Archive for January, 2012

Sometimes you have to speak up

I’d encourage anyone that’s followed SOPA/PIPA and the shenanigans of Chris Dodd and the MPAA to sign this petition.

Investigate Chris Dodd and the MPAA for bribery after he publicly admited to bribing politicans to pass legislation. | The White House.

It’s on the White House’s “We the People” site and is getting really close to the number of signatures needed.

 

5 Ways to Simplify Your Techno Life

I’ll freely admit I didn’t come up with these.  They come from the Daily Zen site, and were targeted to personal life (and had 7 steps origionally).

However, as I read these, they struck me as completely approperiate and valuable for life in the Technology Fast Lane.

I frequently practice these tennants (without even knowing it sometimes) and I feel they really help me stay focused and maintain my priorities on the things that really matter.

I think we all need to take some time in the fast-paced world of technology and Zen out for a bit.  These can help you survive, and help you be more productive as well.

 Full credit to the Daily Zen for this.  I’ve modified them a bit based on my experiences, and to apply to technology.

#1 Prioritize

Try getting out a pad and paper (or iPad or some other GTD list) and writing what you absolutely have to do today.  Keep it to the stuff you “must do”.  Don’t let other “maybes or should do” items creep onto the list. Writing out your tasks-at-hand simplifies your thoughts and gets rid of all the mental chaos and stress.  This will allow you to prioritize and figure out what needs to get done soonest.  Ideally, you’ll be able to start working on that as soon as you figure it out.

#2 Broad view

Think about the big picture.  This seems counterintuitive if the goal is to simplify, but it’s actually important. In IT it’s not just important, it’s critical.  Think about what you really want and where you really want to be in your organization, and start weeding out anything that doesn’t jell with those ideas.  Failure to keep the Broad View in mind in this business is a fast way to being obsolete as a professional, as a department and as a company.

#3 Narrow down

After you’ve zoomed out and put things in perspective, go back to the details.  Focus on what’s important.   If you change a tiny part of your organization, department or self each day for a year, by the end of the year the big picture will have changed completely.  Implement small changes, one at a time, the goal being simplicity.  Shave off an unnecessary expense, find a simpler way to complete a project. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

#4 Relax

Don’t procrastinate, but relax.  Take things as they come. I’ll say it again.  Relax.  There’s no point in simplifying things if the process just stresses you out.  Look at it as a gradual process rather than an instant gratification.  De-cluttering your surroundings will eventual help you de-clutter your mind. Focusing your organization will also help clear out the chaff.  Take time to relax and Breathe.  Yes, Breathe with a capital “B”.  The breath is the pathway to focus and relaxation.  Not only does it provide your body with much needed oxygen, but it’s something to focus on.

#5 No multi-tasking

One thing at a time.  Pick a thing, and do it with deliberate hard work instead of half-assing 5 things at once.  If you have to clean your desk, clean your desk.  Don’t clean a little, eat, clean a little, check facebook, clean a little, write emails.  Just do it; you’ll feel the satisfaction of dedicating your full attention to something. The same goes with your organization.  Don’t let yourself or staff get sucked into working on 5 things at the same time.  Yes there are multiple projects that demand our attention, but keep them in “compartments”.  Allow staff to focus on projects one at a time without pulling them in different directions.  Multitasking is great in theory, but in reality, it only leads to chaos and frustration.

via the daily zen: 7 Ways to Simplify Your Life.

A Zen-Technology Truth

Knowledge and ideas want to be free: When you learn something new, ever feel the urge to share it? When you know something that can help, don’t you want to answer a question? When you have an idea, isn’t it great to bounce off others? From a behavioral and technological perspective, we want knowledge and ideas to be free. Why lock ‘em down?

via 5 Social Business Truths

iBooks

If you haven’t seen the iBooks announcement or app from Apple that came out today, it’s work taking a look at it.

http://www.apple.com/education/#video-textbooks

I haven’t played with it yet, but on first glance, it looks pretty darn cool!!

keyboard

I have a confession to make.

I’m a keyboard snob.

It’s true. I’m very, very picky when it comes to the keyboard I’ll use. I know what I like and nothing else will do.

I’ve tried all the “normal” keyboards and after so many years of using my “keyboard of awesomeness”, I get very cranky when I have to use anything else.

So what keyboard do I use, well, I hate to say it but the Microsoft Ergonomic Natural Keyboard 4000.

wpid-microsoft-natural-ergonomic-keyboard-4000-b2m-00012-2012-01-19-12-21.jpg

I love the shape of it and I really can’t type on a standard keyboard anymore. It just doesn’t feel right and I can’t force my hands into what I consider and awkward position.

Mrs. Technocrat thinks I’m insane. In fact, most people look at my keyboard and utter the same old tired question. “How on earth do you type on that?”

Well, I feel the same way about normal keyboards.

So what’s the problem? It’s pretty simple…

I use a Mac.

Yeah…see the problem? Mac computer…Microsoft (PC) keyboard. It’s like some sort of inter-species marriage.

While it works pretty well, it bugs me on a couple fronts.

#1 – There is no “apple” key. Apple keyboards have an extra function key on the bottom row; four to be exact. They are: function, control, option, and command. My Microsoft keyboard is really meant for a PC. It has three keys on that row. CTRL, Windows (the “start” key) and ALT.

So they don’t really match up well with the Mac.

The “command” key on the mac, is the equivalent of the CTRL key on the PC. However, do they map that way naturally? Oh hell no! The Mac’s command key seems to always map to the “windows” key. It’s awkward and really stinks.

However, I could probably deal with all this if it weren’t for point #2.

#2 – The keyboard is ugly!!! Yes, ugly. It really clashes with my nice 27” iMac, magic mouse and magic touchpad. Not to mention my new Mobee wireless charging station for my mouse (that’s another blog post).

It’s black, plastic, and all Darth Vader”ish”. In short, it throws off my whole desktop Zen Thing.

I’ve got my nice Mac stuff, my bamboo plants, my wood carvings, and Darth Keyboard. Ewww.

It’s like a big blob of ugly in my otherwise Zen world.

The main advantage to this keyboard isn’t just the split keyboard. It’s the split keyboard, the raised angle, the wrist pads, the action of they keys and they one-piece spacebar.

I have to give Microsoft, it’s a well designed keyboard.

It’s just ugly as a one-eyed frog.

I’ve looked and looked and I can not for the life of me find anything specifically for the Mac that is even close the ergonomic functionally of this keyboard. I don’t get that.

So my plea here is this…

Please Mr. Ive (or some other vendor), build us a truly ergonomic keyboard for the Mac that “looks” like it belongs with the Mac.

Pretty please?

PIPA explained

This is being pushed by a congress that is supposedly interested in creating jobs!

It’s clear they only care about padding their pockets with $$$ from the entertainment industry.

Our Internet

If you read this blog, please take a minute today to watch this.

Then please contact your representatives in Congress.  Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA.

There is a lot at stake.

Our Internet – YouTube