what's the point?

starting march 1, european users of microsoft windows will be given the choice of having something other than Internet Explorer as their default browser. in my opinion, the european competition commission wasted both their own time (and money) and microsoft's by arguing for this. on the last four computers i've owned, one of the first things i've done after the initial setup is to hop online (using IE) and download a different browser; right now i've got both firefox and chrome, and just keep IE around for the rare occasion when i have to manually update some microsoft product.

everybody who knows what they're doing and doesn't like IE will be doing something similar... at best, this will save them a minute or two. and the people who don't know what they're doing still won't have a clue, but now they'll have more choices to confuse them. so really... what was the point of this? way to go europe!


Something Useful

As some of you may already know, I'm about to become a statistic. To the best of my knowledge, my job with North Cascades National Bank will be coming to an end at the same time that this month does. Back in October they closed my office down in Orondo, but asked me to stay on for awhile to help out with a retention project. While I was working on that I accepted a slightly less temporary position (through the end of February), providing coverage through the holiday season... I haven't heard anything else since then. In some ways, I'm a bit disappointed: I really like the group of people I work with, and will be sad to see them less often. On the other hand, I'm definitely ready to move on to something different. Regardless of what you may have seen in the media, banking was already a fairly heavily regulated industry, and with all the new rules Congress keeps pumping out it's getting more and more stressful to try and help people, worrying that you may inadvertently break some law or other.

I'm not looking forward to being unemployment, but I do plan on taking a bit of time off before going into job hunting mode. I've got a bit of money saved up, and along with my final paycheck and (hopefully) some severance pay, I'll be able to get by for awhile.

Obviously I'll have a bit more free time on my hands, although based on conversations with former coworkers, it sounds like unemployment is much busier than I would have expected. I think a certain amount of vegging is justified, but I really don't want to get into a habit of that. I do hope to get back into my writing (which I haven't done seriously in several years, so it could take awhile to get back up to speed), but when I'm doing something I like, I can only keep at it for so long at a stretch before it's time to take a break. So, with that in mind, I'm soliciting suggestions for something (or multiple things) useful to do with my time while unemployed. I prefer things that can be done with a minimum of monetary commitment, but have no problem donating my time to a worthy cause. Any input would be much appreciated.