Heartbeat, 12/13

No, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the world. I’m working hard on my music projects, of course. I entered two songs in the Great American Song Contest. I’ve also made 2 Squidoo Lenses, Songmeister and Synthesizer. These two pages make me an expert at each topic.

Exciting stuff.

I’m looking forward to Christmas, for now. I know it’s going to be a tough one since it’s the first without Daddy. I’m trying to make it as celebratory as possible for my daughters, though.

I don’t have much other news, check out my Squidoo pages, and keep listening to the music listed below. I ought to have an Uncle Widget CD available for purchase soon.

Bye-Bye Bloglines

Ok, it seems odd that only about 2 weeks ago I committed to using Bloglines to aggregate my feeds, and now I’m already moving on. Yes, Google (of course) has caught my fancy with this slick (and very Web 2.0) news reader/aggregator. Since I use my Google account for gmail, personalized search, and the ig personalized homepage service there was really no setup to do besides importing my OPML export from Bloglines.

Once again… good job, Google.

An Antithetical Matter

It has been brought to my attention by friends, people I’ve never even met and by the little voice in the back of my head that it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. While this is true, there is good reason.

I set out here to offer, support, and field good ideas on productivity and on making life better for like-minded people. Productivity is a high aim.

I could probably find a reason to post every day.

Since my posts on GTD with Gmail, my readership has gone way up, and it seems I’ve stumbled across even more clever ways to implement GTD. I’ve seen several people bouncing all over the place on their implementation schemes. I won’t spell out the irony. Merlin and others noticed it and posted on it before I did. Expounding would be unnecessary.

My goal here isn’t to provide people with something to read so that they can avoid work. The goal here is to provide and collect ideas so that we can get our work done and move on to more important things.

So, worry not, I’m still here. From time to time I’ll be selfish and ask you for feedback or a solution. Today, now that I’ve thoroughly wasted 5 or 6 minutes of our time with this exercise in hypocrisy, I’ll ask that you go do something that’s been hanging out on your action list or project list with no progress for way too long.

Reflection and Bonuses

First, regarding yesterday’s post: The statements made were not just out of momentary passion. Even after reflection I believe, perhaps even more strongly, that my concerns are valid and justified.

Bonuses: Annual Christmas bonuses at work, a free computer with the purchase of a car, or the child tax credit are all highly publicized “bonuses” that we’ve come to expect. I believe that a bonus should be unexpected. Give people more than you told them you would. Give them more than they expect – not less. Pay this ideal forward, and one day you’ll be blessed with getting something more than you expect.

Why? Marketing campaigns tend to hit the high points, all of the high points, and then hit them again. How many times have you paid for a movie ticket only to be less entertained than you were by the free trailer? The most effective marketing tool is your product itself because it brings people back. If a consumer discovers an interesting and useful feature they didn’t expect they will be more likely to come back next time to see what other surprises may come.

This doesn’t only apply to the business world. If your spouse asks you to vacuum the living room while they run an errand (of course the first step is to do exactly that), dust the furniture and (un)load the dishwasher too but don’t mention it. Even if they don’t mention that they notice, they notice. Your (edit – thanks, Seth) pointing it out will take away any cool points you earned from the extra work – its like adding the extra-cool feature to your marketing campaign (mistake). Keep it secret, keep it safe.

Eloquence

I realize I’ve skipped a few days. In short, understand that the world has changed and that I needed some time to reflect.

Now: the main topic, eloquence in writing.

To me, the ability to communicate effectively in writing is extremely underrated. There’s nothing worse than a highly educated or seemingly successful professional who has a dire inability to write in English. Is the Internet to blame for this loss of eloquence? This is a weak excuse, but I’m certain that it hasn’t helped.

My solution: keep the art alive and be vocal about it. When you see someone using quotes improperly, please tell them. When you see someone using “i.e.” improperly (it stands for id est, which translates to “that is,” and requires the trailing comma), please tell them. You know the rules but everyone around you doesn’t. How to be tactful is up to you but without the communication of these principles and ideals the modern mind of society as a whole will continue to dwindle to nothing.

Please comment with examples of wonderfully terrible sentences produced by people who should know better. We’ll have fun tearing them apart together.