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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Monday, December 20, 2004
The New York Times ran an article about Jeri Ellsworth, who recently produced a version of the ancient Commodore 64 computer that runs on one chip. A company has packaged this up into a joystick, and it's now being sold on QVC (search for E22494).

Jeri is a self-taught computer chip designer, who quit high school, but has clearly followed her interest in chip design to the highest level. The article contains a marvelous quote from Andrew Singer, a high-tech executive, who hired Ms. Ellsworth as a consultant: "It's possible to get a credential and not have passion."

How true. How true! Are we doing work that we're passionate about? I can relate to Ms. Ellsworth's resourceful childhood and her deep interest in knowing how her computer worked. She pursued something she was very interested in, and didn't let her lack of a degree keep her from learning, or making a contribution. I admire people like her!

Sunday, December 19, 2004
I sometimes wonder how I'd do working behind the counter at McDonalds. I'd probably kick some serious ass.

I go to the same McDonalds nearly every Saturday for lunch. I've observed how the orders go from the cashier to the monitors, and then onto trays or into take-out bags. I can see where the sandwiches are deposited after they're made. I can see the fries as they're being salted and then scooped into serving cartons.

Yet the level of service can really vary, despite all of these sytems. Sometimes the person behind the counter is new, and doesn't count the order. Sometimes they don't know how to ring up the order, or make change. Sometimes they're just plain slow. And even though I have the look of patience on my face, inside I'm wondering: how long will this person keep their job at this McDs? How many botched orders, or slow transactions will it take before they're back out on the street looking for other ways to make money?

I have never worked in a restaurant, much less a fast-food restaurant. I don't have a real foundation for my complaints, other than it's taking long enough to take the "fast" out of "fast-food". Moments like this, I ask myself: Why didn't I just do the drive-thru?