A Tip for Introverts

Sometimes its tough being an introvert — especially in a room full of extroverts. All that pressure to make conversation and to be the life of the party. Here’s a tip that might help:

Most extroverts don’t remember what they’ve told you.

They’re so busy buzzing around the room talking to everyone, that they don’t really pay attention to what they’re telling to who. They just want to talk.
This means that within a day or two, you can ask them a question they’ve already answered, and they’ll happily tell you all about it again! They’ll go on and on as if this is totally new information, and all you have to do is sit back and repeat the same reactions you gave them last time. Or, if you feel like it, you can try out new reactions, just to see if something works better. They’ll forget about it in a couple days anyway.

I’ve found this information to be a huge relief at parties and social gatherings. Instead of wracking my brain to come up with the kind of superficial small talk extroverts seem to enjoy, I can just find one and ask them questions I already know the answer to, then relax while they carry the conversation!

One warning, though, don’t try this on an introvert. Not only do they remember the topic, but they remember when they told you about it, and how you reacted. They’ll be very offended if it seems you don’t remember.

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The Best Awful

And so begins week #2 of our month apart. We’re planning for a brief respite from our separation this weekend, when I’ll hopefully be able to see my family for a little more than 24 hours (paid for with 18 hours of travel.) Otherwise we’ve been both been busy in our respective countries, taking care of business.

I can’t report much on what Nicole’s been up to, since I’ve been very busy with my own tasks. My goal last week was to re-paint Benjamin’s room as a pre-requisite for tasking it as the storage room… which was a pre-requisite for doing the rest of the apartment. Our place is so tiny that we had boxes jammed in every conceivable corner. When I pulled the furniture out of Ben’s room, there was only a small pathway from the bed to the bathroom to my little square of empty space on the couch where I went to take breaks.

I got it done, though, and you can see the metamorphosis in blurry phone-cam shots in this Flickr set. It was more work than I had thought it would be!

Now the rest of the place has that echoey, empty feeling, like its barely lived in.

I did get to talk to my family on Skype once this weekend — I’m bringing my computer from work home onthe weekends to get some actual computing done. Truth be told, I didn’t have time this week to miss having a computer around.

Ben actually seemed somewhat interested in the screen this time, and toward the end of the conversation even tried to reach out and touch my nose!

The kid’s citizenship paperwork has been submitted, so now the countdown clock is ticking on their Ontario health care. We’ll have to make at least one trip to New York for a doctor’s appointment for Abigail that has to happen while we’re still in our 3 months of limbo between countries. Fortunately, I arranged to keep our NY health insurance for that period. That means, dear New York friends, that we’ll be back in June. Hopefully we can see some of you then.

I can’t say that its fun being away from my family, but so far its been survivable. Things are quiet, and there’s a lot of work to do yet, so it works out good for me. It’ll be nice when we can all live in the same country again, though… even if we will be sleeping on a mattress on a floor for most of the summer.

Nic has been faithfully updating the Flickr feed, so check that out if you’re interested in seeing some adorable kids doing adorable kid things.

eLondon: A dead-tree technology blog, circa 2003

In 2003 I wrote a series of articles for a small but ambitious little technology magazine distributed in the London, Ontario area. The magazine, eLondon, made it for only two years, so I’ve archived what I still have for my own records.
All of these articles were written by myself (Jon Wise) and are theoretically the property of eLondon, or its owners, should they want to claim them again in the future. The posting of these articles does not imply that you have permission to copy or re-use them in any fashion.

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Not Getting Twitter

I realise I said this about Facebook not more than 2 years ago, and Myspace not long before that, but I am not signing up for Twitter.

Twitter is like… stripping everything that’s good out of a blog, and increasing the frequency by a factor of 100.

Think about it: the most basic, most boring blogs are the ones where someone talks about their day. “Today I did this, then that, etc…” Unless what you did today was exceptionally out of the norm, most people are just going to skim them over then leave until you post something better. I know that most blogs start this way, and that’s OK for awhile, but if they don’t mature past that, they inevitably grow stale really fast. Its observational, thoughtful or humorous posts that catch people’s interest. All of those generally require some context. Before you can deliver the punch line, you have to explain the situation, or the events leading up to it, or at least offer some background on the item of discussion. Even if your daily activities were unusually interesting, you still need to give your reader some context, or some reason to empathize with you.

Heading to work!” or “I’m pooping now” just isn’t worth reading.

Twitter is just hundreds of tiny blog posts, free of context, about what you’re doing. I know bloggers (myself being one of them) tend toward a little bit of narcissism, but do that many people really think their lives are so interesting that someone’s going to want to know what they’re doing throughout the day?

Facebook status updates are a decent application of this “micro-blog” concept. Most people update them no more than once or twice a day — and you could argue that these little updates might be good conversation starters (although I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been a party to a conversation starting that way.) Twitter, on the other hand, encourages you to update at ridiculous intervals. Now maybe I lead a boring existence, but who’s life is really that fascinating?!

The ability to aggregate status updates from multiple sources presents an interesting use-case, that may yet have some business function — I can imagine dozens of plant-floor devices, for example, “tweeting” their status to a dashboard that a manager can view at a glance. But for individuals who, lets face it, have a fairly limited repertoire of regular activities, what return-on-investment am I going to get for my time by following you on Twitter? Unless I’m stalking you… none I can think of.

So I’ll say it again, and maybe this time it’ll end up being true: I am not signing up, and no, I won’t “follow you.”
If you need to vent about your day, or record it for the world to see; if you have interesting thoughts… put these things together in paragraph form and at least provide the enjoyment of a little prose with your report! The occasional picture helps too!

The Dream of Evan and Chan

We now have new contact vitals, for those who keep address books and such things.

We’re maintaining a US address as our primary mailing address for all non-urgent correspondence. Don’t ask for the Canadian one, because we’re months away from having one, and even then we won’t use it much. Our address, then, for your records is:

Jon and Nicole Wise
1971 Western Ave #171
Albany, NY 12203 USA

And no one lives here, and its nowhere near our old NY place, so don’t bother trying to stalk us, creepy Internet people. Its just a mailbox at a UPS store. If you show up, they’d be glad to sell you some boxes or ship a package for you. Everyone else can mail us nice things at this address. Gifts, and money and such.

We also have a Canadian phone number now. Nicole’s old cell phone number is no longer active. The number is: 503-7202

The area code is one digit more than our US area code. For example, if our US area code was 123 (which its not) then our new area code would be 124, get it?
Its also the same area code as the one we had in Ontario before, for those that had that information.
Again, creepy people need not apply — I have your IP address!

PS: My cell phone number has not changed, and will remain a New York number for the foreseeable future.

The Emporer's New Clothes

We interupt our regular programming to bring you this rant about sunglasses.

Ladies, over-sized sunglasses are NOT attractive. I don’t know who started this trend, but they should be shot.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most stylish person around. The only sunglasses I can wear are the ones that clip on to my regular glasses. But I’m still qualified to point out ugly.

These glasses, see, they cover half your face. Glasses are supposed to cover your eyes — not your eyebrows, most of your forehead and half your cheeks! Yet people prance around in these bug-eyed lenses thinking they look hot. You don’t look hot! You look mostly obscured! You could be the elephant man under there!

Unless these things have some hidden utility as diving goggles, I’m going to have to declare over-sized sunglasses the worst fashion trend since bell bottom pants. Don’t walk, run to the nearest store and replace them with something that doesn’t make you look like a character from A Bug’s Life.

One Word.

You see one word at the top of the page. You have sixty seconds to write about it.

Try it, its fun! Write your own before you read the others. Mine’s on this page — don’t laugh, its hard to do in less than a minute!