2008/05/29

Milers de blocs a les escoles


Via janquim, aprenc que a http://blocs.xtec.cat/ hi ha més de 11.000 blocs d'escoles, d'accéss lliure i privat. La meva escola en té un!

2008/05/22

Why are we able to answer emails on sunday...

...but unable to go to the movies on Monday afternoons?

Why can't we take the kids to wok if we can take work home?

Those are very good questions asked by Ricardo Semler in his The Seven-Day Weekend.

2008/05/20

2008/05/19

Notes to self (voice to gmail)

I often use my phone as a voice recorder to keep track of things that I don't want to forget while on the go. It has proven to be more reliable than my unreadable hand written notes. As an additional bonus, my kids love the idea and they often want to have their say in the recording, so processing the voice notes is often more fun than just listening to my odd ideas.

1955 portable recorder
However, the phone's interface to listen to them is quite crappy, and checking if I have some unprocessed note has not become part of my habits. They really belong in my mail inbox, so I now have setup things to send them to my gmail account (after an unsuccessful attempt of using ShoZu, that's already gone from my phone).

Teaching my Sony Ericsson k610i to contact gmail has not been obvious, since the net seems to be full of uninformed advice about this. As correctly reported here, the problem is that the phone is missing a root certificate required by to verify smpt.gmail.com. To fix it,

  1. Download a zip with a bunch of root certificates from http://www.thawte.com/roots/ (no need to answer to the form that you get there)
  2. Extract the missing certificate,
    thawte-roots.zip\Thawte Primary Root CA\Thawte_Primary_Root_CA.cer
  3. Send it to the phone using bluetooth, so that the phone recognizes it and prompts you to install it.
I only use the native email interface to be able to quickly send files from the phone, since http://www.google.com/mobile/mail feels more convenient.

I also had to upgrade RealPlayer to be able to listen the AMR format used by the phone. And fix the wrong .3gp extension associated to mime type audio/amr in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MIME\Database\Content Type\audio/AMR

2008/05/15

Children are viruses

I'd love to run without anti-virus and anti-spyware, but children (especially teenagers) are incredibly adept at filling any PC with trojans and viruses in a matter of minutes. They even know how to bypass most internet filter software. I sometimes think children are viruses!

Seen on a comment on a Coding Horror post about the performance hit of antivirus software (what we really need is Anti-Anti-Virus software to keep us safe from the ongoing Anti-Virus software pandemic).

Ory Segal (an IBMer after watchfire's acquisition) also "celebrates" 20 years of anti-virus software.

2008/05/01

Back in the U.S.S.R.


East Germany may no longer exist, but now we have companies featuring central planning by Troikas, mission statements crafted by apparatchiks, quinquennial planning, no right to choose leaders in companies, no democracy in the workplace, a clear distinction between intelligentsia and peasants (top CEOs make 512 times the median salary and enjoy company 'dachas', jets and limos), and 'state' monitoring (time clocks, dress codes, drug-screening, 'employee assistance' plans, e-mail monitoring, smoking and personal conduct rules, as family-life audits). [1]
This is not a quote from a labor union leader, an anti-globalization essay or a witty comedian. It's from a proponent of democracy and transparency in the workplace that happens to be a business owner putting his money where his unconventional mouth is [2]: Ricardo Semler, in The Seven-Day Weekend [3].

I loved this book, even if its writing style is not that great. Its main point is showing how Semco, Semler's company is run. When Semler and Clovis Bojikian started changing the traditional command and control ways,
"We wanted to demonstrate that the workplace could be a place of satisfaction, not of suffering. Work should be a pleasure, not an obligation. But this wasn’t just some humanitarian thesis. We believed that people working with pleasure could be much more productive.”
To Semler, it's not about values: it's about competitive advantage.

Hurry up and read his book, or take a peek into The Semco Way by reading a 1989 article by Semler in the Harvard Business Review or a 2006 article about him in Strategy+Business. I'm sure that it will give you lots of food for thought.

[1] Soviet/Corpororate parallels quote: It's a funny coincidence that I read this during International Workers' Day
[2] Unconventional mouth quote: by Geoffrey Colvin in a Fortune article
[3] Even if Semler is a best selling author, I never heard about him until I recently read a post by Jon Lister. Thanks so much, Jon!