Skip to main content

Kindred Spirits

I stumbled across Alan Gutierrez' blog this evening thanks to the aggregator over at ArborBlogs. Alan seems like one of those kindred spirits that I knew existed in this town, but often kept to themselves out of fear of "a tirade against a red-state," as Alan puts it.



That post isn't what made me write about Alan's site. This one is. I'll quote because Alan nails it (sorry Ann Arbor, he's got your number).


I started with noting how caustic Ann Arbor is. That people lack social grace, because they are Michiganders. They're wipping past each other at 70 MPH all day. They don't know how to say hello. That Ann Arbor is bubble, and people come here to escape the rest of Michigan, they think it is some sort of Paris of the mid-West. Ann Arbor is a bubble and people are bubble people, scared of what is outside the bubble, oddly xenophobic, while trying to seem worldly. Then I talked about having to litterally beg to differ, how thin-skinned, easily offended these people are. Then I mentioned the agenda-oriented social scene, and exaggerated gender roles. Ended up saying that the orthodoxy of Ann Arbor runs counter to mine. I feel people make the best descisions for themselves, that if you listen to them, they'll make sense. Ann Arborites think that people can't make decisions for themselves, and you have to tell them how wrong they are so they'll understand.


I think Alan is like me; here for the time being because this is where the work is. I have no loyalty to this town, I have no ties to the idiocy that this town spews forth everyday. Alan's right: this is a place where ideas come to die, not flourish. Unfortunately (or, fortunately, depending on your perspective), there is one entity that can toss huge sums of cash at lots of people and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This town will never be forced to gain perspective. It's a shame, really, with the diversity that does exist on campus that Ann Arbor hasn't found a way to integrate those philosophies into the community.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Retirement Pat Sweeny!

In a previous life, I was an active member of the West Michigan Shores Chapter of the STC. I met a lot of really cool people there and learned a lot about what it meant to be not just a technical writer, but more about how technical writers can break out of the mold and accomplish things.

One of the people who did that was Pat Sweeny. Pat is (or was, by this point) the President and owner of The Bishop Company, a contract do-it-all house; they document, streamline and illustrate your process, and they do it damn well. Pat was one of the first people in that chapter to "get it", which is to say, he and his company understand that technical writing isn't going to be a department for very much longer, it's going to be a business.

He had the foresight to actually make it a business, but he also had something else. Pat was forever trying to better those around him. He would come to meetings (which was a big step beyond most people) and teach you things. Or he would come to …

Google Inbox: A classic Google product

My work domain (an EDU) recently had Google Inbox enabled so I had a good chance to try it out. My personal email is relatively quiet and, I believe, doesn't provide a good Inbox experience. Work is more active and requires actual management, something I've tossed many a tool at over the years. As part of my work life, I supported the Google Apps for EDU installation here and took a pretty extensive presentation to campus about how to manage large amounts of email.

Inbox is a classic Google product: the distillation of a number of excellent ideas into a set of half-complete features built for a use case most people don't meet. We've seen this in the past in products like ChromeVox, Google's Chrome extension for accessibility. ChromeVox works great on ChromeOS devices, but completely ignores the point that most users of accessibility tech (AT) don't have or want ChromeOS devices and come to services with their AT in tow. ChromeVox also ignores decades of convent…

Evernote

Evernote, for better or worse, is the best note-taking service for my needs. It works across all my devices/computers/modes. It's fairly easy to get stuff into it. Hell, they even have 2-Factor authentication. The Windows app is a little clunky and my girlfriend and I have never been able to get shared notes to work properly (conflicted note! three times in the same grocery trip!), but what service is perfect? At least they have nice socks.

Everything, in fact, is pretty good as long as you don't screw up. And screw up I did. I'm not very regular about making backups, but I do make them every month or so. Once you figure out how to create a backup, that is.

There's a helpful Export Note option (which turns into Export Notes when you select multiple notes HINT). The export process is essentially opening All Notes, selecting every note, and then choosing Export Notes. Or something like that; Evernote never tells you, you're left to figure it out on your own. The file…