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Autumn, 2002

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Latest Previous Edit : Sunday, 22 August, 2004 : [Last Messed With 25 March, 2014]



Snowy Day

Sunday, 17 Novembre, 2002
(Poetic License available, thought I should use it?)

   What have I learned lately? Fifteen Centimeters of snow is about 6 inches US. Twenty five centimeters is about 10 inches.

   Beautiful weekend, I learned that love can still feel brand new after six months of living with the most wonderful person on the planet. Last week I almost burst with love when Eirye was humming a cute little melody to herself and probably didn't know I was behind her (Eirye is Cathi's eleven year old, very sage, wizardess.) Should I use code names? Yes, Eirye is not her name. She's young enough to protect with anonymity. (and beautiful enough to worry about) Cathi and I had an unexpectedly wonderful hugg fest Saturday late late morning (early afternoon) It was like waking up to find your senses had fine tuned themselves to another [higher] level. It was like exploding quietly to another[higher] level of love.

   Do iNtuitives get a whole range of sensuality/feelings that people who insist on being concrete with their senses miss? I've been thinking so for a while now. It feels like we get enhanced senses. I could be wrong. Maybe it's LOVE that enhances our senses.

   Anyway, It's snowing. it looks fresh and beautiful. Snow falls equally on the rich and the poor, on the wicked and the good. We all get to decide whether we're going to enjoy it or hate it.

   And Cathi called me to the window early this afternoon, said, "I'm glad I filled the bird feeder yesterday, look at that- they're starving, Oh Look at that! I have a Cardinal at my birdfeeder!"

   And the kids went to see Harry Potter later last night. (They must have, or we would have heard whining on the phone at about show time...) :)

-All for now- (heart heart heart ~~~~~~~~~~~ Jim)

(Cathi took the snow photos, I took the out of focus blue flowers)

   A friend once told me, "The measure of a writer is: What do you do when you have nothing left to say?" [dj otterson]



    Ben, the six year old, has some controlling tendencies. He is very bright, has some motor skill problems, indications of something they call 'Global Delay', a kind of catch-all diagnosis for kids with problems who don't fit into neat little categories. (His father ignored him until Cathi and he separated, still doesn't believe there's anything wrong with Ben, but may be catching on, the kid has a temper and throws some mean tantrums, wanted to get his baby sitter arrested for saying no to him too many times...)

     Anyway, he's the only one in his grade one class reading from the blue shelf (!) grade 2 and 3 stuff (!) and his teacher says she recognized that the way to keep him civilized is to challenge him. He loves her, writes her songs, draws pictures for her at home and brings them to school.

      He does not like being corrected. He became angry when he asked his sister to pass him the 'roudje' (pronounced like 'crown' or 'round'?) crayon, and she didn't understand what he meant. Then she caught on with a smile and said, "Oh Red! in French, it's pronounced 'roozh' -"[a kind of z + h sound that is almost a j sound.) He screamed at her that it is not. We survived that one. (He sort of adopted the correct pronunciation as if it was his idea and nobody's contradicted that.)

     The other night he was coming up from the playroom and decided he had to go back down stairs for his 'frahmmidge' (frah like in frog?) I knew he meant the Swiss cheese flavoured crackers. but I got a charge out of his pronunciation. ('Cheese' in French is Fromage (FROE-mahzh)).

     I decided that 'Frahmidge' has to be 'any misinformed opinion or conclusion adamantly defended by anyone who believes their angry tone of voice should convince everyone else that their opinions & conclusions are above question.'

     I also thought that maybe 'phrommidge' should be a new word derivation category... : "Childlike misinterpretations of older, accepted words and/or terms." Might never catch on, but it's fun to think about.

: )



Surf at work? Many must

Study distorts surfing picture

('liberated' from the toronto star, April 14, 2003)

Sound the alarms! In case you didn't hear, workers across this country are ripping off Canadian corporations by surfing the Web for personal reasons while on the job.

According to a study released recently by market-research firm Ipsos-Reid, the 38 per cent of Canadians who have Internet access at work spent, during the average week, about four hours and 20 minutes doing personal surfing last year.

This more than doubles the length of time revealed in a similar study in 2000, when we all spent slightly more than two hours each week piddling in cyberspace on the boss's watch.

The next-day headlines were predictable.

"Employees waste 1.6B work hours on Web," said the Ottawa Citizen.

"Canadian workers waste time, money, on Net: Study," said a story on The Globe and Mail's technology site.

The headline in the Calgary Herald was a tad more benign, if not completely lacking insight: "Workers spend hours on the Web on company time."

No, really?

I have no doubt that many people waste time sending e-mail to friends about the latest episode of American Idol, reading online news about the war in Iraq or browsing for last-minute travel deals while at the company desktop.

At the same time, I also know that many people are working incredibly long hours often beyond the call of duty, sacrificing evenings and weekends and see the Internet as the only way of fitting anything remotely personal into their career-driven, coffee-stained lives.

What bothers me about studies such as this, or, more precisely, how the results of these studies are interpreted, is how the human resource departments across the country might react.

Will they tighten the screws on employee Internet use? Will they begin using more draconian methods of surveillance, such as video, e-mail, Internet and telephone monitoring? This ultimately has a bad impact on employee morale.

Some companies, in my opinion, already cross the line, using tools such as keystroke-logging software that can capture, store and analyze every single word you type.

You can hardly blame these companies, particularly when 1.6 billion "wasted" hours a year is the angle they're fed.

Wow 1.6 billion hours. That's a shock-and-awe number if I've ever seen one. But it's a figure taken completely out of context.

Additional data provided by Ipsos-Reid showed that, in general, Internet use in the workplace has also nearly doubled in two years, to 15 hours a week from eight. This means that personal use, as a proportion of over-all use, has increased to 29 per cent from 26 per cent. Nothing dramatic here.

Business use of the Web is rising for many reasons. It's a great medium, allowing people to communicate with colleagues, customers, suppliers and other supply-chain players in a more efficient way. As a research tool, the Internet is unparalleled.

And because many businesses have taken measures to integrate administrative, human resource, accounting, customer service, sales and marketing and corporate purchase functions with the Web, more of us are required to log in and surf.

It's only natural that, by spending more time working on the Internet, we spend more time socializing and doing personal chores online. Employers should be happy that e-mail and the Web allow us to "waste time" more efficiently.

Is it just me dreaming, or wasn't technology supposed to liberate us from our day-to-day grind? Sure, inventions such as the Internet help workers do more with less, but the original idea of creating more leisure and family time seems to always elude us in practice.

We all know nature abhors a vacuum, but when it comes down to filling this vacuum, business is much quicker to react. If more time is created, the expectations are that it flows to the bottom line, whether in the form of layoffs or increased productivity, rather than improving the lives of workers.

Some combination of both would be nice. While good corporate citizens are out there who create this balance, many companies just don't get it.

What about the fact that the Internet and wireless technologies are making it increasingly difficult for individuals to unplug themselves from the workplace? How many people out there check their work e-mail from home or are interrupted on weekends just because they have mobile phones? How many people experience this on sick days when they should be resting, or during maternity or paternity leave?

This isn't taken into account in the Ipsos-Reid study. The fact is, many businesses are more than happy to blur the line between home and work when it serves their purposes, but are as quick to redraw that line when the employee is at a desk at work.

Another factor not taken into account is the displacement of "personal time" from other media or activities. It would be interesting to know whether employees are spending more time sending e-mail or shopping on the Internet because they're spending less time on the phone, standing in line at the bank or running out of the office to buy somebody a birthday gift.

My hunch is we're wasting less company time, over-all, than we were 10 years ago.

So, let's not jump to conclusions with this "1.6 billion hour" figure. These are tough times, and most of us are working as hard as we can. If there's anything the workplace needs it's an injection of trust, not more eyes looking over our shoulders.

Tyler Hamilton writes about technology and the Internet Mondays in @Biz.
Reach him at by e-mail.