June 2005

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Coke launches two new "diet" cokes


I was in the grocery store the other day and saw a confusing new roll-out of a bazillion new types of "diet" Coke. Including Diet Coke (classic with nutrasweet), New Coke Zero (with nutrasweet and something else - and a new flavor), New Diet Coke with Splenda (instead of Nutrasweet), Diet Coke with Lemon, Diet Coke with Lime, Diet Caffeine Free Coke, Diet Vanilla Coke, Diet Cherry Coke. What is the world coming too - wheeze - wheeze.

Just don't forget the ad-itude:

"Diet Coke is my style. Diet Coke is my sass, it's doing what makes me happy. Diet Coke is the perfect drink to accompany my strong sense of self. So flirt, laugh, prance, dance, wiggle, giggle - do what feels good. With Diet Coke close at hand, who knows what kind of scenario I might get into!"

I'm so crazy with my Diet Coke.

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"Getting Things Done" and my card based time-management

CD cover

I recently finished listening to the audio book version of David Allen's "Getting Things Done". This was a really good motivator for how to deal with the constant interruptions of modern information work. Not just external interruptions but also internal interruptions. The book presents a system for managing interruptions which is good, and which I was inspired to use, but most of the value comes from motivating you to actually take care of things that you have begun to let accumulate in your life. Either that, or renegotiate expectations about them with yourself.

In addition to this system, I also use a deck of index cards that have a task written on them which I use to manage repetitive things that do daily. These cards are also annotated with a time which is the number of minutes which I spend on the task written on the card. Each day I treat the deck as a fresh set of cards and over the course of the day I must "play" them by doing the task on the card. In some cases the cards list things that I tend to do too much, like check the news. In this situation the card is a limit of how much time I can spend checking news. In other cases the cards list things I know I should do, but won't naturally, like schedule the hours of my day. The last type of card is just a reminder card which I use to remember to do things daily, like backup my laptop.

Anyway this system has allowed me to better understand where my time is going. I am now explicit about the things that I was just doing "on the side" before so I can plan and manage them better. So far I have retired one card because I realized that it was a waste of my time. I have a total of 12 cards in my deck now representing a total of three hours of work.


(Stuff That I'm Messing With, Stuff That I've Read For "Fun") Permanent Link made 11:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


Again, is this really necessary to indicate what activities are wasting your time? Seems to me that this is the obscene marketing ploy of the literary world.

Posted by: Nate at June 29, 2005 10:03 AM

Getting Tenure

book cover

I just finished Getting Tenure by Marcia Whiker, Jennie Konenfeld, and Ruth Stickland. Although it was written in 1993 it seemed remarkably relevant in its concerns and evaluations of the process of getting tenure. It did a good job of evaluating different scenarios and gave many good principles for organizing a bid for tenure. Some of the key points which are elaborated on nicely are:

  • Tenure is a political process
    • Tenure criteria are vague
    • Tenure is a peer-review process
    • Aggressively manage your image as well as your substance
  • Tenure requires research
    • Researchers are scalpels (deep and narrow), shotguns (broad and shallow) or helices (playing P.R. and research off of each other)
    • Wait till after tenure to write books
    • Write everyday regularly to avoid cramming
  • Tenure requires teaching
    • Teach to your strengths
    • Leverage teaching for research
    • Take student criticisms very seriously
  • Tenure requires service
    • Definition of "service" varies widely
    • Doesn't include paid gigs
    • Avoid policy battles
    • Limit service pre-tenure to departmental citizenship roles
    • Watch out if you are a minority about being the token rep. for everything
  • There are many paths to tenure
    • The superstar: Rare superachiever
    • The on-time steady producer: "No problems here"
    • The bounce-around path: Took a while to find their niche
    • The fail and try-again path: Common for young professors at elite schools
    • The late career practitioner path: Professor as a second career
    • The late career child-rearing path: Professor as a post-mommy career
  • The ten commandments of Tenure
    • Publish, publish,publish
    • View tenure as a political process
    • Find out the tenure norms
    • Document everything
    • Rely on your record, not protection
    • Reinforce research with teaching and service
    • Do not run the university until after tenure
    • Be a good departmental citizen
    • Manage your professional image
    • Develop a marketable record
  • Keep records of every activity you attempt for the tenure portfolio
  • Understand how every activity you undertake fits into your tenure case

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Online Estimated Tax Payments

Photo courtesy of Matthew Matins

So this is a useful, but very dry piece of information. The IRS has set up a web site where you can make online estimated tax payments:http://www.eftps.gov
This is total boring unless you need it, then you are very excited about it.
That's all - carry on...

(General News) Permanent Link made 12:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


So I just did this after going through the snail mail authentication process and it looks like it worked pretty well. The paperwork was a little overkill, but it is *taxes* after all. The cool thing is that I scheduled payments over six months into the future.

Posted by: DJP3 at June 24, 2005 8:57 AM

Inc. and Grow Rich

book cover

I'm on this business book kick and this is the most recent one that I've read. It gives an overview of some of the reasons why it is a good idea to incorporate your small business as a "C" corporation. Basically it boils down to tax savings and liability reduction.

What I took away from this book though was that running a corporation requires some significant overhead in exchange for significant benefits. Most of the benefits are only available if you have cash flow, and they boil down to the fact that a corporation can spend its money and then be taxed on what's left over. This is different than an individual who is taxed on what you make and then you spend what is left over.

There is enough detail to get a good handle on what the authors are talking about, but not enough detail to actual implement the strategies that they discuss.

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Airport Cell-Phone Parking Lot

celllot01.jpg celllot02.jpg

Seatac airport here in Seattle, just instituted this totally cool parking lot. It is called the "Cell-Phone Waiting Lot" The idea is that you go and park in this parking lot while you wait for the person who you are picking up to call you on their cell-phone. Then you zip over to "Arrivals" and pick them up.

This is great because it gets rid of people endlessly circling around the airport loop while they wait for the late plane to show up. It also reduces the burden on the cops who are always yelling at you to move your car. It also increases security by lowering traffic volumes. It gives me a place to park that isn't too far away while I wait for the phone call (In the past I hung out suspiciously in the Denny's parking lot). Anyway, it's not often that things like this get better. Here is an example of a transit thing that did get better.

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HIV/AIDS China's Titanic Peril

aids report cover

A UN Report on China's response to the AIDS crisis. This was eye-opening to me about how the U.N. sees the world in relation to AIDS. In particular the terms "men who have sex with men" and "sex worker" seem to be new terms which have particular implications not related to AIDS.

This is like the tension in dealing with teen sexuality. Do you deal with the world as it is, or do you deal with the world as you want it to be?

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The UW Q Center

qcenter logo

The University of Washington recently opened a resource center for gay and lesbian students called the "Q-Center". Only it's not just for gay and lesbian students. It's for gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, intersex, questioning, same-gender-loving and allied people. When I write this I feel like I'm telling a joke, but I'm not, this is really who the center is targetted to.

I have lost my ability to relate to this community. 13 years ago it was about gay and lesbian folk - okay I understand that perspective. Then 11 years ago it was about gay, lesbian, and bisexual folk - mmm, okay, I guess I get that. 9 years ago transexuals were added to the mix - okay starting to not understand anymore. Then, in the last 9 years people started to express much more varied sexualities - many of which I can no longer relate to. But, whatever, I also don't feel like I have to relate to everyone anymore.

Nonetheless, it seems like this community is now defined as people who resist claiming a sexual label, but feel as if they would be in the minority if they did take a label and as a result advocate not labelling any person according to their sexuality. This seems like a far too complex statement to communicate to people who are making life hard for glqbttiqsa (still not joking) people. My outsider perspective is that they would be far better served arguing for personal freedom and leaving it at that.

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