Skip navigation

So there we were in Panama, way back last winter. In a previous post I explained how we decided when to take a family vacation and where to go, and described how we got there. Travelling makes me Always Grumpy, but arriving helps! We’d arrived on time, starting with a harrowing journey from boyz’ high school term exams to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport but proceeding uneventfully through check-in,  security, the flight itself, luggage pick-up and the bus ride to our resort on Panama’s Pacific coast in Cocle province. As the excellent tour operator reps from NoliTours had explained to us when they met us at the airport, our luggage was sent to our rooms separately – we were sent to have a free drink and check in. We wave our goodbyes to the friendly couple we’d met on the plane and talked to more on the bus – let’s call them Sue and Dan. They’re here to attend one of three weddings the resort will host this week.

Hello, all-inclusive resort! Read More »

Every now and then I run out of things to say. (Really, I do!) But when I want to keep up with the news or I need inspiration or sometimes just a break, I usually go to the interwebs. I’ve gotten pickier over the years, and the interwebs have changed. At many sites, the articles you see are barely even teasers. At those sites you don’t get any real content unless you pay for it either by sending dollars or by receiving ads. Those sites make me Always Grumpy, so I won’t tell you about them. But these sites on the interwebs make me Frequently Happy instead: I can usually go to them and learn something or crack a smile or both :-). I’ll start with I/T sites and move on to other stuff:   Read More »

 

As we’ve heard, lots of things make me Always Grumpy. And after a long week at work I’m Often Dopey and a drink or two on Friday evening makes me Quite Sleepy. Spending time with my family helps me be Frequently Happy though, and a few months ago I got to spend a solid week with my wife and our two giant teen-aged boyz.

Our taller and elder boy is much taller than Dad – that’s me, and maybe that’s why I’m All Seven Dwarves. Taller Boy is finishing high school this year and planning to head off to live in residence at university next fall. Our shorter and younger boy is now only a little shorter than Dad and catching up fast. Shorter Boy will still be in high school, but if he gets his way he’ll be in residence at a boarding school that’s more than a handful of time zones away from home. So we thought we should take the opportunity to get in at least one more full-family vacation this winter. Carpe Diem, as they say!

We talked to those boyz about what kind of vacation we wanted. The first decision: cold weather or warm? The vote went unanimously to somewhere warm. Next decision: land or cruise? Since three of the four of us have issues with motion sickness, a cruise seemed risky. Land it is. Now: beach or adventure? We were a little torn about this. All of us wanted some relaxation time, but we all lack the lassitude it takes to sit in a plastic lawn chair for a week, no matter how good the passing bipedal scenery. J So we needed some sort of activities. But where? There are so many choices. Read More »

Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with the world of IT. The constantly changing technology makes me Frequently Happy, Very Surprised and Always Grumpy… sometimes all at once, which is more than a little confusing!

Take this article from ZDNet UK, which is one of my favourite sources for fairly straight-up news and reasonably unbiased analysis of all things IT. Deprinting? What on earth is that? And why?

It turns out that deprinting is laser-based technology by means of which one can remove baked-on laser toner from printed pages. And it’s being touted as “environmental” or “green” technology because it could allow people to re-use sheets of paper up to two or three times. Really?!? Come on now.
Read More »

At least once every few weeks or so someone trots out a certain old saw that helps keep me Always Grumpy. “You can’t measure what you can’t manage,” they’ll say. I ran into it most recently just this past week, in a presentation on computer systems measurement. To be fair to the presenter, in that context it was exactly appropriate: he was talking about computer systems management, for which the measure of success depends largely on computer performance measurement.

But I hate this adage with all my heart! Many bosses and bureaucrats in all walks of government, industry and academia use it in all sorts of inappropriate ways. They use it to proliferate processes and drive busywork to collect useless numbers; they hide wrong-headed and often preconceived decisions behind statistics that are often only tangentially relevant at best; and worst, they sacrifice good management practices on the altars of mediocrity and/or self-interest.

Up until a few months ago, I used to curse W. Edwards Deming whenever I heard this phrase misused Read More »

The picture-in-my-blog-post thing seems to be becoming a bit of a theme. I’ll just ride with it for now…

One thing that keeps me Always Grumpy is being kept in the dark. We spend so much of our times there that it’s no wonder everyone knows what I mean when I say I’m kept like a mushroom! And it’s no surprise that other people feel the same way as I do about it.

But I learned something new last week.

Read More »

In spite of being Always Grumpy, I’m sometimes very lucky. In the cube farm where I work, I have the great good fortune to have wonderful neighbours, and it makes me Frequently Happy. My aisle-mates and I share humour both dark and light, swap happy stories about our family lives or commiserate as needed. And sometimes we just throw things at one another. Right in front of me sits another person who’s just about as geeky as me, poor thing. I’ll call my neighbour Simon, though that might be a fake name and even sex.

On the four-foot fabric panel wall that separates Simon’s back from my throwing arm rests a variety of toys. These are the kinds of things that accumulate in techie cube farms: stress balls, small wind-up toys, stuffed vendor mascots with screen-wipe behinds and so on. As Simon and I discuss the events of the day and week, we often play with these toys. Today we came up with a solution for Google’s inability to catch Apple in the race for mind- and market-share in the consumer electronics ecosystem market, especially when it comes to tablets and even now that it’s swallowed Motorola’s mobile devices unit. Happenstance, rather than necessity, was the mother of this invention.

So here it is! Read More »

Oh my goodness, if there’s anything that makes me Always Grumpy, it’s kludgey technology. I get that even the most sophisticated machines have limits, and I know they only do what they’re told. But honestly, sometimes I just can’t stand my own electronics! The love/hate relationship reminds me of a poem I used to write on the board of a terminal room I staffed back in the dark ages before PCs: “I really hate this dumb machine; I really want to sell it. It doesn’t do what I want it to, but only what I tell it.” I put that up to remind people that computer problems are most often between the chair and the keyboard… but not always!

I’ve been trying to use Bluetooth headset technology for years, and it’s making me nuts. Read More »

As a little boy I grew up in a city with a mighty and dominant hockey team. Not only did our team play in the (then much smaller) NHL, but they often won the highly-coveted Stanley Cup. And to top it off, they were profitable, so we never wondered from year to year if our team would stay in town.

Ah, those were the days! My uncle had a share in a pair of tickets in the nose-bleed seats; since my aunt and their daughters didn’t want to go with him all the time, sometimes he’d take a niece or nephew instead. It was so exciting! Our team was always competitive, almost always in the play-offs and often in the finals. Now, sadly, our team rarely even makes it into the second season that the play-offs have become in the enormously-grown NHL. It’s one of those things I’m Always Grumpy about. Read More »

When you get someone else to do something for you, that doesn’t mean it’s not being done, or that getting it done is not important, or even that you don’t have to worry about it any more. And when you get someone else to do something for you that’s critical to your business, you’re going to want to manage it carefully! Read More »

%d bloggers like this: