May 05, 2004

Another great Tablet / Office moment

Yesterday, I had to fax a signed form off to Fidelity for something. Normally, this involves printing the form, signing it, faxing it, and then remembering to keep a copy of that form somewhere for my records. Then, if I want the confirmation that the fax went through, I either wait around at the fax machine for it to finish, or go back downstairs later and find the confirmation page for my fax.

Yesterday, it involved printing the form to a file, opening it in Microsoft Office Document Imaging, signing my name on the Tablet with the Tablet's pen, going to the File menu, and choosing Send To Fax. And then it was still saved on my hard drive for my records. The confirmation was emailed back to me. All without getting out of my chair.

Yes, it's a small thing -- it probably saved a total of five to ten minutes out of my day. But it's the small things like this that can add up.

Posted by Mike at 08:54 AM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2004

Parking at SJC

Last night, by the time my flight from Seattle finally arrived, San Jose Airport had closed all but one of the exit gates from the Terminal C parking lot. Consequently, it was literally 17 minutes from the time I turned on my car to the time I was able to leave the parking lot.

For having some of the most expensive airport parking around ($30/day -- more than SFO, I believe), it seems like they could afford to pay more than one parking attendant.

Posted by Mike at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2004

Open Adoption

If all goes well, Meredith and I will be adopting a baby soon.

There are, it seems, three major routes to go through for adopting: international, domestic closed, and domestic open.

International is where you sign up for a baby from Russia, China, or wherever. You pay the money, get in line, and when you get to the front of the line, you fly to the country and pick up the child. One problem with this, from our perspective, is that you don't ever get an infant this way. The minimum age depends on the country, but it's never any younger than six months, and can be a year or 18 months.

Domestic adoption has traditionally been closed: you get an infant, but don't know the birthparents, and the birthparents don't know you. The kid can sometimes get the records unsealed after turning 18. For most of the last century, this was the norm for adoptions in this country.

In open adoption, though, everyone knows everyone. The birthmother looks over profiles of adoptive parents and picks the ones that she'd like to talk to and meet. After meeting, if both parties agree, it's a match. After the birth, you might (depending on what the birthmother wants) continue to have contact, in the form of photos, phone calls, or visits. There's a growing body of research that suggests that this is much better for the child, because there's no mystery. It's never "where did I came from", it's "I came from her".

Last January, we met a couple from Nevada who are expecting a baby. We talked on the phone for an hour before meeting, then they drove out here and had dinner with us so we could all meet and make sure that it seemed like a good match. And it was!

Since then, we've been out to visit them several times, and they've been out here once more. The baby (it's a boy) is due in early June, which, realistically, means it could come anytime between now and mid-June. The birthmother is so ready for this baby to be born ;) It's really been a great match with them -- all four of us get along well.

One possible complication is that both birthparents have some Indian heritage, which means that the Indian Child Welfare Act (aka ICWA) applies. Basically, ICWA says that if a child is elegible for membership in an Indian tribe, said tribe can intervene in an adoption and insist that the child be placed with Indian parents. The procedure is that we have to notify the tribes of the planned adoption, and they answer and tell us whether or not they have an interest in the child. We've done the notification; now we're just waiting to hear back from them. Hopefully soon. We don't think this will be a problem, but, well, you never know.

The second major thing that could change this, obviously, is that the birthparents could change their mind about the adoption. After the birth, they have a minimum of 72 hours before they can sign the relenquishment. They can take longer to decide; they cannot take less time, which makes sense. It's a huge decision to have to make.

So, we're waiting. At least we don't have much longer to wait! But it could still be a long month (or more).

Posted by Mike at 05:44 PM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2004

The eerie quiet of a power outage

Today we lost power at work (PG&E is still trying to figure out why).

As you walk the halls during a power outage, the most striking thing is the quiet. Nothing is making noise. Even late at night, when no one else is around, there's noise from the computer fans, the buzzing of monitors and lights, hard drives. But with no power, there's absolutely nothing.

It's very weird.

Posted by Mike at 07:07 PM

May 12, 2004

Good book on Open Adoption

Meredith found a book called "The Open Adoption Experience," and we both think it's a really good look at issues around open adoption. It talks a lot about the experience of both the adoptive and birth parents, and looks at issues that can arise before the placement, at the birth, and at different stages in the child's life. It's really well done, and well balanced. Great book -- we highly recommend it.

Posted by Mike at 09:48 PM

May 13, 2004

Writing code vs. managing

From an email tonight from one of my employees after I checked in a bunch of new code to fix some bugs:

"What the hell are you doing managing?  You should be writing code full time J"

I told him that conflict had pretty much been the story of my career for about the last five years...

Posted by Mike at 12:14 AM

May 18, 2004

Happy adoption news

Our adoption agency called today with the wonderful news that both Indian tribes have written to clear the adoption. This means that they aren't claiming any interest in the child under ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act), and aren't going to block the adoption.

We are thrilled and relieved.

Now we just have to wait for the baby itself.


Posted by Mike at 10:29 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2004

OK, so mostly happy news

In the 'nothing can ever be simple' department: the voice mail we got last Tuesday said that "all the tribes" had cleared the adoption, but it now appears that "all" means "all but one that we're still waiting to hear from."

While this is a little disconcerting, everyone continues to assure us that there's nothing to worry about and everyone expects this tribe to clear it soon.

This whole waiting part sucks.

Posted by Mike at 11:08 PM

May 24, 2004

Full RSS

I changed my RSS feed today to contain the full text of the entries, instead of just the excerpt and a link. I had meant to a long time ago, but since I don't, of course, subscribe to my own RSS feed, I had forgotten that I had never done it. Oops.

Posted by Mike at 10:32 PM

May 26, 2004

Back to happy news

OK, the news that the announcement that all of the tribes had cleared that adoption wasn't quite right, wasn't right.

In other words, really, truly, all the tribes have cleared it.

("Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.")

Still no baby, but the guess is within a couple of weeks or so. Soon!

Posted by Mike at 11:42 PM

May 28, 2004

Trying Thunderbird

I love Microsoft Office Outlook. It is an outstanding piece of software. The UI is easy to use, the integration of email, contacts, and calendar is great -- it just works.

Well, mostly. It just works great with Exchange email accounts (and probably with POP accounts), but the IMAP support is, well, less than great. It basically works, but then has weird connectivity problems sometimes. It also, like most IMAP clients I've ever used in my life, has fairly miserable offline support (you can read and write email, but can't move from one folder to another).

Recently, after reading a post from another MS employee about IMAP, I tried Mozilla Thunderbird. The fact that almost all of the shortcut keys are different than Outlook was annoying, but I could probably live with that. The things that really drove me nuts were:

  • You can configure it for offline work, but then it doesn't actually seem to download any of the email. Instead, you can right-click on each folder you want to download, choose 'properties', choose 'offline settings', and then click 'download mail'. Umm ...
  • The email server I use has a self-signed SSL certificate. Outlook whines everytime I open it about how it's not signed by a recognized authority and asks if I want to keep using it. Thunderbird whines when I open it, then whines again periodically. I can send an email, it pops a dialog warning me that I might be using a bad cert, then I can send a few more emails without any dialogs, then I'll send another one and get the dialog popped up again. Umm ...

So ... back to Outlook for me.

Posted by Mike at 11:20 PM