Friday, February 16, 2007

Prepare the Ship For Ludicrous Speed!

Well, after 16 years of being gainfully employed I've decided to go to work for somebody who I know fairly well but is a real piece of work -- myself.

A little over a year ago I left Pharmedica Communications (RIP) to take a position with CASE Partners, Inc., a small IT consulting shop in downtown Hartford. Over the past year I've gotten to work on a couple of fun projects, but these past few months have presented a confluence of outside opportunities from people I used to work with. It's one of those things in life you have to try out, so last Friday I took myself off the CASE, so to speak.

My first couple of projects are about as different as it can get. I'll be working on a brand spanking new SharePoint installation at one site, and on the other side I'm working with a colleague to develop a database API for a courseware authoring environment. These gigs should be enough to float me over the course of 2007 and also afford me enough time to build a couple of other ideas I've had over the years (and try to sell them, of course).

My last day at CASE will be next Friday the 23rd. I'm leaving on good terms with them and will still work with them on projects here and there if everything pans out. If the freelancing gig doesn't work they said they would gladly take me back, so I guess it's good to have a safety net of sorts.

The name of my new venture is LightPath Solutions, LLC. The health benefits there are going to suck (at least initially) but the vacation, sick, and personal time benefits are going to be really good. My email address and all that is changing. If I haven't already notified you, send an email to one of my many old addresses and I'll send you the new one.

I'm anxious about getting out on my own, but I think it's going to be a fun ride. Hopefully my next blog post about this venture won't be from the unemployment line!

Operator! Give me the number for 911!

A collection of funny Homer Simpson lines.

The Case For Sinful Nature

Here's a nice little read on that rebellious little something inside all of us:

Working with Duke Ph.D. student Amy Dalton, [Tanya] Chartrand and [Gavan] Fitzsimons have demonstrated that some people will act in ways that are not to their own benefit simply because they wish to avoid doing what other people want them to.

Psychologists call this reactance: a person's tendency to resist social influences that they perceive as threats to their autonomy.

This article was couched under the question "why do men ignore nagging wives?" and describes a series of experiments where folks were asked to perform an anagram task either requested by somebody they perceived as controlling and wanting them to work hard or by a person perceived as somebody who wanted them to have fun. The testing showed that those who performed the task at the request of the "fun" person fared better than those who did the task under the request of the "controlling" person.

The article humorously concludes with:

Chartrand believes her husband "should now be better equipped to suppress his reactant tendencies." Fitzsimons, however, believes the results "suggest that reactance to significant others is so automatic that I can't possibly be expected to control it if I don't even know it's happening."

Translation: "well, my husband now realizes he's being a butt and will put a lid on his temper when I nag him about mowing the yard." "Uh, no honey, what I've really learned here is I can't help to flip out on you when you nag me."

My question is -- where does that automagic "reactance" come from? It's kind of like the same thing you see in a two year old who refuses to do what he's told. Where does rebellion come from? "Reactance" seems like a nice, psychology word to describe something that's baked into all of us from the start.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mr. Thomas Is On Fire

Profits are evil, and need to be redistributed. So infers Mrs. Clinton:
The other day the oil companies reported the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits...
To which Ferris replies:

That's not democratic (large or small d), ladies and gentlemen. That's not even socialist.

That's fascist.

Preach it, brother. He then summarizes what the effect of government helping themselves to company profits:

Where do these satanic profits go? Some to the company, certainly Some to R&D, and a good chunk to the shareholders. Who are the shareholders? Some individuals, but the vast majority are mutual funds, pensions, and other retirement plans. It's money in people's college funds for their kids, their 401Ks, and the pensions of retired company employees. Take away those profits and sure you'll hurt the company, but you'll be rogering a lot of other people while you're at it.
I'd also add that it would ultimately hurt the consumer as the company isn't going to take it on the chin, they'll just pass more of it off onto the consumer in the form of higher prices.

Go read the whole thing as Ferris also delivers a brief economics lesson that puts some of the profits-are-evil histrionics into perspective.

As a bonus, there is also another nice little dose of reality over at Willisms, which always includes some nice graphics, of course.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Gandhi on Journalism

...the sole aim of journalism should be service. The newspaper press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges whole countrysides and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy. If the control is from without, it proves more poisonous than want of control. It can be profitable only when exercised from within. If this line of reasoning is correct, how many of the journals in the world would stand the test?1
Good question.

[1] Gandhi, An Autobiography, Part IV, Chapter XIII

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Who I'm Rooting For Today

Dysentery.

That's right, I'm rooting for a raging case of Montezuma's to strike the Colts, Patriots, and Ravens teams and to be so severe1 that it leaves the Chargers to play the big game. And win.

I guess you can call me, how do I say this... BITTER.

[1] But 100% recoverable, of course. I'm not completely unmerciful.