The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Virtual Meetings

I found this week's Weekly Company Meeting annoying.

I mean, more than usual for a meeting.

Since we no longer have an Office, we've been moving the location of our Weekly Company Meeting from place to place, depending on what's more convenient for all three of us (our recent meetings have been at a local (to us, not to The Data Center) Starbucks—cliché I know). We've even had a few phone-based meetings (when Smirk was sick enough to possibly infect us, but not sick enough to call off the meeting).

Usually, the face-to-face meetings last around an hour and a half, and most of that is due to tangential discussions like beverage selection and the snarkiness levels of the local baristas—you know, typical water cooler type stuff if we actually had a water cooler. The phone-based meetings were shorter—around half an hour, mainly because holding a conference call is painful enough for all the participants to enforce a “stay on target” mentality (and I can be anywhere for those, which is quite nice).

But this week's meeting was over IM (a private Jabber server to be technically pedantic). And it was one of the longest meetings we've had since going techno-nomadic—nearly two and a half hours.

Mostly this is due, I suspect, to continuous partial attention, where we can do other stuff on the computer (important things like Solitaire) while waiting for the other participants to finish typing (I don't consider myself a fast typist, but I've yet to meet anyone else who can match my typing speed). And in my experience, this can kill a group activity (one of the reasons I dislike the Friday D&D Game—a scenario that might take a few minutes ends up taking a few sessions to get through).

Mostly my griping about today's meeting is that I was hoping for a short meeting (dinner date with Bunny, who's going out of town for the next week and a half) and ended up with a marathon session. I will admit that being able to check on certain things (such as set the administrative password for our new trouble ticket system) during the meeting and not having to worry about it afterwards was nice. And I definitely dig the whole telecommuting aspect of my job, so I shouldn't be complaining all that much.

Still, I like the phone meetings since they tend to be short and to the point.

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