Big news around our shop today is the SIA Business Continuity Planning Conference2004
. Sounds quite boring, but look at the titles of the sessions: "Cyber Terrorism: Fact or Fiction"; "Failure Is Not An Option," from the flight director who brought Apollo 13 home; "Cascading Effects"; "Workforce Distribution for Business Continuity" (do we get combat pay for working near the center of the dart board?); "The Media?s Approach to Disaster Events" with famed Chicago journalist Pete Hamill; "Business Continuity Planning in the Face of the Unthinkable"; "Al Qaeda: A View From The Inside."
Any conference combining grid computing concepts and the thought processes of Salafi holy warriors makes for deep thinking, I'm sure.
I took advantage of a slight lull on my end to lunch with Ivan Lerner, Burroughsian standup comic and speciality chemicals editor at a trade magazine from one of those HEAVY industries. We're old Sagehens and Alpha Gamma Six Sigma radiation fellow sufferers. Published a stud of Ivan's career profile on the Morning News once, check it out. Mutual dining with significant others in the classic bridge-or-pinochle configuration was penciled in.
I can't help looking at the faces of the Middle Americans piling on to the double-decker busses for their tours of the Gaping Hole in the Ground and the Sanctum Sanctorum at Wall and Broad and thinking, Are these people going to go home, votie for Bush, and then eat canned goods in the fallout shelter until the Rapture arrives? I told Ivan the story of my 1980s friend the Rahneeshee who went to Oregon for the end of the world and then came back with his worldview bruished and deep sheepishness in his eyes.
I actually managed to donate money wirelessly from my Axim to MoveOn.org today from a T-mobile hot spot at one of the four Starbucks within a block of where I work. We are the Starbucks mecca, oh yes, a place where brainy, highly paid, extremely tense people emerge from a hole in the ground where the Dutch used to bowl. Gyms and Starbucks and Murder Ink, a downtown outpost of Shakespeare & Co., the bookstore.
Even used mobile Skype (!) to ring up my friend the Monkey Woman, who is canvassing for Kerry in poor neighborhoods in Pittsburg and having encounters with GOP flying squads looking to challenge voter credentials. Oh, this is going to be some freak show, my friends. Ivan and I talked about B horror films that can arguably be said to have prophesied these times: Omega Man was my candidate.
The NYPD was having one of its flying squad practice maneuvers this morning, where they bum rush a city street (State Street by Battery Park in this case) with about 30 squad cars. Only sign of belligerent response to severe breaches of the new global order. Not a Hercules cop in sight, and people lining up peacably for halal rice and lamb just like every day.
Our correspondent in Shanghai who cannot report on where she is because her credentials are still lost in ... bureaucracy, not the T-word ... points out that we are calling her the Technology Correspondent on Asia stories and Asia Correspondent on stories that are both or neither ... My one accomplishment today was to finagle system admin rights for our poor, long-suffering copy editor, who is a Mac man anyway. He now controls his own box and can install IM. I want everyone to have it.
I also discovered my Windows 2000 box was three Service Packs down and no one was pushing them out from the central IT command center like I thought. The whole thing is just so ... Classic Wintel Fubar. So I ran all the updates and now my machine is running good ... except that Adobe Reader croaked. Freak! Oh, well, I have discovered the joy of RepliGo for viewing PDFs on the PDA. Cool! I can carry around half a gig of basic planning docs and schedules and stuff and have my head in the game anywhere.
I can't find this amazing doggerel on writing headlines I saw on a copy editor's blog recently ... more of that later. Cat is currently licking my head and I carted home a story to read after my post-dining nap ... Using quotes to advance the exposition of a story is my editor's gripe of the week, by the way ...