Thursday, April 26, 2007

Some Favorite Quotes

Wow, I was going to post this on my internal cms on my local network. Unfortunately, I cannot reach it from where I am. Not sure if it is something about the connection I have down here or if something has happened on the far end. It if is the far end, it either means something bad has happened while I've been out of town or RR finally got around to assigning a new IP address to me. Kind of hard to believe that would have happened, but I guess you never know.

Anyway, I suppose I'll just post these here and everyone can benefit. These quotes were some I put together at some hazy point in my past. I ran across the sheet of them as I was cleaning out some stuff in the office (part of my implementation of GTD - more on that in a subsequent post). So to try to preserve them (and let me get rid of a piece of paper), here they are.

A GTD Update (Check This Done!)

As I mentioned a few posts back, I have been looking for some ways to improve how I keep track of all my tasks to do. One of the “tools” I ran across is GTD, short for “Getting Things Done”. That is the title of a book by David Allen on his methodology for, well, getting things done. The sub-title of the book is The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and I can certainly understand that as Allen spends some time explaining his theory on how the brain functions and how the typical methods folks have for keeping track of their tasks introduce even more stress into our lives. So one of the goals of his method is to reduce stress. I've only been using the system for a couple weeks now, but I would definitely say it achieves that goal. At this point I would highly recommend the GTD system. Since I'm doing that, I figured I would share a few thoughts and provide an update from a newbies perspective on how it is going with the implementation.

My first impression is that it is a somewhat complicated system. But that complication comes with a benefit – it actually seems to work. That is the same impression someone else I am helping tackle the same issue has gotten from my brief descriptions. As I work through it though, it is getting quite easy. I think part of the reason is because it all makes sense and there is a nice logic to everything. Being a process type of person, I find it very attractive to observe how it all works.

The actions list of Thinking Rock

The actions list page of Thinking Rock (currently showing everything - at least, everything that would fit on the screen)

Thinking Rock v2.0 main page

The main page of the Thinking Rock 2.0 gamma on Linux

Monday, April 16, 2007

Real Customer Support Surveys Me

Just a follow up to my tale of woe in trying to cancel a Real.com account. Got an e-mail from Real Customer Support asking me to complete an on-line survey regarding my "experience". Can you guess how that went?

I didn't completely blast 'em. I gave them middle of the road scores on how well the rep handled my call (once I finally got through to someone). He wasn't great, but not bad either. I did let them know that I was "extremely dissatisfied" with the ability to (I guess I should say lack of ability) cancel on-line, along with the trouble I had getting through (long waits, limited hours). I thought it was pretty hilarious that one of the questions was asking why I decided to phone customer support after having visited the customer support web site. They apparently don't understand that having a customer support web site is not much use if customers can't support themselves - is it any wonder they have to call?

In the end, I told them that I thought the whole experience would make me never want to do business with them again and that I would recommend against anyone I know from doing business with them. And I thought the way Real.com does business is a bad reflection on their partner, the NFL.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Some Favorite Quotes

Wow, I was going to post this on my internal cms on my local network. Unfortunately, I cannot reach it from where I am. Not sure if it is something about the connection I have down here or if something has happened on the far end. It if is the far end, it either means something bad has happened while I've been out of town or RR finally got around to assigning a new IP address to me. Kind of hard to believe that would have happened, but I guess you never know.

Anyway, I suppose I'll just post these here and everyone can benefit. These quotes were some I put together at some hazy point in my past. I ran across the sheet of them as I was cleaning out some stuff in the office (part of my implementation of GTD - more on that in a subsequent post). So to try to preserve them (and let me get rid of a piece of paper), here they are.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Return of Slick

This morning I did it. Once again, I shaved my head. Woohoo!!! Been about three or four years since I was last bald. I'm sure bald is probably not the best look for me, but the feeling is great. One of the best parts of maintaining a bald head are those few minutes in the shower in the morning when I'm shaving my head. A nice, relaxing few minutes to concentrate on getting everything nice and smooth again. The other nice part is when I'm sitting around working on something and rub my head in thought. Somehow focusing. Anyway, the head is really a sickly white right now (with pockmark looking discolorations). It will take a few weeks for it to get nice and tanned.

HeadBlade logoThe last time I went bald, I tried a combination of razors. But all that I tried were normal razors like the Gillette Sensor that I use for my face. I eventually settled on the realization that the main key was keeping good blades on the razor. This time however, I spent a few dollars to invest in a HeadBlade. I have to say it was well worth it. Ergonomically it is shaped to really "fit" into your head in the posture you have to be in to shave your head. They claim all you have to do is keep it in the right position and you barely need any pressure. I pretty much found that to be true and it was very easy to move along to the different parts of my head. And for any other head shavers out there, I prefer to go against the grain. You know what I mean.

The Return of Slick

This morning I did it. Once again, I shaved my head. Woohoo!!! Been about three or four years since I was last bald. I'm sure bald is probably not the best look for me, but the feeling is great. One of the best parts of maintaining a bald head are those few minutes in the shower in the morning when I'm shaving my head. A nice, relaxing few minutes to concentrate on getting everything nice and smooth again. The other nice part is when I'm sitting around working on something and rub my head in thought. Somehow focusing. Anyway, the head is really a sickly white right now (with pockmark looking discolorations). It will take a few weeks for it to get nice and tanned.

HeadBlade logoThe last time I went bald, I tried a combination of razors. But all that I tried were normal razors like the Gillette Sensor that I use for my face. I eventually settled on the realization that the main key was keeping good blades on the razor. This time however, I spent a few dollars to invest in a HeadBlade. I have to say it was well worth it. Ergonomically it is shaped to really "fit" into your head in the posture you have to be in to shave your head. They claim all you have to do is keep it in the right position and you barely need any pressure. I pretty much found that to be true and it was very easy to move along to the different parts of my head. And for any other head shavers out there, I prefer to go against the grain. You know what I mean.

Mr. Bunny Rabbit at Sunset Beach

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Printer = Comparison of OS'es

Today I finally managed to have enough money scraped together to go out and purchase a new printer for my home office. For a couple years now, I have relied on an HP6110 all-in-one to handle my businesses printing chores (some light copying and moderate scanning as well). The biggest problem is that there is something about this model that HP screwed up that makes it run really slow. I thought it was just me, especially since I run Linux on the main PC that is connected to it. However, last fall I was attending some CPA training on paperless office and document management technologies and the instructor mentioned that he has the same problem.

Anyway, it has been a reasonably good printer, but when I needed to really get an important print job done, it was always a real bear to manage it. E.g., last week I was trying to print a 94 page document. I would have preferred to have had it duplexed, but that wasn't going to happen. The other problem is that I am apparently increasing my production of documents as it seems I am constantly having to put new print cartridges in the thing.

So for a while I've had my eye on an HP Color LaserJet 2605dn. Office Depot has had them at a price of $399. Regularly it is $499, but they have been consistently offering a $100 rebate. It looks like a good buy from all the research I've done. Reasonably fast 10 ppm in color (faster would be nicer!), duplex, and network ready. Having it network ready would be especially nice as I was constantly switching the 6110 between a USB connection with the Linux PC and a D-Link wireless print server that I used to access it with the laptop I use in my business. That has been giving me a headache lately as it apparently does not like WPA encryption on the wireless network.

New Printer = Comparison of OS'es

Today I finally managed to have enough money scraped together to go out and purchase a new printer for my home office. For a couple years now, I have relied on an HP6110 all-in-one to handle my businesses printing chores (some light copying and moderate scanning as well). The biggest problem is that there is something about this model that HP screwed up that makes it run really slow. I thought it was just me, especially since I run Linux on the main PC that is connected to it. However, last fall I was attending some CPA training on paperless office and document management technologies and the instructor mentioned that he has the same problem.

Anyway, it has been a reasonably good printer, but when I needed to really get an important print job done, it was always a real bear to manage it. E.g., last week I was trying to print a 94 page document. I would have preferred to have had it duplexed, but that wasn't going to happen. The other problem is that I am apparently increasing my production of documents as it seems I am constantly having to put new print cartridges in the thing.

So for a while I've had my eye on an HP Color LaserJet 2605dn. Office Depot has had them at a price of $399. Regularly it is $499, but they have been consistently offering a $100 rebate. It looks like a good buy from all the research I've done. Reasonably fast 10 ppm in color (faster would be nicer!), duplex, and network ready. Having it network ready would be especially nice as I was constantly switching the 6110 between a USB connection with the Linux PC and a D-Link wireless print server that I used to access it with the laptop I use in my business. That has been giving me a headache lately as it apparently does not like WPA encryption on the wireless network.

Real Customer Support Surveys Me

Just a follow up to my tale of woe in trying to cancel a Real.com account. Got an e-mail from Real Customer Support asking me to complete an on-line survey regarding my "experience". Can you guess how that went?

I didn't completely blast 'em. I gave them middle of the road scores on how well the rep handled my call (once I finally got through to someone). He wasn't great, but not bad either. I did let them know that I was "extremely dissatisfied" with the ability to (I guess I should say lack of ability) cancel on-line, along with the trouble I had getting through (long waits, limited hours). I thought it was pretty hilarious that one of the questions was asking why I decided to phone customer support after having visited the customer support web site. They apparently don't understand that having a customer support web site is not much use if customers can't support themselves - is it any wonder they have to call?

In the end, I told them that I thought the whole experience would make me never want to do business with them again and that I would recommend against anyone I know from doing business with them. And I thought the way Real.com does business is a bad reflection on their partner, the NFL.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Soccer Success In Only 3 Games

Over in the ToTehMoon proper part of the site, I have a blurb about my girls playing over in the Chapel Hill United Advanced Development Program this spring for soccer.  However, I have not had a chance to write anything about it thus far.  This past weekend my girls played in their third game of the season and each of them scored a goal - their first each in this new league.  I have to guess that is a pretty impressive accomplishment.  When they attended their first practice, their coach seemed a little bit surprised that they were only 7 years old (and they just recently turned 7 at that).  I think he has been even more pleasantly surprised by how good they are.  They got to start in the first game (though I don't attach a lot of significance to starting in this age group - but the coach seemed to think it was of at least minor note).  Unfortunately, it was a game against a team from the U10 division.  I didn't think the other team was really that much better, but the physical size difference meant our team couldn't get any breaks going (though my girls managed to get off 3 shots combined on the opposing goal - maybe out of only 4 or 5 total for the team).

The second game got rained out.  I didn't get to attend the third game (sick with a norovirus as was one of my girls - eventually the whole family caught it), but our team won.  This past weekend's game was another win with a final score of 8-1.

Soccer Success In Only 3 Games

Over in the ToTehMoon proper part of the site, I have a blurb about my girls playing over in the Chapel Hill United Advanced Development Program this spring for soccer.  However, I have not had a chance to write anything about it thus far.  This past weekend my girls played in their third game of the season and each of them scored a goal - their first each in this new league.  I have to guess that is a pretty impressive accomplishment.  When they attended their first practice, their coach seemed a little bit surprised that they were only 7 years old (and they just recently turned 7 at that).  I think he has been even more pleasantly surprised by how good they are.  They got to start in the first game (though I don't attach a lot of significance to starting in this age group - but the coach seemed to think it was of at least minor note).  Unfortunately, it was a game against a team from the U10 division.  I didn't think the other team was really that much better, but the physical size difference meant our team couldn't get any breaks going (though my girls managed to get off 3 shots combined on the opposing goal - maybe out of only 4 or 5 total for the team).

The second game got rained out.  I didn't get to attend the third game (sick with a norovirus as was one of my girls - eventually the whole family caught it), but our team won.  This past weekend's game was another win with a final score of 8-1.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Freaky Tasks, GTD and other software

Just finished an interesting experiment. Did some research on web based task management/project management software built on PHP and MySQL and came across a package called TaskFreak! It looked pretty interesting, so I just finished spending some time getting it installed on my local server. I'm hoping this can perhaps fill a hole in my management of To Do's. When I have a big project to do, like a policy and procedure manual I recently completed, I was able to setup a project file using FastTrack Schedule (like Microsoft Project but not Microsoft). I like that for big projects.

The problem is with the many little and not so little things I need to do that are not part of major projects. I suppose I have some tools already available to me. A Palm T|X. The To Do module of Kontact. SugarCRM. It all seems so disjointed though and hard to keep them coordinated and up to date with each other. So, I decided to look for something that I could quickly and easily access via the web. This means I can use it pretty much anywhere (as I almost always have web access).

Freaky Tasks, GTD and other software

Just finished an interesting experiment. Did some research on web based task management/project management software built on PHP and MySQL and came across a package called TaskFreak! It looked pretty interesting, so I just finished spending some time getting it installed on my local server. I'm hoping this can perhaps fill a hole in my management of To Do's. When I have a big project to do, like a policy and procedure manual I recently completed, I was able to setup a project file using FastTrack Schedule (like Microsoft Project but not Microsoft). I like that for big projects.

The problem is with the many little and not so little things I need to do that are not part of major projects. I suppose I have some tools already available to me. A Palm T|X. The To Do module of Kontact. SugarCRM. It all seems so disjointed though and hard to keep them coordinated and up to date with each other. So, I decided to look for something that I could quickly and easily access via the web. This means I can use it pretty much anywhere (as I almost always have web access).