Ashley Richards

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Iz in your tea cup writin ur blogs

October 5th, 2008 Posted in Business, Fun, Writing

This weekend I “soft launched” Ch.ai. It’s a tea blog. Basically I drink so much tea, find so many little tid bits related to tea, that I could fill a whole blog talking about it. And I don’t put it all here otherwise it would become rather clear just how crazy I am when it comes to tea. I don’t claim to be an expert on it. I’ll leave that to the professionals that go to Asia, India, Sri Lanka and Africa to source the tea, but I hope to entertain other tea lovers with my finds.

There are about a dozen posts over on my tea blog – stuff that I’ve been bookmarking for a while now.I’m slowly getting through it all.

So remember: Tea solves all.

Flickr Photo Download: Ra Tea

Google Gmail Bug Routes Emails to Wrong Address

March 31st, 2007 Posted in Business, Tech

Looks like Google has a dirty little secret. Gmail emails have been routed incorrectly to the wrong recipients. I’ve been receiving emails for a woman whose email address is similar to mine, minus a period between the first and second half of the username. So I thought people were accidentally adding the period – turns out that’s not the case.

I got another email for her today from a website and thought that there’s no way she’s giving people the wrong email address across the board. Checked the headers, and yes indeed the emails are going to the wrong account.

I went into Gmail Help and filled out their contact form. So far all I’ll gotten is an automated response. So I checked out the Gmail discussion boards, and, wouldn’t you know, there are over a thousand entries about people getting wrong emails. This bug looks to have been a known issue for quite some time, so why hasn’t Google done anything about it? Or even better why haven’t they at least notified users with similar email addresses that there is a possibility that their emails are being routed incorrectly?

I couldn’t imagine what would happen if someone out there had personal information in an email that would then make it possible for someone to steal the other person’s identity if they accidentally received the email. I’m not talking about social security numbers, but more like the answers to standard security questions or little things that can help you inpersonate someone. This bug allows for some wicked social engineering to occur.

Sharing information is in Google’s DNA, so when they go into a space where they need to keep information private can they do it? Can they make sure that if there is a breach in security they are equipped to take the necessary steps to rectify the situation? So far I haven’t seen it. And now they have a product where they hold on to my credit card number, Google Checkout. Hmmm…after this mix up, I don’t trust them with it.

Update – 29 February 2008

I logged into my Gmail account today and saw a little tiny link next to the address in “To” field with the username without the dot. The new Gmail help center faq now says that the email is routed correctly and that there is no other account using my username without the dot. So I wonder what happened with the other person’s account. Did they try to create the account and never realized it wasn’t actually created? And why didn’t Google ever send me an email with this information after I had requested account support? Hmmm…not very good with customer service when it’s not related to advertising it seems.  Or maybe it’s just that Gmail is undersupported.

I got a D.

March 4th, 2007 Posted in Business

On Friday, my team went through a training session on our personality types. And it turns out that I’m a Dominant-Conceptual (D/C) type.

This all started the week before when we took an assessment test where they presented four words to us and we have to choose which on best describes us – at work. (I was interrupted twice in the 10 minutes it was suppsed to take.) So this would be the personality that we exhibit while working, and only at work. In typical psych test fashion there were times where the words hardly described me at home or work, or they were words I would used to describe my behaviour at work but not in my personal life. And there’s the problem.

So we went through all the training and I still don’t feel comfortable with the assessment of myself. I talked with the instructor and she said that if that’s the case then I probably am being forced to use those two personality types – being someone I’m not. And because of that I’m probably stressed out. And I am.

What she said made me cry and think that I was in the completely wrong job. But, couldn’t it just be that work right now is very stressful because we’re under staffed?
So the test results could be:

  1. I really am the type of person that the test says I am, and I’ve been conditioned to think those traits are wrong.
  2. The test is completely wrong.
  3. Or the test is fundamentally flawed because it fails to look at the person as a whole.

I wasn’t sure, so I phoned my mom. (mom knows everything) She was in complete agreement with the test. In her words “You can get on your high-horse and take over.” Hmm..well, I don’t think I’m that bad at work considering my coworkers were surprised with the evaluation.
Sounds like it’s a combo of 1 and 2. Girls are taught that we aren’t supposed to be dominant. If you are all the other girls call you bossy. Bossy is bad. And no one plays with you. Also, how can you get a good idea of who someone is if you’re looking at only one aspect of their personality. You get a much better understanding of a person’s reaction to a situation if you know who they are at work and home. I just want to throw the damn test results out the window now.

So how do you find a Cory Doctorow?

January 18th, 2007 Posted in Business

Seth Godin says that Cory Doctorow’s ability to crazy multi-task and be a real-time editor will be in high demand. I think it already is, but companies haven’t really identified it. So once you realize that you need people that can do that, how do hire for it? How do you suss out in an interview that someone is capable of doing all this and still keep their sanity? You can’t train someone to do this. Either they have the ability to do it or they don’t.

I’m an editor in a crazy fast organization. Seth’s description of Cory sounds pretty similar to my typical day. Not only do I have to edit projects that are about ready to go out, I edit ones in process, and answer emails, Skypes, IMs and drive-bys about style, legal and anything and everything else. And in between all that figure out scheduling. Oh and I need to keep up on what’s being said about us out there so that I understand why we’re saying things without having to be brought up to speed. And of course keep up with anything that is remotely related to my industry. Lots of reading, lots of writing, lots of organizing. Right now I have 11 screens up.

But I know it’s not just editors, it’s everyone in an information rich environment. We all use email way too much. But you can’t get around it. If we’re in meetings, you can’t get us on the phone. So might as well get us on email while we’re in the meeting. And who knows when you’ll be back at your desk to get that voicemail anyway. If you want to be able to produce the best products, you have to know what the competition is doing – so you read as much as you possibly can, mostly online. On and on we go.

You need people that thrive in these environments and don’t burn out. But I’m not sure what’s the best way to find these people. So far we’ve been lucky.