Headlines for Friday:

Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
BX@1000-1200 Attend TATP: Are we having fun yet?: Teaching to different learning styles, Robarts 4049 (tatp)
BX@1300 Attend pre-group interview for graduate student therapy
AX@1400-1700 Prepare lab for DSS from 2005.09.16 (teaching)

Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
BXWrite about call-centers : E-Mail from Richi's server (writing)
BXE-mail igor@cs.utoronto.ca and check out http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~igor/acm/next.html (AcmTraining)
BXWrite Malu thank-you note : Malu Marella-Sulit (social)
BXWrite Tita Lila a thank-you note : Lilia Mano Sulit (social)
BXE-mail Ed Chin about veggies and taxes : E-Mail from billt@ss.org (social)
BXWrite ONE Toastmaster from before, for starters

1. Places to shop: 21:08

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ACT TWO 596 Mount Pleasant, 416-487-2486 Designer cast-offs
CHOCKY'S 352 Queen West, 416-977-1831; 2584 Yonge, 416-483-8227 Pajamas and jackets
ENDS 1930 Queen East, 416-699-2271, etc. Wool overcoats, etc.
JO'S CLOTHES CONSIGNMENT BOUTIQUE 682 Queen East Designer cast-offs
ROZANEH 7998 College vintage

2. On call centers: 22:24

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UPDATE: On call centers MP3 podcast

People rarely ask me to write about particular things, so when I _do_ get a request, I'm thrilled to write about it.

Here's what William Chua asked me to think about:

Hi, could you share your views about Computer Science or ECE graduates of the Philippines working in a call center providing support for diff. IT/ISP/networking companies? I read an article from Inquirer and I could not remember the author but he stated that the Philippines is a factory of call center employess.

I don't think call centers are bad. A brief stint at a call center can greatly help people learn how to communicate. Besides, helping angry people solve tech problems is _not_ easy! I think it's fantastic that so many people are learning how to do that.

Call centers employ not only call agents but also managers and developers. As long as you know what your career goals are and your call-center job either fits in with your long-term plans or makes it possible for you to work on your long-term plans, then it's great.

In fact, if the Philippines is a "factory of call center employees", couldn't that be considered a good thing? That means we pick things up quickly. We're good at communication. We can empathize with people and make them feel listened to. Aren't these things we should be proud of?

I think that being a "factory of call center employees" means that the Philippines is overflowing with talent, and we just need to imagine better ways to harness all that talent. I _know_ it's possible, because I know people doing exactly that.

So let's dig deeper. Why do people think call centers are a bad thing?

I think it's because most people see being a call center agent as a dead-end job. And it could be, if you don't make sure you're developing new skills. So I want to ask: Are CS and ECE graduates going into call centers because there's nowhere else for them to go? Are CS and ECE graduates running into dead-end careers, except for the lucky few who go on to real development work?

Interesting development jobs in the Philippines aren't usually advertised in the newspapers. It seems that many employers fill their companies by posting on mailing lists and using word-of-mouth. Typical grads who respond to newspaper and online job ads won't even hear about these positions, nor will employers hear about those grads.

Tech grads should also consider non-tech companies. For every web company looking for a Flash developer, there are countless other companies who need someone to make sense of this computer thing. This is where personal interests become useful. For example, if you're interested in photography, you might be a great fit for an advertising photography studio that needs an all-around tech geek because their former one moved to Canada for graduate studies. ;)

And what about entrepreneurship?

So if there are so many opportunities, why do people get stuck?

Maybe it's because they aren't qualified or don't feel qualified. That's just a matter of practice, which is just a matter of discipline and desire.

Maybe it's because they don't know how to go out there and find or make their own opportunities. They don't learn it in school, and they may have never heard someone tell them that they can do it.

Maybe it's because they need someone to nudge them to go out there and make things happen.


3. Geekwear: 22:54

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I actually like wearing geek swag: clothes and accessories with a logo or geek reference. Geek swag identifies me to other geeks and makes it easier for geeks of similar interests to start conversations with me. I'm not the only one who thinks so.

I want geek swag, but I want geek swag that fits my lifestyle.

- I occasionally wear T-shirts. My Linux conference baby tee is

much-loved and often-worn.

- I really want some kind of geek bag, but I also want my

multi-compartment tote with all sorts of nifty pockets.

- I want a geek sweater or hoodie that I can wear more often than a T-shirt.

- I want geek earrings. (Anyone who makes pretty Tux earrings for a

reasonable price will have my business.)

- I want an index card holder with a pen loop. This is more for my

D*I*Y Planner geekiness.

- I want stickers. My current sticker reads "The geek shall inherit

the earth." It's bright red and white, and can't help but draw attention to my ubercute-and-small laptop.

- I want a D*I*Y 1" or 1.5" zippered binder, just because. Yes, I have

far too many binders already. That doesn't stop me from wanting a D*I*Y Planner one.

Okay. Let's see. I can focus on making either a geek hoodie or a geek bag, and then move on from there.


I know people who have silkscreened stuff.

Heck, I stenciled a shirt in grade school. And it turned out quite good, too.

I should be able to do it again, but this time, cooler.

I should learn how to silkscreen. That'll probably be easier once I figure out how to get frames sorted out...

4. Silk-screening workshop: 23:30

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Peach Berserk's silk-screening workshop looks amazing. I love their dresses, but not their prices! <laugh>

Let's start out by silkscreening something small, and see how much I can figure out by myself...