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mm005 Nearly the end of the first week

May 11th, 2007

MUDGE’s musings

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For a professional curmudgeon I can be a helpful guy, at least in my professional life. As I was wrapping up a fitfully busy week, less than 10 minutes away from time to hit the road, my chat window chimed with a request from a colleague: could I handle an anxious customer, because she really didn’t know how to respond to him.

Not a problem. She joined me to the caller, and I spent a half hour walking him through the process, illuminating where he had apparently gone astray, and promised him that I would look in on his meeting early Monday morning. He told me, “You’ve made my day.” And that made mine, and the cost of a little longer commute, and a weekend started 30 minutes later than planned, infinitesimal.

It’s one of the hoariest clichés in modern business that customer service is everyone’s job, but as the wise man said, that’s why they call them clichés – they’re so often stated because they’re so often true. I can riff on this topic for pages, and maybe later I will, including the story of why I no longer use a “heck” PC at home.

Thanks,
–MUDGE

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mm004.9 Last of the day…

May 10th, 2007

MUDGE’s musings

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Well, day four of the great experiment! So far, I’m batting whatever average results from 1/6,000,000,000. My older son has read some of this today, so I guess I’ll have one witness.

Today was a consolidation day on-line. Added tags, the better to be noticed by someone beyond my immediate family. And I added a couple of small entries, including a link to a most depressing news story from the NY Times that I had managed to overlook regarding the scientific confirmation of the futility of diets. Sigh.

My work life was similarly unnerving, as I received confirmation from our technologists that an ambitious undertaking by one of my clients was most likely going to founder. Sigh.

Time for a few Murphy’s Laws. My favorite: Murphy was an optimist!

Thanks!
–mudge

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mm004.5 a wonderful quote

May 10th, 2007

MUDGE’s musings…

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This quote has always tickled me. No one remembers James Thurber today, a creature very much of his time.

Funny how au courant the old guy sounds, isn’t it?

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mm004: Mid-day update

May 10th, 2007

I always knew it was my mother’s fault!

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mm003: they’re going to throw me out of the guild…

May 10th, 2007

Left-Handed Complement
MUDGE’s musings

Things I’m liking today…
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Pandora
Wow, what a great internet radio station: You tell it what song or artist you like, and it builds you a channel to suit.
Sometimes the choices seem odd, but I’m especially liking my “The Girl from Ipanema Radio” channel, all instrumental and latin flavored jazz. Had a little trouble with it at work on Monday (it has sounded wonderful on my broadband connection at home since I fired it up last Sunday), but the stream has come through loud and clear at work the past two days, and I’m very pleased.

Besides the above channel, listened to at home almost always (very spouse-friendly), here are my other channels:

* Green Onions Radio
* Ruby Tuesday Radio (the song, not the restaurant!)
* The Turtles Radio
* Perez Prado Radio
* Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Radio
etc.

My pop music tastes are stuck in the late-sixties—early 70’s, obviously. Mostly I’m a classical guy, but I like to be at least a little eclectic. I’ve a son who creates beats for hip-hop performers and I find some of his stuff quite listenable though he’s never invited me to a concert to hear what words are matched up to his foundation – maybe he’s not sure that I’m young enough!

Netvibes
I found Netvibes this weekend also, and was I ready for it! For years and years, I was a pleased customer at My Yahoo! I had it tuned to perfection, with everything I like in one place: stock prices, news, sports scores, weather, etc., a great home page. Then, one day a year or so ago, my page was about 2% of its former self, and I never could get their support people (ha!) to pay attention. So, grumbling (I am the mudge, after all) I did without. Oh, eventually I found that I could gussy up my Google home page, but it never had the functionality or look of My Yahoo!, and I was bereft.

Netvibes has brought it all back, and I am thrilled to bits. When I get a little better at this blogging routine, I’ll show you what my General page looks like – it’s a thing of beauty. A few bugs, it’s beta after all (ha!), but I am most pleased. They’re going to throw me out of the Curmudgeon’s Guild for sure!

Thanks!
–mudge

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mm002: Oddly, a good day

May 8th, 2007

Left-Handed Complement

mudge’s musings

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So, a good day, professionally. And I knew it by 10:00am.

Web Conferencing

That’s my thing, collaboration via the web. In this day of the public Web 2.0 this sounds routine, and pretty much a given, but not necessarily in a corporate environment. Here we’re protected by firewalls with fierce bulldogs of security types to maintain and defend them. And most of all, we corporate types are often hemmed in by our “we do it this way because we always do it this way” leg irons. I support web conferencing for my employer, and have done so pretty much full time for nearly five years, filling a need, and a niche no one really knew existed. I teach our technology (on-line of course), participate on the technical team that supports the tool, and facilitate key meetings.  Today’s meeting wasn’t key per se, but it was important to the people who organized it and thus to me. An attorney came into headquarters from Germany to discuss arcane, but important, legal issues for a small group of our corporate attorneys here. We supported the meeting via web conferencing, which in our hybrid world means a conventional telephone conference augmented with a web conference loaded up with the speaker’s presentation.  I sat at the rear of the room, having spent a little while earlier in the morning taking in the speaker’s presentation in email and converting it to a format enabling efficient transmission on line. While the presenter advanced the presentation slides on his laptop connected to the meeting room’s projector, I mirrored his actions in the web conference, enabling the remote attendees to see what the people in the meeting room could see. Nothing that wasn’t ordinary.  Except the participant list. This little meeting, one of dozens running at the same time in our organization, had a very small list of on-line participants. From Ohio, California, Canada, and Southeast Asia, where the meeting began at 2100 hrs, 9:00pm!  Call me naïve, but I continue to be impressed that I’m able to assist our global enterprise to be global.   And it made my day. How very un-mudge of me! Thanks!mudge


mm001: The first real post!

May 7th, 2007

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Wishful thinking… Left-Handed Complement MUDGE’s musings I start this first true entry many months after establishing my WordPress account, because I couldn’t figure out why people would want to read what I write, and let’s face it up front, the dictionary has my picture to illustrate the concept of procrastination. Still haven’t figured out the why, and may never get that one, but I’ve been inspired to cast away delay, and am happy to say “Welcome!” to all six or eight of you. Let me know what you think. Who? I work deep in the heart of corporate America, a place I never thought I’d spend much time. I went for years in the bosom of my family’s business telling people (and myself) that I was just a small business guy. Well I never was that happy in the business, and when it finally came screeching to a halt when my father became too sick (and sick at heart) to fight off Chapter 11 anymore, I kicked around for a long time, before landing finally here in the HCA. I hasten to add that HCA is not my employer’s name – that may reveal itself in the fullness of time. It’s my state of mind. I toil in the confines of my employer’s Corporate Information Technology department, although where I work and what I do doesn’t define me much. I am nearly 60 years old (but everyone my age tells each other that “60 is the new 40,” not that 40 was so terrific for me!), with a lovely wife (for whom the above hopeful cliché is manifestly the truth), three (mostly) adult children of whom we are inordinately proud, and two faraway, perfect grandchildren. Okay, so I figure that this paragraph just chased away at least half of you – what can a codger say to GenX, Y, etc. worth reading? Buh-bye. Many of my contemporaries at work, and in my personal life, have retired, or are mere months away from doing so, but I’ve done the calculations: based on the money I have been able to sock away for retirement, I’m retiring promptly on January 21, 2038, my 90th birthday. Only then will I have finally accumulated sufficient funds to maintain my lifestyle for the rest of my life: two, maybe three weeks. Until then, work every day it is! What? For those of you too lazy to close your Firefoxes just yet, thanks! But that was the big joke for the day up there, so don’t be too disappointed if we end today’s session with a thud. Not so much a joke though, because I’ve lived life so far much more grasshopper like than ant, and I’m coming to grips with my financial shortcomings. No, I don’t expect to make up the slack here, so I don’t expect you’ll ever see a lot of links here, advertising, etc. Deep down, I’m just not corporate enough. But, maybe I have something to say that someone out there may wish to read, and maybe we can even have a discussion or two about corporate life; the wonderful(?) world of technology on the ground, far away from the glamour and glitter of the media spotlight; global political trends – I’ve got an opinion on most subjects, and am willing to talk for hours whether I am informed or not. Move over, Rush! Thanks! –MUDGE