# Notice (Oct 19/05): So ends my stay here on Blogger. This morning Google implemented an anti-spam 'feature' that forces me to answer a challenge phrase when I want to post to my own blog. No notice of the change, nothing. Worse is that it doesn't even work! I type the phrase, submit, "An error occured", post deleted. Damn you, Google. Chances are I will revive my blog somewhere else, sometime soon. I'll post the new coordinates here as soon as they become available. (BTW, I'm unable to post anything to my RSS stream, so I'd appreciate it if readers could spread the word and ask people to take a look at this notice)
Update (Oct 19/05, ~noon): After a frustrating few hours (and not just trying out alternatives to Blogger), I've decided that this is a good time to take a break from all this. A day? A week? Who knows. But I need to step away from it before I pass a heavy magnet over the whole mess.
Update 2: According to this post, the reason I'm seeing the CAPTCHA (challenge phrase) is that Blogger has classified my blog as spam. Thanks. User for five years and now I'm spam. I searched the Blogger site, but there is no mention of how to get the spam flag turned off. There is also no way of contacting anyone at Blogger. Wow. Spam they say I am, so spam I must be. Maybe it is time to take a break.
This summer I am determined to make some progress in establishing a proper focus to my work. Dropping out of the PhD program (and returning to finish my Master's degree) has left me without a medium-term plan. It has also changed my future career path fairly drastically. I need to choose a destination, something to work towards. The ability to drift where the flow takes me is all too alluring.
But that's not what I want to write about. My thoughts this morning are much more mundane and technical. I've been thinking about the need for me to improve my skills with my tools, which of course leads to the question of just what my tools are.
Looking at software for now, my main tools are: Windows XP, IE, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel. Add in a text editor (currently using Crimson Editor) and a few utilities, and that's it. But the bulk of what I do on a day to day basis depends on the first set of tools.
About ten years ago (+) I invested a lot of energy in that basic toolset, and have been more or less coasting on that effort ever since. Microsoft has made it easy for me to leverage my existing skills and maintain my productivity with each new release of their software. Having said that, there is (probably) a lot of functionality that I am not aware of, that I don't know how to use. I'm not getting the most out of my tools, and I believe it is important that I do.
My toolset is the Microsoft universe, and I need to focus my efforts accordingly. I have to accept the fact that it is not my calling to live on the technical frontier (Linux, etc) or choose my technology to make a statement (Apple). I just have to get my work done.
Luckily, there is a lot of interesting stuff happening in the Microsoft universe, new things and older things that I haven't been paying attention to. Now that I've realized that, I may be able to make some progress.