Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blog Post-Its

1.Netbooks strike me as some of the best news for community colleges in a long time. In many cases, all we need for a rolling lab is internet access and decent keyboards, and netbooks offer those at much lower prices than standard laptops. (I can't imagine typing, say, an entire blog post on a smartphone keyboard, but I could on a decent netbook.) They're cheap enough that we won't need to buy extended warranties, saving even more. But I'm a little annoyed at Microsoft for not allowing manufacturers to put more than a single gig of ram on a machine that runs XP. How is that not a restraint of trade?

2.Teaching a four-year old to cross-country ski is surprisingly hard. Part of that, admittedly, is that TG inherited her father's feet, which don't necessarily point straight forward. They point to ten o'clock and two o'clock, which, as any physicist can tell you, offers better balance. (When I force myself to stand with feet pointed forward, it's a struggle not to fall sideways. This may explain my inability to use a treadmill without tipping over.) But skis magnify the impact of the angle, and she doesn't quite have the wherewithal to compensate. Every three feet or so, she'd fall, and I'd have to pick her up. I assume this is somehow surmountable, but I'll admit being stumped.

3.It looks like we're due for one of those “review your mission statement” exercises. I'm not a big fan of mission statements generally, and the mindset of the folks who are is utterly foreign to me. They seem to assume that people actually operate by deductive logic: read the mission statement, figure out something that fits with it, and plan actions by reference back to it. It's a cute theory, but it has nothing at all to do with how people actually behave. (Quick: without looking, what's your college's mission statement? I don't know, either.) In reality, people act much more intuitively, and judge fit by how well something is received. If it were up to me, mission statements would be written – if at all -- inductively and retrospectively. But nooo....

4.Watching President Obama's press conference was disconcerting. I literally can't remember ever watching a President I respected, or who impressed me. This guy's good. His Keynesian explanation of deflation was spot-on, and he just kept making sense. He's got his work cut out for him, but at least he understands the task, which is more than I can say for certain people...

5.Note to Congressional Republicans: what's with the 'no bailout for the states' thing? Aren't you people the big fans of states rights, 'subsidiarity,' devolution, and all that? Call them 'block grants' if it makes you feel better, but seriously, it's time to step the bleep up. All those cops and teachers use their salaries to buy goods and services. I'm just sayin'.

6.One of The Boy's classmates – I'll call him Sam -- is moving soon, so the teacher had everyone in the class write a little essay explaining what's great about Sam. TB wrote “Sam is funny, smart, and a good friend. He is also fun to have at the lunch table because he puts pretzels down his pants.” I couldn't have said it better myself.