Bits & Pieces 2012-07-26

Links and things that I’ve run across recently.

Independence Day at the Point

“Merepoint Light”
Photo © 2012 smilla4 CC BY-NC 2.0
Click here for the original image.

Catching up on some of my subscribed RSS feeds, I was enamored of a photo post by smilla4 on her Independence Day in Maine at Ardor Point— er, I mean Merepoint.

Charity Versus Deeds of Lovingkindness

Heard this phrase at a recent tevilah, the phrase gemilut chasadim (גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים), “deeds of lovingkindness.” This article on explains gemilut chasadim.

Gemilut chasadim are not just alms given to help the poor, but things we do to be charitable to everyone.

This even extends to assuming the good intentions of others: If someone says something that appears cruel, assume that you’ve misunderstood him. Or even if you haven’t misunderstood, “Generous persons should be charitably disposed even to the niggardly and ungenerous who have not been blessed with the good heart they are fortunate enough to possess.”

A Pointless Exchange?

I’ve been adopting the mantra: Always teach, always hope, always persevere. Because I need to remind myself continuously that even if a person is hyped up and mixed up and ignorant and wrong, it’s still more effective to treat them with gentleness than to dismiss them as a nut. I’m also attempting to surround myself with others who seek the same value.

Twitter connects me with new people. Most I don’t know, or not very well. Last week, saw this tweet: “Wow, the @goodreads book review engine is so buggy and non-intuitive. It’s amazing to me that anyone continues past their first attempt.”

Now, I’ve published a number of reviews on Goodreads, and use the site all the time to track my progress, and even to keep notes on books I’m reading. Didn’t get it. Still don’t know what he was talking about, “buggy and non-intuitive”?

So, responded: “I’ve never had trouble with it, unless you’re talking about something else.”

His reply: “You must be well-trained by now.”

Claims to be a “Consciousness Raiser, Idea Igniter,… Tibetan Buddhist.” Gee, I hope not. Unfollowed.

Of course, now I’m conflicted about unfollowing him, as though I had nothing to teach him, or that he would never learn. Sigh.

Yo No Hablo Teléfono

A friend sent me this link to a New York Times article, about online companies that you cannot call on the phone. A number of prominent online companies do not publish a telephone number at which the public can contact them, at which even their customers can contact them.

Makes sense to me, because hiring someone to take phone calls is expensive, and most of these companies are providing basic services to millions of people for free (or ad-supported). There’s no margin in there for the human touch.

Even some companies that charge for service eschew basic phone support. My (current) web host, DreamHost, one of the world’s largest web hosting companies (who offers real web hosting, not just domain registration), whom I swear by (which is why the link above is an affiliate link— Use the promo code ‘IWANT50BUCKSBACK’ to get a $50 discount off your first year of service)… DreamHost doesn’t have a phone number, either. I’ve found their online issue-support to responsive. If you really need phone support, you can pay to have them call you, but I’ve never had to take advantage of that option.

So, online support is the way of the future.

But it also sounds like a pre-made opportunity for niche players. We rely on certain companies more than we realize, like Twitter and Facebook— Always make sure you backup your Facebook contacts (but that’s a different post). Back to the topic: an opportunity for niche players. An online niche business that can find a way to offer phone support, or something like it (Skype? Oovoo?), that human touch over the miles of network cabling, that business can set itself apart from the competition.

Reading Update

Just a side note: I’m still rereading Charlotte Abel’s debut paranormal YA novel, Enchantment, and making a ton of notes in my Kindle app, which is a sign of a good book, that it inspires so many thoughts. Of course, stopping every minute or so to highlight a phrase and write something down, that only slows down my progress. That’s why I really haven’t been making progress on any other books, and this is going to continue for some time, because I want to reread several other books as well, and make notes, and put together a series of posts on the themes these books address and the thoughts they inspire.

Today’s Quote

The answer to any question is somewhere in a book.

(Dave Ramsey, quoting his mother.)