the ides of April (plus 48 hours)

Scribbles ‘n Bits is pretty much an apolitical blog. That’s for a bunch of reasons, including the fact that we scribblers are fairly ambivalent on a bunch of important public issues. There is  something though that we’re very opinionated on. (Frankly, we can be real cranks on the subject.)

And that’s tax reform. Especially what we like to call RADICAL TAX SIMPLIFICATION. We’re all for it.

Anyway, this being “tax day” and all, allow us to briefly chime in on this date’s unofficial “buzz” theme. Here goes:

When discussing tax reform, it’s always helpful to note that it’s not just a question of HOW MUCH to tax, but also WHAT to tax. Indeed, more important than tax rates is the tax mix (as Peter Drucker himself took pains to make us be aware).


Related links of possible interest:

more Scribblers Media tru fax

We sure hope this doesn’t sound boastful, but we scribblers have always been proud to say that in the fourth grade we were members-in-good-standing in the World Book Encyclopedia LOOK IT UP CLUB. …If you too were a member, bet you’ll recall the club motto. To wit, We never guess—we look it up!

roll over Art Fleming and tell Don Pardo the news

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Have Fun! Amass scribbles!

Scribblers Media is deliriously overjoyed to post our FIRST EVER blog-based Scribbles ‘n Bits QUIZ!

To kick things off with a bang, we’re offering our BIGGEST JACKPOT to date: 100,000 Scribble Points!* Yes, you read that right, Scribblers Media will award 100K scribble points (“scribbles”) to any and all contestants** to correctly answer our quiz question.

Okay, got your thinking caps on? Got your favorite search engines revved up? Got yer “lifelines” on call? Ready or not, here’s the quiz question:

What number when raised to the power of the square root of negative one times pi equals -1?

On the tip of your tongue? Try these clues:

QUIZ BONUS: We’ll also award an ADDITIONAL 10,000 scribble points to any Scribbles ‘n Bits Quiz player to identify “Art Fleming” and “Don Pardo” without having to look them up. (You’re on your honor here!)


* And remember: only 100 scribble points plus US$1.00 gets you a cheeseburger or bag of fries from the Dollar Menu at over 12,000 participating McDonald’s restaurants across the USA!
** Expires on 400th anniversary of Leonhard Euler‘s birth on April 15, 2107. (So be sure to get your answers in soon!)

getting to know scribblers media (a tru-fax post)

Here’s a link to an all-time favorite cartoon from our all-time favorite single-panel cartoonist, the great Leo Cullum. Until the adhesiveness wore out* a hard-copy version was taped to a Scribblers Media workspace wall over a long-since retired monitor. (That’s a true fact.)

If you too liked the contents of our link, you’ll probably also like at least some of these 946 (as of this posting) other items from the same artist and at the same website. Likewise, you might enjoy this new recently discovered Scribblers Media favorite (from Mr. Christopher Weyant).

READERS TIP For an enhanced viewer experience, be sure to use the image zoom tools at “jump” (just click on image). And for even more enhanced experiences, consider purchasing 40″ x 30″ framed versions of linked artwork!

NOTICE: Scribblers Media cannot be held liable for time and/or productivity lost from above or “secondary” links, either directly or indirectly, either now or at future dates. (So, if, say, your boss catches you in the act, and thinks your slacking off, please don’t try to pin it on us. Fair enough?)

That said, aside from and in addition to the humor, we think some of the web formatting and design of linked pages is well-worth noting (e.g., the customizable room views of the selected artworks).


Currently, the only cartoon clip on our workspace walls is a 3-panel Dilbert. (That’s another true fact.) It features a dialog between Dilbert and Dogbert. The content will have to wait another post. Here’s a picture:

scribbler workspace, Jan. 2013

scribbler workspace with highlighted wall art (Jan. 2013)


* As the Radiohead-ers sometimes remind us, gravity always wins. Eventually, anyway. (Though wonder if the already much-missed throughout the world, Mr. Stephen Hawking, would agree.)

no claim, no promise, no guaranty

We probably won’t hear the end of this from our way over-priced marketing/public relations advisers. They’re always telling us to never, never, never begin a message on a NEGATIVE.

Still, we feel a certain obligation to say something from the start. It’s about an important workforce development service that Scribblers Media doesn’t do. Indeed, try as we might, simply can’t do. Truth be told, not even close. And that’s to…. well, let’s try explaining it this way. Consider this common workplace scenario:

A project manager says something to a project team member. However, the team member doesn’t quite understand the manager’s message. (Maybe even has absolutely no clue what the manager meant.) The team member isn’t exactly sure what he/she’s supposed to do. (Perhaps he/she doesn’t even have a vague sense of what he/she’s supposed to do.) Something just doesn’t seem right. (Or maybe even, something seems very wrong.)

Such imperfect communications, of course, happen all the time. Anyway, what Scribblers Media just can’t do is, in such situations, to get that team member to say so much. To get him/her to say to the project manager something like: “Um, I don’t quite understand what you mean.” Or “I’m not sure what you want me to do.” Or “What you just said, makes no sense.” Or utter some similar reply. (Often a simple ‘”Huh?” works wonders.)

To get our fellow workers to consistently provide such feedback, would be, needless to say, a very valuable service. In fact, it can be inestimably invaluable.

Again though, instilling such laudable business communications habits, is something—try, try, try as we might—we scribblers can’t do. Sorry.

Actually, we don’t feel particularly abashed in admitting that. And that’s of course, because no one else seems able to do it either. Indeed, to get workers to always give such helpful feedback when necessary is kind of a Holy Grail in the business management instructor/facilitator/consultant game.

(If you find an external adviser or internal manager who can actually instill such practices in your troops, our advice is pay them whatever they ask. Whatever the expense—it’ll be recouped over and again.)

Anyway, we just wanted to mention that. (And, hey, Know what? We feel POSITIVELY relieved that we did.)

Oh, by the way, if such a service is what you’re looking for, well, best of luck in your search!

In addition to the above “miscommunication by omission” there’s a related, and often even more pernicious, “miscommunication by commission” that’s also rampant in modern business. (Same as it it ever was, probably.) You probably already know what we mean. Regardless, it’ll have to wait for another post. We just now realized that we were probably supposed to install the new ink cartridges and recycle the used ones, and not vice-versa.

first things first…

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We’d feel terribly remiss (a bit shabby, even) if we didn’t right away acknowledge (and THANK!) the wondrous WordPress wizards for these amazing blogging/content management tools. (Talk about simply ingenious and ingeniously simple media!) Those open-source poet-coders are truly the world’s partners in building a better zeitgeist! …Scribblers Media looks forward to exploring and experimenting with these—have to say it again—amazing technologies. Likewise, we hope to occasionally report back on interesting and useful things discovered.

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image with caption and border (see what we mean?)

Trubba not, world!

“When the subject is information work, it’s never a mistake to start with some insights from the person who coined the term.” —tried-n-true scribblers’ axiom

Let’s follow that adage and see where it takes us.

Below are some key points taken from a favorite Peter Drucker article. (Incidentally, the ace business management consultant and all-around sage, also coined the term “information worker.”)

In a 1992 Wall Street Journal op-ed piece headlined “Be Data Literate—Know What to Know,” Mr. Drucker advised executives to regularly ask themselves these questions:

  • What information do I need to do my job?
  • when do I need it?
  • in what form?
  • from whom should I be getting it?
  • what new tasks can I tackle now that I get all these data?
  • which tasks should I do differently?

Questions originally asked of mainframe and Windows 3.1 information workers, are still well worth considering some twenty years further into the information age. Likewise, today’s mobile, hyper-connected, post-Web 2.0 era information workers may benefit by noting a few other questions, Drucker pointedly added:

  • what information do I owe?
  • to whom?
  • when?
  • in what form?

<Reader’s Note: hyperlink to the full article below>

Before we return to those focusing directives, here’s a few words regarding what this scribbles ‘n bits weblog is about.

Like its sister site,, the Scribblers Media blog explores and and tries to better understand information systems. And how individuals and teams can better use various information systems to get stuff done. (That and related matters are sometimes referred to around here as “digital work style skills and practices.”)

Said another way (and getting back to Drucker’s questions), this weblog is largely about the getting and giving of task-related information. With a special interest in the FORMS the task-related information takes.

Today, of course, more and more of the information we use to do our jobs is digital information. (At least at some stage in its life cycle.) Which means there’s all kinds of incredibly easy and amazingly powerful ways to transform and transmit it. And more devised daily. Suffice it to say here that this scribbles ’n bits blog will probe various such information tools and channels. (Reader tips and suggestions always welcome!)

wordpress edit ss 2013-04-07 800x600 160We hope, dear valued scribbles ‘n bits blog reader, you find our themes/topics/subjects of interest. And some value in some content. (Chances are good, you’ll at least find interesting and valuable links and references!)

To get a sense of upcoming scribbles ’n bits blog posts, check out some workshop archive pages. Look for stuff mentioned under “workshop highlights” and “more workshop takeaways” (e.g., that Michael Kinsley comment on the then-new blogging phenomenon; two highly recommended sources for training and exercising information design skills). And as you may have already figured, repackaging, repurposing, and reworking content is itself a recurring meme here.

Goodness gracious—where are our manners sometimes! Almost forgot: Welcome everyone to Scribbles ’n Bits, the official weblog of Scribblers Media!

And, as always, THANKS for your attention!

External links of relevance and possible interest: