Ashley Richards

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Germ-a-phobe doctor

June 9th, 2007 Posted in Uncategorized

So I went to the optometrist today and made the mistake of trying to be chatty with him. After shaking my hand, he asked how I was doing. I took that as a conversation opener (silly me), and I said I had a bit of a cold. He looked at me as if I said I had the plague. He then went on to say he wouldn’t treat me. (I told his assistant I had a cold too, and she said nothing.) So, I asked why. And he said he didn’t want to have to get close to me. Hmm… a doctor who doesn’t want to get close to anyone that might have germs – that’s everyone. I then asked him if he had a mask I could wear and his answer surprised me. He doesn’t wear masks because he has allergies and wouldn’t be able to breathe. How the hell do you go through school and treat the public without ever wearing a mask or getting close to people that have germs. Then he threw in that colds could change your vision. But sadly, that wasn’t his first concern.

Honestly, the last time I was sick, worse than this little cold mind you, the doctor had to look into my mouth and there was no need to wear a mask. So he doesn’t carry masks in his office – what if someone came in with something oozing from their eye and he had to cut something – wouldn’t wear one then I suppose? Real sanitary.
Since I just sat there out of stubborness, he caved and gave me a shortened eye exam so that I could get glasses and contacts. He made an effort not to touch me. I could have gone to any chain glasses store and gotten the same exam for less. So I licked his pen when he was out of the office.

No, I didn’t. But I should have.  I’m sure the poor assistant had to go through and disinfect everything for him after I left.

He also couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t get disposable lenses out of environmental concerns. He claimed they’re healthier, but there’s no conclusive evidence of that out there. There is proof of higher profit margin though.

Happy May Day!

May 1st, 2007 Posted in Uncategorized

Summer’s finally here. Yes Summer, not Spring. May in the old Celtic tradition marks the beginning of summer and summer solstice is midsummer. You can get the whole explanation here. Remember the maypole with the dancing and ribbons – comes from this day. In Scotland, they still hold bonfires to celebrate. It’s when faeries come out to play, everything turns green, flowers come back and generally everyone gets happy again. I think we should bring back celebrating that. Holidays with fire, costumes and fun are more enduring.
Instead, the Bush government had to try to ruin yet another perfectly good day. May 1’s become International Worker’s Day for “pinkos” and “commies,” so Bushy signed some bill making it  “Loyalty Day”.  They couldn’t let it go. I seriously don’t see it becoming anything special. Flag Day has become a non-day. Next year maybe they’ll have mass pledge of allegance rallies leading up to the election. But it’ll get smaller and smaller each time and then our children will ask, what the big was all about.

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.

Tragically Hip at The Fillmore

March 28th, 2007 Posted in Concerts, Unphotographable

Overheard at The Hip concert:
Boy: Are you Canadian?

Girl: No

Boy: Well, you look Canadian.

Girl: Um, thanks?

Boy: Can I buy you a beer?

Yes, someone did use that as a pickup line at The Hip concert. So cute.  So Canadian.

It was a fantastic concert. I’m not sure you could see The Hip in such a small venue up in Canada. They played all my favorites. I still think Gordie can be a bit funny when he performs.
Brendon is trying to figure out how to get the photos and video off my crippled Verizon Razr. Once I have those, they’ll be up on Flickr and YouTube. Hopefully they came out okay.

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.

Why not just fake crazy?

February 15th, 2007 Posted in Madness

So Jet Blue held their passengers hostage yesterday for 10 hours on the runway only to never take off. So, why didn’t someone just fake crazy, tear off their clothes, and force the airline to disembark the plane? Or have their three year old throw the mother of all trantrums? At the least you’d get yourself off the plan. I don’t understand why people would put up with that.

I was once stuck on a plane for 3 hours while they fixed something. They taxied us over to the hanger and we all went to sleep. They didn’t disembark us so that once it was fixed we could take off right away. We got a periodic update on how much longer we had to wait. And they were spot on. But that was Cathay Pacific. And not in the middle of a snow storm.

STOP IFRAMING MY SITE

February 8th, 2007 Posted in Madness

So some schmuck decided to put my site into an iframe on his site – don-lapre-richards.com

People – it may not technically be copyright infringement, but it is just plain sleazy. It could be successfully argued as copyright infringement since it’s being presented as the site’s own work. It is trademark infringement if I have something on my site trademarked.

Doing a search shows that this domain is being used for blog spamming, so it’s not like they’d have any qualms about it. Luckly, they were stupid and registered the site through Domains by Proxy, who say they will shut down sites that spam blogs. Sucks to be them. If you’ve arrived to this site because you got blog spam, report it here.
I could put some code on my site that automatically redirects people from that URL to mine if my site appears in an iframe. Only thing is that right now it messes up managing any existing posts, because the WordPress editor I’m using pulls my site into an iframe so that I can preview the page. Need to figure this thing out. Or find a better way to deal with it.

Are the Lost numbers really a credit card number?

January 24th, 2007 Posted in TV

You know, if you add an extra 4 to the beginning of the Lost numbers it’s the beginning of a Chase credit card.

4 4 8 15 16 23 42 XX

Or in credit card format:

4481 5162 342XX

I can hear the conversation.

“What numbers should we use?”

“Oh – let’s use my credit card number. It’s long enough. We’ll just regroup the numbers.”

“Dude – someone might figure it out. Take off the first and last number so they can’t use it.”

“Oh. Right. Yeah. Cool – let’s do that.”

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.