Monday, July 25, 2005

found an internet cafe

We've been staying in a gorgeous inn the past few days with no access in sight. Tonight we're in a little motel in Williams, AZ and wouldn't you know it, I found a little cafe. Perfect.

The wedding went really well and the newly minted Dr. & Mrs. Colvin are on their way to somewhere for a little R&R. I didn't get to spend much time with either of them, although I expected that. At least I can say that I've finally met the woman who won my brother's heart. It was so strange to think of this person who had been such a huge part of Mark's life for two years and I could not have picked her out of a line-up.

As they say, the wedding went off with a hitch and smiles all round. Rachel surprised Mark by flying in his Best Man at the last minute. It must have been a whirwind trip for Earl but I know it meant a lot to Mark to have him there. My Dad was thrilled to have another English accent in the room. I'm glad that we're going ot get to see them in November. It'll be good to have a conversation with my new sister-in-law.

It's been a good trip so far. The night I flew in it was 11.00pm at 86 degrees outside. It hasn't cooled down much since. Everythign is air conditioned, but eventually you have to step outside and it's like walking into a pizza oven.

Tomorrow we head to the Grand Canyon. I'm told that it's almost impossible to describe the colours. I'm looking forward to seeing it. We gained quite a bit of elevation on the drive over. It's closer to 85 degrees here and feels down right balmy after Tucson.

It's been great spending today with Mom & Dad and Dave & Janie just goofing off in the car. I really wish we all lived a little closer together. I have a few blogs that I'll post when I get back home. I've got pretty limited time here, so I guess I'll end this post here for now. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say when I get home. (Hmm, they have this browser set-up so I can't spell check. Well, hey, I'm on vacation. Surely even editors are allowed a break :)

Monday, July 18, 2005

the legacy of a leader

I came across a really interesting quote in Wired today. It said
Culture is the legacy of a leader. What is the leader's responsibility? To establish trust, a set of values, and to foster communications that forms the team. ~ Gene Kranz
Gene Kranz is a former NASA flight director for the Apollo 11 lunar landing and leader of the ground team that brought the crew of Apollo 13 safely back to Earth after an explosion crippled the spacecraft in flight. In the interview the quote comes from, Kranz is speaking specifically about corporate culture rather than the geographical culture.

It's interesting though to think of leaders as responsible not only for what their team does but for the manner in which they do it, the way they treat each other, their attitudes at the water cooler, the way they handle victory and defeat. Interesting to think of a legacy not of what got done, but how it got done.

This is only a partially developed thought, but it's kept my attention all day so I hoped that noting it might help the rest of it take shape. It's strange that a leadership quote stood out to me. I don't read leadership books. I don't like the front of the room. I am asked to lead more often than I would like. But there's something about this quote that is working its way around my brain. I'm not entirely sure that it's a fair quote -- can one person be held responsible for another's attitude? But if the leaders don't take responsibility for the 'feel' of a place, who will?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

good day

One of the truly great things about working from home one day a week is that I can be down by the beach a little after seven in the morning and still make it to work on time. And this morning I actually did.

It was awesome -- cool and quiet but still busy. There were a bunch of people walking or jogging and a pair of what looked like shrimp boats moored down on the floating dock beside the pier. (I know we don't have shrimp out this way, but they were shrimp-boat-shaped. Wonder what they were trolling for?) I passed a family going down the pier. I hear the Mom say to her 10-year-old son "Where's your sweater? You're going to freeze on the boat" and a few minutes later I heard said 10-year-old's thundering footsteps as he ran back to get it. I wanted to stick around to see which boat they were taking out, but I was getting short on time.

I keep telling myself that someday I'm going to find out what the sun looks like rising up over that water. But I don't think I'll be trying that on a day when I have to go to work. It felt like summer today, even just for a little bit. It's been a good day.

Monday, July 11, 2005

dred part 2 (an experiment)

I was reading on the Google Blog today that you can now upload pics directly from the Blogger interface so I thought I'd give it a shot. I don't have too many pics of my own (did I mention wanting a digital camera? And a laptop.. . .and a pony. . .) I thought I'd steal, I mean borrow, a couple from DAve and JAnie. They are generous sorts and I doubt that they'd mind. SO here goes, an experiment in photo blogging, take one.

This is my brother DAve, with dreds. As far as I know he's had these dreds about three years. If I remember my family history correctly, his wife has never seen him without them.

And here he is without. I think he looks exactly like the last photo I have of him before he started growing his hair. (Which is a little strange, because he was a highschool student then and now he's a married youth pastor, soon-to-be-Dad. Crazy.)

Interesting, so the photo blogging is relatively painless. Okay Blogger people, here's what I want to know:

a) How come the code automatically inserts right at the top of my post window regardless of where the cursor was when I hit the photo button?

b) Why doesn't the text automatically align with the photo when I add the second photo? Is that a feature so that if I had seven pics about one thing the text would be continuous?

Hmm, well the spacing issue is a little annoying but other than that, that was pretty easy. Cool.

Update: Ok I knew that was too easy. . . turns out that template width is not reflected in preview so you have to go back and adjust spacing. If anyone knows a hack to get preview to preview actually in my template of choice, I'm all ears.

Second update: turns out that selecting "center" takes care of the text alignment problem in narrow-width templates. Nice.

economy of attention

I was sitting the living room reading the National Post this evening. I recently gained a new respect for the National Post upon discovering that while they do not print the New York Times crossword puzzle they do print the daily sudoku. Decisions, decisions. I saw an article on blogs in the financial section and was intrigued. The article turned out to be asking if anyone is ever going to make any money on blogs (what an original question). But part way through there was a very interesting quote.

The author quoted Dick Costello, CEO of FeedBurner as saying that "In an economy of attention, the advertisers and marketers will follow eyeballs."

I thought that was such an interesting way to view the world 'an economy of attention'. It makes so much sense. There has been a lot said lately about the Information Age and the Information worker. Gerry McGovern would have us believe that the Information worker must soon give way to the content manager (and as a content manager, I'd like to think he's right :) However, all the information in the world is useless if you can't get and keep people's attention, at least long enough to pass the info along.

What is eloquence worth if no one is listening? What are ideas if no one can understand? For some reason it made me think of receptors on cells (maybe because one of Kendra's bio texts is here on the desk.) But I was thinking of cell receptors and how if the receptors are blocked or missing or broken, there can be all the chemicals in the world available but they'll never enter the cell.

I work on a group of 22 websites and we are always asking the question "what is the message?" but in this analogy, the message is the chemical. Shouldn't we be asking "what is the receptor?" not so much how do we get the message to them, but how do we help them hear what we are saying? I was talking to my Dad earlier this evening and he reminded me that the cardinal rule of public speaking is this "when you've lost the audience's attention, stop speaking."

In an economy of attention, even if the medium is the message, does it matter? Do we just broadcast as far and wide as possible and hope that someone turns our way or is their a way to help them hear? Do we get their attention first, and then start talking?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

but will I have more fun?

Seems to be a week for changing hairstyles. . . Earlier this week my brother cut off his dreds and today after somewhat misunderstanding what the hairdresser was saying I am now blonder than I have been since high school. I thought he was suggesting two different shades of highlights when in fact I agreed to dying the whole thing. I have never dyed all of it. Not even close.

In a rather unfair twist of fate, I've been home for almost four hours and all three of my roommates are out. I went to the salon by myself so I am still waiting for someone to tell me that it's not really all that blonde and I'm over reacting a little and it's totally fine. Odds are good it is fine and isn't really all that noticeable and in a day or two I will probably love it. Now if someone would just come home and tell me that. . .

In the meantime I'm left to ponder the eternal question: will I have more fun?

Friday, July 08, 2005

night of the living dred

Surprising family news yesterday. . . after several years of dreded bliss my brother Dave decided it was time for a change. In his own words he said he was "tired of sleeping on a pile of rope" so he walked into a hair salon, freaked out the staff and got himself a new look. The pictures are great:

DAve and JAnie's blog

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

MIT survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

So what did you do today? I helped some people over at MIT with a little research project they've got going. . .

I'm curious to see what they are going to do with the results of this blogging survey. It seems to be focusing quite heavily on blogs as a tool for social networking. For myself, all the people in my blog links are people I know personally, except for one. I wonder if that's the exception or the rule? Maybe it depends on whether the blog is primarily for business or personal use.

Either way, if the boys at MIT are focusing their unusually large brains on blogs and calling it science, is the blog officially sitting at the grown-up's table now?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Happy Canada Day

Ok, I know I'm a day late, but it's still worth saying. This is a great country and it should be celebrated. I kept my Canada Day tradition of singing the national anthem, loudly, once in English, once in French. I wore red. I even pulled out my red and white stripped Cat-in-the-Hat hat for the fireworks. I'm still a sucker for fireworks.

I remember the day I became a Canadian. It was March in Ontario, bitterly cold. I remember walking down by the river and the wind coming off the water was so strong I thought it was going to blow me away. Our turn came and we went and stood before the judge. I was surprised that it was a real judge, in robes and everything. I wondered if she was going to decided whether we would be allowed to be citizens or not. But it wasn't like that.

She told my parents to place their hand on a Bible and read the card. Halfway through I looked over and noticed that Mark was reading it to and so I started reading right in the middle of a sentence. For ages I wondered if I really was a Canadian because I missed the beginning and never said my name, or that I solemnly declared. They gave me my certificate and my card came in the mail. They took a picture of me with a Mountie so I must be Canadian enough.

It didn't take very long in the end. I know that there were classes and tests and things that my parents had to do. I was nine so I got to skip that part. Just a few minutes on a cold day in March and this whole country was ours. It is not without its problems, but it is a great country. And it should be celebrated.