Archive for the ‘random’ category

How I Stay Organized

July 17, 2009

>I’ve always been a very organized person.  Though my habits for staying organized change rather frequently.  In grade school I recall cycling through a single divided notebook to a pee-chee for every class to a notebook for every class and back again.  College was no different.  One year, small 5×7 notebooks, color coded for each class to easily be able to grab them out of my bag (yeah, I know, huge dork, it doesn’t get any better…) to a meticulously organized binder with schedules I’d print out daily to manage my class and work schedules to spending way more money than I had on a Handspring Visor PDA (yeah, I was that guy and it was awesome).

In my post-college work life I’m no different.  What has changed is the amount of technology I can take advantage of.  Not too long ago I jumped on the Moleskine bandwagon, I think it lasted for a month, but I’m just not a paper (or writing) person.  For one, my handwriting is horrible not to mention slow.  The time it takes for me to write something that I will later not be able to read is not worth it.  Going to school in the 90’s and being subjected to keyboarding classes not once, not twice, but three times made me an excellent typist with 5th grade level handwriting.
So here are the current methods I follow and tools I use to stay organized.
Inbox as a To Do List
One thing that has been true since I first got email is that I’ve always use my inbox as a to do list.  If something is in my inbox then it requires some action, otherwise it gets deleted or archived.  It’s not anymore complicated than that.
Multiple Calendars
Separating items between different color coded calendars works well for me.  At the core I have a personal calendar, my work calendar and a calendar that has reoccurring events for when my various bills are due.  Beyond that I’m a big fan of subscribing to calendar feeds such as my TripIt calendar (more on that in a moment), birthdays and US holidays.
I’ve tried a lot of different to do list applications.  Lately I’ve settled on Things.  The combination desktop application and iPhone application are worth the initial cost.  They key is to to get in the habit of using it.  I try to get every item down throughout the day and there is nothing more rewarding than checking things off.
Evernote is a tool that I really like, and yet still find that I am not using it nearly as much as I should be.  My note taking habits are actually not very good.  I’m super OCD about tracking to do items, but general notes from meetings tend to be pretty light.  I’m currently trying to remedy this and Evernote is the tool that seems to fit my needs the best.
Last, but not least, I have been traveling quite a bit in the last couple of years.  TripIt has become and invaluable tool for keeping track of my upcoming trips and the details for those trips (i.e. flight times, hotel reservations).  Being able to subscribe to my trip items in iCal and being able to see them mixed in with other items on my calendars saves me a lot of scheduling hassle.
I think the key components to each of these tools or methods is that they are all completely in sync with my iPhone.  A system that I can maintain while I’m away from my computer is critical for me.

Using the Cloud

March 31, 2009

>Over the years I’ve started countless projects by myself or with friends that have never been fully realized.  I’m still waiting for that one great idea that really drives me to create something from nothing.  In the mean time I am pretty happy bringing other people’s ideas to light, most of the time.

Without giving away too much detail, one of my current client projects is a pretty cool combination of technologies.  We are building an iPhone application with Amazon Web Services back-end.  As we’ve been building this it has occurred to me how many of my ideas in the past died because we would get bogged down in the details about where and how we were going to host it rather than just building it.

It’s thrilling to see all these cloud computing services springing up that really level the playing field for anyone with an idea to deploy, and more importantly scale if they find success.

I still don’t have that one great idea, but I feel like the roadblocks that existed in years past have lessened.

Maker Faire 2008

May 5, 2008

>Today I attended the Bay Area Maker Faire 2008. Over all it was an entertaining trip, except for the hour we sat on the onramp to get to the fairgrounds. I got to see Adam Savage of the Mythbusters speak, as well as enjoy a couple rounds of Battle Bots. And for your viewing pleasure, here are some Battle Bot videos taken with my new Flip Video camera.

Bad Dog

April 13, 2008

>Well, this post is a little bit of a cop-out, but I’m still counting it for the “one a week” challenge. Next week I will get part two of Joel and my series on TFS out.

My mom called me this morning, she was upset because her dog jumped up and grabbed her iPhone off the kitchen counter in the middle of the night, and pretty much destroyed it. It will power on, but the screen is completely white. When I plugged it in, it did sync, so we were able to get her a new one and restore from the backup. Check out the photos below:

My First "Valley" Event

April 1, 2008

>Well as a follow-up to my last post about how Seattle compares to The Valley last night I attended my first “Valley” event. A friend of mine that works for a PR firm down here told me about Mozilla‘s 10 year anniversary celebration that was going on last night. So I decided to check it out. It was pretty packed when I got there, but they had just made it open bar, so thanks Mozilla for the gin and tonics. There were a lot of .com folks chatting it up, a few folks that were clearly Mozilla contributors and a few valley celebrities (or so I’m told, I didn’t really know who any of them were). At one point Mitchell Baker (I think) and Brendan Eich got up and thanked everyone and said some words that most of us couldn’t hear. All-in-all it was an interesting experience and I hope to find my way into more of these things.

UPDATE: Here is proof that I was there, or at least that the back of my head was:

One a Week Challenge

March 14, 2008

>Joel and I were talking about ways to give ourselves more incentive to blog more. We decided on a friendly challenge that would require us to both post at least once a week. You can read Joel’s post for this week highlighting Silverlight 2 from our recent trip to Mix ’08. Don’t worry Joel, I’m not counting this as my post for this week, check back later for my “real” post.