Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Twittering

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

For those who haven\’t seen it yet, Twitter is a sort of micro-blogging broadcast tool that is apparently the next big meme. I haven\’t really bought into it yet, but I do have an account. If you\’ve got a Mac, the Twitterrific application makes it much more usable.

So far it\’s kind of cool. Less intrusive than IM, easy to shoot off links you want to share, or to say \”I\’m heading to lunch at Sucre et Salay, who\’s coming?\” We\’ll see if it catches on. With messages limited to 160 chars, I don\’t see it replacing blogging anytime soon.

Getting Over the Hump

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

I\’ve got a bit of blogger block going on. I mean, it\’s not like I\’m particularly good at it in the first place, but it\’s been two months since my last post. I have over a dozen posts sitting in the half-done state and am having trouble finishing any of them. So I figure I\’ll just throw out something random and hope it can get me over the hump a bit. So bear with me, and hopefully something good will come out of this.

I\’ve recently started getting back on track with my organization. The amazing part was that although I\’ve been lax with it the past few months, the initial setup I did helped to keep things from devolving too much. I still managed to pay bills, etc., and some areas actually continued to get more organized despite me no longer paying attention to it. The success of using GTD has been surprising. Now, about 5 months in, I figure it\’s time to get back to the maintenance. The nice thing is that the framework is already in place. It\’s not like \”starting over\” or \”trying again\”, but \”picking up where I left off\” and it\’s quite invigorating.

I also just found out (yes, after I wrote those first two paragraphs) that it\’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). While I\’ve already failed to meed the requirements, I can at least make a gesture by trying to get a post or two out this month.

Getting Things Done

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

So, I\’ve been reading Getting Things Done, which I\’ve had recommended to me repeatedly in the past year by a lot of people I respect. I\’m most of the way through my initial reading, and I have to say it\’s really promising. I\’ve never been organized, or really into the idea of having a system to help me get or stay there, so the excitement I feel about this book is a bit unexpected.

Why is this book different? I think it\’s because I identify more with the motivations and techniques that Allen talks about. The goal isn\’t organization itself, but organization as a way to relax more often and more fully. His techniques involve organizing things so that what\’s important is in front of your face when it can be accomplished. Calls are checked when you\’re near a phone, computer activities when you\’re in front of a computer, etc. While he uses a PDA for most of this lists of tasks, most of the book assumes you just have everything written on paper (which seems like a good baseline). It\’s hard to highlight a few points, because it mostly just seems like common sense. However, he layers enough rigor and experience on top of that to make sure that it\’s easy to do and covers everything you need to deal with.

I haven\’t implemented the system yet; that\’s step three. Once I finish the book, I\’ll go over how it worked for 43 Folders, then I\’ll head back to the practical chapters and start the two-day bootstrapping process.

I think my girlfriend\’s copy of the book arrived today, and she seems excited about applying it, too. I think doing it in tandem will help keep each other motivated as we head through some of the rough spots.

Further Frustration

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

The other day, I mentioned that I was having trouble mounting my hangboard. It hasn\’t abated. Today I was lent a drill, vice grips, and a few other tools. So I used the vice grips to remove the stripped screw, pre-drilled everything with a 3/32″ bit (that\’s what the screws say to use as a pilot), and tried again.

This time I got the screw in farther, and the head didn\’t get stripped. What did happen was that the screw sheared at the top of the threads. Thankfully, it still protrudes from the wall, but it\’s covered by the plywood. Once I get the plywood off, I should be able to remove the screw … again.

I\’m thinking that the problem I have now is that the drill bits are too short. The screw drives as deep as the pilot hole, but then stops dead and bad things happen. If I get a 3+″ drill bit, I might finally be able to drive the screws in all the way.

Suggestions?

Frustration

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

I\’ve been hanging a number of things from my walls lately. Got a number of art pieces framed (finally), but also have my snowshoes up there and a guitar. I\’ve been trying to figure out how best to hang my snowboard. Also, I got a hangboard recently, and decided to hang it today.

Things haven\’t gone as planned.

I took the time to find studs, measure out where all the screws would go, etc. Then I proceeded to completely strip the head on the first screw, while more than an inch of it is still sticking out of the wall. I don\’t really know what to do from here. I hear I can drill a hole and hopefully get enough of a grip to withdraw the screw. I just see things getting worse from here, though.

Update: So, Fin mentioned that he pre-drilled the holes before putting up the board. Yeah, I\’m going with that when I get things sorted out.

Concision

Monday, March 6th, 2006

After reading too many papers, skimming even more, and completely skipping the majority, I\’ve realized that there\’s a real skill to keeping things short but clear. Some papers ramble on past thirty-five pages while others leave out so much information that few people other than the authors have any idea what it\’s about.

An example of someone who does it well, in my opinion, is Robin Milner. This is a guy who has contributed so much to computer science, including ML and the π calculus. I\’ve read some papers of his before, and am now reading Communicating and Mobile Systems. I have ah-ha moments constantly, can read multiple chapters in a sitting, and when I get lost, five minutes of more detailed reading or exercises has me back on track.

Anyway, I\’m just frustrated by papers in general, and happy about Milner in particular. The difficulty of knowing what to cut is apparent, and it\’s something I want to keep in mind.

\”I didn\’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.\” —Mark Twain

Hints for Happy Living #72

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

Before you go to bed, lay out the clothes you plan to wear the next day in a place that gets sun in the morning. They\’ll feel cozy and warm when you put them on, like they just came out of the dryer. (Note: this may not be desirable if you live in a hot climate.)

Hello, Google Talk.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

I\’ve mentioned Google Talk before, but at the time it had one disastrous flaw — it couldn\’t talk to other Jabber servers. It was an island. Well, that\’s fixed now. So, all you Gmailing Google Talkers, add sellout@jabber.sk to your contact lists!

Living (not so) Large

Monday, September 5th, 2005

Those of you who know me know that I try to be a minimalist. It doesn\’t always work. I end up collecting too many books, and too much other detritus whenever I settle into a new place. In the past, it\’s been my goal to be able to fit all of my belongings into a car about the size of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Really, it\’s happened. That was my \”moving van\” from Vancouver to Seattle. Of course, I sacrificed some things … like my king-size bed. C\’est la vie.

I have a new goal: living in a Tiny House. (more…)

Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Finally!

That\’s basically all I have to say. Google has turned Gmail into something worthwhile (ok, I guess Gmail itself was pretty cool, but I\’ve never understood the infatuation everyone has with Webmail). But, now there\’s Google talk, with the requisite lower-case product name. For those who don\’t read all the small print, Google wrote a Jabber client and server, and anyone with a Gmail account now has a Jabber account.

Friggin\’ sweet! Of course, I don\’t have a Gmail account. I do, however, already have a Jabber account (sellout@jabber.sk). So, get your Gmailin\’ ass on Jabber, and add me. Death to closed protocols!

5 Things on 43 Things

Friday, May 6th, 2005

So, you may have heard of this 43 Things thing. I\’ve heard about it through work, since they have some tie to Amazon, but I didn\’t bother to look, until Jonnay pointed me at it.

So, now I have five things on my list (and a bunch that I\’ve labeled completed as well). The ones I have there now aren\’t goal-oriented. I\’ll get around to fixing that. I figured first I would just do a brain-dump of the things I enjoy doing, and then come up with goals a bit down the line.

Less is More

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

There\’s a nice article about the evils of multitasking over at Creating Passionate Users. I\’ve always accepted that context-switching was a bad thing, but I still find it hard to avoid. My current job (though I love it) requires more context-switching than I\’ve had to deal with anywhere else. It\’s largely because common tasks can take quite a while to complete. In that 10-minute downtime I think, \”well, I might as well respond to this email while I wait,\” or, \”I should get this other task going and then I can come back to the first one while this one\’s processing something.\”

I tend to have 3 bullet points in active development simultaneously, and then there\’s the bevy of other tasks like email, code reviews, documentation, etc. to add to that. I\’m afraid to count the number of context-switches I make in a normal work day. It can\’t be less than 100. We\’ve recently started using Scrum and I\’ve noticed a definite decrease in context-switching. Most of what remains is due to tools that aren\’t fast enough to just wait around for.

There does seem to be a large part of the software industry that doesn\’t see the negatives of context-switching, and that often takes pride in how many tasks can be done at once. I hope that, with the improvments that Scrum and other changes bring, we can change at least a bit of that perception at one company.

Aeroned!

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

I\’m on the ergonomic bandwagon finally. It\’s something I\’ve cared about for a while, but have never invested money in before. I still have some distance to cover, but I can definitely feel a marked improvement in my setup.

(more…)

My Wit, Your Clothing

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

I\’ve set up a shop at CafePress. I\’ve got a bunch of design ideas that I have to turn into PNGs before I can put them up there. Right now I only have a few of the Keirsey shirts done. The one shortcoming, because I only have a \”basic\” shop, is that I can only do one design per product type — one lunch box, one baseball jersey, one hoodie, etc. If you\’d like a particular design on a different product, let me know and I\’ll switch them around so you can buy the one you want.

I\’m not marking up the prices at all. These are just ideas that I\’d like to put out there. No profit for me.