Wednesday, August 23

Column from PC Magazine: The Google Ploy—A Revolution?

OK, I know that John C. Dvorak sometimes just spouts off in an attempt to provoke controversy, but the article below is a great analysis of a possible future for Municipal Wi-Fi. Free public Internet access could give rise to a whole new era of entertainment consumption.

PC Magazine: The Google Ploy--A Revolution?

Friday, August 18

Free Municipal Wi-Fi is Born

Well, Google has officially blanketed its hometown of Mountain View with free wireless Internet access. A PC Magazine writer took it upon herself to visit and test out the new network (see below). It seems that the project, while obviously still in its infancy, has lots of potential as a public service.

PC Magazine: Testing Google's Wi-Fi Network

Monday, August 14

Getting Things Done: Task Granularity

I discovered something about my work last week. A process I had previously put on my next-actions list as a single entry is actually composed of three separate and definable steps. Listing my work in smaller chunks has made it easier to get things done.

But I did some thinking about breaking down tasks, and I realized that the degree to which things must be broken down is individual for each person and even for each project. For instance, a perfectly fine next action for me (if I were to apply GTD to my morning routine) would be "get dressed." However, my wife would probably need to have "choose clothes" and "get dressed" as two separate actions-- in fact, she often does the former action in the evening before she goes to bed. Some people might even need "choose pants," then "find matching shirt," et cetera.

But I use this example only to find a common ground in a task that everyone does every day (well, almost every day if you're still in college). The same principle of determining the size of individual project chunks applies to things you might do at work or at school.

If your job is to be an HR administrator, "Administer Human Resources" will definitely be too large of a chunk to constitute a good next action! On the flip side, "Turn on the computer" is much too small of a task in any job to have to track it individually. Unless, of course, you're a computer technician faced with the problem of trying to get a stubborn machine to power on. (Hint: It's either the power supply or the RAM.)

Similarly, my job title is to be an "Instrumental Music Editor/Engraver." Up until last week when this thought occurred to me, I had a next action of "Engrave music for [Project X]." If you have your job title in a next action, you can probably stand to break it down a bit more. And analyzing the things I do when I approach such a task helped me to create smaller chunks which seem much more doable. Again, though, "Start up the notation software" would be much too small of an action for me.

The point here, though, is that you need to determine the granularity that works for you. It's definitely a good thing to think about; especially if you have one or two things that have been sitting around on your list for a really long time. Re-defining the task in smaller pieces might just help you get stubborn projects crossed off your list.

Thursday, August 10

Wisdom from the GTD master

I just had to share this great quote from Merlin Mann:

...Getting organized just means you’ve glued handles onto the various stuff in your life — you’ll still need to pick it up and carry it around from time to time.

That's my main problem... the carrying-around bit of productivity. I've got a great system set up to keep track of tasks, but many times it's difficult to find the motivation to actually work on the tasks I've defined.

So, Merlin (et al)... any ideas about forcing oneself to quit reading blogs, stop playing sudoku, and actually get some work done?

Folders for organization and action | 43 Folders

Monday, August 7

Today's WWDC 2006 Keynote Video

Go here to see Steve Jobs's keynote speech from WWDC 2006:

Apple - QuickTime - WWDC 2006

Tuesday, August 1

Coincidence that "defies calculation"

Imagine your wallet or purse has been stolen. Not fun, right?

Then imagine you're back at your job, waiting tables at a bar. You ask a young-looking patron for identification.

And the customer hands you your own driver's license!

This actually happened... check out the Associated Press story below.

Waitress gets own ID when carding patron - Yahoo! News

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by emailing the author (use the link above).

The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.