Heroic cycling

This year’s Tour de France has been fascinating to watch, with Lance retired and the pre-race favorites taken out by the Spanish doping scandal. Some solid riders are left, and the race seems invigorated by anarchy in the peleton, with no one rider emerging as the padrone to take control over the tactics over the 23 day affair.

The Sunday New York Times magazine has a compelling article about the travails of Floyd Landis, the Mennonite cyclist who backed Lance in 2004 but quit to join Phonak, emerging as one of the top four American cyclists in the Tour this year. Floyd is riding with a bad hip — a a very bad hip — the kind of injury that would send normal people howling for the Demerol, but yet the guy was able to capture the top slot and the yellow jersey after an astonishingly difficult stage in the Pyrenees last week, surviving four consecutive cols or peaks and coming out in the lead.

The tradition of cyclists who ride through immense physical pain, in the world’s hardest sporting event, is part of the lore and drama that draws me in every July. Tyler Hamilton riding with a broken collarbone, Lance coming back from cancer, there’s a rider this year riding with a cracked vertebrae.

And now Landis is gritting his teeth (Hamilton allegedly needed dental work because of the griding his teeth were subjected to during his collarbone tour) and powering through what well may be his last Tour de France. No rider has come back to the peleton with an artificial hip, so Landis appears to be sacrificing everything this year for his one and only shot at the palmeares.

And I beef about a concussion?

Notes vs. Outlook vs. Open — “Thanks but, no thanks.”

I’ve wondered if there has ever been a human resources study or survey that correlated an enterprise’s internal communications platform with job satisfaction. Are Notes users happier or unhappier than Exchange users? Has a job candidate ever turned down a job offer because he or she hates a company’s IT architecture?

I wonder how many people engage with a company and ask, as part of their personal due diligence, whether or not a company permits access to a personal POP3 mail account? If the company supports Pylon synchronization with Treos?

I wonder how many people have subconsciously slipped into the despair of job dissatisfaction due to overly restrictive IT policies, or just a general hatred of the systems driving communications. I’m not asking due to personal issues.

I heard a podcast interview with Tim O’Reilly when he spoke about the phenomenon of developers running two systems at their desks. The “official” corporate machine, and their own notebook with their own favorite apps, bridging the two environments with sneaker-net or email files back and forth through a web mail account. This seems to be the classic story of the PC. Machines sneak in the door, under the IT department’s radar, and eventually, the users begin to self-select the apps and tools they need. I suspect for high end users, those tools are Open in nature and regarded as high security risks by the CSO.

Case in point. I live on my churbuck.com email account. It is the one most constant variable in my contact information and people have been trained for the past ten years that they can always communicate with me at that address. Off the corporate net it works wonderfully with a Thunderbird client. In the office, on the corporate lan, I can fetch mail for the account but due to security restrictions on SMTP all my replies have to simmer until I get off the network and onto the public networks. A minor irrritation, but an irritation nevertheless.

I somehow picture a gang of angry cubicle drones pulling an “Office Space” and setting their most hated corporate apps on fire in the parking lot.

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