Time Well Spent
This month, our columnists address what we do in our on- and off-hours.
- By Steve Crandall
- April 01, 2003
First of all, I need to make one comment. Obviously, this time-management
stuff is working for Greg, as he actually got this column in ahead of
deadline. Not that that’s unusual for him, mind you. I’m usually the one
bringing up the rear, and this month is no exception.
Another comment: I remember that the precursor to “business process redesign”
and “re-engineering the corporation” was time management. Back then, during
a short period of time, I attended a number of time-management seminars
and workshops. As a matter of fact, we used to joke that we’d make better
use of our time if we didn’t have to attend all that time-management training!
Oh, well. At least we learned where Santa got the idea to make a list
and check it twice.
We’ve been hitting some pretty heavy subjects lately, like appropriate
behavior and ethics. So this month, let’s lighten things up and talk about
what you do in your downtime. Let’s start building some lists here, such
as, “best techie books with real people in them.” You know, not the MCSE
study guides or How to Program Your Cisco Router to Make French Toast,
but works of fiction or nonfiction that deal with the lives of technical
folks. My favorite in this genre is The
Soul of a New Machine, written by Tracy Kidder back in 1981. I’m also
partial to Microserfs,
by Douglas Coupland. A more challenging, but very interesting, read is
on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, by Sherry
Turkle, concerning the phenomenon of creating a separate identity, a separate
persona, when you’re on the Internet. What have you read and liked in
How about movies? What are the best technology-based movies of all time?
doesn’t count, nor do the works from Pixar. They’re not about technology,
they are technology. Anybody remember Tron?
How about Colossus:
The Forbin Project? I think one of my favorites is WarGames,
and not just because it’s a very good lesson in bad password choices.
Trivia question: What are the two components something had to have in
order for movie (and television) audiences to realize it was a computer?
Give up? First of all, at least one of those huge IBM tape storage devices—the
ones with the 12-inch reels of tape, preferably going backward and forward
in short, random increments. Second? Blinking lights, of course!
|As you all
know, all work and no play makes anyone dull.
So how else do you waste, er, spend your downtime? I know—games! I must
confess, I’m not much of a gamer. The last two computer games I had any
interest in were The
Journeyman Project and Starship
Titanic, but I know most of you are gamers. Again, send in your choices
for best games about technology, not using technology.
Finally, television. What are the best shows about or revolving around
technology? Just to make it interesting, let’s eliminate any program or
series produced by Gene Roddenberry or his successors. Would you consider
a technology show? What about Nova
As you all know, all work and no play makes anyone dull. With the tech
business being the way it is these days, I’m sure many of you have more
downtime than you want. Let me know how you spend that time. Write me
put "Pro Speak Time" on the subject line of your message. I'll post the
best responses in a future column. Who knows? Maybe we can make this an
annual poll, a sort of counterpoint to the MCP Magazine
Steve Crandall, MCSE, is a principal of ChangeOverTime, a technology consulting firm in Cleveland, Ohio, that specializes in small business and non-profit organizations. He's also assistant professor of Information Technology
at Myers College and a contributing writer for Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine.