category: work

work It should start with PS though

IM from Chris mocking emails from Nick with 100% accuracy:

hi elaine,
in about three hours i will send you an email to tell you that i will be sending you an email tomorrow that says i will be sending you an email on monday with some changes that may or may not need to be done on monday, but i won’t be able to tell you whether they need to be done then because i will not have access to email until next wednesday, when i will send you an email to tell you when my next email will be coming to tell you whether the changes need to be made.

work UN-ish

So I made this design for a book, based on the old design, except I made it more in keeping with actual design standards. It’s an improvement in readability, consistency, and function. Plus it looks much, much better, and less like something they made in Microsoft Publisher.

I get Martin Luther’s 98 theses back from the client.

Number 3 especially makes me want to set them on fire.

Did I mention they’ll be taking my design and doing the actual book in Microsoft Publisher?

1. Reducing the chart size and type is fine. However, we need the values on
the bars, so you might have to broaden them a little bit.

2. We don’t like the consistent widths for the columns. Though the use of
different column widths wasn’t handled well or consistently in the last few
reports, it does make the layout more interesting and gives it more flexibility,
especially when we need to place different types of charts or larger maps.

3. We really don’t like justified type because it creates weird spaces
between words and looks old-fashioned and UN-ish. [I think this should say “un-UN-ish” -e.] We actually prefer the multiple typefaces of the original, with a strong preference for the san serif type, which looks more contemporary.

4. We prefer no indentation at the beginning of the paragraphs.

5. The size type for the box with the goals needs to be larger. Also, there
should be less space in between the lines, both in the box with the title
and the one with the target.

6. The box around the target should not have such a thick black line. [it was half a point, or 1-144th of an inch, wide. -e.]

7. The order should be: title, chart and text. Charts should always be
after the title.

8. We don’t like the yellow screen on the charts. We could leave the grids,
but make them blue or black against the white background. Also, we would
delete the two dark lines that now delimit the screen.

9. We would like to try leaving a space between the blue box with the title
and the photo below.

10. Finally, we would like to see a couple of different examples,
experimenting with other fonts/typefaces.

work Going through old email


work The follow-up (or punchline)

This is what that graph was supposed to look like. I mean, are you kidding me? This is clear?


work Yeah, that’s what that was supposed to look like.

A demonstration of the difference between “Mark data points” and “Connect data points.”

Hee hee.

What’s really funny is this is exactly how much sense this whole project actually makes.

work VPN = very patient network

I think sometimes people think I’m exaggerating when I complain about how slow my connection to the servers at work are.


That’s bad enough, but right before I took that screenshot, its estimate was 423 hours.

The 24-minute estimate, unfortunately, is probably just about spot on.

work First impressions of InDesign CS3

It crashes when I try to activate. I’ll deal with that. If I have to activate over the phone, so be it.

The apps all launch. This is a great improvement over the previous situation, where most of CS2 would, you know, not launch.

The apps are speedy and quick. You really feel the Intel-native benefit.

I really do like the new icons after all.

I’m not sure how I feel about the “dock” for the side palettes. I feel like they’re taking a little more room than I have. I use a LOT of palettes in InDesign.

I love how InDesign dots the outlines of items locked to the master page. That’s awesome.

You can constrain table cell insets to be the same all the way around, and this is enabled by default. No more zero-tab-zero-tab-zero-tab-zero. Now, it’s just … zero.

My AppleScripts don’t seem to work. This troubles me in the extreme.
Later: The scripting language for find/change has changed completely. I may be, technically speaking, fucked.

There’s now an “Extra Small” option for the size of pages in the Pages palette.

Palettes are called panels. Just to make it harder to find the right references.

Command-shift-T turns on the Tabs dialog, but doesn’t seem to turn it off. Odd.

The loaded text cursor has a preview of the text you’re about to flow in. That’s weird, but cool.

Much later: Table styles and cell styles are cute, but they are elementary. They do not allow you to specify the size of your cells. This won’t help me at all.

Back to CS2 I go. I guess I have to deal with constant crashes and instability until WoodWing comes out with a new version of SmartStyles. At least their business is safe.

work This is this week’s news

My former employer has wooed me back. They offered me a fixed salary of x minus y, if you let x equal my theoretical annual pay now at the hourly rate I’m at and y equal what I spend on commuting. I’ll be working from home. That is the dream, and it is truth. Plus things I don’t have now, including health insurance, vacation days, sick days, and paid holidays. Hardware, software, and communications I don’t have at home will be subsidized (basically, this means I’m going to get a landline [or, more likely, Vonage] and a fax machine, and a copy of CS3 when it comes out), as will the cost of commuting on those days I do need to go in.

Also, there is a signing bonus in the healthy four digits.

First thing my mom said: “Shelley won’t be able to see your Coke can!”

Needless to say, I’m thrilled. I’ve been unhappy, professionally speaking, for about a year and a half. I never disliked the work there; I disliked the job. And they’ve now offered to fix the things that were broken for me. It’s really a great situation all around. Be glad for me.

work Old CDI story

I’m cleaning off my web server and wanted to post this story, which has been loitering as a text file on for two and a half years. If it’s previously been posted here, my apologies.

[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘elizabeth, who’s in charge of managing projects and version control, sent out an email to everyone with some simple reminders of version control processes’.

[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘like to put the date on your files and mark stuff with your initials’.

[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘simple shit’.

[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘shelley printed this email, and wrote the following words on the printout:’.

[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘in all caps, cause she writes in all caps’.


[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘then she gave the printout, so marked, to elizabeth’.

[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘and told her to write up an email about version control so that shelley could send it out under her OWN name’.

[FORM] Kostia tells everyone, ‘and the email that “shelley” will be sending out differs from elizabeth’s original email only in that where elizabeth used the word “please” shelley crossed it out’.

work Dread

I’m so tired of dreading things. I’m so tired of spending my days in worry instead of in actual thought or activity. This isn’t just a work thing; this is everything. Nothing upcoming can ever be good: everything is to be dreaded. Nothing ever turns out as bad as I feared, but I fear everything anyway.

I came in to work early today and have since developed a really wonderful sinus headache. Lovely, considering I’m not even sure if I can buy decongestants without an invasion of my rights. Today I need a Sudafed more than anything in the world, and I’m afraid to walk the block and a half to CVS to try and retrieve some.

I’m tired of repeating myself. This morning, first thing, I spent an hour with one of my favorite users (the Chinese typesetter: she’s really smart, she has a sense of humor, she’s not afraid of her computer, and she understands that I can’t solve all her problems without researching them first). I came out of the meeting with two things resolved and three things I needed to follow up on. I did all my due diligence in the help desk system, then did some research, and I sent emails to the appropriate people (including Calvin) with the followup information, including more detail than I think was really my responsibility.

At 11:15 Calvin came into my cube and asked what time I’m meeting with the Chinese lady.

What. The. Fuck.

At least he doesn’t smell like shit like he did yesterday.



I told him I'd been and gone, and sent him three emails about it. He said he hadn't been back to his desk. His desk is, of course, between my desk and the door, so he had to have walked right past it. So I opened Outlook and read him the emails I'd just sent.

Meanwhile, a week or so ago someone added my name to a group I'm not in, and now I get an email alerting me to every single help desk/repair situation that happens. My email dings about once every three minutes during daylight hours (not that I can see daylight from my basement cell). Talk about dread. Considering that computer locks itself (as in, you have to ctrl-alt-del and log in to get out of the screensaver) every five minutes, and I don't have privileges to change the timeout setting, I often get these email dings while the screen is black. Then I have to log back in and look to see what the email is. I don't know until I get in whether it's an insta-delete repair notification or something that's actually for me. This causes dread.

Dread dread dread.

Good news, though, is that I did, in fact, write Applescripts that change the names of all the countries in the world in English into their Chinese or French equivalents. This was quite an accomplishment (if you ask me) and is something I can actually add to my resume. Off the top of my head (and not counting the help desk tracking system, which may be proprietary anyway), this Applescript knowledge is the only thing I'm coming away from this job having gained.

far >