Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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More Rick Umali web sites at:

Yahoo! Geocities
Lycos Tripod
The World
My Own Domain

Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Friday, March 16, 2001
Yesterday, I read in the Boston Globe that someone donated $360 million to my college, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. On the school website, it's touted as the largest gift ever to any public or private university in the United States. Two things that I'd like to point out.
  • I'm not the anonymous donor.
  • I only encountered this news via the newspaper.
Despite the prevalent use of the Internet for news and information, nothing beats reading the headlines of a major United States newspaper. I was quite specific about just reading the headlines. I don't read the newspaper with any sort of depth. In fact, there are days where I can only skim the headlines on the first pages of each section.

But when I do look at the newspaper, I see stuff like this news about my alma mater. It reminds me of why we have newspaper editors, and writers. These people are making decisions about what would be interesting to the public at large. And I'm glad.

I believe that with the Internet, it's too easy to focus on 'your speciality'. We dive deep, but forget breadth. We lose touch with what else is going on. We're not as 'informed'.

I know I could do more. I could listen to NPR. I could subscribe to more newspapers. I could be a regular TV news viewer. I don't these things. There are too many things. Which is why I like to skim the newspaper headlines to see just what else is going on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Today, I spent almost $200 on a visit by a plumber. We had a leaky toilet, and while I was able to diagnose the problem, I just didn't know when I could actually do the repair work. Now this is our bathroom in the main bedroom, and with my pregnant wife needing these facilities, I was hard-pressed to fix this leak. (We have other bathrooms, so it wasn't 'an emergency'.)

Enter the time value of money. Sure, the plumber took less than an hour to make the assessment and repair. But he was able to do this while I was at work, and well before I could devote the time to fix it. (Wouldn't you know that the leak started on Sunday night.) The plumber saved me a trip to Home Depot. The plumber saved me from the labor of this repair. The plumber saved me from pulling my hair out if I would have screwed up. In other words, $200 is not that bad to spend for the peace of mind.

Of course, I had $200 to spend. And I'm grateful for it. I suppose if I weren't financially capable, I would have tackled this on my own, but please. I saved myself the time and effort, and that costs money.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001
OK. Still at work. As I mentioned earlier, I have packed a good number of files, and sent them home. I'm spending bits and pieces of today socking away 'worthy emails' from the past few years. Using Outlook, I can sort by person, and then scanning the subjects, I can decide if I want to keep the email. It's odd to want to keep all these emails, but like I said, I need something to do when I leave here.

Monday, March 12, 2001
OK, so I'm at work now. I thought I'd be a little subversive and post from my office. I don't want to go into the details, but I am leaving my current employer at the end of this month, or sooner (depending on when my wife goes into labor with our first child). Yesterday (Sunday), I spent a few hours packing up my personal effects (books, trinkets, framed photos, files). I also spent time archiving my email, with the thought that I'd go through them for cool contact information, and what not.

I took home two moving crates of stuff. Among the mess: old college transcripts; certificates of 'attendance' (to technology training, etc.); old 'clothing' that I've stashed in my desk (a nod to Working Girl). Amazing old stuff. And I'll have plenty of time to catalog these when I finally leave.