Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"The American Dream" Still Exists

"Scratch Beginnings" (Adam Shepard, 2008) tells about a young man who tested the notion that the American Dream is dead: That anyone who is poor is doomed, doomed to an endless cycle of dark desperation and grinding poverty.

Adam Shepard started out with "a sleeping bag, $25, and the clothes on his back, and restricted from using his contacts or his education," and a year later had $2,500, a car, and a furnished apartment.

There's an interview with Adam Shepard, and a brief discussion of the much more politically correct "Nickled and Dimed", in "Scratch Beginnings: An Interview with Adam Shepard" (February 18, 2008).

Adam Shepard cheated, of course - by the standards I learned in college. He's

  • White
  • Male
  • Young
    (Remember ageism? Young or old, you could claim discrimination - those were the days)
  • Willing to Work
  • Smart
    (Sure, he wasn't allowed to use his educational credentials - but he still had an 'unfair advantage' over people who couldn't - or wouldn't - understand simple instructions)
What I think "Nickled" and "Scratch" show is that if you want to, no matter where you start,
  • You can fail
  • You can succeed
It depends on which outcome you want.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Companies Change, Logos Change:
A Resource and a Respectful Copy

About logos:

"Companies Change, So Do their Logos"
(February 7, 2008)

A very brief discussion of logos, with examples (Apple, Palm, Google, Microsoft, Phoenix / Firebird - Firefox, Nokia, Finnish Rubber Works Ltd.) taken from another source (with attribution).

Neatorama's "The Evolution of Tech Companies’ Logos"
(undated, updated February 7, 2008)

A more extensive discussion of logos, with additional examples.

I may return to these - particularly the Neatorama source - for ideas and background, when I review existing logos, or plan new ones.

Or, when I have some free time and want to look at the cool pictures.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Boxelder Bugs!

So, there I am, day before yesterday, minding my own business, getting some work done on my laptop.

I notice something on the screen. One of those clever-annoying ads that puts a crawling bug over the web page you're trying to read.

Nope. Not unless those things can crawl off the screen. Which this one just then had done.

That got my attention.

Seen clearly, without backlighting from the screen, it was a boxelder bug. We've had a lot of those inside this winter.

That thing calmly crawled across the keyboard, seemingly unaware of the huge organic pistons overhead, threatening to make it bug mash.

It could be worse: I once had to share a work space with bats and a small colony of bees.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Startup Information Technology/Online Companies and Google

"Google will turn your startup into a commodity"

This is a business-oriented article about recent developments in business online.

(This post copied from Apathetic Lemming of the North.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Boxelder Bug on my Keyboard, and Other Observations

Perhaps I should be insulted.

A boxelder bug has been marching back and forth across my keyboard. And cleaning its legs more often than I've ever seen a boxelder bug groom itself.

As if I didn't take proper care of my equipment. I vacuumed that keyboard. Last month.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Crowdsourcing" - New Word for "Wisdom of the Masses?"

"Crowdsourcing Milk the masses for inspiration" "Business Week" (September 25, 2006)

Like so many other good ideas, sorting nuggets from the gravel you can get when dipping into the wisdom of the masses requires good sense and careful planning.

The main points sound familiar:

  1. "Be Focused"
  2. "Get Your Filters Right" (define, define, define)
  3. "Tap the Right Crowds"
  4. "Build Community into Social Networks"
All in all, a fairly fast read: and potentially useful.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Working From Home: Kids and Computers, Utopia and Reality

My 12-year-old son talked me into letting him download a Disney online game.

  • On the 'main' computer
  • The one I use to create graphics, manage websites, and keep records
He's quite persuasive. And, he did try to install the software on his laptop first. Besides, it's quite a cool game: "Pirates of the Caribbean."

This is not what any sensible consultant would advise a small business owner to do. There should be things that are strictly and exclusively for business use:
  • Equipment
  • An area of the house
  • At least one telephone line
  • Blocks of time
I'd like to have one of those home offices that we see on television ads. You know what I mean: a room that boasts
  • Upwards of 200 square feet
  • Glass-paneled, curtained double doors
  • A desk that's bigger than some of the beds in my house
  • Wood paneling, probably oak
I know that it's possible to dedicate space, equipment, and time to a home business. I also know that this household doesn't work that way. We've got a long-standing policy of having multi-purposes areas, sharing equipment, and having schedules that are more flexible than Gumby.

If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's that ideal outcomes aren't always practical - or the best use of resources. If that sounds familiar, you've probably read "The Principle of the Speckled Ax."

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