Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Persistent Telepresence on the Cheap

This quick article talks about a couple of free tools that telecommuters like me use all the time. Seriously I'm rarely not "available" on Skype, but this guy goes one step farther: he connects to a Skype instance on a computer on a desk in the remote office and is "there" all day. So people can stop by, see him working, and he can see them. I think this is a pretty nifty idea because it gets at one of the problems that telecommuters all suffer from: out of sight out of mind.

Okay we're all outta sight, man.

But you know what I mean. People all too easily forget you're there, you're working, you are available. By being actually visible, that could help address the problem.

Maybe if the IT guys stick with their plan of replacing my overheating slow rig I'll get them to use the old machine as a disembodied head end-point. It's something to consider.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Update: The Chill Mat Helps

Believe it or not, the chill mat seems to have helped the flagging performance of my laptop. I would have thought that refrigerating my office to ridiculous levels would be good enough for my little buddy, but it turns out that is not the case. I bought the cheapest one, plugged it into the USB and fired it up (cooled it down?).

And the past few days have been Four O'Clock Failure (TM) free. Yay!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Could It Be The Heat?

I don't know if it's just summertime laziness or what, but my computer has a new afternoon trick. Every day around four in the afternoon it grinds to a halt. It's absolutely infuriating because not only is it close to the end of the day, making its usual 20 minute start up a reallly un-appetizing option, but also because it tends to be an extremely busy time of day.

In Stella's line of work there are two busy times: end of the tax year and end of the fiscal year. We are trying to get in as much cash as possible before the end of the fiscal year and so that means we're asking a lot of people to fulfill a pledge, make an additional gift, send us five dollars in an envelope, anything. Solicitations mean email solicitations and my customers all wake up at about 3:45 and say, "Gosh, we might should get that email out!" and send along their datasets and content.

So I really need to crank at 4:30, not click and wait seven minutes for whatever is going wrong in there to redraw the screen.

I am thinking about getting a chill mat for the darn thing - could it be getting too hot by the end of the day? Does that happen?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summertime Focus

It's only early June but we've been having one hundred degree plus weather here at Stellacommute central. Luckily my office is an air conditioned wonderland because the sad truth about evaporative cooling (which we have in the rest of the house) is that it only lowers the temperature about twenty degrees which is awesome when it's 85, but less inspiring when it's fifteen degrees hotter.

All of which is to say that I shouldn't be complaining about getting to be in my office all day.

Except everyone else is on vacation. The children don't have school, and at least 40% of the in laws work in the school system so they're goofing off, too. It's hard to stay focused and feel good about staying out of the sun when everyone is going for ice cream by the pool and whatnot.

But I can do it. I might take some calls on the patio though, I'm not even gonna lie. It's a pretty nice day here, after all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

For the Pen Fetishists

This fantastic blog, Does This Pen Write? -- I love it so much. It turned me on to the fact that there is a National Stationery Show.

I just drooled a tiny bit on the keyboard. I need to be alone with my pens now.