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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Career-Op: High-tech workers have responsibility to question security flaws
by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

We all know about the numerous security holes of Microsoft Windows and its associated programs, such as Internet Explorer. We all know inherently that relying on any one company or technology leaves us vulnerable to large scale attacks. Still many of us, as high-tech workers and consultants, continue to use and promote these products in our work. At what point does our reluctance to change turn into culpability?. If we know these products to be flawed, why aren't we searching for better alternatives? Are we really doing the best work for our clients or are we simply trying to make it easier on ourselves?

Friday, August 20, 2004

Los Angeles Insight - Scooby Doo Where are You?

LABlogs.com has posted its latest round of "insight" questions. Here are my responses.

1. What city or part of Los Angeles do you live in now?

Van Nuys, North of Burbank, South of Oxnard, West of VNB and Easy of Kester. A nice little residential section with easy freeway access, even if the freeway is a parking lot on most days.

2. If you have lived somewhere else in the area, where was it?

We now live 3 blocks from where we first landed in LA. We lived in North Hollywood for about 4-5 years, but ended up back here when we finally bought a house. 18 years ago we moved here from Ohio, the day after we got married.

3. Besides where you live now, where else would you want to live in the area?

There are some nice areas around the city, but for ease of access, this is a good location. My wife works in TV, so having Disney, Warner Bros, Universal just up the street certainly helps the commute. Sony would be a trek, but she has never worked down there.

I really would like to be able to live outside of LA for a month or so at a time. Our lives are somewhat tied to the city right now, but since I come from a small town of 2000 people, I really need to get away from the city on a regular basis. We really like Idyllwild, in the San Jacinto Mountains, but haven’t been able to get a place up there….yet!

4. Where would you not want to live?

We can’t imagine living in any of the new suburbs where houses are stacked on top of one another like cordwood. The fact that you have to get in your car to go get bread and milk seems ridiculous.

5. How often do you venture out of your area?

My work carries me to many other places of SoCal. I have clients in Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Pasadena, Burbank, Northridge, Beverly Hills. So I get around some. We have taken the Metro lines to various places and regularly check out new and interesting places. We used to volunteer up in the Angeles National Forest on a regular basis, as well. My WelchEvents mailing list is always introducing me to interesting places and events around town.

6. Where do you usually go when you get out?

Malibu, Santa Monica Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Ojai, Santa Barbara, Pasadena.

7. How far do you work/school from where you live?

As mentioned above, I work all over the area, so some days I can be just up the street and on others I am down by the ocean or in the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.

8. Money is no object; Beach, the Hills, the City or Leave?

I would love to live in the mountains, but not in one of the new sub-divisions. I don’t go to the mountains to live on top of someone else. Also, if you live in the mountains, I believe you have to have the mindset that everything in your house could be gone in minutes, in the event of fire or flood. I am not sure I could find that state of mind in my life…yet.

We are actively thinking of leaving the area, as well. Our lives have changed over the past 18 years and Los Angeles doesn't fit our needs as well as it once did.

Used Cook Book Sale in Hollywood

Those who know me well know that I love to cook. I am regularly checking out new cookbooks from the library, even if I can't buy them for my over-crowded bookshelves.

LAist, a fairly new website about LA, points to a used cookbook sale happening this Sunday at the Hollywood Farmer's Market. Looks like I might need to head to the Metro Station in North Hollywood and catch a train down.

From LAist.com...

Cookbook Sale

Don't miss out on the used cookbook sale, an annual fundraiser for The Culinary Historians of Southern California, this Sunday at the Hollywood Farmers Market from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

The Hollywood Farmers Market takes place on Ivar Avenue, between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards and Selma Avenue. [LAist]

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Creative Spaces 4: Phylicia Rashad's Nature Escape

I am really enjoying this series from All Things Considered. It is great to hear about where and creative people find their inspiration and solace. It is also great to be able to pick up this content directly from the web. I never seem to be in the car at the right time, so most of my NPR listening occurs right here at my computer.

Creative Spaces 4: Phylicia Rashad's Nature Escape

Also, NPR is now offering RSS feeds of its content.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Book: Career Warfare by David F. D'Alessandro

Career Warfare by David F. D'Alessandro

2004 McGraw-Hill

I guess I came across mention of this title in an issue of Fast Company, but I can't be sure. It seems like something they would feature in the magazine, though.

I wasn't that interested in this book initially, but it quickly grew on me. D'Alessandro (in partnership with Michele Owens) speaks from with an assured voice and what is, obviously, real-world experience. Even more, the book is filled with clear and illustrative examples of what can go wrong, and right, as you build your career.

I am happy to see a CEO focus on something of use to everyone instead of the usual accounts of how they crushed the competition and turned themselves and their shareholders into ultra-millionaires. Everyone works. Everyone has a boss and nearly everyone can benefit from this book.

D'Alessandro speaks about the need to "analyze" your boss into one of the 7 archetypes he has developed from his experiences. Are they a "Little League Parent" or a "Mentor"? A "Wastrel"? A "Pariah"? How can you identify the and how do you develop your career with, or in spite, of them. While you certainly want to judge people solely on the management skills, understanding the basic types can help to make you life easier.

The author's experiences and insights dovetail nicely with my own career experiences. I have seen almost all of the boss varieties he describes, both bad and good. It is always a reassuring to hear that you aren't the only person to have struggled with career issues.

Career Warfare is one of those books that should be given to every college student sometime around their junior year. I know I certainly would have been spared a lot of "hard knocks" learning had this book been available back in the early 80's. Reading this book could prepare new careerists for the realities that will face and give them a "leg up" into the working world.

Current managers can also benefit, as well. The book is an excellent way to do a "gut check" and see if you are really the manager you want to be. Idealistically, I would also recommend this book even the most experienced managers so they might recognize any bad habits they might have adopted over the years and seek to correct them, even at this late date.

D'Alessandro gives some excellent advice for "getting along" in troublesome work environments, but shares my assessment that there are times when you should never compromise your ethics. It is always better to find a new job than find yourself under investigation. Being out of work damages your personal brand much less than becoming a convicted felon. Ask Martha Stewart.

Overall, this book was an easy and engaging read. One that reinforced my own experience and beliefs, yet also elicited new thoughts and concepts on what it means to have a career.

Highly recommended.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) is on its way!

Very soon, a major update of Microsoft Windows will appear in the Windows Update panel of your computer.

This update is designed to address a large number of bugs and security issues in the current version of Windows XP.

Due to the extensive nature of the changes involved, I suggest your take note of these 3 web pages that offer detailed information on what will change under SP2.

It is hoped that the SP2 upgrades go smoothly for everyone, but there might be some issues which we will have to address after the initial upgrade.

Thanks to Sam Anderson at Nights N Weekends for sharing his best links for SP2 information.

WEB: All Consuming

AllConsuming.net is a great site that tracks the books currently being discussed on the Internet. It has helped me discover some very interesting books, in some very esoteric areas, over the last year.

You can visit the web page or subscribe to a variety of RSS feeds. The feeds are a great solution as I can watch the books passing through the site, without visiting the site every day.