links for 2007-12-18

If you want me to buy, DON’T make me hunt or call!

So close… and yet so far…

Continuing on my curmudgeonly kick today… I’m trying to improve my ergonomics for working at home, so I’m seeking a small adjustable-height working surface. Sounds simple, right? Right….

Mostly I want to be able to work with my laptop (my main — and only — computer) at an ergonomically correct height and angle, regardless of whether I’m perched on my balance ball, my kneeling chair, my regular chair, or standing. It’s healthier to not be in the same position all day. (Yes, I do take breaks, stretch, and exercise, but being able to vary working position would make my spine and shoulders much happier.)

I’d be happy with a manually adjustable (hand-crank) work surface. I don’t want an elaborate workstation with a hydraulic lift system and self-adjusting seat. Just a small work surface that I can adjust up or down — and ideally set the angle back to front, too. I don’t want to spend a fortune on this, but I’m willing to spend a reasonable amount.

The hard part is finding out what these puppies actually cost… Continue reading

VOIP telephony: Getting frustrating

Hey, VOIPyourlife: I’m not smiling…

A couple of months ago I signed up for an internet-based (VOIP) phone service called VOIPyourlife. I’d growing increasingly dissatisfied with the high cost and lack of key features from my landline provider.

There are several things I like about VOIPyourlife — a good web-based interface for configuring the features on my account, and sending my voice mail messages as .wav files to my e-mail totally works for me.

However, I’ve been having connectivity problems. I’ve noticed lately that whenever I make a call, it takes up to 20 seconds fromt he time I dial to when it starts ringing. About 25% of the time it doesn’t connect at all and I have to redial. Even more frustratingly, sometimes I dial, it starts ringing, and then it disconnects or gives me a busy tone. What’s THAT all about?

Features aside, one thing I definitely need from phone service is that it just works. I’m now seriously considering going totally mobile, if I can find an affordable plan with an short-term contract (1 year or less) and understandable billing. Recommondations? Please comment below.

links for 2007-12-17
Despite the bow tie, this is one very smart guy worth listening to. Today’s lesson: Focus on becoming better, not on being less bad.

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links for 2007-12-16

links for 2007-12-15

links for 2007-12-14

How do you choose your Twitter friends?

A few of my Twitter friends.

Lately I’ve been finding Twitter increasingly engaging and relevant in both my personal and professional life. I don’t follow a lot of people there: currently I have only 39 “Twitter friends,” only about a third of whom post regularly, the rest sporadically. But it’s useful. It helps me maintain a sense of personal connection at a distance, and it’s even helped me nurture new friendships.

How do I choose my Twitter friends? Mostly they’re people I’ve met or have corresponded with. I don’t tend to follow people simply because I’ve read their blogs or articles or like their music — but that’s just me. I generally feel I need some personal connection before I friend someone on Twitter.

Currently, my Twitter friends are mostly folks I know from the online-media field, since few of my family members or close friends from “meatspace” use Twitter (that I know of). Two of my Twitter friends are people I met last month at a conference in Catalonia. (See, I didn’t call it “Spain” this time!) They post mostly in Spanish, which is fun for me to try to interpret as I struggle to become less monolingual.

I also follow Teeth via Twitter — an aggregation of blog postings from Pakistan, which I find fascinating.

I tend to read someone’s Twitter posts for a couple of weeks and then keep them or not. This is a highly individual medium, and some people’s style of “tweeting” really doesn’t work for me, no matter how much I like them.

Anyway, that’s how I’m reaching out in this new conversational/social medium. What about you? How do you choose your Twitter friends? Please comment below — or reply to me on Twitter, if you follow me there.

links for 2007-12-13

Matthew Murray and The Dark Side of Support Forums forums
Colorado gunman Matthew Murray displayed a disturbing pattern of behavior in these forums. Could this community have acted earlier to prevent tragedy?

Make no mistake: Online support forums, whether grassroots community efforts or run by organizations, generally do a hell of a lot of good. You can find support forums dealing with just about any issue or community. Personally I’ve participated in some support forums, and have generally benefited from them.

But there can be a dark side that managers and members of online support forums shouldn’t overlook: reinforcing negative triggers in mentally unstable people.

In fact, it’s possible that this dynamic this could have played a role in my own state last weekend, when Matthew Murray shot and killed four people in Arvada and Colorado springs, CO — and then finally killed himself after being downed by a church security guard…

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