October Omnibus

Only 10 weeks or so left in 2009.  Wow.

An omnibus update:

  1. I recently finished Tom Holland’s Rubicon, a book detailing the final decades of the Roman Republic.  It was a fascinating read, made more interesting by his core thesis — that, essentially, the competitiveness of the ruling Roman families lost its constitutional check when the masses could be transparently bought off with bread and circuses.  Some argue that contemporary America is going the way of Rome. Maybe, or maybe not; in any case, Holland’s book provides some insight into human nature that endures across millennia and cultures.
  2. Jason’s must-have Blackberry apps:  Google Voice, BeeJive(a multiprotocol IM client), iheartradio, BuzzOff (a rules-based call blocker), Sprint Navigation (GPS), Bank of America, and Poynt.
  3. Jason’s must-have desktop apps:  GoodSync (file sync utility), Digsby (multiprotocol IM), TweetDeck, UltraEdit 32 (text editor), FileZilla (FTP), IrfanView (image viewer and light editor), WinRAR (archiver), and Bob Dancer’s WinPoker.  Of course, CS4 and Office 2007 are included; without InDesign and Outlook, I’m useless.
  4. Speaking of applications, I recently installed my free-from-Microsoft copy of Windows 7Ultimate.  I love this OS.  It’s Vista done right, and I’ve had no problems whatsoever.  It just works, and some of the tools (like the taskbar enhancements and better search) are already priceless.
  5. The workfront has been interesting.  There has been a lot of transition at the hospital, with people switching uplines and cost centers at a dizzying pace.  Not sure how all of this will shake out yet.
  6. However, Gillikin Consulting is going gangbusters.  I have a solid long-term contract-writing assignment with Demand Studios — I essentially write as much as I can, and DS will rebrand and resell it to commercial sites (e.g., eHow.com).  The cool thing:  I already have enough contract work to more-than-replace my hospital salary.
  7. Duane moved out last week.  He stayed with me for about three weeks, and now he’s living off of Knapp on the NE side.  He is adjusting well to his new position at the hospital.  Hooray!
  8. Duane did mention that November is some sort of national write-a-novel month.  In 30 days, write 50,000 words.  Maybe next year?
  9. I was accepted into Grand Rapids Community College as a “lifelong learner.”  Why?  I think I may take a C++ class in January. 
  10. The most addictive game ever, besides World of Warcraft:  Farmville on Facebook.  Eat my grapes, biotch.
  11. Biometric screening results for 2009 are in … I’m still doing pretty good.  Some values are creeping back up to “borderline” again, but it’s a problem with an easy fix.  Reduce stress, exercise more, eat healthier.  Simple.
  12. ArtPrize has come and gone in Grand Rapids.  This event offered a unique insight into art — as a creative endeavor, and as a business.  The art spanned the range from traditional to “look ma, no hands” and some artists proved better self-promoters than others.  In any case, this was a benefit to Grand Rapids and I hope it endures long into the future.
  13. The Rapidian, an experiment in community hyper-local journalism, seems to be faltering.  I had hopes but doubts about this, and looking at the Rapidian’s Web site, I see that my suspicions were confirmed — journalism is harder than it looks, and entrusting it to unpaid volunteers unschooled in the basics is not a recipe for success.  The articles appearing in the Rapidian right now tend toward opinion; there is almost nothing on entire categories of news, despite the “beta” being live for nearly a month.  Yet as experiments go, this one was instructive — although it’s an open question whether the key learnings will be accepted for what they are.

All for now.

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