• 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…

  • Menus and more

    Okay, I give up. Allpar is back to conventional dropdown menus. Someday I might re-explore the concept of the easy AJAX two-level dropdowns I used for a while, but people don’t like something about them. I did fiddle with the appearance of the menus, making them a bit more modern. I also got rid of the Allpar headers and replaced them with a tiny Allpar icon in the menu, which, if you let it drop down, shows some key sites. I didn’t use the little yellow arrows this time, on the assumption that people know what dropdown menus are. If you access Allpar via mobile, you’ll still see the old single buttons, they seem easier on phones. Other housekeeping tasks included dropping one…

  • Menus Phase I-a, continued

    The alteration of the Allpar headers/menus has continued, with the news section now getting the treatment, including removal of the banner, inclusion of an “allpar icon” by the menu, and use of the global menus instead of unique ones. I also modified the old mobile menus so that now you have a choice of a small number of buttons for key areas _or_ the two-step drop-down menus that few people like, but which give the maximum number of choices. I might bring those to the desktop pages, too, where they actually work better. Say goodbye to the old logos. I will be re-using the passing-lane-stripe motif soon.

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