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Category: Life

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

As I write this, I sit in an apartment in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, just a few blocks from where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached to his congregation. I cannot express in words the gratitude I feel toward Dr. King and all the thousands of people who marched with him to demand equal rights for all Americans. Since its birth, America has been a nation that aspired to high ideals of equality, and since its birth, America…

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Systems vs Habits: Why GTD Often Fails

Systems vs Habits: Why GTD Often Fails

In my previous post, I wrote about David Allen’s Getting Things Done book and productivity system. If GTD has a weakness, it is that, although the book describes the system very well, it does a poor job of describing the change of daily habits you’ll have to perform if you really want to implement the system. The major reason people fail at implementing a GTD-style productivity system in their lives is that, no matter how simple the system may be, it’s a big…

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Getting Things Done — Productivity System

Getting Things Done — Productivity System

David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is a phenomenon in the tech community. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already read the book, or at least know something about the productivity system that it defines. I read it years ago, but like many readers never put into practice more than a tiny portion of the system. As 2012 drew to a close and I looked back on all the things I meant to accomplish, I…

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How to set up a new PC in 12 Steps, or How I spent my evening renewing my disgust with Windows

How to set up a new PC in 12 Steps, or How I spent my evening renewing my disgust with Windows

Step 1: Spend 30 minutes unpacking boxes, peeling plastic, and connecting cables. Step 2: In breathless anticipation, press the power button. Step 3: Spend another 30 minutes hunting for the Windows Product Key so you can access the computer you just bought. Find it, finally, on an indelible sticker on the far side of the computer’s case. Step 4: Enlist an assistant to type the Windows Product Key while you hang upside down under the desk using a flashlight to…

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Systems and Mental Deficiencies

Systems and Mental Deficiencies

I was surprised when I read some of the things writer Terry Pratchett wrote or said about developing PCA, a form of dementia. I cannot now find the original source that I read, but there are several similar articles. He described some symptoms of the disease slowly robbing him of his own mind. The inability to see certain objects when they are right in front of you. Walking into a room but having no memory of why you went there…

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Natural Laws

Natural Laws

I figure any phrase that people deem to be a “law” and find important enough to attribute to a specific person (even if incorrectly) probably contains some real wisdom. Here’s a collection of Eponymous Laws from Wikipedia, all of which I have found to be true in my own experience. Amara’s Law: We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. Conway’s Law: Any organization that designs a system…

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Occam’s Moving Parts

Occam’s Moving Parts

As an architect of complex applications, I spend my day aggressively applying Occam’s Razor, attempting to simplify large systems by removing as much as possible. But the nature of the work is such that the system can never be truly simple. No matter how much I try to simplify, I am left with that feeling that there are too many moving parts. As a geek, I apply a systems approach to almost everything in my life. I have a system…

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How Newspapers Lost the Classifieds Business (and how to get it back)

How Newspapers Lost the Classifieds Business (and how to get it back)

Time was, newspapers owned the local classified ads business, and it was their cash cow. Many people bought the paper just for the classifieds, and it was by far the most valuable real estate of the paper. In recent years, free Internet- based alternatives like Craig’s List decimated their business and contributed greatly to the decline of newspapers. In this November 2009 interview, Craig Donato, CEO of Oodle, an online classifieds startup, explains that “If You’re The Challenger, You Have…

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