“What do you mean, ‘How to join a meeting’?! You click a button, doofus!” Yes, dear friends, and that is exactly the problem. If you’re not accustomed to remote work, you may not dwell much on the mechanical processes of remote interaction. It’s just always awkward, isn’t it? Every meeting starts with several minutes of… Continue reading Remote 202: How to Join a Meeting
Why do we have meetings? Our computers and phones are loaded with dozens of communication apps. I’m far from the first to ask this question. I believe it’s well-established that different modes of communication have different information bandwidth. More information is conveyed by a face-to-face conversation than an email, for example. The conventional explanations for… Continue reading Attention Bandwidth
Now that we’ve covered the basics of remote work — headsets, cables, and software — it’s time to think about some of the smaller, more subtle things we can do to ensure a good remote experience for everyone. Today, that’s profile pictures.
In the first two posts in this series, I talked about hardware: networking and headsets. I’ll come back to hardware eventually, but the next thing on the checklist is software.
New York State’s Office for Technology released a Request for Public Comment on selecting an XML-based office data format. The choices are OASIS’ ODF and Microsoft’s OOXML. Responses were due by 5 p.m. today, Dec. 28. My response is below, submitted just in time to meet the deadline. I didn’t have time to answer all… Continue reading ODF vs. OOXML in New York State
I really like LaTeX. So much so that I bought a used copy of the original LaTeX “blue book” just so I could write a class file to print my freshman English papers in MLA format, which requires breaking most of the typesetting rules that make LaTeX output look so professional to begin with. But… Continue reading LaTeX for the Rest of Us
When I was a kid, I took piano lessons. Every day, after I couldn’t put it off any longer, I would sit down and practice a piece of music. Whenever I made a mistake, I would stop, go back to a point just before the mistake, and start again. The problem with this technique was… Continue reading Beset By Red Squiggles
This poster hangs in my cubicle. The caption reads, “If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job, the kind robots will be doing soon.” Besides saying “nyah nyah” to the superiors who never stay in my cubicle long enough to read… Continue reading My Life As a Robot
I think nearly all computer users can be divided into three broad categories based on the way they think about computers. The vast majority of computer users are application-oriented. They have training and experience exclusively with commercial software. They understand concepts peculiar to computers such as files, folders, saving, and deleting. They live in a… Continue reading The Three Types of Computer User
In looking around the offices where I have worked, I see innumerable places where existing technology could be leveraged to expedite, simplify, or otherwise enhance day-to-day workflow. Things could happen faster, cheaper, with fewer staff. So why isn’t this done? I think there are two fundamental problems: The first is the disconnect between the potential… Continue reading The Double Disconnect