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I Wish I Were an Earwig

By paulsisler ·
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Revenge of the Sith

by paulsisler In reply to I Wish I Were an Earwig

We're going to Revenge of the Sith today. That means we're not as nerdy as <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=3690253">people who went last night for Midnight release</a>.

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Revenge of the Sith

by BobArtner - TechRepublic In reply to Revenge of the Sith

You're not setting the bar very high, are you?

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Revenge of the Sith

by paulsisler In reply to Revenge of the Sith

I don't know. I saw the pictures of people who went last night, and it would take a lot of work to reach that level of nerdiness.

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Better than Empire

by paulsisler In reply to I Wish I Were an Earwig

It's not a popular sentiment around here, but IMHO <strong><em>Sith</em> is better than <em>Empire</em></strong>.<br><br>A group from the office went to see <a href="http://www.starwars.com/episode-iii/">Revenge of the Sith</a> today--Opening Day--albeit not a midnight, which is when the real nerds (<a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=3690253">RexWorld</a> and <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=636405">Brinley</a&gt went.<br><br>It is now my official <strong>Favorite of the Six</strong>.<br><br>Early objections around here are "cheesey dialog," "dumb characters who can't figure out Palpatine is a Sith Lord for three whole movies," "too many previews: 7," forced plot resolution: 'Erase the protocol droid's brain,'" and "the 'Whoops, killed Mace Windu, now I'm a bad guy' quick turn Anakin makes to the Dark Side."<br><br>You can see what the <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=1383826">Trivia Geek</a> had to <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=173893&messageID=1772021&id=1383826">say</a>.<br><br>And you can see what <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=1438946">BobArtner</a> had to <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=173**4&messageID=1770662&id=1438946">say</a> too.<br><br>Heck, you can even see what <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=2727770">sMoRTy71</a> thinks <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=1738**&messageID=1772071&id=2727770">about Sith</a>.<br><br>I loved it because I think it's the most interesting story of the six films. I find Anakin's fall and the collapse of the Republic of the same stature as that of MacBeth, Othello, or Lear's ruin.<br><br>Most folks I've talked to agree that the special effects are the best, but I think they're of very little consequence. If you made the six films on a low low budget, Sith would come out on top: It's got the most going for it in terms of character.<br><br>Much of the dialog is forced, over-the-top, and full-enough-of-melodrama to appear on a night-time soap or in the pages of a 1960s pulp. I could seriously do without the moment when Sidius tells Anakin, "you killed her," and Anakin steps forward to raise his arms, near-Christ-like, clench, and cry, "Nooooo." Lame. Killed what could have been an awesome scene.<br><br>Still--my favorite, and I will no doubt buy the DVD. I might even buy it day-of-release.

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Better than Empire

by Jay Garmon Contributor In reply to Better than Empire

Paul, you make a great point that if the films we're produced low-tech, Sith would make the most compelling film, assuming the director tweaked the dialogue. I can compromise and say that EMpire was the best film in terms of finished product--acting, effects, dialogue, plot, direction--but that Sith had the best story.

I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or worse about the film. But, again, great points.

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Better than Empire

by RexWorld In reply to Better than Empire

A pox on both your houses. Empire remains the best and the original Star Wars: A New Hope is second. Sith is third--a good film but not the best.

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Better than Empire

by paulsisler In reply to Better than Empire

I can live with that T-Geek. I guess I should face the fact that none of these is a stage play.

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Better than Empire

by BobArtner - TechRepublic In reply to Better than Empire

<i>...I loved it because I think it's the most interesting story of the six films. I find Anakin's fall and the collapse of the Republic of the same stature as that of MacBeth, Othello, or Leer's ruin.</i>

Anakin = Macbeth?
Anakin = Othello?
Anakin = Lear?

Umm...No, No and ****, No!

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Better than Empire

by paulsisler In reply to Better than Empire
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Won't See This in 2006

by paulsisler In reply to I Wish I Were an Earwig

<p>Here I am taking the bait and weighing in on the 5 IT Headlines I think you won't see in 2006.</p>

<p>On the whole, I'm bullish on Tech. But sometimes, I think we take ourselves a little too seriously. Technology is only worth the investment in so much as it improves people's lives.</p>

<p>So, Relax, Don't Worry. Have a Blog Break.</p>

<p>Here’s some irony: In a <a href="/archives/202">recent post</a>, I explained that I don’t blog about the Internet because it’s work. </p>
<p>Well… ahem… I’ve been asked to include <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=174137&messageID=19042**&id=4011669">my thoughts</a> in a <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=notin2006">collection of predictions</a> on a blog… ummm… at work. </p>

<p>So, forgive me, but I’m cross-posting. You’ll get it here first though, if it’s any consolation, but only because I’m home with a sick kid, and I like WordPress better than our tools at work.</p>
<p>These are <strong>5 headlines I think you won’t see</strong> in the web-software-techno-newmedia industry in the new year.</p>
<p><strong>5) Techfolk Stop Using Acronyms</strong><br />

You probably think that technical professionals use abbreviations, short-hand and acronyms to confuse you, make you feel inferior, and obscure the fact that they don’t actually know what they’re talking about. </p>
<p>It’s true. </p>
<p>It’s not going to change. </p>
<p>Buy a dictionary if you don’t like it.</p>
<p><strong>4) Software Now Easy-to-Use</strong><br />

Among the careers listed by the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/">U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics</a> in the top 10 <a href="http://www.bls.gov/emp/emptab3.htm">fastest growing occupations</a> are 3 computing-related fields: Network systems and data communications analysts; Computer software engineers, applications; Computer software engineers, systems software. If you read the rest of the list, which includes 30 top-growing fields, you’ll find similar percentages for other technical computing careers. </p>
<p>What doesn’t show up on the list? Careers that have to do with making software, websites, gizmos, and gadgets easier to use and understand, more useful in general, or more fun and satisfying. These include careers in user interface design, human factors, technical writing, technical training, business analysis, product development, information architecture, and similar areas.</p>
<p>When I’ve set my mobile phone to forward to voicemail automatically, and IM clients to ignore, the friends and family who call me daily with technical support questions (Help, I can’t log on. What happened to my shortcuts? How do I get a “real” picture I can print out?), I know there’s no shortage of difficult-to-use technology, both software and hardware. So, I’m stunned and amazed that we want more of it, a lot more, the more confusing the better.</p>

<p>In terms of percentage and rate of growth, it would be reasonable to expect that human-centered careers in new media and software development would enjoy a rate of growth, similar to that of seemingly more technical fields such as software engineering. </p>
<p>More programmers, more designers, right? </p>
<p>There’s no glut of human-centered technical professionals, nor shortage of programmers. In fact, when you consider how difficult and frustrating most people find the technology to which we’re so ironically attached, you’d expect the rate of growth in areas that promise to alleviate the situation to be higher than that of those that just promise to create more of it.</p>
<p>Alas, you won’t see stuff get easier to use, but you might see it get frustrating enough that even the most macho and hardened geek decides to throw her (whoops, forgot geeks are always men–<em>his</em&gt Linux box in the river.</p>

<p><strong>3) People Surfing Web Less at Work</strong><br />
Would <a href="http://www.anonymizer.com/">anonymizing web proxies</a> that help hide surfing from prying eyes be such a big deal if tons of people weren’t surfing at work? Ummm… No.</p>
<p>Would the <a href="http://www.websense.com/global/en/">corporate snooping software</a> providing the impetus for development of anonymizing software in the first place be so popular if we weren’t surfing at work? Probably not.</p>

<p>A 2002 study of <a href="http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/ces/ntrs.html">National Technology Readiness</a> conducted by the <a href="http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/ces/">Center for e-Service</a> at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and Rockbridge Associates found <strong>85% of respondents who use the Internet at work for personal surfing</strong>. I rather doubt these numbers have decreased in the past 3 years, and I doubt as much that they’ll decrease in the upcoming year.</p>
<p>The irony is, of course, that huge numbers of us are also surfing work at home. The same survey, and remember this is now 3 years old (eternity in Internet time), discovered that hours logged at home for work purposes outweigh those logged at work for personal purposes: 5.9 hours/week working @ home; 3.7 hours/week surfing @ work. Maybe we should install monitors at home to block work-related traffic.</p>
<p>I’d be willing to put big money on this trend’s continuing.</p>

<p><strong>2) Web Home to Less Dancing Bologna</strong><br />
A number of years ago, I worked for a small consultancy that took on as our primary quest, slaying of all dancing bologna we encountered on the web and corporate intranets. </p>
<p>The company is closed now, and its champions disbanded to far corners of the globe. </p>
<p>The web is crawling with more dancing bologna than ever before.</p>
<p>I doubt you’re unfamiliar with dancing bologna even if you’ve not heard or used the term before, but just to get you up to speed, here’s a Google search on the term: <a href="http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,69732,00.html">http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,69732,00.html</a>. </p>

<p>The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_Bologna">Wikipedia entry</a> for “Dancing Bologna” describes it as “an Internet term used to describe all of the useless animated gif files and other junk that was commonly found on websites in the 90s.”</p>
<p>Dancing bologna is distracting, useless, and annoying, and it’s present on nearly all websites. It’s kind of like a holiday fruit cake. We may have new <a href="http://www.adaptivepath.com/publications/essays/archives/000385.php">Ajaxy</a> flavors of dancing bologna, but it still looks, smells, and tastes about the same. Yuck.</p>

<p>The trouble is that people who make decisions about web design and development are by and large bologna junkies. They’ll keep ordering up large plates of the stuff until the money runs out. And advertisers are in competition to create the wackiest new takes on bologna, like splashy ad units that dance or fly across your pages like so many circus bears and UFOs obscuring actual information, or spots that open like advertising circulars in your Sunday paper when you mouse over them.</p>
<p>It’s not going anywhere, so just learn to ignore it.</p>
<p><strong>1) Technology Makes People’s Lives Less Stressful</strong><br />
Like the generation before me who witnessed the birth and diffusion of time-saving, life enriching technologies, such as telephones, automatic dishwashers, washers and dryers, and television, I’ve seen the miracle of video games, the Internet, mobile phones, and microwave popcorn.</p>
<p>I remember marvelling at the <a href="http://www.tv.com/jetsons/show/3723/summary.html">Jetsons</a>, their video phones, robot housekeepers, and flying cars. I thought, “When I grow up, and we have that, it’ll be too cool for school. We’ll all go down to the beach and let the robots do the work.” </p>

<p>So, here we are: We have <a href="http://www.irobot.com/">Roomba</a>, not as cute as <a href="http://www.tv.com/the-jetsons/rosey-the-robot/episode/61672/summary.html">Rosey</a>, perhaps, but still… <a href="http://www.skype.com/">Skype</a> just launched video support. Flying cars? Well, I guess we’re still working on that one.</p>
<p>So out of curiosity, and I’m just asking, How much time do you spend at the beach?</p>
<p>Do you think you’re less stressed than the previous generation? </p>

<p>Do you think you spend fewer hours in the office, or at least fewer hours working?</p>
<p>It turns out if you’re in the US and like most Americans, the answer is probably, “Huh uh. Nope. Not at all.”</p>
<p>According to figures aggregated by Fisher Vista, Americans are <a href="http://www.fishervista.com/statistics.htm#harder">working harder and longer</a> than ever before. </p>
<p>These data include the US Government statistic that families in the States have, on average, <strong>22 fewer hours each week to spend together</strong> compared to the time they had 25 years ago. Out of 168 hours each week and discounting 56 hours for the time you’re probably asleep, that’s almost 20%. </p>

<p>They also include figures from Juliet Schor, Harvard economics Professor, recording that <strong>the typical American works 47 hours/week, “driven in large part by newly developed technology</strong>, modern conveniences like modems, laptops, personal pagers, faxes, cellular phones, voice and e-mail.” Schor notes that 60 hours/week could easily become the average if trends continue, and I certainly know many who work those hours today. </p>
<p>By some accounts, <strong>Americans work around 9 weeks more each year than our European counter parts</strong>. You rascals over there are lucky.</p>
<p>Do we want to work this much? No. Fisher Vista quotes Aon Consulting of indicating that 88% of American employees have difficulty achieving that fabled work/life balance. </p>
<p>According to the Families Work Institute, 63% of us in 1998 would have preferred to work fewer hours, up from 46% in 1992. Would it be unreasonable to expect that the trend has continued and today’s figures are closer to 75%? </p>

<p>While many corporations sturggle to offer progressive and creative work/life benefits, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics job dissatisfaction affects at least a quarter of the workforce.</p>
<p>It’s a story that’s been around for a few years: Personal mobile technology and utopian visions of ubiquitous computing miss the fact that sometimes people from whom you’d prefer a little time off can easily use these technologies to hunt you down and call you. Mobile phones break down barriers between home and office, and that’s not always a good thing. </p>
<p>The old story received an update recently, when sociologist Noelle Chesley at UWM announced that not only is “the use of cell phones and pagers linked to increased distress and a decrease in family satisfaction over time,” but women in particular have trouble with the reverse, home spilling over into work. “For women, in addition to having a lot of this stuff from work spill over into home life, they get the opposite. There is also a lot of negative stuff from home spilling over into the workplace.”</p>

<p>A few generations back when many of our great-grandparents lived and worked in the same place, the family farm, the blurring between family and work not only worked, it made sense. Today, however, it seems to be causing more stress for working folk both at home and in the workplace.</p>
<p>Still, new technologies have greatly improved my life, and in some ways reduced stress. I love my mobile phone because I can use it to order Kung Pao Chicken on my way home from the office. That’s slick. I love Instant Messaging, because it connects me to friends and colleagues all over the world, and in fact I think it increases my productivity and social connections both. I love blogging and reading blogs to keep up with people I know and some I’ve never met. I love shopping online, because it helps me get the best price on a rack of quickdraws for climbing from a retailer I might otherwise never have found.</p>
<p>I don’t blame the technology. I don’t think technology increases stress. We do. </p>
<p>We do by succumbing to the social pressures that drive us to answer a phone call from a friend or from the office when we’re at a quiet dinner with our sweetheart. We do by worrying that without the latest gaming console in our rec. room we won’t be as cool as the kid next door. We do by bringing work home and logging on to the VPN instead of building a snow man in the yard with our kids or sitting at the piano banging out tunes. We do when we think technology will solve our problems for us.</p>

<p>Don’t expect things to become less stressful in the new year because you have the chance to purchase a new cool personal music player gizmo. Don’t think your new PDA is going to help you get so organized you suddenly find the time to take that flyfishing trip in Wyoming you’ve been waiting years for. I found the problem, and the problem is us.</p>
<p>Social and economic factors are stronger than Silicon and fibre optics. You are responsible for your own piece of mind.</p>
<p>Still, microwave popcorn is so cool.
</p>

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