July 31, 2007

Operation went OK, mostly…

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:02 pm by mondhandy

Apparently the operation went well, the physician seems pleased with the outcome so far. I am not even wearing bandages anymore, just patches on top of the stitches. Unfortunately it seems the bandages were too tight and I didn’t take them off in time, and now another finger has lost it’s feeling in some places (they bandaged index and middle finger together for support). The physician seems confident that the feeling will return over time, though. It is just a very strange sensation for now.

I also don’t really feel up to work yet, and it gives me a slight depression. There are so many things to do, and I can’t do anything. The strings will be removed next monday. I can only hope that by then I will also feel fit for working again.

All in all, surprise, operations are not a very pleasant experience. When the hand business is over, I want to consult the orthopedist again and try to do everything to avoid further operations. For example, I have an indication for a hip replacement, and my knee is also already hurting. That would probably much worse than just the finger. Perhaps it is not too late to avoid that fate :-/

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July 17, 2007

RSI and/or a cyst in the bone

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:13 pm by mondhandy

For years I have felt some pain in my fingers, particularly the mouse finger. I used to blame it on real time strategy games: when the troops didn’t react the way I wanted them, I tended to strain my hand too much. Doctors weren’t much help most of the time. 4 years ago a x-ray showed no apparent problems, and a neurologist measured the nerves going into my hand and found only a mild strain. Recently I asked my family doctor about it again, as the pains have become much worse, but she mostly recommended to stop drinking coffee, use a trackpad instead of a mouse, and do stretching exercises. An orthopedist I saw didn’t even look at my x-rays, he only recommended me to consult his wife, who is a specialist of chinese medicine.

Now I called the info-hotline of my health insurance company (“infomed”) to have them recommend another specialist to me. Today it went there, and it turns out that I have a cyst in the right index finger. So they’ll have to operate: the cyst is scraped out of the bone, and then a piece of bone from my hip will be used to fill the hole. Eeeeeew!!!

I hope it will all go well. I am not sure yet if the mouse is redeemed, though. While the doctor said that it is an independent problem, it seems to much of a coincidence. Maybe the cyst was induced by my heavy mouse use?

Since not only my index finger is in pain, I have started to finally learn the 10 finger system for typing. It is very slow for me, but ultimately it really seems to reduce the strain on the hand. I also notice that often my whole arm is tense when I sit at the computer, but I am not yet sure how to avoid it. One of my neighbors, who also had severe RSI problems, recommended a system called “Ergo Rest”, also, he said his problems ultimately stemmed from a weak back and went away with Kieser Training. He recommended a specialist, but my insurance doesn’t cover him.

Except for discovering the cyst, the new orthopedic also didn’t have much advice for my RSI problem, so I still feel really uneasy about the whole thing. After all, I currently earn my livelihood with the computer. I would like my hand to hold out for decades to come, and I am not sure what to do to ensure it.

July 13, 2007

Tedious work: social bookmarking links

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:42 pm by mondhandy

I just added some “bookmark me” buttons to my “books & links” page. It was tedious work to find out how to do it for each individual bookmarking service, so I thought it was worthwhile information to share.

For the english ones, I found overview pages: 3spots.blogspots.com lists code for over 30 bookmarking services. And now that I write this, I see that they have a link to information on german bookmarking services, too. As I focus on german customers, that is REALLY useful. Just adding these little icons took me about two hours of research… At least I found additional german bookmarking sites to add my page: Google Bookmarks and Yigg. Yigg is so crappy that I ended up not including it, though. Taggle seems to not exist anymore (bought by Mister Wong), although it is still listed on that page. Also, for linkarena they show the wrong submission code. The correct one can be found her: linkadd for linkarena.

Another challenge was to display the “add bookmak”-icons properly, neatly next to each other in a row. If I remember correctly, I used a an unordered list (<ul>) with the following CSS styles (ul, li and img all have class=”addsocial”):

ul.addsocial {list-style-type: none; display: inline;}

li.addsocial {display: inline;}

img.addsocial {clear:none; display:inline;}

I am still not 100% satisfied, it would be nice to have a small caption show op when the mouse hovers over an icon. Not sure why the title tag of <a> doesn’t work.

All this took me about three hours – for five little icons!  Was the expense justified? I guess not really, except if I tell myself that next time it will be a lot faster, because I can just look in this blog how I did it the first time.

July 12, 2007

New jobs page

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:06 am by mondhandy

Just a quick note that I have added a page about “jobs” – mostly low paying stuff, but perhaps if one of my readers has some idle time, they might be tempted to pick up on it.

Viral marketing and ethics

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:27 am by mondhandy

Here is another blog post about marketing. There was another one (which I can’t find anymore – I never seem to be able to find web sites I would like to refer to) about how a relatively new social network saw enormous growth by all but forcing their users to give away their passwords for their email services (ie Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Gmail). Then the network would send out invitations to all people in your address book automatically. The blog I cited above also mentions something similar: people give their MySpace login to the service, and invitations are sent to all their MySpace contacts. Facebook does it, too – when I first signed up, I didn’t understand that you can also search people with the small search box in the sidebar. Instead I clicked “find friends”, but in that dialogue you are also almost forced to give your email password to Facebook so that they can send invitations to all your friends. Given the hype around Facebook, I can readily imagine a lot of people giving in to the pressure (“I want to be part of it, too”) and giving up their passwords, because they give you the impression that that is what you have to do to participate. Note: I don’t like Facebook very much.

I don’t like that kind of viral marketing, because I consider it slightly unethical. People should be educated to never give away their passwords. That is not the worst part, though. The really bad part is giving away your friends email addresses (private information) to a third party. That is a big no no in my book. So while that kind of marketing seems to work for the time being, I would resent doing it, because it would encourage people to do things they shouldn’t do in my opinion.

Still, viral marketing obviously is important, and while the moon calendar has no inbuilt viral aspects, I use it as a criteria for deciding on upcoming projects now. I think a truly viral product has more than just an email invitation form, though (I added one of those forms to Mondhandy.de, too, but so far nobody has used it). A truly viral product is viral because it depends on the interaction of people. An example would be a multiplayer computer game where you invite your friends to play. I guess one way to make the moon calendar viral is to add another activity that basically says “convince a friend to buy the moon calendar today”. What are other viral products: the link tracking thing could be inherently viral, if it was used for a link exchange like a top list (ie the links are being sorted by how many referrals you received from a web site). Thinking about it, for many services there could be a way to add that kind of viral spin. The current social networking services and photo sharing services seem only mildly viral, in that context. You can watch photos and videos without having to add your own ones, so the viral pressure is not very high. OK, the social networks (a ka MySpace) require you to convince your friends to join, so that you can have a network of friends. The added benefit is not really clear to me, though. It only makes sense if it gives you a quick way to notify your friends about important ongoing things.

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