• One more link gone

    I’ve just sent out a mailing that is, pretty much, my last responsibility to a client I’ve had for 17 years — also the first client I had after leaving my full-time consulting job. It’s a sad moment for me. The work we did has been winding down for a while, and largely, I think, has been the victim of the increasing ease of putting out customer surveys. Our respondents started getting hit from all sides by cheap and in some cases sleazy or fake surveys, from companies and political groups alike — I’m sure you understand that — while getting actual real mail through to them has been getting harder, especially with AT&T’s surreal “spam” filters. It was never…

  • What I’m doing now

    As my role in Allpar is dropping down to that of moderator and sometime contributor, you may ask, what am I doing now? Since my old job at Rustler is no longer available, I’ve given some much-needed attention to my long-standing toolpack.info (organizational change and improvement) and acarplace.com (automotive) sites, but given their limited long-term growth potential, I’m also looking at part-time editing jobs. I still have to devote some time to expanding macstats.org, particularly the tests of free statistical software, especially since a mildly embarrassing interlude when I realized I couldn’t figure out how to do a simple curve-fitting scatterplot in most of the programs. There are some long-term projects I’d like to attack, including the wonderful world of…

  • You can learn from experience, but you don’t have to!

    In olden times, so I’ve been told, older people were considered wiser. The young ’uns deferred to the elderly for their accumulated wisdom. Keep in mind, of course, that the old folk were probably in their forties or fifties. People live a lot longer now than they used to, in most of the world, since we’ve figured out how to avoid dying from various plagues. Still, there is often much to be learned from older people. Except… Except that not everyone gains wisdom with age. You can learn from experience, but you don’t have to. You can just have experience and fit it into whatever mental molds you have sitting around. The mind is very good at chucking out things…

  • Oh, the skills I’ve gained

    I went through seven years of higher education to learn how people work in groups and organizations, and how to do research — to summarize a huge body of knowledge in one phrase. Then I ran Allpar for, let’s see, yes, twenty years. What did I learn from that? Maintaining positive relationships with people on the things we hold in common, ignoring the areas where we would fight like cats and other cats Advertising management, some tax accounting, and freelancer management Bringing the systems approach that was part of my formal education to bear in my writing and understanding of how cars are made and sold Linux server management, through Webmin, CPanel, and the command line Dealing with people who…

  • The lingering shadow

    Most people who have recovered from cancer, strokes, or heart attacks are happy to still be here; and there’s not much we can do, usually, other than shrug and go along with it, taking whatever drugs, doing whatever exercises, diets, or surgery, we are told to take or do. That makes it easy to have a “good attitude,” at least to other people. Still, there are some things you don’t see from the outside, and I doubt I’m alone in this. “Before.” I gave up an adrenal gland, kidney, and spleen, and one other organ, but in the end, I drink more water and less alcohol, and that’s pretty much the impact of the surgeries. There are other problems, though, which…

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