“Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines
Or when you think you’re gonna die
Or did you long for the next distraction” –Alanis Morissette
I was just checking one of my three email accounts just now–for the third or fourth time this morning–when something occurred to me. We’re very fond of talking about how work or other obligations pressure us into checking our phones and our email every five seconds, and what a shame it is. And maybe there’s some truth to that explanation. But at the risk of getting all Buddhist on you, here’s another.
The pressure is coming from within, not from without.
Maybe getting a new email isn’t about fear of not responding timely, or about missing an opportunity. Maybe it’s about the fact that if there were a new email waiting it would give us something to think about, something to focus on, so we wouldn’t have to (as Alanis would have it) think about our bills, our exes, our deadlines and even our mortality.
It’s like the Buddha said: Our minds are like monkeys, jumping from one thing to another, always in action, always busy.
If you do one Zen thing today, let it be this: Don’t check your email more than necessity warrants. Be in the moment.
I installed Apple’s latest operating system, Snow Leopard, today. It’s an unusual release in that it doesn’t tout dozens of new features, nor does it carry a corresponding price tag: $29 gets registered Leopard users in the door. Apparently what it does is bring a host of technologies and performance enhancements which pave the way for future development.
But I didn’t jump on the bandwagon for that. What I wanted was to get rid of Microsoft’s Entourage email client.
Macintosh users who use a Microsoft Exchange-based email system will know that up to now the only supported mail and calendaring software for such systems is Microsoft’s own Entourage, part of their Mac Office suite. Entourage isn’t awful. I’ll admit that. It’s not as hideous as many Microsoft products, but what it gains in interface it loses in functionality. Entourage has never had feature-parity with Outlook, Microsoft’s Exchange client for Windows.
So why did we use Entourage? Because it was the only game in town. But no more.
Riding in with those unsexy under-the-hood technology enhancements in Snow Leopard is full Exchange support in Apple’s Mail, iCal and Address Book applications.
After the install, I went directly to Mail. I entered my email address and my password and–bang–my email was configured. I watched as all my precious messages populated Apple’s gorgeous and user-friendly email application. When I fired up iCal, Apple’s calendaring application, I discovered that all the info from the Exchange server was already there.
Did you notice that right as Snow Leopard was being released that Microsoft announced a genuine Outlook client for Macintosh?
Sorry. Too little, too late.
I got this email from her recently.
I have enclosed pictures of my most recent project. I was deputized a few weeks ago as a Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriage. That means that I could perform wedding ceremonies.
This was through the Los Angeles County Register Recorders Office in anticipation of the possible overwhelming rush by same sex couples to marry after the law change on June 17, 2008.
I was at the Norwalk office on Wed. June 18th (about 8 commissioners were performing ceremonies) and there were a few same sex couples and a lot of straight couples but not the big crowds that they expected. I performed about 7 ceremonies that day (2 lesbian, 2 gay ceremonies and the rest straight couples) There was a wonderful warm atmosphere and everyone was so gracious to all the newlyweds.
The following week, I was at the West Los Angeles Office (at LAX) and I did an overwhelming 14 ceremonies in one day (there were three of us doing ceremonies). Only 2 were same sex. All in all it has been one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and memorable experiences in my life.
How can I describe the joy and the gratitude that I felt from all my couples. Some came in regular street clothes and some a little more dressed up (but no wedding gowns). Some were so choked up that they couldn’t “repeat after me” and some were crying. Some came alone and some brought family and friends. Two couples each brought up to 25 family members and friends and some had video camera and most had still camera.
Some already had rings on their fingers (they took them off and re-placed them for the ring ceremony) and many had little boxes with them of new rings. Some wanted to read their own special vows and that was very touching.
I hope that I will be called upon, frequently, to perform ceremonies, but there are many regular commissioners who have been doing this for a long time and they don’t give up this duty often.
I just wanted to share how I have been spending my time. What’s happening in your life?
Check out this email rant about Windows and Microsoft.
I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don’t drive usability issues.
Let me give you my experience from yesterday.
I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack … so I went to Microsoft.com. They have a download place so I went there.
The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.
This site is so slow it is unusable.
It wasn’t in the top 5 so I expanded the other 45.
These 45 names are totally confusing. These names make stuff like: C:\Documents and Settings\billg\My Documents\My Pictures seem clear.
They are not filtered by the system … and so many of the things are strange.
I tried scoping to Media stuff. Still no moviemaker. I typed in movie. Nothing. I typed in movie maker. Nothing.
So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying – where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist?
So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated.
If you do a lot of email you probably have seen some messages flagged by the sender as “high priority.” Everyone knows that receiving a message flagged as “high priority” often doesn’t genuinely indicate the level of urgency contained therein. But what it does reliably indicate is how much more important than you the sender thinks he/she is. I mean, you might as well just put “I am an asshole” in your signature. Can I get an amen?