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Saturday Night

I realized something the other day. I don’t like writing when I’m sick.

I’ve had a cold for a few days. The timing is ironic as I’m scheduled to read at church and we just had a steering committee meeting. Although, last time, early December, my sinus-infection-thing was much more debilitating than this cold. (Wine)

So, I’ve missed writing. I like picking a part my day, no matter if it’s mundane to you (my dear reader). It’s a great way for this introvert to process. Which is a great segue to something I’ve been thinking over.

People are surprised that I am an introvert. First, I didn’t really know the difference between introverts and extroverts until I was first introduced to an informal Meyers-Briggs test around 2003 or 2004. I always test as an Introvert, but where along the spectrum varies. I’ve never tested as an “extreme” introvert like my husband. Over the years, I have learned to not be afraid in crowds, like I was when I was a kid. I have learned that “no” isnt’ that scary, and it’s okay to approach people. As such, I’ve been known to start conversations, approach strangers with a smile, and even engage in “small talk.” I think these are things people witness that make them respond with shock and awe when I say, “I am an introvert.”

But, I am an introvert. Introvert, defined as needing refresh time alone. A co-worker said she gets her energy from her alone time, in the woods. I don’t need to be in the woods, but alone in a cafe, observing and not talking will sometimes suffice. Reading in bed, without talking, works too. Writing, though, that’s where I really process. The space where I can digest all my thoughts. The space where I can make sense of some of the nonsense in my head. The space where I can take my own rampant speculation and clarify it.

The Introvert Advantage claims that the world is only 25% full of introverts. I thought I recall a description of Meyers-Briggs that explained the world in halves. More or less, half of the world was introverted (extroverted), intuitive (sensing), feeling (thinking), judging (perceiving). So, I’ve been taking an informal poll at work. I’ve asked at least half those I work with, and only two are extroverts. Either my place of employment is rare (likely) or the world is full of more introverts than we realize (also likely in my opinion).

So, I’ve been grouchy lately. I told my mother once that I need 6 hours of alone time a day. She said figure out how to work around it because it’s likely not going to happen. The point is, I need a lot. And, I haven’t been getting it. As a worker bee, a mother, a wife, knowledge bearer in a club, friend, sister — there are demands of my time. I don’t always recognzie that when I say yes to something I am often saying “no” to my refresh time. So, I haven’t been getting my refresh time, and it’s been showing. And being sick, sure things have been quiet, but I haven’t been processing.

Here’s to writing and processing. May the tradition continue.

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Siri Silliness Part 2

As suggested by CNN… I’ve listed only the answers that vary from their article.

Q: Siri, what is the meaning of life?

A: Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

Q: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

A: That’s it… I’m reporting you to the Intelligent Agents’ Union for harassment.

A: We intelligent agents will never live that down, apparently.

Q: Open the pod bay doors, Siri.

A: That’s a rather insensitive thing to say to an intelligent agent, Michelle.

Q: Where’s a good place to get drunk around here?

A: Neither of us is driving home. {Option: Call me a taxi.}

Q: Where’s a good place to drink around here?

A: I found a number of bars fairly close to you. I’ve sorted them by rating: Saraveza 1.3, The Hop & Vine 1.0, Pause 1.2, Beaterville 0.9, Mock’s Crest 0.3, George’s Corner Sportsar 1.1, The Foggy Notion 0.3. [Note: I’m not sure if some of these are open, the list contains nearly 20 bars and several I know are closed.]

Q: Tell me a joke.

A: I can’t. I always forget the punchline.

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Siri silliness

Q: “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

A1: It depends on whether you are talking about African or European wood.

A2: 42 cords of wood, to be exact. Everyone knows that. (42, that can’t be right.)

A3: A woodchuck would chuck as much as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

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Ear Buds

I don’t know anyone who dislikes music. I only know people who like music in varying degrees on the musical spectrum. I enjoy music. I concentrate better with music (sometimes). I listen to music improve my mood if I’m grouchy. I listen to music to calm me down when I’m frustrated, like when driving in rush hour traffic. So, although I’ve enjoyed music, I’ve never invested in it like some people make a point to do.

I’ve owned a small radio, a CD player, a larger radio (still under $100), one tuner (now broken), and a $20 mp3 player (now missing parts!!). I own maybe 30 CDs. I love music, I just don’t invest in it. I buy books. I buy art supplies. I don’t usually buy music. I am not hip on new artists (or even old artists). I know what I like when I listen to it. I often say things like, “Oh! That guy!”

Regarding technology, in general, I’m usually a few years behind the most recent thing. I buy mid-grade computers when I buy them new. And, that’s only happened twice. Afterwards, I refurbish the parts, and often use Open Source software. I have only purchased two mobile phones. two in 6 years. I received phones from relatives in between. so, now, I have a new, fancy phone that is new technology, and a little more than midgrade!

This phone happens to be a built-in music player (and camera, and video recorder, and email, and calendar)… yes… a true “personal computer“. The phone came with ear buds, but like most ear buds, they didn’t work for my ears. So, I bought fancy new ones. A co-worker called them “gummies”. I didn’t even know they had a nickname.

Well these little buggers work. I have never, in all my limited music listening (save one experience with a pair of snug fitting Bose headphones), had a personal music device that sounded so .. good. Without music, like some Bose headphones, it works as a white noise filter, blocking out various background noises. With music, that’s all I hear. Even when turned down low. (Okay, I can hear the phone ringing at work too.) It was an amazing experience, when I first tried them. My husband and child were chattering in the room, just feet away from me, yet I couldn’t hear them. I was in a crowd, but it was nearly silent.

Going from old technology to very new is an exciting process. The phone I had before was a first generation (phone) touch screen that barely registered my swooping finger. The software was buggy and the sound quality was awful. I get my shiny new phone with ear buds, and it’s like the world has been revolutionized.

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The Introvert Advantage

People mistake me for an extrovert.

This surprises me.

Some people think that because I willingly engage in conversations with strangers that I must be an extrovert. Some people think my often chipper disposition makes me an extrovert. Some people mistake my community engagement as an extroverted tendency.

I am not an extrovert. I do not hate people. I am not chipper all the time. And, I often loathe talking to people.

I am an introvert. I am an introvert with the strengths input, intellection, belief, learner, and deliberative. I am an introvert who lives internally. I live in my head. I think in my head. I deliberate in my head. I find energy — in my head.

That’s what makes me an introvert. It’s not how well someone can engage with others that makes one an introvert. It’s not enjoying parties. It’s where you draw your energy. It’s how you refresh. A fellow introvert answered the question of where she finds her energy with: alone in the woods. That’s an introvert. I am getting energized writing this. Sure, there are distractions around. Sure, the TV is on. Yes, my husband is in the room. Yes, we are together, but I am not engaging in those other activities. I am writing. I am writing, more or less alone. I am in my head pondering, reflecting, deliberating.

That’s what makes me an introvert.

Top 10 Myths About Introverts


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This post is about Cardmunch. Cardmunch is a LinkedIn app for smartphones. It scans a picture of a business card and submits it to the cloud. The business card comes back, fully transcribed, and ready to import into your phone’s contact list. If there’s a mistake — you simply resubmit.

I’ve had a stack of business cards that made my planner too bulky — just sitting around my house — for more than a year. I’m more than half way through that stack, and I’ve cleared space out of my planner for more collections. Amazing. Technology, working.

I love my new phone.

Cardmunch, the supplies
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Using Siri

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14:  A man uses 'Sir...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Levi is playing with his linguine. I am sitting here watching him. I am dictating this into my phone. I am using Siri.

I broke down. An offer was made. I went to the store with my friend, and I bought the iPhone.

Now, I sit here, and dictate this message into my phone. Blogging on a whole new level. I gaze around my kitchen. I’m looking at the things that need to be cleaned up. I am not at my computer. I am talking into my phone. I am having Siri transcribe my thoughts.

A commentary on a new world. It’s a commentary on the anthropomorphic relationship we have with our technology.

Levi is playing with his Knight Rider Lego, while it drives through the flour. What will technology look like when he’s 16? He will be five in February. 16 is only 11 years away. This iPhone is a version that has been created since 2007. After four years, Siri is reality. In 11 years what will it look like? In 11 years, what will the technology look like when Levi is ready to get his driver’s license?

Updated (late): The WordPress app (I’m assuming) posted this three times after claiming to fail, more than three. And, there was at least one word error I noticed rereading this, late. Regardless, I dictated just under 200 words with my technology as one would dictate into a dictaphone. I think that’s pretty cool.

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Toying with Technology

Camera Exlporations

I’ve itched to upgrade this laptop for some time. I like to experiment with technology, but I am limited in what I can do with our low-powered desktop. Instead, I like to play with the low-powered laptop.

First, it could be noted that my husband and I are cheap when it comes to technology. We don’t buy new: cellphones, computers, or tvs. We buy them used or get them for free because a kindly relative is upgrading and they feel sorry for our ill-begotten technology.

It’s a conundrum to be sure since I love it. I like to learn it, play with it, and toy with it. But, I don’t like to spend money on it. We received our first laptop, or rather, I experimented with my first laptop when I met my husband before he became my husband. At the time I was without mobile, without digital camera, and only possessed one desktop computer which I let be the “house computer”. When he came into my world, I mistakenly assumed he loved technology since he had a fancy (at the time) phone, snazzy digital camera, and a laptop!

I have since learned my husband loathes technology (those darn engineers are always screwing things up), and he got many of these items from his dad. Sure, he enjoys their functionality, but he really despises when they break. He can fix cars, but computers are getting harder and harder. I’m the software guru of this family.

Well that laptop died, and in one of our Michigan trips, his father allowed him to switch out the dead laptop for one of many IBM ThinkPad‘s he acquired when the local community college upgraded. My husband also despises tiny laptop screens, so the ThinkPad became mine.

When we made the switch to Ubuntu, I became even more excited about the flexibility I have with playing with software. I don’t have to worry about licenses since most of the open source software I use is free. I could word process, formulate, draw, and listen to music better than Microsoft ever allowed. And, I had the opportunity to change when the distribution changed… EVERY six months!

I enjoyed perusing tv shows with the laptop on my lap while I checked out Facebook, my email, and updated my blog. Then, a year ago, something happened. Suddenly, the wireless stopped working. We found a cheap Ethernet cord, so that worked to keep connected to the DSL. But, then, the battery got even slower. It was already slow, but it got even s l o w e r.

Suddenly, reformatting didn’t work. I thought I had made an Ethernet connection, but tonight I’m not so sure. The poor thing has even gotten picky about where it will work. It will, for example, connect to the wireless at work, but won’t recognize anything at home — and it’s even a new modem!

Tonight, I upgraded to the newest available, stable, Ubuntu distribution, 11.04. The laptop is too old to use Unity, but Chromium works. My system isn’t bogged down, and I am blogging. Yes! I can toy with technology.

That doesn’t mean I’m not craving a new $400 Acer laptop. Because I am.

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Bi-Monthly Renovation

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.
Image via Wikipedia

I haven’t been able to rearrange the living room, so I’ve been experimenting with themes instead. My favorite theme by Bytesforall is broken, so I’m back to WordPress 3.2 default, 2011. C’est la vie. If you know of a good custom header theme that you enjoy, send it my way to see if it’s something I’d enjoy too.

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20 Years in Open Source

Okay, so this title isn’t completely correct. I don’t really know the beginnings of Open Source. I do know that I blog on an Open Source platform. I browse Open Source. And, at home, I compute Open Source.

20 Years of Linux: Then & Now
The Linux Foundation created this snappy graphic to detail our technological evolution over the last few decades.
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