Friday, June 22, 2012

Imposter Syndrome

I have a problem. I get good performance ratings at work but I have a hard time accepting them. I feel as though my work isn't that "good" and thus the high ratings mean I have somehow tricked my managers into thinking I am better than I actually am. In school this wasn't really a problem because the grades were defined. You got it right or got it wrong (at least in the subjects I cared most about).  Now, I am getting rated subjectively and having a hard time assigning positive value to what I am doing. 

This becomes a problem on multiple fronts. It makes me less likely to make bold career moves because I feel like people will realize I'm not worthy. It keeps me from effectively writing materials to promote myself and my products.

Today, someone at work pointed me to the wiki page for Imposter Syndrome. It perfectly describes how I feel except if I truly am fooling others about my abilities then I am not dealing with that but instead am actually right. That's the shit that goes on in my head.

So, I need to just try and put all this behind me this weekend and enjoy the concert.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I wanna go fast

I was having a chat conversation with some co-workers about our dislike of current speed limits and our desire to go fast, countered with the inability of others to drive sensibly.  We came up with some thoughts about how to make this possible, not that it WOULD happen, but it would be awesome.


One problem in Maryland is that there is no keep right, pass left law.  Having drivers going fast and drivers going slower on the same road already happens today (such as people driving below the limit and those going a bit above) and it can be especially dangerous when someone is doing five-below the limit is cruising in the left lane.  WHY are they in the left lane?  Are they passing someone?  No.  In fact, many people are pulling right, passing them and getting back left.  (And those people shouldn't necessarily be getting back left either).  Speed doesn't kill, speed difference kills.  But even in Germany where you have people doing 200kph or higher in the left lane, and those doing 100kph in the right, it works because there is order to the chaos.  You only get left if there is an opening and you only stay left long enough to pass someone.  It is both against the law to stay to the left and to pass on the right.  


Supposedly, the prevalence of left exists is one of the reasons a keep right, pass left law has never been passed.  Granted, it would be possible to keep some of them, but all-in-all, traffic does flow much better when all exists are done from the right, and all entries from there as well.


Want to drive faster?  Pay up!  But not in the form of tickets.  Your car should have to be safety inspected annually, or biannually at worst.  Additional driver testing of some sort should be required, similar to a high-performance driving event offered at a race track.  This certification would only be valid for a certain amount of time and would have to be renewed.  If you cause an accident while driving at high speed, the faster license would be revoked.  Additional insurance would be required which covered high-speed incidents OR there would be limits on the level of liability of existing insurance.


Just because you got a license, doesn't mean you get to keep it until it is pried from your cold dead hands.  Require license renewals to have actual driving tests.  Maybe not every renewal, but every other potentially.  There are plenty of drivers on the roads that shouldn't be there.

All of this above could lead to greater income for the state through the additional licensing, inspection and testing fees.  They shouldn't be done in such a way that make it impossible for drivers willing to stay under the limit from being able to still afford it, but there are enough people who want higher speeds that can drive revenue.

So, all that is fine and dandy, but I doubt any of the above will happen, at least not until such a point where they have to pry the steering wheel from my hands (note, not my license, my steering wheel...I WANT TO DRIVE most of the time, not have my car drive itself).  So, what about a compromise.


Nevada has something called the Open Road Challenge.  They close down a public road to cross traffic and allow people to register to drive that road as though it were a race track.  They hold events twice a year recording to the website.  So what road in Maryland would be a good choice?  Hmm...what limited access highway has few exits and wouldn't be used as much on the weekend.  I know....the ICC!  A few times a year, make the ICC a time-trial raceway of sorts.  If the barriers in the center are sufficient, you could even have it run in both directions, and each person would get a run down & back for the price of admission.  The state would have to recoup the amount of the tolls that they would have earned normally on a weekend.  Drivers should be able to buy insurance specifically for the event.  Drivers should be released at regular intervals to provide spacing and measures could be taken to prevent two people from racing directly (have checkpoints and if two drivers are too close together at two checkpoints they are kicked off the road).  

It needs to be priced reasonably to get enough demand to make up for the cost, but not so low that the road is overly crowded.  Choose a price-point and a highest possible number of registrations.  Think it would never take off?  I was seriously considering driving to Nevada for the open road challenge, participating, and driving back, despite the cost.  I WOULD do it if it were in state and at a reasonable price.  All I ask is that if Maryland executes such a plan, that I get two guaranteed slots for my wife and I.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Modern Amish

When I come across someone who doesn't use the internet by choice, I find myself perplexed.  I can understand people who don't blog, or post to Facebook or Twitter, but people who refuse to use the internet at all seem as backwards to me as the Amish seem to many people.  In fact, they perplex me so much that I am having a hard time putting my thoughts into words because it just feels so foreign to me.

The cost savings from shopping online alone is significant, but even if you don't want to shop online, you can still find products, compare prices and read product reviews to help you might right choices.  Without the internet, I would spend a lot more on routine car maintenance because I wouldn't be able to find helpful threads on how to do certain repairs  Having the dealership change the in-cabin micro-filter in my cars is something stupid like $40.  The part is <$10 online (or about $15-20 at the dealership).  It takes very little time for me to do that work.  That is just a small sample but the large things add up.  I would never have found a reputable VW specialist shop to do larger work for my out-of-warranty cars without the internet.  Costs for repairs there are 50-70% of what I would pay the dealership for the repairs, but they still have expertise with VWs (which can be finicky beasts sometimes).

What if you need a certain tool or are looking for a specific item of clothing.  The "old" way is to either drive to every store or call every store that you know of (which discovery of new locations becomes a problem to).  The new way?  Check the store's website, and possibly order it and have it waiting at the customer service counter when you arrive.  This has many benefits including the reduction of impulse buys at the store.

Some people would argue that the internet (and texting) has ruined our ability to communicate, but really it has enhanced our ability to communicate when used properly.  When I lived in Germany, I was able to actually SEE my grandparents and talked to them on Skype rather than just hear their voice.  I also didn't have to spend tons of money on international long-distance calls, because it was free to Skype them.

To be clear, this post isn't about people who only sparingly use the internet, but rather people who won't use it.  I don't expect everyone to be staring at their smartphone 24/7, but the internet is an amazing source of knowledge and a way to reach out to others with similar interest.

One last thing before I get off my soap box.  How many animals are saved thanks to entities like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Rescue Foundation who help find homes for Swissies that were abandoned by their owners.  Some of the dogs they have rescued have been dropped off a kill shelters.  One of my parents dogs was able to live out his life in a loving environment around other Swissies rather than being put down in a shelter because someone didn't want to deal with owning a dog anymore.  So, if you won't use the internet for yourself, use it for the Swissies ;)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Things I wish users on the Internet knew

Posting a long legalese sounding note as your Facebook status does not prevent companies from using your data. The fact Facebook is now a public company doesn't change things magically. You signed away most of your rights to your data when you signed up. (Remember that little "I agree..." check box?)

This is just the latest in a trend of people being fooled by the internet. No one is perfect and I am sure I have been fooled once or twice, but some of these things are just bad. No, Microsoft won't donate money for each person you forward an email to. It doesn't work that way people. You can't stop world hunger by sharing a 30 second YouTube video. Twinkies don't last forever. The government isn't hiding plans for a car that can go 100 miles on nothing but a gallon of water. So think before you share that crap.