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Virtual Work October 5, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in life, physics life, university.

I saw this quote last month. It got to me. I knew right away why it got to me. It took me until this morning’s bike ride to figure out why it really got to me:

“These days, I want to stuff my Dell in the nearest trash compactor and do everything on my Blackberry. The computer, it’s real work to manage, and I can read whatever anyone sends me on the Blackberry, almost.” Is this the future?

The Blackberry is loved by mobile professionals because it was the first handheld to get email right. Reading various blogs I’ve also seen comments like “I spend 75% of my time in [an email program]”.

My initial first reaction to these quotes are: it is a sad day when everyone is spending all their time in meetings or answering email. When do they have time to create (research) anything!? Email doesn’t make something. It doesn’t discover a new physics principle. It doesn’t build a new chip, or a road. It would be very sad if that is all we did.

Lets look at my schedule for today (Wednesday): 8am, woke up. Even though I accidentally fell asleep at 8pm last night, I’m still tired. 8:30-10:30 participate in a DZERO single top meeting. Get called out on not finishing something that I meant to do the night before. 10:30-noon: shower, get dressed, cycle into work. noon: lunch with a colleague. 12:40-2:00 attempt to make a dent in my email. Of the over 100 messages in my Inbox I managed to get through about 20 of them. From 2:00-3:15pm participate in a candidate search committee meeting. From 3:15-3:30 parachute into the joint Particle Experiment/Theory meeting where I again get called out for something I meant to do last night. From 3:30-5:00 attend the physics department faculty meeting. 5:00 — leave to pick up Julia at day care. Eat dinner. Relax and play with Julia for a while, read a very little bit of the New York Times. Poof! It is 11pm!

I am one of these people I like to hate!! That is what really bugs me!

P.S. No — most of my days aren’t nearly that bad! But enough that I always feel guilty like this.


1. Alejandro Rivero - October 5, 2006

Blackberry? Use a Nokia 770 with a decent Bluetooth keyboard. You can do TeX there!

2. Gordon Watts - October 8, 2006

Really? I had no idea you could do that on a 770!

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