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Archive for April, 2010

It’s a rainy and cold Saturday here in Vienna. Faced with endless stacks of work, it’s the kind of day that I just want to watch back-to-back Anthony Bourdain “No Reservations” shows and eat stuff that is bad for me,  unshaven, wearing my raggedy-ass black sweatshirt. 

Yes, I am having a discipline crisis.

Like most of you, my work  is demanding. I work every day. If I don’t, I easily and quickly fall behind.

I chose this path, the road Les traveled, if you will. Maintaining the pace requires strict discipline. I usually do pretty well in the discipline department, but there are days when I would just as soon goof off and spend the day in mindless frivolity.

I remind myself that what I do is not difficult physical work, like coal mining. But sometimes simple, even difficult physical work, allows you to suspend your mind and exercise your body. My work is not like that. Everything requires precise thought, planning, and execution on deadline. It’s all mental. That can be much more tiring than physical work.

It is relentless. For those of us who do work like this, it never seems to be finished. With some physical work, like building a wall or clipping a pasture, you can finish it and look back at the completed work. Mind work is seldom like that. It seems to never be quite finished. There is always an improvement to be made, some random embellishment that makes the work better.

And on and on it goes. A good  example is the literature review for my dissertation. Having finished a first draft, I must continue to refine it. In truth, it will never really be finished. The research will continue, and the writing will be a regular part of my life.

Lao Tzu said, “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.” The way I see it, the statement should be, “A journey begins with one step, but take your lunch because it ain’t gonna end anytime soon.”

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Tomorrow, April 4, the faithful world over celebrate the highest holy day of the Christian calendar, Easter, and the resurrection of Jesus.

But today, the worship is for a small high-tech device, yet another piece of techno-wizardry that promises to transform our lives.

Hail Steven Jobs, the iPad is here. We are saved.

This $500-to-$800 device is the latest in a line of popular, high quality products from Apple, which has received 240,000 advance orders for the iPad. Part laptop, part smartphone, part book reader, the iPad is everyone’s darling at the moment.

Given Apple’s track record at producing excellent, advanced products, the iPad should be a huge seller. Apple — and Steve Jobs — represent the best of American innovation, product design, and high quality. Apple creates useful, elegant, and user-friendly  products that people want.

If the line of people I saw early this morning at a nearby mall waiting to purchase an iPad is any indication of what is happening in other places, the iPad is off to one heck of a launch.

Apple rocks, but ironically, I am writing Apple’s praises on an ancient Dell laptop. It gets the job done, and that is really all that matters.

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