The observations and opinions of a person who has no discernible insights or ideas.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Two down, one to go... 

In the building where I work, there are three 4 port KVM switches. There are also three KVM cables. Since none were in use, I adopted one switch and two cables to connect a second computer at my desk to a keyboard and monitor, but that still left two switches and one cable.

I reflected on this and felt that it was the height of bureaucratic efficiency. Of what possible use can a KVM switch with a single cable be?

Then today someone asked me if we had a VGA extension cable. I have seen one of these, but only one, and I own it. I knew of a male to male cable, but that wouldn’t work. Then I remembered the KVM. If we plug the ridiculously short VGA cable in the conference room into the KVM, and plug the KVM cable into a visiting laptop, the KVM becomes a glorified female-female gender converter, and the whole system, while stupid, works.

This still leaves us with an unopened and unused 4 port KVM switch. I guess it will be good for generating blank stares when I tell people about it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Boring into the rock of injustice" 

I will be fulfilling a speaking assignment this weekend. In preparation, I have been gathering ideas and material together in the hope of preparing enough to fill whatever time is left when I start. I’m hoping for about 15 minutes, but planning for 30. In any case, I have a few ideas about public speaking in general that I think will be good advice for me.

It has been said that you should always start a talk with a joke or a lie. Telling how you were assigned to speak is both unfunny and true, so don’t do it.

After gathering together a lot of material on your topic, group together similar bits and form an outline. If you can’t fit something into your outline, then don’t use it.

Try to segues between different (sub)topics, or else tie them together in the framework of your talk.

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” Audiences don’t care what you have to say once you’ve gone over your time limit. If you can’t finish on time, stop talking and end early.

Prepare about twice as much material as you need, and then cut at least half of it while you are at the podium.

Don’t fall in love with your material. If you run out of time before using your favorite quote/story/line, then just put it away and save it for later. Let that be a lesson for you to cut something out before you run out of time for the best part.

Stories are good, but only when they are internally concise. Rambling narratives are pointless and boring. When in doubt, use something that was written by a professional.

Remember that cute poem/story/saying that everybody quotes when speaking on this subject. Maybe that means that you shouldn’t.

Relax. Half the people out there aren’t listening anyway.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"'The World in Crisis' More on that later." 

It’s a sign of our times that many of us get net-addicted. I’ve had high-speed, always on access for most of the last 7 years. Most of that time, it was my computer or the remote servers that slowed me down, not the size of my pipe. It took a lot for me to move back into my mom’s basement, where her internet wouldn’t even share properly. (Note to proxy software writers: give us the option to share a few non-traditional ports, or just to open it all up. Secure email is coming, and basically there’s a lot of web services that people need other than the top 5. Also, thanks for making something that works as well as it does so far.)

So, with an only intermittent connection for 4 months, and a slow one at that, I found myself reading less and less material, and in the end, I didn’t even care that I spent 3 weeks without reading any comics (the one thing that I always did online).

What surprised me was that there were no withdrawals. When we were moved in, I kept putting off signing up for DSL. I guess I liked the simplicity of a connectionless life. Now that I’m back on, I guess I’ll see how this goes. At least it’s nice to have my mail, anti-virus, and operating system updated again.

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