Posts from July 2007

E-Mailers of the World Beware...You might land in the Hot Seat

In their Personal Finance Daily, MarketWatch (requires registration) reminds us of how E-Mails can come back to hound us.

Here is a quick and to the point excerpt:

"Email accounts, especially those provided by your employer, need to come with a modified set of Miranda warnings anytime you open up your Send program: "You have the right to remain silent. Any email you send can and will be used against you, by your boss and in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, not that it will do you any good. We've seen what you've been sending." If you lick and stamp an envelope with any sort of private note inside and drop it in a mailbox, it would be a federal crime for somebody to snatch it, open it and read it. But if you send a few notions through your work email server, all you are doing is delivering juicy material right into the hands of your employer."

What are your thoughts on this?

Have you ever landed in hot water because of a misguided or too honest e-mail?

Also on the world of work: Bored at Work on Friday and  Wasting 20%  of your Time at Work,  you are not alone 

A taste of Paradise: Verana 'The Handmade Hotel'

I was mulling about where I would go on vacation if neither free time nor money was an issue. Then I discovered Verana: 'The Handmade Hotel' (as they call it) in a quiet corner of Mexico.

Their introduction says it all:

"A 3 HOUR flight takes you from L.A. to Puerto Vallarta. A quick drive gets you to Boca de Tomatlan — the last beach you can reach by car. From there it's a 30 minute boat ride along the beautiful coast to Yelapa. We will be waiting for you at the beach with our mules to take you and your luggage to our hillside location.

I am not crazy about busy, bustling places the rare times I take a breather so this would be perfect for me...and the view...


Pictured here is The Mayan House (photo by Jae Feinberg).

If you cannot make it there, purchase Their Book and dream about it.

Maybe I will settle for Quiet Days in Vermont (not Quiet Days in Clichy) instead.

Other Vacation Dream Places: Kasbah du Toubkal, a Moroccan retreat in the Atlas mountains

Procrastination Blues: 'Why isn't it done yet?' asks Jason Fried

I could not articulate it better than Jason Fried of 37 Signals (in 3 lines).

Why isn't it done yet? he asks: "What are you working on and why isn'€™t it done yet? You may have great reason, but it is still a great question to ask from time to time. What is holding things up?"

Let me give a personal example. I have procrastinated for a while (a couple of years to be honest ) on applying for US Citizenship.

I finally went ahead and sent the paperwork on Saturday.

What prompted me to act? The Filing Fee is going up by 40% today?

Additionally I did feel good about getting it out of the way.

So now I have to move to my next languishing project, a new blog in collaboration with many others.

As someone said, you will never get to your destination if you do not get started!

Tuesday morning head scratching?

Act on one thing that has been clamoring for your attention and have a great day.

Related Stories: Shake it Up: How to clean out your desk

Wasting 20% of your Time at Work...You are not alone!

The 2007 Edition of the Wasting Time at Work Survey has arrived....thanks to

What at first sight might sound like 'slacking' has to be nuanced. Since started crunching numbers on idle time in 2005, the percentage of the day that employees spend on personal matters or chatting with colleagues has been actually going down.

Even these 2 hours or so 'wasted' at work might be more than made up by all the work done remotely by all of the blackberry addicts amongst us.

People over 40 tend to slack less, 36 minutes less on 8 hours that is.

Stronger work ethics are to blame for this shortcoming.

Liz Weber wrote Twentysomethings slack off more than older workers for Inc Magazine, a more detailed piece on the topic.

On Work, Life and Time: Wear your Slippers to Work for 'Stress Down Day', February 1st

Why aren't Dogs allowed in Restaurants asks Chow?

They call it a nagging question. Why aren't dogs allowed in restaurants is the topic of a Q and A led by Lessley Anderson and Jason Krause on Chow.

I do not mean by that dogs as food to be served. I mean as...patrons...

According to the article "the FDA prohibits live animals (except fish in tanks) in retail establishments where food is served".

Except that is if you are blind or your vision is seriously impaired and you need a 4 legged guide.

Amazingly, again according to Chow, in Florida, the first state to authorize dogs in 'outdoors areas of restaurants', the main concern was about our canine friends behaving badly (as some of us human do in public spaces) like fighting and biting fellow dogs or even people.

Did Florida legislate what kind of drinks dogs could get and what type of ID they should show in order to be served? I do not know.

Also on treating Dogs as people: Is your dog a 'Doga' practitioner

TaskBin (India) versus GoPlan (Portugal)...Oh! Baby it's a Wide World!

If you are old or worldly enough you might have gotten the Cat Stevens connection.

I always have a number of projects in the works.

I thought it would be a good way to use a couple of them to test Taskbin from Mango Spring (India) versus GoPlan from We Break Stuff (Portugal). You know 'productivity' tools. I kind of hate the name.

It fits right with the theme of the August Issue of Business 2.0 of The 29 Best Business Ideas in the World as mentioned by USA Today.

I will give you a progress report, every Monday for the next 4 weeks, starting August 6 (2007 that is).

Related stories: Southern Europe offers more than sun

and On 'Productivity Porn', Marc Andreessen

Trappist Monks, Beer, Belgium, Religion and History

Whether you drink beer or not you might still be interested in the Genesis of Beer in Belgium by Trappist Monks, the best known must be Chimay. The religious order actually has its roots in Burgundy and also Normandy.

I recently stumbled upon Trappist Beer, a Belgian site with a wealth of information on this and more.


Here are the main things I learned are from this expedition.

  First "The Cistercian monasteries are divided into two great Orders, of which one is historically attached to the Abbey of La Grande Trappe, in Normandy. From here originates the popular name of Trappists."

  Second, "In 2005 eight Trappist Abbeys – 6 Belgian (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort,Westmalle and Achel), 1 Dutch (Tegelen) and 1 German (Mariawald) – decided to create the ‘International Trappist Association’ and offer their products under the joint, hexagonal logo of “Authentic Trappist Product”".

  Third, what makes these 'Trappist Beers' : "The Trappist beers adhere to 3 strict conditions: • the beer must be brewed within a Trappist Abbey • the beer must be brewed under the supervision and responsibility of the monks • the majority of the revenue must be dedicated to charitable work".

Be prepared to spend an hour or so if you want to cover the whole site as it is`quite detailed. Time well spent I think (illustration for this story comes from their site).

Recent Beer related excursions: Beyond Banking and Chocolate, Beer from Switzerland

plus Had 'Mother's Milk' for Lunch with Juicy Ribs

The Rise of Gourmet Canteens: 'Eat Well, Work Well' by Rhymer Rigby

If there is something left from my European upbringing, it is the importance of food as a way to create a convivial setting.

For 5 years I led a business networking group. Healthy fresh food was always available for attendees. Especially when events took place in the evening and most people came straight from work.

Good food usually generates good thinking and good conversation.

In Gourmet canteens give workers food for thought (FT, Registration Required), Rhymer Rigby offers a few examples of how British companies such as architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have turned what used to be cafeterias into full blown restaurants. So successful is the facility that it now has two sittings in order to accommodate everyone.

Another example cited is advertising agency Mother. Food is part of their history as in the early days, each of the founders took his turn to cook for the others.

In the US, many Silicon Valley companies put a strong accent on the array of cuisines offered. This is turn gave birth to Lunch 2.0 where food meets networking.

This phenomenon can also be found in India on the campus of Infosys as mentioned by Amit Pande. Even smaller outfits such as MangoSpring realize the importance of getting together with good food and fun activities to gel the team.

Food fuels the brain!

On other at work perks: Dog Massage and Acupressure offered at Google   

On Eating and Business: Success Tips on Booking Restaurants for Business

An American in Paris, Chef Daniel Rose got Spring

Visiting Spring is more like visiting someone's dining room than your average restaurant since the place sits only 16 people.

Chef Daniel Rose even got the Michelin Guide inspectors to give a helping hand not only by writing a good review but also by giving him a helping hand serving actual customers.
This American in Paris must do something right if customers feel passionate enough to lend a helping hand.

Spring is located 28 rue de la Tour d’Auvergne, 75009 Paris. Tel: +33-1-4596 0572

Daniel Rose shares his daily thoughts on running a restaurant, warts and all on Spring Paris.

Picked this lovely Spring into Summer story thanks to An American chef takes a bow in Paris in this week-end Financial Times.

Also on Restaurants: Cote d'Or is now Charolais

'Cote d'Or', my Tuesday Restaurant Review is now 'Charolais'

Hard to believe but copyright laws do not apply only to music and movie downloads.
The new New York restaurant that was originally conceived as Charolais and renamed Cote d'Or is now back to the Charolais brand after some legal eagles took issue with the name.
I was not trying to make your head spin.
Is Chocolate involved?
What about Willy Wonka?
On the positive side I guess they can now go live with their website.

My Cote d'Or/Charolais review: No TV Dinner, Monday Night Dinner with Jane