February reading

That’s right. Reading. Not plural. I finished only one book last month, at it was just the last few chapters I didn’t finish in January. I have a good excuse, though: my limited spare time last month was consumed with packing and moving and unpacking.

The book I finished was for the semi-annual book discussion group at work. We selected Nicholson Carr’s The Big Switch last fall, but weren’t able to meet to talk about it until early January. Here are my final thoughts on the book:

I found the parallels between the evolution of the delivery of electricity from self-contained generator systems to the modern-day grid and the evolution of personal computing applications from desktop to the cloud to be fascinating, and a good argument for cloud computing. However, once making that argument, the author proceeds to show his true colors as an anti-technology, privacy-focused, Matrix-fearing Luddite. Disappointing.

snapshot of a week

My boss asked us to track the time we spent on various tasks and projects to get an idea of areas where we could use student help or better coordination within the department. Here’s a visual representation of a (mostly) typical week:sampleweek
A typical day is full of things involving the management of electronic resources that aren’t routine, but come up regularly. For the things that aren’t a part of a defined project or task group, I tossed them into the “putting out fires” category, which may be why it’s the largest.

I should note that the meeting slice included time spent preparing for meetings as well as time spent in them. I am striving to reduce time spent in or preparing for meetings, particularly since they are often not as productive as the time spent on doing my job. Unfortunately, some of that is out of my control due to being a member of several standing committees with regular meetings.

[I meant to publish this back on February 11th when I wrote it, but somehow it ended up saved as a draft instead.]