I’ve been a little distressed every since I read that article that stated that the brain can be physically damaged by working in a dull environment. Since my space here at work undoubtedly falls into the brain-damaging segment, I’ve been thinking of ways to potentially offset this damage. Plenty of sites document exercises from learning a musical instrument to brain teasers, to Yoga or dancing.
LifeHacker had a quick and easy one for me just now. Mouse goofy. That is use the mouse with the opposite hand. I am nowhere close to ambidextrous, so I figure my brain will have quite a bit of growing to do in order to tackle this one.
Plus, I’m such a rabid multi-tasker that this ought to slow me down and force me to focus on the task at hand.
UPDATE: ~8 working hours later, I quit!
1) select text out of a paragraph, ctrl-c, find new window, ctrl-v = annoyingly slow with the left hand only. There is a reason ctrl-copy, cut and paste are on the left hand.
2) In Outlook, I have it set to never mark anything read unless I specifically mark it, and I do that with ctrl-Q, which is also on the left hand.
I maybe have three new neuron connections. I’m now taking suggestions for other ideas.
I mentioned the spam attack a few posts ago and I thought I would send a quick update on the status.
All is calm and working normally.
Here’s the step among many that made the biggest difference:
- I imported my SMTP logs into MS Access for analysis (too many records for Excel to handle)
- Created a query that filtered by sc-status, searching for 550 which corresponds to a relay attempt (201,759 of those!)
- Designed another query based on the first one that does a count(ip-address) and groups by ip also. This gave me my top offending IP addresses
- Ran the top 20 offenders through the spam database lookup aggregator at DNSstuff.com, for instance: http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools/ip4r.ch?ip=188.8.131.52 and compiled a list of matching blocking list providers and looked for commonalities. Figured out that the CBL, the Composite Blocking List had almost all of my offenders listed.
- So I added their query zone, cbl.abuseat.org, to my Exchange server and bingo, 90% of my attacks were thwarted right off the bat.
I know this isn’t the most exciting reading, but this just worked so well I had to share it in the hopes that it helps others.
Spent the weekend in Charlotte, NC, tagging along with Emily, Jon and Shin-Pei for the genesis of a project on young stock car drivers.
Here are two of the subjects, a twelve year old dirt-track’r on the left and sixteen year old Chase Austin on the right.
[from Emily’s flickr stream]
Ate way too much BBQ, including Mac’s Speed Shop, which was excellent. If you are looking for (here you go Google) “Good BBQ in Charlotte, NC”, give it a go.
Local food-language usage tip:
(At a BBQ cart at a street faire)
Shin-Pei: What comes on the BBQ plate?
Server: Well, let’s see, cole slaw, baked beans, barbecue…
Barbecue = pulled pork; that part is assumed.
A work related email I received the other day:
thank you Corey you are the best
That smiley is courtesy of the HotBar. Our network at work is ripe with these other spyware apps that our users willfully install. The latest trend in spyware is to create something that people could plausible want, make it literally viral (clicking on the image in an email will either install automatically or prompt to install depending on security settings), and track and spy and muck up the workstation and profit.
While it is not normally part of my job to work on desktop stuff, I did make some time to clean up a few PCs the other day and I heard that user was upset that I removed the Hotbar and they put it right back again!
My niece had a very similar spyware program installed and I convinced her to try use spyware free, paid-for product called Emoticons Mail from MaxPlugs, that I paid $22 for. I don’t think I could make the case that we should spend money on a program to generate smiley faces at work, but assuming threatening and training don’t work the only choice will be to move everyone to a least privilege model and take away the rights to install anything at all.
Google has brought the interactive mapping goodness of Google Maps to your mobile phone.
Google Maps Mobile is a free download with a look and feel just like that of the Google Maps you’ve come to know and love, offering directions, local search, movable maps, and satellite imagery of your location (I’ve been using it for ten minutes and I’m already hooked).
If you’re curious to see if your phone will work with Google Maps Mobile, check out the list of supported devices.
This is exactly the kind of thing we ought to be seeing more of for mobile phones. A rich client application that I can download once, plus internet connectivity to access vast online databases. I’ve been using this for a week or two now and it works great. It would be nice to add some basic GPS/location based stuff so I could just type “thai” and select “near me” and it would send me in the right direction. I would love a specialized wikipedia viewer like this. I don’t want to have to download 150k of html and CSS and render it on every single page change. I want a dedicated shell of an interface that would know how to retrieve text based data from wikipedia plus some scaled down images if needed. The problem of course is that you have to develop for a set of devices using either Java or the .NET compact framework and then go about testing on fifty different phone types and screen resolutions, etc. But those problems are being addressed and I’m wishing for more of these soon.
Just a couple of points to recap my friend Jared’s bachelor party weekend.
- You can demo/rent golf clubs from New York Golf Center on 35th between Broadway and 7th Ave, they gave me a really nice set of Ping G5s, $50 for three days. I’m in the market for clubs and I’m going straight for a good set, no starter business for me. My American Express points are worth either a set of irons or a set of woods, but not both. The first set of clubs I played with were my grandfather’s Pings and that combined with good marketing mean that I’m not going to buy any other brand of iron, but they offer a number of different lines that I still need to choose from.
- Limo rides over twenty minutes in length are a mistake if you suffer from car sickness. The privacy screen goes up, you can’t see the road and worse you could be sitting sideways or backwards. Our three and a half hour trip to the Connecticut woods from the city was pretty much a constant struggle to avoid vomiting.
- At the Mohegan Sun casino
Jared: See <name withheld>? That’s a $500 chip he’s got; he’s gonna lose that.
Corey: Oh yeah, on what game, blackjack, craps?
Jared: No, no. I mean he’s just going to lose it.
I had started growing my beard back in February in preparation for this event, but I never achieved the competition level growth I needed to get up on stage.
It looks like they are selling out this event and ticket’s aren’t going to available at the door. Also, there’s this from the latest email announcement:
if you know anyone who is interested in competing, or want to compete yourself (there are categories for “artificial” and “patchy”), then go here and sign up: http://nycbeard.com. we’re almost out of spaces, and we’d like to have as many friends as possible on stage.