What Is This Thing Made of Paper and Glue?

All the reading I need to do can happen in Google Reader, right?

I read a lot of books last year. Like, maybe 50. I didn’t post or write about many of them, because plenty were über-pulpy and just time-killers. All but the couple of technical books were electronic. Being unaware of what I was reading made it pointless. Why’d I pick those books? What’d I learn from them? Meh.

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Weekly Linkage: the TSA, Microwaves, and “Dot Dot Dot”

This week’s internet cruising:

Untenable Workplace Hotshots

When Smart People are Bad Employees” offers up three types of hotshots in the workplace:

The Heretic:
“However, sometimes really smart employees develop agendas other than improving the company. Rather than identifying weaknesses, so that he can fix them, he looks for faults to build his case. Specifically, he builds his case that the company is hopeless and run by a bunch of morons.”
The Flake:
“Then Roger changed. He would miss days of work without calling in. Then he would miss weeks of work. When he finally showed up, he apologized profusely, but the behavior didn’t stop. His work product also degraded. He became sloppy and unfocused.”
The Jerk:
“When used consistently, asinine behavior can be crippling. As a company grows, its biggest challenge always becomes communication. Keeping a huge number of people on the same page executing the same goals is never easy. If a member of your staff is a raging jerk, it may be impossible. Some people are so belligerent in their communication style that people just stop talking when they are in the room.”

I’ve seen these, if we’re to buy Horowitz’s trichotomy of troubled genius employees. According to his take, the person really has to be a genius for any of this to be applicable.

Ben Horowitz writes in the article, “You may decide that you will personally mitigate the employee’s negative attributes and keep them from polluting the overall company culture.” I don’t think that lasts long. So far, I’ve always seen there be a turning point with folks that fit the Heretic and Flake labels: there’s a point where even a stretched thin manager will realize that the impact on the culture has become greater than the value of the contributions.

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Weekly Linkage: Google, Politics, and Bees’ Knees

This week’s internet cruising:

  • Coding Horror: Trouble In the House of Google – Jeff isn't the first to point out the problems with Google's search results lately (the content mills are clearly winning, and I swim through a lot of mess to get good results anymore), but he's done a lot of due diligence to try to improve Stack Exchange's rankings over the content scrapers, with mixed results. Excellent post.
  • Sphinx – A better way to write your docs – This looks like an awesome doc writing/management system–I struggle with how much documentation to produce for the internals of a system (i.e. not a publicly exposed API), but I'd definitely play around with a system like Sphinx.
  • Buttersafe – Flowers – Bees’ knees!
  • Baptist Press – N.C. court voids same-sex adoption – What? What?! (Warning: Christian news source)

    "'Many homosexuals and their sex partners may sincerely believe they can be good parents. But children are not guinea pigs for grand social experiments in redefining marriage, and should not be placed in settings that are unsuitable for raising children,' Dailey noted in the article. He cited a study in the Netherlands that found the average duration of a homosexual relationship to be 18 months and that 'committed' homosexual couples have an average of eight other sexual partners each year."

  • Gay former service members praise Senate vote on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ – latimes.com – "Carpenter, who comes from a family with a tradition of military service dating back to the Revolutionary War, thought that he would make a career in the Marine Corps. But when he fell in love with another Marine pilot, he decided he "couldn't continue living a lie" and left the military as a captain."
  • Hawaii-bound, Obama signals his opposition to gay marriage ‘evolving’ – Key quotes:

    "I still believe that it doesn’t make sense for us to provide tax cuts to people like myself who don’t need them when our deficit and debts are growing."

    "With respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, […] my feelings about this are constantly evolving. […] At this point, what I’ve said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have. And I think — and I think that’s the right thing to do."

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A Letter to 2011

Hello, 2011,

I’ve taken to writing to you in my personal journal, and in three days it’s already stopped being cutesy and creepy and started being fer skerious. We have words to exchange, 2011. More than words.

2010–bless her heart–was a year of fractured interests: I set a date for my wedding. I changed jobs. I branched out in role-playing. I attacked the hell out of my debt. I wrote in public.

2011, you’re the year of finishing: I’m going to finish my last sliver of debt. I’m going to finish not having a long-term financial plan. I’m going to get married. I’m going to finish my novel. I’m going to finish not being happy enough.

I’m going to bring cohesion to my life. I want peace, I want focus, and I want simplicity.

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