Getting to “right”

February 18, 2009

I’m mid-way through my first week since early October as a “free agent”. I’ve not felt “right” yet. I’m trying to assign percentages to the reasons why this is the case.

Here are the contenders:

1. Lack of steady income
2. President’s Day and the short week
3. Too much time to think — two round trips on the LRT
4. The lingering hip injury
5. The weather
6. Possible cold coming on

For the time being I’ll assign 16% to each and the remaining 4% to “miscellaneous outside influences”.

Truth be told, I’ve been rather productive and the brain has definitely been firing on all cylinders. I just need to get back on the groove. No appointments tomorrow unless Dan wants to get lunch. 😉

NOTE TO SELF: blogging IS your job now.

The Hellish Allure of the Early Morning Hockey Practice

January 11, 2009

Each weekend in the winter arrives with the possibilty (probabilty) of early morning practice from one or both of my (hockey-playing [thanks Mike!]) descendants. It’s exceedingly tough to get up at 5:30 or 6 but there is a bright side…

The days seem to last forever — which isn’t bad on the weekend when you’re a firm believer of sleep being overrated.

You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: Inbox Zero for 15 Days

December 17, 2008

I’ve struggled with email for years. I’ve got a bunch of accounts — most of them garbage collectors — and had no strategy for maintaining them. I’m a huge Google Apps user, and Gmail, regardless of the privacy concerns many of you have (Jamie), kicks ass. I just wasn’t using it properly. When it first came out, I got an account on the first day thanks to being a friend of a friend of Andre.

I set up my account and went a bit nuts on the tagging. It was a mistake that would take me years to correct. About two weeks ago, Scott Beale at Laughingsquid posted this tweet. The clouds parted and stars aligned.

I’ve been a fan of the 43Folders and of Merlin Mann for quite awhile, and knew I had a problem, but this reminder seems to have been the trick. I watched the video (below), laughed a few times, eliminated about 95% of my email tags, added a “>>DEFER” tag and about an hour later hit “Inbox Zero” for the first time in 6 months. That previous, and only time, lasted for less than 12 hours.

The keys? Realizing that I never dig through folders or tags to find things. I use the ridiculously fast search functionality built into the Gmail system, so archive works great on almost anything. Additionally, I’ve given myself the right to flat-out delete a ton of stuff. There is no more, “I might need this someday,” running through my head. I know whether I’ll really need it or not and I make a decision.

I don’t keep a browser open with email any longer either. I check roughly hourly which lets me get so much more done. It’s really liberating.

The “>>DEFER” tag allows me to move those things that require more than a minute of my time for a response or action. I’ve never had more than 5 things in this state at a time and it’s actually a pretty great email-centric “To Do” list.

Anyway, here’s the 58 minutes of video that changed my email life (at least for the past two weeks):

Damn! It’s Quiet In Here (thanks to the c820s)!

November 24, 2008

imageA couple of months ago, before I took an onsite contracting gig, I had been working from home for over a year. It was quite pleasant for nine months out of the year — more or less quiet with two of the three kids off at school.

Then summer came — and the kids were home — all day.

Productivity ground to a halt and prime work hours slipped back to the 9PM – 2AM slot.

I happened to be looking for a deal (as I am wont to do) on a winter coat for one of the kids at the local TJMaxx and as I turned the corner out of the overstock, oversized (even for “Phat Farm”) pants aisle, I saw them hanging on the end cap (unopened) – near some miscellaneous third and probably even fourth-party iPod accessories.

A pair of noise-canceling headphones at a price I could afford – $39. I immediately took them off the rack and popped them in my cart. I’d read about the c820s when I was researching them a few months back, but even at the Amazon price of $99 they were a bit more than I could pony up for. 

The Jabra c820s has gotten many favorable reviews, and at $200 – $300 less than the Bose entriesTo get even close to the Bose’ performance for $100 is well worth it. For $40? I feel like I won a very small lottery.

Mowing the lawn, leaf-blowing, dimming the kid noise… they work great at all of these tasks.

Thumbs up.

Sending an iPhone into Space… or at least 1312 feet closer to Space

November 10, 2008

I met Michael Koppelman a million years ago in the Bitstream offices discussing hosting rates for a ridiculous online dating service project I was on (the client eventually chose Protocom across the river). He came off as not so much of a nerd. He’d worked with some pretty cool bands and the vibe at Bitstream made me not want to leave.

Turns out, Michael Koppelman is a nerd — of the highest caliber. He’s into astronomy, iPhone programming and model rocketry. Dan Grigsby interviews him on his latest launch over at in T-Minus ten, nine, eight, seven…