’re from, just by listening to a few chords, but this one was kind of baffling me. I couldn’t quite place it (I had a few educated guesses, which turned out to be quite close, but I wasn’t sure about it).
So what was it? “Try And Love Again” by the Eagles.
This is a song from the Hotel California album which I (obviously) don’t know all that well. I’ve listened to it, sure, but I’ve never really listened to it and the proof is that I haven’t rated most of it. If I just decided to put the album on, listen to it cover-to-cover and rate the songs as I went along I would probably get a bit tired of it (like I said, this is not exactly my favourite genre) and would rate most songs rather poorly.
Had I looked at the iPod before listening to the song and saw that it was an Eagles song, chances are I’d have given it a medium-type rating and skipped it after a few seconds.
As it happened, though, I really listened to the song, enjoyed it for it’s own sake, and then gave it a good rating. Because it is a really nice song and it made me feel good. And that’s (at least partially) what music is about.
Our perceptions are so easily biased that it kind of scares me to think about it.
What happened here was nothing that surprises or shocks me, I know that we are all prone to this type of thing and I understand the basic mechanisms behind it. In fact, this is why people invented things like blind wine tasting and other such activities, but it is always kind of funny —and scary— when you get such a sobering example of just how prone you are to falling for something like this.
Well, this is a good surprise!
So today I got an automated email stating that they noticed I haven’t clicked on anything for a while now and asking whether I want to keep subscribed to the newsletter. If I don’t take any action I will be unsubscribed.
We know that unwanted e-mail can be a real headache, so if you want to continue to receive your CNET newsletters, please click the link below. No other action or forms are necessary: simply by clicking, you will let us know that you would like to remain a subscriber. Otherwise, we’ll unsubscribe you and help keep the clutter out of your in-box.
CNET has actually built an automated system for unsubscribing people when they don’t give out any signs of life in a while.
Wow! I’m amazed!
Sei que já não escrevo aqui há uns tempos. E ainda não é desta que me vou alongar muito, mas a propósito de algo que me anda a ocupar a mente desde há uns tempos encontrei hoje este artigo absolutamente brilhante que toca no ponto fucral da oferta de “Fundos de Certificado de Reforma” do governo.
O resumo da coisa é o seguinte:
Mas o que mais me preocupa é a sensação de volatilidade de opinião do próprio Estado. Como irei acreditar em alguém que acabou de alterar, unilateralmente, as condições de remuneração dos Certificados de Aforro? Que garantias tenho eu que o Estado não vai fazer a estes Fundos de Certificado de Reforma o mesmo que fez anteriormente aos Fundos de Pensões dos CTT ou da CGD? Agora é que é a valer?
Vejam quem sabe escrever a levantar a lebre como deve ser.
This is weird…
Being on call this week, I was woken at 02h00 with a false alarm, then I had to get up and do some (remote) maintenance work at 05h00. Then I had to get up and do some more stuff at 06h45.
A long time ago, in a life far, far away I would just go to bed now and sleep till high-noon.
Today I don’t think it’ll do me much good lying down again.
Yay for getting older and not needing as much sleep as I used to, but…
Now what? It’s still seven in the freaking morning!
There’s this old song by Kenny Rogers, called “The Gambler” which has a chorus that goes along the lines of
You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em
Now I’m not a fan of Kenny Rogers by any means, but I caught this song playing on the radio (the iPod battery does run out sometimes, unfortunately) and by a conjunction of wild factors it got me to thinking about the following:
We all have our… systems (for the broadest possible interpretation of the word) in our lives and we all know that a system will, inevitably, seem to break down and fail sometimes.
When this happens there are a few ways to deal with it and different people have different ways of reacting to a system failure or break down —some will stop and re-assess it, others will just turn their eyes away and pretend everything is OK, others will think long and hard about how to fix things up and others still will just quit it and be done with the whole thing.
While giving up may be the best course of action on occasion (and it may seem to be the easiest way many times), those who preserver and stick with things when it all seems to be breaking down will sometimes reap huge benefits later on, when things get back on track, and their faith and effort are rewarded with a fully-functional, proven and even improved system. Their work was well applied and they get a better system than they had before. Sometimes these people are the great winners.
But then sometimes the system is just bust and recovery is impossible. There is just no way to get it to work better (or at all), and people who stick to their guns are just wasting their time, clinging to a false hope that everything will turn out all-right in the end. These people will then have to contend with the fact that they lost all of that time and effort betting on the wrong horse and gaining a reputation of being pig-headed and unreasonable. Heart break (again in the broadest sense of the phrase) will ensue.
So my question is (ye gods, I’m sounding just like Marin Frisk here…), how do you know when to fold ‘em? When is it best to just give up on the system and move on to some other thing?
If you quit something now, that may be the right thing after all (but is just going through a trying time), you will loose. Maybe loose big.
But, on the other hand, if you stick with it for too long and it just gets you nowhere, you will never get that time and effort back, it is just lost forever, together with lots of other things you could have been doing with your time and effort all along (yes, I’m talking about opportunity cost here).
Knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em is indeed the big secret to a happy life (career/project/whatever), but while some people seem to know it all and have all the right answers, I believe most of us are (at least a bit) lost in the dark most of the time.
PS- This question obviously has no right answer, it is just here for the sake of asking. That’s why it is in the “thoughts” section, after all.
Acabei de vir do Hospital de Cascais, onde fui atendido nas urgências por causa de uma lombalgia aguda (ou seja, uma distensão muscular nas costas).
Quando entrei mal me podia mexer e respirava a muito custo com as dores (aliás, para ir ao Hospital é porque estava mesmo muito mal).
Fui atendido quase imediatamente (OK, isto foi sorte, não havia muita gente à espera nas urgências), tratado e mandado embora com a receita. Tudo muito rápido e eficiente.
Tive é direito a duas injecções —uma de relaxante muscular e outra de soro analgésico— o que para quem, como eu, odeia agulhas é realmente um jackpot, mas aí não há nada a fazer.
Tendo morado (quase) toda a minha vida no concelho de Cascais esta não é a minha primeira experiência com as urgências deste hospital e desta vez, tal como na esmagadora maioria das outras, o tratamento foi rápido, eficiente e as pessoas atenciosas e competentes.
É muito frequente ouvir-se queixas do serviço de urgências deste hospital e algumas histórias que se ouvem são, efectivamente, de arrepiar, mas eu tenho de admitir que tenho muito boa impressão deste serviço.
Sinto que quando realmente preciso (como foi o caso hoje) posso dirigir-me lá e serei atendido e tratado da melhor forma.
Claro que poderá haver algum percalço e já os houve comigo, mas em geral sinto que posso confiar neste serviço. E isso é extremamente importante.
Porque também importa mencionar as coisas que funcionam bem.
Há já bastante tempo que se sente o Outono. O mar já não é “mar de verão”, os dias são mais frios, mais pequenos, a luz é diferente, o sol não é sol de Verão, cheira a Outono, “sabe” a Outono…
Apercebi-me hoje (ai esta cabeça…) de que há uma boa razão para isto —o Outono começa oficialmente dentro de 3 dias.
Dia 23 de Setembro. Um dia especial de várias formas. Também é o dia do equinócio do Outono.
Normalmente gosto muito desta estação. Este ano não estava ainda preparado para ela.
Bolas. Lá vai ter de ser…
One of these evenings, as I was driving home and listening to my back-queue of podcasts, as usual, a thought came to me which I found both strikingly obvious and interesting enough for having “discovered” it “independently” that I should share it here.
I was listening to a music podcast in which each episode is themed and listeners contribute a song and an introduction for each one, and this particular episode was based on the subject of “war and peace”. One of the contributors quoted Sun Tzu in his famous work “The Art Of War” and for some reason my mind drifted at that point as I was trying to remember the particular quote he was reading.
I couldn’t remember it and it bothered me that it should be so, and then I started getting all introspective and philosophical and realised that the thing that bothered me about it was that I though this particular work should be remembered and “digested” properly and I clearly hadn’t done it.
But then I usually forget most things I read anyway, having such a terrible memory, what I do retain is the basic ideia behind the work, so why did I feel like this particular piece of writing should get different treatment than the rest?
Especially given that almost everything that it says is mostly obvious if you think about it for a couple of minutes…
And then it hit me: “Aha! Yes, that’s it, ‘a couple of minutes’ , that’s the key to this problem!” though I, deep in introspection as I swerved desperately to avoid the pedestrian that for some strange reason was in front of my car. Well, maybe not so strange a reason, after all that was the sidewalk I had gotten myself into in my reverie…
(Yes, I’m joking, no this didn’t happen, no you don’t need to be on the lookout when I get my car into the street).
But seriously, it’s the “couple of minutes” thing that took me aback.
The thing I realised then was that nowadays writing comes easy. In fact communicating in almost every form is easy and cheap and so people communicate anything that comes to their minds and are done with it. Not unlike the famous horde of monkeys (you know the ones, they are supposed to have written all of Shakespeare’s works while he cooled down in the shade with all the damsels…).
And because of the relative low cost of communicating, which makes for a lot of “low-quality” stuff being communicated, people also tend to consume stuff in passing.
I read things (books, articles, whatever) and get the gist of it or the fundamental ideas of it but that’s it, I’ll keep the ideas or refute them and get on with things because chances are that if the subject is important enough someone will write about it again and I’ll come across it an read it and things will get shaped in my head through quick exposures to different angles.
But of course things where very different in the past and certainly so when Sun Tzu wrote “The Art Of War”. In those days communicating was a costly business and not many people (in fact only a select minority) could do it, and even then at somewhat of an expense, so people didn’t just write whatever came into their minds; in fact they thought long and hard about things and only when they concluded that they had reached a decision or had come to a conclusion of merit would they decide to write it down and compile it with other thoughts of importance in order for other people to be able to benefit from the expensive thought process the author had gone through.
The net result of this, of course, is that things written down on older days are a product of deep thought and are refined and polished ideas whose meaning and importance are far greater than the spurious thoughts that just come into the head of Mr. John Doe and which he dutifully splashes on his LiveJournal.
And so the things written down in days of old should be read with careful attention and with a few cycles to spare to it, instead of consumed on the run while you guzzle up your morning caffeinated beverage of choice.
And that’s what was bothering me about not remembering the quote that was being read. If I didn’t remember it that means that I didn’t pay enough attention when I was reading the book and if I didn’t pay attention then I couldn’t possibly have soaked up all that it had to offer.
And yes, almost everything in there seems rather trivial and common-sense to us but if you take the words as something more carefully chosen to convey a certain thought or meaning then you will probably gain some insight into the full story that is being told, instead of just the mere sentence that is being read.
Is this even making any kind of sense to anyone else but me?
Well anyway these where the thoughts that grabbed my attention that fine August evening while driving home and caused me to not pay attention and not assimilate anything else that was being said on the other podcasts.
And just so you know I’m not a complete hypocrite, the obvious irony of me jutting down this entry off the hand of my cuff is not wasted on me. In fact I think it just helps drive the point home rather nicely.
Today was the first time I ever ate sashimi.
Today was the last time I’ll ever eat sashimi.
Don’t you just love symmetry? Life is so neat that way…
The long, pregnant silence… :-)
This is a summary of what I’ve been up to recently and what I expect to be up to in the near future.
I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks and it accounts for some of the down-time.
I did manage to be “semi-active” and pre-produced and launched two episodes of the Undercover Songs podcast during that time. I even replied to some comments on the blog.
Got a submission in for the next episode of the Contrast podcast. I missed the one about the best Beatles Covers because the submissions where held during my vacation —and I did have a few very good ones— so to make up for it I exposed one of the skeletons I’ve held in my closet for the past years and contributed with one of the songs I liked when I was 16. It will be episode 16 and it should be out by next tuesday if all goes well.
It is now only a matter of bureaucracy inside my company for me to become registered as an attendee at the upcoming EuroOSCON2006 conference. It promises to be both a lot of fun and also a very fruitful event. I can hardly wait for it.
It is also a matter of bureaucracy the registration for the YAPC::Europe::2006 conference. I’ll be enjoying the rest of this year’s vacations in the UK at that time and I decided to go to the conference at Birmingham and then meet up with my wife for a week in Statford-upon-Avon and it’s whereabouts.
During my vacation I finished reading Cut by Cut and I must say I really enjoyed it. It is really more of a handbook for the film editor but I learned a lot from it about what goes on in the editing room of a film or video and I think I’ll enjoy reading In The Blink of an Eye all the more for it (if I can get a copy of it that is, Amazon has been delaying delivery due to stock failure for weeks and weeks…)
The thing that got left behind was the foray into Cocoa programming, since I only did some small advancements into the Programming in Objective-C book and just when it is getting good… Oh well, I’ll get to it eventually.
Well, after a gruesome struggle to get my cable TV service back up I just threw in the towel and called it quits. It’s been so long since we’ve had a month without problems that even my wife got fed up with it.
I can’t possibly explain the sense of relief I feel at not having to wait for the monthly bill to find out what outrageous mistake they are going to make this time around.
So I’m essentially TV-free and expect to continue so for a good few months until the competition offers up it’s services in my area and I decide to give them a try.
Until then I can still catch the news on the four public channels that I will always get and it’s going to be DVD movie, TV series in digital format and videoblog show bonanza for a good while.
I actually feel like singing! :-)
(Humming) heaven, I’n in heaven…
Bom, na sequência da minha mais recente aventura com a TVCabo resolvi tomar uma atitude diferente e mais saudável face à minha situação e tentar procurar a parte positiva da coisa.
E não é que com essa nova perspectiva consegui, hoje mesmo, encontrar um facto maravilhoso sobre essa bem-amada empresa?
Não me contive e tive de lhes enviar uma mensagem para expressar o meu agrado e, como consumidor consciente dos seus deveres, achei que era minha obrigação espalhar a palavra por todos quantos conseguisse.
Aqui está, então, uma cópia da minha mais recente mensagem para o serviço de atendimento a clientes da TVCabo.
Venho por este meio congratulá-los por, uma vez mais, corresponderem por inteiro às expectativas dos vossos clientes.
Mas deixem-me elaborar um pouco sobre a razão desta mensagem e da minha congratulação: os vossos serviços efectuaram uma marcação de uma visita à minha residência. O objectivo dessa visita era o de verificarem presencialmente que estou realmente sem serviço de qualquer tipo, para além dos 4 canais básicos em analógico (neste momento há já dois meses). A marcação foi feita há duas semanas pois eu (por incrível que pareça) não tenho disponibilidade para estar uma manhã ou tarde inteira à espera dos vossos técnicos em casa e, obviamente, um caso de falta de serviço de um mês e meio não é de todo preocupante nem prioritário. Sendo assim lá marcaram a visita para hoje entre as 19h00 e as 20h30.
Eis que chegou o dia da visita e, como esperado os vossos serviços técnicos resolveram não aparecer.
Mas melhor ainda do que isso, não deram qualquer indicação de que iriam faltar e nem sequer fizeram qualquer diligência no sentido de re-marcar a visita para uma altura mais conveniente aos vossos pobres técnicos.
Assim não me resta mais que render-me (uma vez mais) à evidência que a TVCabo é, efectivamente, a empresa Portuguesa mais coerente que alguma vez existiu. É deveras impressionante o modo como durante tantos anos e em diversos locais conseguem manter exactamente o mesmo nível de serviço e atenção para com os vossos clientes. Qualquer outra empresa com o vosso historial teria, por esta altura, alterado os seus princípios e valores e, em consequência, o seu relacionamento com os clientes e o nível de serviço a eles prestado. Por essa mesma razão o méritos da vossa empresa é ainda maior e devo dizer que estou rendido.
Penso que concordarão comigo que a vossa equipa está deveras de parabéns e sugiro humildemente que preparem uma campanha alargada de comunicação e celebração do facto de serem sem dúvida a empresa mais coerente e fiável deste nosso país.
Posto tudo isto, é com algumas reservas que volto a relembrar-vos que estou sem serviço há dois meses e que, caso pretendam desviar-se um pouco da vossa norma, podem contactar-me para marcar uma nova visita.
Essa visita poderá ser efectuada todos os dias de semana a partir das 19h00 ou no fim-de-semana em qualquer hora, de acordo com a vossa conveniência.
O facto de eu estar a fazer um reply ao email referente ao ticket inicial deste caso e, portanto, a incluir o número do ticket no subject garante que os vossos serviços podem ter acesso imediato a todos os meus dados mas, como habitualmente, fico na expectativa de receber mais um email vosso explicando que para dar seguimento ao meu pedido terei de vos enviar (pela N-ésima vez) os meus dados de cliente. Nem eu esperaria, aliás, outra coisa dos vossos serviços e confesso que ficarei bastante desiludido se este facto não se verificar.
Despeço-me, então, com o maior apreço pelos senhores e pelo serviço que prestam e dou-me mais uma vez por muito feliz pelo facto de não ter qualquer alternativa ao vosso serviço na zona da minha residência actual.
Melhores cumprimentos, Nuno Nunes
PS- Após a composição desta mensagem apercebi-me que não posso deixar de fazer a minha parte para espalhar os elogios à vossa empresa, pelo que os informo que se pretenderem assistir à imortalização destes meus elogios poderão encontrar uma cópia deste email on-line e em permanência no seguinte URL: http://local.nunonunes.org/weblog/storiesthoughtsandrants/elogioa_tvcabo Afinal, todos temos de fazer a nossa parte…
That’s what I feel like today, dead beat.
After a week which has been particularly tiresome I get a day like this…
I got up really early in the morning to get to the airport and wait inside of a plane for almost an extra hour for the food to get on board, which was bad.
During the flight I got to finish up most of the editing I still needed to do on the new episode of the podcast, which was good.
Got to Paris and went straight to a meeting which lasted the rest of the day (even lunch was had in the meeting room), which was exhausting.
Left the meeting and went straight to the airport to wait for yet another extra hour to board the plane (never even knew why), which was infuriating.
During the flight back finished editing the podcast and drafted up the post for the blog, which was made out of sheer dedication and the strongest desire not to miss the (self-imposed) dead-line.
Got home and posted the new episode, which was nice.
Now to eat and get some sleep because tomorrow is friday and I’ll have to get up extra early (again) to beat the traffic to get to the office, which will surely be almost impossible.
Thank God it’s (almost) Friday! I don’t think I could stand much more of a week like this one