DaveZ

  • Behind every car show…

    On Saturday, Allpar will have its annual car show at Teterboro Chrysler, in Little Ferry. By most standards, it’s a relatively easy event; the field has been chosen, the owners take care of clearing the space, there’s power on-site, and there are volunteers to help.  In advance, there are many decisions and preparations to make. We are fortunate to have a volunteer DJ, but he’s not a professional, and so we have to gather up and test his equipment first. Trophies have to be ordered in the right numbers, with the right plaques. Gifts have to be found or purchased and readied, packing lists made. Oh, and food is a whole ’nother thing. The last two shows were good for over 50 cars…

  • How can smaller publishers compete?
    allpar facebook page

    When the Internet started up, it was fairly easy to find a following, which is probably why you can read Allpar today; we started in 1994 and got our domain name in 1998. The Web was a smaller community, with few spammers and scammers, and corporations were generally oblivious. The first major threats to independent publishers were, in my opinion: Pay per click “search engines” (GoTo.com was the leader before Google) which meant that if you had deep pockets, you could “outbid” better sites. Fortunately, Google came and wiped them out. When the Open Directory became a “must do.” Fortunately, though it went from being useful to being impossibly hard to deal with, today it’s largely forgotten because new sites just…

  • The “early senility” phase
    dave with another Valiant

    I don’t know about everyone, but for me, chemotherapy was like getting senile far ahead of my time. The effects seem to be sticking with me, too. Early on I started to lose focus. In the past I’d been fairly high-strung, but could dive into something and stay there, which is handy if you’re coding or writing. I’ve had two jobs where I replaced (or was replaced by) two or three full-time people. At Allpar, I do a good deal of writing, all the editing, a bunch of photography, the occasional video, all the business-end work (including tax returns and my own pension), and nearly all the tech work — which, in a world of ever-changing Web technologies, is nothing to sneeze at….

  • How not to save money at work

    Early in my working life, I saw that “traditional” approaches to cutting costs usually didn’t work. My micro-level experiences may be valid at a macro level. One cost-cutting story comes from my time as a temp, at a cheap (and I don’t mean frugal) outfit that made huge sums in investment banking. The bankers usually got high salaries, with bonuses in seven digits, but they were ill-tempered and always conscious of the costs of their temps. The going rate for skilled Manhattan computer jockeys was around $16-$22 per hour, if you could type at least 80 words per minute with minimal errors, and be skilled at Word for DOS, which everyone seemed to use though Windows had been out for a long time and our printers were…

  • Slogging through mobilization

    The cellphone revolution that started with the iPhone has really finished, and now it seems that more people browse the Web through phones than through computers. I sat out the first wave of “solutions,” which largely consisted of creating second web sites for phones. That trend slowly died, and now responsive design is the way. I did adopt that, to a degree, with slightly different style sheets for phones and tablets, and a clever little script that gives phone users smaller images (perhaps too small now, since phones keep getting larger). I also assumed that phones would get smarter, and they have, but iPhones, at least, still have a huge flaw: wide tables on a page can really screw them up, especially if they…

  • At the core of management fads and change efforts

    Bureaucracy was first labelled in the 1800s; from there, a long line of people have proposed different ways to describe the way companies and governments work. Then they came up with better ways — or at least ways they thought were better. The results has been literally thousands of management fads. A lot of them worked well in early trials, then failed elsewhere, when they became trendy. Quite a few are still used, and often, new fads are created that are just the old ones with a different name. I’ve been around long enough to see many, many of these fads, trends, and improvement methods come and often go. Many didn’t deserve to leave, but they seem to have a “sell-by” date stamped on them; who wants…

  • Getting to keep my memory

    I returned from Memorial Sloan Kettering (yes, it’s named after two GM leaders) with good news: I can stay off the chemo unless I get bad scans or blood tests. There’s no sign of cancer returning. I also signed up for another research project, but that doesn’t really require much from me other than some blood, and I give that to so many people that when I see a stranger with a needle, I start rolling up my sleeve (oops, wait, I’m getting my memory confused with Keith Richards’). The bad news is that I need to get scans nearly twice as often, and I’m back on MRIs, rather than time-and-money saving CAT scans. Oh, and blood tests twice as often….

  • Reducing anxiety, my way
    dave with another Valiant

    I’ve always had issues with anxiety, but it seems to me that I don’t have much reason to be stressed out these days — not rational reasons, at least. I have reasons to be anxious and reasons not to be, but rationally, it’s internal — it’s the way I’m wired. There are ways to get around it. Pill-pushers (as some annoyed psychologists refer to psychiatrists) can prescribe all the generic Xanax you want, but I haven’t run my life with pills, and don’t intend to start now. Cognitive psychology, while slow, works wonders. When you find yourself on the train of anxiety provoking thoughts, distract yourself. Learn to detect and then deflect it. Freudians may think that’s bad because you’re shoving it…

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