Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Dodging Bullets

Bullet #1:

My how the times are a’changing at HP. Just one year after Carly was forced out, the imprint of the new CEO and his designated CIO is becoming clearer. This ain’t your grandfather’s HP. A new policy has just been announced for all IT personnel. “Teleworkers” must relocate to one of the “Central IT” sites (15 or 20 scattered around the country) or find a new job outside IT or terminate employment with HP. Details of timelines and possible relocation benefits or severance packages have not been communicated.

When I moved from San Jose, CA to Phoenix, AZ in 1994, HP was promoting the idea of working remotely — in response to governmental pressure to reduce commuting in the Bay Area to relieve both traffic congestion and air pollution. HP was attempting to be a good corporate citizen and, at the same time, facilitate personal choices in working arrangements. Well, no more.

Naturally, I pondered what I would have done if I were still working at HP since I would be one who would be forced to relocate. Since Bay Area real estate is so expensive, I probably could not afford to go back. An interesting choice would have been to move to Austin, TX. I have a long-time close friend who lives there who shares my passion for golf. And importantly from the HP standpoint, Randy Mott, the new CIO, came from Dell Computers (which is headquartered in the Austin area) and has established a new HP IT facility there. I guess it’s okay to spend lots of dollars to facilitate the geographic preference of the CIO but not okay to allow good employees to continue working from established HP offices or their homes at little or no cost to HP — even though those arrangements have been working well for many years.

I did not know at the time that by accepting the Early Retirement Program, I dodged a bullet. But that fact is now clear.

Bullet #2:

A few weeks ago, I encountered a problem with my HP desktop computer. I noticed that it was rebooting itself over and over and over… I tried everything I could think of to solve the problem but to no avail. The initial error message was a speed reading test but the gist of it was that there was some problem with the Windows Registry — it was either corrupted or missing. Well, I was able to recover by reinstalling the OS and all my applications — and no data was lost.

I could not determine the ultimate cause — probably hardware (disk driver or controller) or theoretically, a virus (although I am very conscientious about keeping my anti-virus database current and scanning daily). Therefore, I began to feel that that PC was living on borrowed time — after all, it was more than five years old (ancient in this day of technological obsolescence after two or three years).

So I began researching a new PC. I wanted one that was fast and reliable. I settled on a custom computer — assembled by a local reliable computer store (Data Doctors). For components, I chose a dual CPU processor, 2 GB main memory and 2 x 200 GB hard disk in a mirrored configuration. I picked it up on Friday and am still installing software but so far it is quite impressive.

I’m glad I was able to replace the old one before it died again — dodged another bullet.

Bullet #3:

Mizuki and I were shopping at Neiman Marcus last weekend and we saw something that I just couldn’t believe — a pair of designer jeans that cost $2,500!!! I think I can die now, I’ve seen everything!

To be perfectly honest, Mizuki would have looked great in those jeans — but fortunately, she did not have that “I cannot live without them” look in her eyes. Even she had to admit that was too much to pay for “simulated old” jeans.

Phew — dodged another bullet.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com