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Reorganizations are just part of the landscape for a consultant.  Birds migrate, bees buzz and clients reorganize.  As an auxiliary to the client’s team, sometimes we help, but mostly we just ride out the chaos doing the good work that made the client want or need us in the first place. Eventually reality will stabilize, the new initiatives start and people move on.  Sometimes it’s the people we’re working with.  Sometimes it’s us.

Picture of an icy winter road

Sometimes there’s no new project.


Posted in me, Sunil, work.

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Bury me Rite! (Right?)

To my dear family,

With the extended illness of my recently departed uncle, with my transition to “middle age,” with my mother’s sudden health anomaly, my thoughts keep coming back to what happens when I’m gone.  Not in an existential way, mind, you, I’m actually just noodling on basic mechanics: Whoops, sorry, I seem to have left a body lying out, probably ought to put that away or something.   Call it contingency planning.   Like I was thinking about who I could make an executor for my will and realized that  the people I trust with that task are also the people I’d feel so horrible with burdening.  Also, I’m thinking I need to get some documentation put together to make the disposal process a little bit easier should the need arise.  Including a formal will, and an inventory of the estate so that my executor just has to log onto my bank account and make the payments on the list before closing things down.

My sweet mother looking way creepier than she ever shouldGoing back to that body thing, since the estate will kind of take care of itself, one way or another.  There are rules, and there are defaults.  But I have a very fresh awareness that a lot of the effort of a funeral seems to go to satisfying wildly conflicting views on what is tasteful, and what is acceptable, and what is respectful.  Knowing full well that every possible choice includes some cluster of aunts clucking disapprovingly.  And the biggest impression I get, supported by the reading I’ve done, is as gentle as they are, the funeral homes are capitalizing on the question of what to do by upselling and extending, driving effort and ceremony and money into the name of “Honouring the departed in the way she would have wanted.”

I can’t change the pressure.  I can’t change the desire to do right by me.  (I can’t even fault the funeral industry for the upsell) What I can do, though, is to explain how I see this whole subject and what I prefer, so that whoever is stuck with trying to do right by me actually knows the answer to that question.  And to explain my preferences, I have to start by acknowledging that I already know some of what I’m going to say will be objectionable to people who love me.  So I have to start my declaration here:

If any of this has started to matter, then I am dead, which gives me a license to be utterly unromantic about what’s left behind.  You, my loved ones, are the people who may still be in the process of saying goodbye to what I can regard as an ungainly ragdoll made of biological waste.  So what I want is secondary, what you need is way more important.  I’m dead.  Only place I get a vote is Chicago.

Feel any better?  Good.  Here’s my view from this side of the other side…


Posted in life, me, Sunil.

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Asked: How do I fix my recording speed?

My cousin is doing interviews for her classes, and recording them on her phone.  Most of the time, this works just fine, but every once in a while, the result comes out sounding too fast, like cartoon characters, or chipmunks.

The basic problem in my cousin’s case is that her phone recording has lost the metadata that sets the timing on the file.  But I’ll provide a more generic answer, just in case you want to play with your sound files in general.

In about every case, when someone asks me a question that involves audio, the answer is Audacity, a free and open-source audio recording utility.  You can create and edit audio, or you can load your favourite sound files and have fun manipulating them.

Screen shot of Audacity window


Posted in asked, tips.

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DRM-Free Matters to Me

Palm Pilot 1000, picture by Benjamin ChanIf I buy an ebook from Amazon, I can read it anywhere I can get Kindle software. Which is a *lot* of platforms, desktops, most mobile and tablet platforms. And the hardware kindle readers. But not the Nook because that’s Barnes & Noble’s hardware, and Amazon doesn’t care about playing nice there. In fact all the other eReaders are machina-non-grata to Amazon. No Nook, no Kobo, no Sony, nothing but Kindle.

Not that Barnes & Noble play any nicer with the other kids. They’ll support the tablets, for marketshare, but to hell with the other ereaders. Et tu, Kobo. And iBooks iGnores anything but iOS.

Which is not all bad. At least all of the four have a real bookstore behind them, but Amazon looks like the big dog, and reading Amazon ebooks is the highest probability path to getting your digital fix.

If you’re one of the dedicated hardware manufacturers, it makes the outlook… challenging. Can’t read amazon books, but there’s Overdrive, powering a lot of libraries. And some of those formats that it supports will run on your Sony, or your Aluratek. Some of them. On some readers.

Which is remarkably crappy for us readers and yet the revolution is slow and painful.


Posted in books, rants.

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Philosophy and Bloggery

The debaters are professionals, representing curiously consanguine divisions of the large corporation, yet the argument is over one of the more basic questions of life: Is the reward worth the risk?

Abandon ship (No one can escape)

That’s not how they’re framing the question though. Instead it was a conflict of perspective. Lost opportunity versus bad opportunity. Weirdly enough, the debate gave me a bit of an insight into personal branding.


Posted in life, me, Sunil.

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@zoecello @toronto

“The concert was amazing,” the paragraph starts and already I’m second guessing because I don’t think I’ve said much if anything about the fact that I was going to a concert and that means I’m starting from the end without knowing just how far back to how much of a beginning that I need to begin with in order for this ending to make sense.

by Jeffrey Rusch

The concert was amazing, and as much as I wanted to get home afterward, I needed to walk a few blocks before the energy settled down enough that I could let go of the moment and fit inside my own skin.


Posted in cool, life.

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They call me Mr Glass

When you get right down to it, an Archnemesis is a hell of a lot like a little brother.  Not that I have any siblings. (Anymore! [evil laugh goes here])  But then I don’t have an Archnemesis anymore either, so accept that I may be more qualified to speak on this than I might initially appear.  

After all, I come from a large family so I have some exposure to the "sibling" syndrome, where you suddenly go from master of your sandbox to "Can you keep an eye on Billy while we run out to the store?"  And don’t confuse this with any lack of faith in the capable malevolence of my younger kind, because what I’m talking about is purely that state where you’re both young but there’s a big age gap.  Which is how your plan to finish beating the stuffing out of your opponents in a computer game gives way to wearing a wicker hat and sipping imaginary tea with Barbie and your little cousin Alice.



Posted in life, photography, rants.

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Media Martial Law

I’ve been on top of my newsreader for about 4 years now, despite the rapid increases in content, and the decreases in my free time.  Sure, every once in a while, work or life would interrupt and I’d fall behind, but with some judicious resetting, I was always able to catch up.  Until this year where I just stopped.  I just didn’t have enough time or energy, and the onslaught of thousands upon thousands of new articles day by day made it impossible to keep up.

So I let go.  I accepted that my Google reader unread count was at 1000+ (the most unread it’ll admit to) and that most of my feeds were close to or well past that mark as well.  I took my fingers off the pulse of the world.


Posted in productivity.

So Silver, Toasted

I got home from work Monday night tired and hungry, and with my mind filled with questions about just what snack I was going to have.  To my surprise, there was another package I’d forgotten about, and this one was full of goodness.  And not just because I suddenly knew what my snack was going to be.


Posted in books.

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The APSidental Tourist

Closeup of APS/Advantix Film Canister (100 ISO, 25 Exposures)

Just to try something different, I’m going to start with the punchline.  I’ve got a bunch of APS film canisters and I’d like to scan them.  There are various options available to me, but in the end, I’ve decided that I’d like to see if I can rig a homebrew film scanner.

The rest of this post is just about…

How I got here

I’ve only been comfortable calling myself a photographer for the last few years.  But I’ve loved photography since my childhood.  Like many folks, I took the classes in high school and got to develop prints on paper.  (Unlike many folks, I’ve also used the same techniques to create circuit boards from copper-clad sheets).  And during school and since, I’ve always been quite happy to wield a camera.

As for most people, digital was a gamechanger.  Being freed of both the cost and the time of developing film really left me free to discover just how much I enjoyed taking pictures, and by taking so many, I really started to learn what I was actually doing.  But before I went digital, I got hoodwinked by brochures promising the future.


Posted in photography.

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