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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Thursday, March 27, 2003
I watched Talk to Her tonight (technically, last night, as I write this). The original title is "Hable con ella". I went to Kendall Square's Landmark Theater, a theater featuring what some would consider "non-commercial" films (foreign, documentary, "art-house").

The director of this movie is Pedro Almodóvar, the acclaimed Spanish director, creator of "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down", and "All About My Mother". "Talk to Her" was the 2003 Academy Award Winner for Best Original Screenplay.

The basic story: two women in a coma; two men who are their caretakers; friendships grow; love grows; in the silence of these women, there are stories, secrets. It's a beautiful movie. I cried (I'm glad I go alone; I make sure never to sit next to anyone). I laughed (despite the captions, you know when something's supposed to be funny). I saw bullfighting. I saw ballet. It moves at a patient pace. It's thoroughly original.

This is the third movie I've seen in the theater this year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003
ScriptLance is a website that exemplifies the frictionless economy. It's a gathering place where web developers/programmers can bid on "odd jobs" from web sites that need extra work. It seemed like a good way to make a few extra bucks, so I signed up as a programmer. So far, I haven't been able to get to work.

ScriptLance is too frictionless. It's like EBay, but in reverse. The "employer" can always get the "lowest bidder" for his/her job. Here's an example: someone wants to make an auction website. They want it by the middle of May. The lowest bid: $1. The highest bid for the job: $3000. One person out of twenty-two bidders, has deemed their time for this job to be worth $3000. Could this person make a living on this? One 45-day job for $3000?

I know jobs are getting done. Webmasters (owners of the web sites) and web developers are receiving feedback, and presumably web developers are getting paid. But here's another example of how crazy things can get: someone wants to add "membership" capabilities to their web site. This involves personalized pages, auto responders, mailing lists, etc. The web master has listed $10/hour as their minimum fee. At least programmers can put in a reasonable quote here, but the lowest bid is again $1, with the highest being $2500.

Browsing ScriptLance is enticing yet exhausting. There are some nice little odd jobs. Software installations. Code modifications. Things I know I can do. Yet the bidding for jobs is very immediate. And the favored programmers have feedback associated with their IDs. You can't get feedback unless you've done some work. But it seems as if you can't get work unless you have good feedback. What about resume? What about my ten years of "industry" experience.

It's capitalism, of course, in its purest form. It's capitalism made frictionless.

It's easy for me to be shrug off a failed bid because I have a day job that supports me pretty well. I'm just glad I'm in a position not to have to compete for work on ScriptLance.