John’s Recon

October 27, 2008

I am depressed: what was your name again?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 11:21 am

It has been awhile — two major Fall trips — so I was processing pictures — see below for details.

The email newsletter from the web site, How Stuff Works typically has at least one good thing to read in it — I recommend subscribing since it doesn’t come too often. This week’s email has a reference to Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Memory. I know that I can always use tips in this area. I was most interested in number 9 on depression and I already knew about number 8, Get Moving.

Their explanation — Depression causes an increase of cortisol levels in the bloodstream, which in turns elevates the amount of cortisol in the brain. …  increased cortisol diminishes certain brain areas, chief among them the hippocampus — sure explains what I have seen in school growing up. Kids with family problems at home had a hard time concentrating and remembering stuff. This definitely infers that a stable environment at both work and home is very important to learning. Number nine and eight are interesting reads and short for you people with attention disorders or no time.

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About my pictures: Many friends, coworkers, and family have been pushing me for my pictures. I decided to put them on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/31440971@N06/)  to lower my logistics. This site lets you put the more restrictive “friends” and “family” access, so all of them that have our family or friends are restricted … if you were wondering that there are no people.  Try the slideshows. They are fun and more importantly fast. If you have a big monitor and are using the slideshow in full screen mode then be sure and turn the option off that expands the 1024×768 slides to full since it really cheapens the shot with poor up-res. You can download the full resolution picture by clicking the picture itself and using all-sizes.

October 9, 2008

Open Source right for troubled times

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 6:09 pm

No excuse for not writing in a while but my free time has been busy sorting through my pictures taken on my Great Smokey Mountains run. Look for the 2008 Robbinsville NC set on the right column at my Flick site.

Listening to the briefings about our country’s future business environment made me think of how IT reacts to all of this. We slow down so that we can be as conservative as possible. This thought led me to the next thought which is — our suppliers like Microsoft can’t. For them to continue income, they need to introduce new functionality and they need to continue to drive home those maintenance contracts to survive this environment. Lots of times this isn’t good for us. We want to stay on the same version so that we can coast through the bad times without a lot of change — but this is when we will be forced into change by those that also need to stay afloat. Of course, this led me to my main thought.

The beauty of Open Source software isn’t that it is free — it typically isn’t all that free even if there is no price attached. The beauty of Open Source software is that you own it. You don’t have to take the next version if you don’t want to. If it is working fine for you then you can keep it where it is. How Right For Our Company is this! — we can coast without accepting new functionality. You own the software so you can take it in another direction if you want — you will have to support it from then on unless you can work with the community to get them to fold it back in. You can pay someone to change/adapt the software for you and pay them to be the ones to work with the community to get changes back into the mainstream.

You own the software so that you can just pay someone to only patch the software and never move forward. Sometimes other user/owners of the software may think just like us and they may choose to stay still and just patch too. For example, my favorite software tool FreeMind went from version 0.8 to 0.9 and was enhanced significantly. I liked version 0.8 since it was simple and had everything I wanted. Now I see that the software is being patched at 0.8 for those that want to stay behind as it merrily moves up the functionality curve. Wouldn’t it have been great for Microsoft Word 2.0 to do this same thing. Word 2.0 had everything — no need to move forward and add kitchen sink and then later the garage.

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