Consider Your Audience

I wrote about this around a year and a half ago, but I guess it’s time I revisited it (see Isn’t Everybody a Geek?).

The other day I was talking to Paige about some of the things I’ve been working on and she said “Now I’ll have an even harder time telling other people what you do.”

To me it seems so simple – I’m the Director of Technology for a school district. I’m in charge of making sure teachers and students have access to the technology they need to teach and learn.

What I hope to be doing soon is selling web applications. I’ve written a couple of interesting apps, and I’m working on a few more. I spend 2-3 hours a day studying web frameworks and programming languages.

But that’s not all. I’m following 22 people on Twitter. I’m subscribed to 113 RSS Feeds in Google Reader. I have 3735 3736 e-mails in Gmail. I have 4101 bookmarks in Delicious. I have accounts on every major social networking site.

Guess what? 99.9% of the world doesn’t care. I’ll bet 90% of the people that know me have never even heard of most of the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Sometimes that drives me crazy. I want to round up everyone I know and say “Look at all of these awesome things! Now you can have instant access to everything that’s happening online 24/7.”

But then I realize, regular people don’t need to know about everything that’s going on 24/7. Most people still don’t know the difference between the address bar and the MSN search bar on their home page.

Those of us who live online are a different breed. We do things every day that the average person will never even understand. But that’s OK.

To most people a computer is a tool that helps them do their job. And it’s my job to make their jobs easier.

The Green Geek

Blog Action DayToday is the first ever Blog Action Day. Thousands of bloggers from all over the world are helping out by writing about their choice of environmental issues.

It’s so easy these days to lower your energy consumption, and your electric bill, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t do it. We’ve only changed a few things over the last few years, but these changes have had a dramatic affect on our electric bill.

First, we replaced an old AC unit with a new, energy efficient one. We also replaced almost all of our regular light bulbs with CFL bulbs and we installing a programmable thermostat. These changes cut our bill by almost 50%.

Here are a few more things every computer user can do:

  1. Ditch your screen saver. How much time does your computer spend displaying some crazy graphics on the monitor with no one even looking at it? Instead of displaying a screen saver, set your computer to turn the monitor off when it’s not being used.
  2. Enable sleep or hibernation. Most computers take just a few seconds to wake from sleep. A computer in sleep mode uses a lot less energy. It’s worth a few seconds of your time.
  3. Turn off your computer. This is an endless debate and I’ve personally argued on both sides of it. Some people say turning your computer off and on every day wears out the power supply faster. I used to say the same thing. Even if it does wear out the power supply faster, the energy savings will more than make up for it.

I hope you’ll take this opportunity to do your part to help the environment. Make a few small changes in your life to ensure the future well being of our planet. Don’t forget to check out the Blog Action Day website to learn more.

I Just Lost The Game

And since you’re reading this, so did you.

One of my favorite things about working for the school district is interacting with the students. I think it keeps me young.

Last weekend we took a trip to Denison for BEST Robotics. On the way over there, one of the students said he had just “lost the game”.

Here’s how the game was explained to me:

  1. You’re always playing the game.
  2. As long as you aren’t thinking about the game, you’re winning.
  3. As soon as the think about the game, you lose.

When you lose, you should announce to everyone around you that you just lost the game. This causes them to lose as well.

It’s sort of a zen thing. Only by forgetting that you’re playing can you truly win.