Happy days – tennis and email

So yesterday (Saturday for the chronologically challenged), I had the night off. Let me explain that in my role as lead database administrator for Silverpop (www.silverpop.com), I am pretty much on call all the time. So this was pretty exciting.

Even more so because we got to go to dinner last night and I left the Crackberry at home where it no doubt had a great time entertaining the cat. Then we got to bed at a decent hour and all was well until an issue arose at 3.15am and I got the call. Or perhaps I should clarify that. Remember, I left my Crackberry at home earlier that evening…. I had also turned the ringer and all email notifications off and forgot this, so my esteemed colleague had to call the house. Which he did, and that was the right thing to so.

I was back in bed by 7am and there was no way I was getting up early. So just after noon, we went for a walk through the community and around the lake as we often do. This time though, armed with tennis racquets and tennis balls, hell bent on actually playing a game. At this point I have to confess that I have not touched a tennis device in perhaps 10 years and it’s been much longer since I really played. Nevertheless, we got to the courts and discovered that the combination for the lock was incorrect and we were out of luck. At least now I have the new combination so we’ll just try this another day in the coming week.

Some of you may know that I work for an email company and that there’s always the jokes about spam. Don’t go to a dinner party and expect me to tell you what I do without a bunch of legal-sounding disclaimers. When I first got this job and started reading the book our C.E.O. wrote about the industry, I laughed at his recalling similar situations where you find yourself not going into specifics about what we do at Silverpop. Now I understand his point and am ready and able (and willing) to go into that in depth. But I digress.

One thing that came up the other day in our corporate blog was an entry about an intriguing tool that plugs into Microsoft’s Outlook email application. This tool, Xobni, appears to assist those of us innundated by email and helps make sense of what we get and what we do with it (you can read the interesting article at http://emailmarketing.silverpop.com/archive/2008/02/is_email_taking.html).

In my job, it’s not so much the email I get from individuals that is the pain. On a bad day I might receive 300 or more email that I have to read and respond to probably 100 or so of them. But on top of this, I get probably 1,000 automated email from our servers, databases, network devices telling me that they have an issue, or that they have completed a task – or just that they want to say hello. Getting a handle on how things work for those would be very nice indeed.

Xobni is currently in beta – I hope to be adding that to my toolset soon. If you’d like more information on this, feel free to press the magic button below and have a gander (that means view further information).

Xobni outlook add-in for your inbox

This week should be quiet. I have very little planned and since my Chinese friend Fang is back from his week in China (seriously, he went there for the Chinese New Year), he will be on call this week. Chris and I will no doubt be able to get some stuff done too. That will be nice since he and I both have some projects that need some attention.

I should mention that we enjoy going to a Chinese restaurant in Smyrna (outside Atlanta) that is not too far from our office. Fang and I have joked for a while about Peking Duck and the last I heard, he was going to work out a good way to get some to us – possibly from China. Whilst he can’t bring it with him on the plane (for fear the USDA dogs will get it), we might find a decent source for it in the city itself.

I need to get back into taking more pictures. As the better weather gets here, I have been contemplating ways of taking pictures that are worthy of sharing. Stuff other than the usual subjects which those of you who know me, know only two well (Claudia and cat).

I had camera envy – one of my Silverpop colleagues bought a new Nikon D300 with a vibration reduction lens. For those of you not following this important trend, it means that your pictures will be less affected by camera shake caused by all manner of things (your pulse or muscle spasms being two of these). Anyway, it’s a beast of a camera and has every gadget you would possibly want and programmable features that would have Fox Talbot rolling in his grave.

Of course I have to remember that the reason I got rid of my Canon SLR (film, not digital) was because I never took it with me unless I was going on a trip. Hence I missed all those opportunities to take pictures when the mood took me. Not that I do it much with my current Canon compact digital camera. Just that I could. It’s more portable and much simpler to use. You can really put it in your pocket and carry it around with you.

Which brings me to my new Blackberry Curve (8310) which has a camera. I have to admit that I hate camera phones for two reasons. Firstly, quality has tended to be really poor. A 1 mega-pixel phone camera is about where I was several years back when I bought my first digital. A Kodak of some description that had under 2 mega-pixels. It had a decent lens though which many phone cameras lack. That got upgraded several times (to a 4mp Sony and then a 7.1mp Canon) and I find myself today staring at my Curve which is somewhere between 1mp and 2mp. It takes decent enough snapshots and the images are reasonable. But they can be grainy and dark and the zoom is not that great.

Reason number two…. You see people standing around in certain poses taking pictures with camera phones, straining to see what they are doing. It just looks daft. And yes, occasionally I’ll take a picture with mine, some of which I am posting on Picassa now. Some of them I use for my caller-ID pictures (useful when someone calls me, although I think more so for those who can’t read).

So that’s it for now. Later this week, Claudia and I are deciding what to do about some form of vacation in May. We’ve talked about a trip to Europe, cruises to Bermuda or Alaska, a trip to the U.K. (no, it’s not in Europe – it’s the British Isles and will remain so in spite of the Chunnel) and a trip out west to perhaps Napa Valley. Who knows what we will do…. ? πŸ™‚

Have a fun week.

One thought on “Happy days – tennis and email

  1. The camera sounds awesome. And, I totally agree on the camera phones – people look like idiots! I’m so glad to hear about your attempts to play tennis. I don’t understand the rules one iota, but it sure does look like good exercise!

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