My home on the web - featuring my real-life persona!

Email Delays (Yahoogroups et al.)

If you are a member of a Yahoogroup, you are probably aware of the incredible delays that can happen between the time the email was sent and the time it was received. We are all so spoiled and anything less than instantaneously is almost unacceptable. With Yahoogroups, it sometimes is really bad. I have seen messages delayed for hours, even days and sometimes you see answers to questions that have been long answered sufficiently. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who are just slow and late and like to reply to messages just to say something and basically repeating what has already been said.

But delays are not just happening with Yahoogroups, regular emails can also be delayed but in all honesty, it rarely happens. If you are curious and like to see if someone’s redundant reply was just sloppy or if there was a real email delay, you can check up on that.

In Outlook, this is pretty easy. Generally, the column that most people associate with the time of the email is called “Received”. This column shows date and time when you received the email. This information is nice and good, but wouldn’t it be nice to know when the email has actually been SENT? No problem!

Rightclick any of the column heads (for example said “Received” column) and select “Field Chooser” (DE: Feldauswahl, FR: Sélecteur de champs, ES: Selector de campos). A little list pops up, scroll down to S and drag and drop the item “Sent” onto the column heads. In Outlook 2007, two little arrows indicate the insert position - I usually position it next to the Received column.

Now, I am sure you can extract that information from the email header, but there you have to deal with all the different time zones and convert from UTC to GMT or whatever else your email passed through.

Unfortunately, I cannot find a similar function in Thunderbird, which I use at home. I am not sure why because I believe this information is really valuable - but maybe I am just a snoop! So, the next time your client tells you he/she sent the file a long time ago, and it arrives in your inbox a minute later, you know if it is true or not.

School’s out - German vs. US Universities

It has been awefully quiet around here but that’s what I get from taking two accelerated classes. Squeezing the content of a 14 week semester into a 7 week course, then trying to take two of those while working fulltime has not been my best idea. Thankfully, my university is not too demanding and I came out the other end with a 98% in Global Project Management and a 96% in Applied Math.

On one of my mailing lists, I heard someone comment that the universities in Germany are lacking compared to international universities. I so strongly disagree with that. It may be true if you compare a state university in Germany to Harvard or Yale, but if you compare it to an average 4 year accredited American university, the German Uni (or in my case the Fachhochschule Köln) is so much more demanding. I am smart, but in a German Uni or even a German High School, I was never “straight A” smart. To be honest, I don’t think I ever met anyone in Germany who was a straight A student. In the US, studying in a foreign language while working full time, I am holding a 4.0 GPA.

How do other countries compare? Has anyone else gone to college in the US and abroad? Or is anyone able to compare a German university to a French or Spanish university?

Project Management Bruhaha

Since I am taking my project management class, I have been looking into some of the ideas from my book. I don’t know if I am too pessimistic, but I keep thinking that a lot of the project management principles are a lot of bruhaha. Sure, for a huge project a lot of those things apply but I think for the average project in a small to midsize company, those things are total overkill. There are balanced score cards, the PMBOK, work breakdown structures, communications matrix, project carters and lifecycles, charts and diagrams and tables, critical path analysis, change control, risk registers and risk management plans and what not.

I do believe that most of those play a role in successful project management, but the formalized character of those processes seems to create a huge overhead and I am wondering if anyone actually uses them and finds them useful aside from a certification point of view?

And as a little bonus, here is a nice slideshow I found. Again, I am not sure I am buying into all the big words, but I think it is very well done.

Start Monday with some fun and play Akinator

I just got this link in one of my mailing lists (Thanks Antje), and I am in aw!

Play Akinator - think of a person, answer some Yes/No/I don’t know questions and be amazed :-)

It’s available in English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese!