28 September 2005

Joke of the day

Life is short, so let's make fun of it.

24 September 2005

Job search woes

The past several hours have been spent scouring career guide material. The one really big overriding piece of advice is "first, figure out what do you want to do." Let us consider an unfortunate soul who, from an early age, has been a generalist. Here is a little background,

  • He did Track and Field in high school
  • Was good at standardized tests and essay tests
  • He is a blogger
Our initial approach is to decide between graduate school and a full-time job. The research conducted generally states "...only go to graduate school now if you absolutely know what you want to do." Uhhh... X. So if he doesn't go to graduate school now that still leaves him with trying to find a good job match.

The generalist background/skill set points him toward the consulting industry. But the promise of an 80+ hour work week and 3-4 days of travel per week are not that appealing. On the upside it has the potential to expose him to a great variety of industries and may perhaps lead to the "right" one or summon some ideas for graduate work theses...

22 September 2005

The "death of like"

I've never used crutches for ailments of the bone. But I am a frequent user of crutches for ailments of speak. I use words such as "like" and "uh" all the time when I speak without even thinking about it and so it doesn't really bother me. But I notice it in others and sometimes even get frustrated or distracted when a speaker relies too heavily on these useless words. So I am beginning project "death of like." For the duration of this (lifelong) project I am going to avoid the word like. Yes, I realize there are many useful uses of the word, but I plan to subsitute synonyms in for these case so that I can totally isolate this construct and utterly destroy it. Like, okay?

20 September 2005

Windows rules my world...

...to be said in the same way a computer geek would say, "Windows rules the world," which is too say, with some contempt on the tongue.

Windows has hijacked my entire Hard Drive and refuses to let me partition some for Linux without reinstalling Windows (wiping HD) or purchasing some more software (~$60).

Out of spite I may just wipe my hard drive anyway, install Linux and never use Windows again. (Becoming more possible with Microsoft Office Suite alternatives like the free OpenOffice). More realistically I will purchase more cds to backup my data, reinstall Windows and spend many hours figuring out how to fix all the problems I caused. But I don't have the energy for that now.

Weird things you only think about when you are Jeff Shepley

What is the social significance of a boss kissing a woman employee on the cheek she/he greets her. From what I have seen there is a lot more socializing in the business world here. Although my observations are not necessarily typical of Brasil, only of what I have seen. And seeing as it isn't typical for me to be here, I may be observing quite atypical things (which is more valuable to me!).

From my perspective this would make it tougher for me to scould/fire the person below me -- having developed a social relationship. That is, mixing business and social life, like having a party and inviting your professor, appears (at least to me) to lead to greater job/grade security.

Of course companies in the U.S. have happy hours, so I can't say this is unique to Brasil. The company organizes them as a way to get employees to communicate better and in the end work more effectively. The employees do it for entertainment, but perhaps also for job security.

So as the boss I can see myself being pulled in two directions. (1) Go to the happy hour and develop social relationship that will help me better understand my employees and perhaps "juice" more productivity out of them but also perhaps be reluctant to fire some one who really should be, and (2) don't go to the happy hour and be able to firmly rule your underlyings without feeling like such a bad person but perhaps be missing the many toasts to my slow painful demise.

15 September 2005


I don't program in my free time but I still found the first interview interesting. You won't find any love for Microsoft here... BTW I am downloading Linux, which contrary to what I thought a year ago, does not make me a nerd... as evidenced by

Addendum: I just watched interview 2, it was also great.

My little corner of Rio

Should have used Google Earth instead of Google Maps for better resolution, but this will do...

Notable Locations marked on map:

  • 686 (say: Meia-Oito-Meia) is the restaurant I eat at nearly day.
  • Speed Queen is a convenient full-service laundry, though used only when absolutely necessary. Since I started running, socks run out faster than underwear.
  • Vem Q Tem is a great little Kiosk (ou quiosque). I met more diverse peoples here than anywhere else in Rio. It is owned by Dudu (an unfortunate nickname that everyone named Eduardo uses). Dudu is also in the band Quilocura, is in law school, has two kids, and is learning English. He either is lying or doesn't sleep or both.

13 September 2005

Getting your customers to work for you

The van to Fundão that I take several times a week is an example where the customers' interests are in line with the owner's. Once the van is full we can take a direct route to Fundão. The sooner the van fills up on the route, the quicker I get to school and the owner can make another loop. However here my desire to help fill up the van is not nearly large enough to compel me to advertise its use, such as screaming "Quatro-Oito-Cinco até Fundão diret" out the window.

The nature of some businesses is such that some of your customers' interests conflict with the owner's. Consider an amusement park. As a customer you want it to be empty so you can get on rides easier. But the desire is not nearly large enough to compel the customer to try and drive people away.

I can think of a couple examples where the customer's desires, in or not in the owner's favor, is strong enough to compel direct action:
  1. Reconsidering the amusement park, the desire to hang out with friends will likely overwhelm the emptiness desire and they will end up drawing more customers and increasing the owner's revenue instead of decreasing it.
  2. Network services such as instant-messaging and e-mail have at times compelled me to encourage others to set-up accounts. BTW, get Skype.
  3. Whenever you discourage somebody you dislike from going with your group (to the movies, a restraunt, etc).

06 September 2005

Taking your pulse in the City

I'm sitting in one of thousands of cabs in Rio. The meter clicks up a notch and that's another 30 centavos in the cabbie's pocket. But wait, we weren't moving! How does that work? I pay for going and I pay for staying. Rio has been my first taxi experience, so I think I can be forgiven my ignorance of the "Time and Distance" charging scheme.

You are charge based on Pulses. Whatever comes first: 265 meter pulses or 265, .226s pulses.

Apparently, you are charged for time or distance and not both at the same time (check link for details). So what is the incentive of the taxi driver under this scheme? Well common sense says the taxi driver wants to drive as far as possible in as short a time as possible, hence recording tons of meter clicks. However, it also allows for compensation during a traffic jam (or any speed less than about 16 km/h), which may alleviate sidewalk driving and the such.

So what would happen if you raised the fee of the time rate or lowered that of the distance rate? Well, driving slowly would be less costly, so you may not get to your destination as fast, but perhaps you'd get there in one piece.

Question: Can anyone find accident statistics on Taxis relative to other types of Drivers?

03 September 2005

The transformation

Riddle of the Weekend: What is great to have a lot of, none of, but not some of?

This enty provides an answer to that riddle!

We started innocent and näive.

But we were not to stay this way for long... Behold, the tranformation.

And now for the Amerioca Punk Rocker (plus groupie) album shot

Now I'm bald.

More mohawk madness here. I have been told this is exactly the type of thing not to blog about. In a sense I agree -- it's seems more fitting in one of those tell-all (show-all) online journals. But I'm going to justify it by making liberal use of the blog's title, Second Glance. That is, we got a lot of second glances, and you might say "they should have taken a second glance before doing that!"

As for me, I thought we looked pretty good.