As I entered my books into LibraryThing, I was surprised that I had read so many books last year. Most of my reading is technical in nature, so I tend to prefer electrons to atoms. Two factors contributed to my reading more than usual in 2005:
The only disappointment on my list is Gerald Weinberg’s Weinberg on Writing. I bought it on Johanna Rothman’s recommendation; she seemed to promise that the book would help me become a prolific writer. Weinberg is an engaging storyteller, but his book is really about accumulating ideas for writing: he advocates carrying a notebook at all times and recording “stones” (ideas) with which you can construct “walls” (finished works).
Ideas are not my problem: I have a long list of topics about which I’d like to write. My problem is lack of motivation. After 40+ hours of work and 10 hours of volunteer work each week, all I want to do is sleep or watch TV. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a book to solve that problem.
I never received a reply to my e-mail to Cingular Sales (brimstone beasts!) I was all ready to close my Cingular account and switch to Verizon, when I realized that it would cost me $175 to get out of my contract. Time for Plan B…
I switched my account to “Cingular Orange” (a full-blooded Cingular account, as opposed to “Cingular Blue,” a half-breed formerly-AT&T Wireless account) and ordered a free Nokia 6102. If the Nokia had Bluetooth so that I could use it as a wireless modem, that would have been the end of it. But it doesn’t, and I’m not crazy about the clamshell form factor (“Is that a phone in your pocket, or…?”)
So I purchased an unlock cable for my one-year-old Sony Ericsson T637 and unlocked it. I inserted the SIM card from the new Nokia, and voila! My old phone works great on my new Cingular account, and I now qualify for the $60/month unlimited LaptopConnect plan. I also unlocked the new Nokia phone (which I was able to do free of charge online) and gave it to my wife, whose 5+ year-old Nokia 8290 is getting a bit long in the tooth. Transferred her T-Mobile SIM card to the new Nokia, and it works great, too!
It cost me about $30 to unlock my old phone and I had to sell my soul to Cingular for another two years, but I now have high-speed-anywhere connectivity and my wife has a shiny new phone. I can live with that!
I closed the polls on my contest at midnight (Pacific Time; apologies to my readers in Hawaii who thought they had three more hours to enter) on February 1. Next, I went through the 100+ entries and disqualified those that were over 100 words or lacked originality. I forwarded the remaining 26 to my boss, who volunteered to help me judge (she’s a sucker for a good contest: she also loves American Idol). She narrowed it down to eight, and from there I agonized over three. The winner of the free copy of Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite with MSDN Premium Subscription is...
John Dukovich of Green Moon Solutions!
It was a difficult decision. I like that John works for non-profit and socially-responsible organizations, and his company may actually be able to take advantage of Team System’s features.
Congratulations to John, and thanks to everyone who entered. Just a reminder that if you’re a teacher or student, you may qualify for free or dramatically discounted Microsoft developer tools through the MSDN Academic Alliance program, and if you run a software company, you can join the Empower for ISVs program.
Update: Apparently, I’m not the first customer to experience this frustration.
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