September 11, 2007

Bulk view

Out of my control

The person responsible for preparing letters of confirmation of degree
at University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies isn’t around.
I’ve called SGS every day to follow up on the letter, but no one else
can prepare it. My transcript currently shows that my thesis is still
in progress, so I can’t request a paper copy and use that as proof of

An international student advisor at U of T said that there’s
absolutely no way I can rush either SGS or Citizenship and Immigration
Canada. She advised postponing my start date to three to four weeks
after I send the application, which is dependent on when I receive the

I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of moving my start date forward,
but I don’t think I can do anything about it. I’ve asked SGS if anyone
else can prepare the letter. I’ve asked about my transcript. GWAAH!

Looking back, I really can’t see how I would’ve done things better.
This galls me even more than being late does. The tentative start date
for my offer was based on a fairly reasonable time estimate after my
thesis defense. I don’t think I delayed a lot myself. Maybe I should
have been more pessimistic, adding at least a 50% buffer to account
for delays in communication, unexpected absences, things like that. I
guess that’s it: be much more conservative when estimating around
other people’s times…

I can’t do anything about it now. I just have to wait.

Random Emacs symbol: change-log-mode – Command: Major mode for editing change logs; like Indented Text Mode.

Highrise HQ

I took a look at Highrise HQ following a recommendation by Winston Damarillo. It’s a web-based contact relationship manager (CRM) by 37signals, so it’s all pretty and Web 2.0-y.

Looking further, I’m surprised at how much my hand-hacked Emacs-based CRM can do:

Review a colleague’s notes before calling her contact at the printer
I do this with BBDB. Not only that, but my system automatically inserts notes into any e-mail I compose to that person.
See all the follow-ups scheduled for this week
Got that with Planner
Set a reminder to write your client a thank-you note next Friday
Ditto with Planner
Keep all important emails from a customer together on one page
I suppose I could do that with mail search. There must be a better way, though…
Schedule a follow-up sales call with a lead in 30 days
Review all communications with your investors
I haven’t figured out how to do this one yet. Mail folders help. Maybe I can hook up BBDB with my mail search engine…
Build a list of all the designers your company has hired in the past
Can do this with tags. In fact, I can build a list of people who are tagged with A but not B and whom I’ve talked to in the last year… =)
Enter notes from a call with a potential client
Enter contact info for people you met at the conference this week
Generate a list of contractors you worked with last year
See all the people your company knows at The New York Times
Regexp search, easy enough.

Highrise: you can share your notes with other people. I don’t need that yet, and I don’t think I’ll need it any time soon.

Emacs: I can use it offline. That totally rocks. Also, I can do lots
of complicated batch operations, such as composing form letters that
include conditional text, randomized text, and personalized
signatures. I can add arbitrary data fields and write code to do all
sorts of things. I don’t need Firefox or a mouse.

You know, if I just figured out how to translate my setup to the Web,
I’d make a killing. ;)

I’m going to steal the idea of a pretty view, and I’m going to make it
easier to see all the tasks associated with a person instead of
relying on my daily view. I also need to make it easier to mark
something as for-followup. Hmmm… But yeah, not too bad, not too

On Technorati:

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-server-opened – Function: Check whether a connection to GNUS-COMMAND-METHOD has been opened. – Face: Face used for displaying OPENED servers