Friday, May 04, 2007

Windows Power Management

Power management in Windows (XP) seems so iffy and unpredictable. Often, I will find a drained battery when I power up my laptop 4 hours after shutting it down at the end of the work day. What seems to happen is that after I invoke Shut Down on my laptop--which takes a bit of time, especially if connected to the corporate network--and I flip the screen closed, that action--flipping the screen--invokes Sleep mode. Instantly, thus over-riding the shutdown in progress.

Cisco VPN Seems to Interfere with Gmail

Couldn't find anything when I did a quick search, but it definitely seems like my Cicso VPN interferes with Gmail. Curiously, the rest of the Google family (Blogger, Docs) seems okay, just Gmail is the problem.

US Primary Schedule: Everybody First, Tragedy of the Commons

First California, then Florida is moving up their primary date. The U.S. primary system used to be both "fun", for political junkies, and useful, in that a "dark-horse" candidate could emerge and build momentum. But then the states that were later, and felt like they therefore had little influence, started pushing to move their dates up. This has been progressing for the least 3 or so election cycles, but it seems that the current situations is the culmination of it all. Seems to me like a variation on the "tragedy of the commons" pattern--a system that was good for many states and good for the overall polity has now been destroyed, to the gain of almost no state, and detriment of the overall polity.

Mortimer Zuckerman has an op-ed piece on this in US News. The compromise, involving a sequence of regional primaries, taking turns in going early, seems like a hope to salvage something. Not as interesting, quirky or raw as the traditional system, but better than nothing.

Feature Idea for Linked-In: Strong vs Casual Connections

LinkedIn can be potentially useful to the job-seeker when looking for an "in" or reference at a company. The problem I think is that one's network becomes bloated and diluted. In real life, leveraging a "friend of a friend" is not that easy, even if the friendships in question are significant. However, if one of those friends is really not so much a friend as an extremely casual acquaintance that you met for half an hour at a conference, getting them to do something for you is a pretty low-percentage play.

But how to keep one's network from getting diluted? It is sort of hard to turn down requests to link, that could be viewed as rather unfriendly, the last thing one wants to get from a social-networking site.

My partial solution would be for LinkedIn to provide a checkbox for you to indicate "solid contact"--close enough to ask for a favor with a reasonable expectation it would be acted on--versus "casual acquaintance". Then, when searching, you could select to search only your "solid contacts".

I say "partial" solution, because I see a couple of flaws on the downstream side of the search. One, people might not like it if others could infer, based on search results, who they do and don't consider a solid contact. And even if that weren't problematic, it would rely on other people being diligent in using the checkbox.

Still, even if the feature were implemented on the front-end only, it would be a case of "half a loaf, better than none".

The other thing that would help is if LinkedIn would make it much easier/quicker to see the path of linking.

Oh, and forget about 3rd degree contacts--those seem totally useless.