Archive for March, 2013


When you sit down to the computer you (or at least I) have either a million things that you want to do and maybe do a little in all of them…or you have nothing to do and you fabricate things to do that…really…is still not doing anything.  Such things as:

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– update Twitter
– update Facebook
– Fill up my Buffer queue for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
– Build a website
– Learn more HTML, CSS, Javascript or PHP
– Read the news about whats new and cool
– Read your social media feeds
– Read or write blog posts
– Build an android app
– Work on a clients project
– Create computer courses curriculum
– Stream music
– Download podcast
– …..Listen to podcasts….
– Listen to audio books

And this is just a quick and dirty list of things that eat up all my time when I sit down at the computer.  But the sad thing is that I never do any of them well.  Just try to develop an app or a website while listening to a podcast.  You will either not hear anything the podcast says and struggle through making a website and having to re-align yourself with what you are trying to accomplish.  Or you will somewhat hear what the podcast is saying and be dabbling at best in your development.

The scattered brain is just that, scattered, and technology will not solve this for you.  All the todo lists, reminders and widgets will simply add to your scattered attention.  While nothing in my quick and dirty list is a waste of time in and of itself.  But dabbling in all of them thinking you are making progress in any of them…well then it is all a waste a time in my experience.

The solution that I have found and recommend is tunnel vision.  Take one thing such as learning Javascript, which is what I have been working on lately, and focus just on that for an hour.  Then you will make strides in actually learning and retaining!

Also…and possibly more important…is not getting on the computer if you have no reason…that will lead to wasting time or even doing stuff online that you really shouldn’t…

Does your computer help you stay organize or give you a nightmare of more stuff to deal with?

Can make yourself not check you Facebook feed for one day? I don’t even care if you update your own status but can you do the dishes or clean your house instead if it is needed?

choose wisely!

Kids, code, or blog? The choice is yours…

How about your emails? I know that almost all my emails are really just a waste of time and perhaps I should figure out a way to stop those emails from coming in…but then I would have no emails…

How about Netflix? A service that lets us watch a million different movies and shows at any time that we please, but of course we are all so busy that we have to watch when it might be better to catch up on sleep or a million other worthy tasks.

When people curse technology saying that it has complicated things more than it has helped…my mind blows up a little…of course I even say this from time to time when I am struggling to repair a computer…  But really technology helps us in leaps and bounds, it is not technology’s fault that we have enslaved ourselves to using it in a wasteful manner!

So what I am driving at here is that in digital discipline we must stop blaming technology as the problem.  In all reality we could call this series of blog posts “Self Discipline” but I like having the emphasis in technology.  A good book to read or listen to to build some self control is: “The Willpower Instinct” http://www.amazon.com/Willpower-Instinct-Self-Control-Works-Matters/dp/1583334386

A concept that can be used to help us get more from technology is Clearing to Neutral : http://updates.lifehacker.com/post/34850636076/stop-procrastinating-by-clearing-to-neutral

I have found this to be the best way to use and enjoy technology.  I prepare my iPod or Android phone the night before with audiobooks or podcasts that I want to listen to, then on the morrow when I hope in the work truck to be on the road for a few hours I just hit play.  I know that if I did not prepare that it would only take me a couple of minutes to que something up or just find something to play for background noise.  But it seem that life is, for whatever reason, too busy for that, and if I am not prepared or at least put some forethought into it, that I end up mindlessly listening to the radio…which is really a terrible option with all the great content I have stored on various devices.

The next issue is taking things personally or just wanting a perfect customization so badly that you lose sleep over it.  Yeah we all thought we were the cool hacker that stayed up all night drinking Jolt or Red Bulls, but after you realize that no one cares and you figure out that you stayed up all night to try and find the perfect wallpaper for your newly installed Linux laptop…there might be problems…

When something would not work I would take it as a personal insult and when I finally won (many times 3-4 in the morning) I would boast my victory…and then crash and wake up in a few hours and have the day from Hell!  So…many times it is not worth it, there are a few times when it is worth it and is totally appropriate, like getting a project done for a client.

What use of technology has your self control at ransom?

My iPhone jailbreaks were a little on the fritz and I just ignored it. But then I updated my legit apps through the app store and then updated my Cydia apps.

I had to delete all my podcasts to get enough room and after all the updates I decided that I needed to simplify.

A cluttered iPhone is like a messy kitchen!

A cluttered iPhone is like a messy kitchen!

First I will clean out the legit apps.

– Bad Piggies (126 MB)
I love this game, but lately I cannot spend the time it takes to figure out the puzzles. No matter, I purchased the app so I can download it later if I so desire.

– Angry Birds Star Wars (109 MB)
Same as above.

– Angry Birds Space (51 MB)
Same as above.

iBooks (67.1 MB)
I got the Kindle app, but I did re-download this when there was an epub book that I wanted to read.

– Skype (49 MB)
Sorry but the video chat is not worth it. I will go to a computer or a tablet to use Skype.

– Reminder Free (48 MB)
Neat app, but I never use it…

– Twonky (37 MB)
Awesome app, but I never leave my machine on to use as a server, maybe if I pay for the service and could stream all the audio from my computer while I was on the road…but until then I will never use this app.

– eBay (27 MB)
Never use it.

– Cue (24 MB)
Just another reminder app, a great one, but I never use it.

– FTPOnTheGo (23 MB)
The serious use of an FTP client is just not feasible from an iPhone. A high capcity Android device maybe, but definitely not from an iPhone.

– RH (16 MB)
A side scroller game that I never played after the first time of trying it.

– Starcraft 2 Guide (14 MB)
Never read it…

– Then I deleted a bunch of todo and habit forming apps that I never touched.

After all that I had 1.1 gigs freed up on my 8 gig iPhone, so then I decided to look through the jailbroke apps, the only thing that I deleted was XBMC since I never used it and there is no way I could fit a ton of movies on my phone. After that I had 1.3 gigs available.

So the last and the best thing to free up some space was unloading all the pictures from my phone to my laptop. My space double to 2.6 gigs!

Conclusion:

Since my old Android phone (16 gig) and an old iPod (8 gigs) have all my audio books, there is no reason to clutter up my phone with all of that. Also there is no reason to have a ton of apps that I never use just giving me more nonsense to wade through when I go to use my phone.

 

This has been something that has been in my mind for the last 6 months or maybe even the last year if I would have been keeping a proper journal. I am a techno geek, I love gadgets, I love computers and I love nifty programs and websites. I go through phases of loving and being disgusted by social network sites. I had a Twitter account a long time ago and it seemed that it was a million people talking and no one listening.

My daughter Chloe trying to figure out how the touch screen on this flip phone works...

My daughter Chloe trying to figure out how the touch screen on this flip phone works…

You cannot promote yourself or your wares, whatever they might be. Everyone posts quotes left and right, which I don’t mind…but it is still not a conversation. It is a bunch of people talking at you hoping that you will buy into whatever they are selling.

I use to be extremely excited about all forms of technology. When the iPhone was first coming out my brain exploded with all the possibilities. I could run a business from my phone! From the marketing to the quotes on services. Even the FTP accounts and the Joomla administration could all be done from the phone!

But alas! The simple truth is that real business is done when you get clients or customers. Customers give money to people they can trust, and they trust people who they can talk to, have a conversation with, and hold accountable for the services or products that they purchased.

And while Smartphones can do so much they do not improve how we communicate or work. If anything I find all the alerts and buzzings from my phone as a nuisance and treat it almost like spam. But oddly enough the first thing I do when I wake in the morning is check my email on my phone, and more likely than not I delete all of them as they are spam or marketing of some sort.
With this series that I have dubbed “Digital Discipline” I hope to move myself, and anyone else that is interested into a new era of technology. Not the gadgets and computers themselves…but our on self discipline to use all the technology around us to our utmost benefit and improvement.

We could be learning new languages, improving the knowledge to become the best in our fields and careers, and improving habits. The most important thing is not use it when we don’t need or really want to. Go to bed if you are low on sleep. Make a phone call to someone if you are lonely or just looking for some human interaction instead of trolling down your facebook page replying to everyone wither or not you care about what they have written.

The world at large seems to be socially caving in on itself and it is no fault of the software out there, much of it works in a fantastic manner.

Can you see the negative affects that technology is having in your life? Is it outweighing the positive effects?

Quick and Dirty Windows 8 Review

Being a so-called computer guy I just have to have a legit copy of Windows 8 so that I could be as well versed in it as anyone else around me, it was a little different with so pros and cons…so here is what I thought!indows 8 Review:

windows-8-logo

– Took a little hassle to purchase the download
Well actual it was a lot of hassle. I decided to take my Windows 7 machine and get the upgrade via download. Since moving to Canada I have not gotten any Canadian credit cards…and Microsoft had to have a credit card…tried the American one that we have and it threw a fit cause we were in Canada. So we found out they would take Pay Pal. I tried that…but since I am in Canada it had to be a Canadian originated Pay Pal account….Long story short I had to pay from my American credit card to my American Pay Pal and then pay my Canadian Pay Pal from my American Pay Pal and THEN I could finally purchase the Windows 8 upgrade!

– Must have a new user account that is not admin
If you are upgrading from Windows 7 you will have to end up creating an account that is an additional user once Windows 8 is done installing. Whatever your log in was for Windows 7 will then become the admin…and the Metro apps will not work in that account…I found having to switch back and forth account on my laptop extremely annoying.

Note: Make sure to update your apps so you can stream music!

– Music:

The streaming and the Smart DJ are awesome! Just plug in a name of a band you like and the Metro music app is off to the races playing bands just like it. There are commercials every six or so songs, but hey it is free right?

– To get to the folders that you use to when you were admin you have to…go to the folder in another app like VLC and then use the admin password to be allowed to get access to those folders

– If music will not play in the background then close the app and restart it…

– Calendar syncs with Google account…awesome!
– Although I cannot see my wife’s calendar which I can on my iPhone…

– Windows 8 store not searchable…wait it is if you hit Windows key + Q

– Also to quickly get to the desktop Windows key + D

– Other than that it is really just getting use to not having a start menu button
– Use Windows key + C to get to the settings and what not of Metro apps!
– Windows key + X for oldschool menu

– Had to uninstall Office and reinstall it to let it know I had a legit copy that it would not expire in 30 days…

My android development environment only works in Admin, Starcraft II seems to work on both accounts :-).

Other than that the biggest thing is that it is obviously meant for mobile devices and I would love to have Windows 8 on a phone with the full MS Office suite. Let me know what you think about Windows 8!