Friday, 31 May 2013

Friday Flash Fiction - All Dialogue

I noticed, when editing my novel, that I had a tendency to describe conversations, rather than writing them. So I set myself this assignment: a flash story written entirely in dialogue. The result was this ... unsellable mass. It's still coherent, and it was easier to write than I expected, which probably means I got better at dialogue since the beginning of my first novel, but it was still tricky to pull together.

"What do you see?"
"Over the hill?"
"A camp. Battle camp."
"How many soldiers?"
"Hard to say. I keep losing count at a few hundred tents. Keep your head down, will you?"
"I'm just trying to see!"
"You'll get your chance in a minute."
"It's cold."
"Didn't they tell you that when you enlisted?"
"I thought it was just to discourage the weak ones."
"They don't do that. They tell you whatever they need to if it will get you to enlist. That includes telling you things that make you think you're tougher than everyone else."
"Hey, don't worry about it. They told me I'd be a captain in three years, with my own squad."
"But you are a captain."
"It's been eleven years."
"Oh. So they just sort of lied?"
"Keep quiet. Someone's coming."


"It was over here?"
"Yes, just here on the hill, I swear I saw something."
"There's nothing here."
"I saw something!"
"What did you see? Something shiny?"
"Yes, like a scope or binocs."
"Well I don't see anything."
"I'm telling you there was something here!"
"Look, it was the end of your night shift. You were bound to lose focus and start imagining-"
"I didn't imagine it!"
"Fine. You keep looking here. I'm going back to camp. It's freezing out here."


"I thought he'd never leave."
"How come they couldn't see us?"
"The camoflage is pretty good."
"That was more than camoflage. I saw you when I came up just before, and you were camoflaged."
"It's above your pay grade, kid. Let's leave it at that."
"Leave it. It's not your concern."
"What are we going to do about the camp?"
"We wait. If Central want us to take it out, we have to know where to hit first."
"So we just keep watching?"
"And waiting for the word. Where did those two goons go back to?"
"I couldn't see. You have the only binocs."
"Wouldn't they just be going back to the guard tent anyway?"
"That's a good one to know, though. Can help you plan raids."
"So what do we do if Central wants the camp gone? We're just two people."
"We find their command tent, kill their senior officers, grenade a few others, then reinforcements capture the rest."
"They're all potential recruits, too."
"How many do we get from them?"
"Only about 10% enlist."
"And the rest?"
"Some others can be brainwashed. Most go to Grundig for his experiments."
"I don't like Grundig."
"Most people don't. He's a butcher and a monster. But he figured out the brainwashing."
"But you said only a few can be brainwashed."
"They're getting better at it. Plus the more soldiers they get to test on, the more they learn."
"Still seems wrong."
"It's not wrong on a long time scale. And if we win the war, we write the history."
"That doesn't make it right, though. Just means we get to spin it our way."
"Hey, why did you enlist?"
"Are you sure you want to know?"
"What does that mean?"
"I never said I did enlist, Captain."
"What? What do you mean?"
"I saw you up here, and we hatched a plan to find out directly from you what happens to our men."
"We knew you were expecting reinforcements. We got the kid just before he arrived. These are his clothes I'm wearing."
"But the ... All part of the act, then?"
"All part of the act, Captain."
"Well ... this has been a massive balls-up."
"And you'll be coming with us now."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I hope you ... tolerate it.
PPS - I also started writing a new Sister Margaret story this week.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Toggle button design

In general, buttons that try to tell you what they're going to do, as well as the current status of the feature in question, tend to be confusing. For example, on our office phones, the little LCD screen shows the word "mute" above one button when the microphone is on and "MUTE" when it is off. The bigger letters, I presume, are meant to suggest that the "MUTE" feature is active, though this is far from obvious. I'm not completely sure I've got it correct now.

There are any number of examples from mobile phone apps, too, given their limited space. Does a "Shuffle" button on a music player mean that the playlist is currently in shuffle mode, or does it mean it will change to shuffle mode when you touch it?

This is why someone invented checkboxes, but even those are often misleading if they are labelled badly, or if, in trying to make the function clearer, the UI designer has included a ghostly tick mark inside the checkbox when it is unchecked. Otherwise it would just be a labelled square, right? And who knows what the hell to do with that?

The point, if I have one, is that UI design is more than "we need a button that does X". You need to put a lot more thought into it than that.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It can sort of work if the button looks pressed in while it's on.
PPS - But, as in the phone LCD case, that's not always possible.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Disposable identities and trust

It doesn't matter if you have the right to see who has your information, or even to get a copy or correct it, if you can't force them to delete it too. And, as we know, just asking a company to delete some data from their records, especially if that data is valuable to them, is not a directive that is going to be followed with haste and efficiency. This is why we need disposable identity information: contact details that self-destruct when I say so, no matter what you do as a company to hold onto them. It is the only way to true privacy without going for witness protection.

The problem with setting up such identity misdirection is that you have to trust someone. Your bank is going to manage your disposable credit cards by charging your real one. Your ISP or some online service is going to deal with your disposable email addresses by forwarding to your real address. Your phone company will manage all your disposable phone numbers by forwarding them to your real one. And the temptation to sell your direct contact details to their advertising partners will always be too great to resist. The buck stops somewhere, and it's always just short of actual control by you.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I actually think about this a lot.
PPS - And I guess I post about it a fair bit too.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Distributed social networking

What would Facebook look like if it were actually secure, wasn't entrusted to just one company, and couldn't be taken away from us or changed at someone else's whim? We'd all be publishing our own social stream on our own servers, wherever we wanted, including statuses, photos, likes and dislikes. We would be running our own software that downloads and aggregates those streams from our friends, who have chosen to share their publishing details with us and allowed us access. Instead of building up one massive database of valuable personal data for one company, our data would remain our own. We could cut off someone's access and never let them back in.

Security would have to be built into this distributed social network publishing standard, along with strong encryption, because a distributed network like that is vulnerable to hijacking of individual nodes, but that's no different to individual Facebook accounts getting hacked. The only difference is that individuals, or the hosting companies they use, would be responsible for that security, rather than Facebook.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is like distributed social networking taken to the extreme.
PPS - It's the interaction of individual "social networks" of one person each.

Monday, 27 May 2013

What an intranet should be

"Intranet" should just be another word for integrated internal information tools. There are already lots of them in your company. I can pretty much guarantee that. But knowing where to find them, how to use them, and getting them to interact with each other is a big task. That's what I mean. A company intranet should start by bringing together, standardising and advertising all the useful tools your company already uses to run smoothly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In my experience, most companies use it for haphazard document control and the occasional internal blog post.
PPS - And sometimes a staff directory if you're really lucky.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Friday Writing Update

I don't write every day. I mention that because it's one of the things they tell you to do. There are even motivational tools available to keep you writing every day. I've been feeling a bit funny about it this week, probably because I've only had three days where I did any writing work, and that was all reviewing and critiquing my book rather than writing anything new. I think it's been good so far, though at this rate it might take another six weeks or so to get through the whole thing. I should probably try to write something new along with my editing, and I should find some time to write on my weekends, too.

I've got some practice exercises I'd like to do this week, including one about showing, not telling, which is a problem I have. If I don't concentrate, I veer into exposition rather than action, dialogue or even environmental description. The other thing I'd like to try is to tell a story that's all dialogue, because that's something else I tend not to do. I describe conversations rather than writing them down. I just need to figure out what to write about for that one.

So that's it, really. This week has been all editing, and not enough of that.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Oh, and keeping up with, too.
PPS - And counting down the days until my own submission comes up for critique.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Video games are sort of okay, we guess

Video games have gotten a better rap in recent years, but I don't think all forms are socially acceptable yet. Anyone who gets very serious about video games is going to be treated with pity or scorn, and if you're a man in your 30s who plays games, you're going to be ridiculed. If you play violent games, you will be treated with some measure of fear, and if you have a family and play any form of games, you will probably run into some disgust. This says to me that, although it is not seen as socially unacceptable to play games at all, it is still seen as an anti-social use of your time. It is something you may do, but it is not something that productive members of society do.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's not at all like watching football, which is totally valuable, because of reasons.
PPS - Maybe in a few decades it will be more acceptable.

Reverse implications of first sale and digital goods

The doctrine of first sale, at least in US law and from my limited not-a-lawyer understanding, says that if you buy something, then you own it, and you may later sell it to a third party without the permission or consent of the copyright owner, the original seller or anyone else. So if I buy a book from a bookshop, then read it, I can later sell that copy at a garage sale at my house, lend it to a friend or give it away to charity, and the bookstore, the publisher and the author don't get any say in the matter, nor any cut of the sale price.

People argue for this right to apply to digital goods as well, such as music purchased from iTunes. A recent court decision, however, says that first sale does not apply to digital goods, only physical ones. There are two possible responses to that decision. One is to cry foul against the court, asserting that digital first sale is a right that should exist, since we are told that we have bought this music (or book or movie) and therefore we have the right to sell it to a third party, provided we do not retain a copy ourselves. The other option, and one that I find quite plausible, is to say that the "sale" of a digital good, if it cannot be resold at all by design or by nature, is nonsense. If I am not "buying" music from iTunes in the sense that I may resell it, then I shouldn't be charged that way for it, and iTunes needs to change to a different fee model. They need either to charge for music "rental", for limited-term access to music that goes away after a while, or for flat-fee unlimited access to the whole library (or by parts, such as decades or genres).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If you can't resell it, you haven't bought it.
PPS - And if you haven't bought it, you shouldn't be charged as if you have.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

That will take too long

"That takes too long" is a poor excuse. As Mur Lafferty said in one of her "I Should Be Writing" podcasts, that time is going to pass anyway, and what would you rather have at the end? You will either have accomplished something or you will have a lot of video game skills. Get started. Learn difficult things, make big things. Do something.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Very few things are actually too big to do.
PPS - Some are too big to do on your own, though.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Handling stress

I don't do well under pressure. Time constraints, budget constraints, difficult people and uncooperative technology all push my stress levels through the roof, and when those things are present, someone - a manager, in most cases - is there hovering over my shoulder making suggestions on how things could be done faster or better.

My main problem is that I am in an industry where these circumstances are run of the mill. High pressure, tight deadlines, no budget, screaming customers and exploding computers are considered normal job aspects. If you don't do well under pressure, software is not the industry for you. Worse, I think the entire world is becoming like this now. Even if I decide I've had enough of the software industry, there's no other profession that offers a low stress work environment. It's a standard job interview question: "how do you handle stress?", not because you will have some stressful days, but because handling stress is your job now. Keeping a fingernail grip on the edge of sanity is your only employable skill, and that's only because we already got rid of the guys who needed a whole fingertip grip.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In some cases, the actual job could be taught to anyone.
PPS - And I need to learn to handle stress better.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Friday writing update

I've been a bit slack this week. Normally, my morning commute is devoted to writing, and the only thing I've done is write a half-hearted flash fiction piece about a world of killer fungus spores and finish off my second novel in outline. I really lost energy for that one after November. The story stopped being about the things I thought it would be, and I wasn't that happy with the way it went. It took me 30 days to get 50,000 words, then the next five months to write the final 4000. The truth is, I've been much more interested in going back to my first novel, breaking it all down, figuring out what viewpoints I want to follow and giving it another go from the start. So that's what I'm going to do now, in between trying to get my flash fiction published.

About that, right now, before I've submitted anything (I'm waiting for workshop feedback, due in about two weeks, for one story) I have a weird kind of optimism. While I know that most wannabe authors would go their whole lives without getting anything published at all, I'm still excited in advance, because part of me figures I'll only have to submit a story to two, maybe three places before I can start bragging. The rest of me believes that my little inner optimist is in for a serious reality check. But that's not for two weeks or so.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Until then, I'm going to be re-reading my first novel and writing out a plot summary.
PPS - And character descriptions.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Google should make weather alerts

I have two active weather alert systems set up: one to tell me when it's raining and I should bring an umbrella, and another from the Early Warning Network to email me any official Severe Weather Warning alerts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology. This means I get two emails when it's going to rain severely, and also that those alerts look exactly like normal email. What I really need is a single app on my phone that can provide me custom alerts for ordinary or severe weather on my phone without looking just like email. I want to know when the BOM thinks it will rain and when it thinks the weather is so severe that nobody should go outside. I imagine little weather icons in my Android alerts bar.

Now, the EWN does supply an app for severe weather warnings, but that doesn't give ordinary rain warnings. There are plenty of weather widgets for Android, but these take up a lot of screen space and you have to remember to check them. And while there are plenty of weather apps available, it's not clear whether they work in my area. That's because weather forecasts are provided worldwide by lots of different agencies in lots of different formats and it takes some effort to sort them out. More effort than many companies would like to put in.

You know who is uniquely positioned to organise the world's weather information? Google. They could integrate it with Maps, gathering and publishing local weather forecasts from known sources and assembling them into a worldwide KML map file of current and predicted weather conditions, all available as an online API. Then the only thing left for the app to do is consult the API and present the information to users.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If anyone knows of a good weather alert app that works in Australia, please let me know.
PPS - It has to alert on both severe weather and ordinary rain.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Computer security

Computer system security is a lot more complicated than giving everyone a username and password. In real systems, people play different roles (sometimes several per person) and each function of a system can only be performed by certain roles. That would be good if it were all, but it is also the case that a person can have a different role depending on the data context. In one project, a user might be the project owner, capable of taking any action, but in another project, they might only be responsible for a small area, or have read-only access for whatever reason. So every action needs to be checked for the right person in the right role in the right context.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The point is that there are a thousand ways to do security wrong.
PPS - And only a few ways to do it right.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Using and making tools

We as humans call ourselves tool makers, but most of us don't make our own tools. We are tool users, and our tools were made by others, which means they brought other needs and other assumptions into the design, and the rest of us just need to figure it out. This is why I find people's interaction with technology fascinating.

One of the big benefits of being able to write my own software is that I can make my own tools if I need them, but they don't exist. As a case in point, when I am working on database projects, I often need to search through all the database tables and scripts for particular combinations of table and field names, or sometimes a table reference where there *should* be a reference to a certain new field, but it doesn't currently exist. There are file search tools that will let you look for a specific string in a file or directory, but that's as far as they go. If you're looking for something more specific, or there are a lot of other files in your way, making the search harder, you're out of luck.

I, however, am not out of luck, because I can make my own tools. I wrote a program I called "JoinSearch" to do those other, tricky searches, and it's been great. It has been one of the secrets of my success as a database software developer, and it has grown with my needs, gaining features and sophistication as required.

This, to me, is the number 1 reason why people should learn to write software. JoinSearch will be with me for the rest of my career, in all likelihood, saving me (and maybe my co-workers) hundreds of hours at work searching through files (it comes up more often than you might think). When you have problems like that, if you can write software, you can solve your own problems yourself. It's what computers are meant to do for you.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Of course, making programming easier would be a great tool project.
PPS - And plenty of people are trying.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Pedestrians and planning

Pedestrians almost never walk where architects say they should. I just wanted to point that out, because there's so often some path that some designer has drawn on a plan that looks like it is reasonable, but if it's not the shortest path, and not everything else is physically obstructed or dangerous, people are going to find another way around.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sometimes they'll go where it's dangerous or obstructed anyway.
PPS - Sometimes specifically because it's dangerous or obstructed.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Friday writing update

You may notice there is no Friday Flash Fiction today. It's not because I'm slacking off. Rather, it's because I have been doing a lot of things that make me feel like an author without facing reality. I write and publish here because it feels like being published for real. I wrote a novel and paid to have a cover produced, then published it here because that feels like having a real published novel. Then a few things lately have led me to believe that I should be doing more. So I'm going to try and get published for real.

I've joined an online writing workshop, Critters, where we submit, read and critique each others' work. I've got The (Submission) Grinder to let me see where I can submit my work for possible publication. Using those together, I'll be trying to get my work published for real - possibly reprints of what I've published here first, but I will be working on new things in the meantime. On Fridays, instead of Friday Flash Fiction, I'll be posting these updates on what I've been writing during the week, because that will keep me on track. I hope.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Friday Flash Fiction has been a very helpful exercise for me.
PPS - Writing a story a week for over a year got me to think a lot more about my work.

Thursday, 9 May 2013, sexism and alleged mixed messages

A short while ago (at the time of writing), published a video asking guys who make sexist comments on their videos towards the female comedians there to stop. Just stop it. It was partially presented tongue-in-cheek, and they made sure to present the actual comments as bluntly and obviously offensive as they were, so the point got across.
Then a few weeks later, they released a parody video about Final Fantasy and the illicit recreational drug-like use of phoenix down for resurrection. It was funny, but it also included all the Cracked columnists in FF costume, including Katie Willert. With a bare midriff. Stretching her arms backwards at one point.

Obviously the comments included a few along the lines of "Katie, you can't tell us not to make sexist comments, then dress like that and do those things." Actually, yes she can dress like that and act that way without being said to invite sexist comments. That's victim-blaming, the old (and wrong) "but she was obviously asking for it" argument. It doesn't work in real life, and it's not working online. So Katie Willert can continue dressing up as a Final Fantasy game character, or in any other costume she wants, and that is not "asking for it", no matter what you think "it" is. That is the real point of the first video. Nobody is asking for it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - For some reason this is especially prevalent online.
PPS - Because people are awful, when you get right down to it.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What's in a nerd?

What do we mean these days when we call someone a "nerd"? Is it someone who likes video games? No, because now that includes your mum on her Facebook games and even your standard jocks on Madden and Call of Duty. Is it someone who likes comic books and superheroes? Remind me again how much money The Avengers made, then tell me whether comic book superheroes are mainstream or not. Is it someone who dresses funny, without style? No, that's a hipster. So, someone who isn't good at sports but is academic instead? That's a slightly different value system, but every politician, news reader, journalist and professor the world over makes more of a living from their mind than their body. That's mainstream and perfectly acceptable too. To quote Penny Arcade, there's no such thing as a nerd.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Maybe it comes down to narrow passions.
PPS - I don't know. I'm just guessing now.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

My favourite podcasts

Podcasts I love. I listen to four audio podcasts regularly that I thought I should let you know about. The first two are Escape Pod and PodCastle, both from the same "group". They're weekly science fiction and fantasy stories, respectively, and usually run about the length of my daily commute, 40 minutes, though PodCastle very frequently goes over an hour and occasionally lets loose with "giant" episodes over 90 minutes. In balance with that time sink is Toasted Cake by Tina Connolly running at about 10 minutes per week, featuring fantasy flash fiction. I use them as filler when Escape Pod or PodCastle runs under 30 minutes. Finally, there's I Should Be Writing, an irregular advice podcast for "wannabe fiction writers" like me. Genuine, down-to-earth advice on how to keep writing and what to do with it when you're done, published by Mur Lafferty. She records when she's good and ready, and the lengths can vary a lot, so sometimes I have to pad this out with Toasted Cake too.

Also worth mentioning is TED, a video lecture series on a wide range of topics from science to charity and politics, under the broad heading of "Ideas Worth Sharing". I only watch some of them, if the topic grabs me, because I have a lot of other things to watch too.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Escape Pod and PodCastle have a third "sister" called Pseudopod, too.
PPS - I don't listen to that one, though, because horror isn't really my thing, and also I only have so many minutes in my day.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Software development anxiety

When things are going wrong in a software project, my first instinct is to knuckle down and try to figure it out myself. This usually takes a long time, which makes me feel bad for wasting time and money, which makes me feel simultaneously that I am a bad developer and that I need to fabricate some explanation for why this task was harder than I thought.

All of these feelings are bad and wrong, of course. The real way to deal with a problem like this is to go and ask someone for help, but that brings up the feelings of inadequacy, while adding to them some feelings of lowering myself in the eyes of my colleagues ("if he needs help, he can't be that good, so better not trust him or promote him") and feeling like I'm wasting someone else's time, too.

This fills my job with a lot of anxiety, and I'm not sure if any other developers have this problem or if I'm alone in it. And if other developers have these anxiety problems, is it just the bad developers?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - My brain can offer up a thousand reasons why I might not be a good software developer.
PPS - Or a good actor, author, friend, husband, son, brother...

Friday, 3 May 2013

Friday Flash Fiction - Necradia

Necradia stood back, watching with arms raised like a puppeteer, as her small herd of zombies attacked the bank tellers. Their screams filled the air, drowning out the alarm, and she closed her eyes to savour it.

It was then, just when she was starting to enjoy herself, that a young woman, no older than Necradia herself, managed to scramble across the floor and drop to her knees in front of her. The woman's face was streaked with blood, and her tears had run her mascara down her cheeks, in a look similar to the one Necradia herself had worn last season. _Well, without all the snot, of course,_ she thought to herself. She was about to call one of her zombies back to deal with the woman when she spoke.

"PLEASE STOP IT! For the love of God, call them off! We'll give you whatever you want, just stop it! Why are you doing this?"

Looking down into the woman's pleading eyes, hearing the desperation in her voice, Necradia had just a moment of doubt. As if in slow motion, she looked around the bank, noting the carnage everywhere, and for once she could not stand to take it all in. Her eyes skipped over it, trying not to register the details of the horrific scene she had wrought, but as the alarms kept sounding and the screams burbled down, everywhere she turned it was severed this, dismembered that, pool of coagulating such-and-such. It all looked so ... shocking.

She shut her eyes tight. _What's happening to me?_ she wondered, then felt an unusual warm spot where the woman on the floor was touching her leg. Opening her eyes, she saw a soft, blue-white glow under the palm of the woman's hand. Necradia jerked her leg away, but the nauseating feeling persisted. The room began to spin, and she grabbed onto a hand railing for balance. She turned to the woman on the floor.

"What did you do?" she asked, her voice a mix of awe and dread. Before the woman could answer, the zombies had converged on her, turning any response into more screaming. Though Necradia did, at last, call them off, it was too late. Whatever the mysterious woman had done, Necradia would not find out from her now. She heard sirens in the distance, and recognised that she would or should be feeling like that was the start of the real party, but the feeling wasn't there. She hesitated, then took the handle of just one of the bags of cash from the vault, hovered a short distance into the air to make sure she wasn't still woozy, then flew off, out the door and accelerated to full speed over the rooftops. Her zombies would follow on foot, or distract the cops long enough for her to get away. They'd catch up, or she'd summon more if they died. She started feeling bad for them, then wondered at that. There were always more zombies. Why feel anything at all for these ones?

Whatever that woman had done, Necradia hoped it wasn't permanent, but she had a horrible sinking feeling that she'd been infected with something. Something, she made a face, good, like "compassion".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Necradia was my favourite of my City of Villains characters.
PPS - She was how I explored the "Going Rogue" expansion.

Made-up words that sound good

One thing I really admire about JK Rowling's writing in the Harry Potter books is how even her made-up words sound natural. Voldemort. Horcrux. Dumbledore. Hogwarts. They've got a natural rhythm and flow to them that can be really difficult to pull off, but the books are full of them and they all sound like they belong. I wish I were as good at making up words as that.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - And they've all got a similar feeling to them, like they belong together, too.
PPS - I don't know if that's by design or because they're all Rowling's words.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Lost knowledge

Knowledge is only as good as the people who understand it and retain it, and this will never change. We can preserve our knowledge in books but that is only meaningful if someone can come along, read the book, and apply the knowledge. If every neurosurgeon in the world died tomorrow, in some horrible World Neurosurgery Conference volcano/cyclone/food poisoning disaster, while we do still have all the neurosurgery knowledge in books, we can't still say that we, as a society, know how to do neurosurgery. Someone has to re-learn it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Regaining that knowledge becomes even harder if it's written in a dead language.
PPS - Dead languages are, themselves, excellent examples of this lost knowledge idea.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Meeting agendas and audience relevance

Unless everyone needs to hear it, it shouldn't be on a meeting agenda. If you're not following this rule, people hate your meetings and you're wasting their time. They might not say so, especially if you're the boss, but it's true, and you should fix it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't have to run meetings myself.
PPS - If I did, I'm pretty sure they'd be terrible.