November 25, 2003

PC Over the Top

Saw this today and had to work hard to contain my outrage/frustration/laughter/frustration/outrage:

"Los Angeles officials have asked that manufacturers, suppliers and contractors stop using the terms “master” and “slave” on computer equipment, saying such terms are unacceptable and offensive." (

Oh come on! Take a chill pill! This politically correct sensitivity BS has gone too far. I thought it was bad when some freaks in my Society for Technical Communication Single Sourcing listserv were having a fit about people using 'SS' when referring to single sourcing in their messages.

Then my workplace decided to remove all decorations having to do with holidays in December because someone found the Christmas tree in the cafeteria to be offensive.

I'm offended by these freaks thinking the world revolves around them and demanding (even using legal action) that everyone around them caves to their requests. I'm offended by unhealthy people. I'm offended by bratty kids. I'm offended by lazy people, messy people, people who call me 'tall,' the word 'wholesome.' I'm offended by the color green because it is often associated wtih envy, which is one of the seven deadly sins. I think I'll call my congressman...or my attorney...

Update: Entertaining discussion on this topic over at Slashdot.

Posted by heather at 05:51 PM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2003

More Portability

Came across a little site that helps you choose from all the plans: Enter your area code in the "Quick Search" on the left, answer a few questions, and the best plans for your interest will display. Pretty cool.

Also, the results of a poll about switching.

Posted by heather at 09:28 AM | Comments (1)

My Favorite Day of the Week

Saturday is my favorite day of the week! Not only does my Sweetie make me a yummy bacon and eggs breakfast with fresh roasted coffee (I drink green tea during the week, so coffee on the weekends is a big thrill), we get to watch our favorite cartoons: SpongeBob SquarePants and the Boomerang Channel. Then, when we can watch no more, we play computer games. I have now been playing The Sims and Sim City as long as I have known Bob. I think of it as Barbie's for grownups. Bob has been busy playing Max Payne 2, which has meant less time playing his favorites: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy.

Oh! My eggs are here...gotta go!

Posted by heather at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2003

Number Portability

Monday is the big day I've been waiting for—I can switch carriers and keep my phone number. Problem is, now I don't know what I'm going to do; shall I stay or shall I go?

I have been an AT&T (McCaw Cellular even, I think) customer since 1993. And although I've had different phones (I think I still have enough of them somewhere around here that I could open a cell phone museum), I have had the same phone number for the past 10 years. This has been very convenient for friends in Seattle to call me at my Seattle number, even while I lived in Spokane, Denver and now San Diego.

My hesitation to switch carriers stems from not knowing whether it is my current phone or my phone service that is so horrible. Actually, I know my current phone is horrible—it is that dreadful little Nokia 3360 that often 'hangs' when I try to dial, has the alarm that only works part of the time and dies during calls (not related to a dead battery). The only reason I haven't upgraded it is because I didn't want to be stuck in another contract when this glorious number portability day finally arrived! Then again, maybe my service here is awful too—a lot of dropped calls. I have to admit though, that the service in SD beats the service in Denver.

Bob is a big Nextel fan. He is putting the pressure on me to switch; however, the handful of times I have used his phone I have heard a noise that I can only equate to a lawn sprinkler. I find this too distracting to have a conversation. He insists it must just be his phone, but I have yet to be shown otherwise.

Then there is the issue of plans—Nextel (if I can find a sprinkler-free phone) has a National Shared Plan, but it is only 1200 minutes/mo. Granted, our monthly minutes would be reduced by using the walkie-talkie feature, but 1200 minutes still isn't enough for both of us.

Then I looked at the Verizon plan, but I can't seem to find a family plan with the same coverage I currently have with AT&T (I have the 'Digital One Rate Plan' that they don't offer anymore...I can call from anywhere to anywhere without roaming or long-distance fees. None of this 'home area' stuff). I haven't heard enough good things about Cingular and Sprint to spend the time looking at their plans.

So the big happy day will likely come...and go...and I still won't have made the switch. It will probably come at a moment of weakness when the first cell phone salesman grabs me at a mall and tells me he has just the plan I need...

Posted by heather at 05:03 PM | Comments (1)

Obesity as a Disease

So here's what happens when I try to think something through before posting in an effort to reduce the number of people I offend—James of Outside the Beltway has such an eloquent post that I won't even try to top it.

Posted by heather at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2003

The Mistake of Teaching Application Dependence

I took a class in the summer of 2002 (at an unnamed university) as part of my master's program. It was a required class. The description said, "Web Design. Covers writing web pages in HTML, beginning Photoshop,style sheets, bitmapped animations, issues of usable layout, navigability, structure, typography, and coloron [sic] the web. Projects require students to develop static web sites."

So I take this class (reluctantly, because I already know HTML, but I must take this class in order to take the "advanced" class) and figure it will give me an excuse to update my website: (

Long story short, the class description is correct only in that HTML is used to create websites, but we didn't actually learn HTML—we learned how to use an application. The class was taught by a woman who didn't seem to have much HTML-coding skill herself. She had us use Dreamweaver. Now, I'm not opposed to using a program like Dreamweaver to create/update websites, but I am opposed to teaching ONLY Dreamweaver (or the use of any application, for that matter) for website creation.

The problem here is that the students did not understand anything about the underlying HTML code. If the only purpose in taking the class was to check off a requirement in a student's program of study, then the class met its objective; however if the purpose of the class was to understand how to 'write web pages in HTML' and learn some practical skills to take with you in your job/life, then the class failed miserably.

I spoke to a number of students who learned too late that the instruction in this class was not sufficient to allow them to take more advanced classes (advanced web design and dynamic web design) because THEY DID NOT KNOW HTML. (The most disturbing point here is that the department can't even agree on what content to teach so as to fulfill their own prerequisites...but I'll save that rant for another day.)

I don't believe that everyone taking an HTML class needs to be an expert, but I do believe that some basic HTML understanding is essential. On the job, you will be exposed to a lot of new software. You are not required to know every software tool out there. What happens when you learn to create a website with Dreamweaver, then get a job where they use GoLive? In addition, those web design programs can't do everything you want to do—you will inevitably have to get into the code and do some tweaking. Such was the case with this change some things in the style sheet and make other little tweaks, some understanding of the underlying code was essential. For the students who took the Web Design class at this (still unnamed) University, this would be a huge frustration, if not an impossible task.

When I shared my views with the head of the program, his response was, "She is one of our most popular instructors." At that point, I gave up (look for that rant also...)

Posted by heather at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

Penguins are cool

Penguins are the best animals on earth, and here's why:

  1. they are always dressed for a party

  2. they are cute

  3. they are fuzzy when they are babies (super cute!)

So, as you can see by my short list above, penguins are the best animals on earth.

Posted by heather at 11:01 AM | Comments (1)