2011 – sachachua.comJanuary 2011 ......................................................10 Sketchnotes: Gretchen Rubin, Happiness On appearance and bias: thoughts from the Weekly review: Week ending December 31, Project book tour ........................................... 22 Nerd Girls panel at Lotusphere 2011 ............ 37 2010 ................................................................10 Of recipes and memories............................... 22 Weekly review: Week ending February 4, 2011 Sick days ......................................................... 11 Fun and rational economic theory: reflections ....................................................................... 39 Momentum and holidays ............................... 11 on the book “The Logic of Life” ..................... 23 Monthly review: January 2011 ....................... 41 Sketches: If you want to make the most of your Monthly review: December 2010 .................. 25 Disagreement and the road to trusting yourself next conference, you should blog ................... 12 Sketchnotes from Quantified Self Toronto ....................................................................... 42 Marking up books .......................................... 12 meetup #3 ..................................................... 26 Working on estimates ................................... 43 Moving my book notes online ........................ 13 Weekly review: Week ending January 21, 2011 Things to write about: questions for your ....................................................................... 27 blogger’s block ............................................... 43 Emacs, BBDB, and getting your contacts on the Android or iPhone .................................... 13 Sketches: What index cards are teaching me Thinking about personal random moment about drawing ............................................... 28 studies ........................................................... 44 Weekly review: Week ending January 7, 2011 ........................................................................ 14 Unbaffled ....................................................... 29 Hackbuzzbuzzbuzz ........................................ 45 Snippets from life ........................................... 15 Tweaking fun and nudging myself out of Books to write................................................ 45 procrastination .............................................. 30 Weekly review: Week ending February 11, 2011 Work on the business from the outside, not in it – Book: Effortless entrepreneur ................. 15 Cross-posting between Lotus Connections ....................................................................... 46 blogs and a personal blog ............................... 31 On friendship and getting better at it ........... 48 Wrapping up projects and preparing for the next one .......................................................... 16 Draft Lotusphere BoF on working with the On presenting, anxiety, and moving forward 49 Connections API ............................................. 31 Three tips for cheerful chores ........................ 17 More about getting 27″ washers and dryers A braindump of tips for other new immigrants down 26″ hallways ........................................ 50 Book: Let’s Get Real About Money: Profit from from the Philippines ....................................... 31 the Habits of the Best Personal Finance How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Managers ........................................................18 Pre-conference networking tips for the Webinar: Energy, Interaction, and ROI ........ 52 Instructional Technology Strategies 13,705 steps and counting ..............................18 Conference .................................................... 33 Energy ........................................................ 52 Weekly review: Week ending January 14, 2011 Weekly review: Week ending January 28, 2011 Interaction ................................................. 53 ........................................................................ 19 ....................................................................... 33 Radically increasing your ROI ................... 54 Emacs 24 and the package manager ............. 20 February 2011 ................................................... 35 From zero to hero: a newbie’s guide to learning Switched my Fido plan .................................. 20 Lotusphere 2011 wrap-up ............................. 35 and building a reputation along the way....... 56 Batch baking for fun and awesomeness ......... 21 A story of pi ................................................... 37 Imagine success for social media ...................57 On friendship and becoming more social ..... 58
2011 – sachachua.com Book: Daddy Long Legs, and letters ............. 59 1. Direct ...................................................... 74 Miscellaneous ............................................ 83 LinkedIn tip: Customize your profile URL ... 59 2. Search .....................................................75 Get More Value from Blogging, part VI: Let’s Decision review: Limiting my blog to one post 3. Browsing .................................................75 Get Down to Business ................................... 83 a day .............................................................. 60 4. Referrals .................................................75 1. ROI ......................................................... 83 Weekly review: Week ending February 18, 2011 5. Learning from others ............................. 76 2. Questions, updates, resources, and ....................................................................... 62 serendipitous conversations ...................... 84 Get More Value from Blogging, part IV: Waking up: looking at my data ..................... 63 Connecting with People................................. 76 3. Connection ............................................. 84 ITSC guide to conference awesomeness ....... 64 1. Introduction ........................................... 76 4. Reputation ............................................. 84 How I spent my Family Day weekend ........... 65 2. Deepening the connection ...................... 77 5. Jobs and careers .................................... 84 Kaizen: Thinking about presentations .......... 65 3. Appreciation ........................................... 77 6. Accountability and transparency ........... 84 Posted revised “Remote Presentations That 4. Reaching out ........................................... 77 7. Culture ................................................... 85 Rock” presentation ........................................ 66 Presentation experiment: Shy Connector, Six 5. The great conversation .......................... 78 Get More Value from Blogging, part I: The Steps to Sharing, and other presentations in Immediate Benefits of Thought .................... 67 March 2011........................................................ 79 March! ........................................................... 85 Part I: The Immediate Benefits of Thought Dealing with intimidating projects ............... 79 Weekly review: Week ending March 4, 2011. 86 ................................................................... 67 Get More Value from Blogging, part V: Monthly review: February 2011 .................... 87 Get More Value from Blogging, part II: The Communication Matters ............................... 79 Can’t see cross-domain images in your Flash Compounding Value of an Archive ............... 69 1. Writing ................................................... 79 file? Make a crossdomain.xml ....................... 88 1. Search ..................................................... 69 2. Visual communication ........................... 80 Quick notes from Emacs Org-mode talk at 2. Review.................................................... 69 3. Presentation ........................................... 80 GTALUG ........................................................ 89 3. Growth ................................................... 70 4. Conversation .......................................... 80 Leveling up as a developer! ........................... 90 4. Overview ................................................ 70 5. Avoiding the curse of expertise ...............81 Trying MemoLane (social timeline) ............... 91 4. Value ....................................................... 71 Questions and answers from #infoboomSC Math and energy ............................................ 91 5. Rediscovery ............................................. 71 tweetchat on blogging ....................................81 Weekly review: Week ending March 11, 2011 92 Trying out Slideshare’s new Zipcast feature .. 71 On making the time to write .......................81 Get More Value from Blogging, Part VII: Weekly review: Week ending February 25, On perfectionism and personal branding ..81 Inspiring Yourself and Inspiring Others ....... 93 2011 ............................................................... 73 On finding ideas......................................... 82 1. Making your goals real ........................... 93 Get More Value from Blogging, part III: On practices ............................................... 82 2. Connecting with inspiration .................. 93 Sharing Makes the Blog Go ‘Round .............. 74 3. Progress ................................................. 94
2011 – sachachua.com 4. Inspiring others ..................................... 94 Quid est nōmen tuum? Nōmen meum est Study group update: negative numbers, Coconut buns and the economics of home “Sacha” ......................................................... 113 exponents, and awesomeness ...................... 129 awesomeness ................................................. 94 April 2011 ......................................................... 114 Learning from my mood data ...................... 129 Continuing experiments with Slideshare’s Running the Selenium IDE testing plugin with Making better use of travel time ..................130 Zipcast web conferences................................ 95 Firefox 4 ....................................................... 114 Compost magic and happiness.....................130 Recipes: Coconut cocktail bun recipe ........... 96 Weekly review: Week ending April 1, 2011 .. 114 Mr. Fluffers: Stray or not stray?................... 131 Thinking about a developer setup template.. 98 Starting up our garden ................................. 115 Back in the garden, the perennials are coming Decision trees and self-challenges: how my The Busy Person’s Guide to Learning from the back .............................................................. 131 laptop’s recent battery failure is a great excuse Network (a guide for IBMers) ...................... 116 Weekly review: Week ending April 22, 2011 131 to think .......................................................... 99 Setting up Ruby on Rails on a Redhat Monthly review: March 2011........................ 133 Cats: 0, toilet paper monster: 1; also, ArtRage Enterprise Linux Rackspace Cloud Server ... 119 and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro ..................... 101 Writing macrons in Linux for Latin Troubleshooting: ...................................... 119 pronunciation ............................................... 133 Spring! ......................................................... 102 Helping kids learn algebra .......................... 120 Stuff or experiences ...................................... 134 Weekly review: Week ending March 18, 2011 Why we use more than math textbooks and ..................................................................... 102 The enemy of your enemy is your friend: general-purpose resources ........................... 121 mnemonics and negative integers................ 135 Pirate kitties .................................................103 Spousonomics: Using economics to master Remote training that rocks .......................... 136 Learning more about Websphere and web love, marriage, and dirty dishes ................... 121 service development .................................... 104 Giving a presentation using Autodesk Decision review: Battery .............................. 122 Sketchbook Pro and a web conference ......... 137 Shanghaippy birthday, John Grimme! Recipe: Writing more about life ................................ 122 Lumpiang shanghai ..................................... 104 Study group: Flashcards and the Leitner Weekly review: Week ending April 8, 2011 .. 123 method .........................................................138 The three argumenteers ...............................105 On developing a reputation for project work Weekly review: Week ending April 29, 2011 139 Weekly review: Week ending March 25, 2011 ...................................................................... 124 ..................................................................... 106 "An Easy Method for Beginners in Latin" and Math study group: Positive and negative macron-insensitive search for Tiddlywiki ... 140 Filling in the learning gaps........................... 107 numbers ....................................................... 125 May 2011 .......................................................... 143 On typing in Dvorak .................................... 108 Still cold? Wear a hat to bed......................... 126 Negative productivity and learning from Helping kids learn about automation ......... 109 Using behavioural economics to motivate oopses ........................................................... 143 More thoughts on time analysis: correlations yourself when working on risky projects ..... 126 Thoughts from marriage: Learning together and revealed preferences.............................. 110 Three cat life ................................................. 127 ...................................................................... 143 Becoming a faster developer ........................ 112 Weekly review: Week ending April 15, 2011 127
2011 – sachachua.com Cucumber, Capybara, and the joys of Finding mentors ....................................... 156 Microsoft Windows development environment integration testing in Rails ........................... 144 Making the most of mentoring ................. 157 ...................................................................... 167 On people changing companies ................... 145 Helping others .......................................... 157 Hungry hungry compost and other garden Tweaking married life for everyday happiness updates .........................................................168 Next steps ................................................. 157 ...................................................................... 145 It’s Bike Month in Toronto! .........................168 Notes from the airport: Missed my flight; not Rails: Exporting data from specific tables into the end of the world after all ........................ 157 Monthly reviews: April and May 2011 ......... 169 fixtures ......................................................... 146 Decision review: calendars, development, Victoria Day weekend: back to the garden ... 159 Condensing requirements into use cases ..... 147 standing desks, toe shoes, Kindle, bike, CSA, Gardening: Horticultural investments, social Autodesk Sketchbook, blogging ................... 170 On kids and the learning of tangible things . 147 dividends ..................................................... 160 Rails: Paperclip needs attributes defined by Bike ride in the rain...................................... 171 Experimenting with standing desks ............ 160 attr_accessible, not just attr_accessor......... 147 Weekly review: Week ending June 3, 2011 .. 171 The flow of opportunities in a large company Back from the Netherlands ..........................148 ...................................................................... 161 Plans for summer: Relationships, work, Weekly review: Week ending May 6, 2011 ... 149 gardening, biking, drawing and photography, Taking a break while working on presentations making, and finances ................................... 172 First foray into community-supported ...................................................................... 161 agriculture .................................................... 149 Made a stuff sack for J- ................................ 173 Developing a workflow with Autodesk Cattus Petasatus ...........................................150 Sketchbook Pro ............................................ 162 Negative optimization .................................. 174 Weekly review: Week ending May 13, 2011 .150 Weekly review: Weeks ending May 20, 2011 Thinking about our development practices . 174 Rails: Preserving test data ............................ 151 and May 27, 2011 .......................................... 163 Drush, Simpletest, and continuous integration Dealing with a bad calendar week ................ 164 for Drupal using Jenkins (previously Hudson) Finding the bright side of business travel .... 151 ...................................................................... 175 Walking outside my comfort zone – bike? May 29, 2011: bagels, banana bread, bok choi, bath stuff, and books .................................... 164 Sketchnotes from Democamp Toronto 29, push/kick scooter? ....................................... 152 June 2011...................................................... 177 Ordered a Kindle with free 3G ..................... 154 Made a kitty soap holder .............................. 164 Managing configuration changes in Drupal. 177 Travel updates: GPS, Pearl Street, Vibram toe Seasons and salad days ................................ 165 Weekly review: Week ending June 11, 2011 . 179 shoes ............................................................. 154 Learning from Mr. Collins: Practice, conversation, and what to do when someone Getting things ready for the next week: Waiting for my Kindle .................................. 155 cooking and gardening ................................. 179 says something mean ................................... 165 Presentation draft: Mentoring on the Network This is what my blog looks like on paper .... 180 ...................................................................... 156 June 2011 ......................................................... 167 VMWare, Samba, Eclipse, and XDebug: Decision review: Kitchen counter computing Why ........................................................... 156 (ad hoc standing desk) ................................ 180 Mixing a virtual Linux environment with a Challenges and advantages....................... 156
2011 – sachachua.com Cook Or Die Season II: Community-Supported Meaning and acknowledgement .................. 193 Dealing with web development and stress ... 217 Agriculture ................................................... 181 Context-switching and a four-project day ... 194 Weekly review: Week ending July 16, 2011 .. 217 Kaizen in the little things: The way the door July 2011 .......................................................... 197 Dealing with a heat wave in Toronto ...........218 opens ............................................................ 181 Four-day weekend ahead ............................. 197 Starting piano again .....................................218 Make-ahead meals .......................................182 How I organize my personal finances .......... 197 Rhetoric and the Manila Zoo; reflections on Personal projects ..........................................182 conversations and a request for insight ....... 219 Getting a grip on a large database migration Getting the hang of community-supported ...................................................................... 199 Public transit day ......................................... 221 agriculture ....................................................183 Fifty kilometers on my bicycle .................... 200 Weekly review: Week ending July 24, 2011 . 221 Gardening notes: Cut-and-come-again lettuce ......................................................................184 Embracing Pollyanna .................................. 200 Cats in high places ....................................... 222 An abundance of cilantro, now freezing in Organizing my digital life ............................ 201 Sketchnotes from Quantified Self Toronto cubes; strawberries and peas .......................184 Hacking Drupal views and taxonomy: looking meetup: Conferences, pollution sensing, and for 100% matching of terms ........................ 202 growing old at home .................................... 222 Weekly review: Week ending June 18, 2011 185 Planning for summer .................................. 203 Piano lesson week 2 .................................... 223 Thinking about speaking topics ................... 185 In an imperfect world .................................. 205 Long weekend ahead ................................... 223 Switching back to Linux as my development host ............................................................... 187 Thinking about activities to share with others Mornings at our house ................................ 224 (500) days of salad ....................................... 187 ..................................................................... 207 Software and making pots ........................... 224 Portal 2 and teachable moments in argument Weekly review: Two weeks ending July 9, 2011 Weekly review: Week ending July 31, 2011 . 225 ...................................................................... 187 ..................................................................... 208 August 2011 ..................................................... 226 Portal 2 .........................................................189 Monthly review: June 2011 ......................... 208 Looking back at life as a 27-year-old........... 226 Mindful spending, experiments, and living in On cherry tomatoes, frugality, and wanting 210 Rhetoric and advocacy: the value of a different line with your values ....................................189 Love, web development, and imaginary friends approach ...................................................... 227 Weekly review: Week ending June 25, 2011 190 ..................................................................... 210 Learning by imitation: getting inspired by Strawberry rhubarb baking .......................... 191 The first blueberries from our garden.......... 211 Exploding Dog ............................................. 229 Writing your way past “What have I been A zucchini a day keeps the vegetable drawer Drupal and JQuery 1.5: Fixing the JSON doing with my life?” ..................................... 191 okay .............................................................. 211 encoding of ampersands ............................. 229 Learning from the speeches of grade seven Cake was not a lie ......................................... 212 Drupal, HTML Purifier, and embedding students ........................................................ 192 An elephant love story: Real stories of Manila IFRAMES from YouTube ............................ 230 Drupal notes from helping a client improve her Zoo ................................................................ 213 Weekly review: Week ending August 5, 2011; development environment ........................... 193 Piano lessons ................................................ 216 thoughts on discretionary time .................... 231
2011 – sachachua.com Jalapeño jelly............................................... 233 “Hello, Monday!” comic series launched on Drupal: Finding nodes through autocomplete Drupal: Overriding Drupal autocompletion to IBM intranet home page; now I’m a comic ..................................................................... 268 pass more parameters ................................. 234 artist! ........................................................... 248 Decision: Not getting an Ontario Science Decision: Piano lessons? ............................. 235 Built a USB foot pedal using the Arduino Uno Centre family membership.......................... 269 ..................................................................... 249 Transcript: Blogging (Part 2): Growing into Lessons learned from project M.................. 235 How to set up more frequent merge blogging ....................................................... 270 What worked well .................................... 236 replications in SQL Server 2000 ................. 250 Dusting off my Sony Vaio U1........................ 271 What I’m going to work on improving next Re-setting up my computer......................... 252 time .......................................................... 237 Tweaking the fingerprint settings on my Mailing non-Emacs users your Org notes ... 252 Lenovo X220T ............................................. 272 Thinking about blogging and planning ahead ..................................................................... 237 Practising drawing ...................................... 253 Weekly review: Week ending September 9, Code and circuit for a six-function Arduino- 2011 ............................................................. 272 Living an awesome life as a 27-year-old: a year in blog posts ................................................ 238 based USB footswitch .................................. 253 Thinking about getting better at decisions . 274 Weekly review: Week ending August 12, 2011 Weekly review: Week ending August 27, 2011 Deliberate practice, typing faster, and Emacs ..................................................................... 239 ..................................................................... 255 ..................................................................... 274 Reflections on creativity .............................. 240 Drupal debugging story: Rules defined in Free Geek Toronto: Notes from the build multiple Features .........................................257 session ......................................................... 276 Volunteer notes: Free Geek Toronto ............ 241 Batch cooking .............................................. 258 Transcript: Blogging (Part 3): Blogging and Discovering Yourself through Blogging (free other social tools .......................................... 277 teleconference Aug 16, 6 PM PDT, 9 PM EDT, Getting rid of the “I can’t draw”s ................ 259 9 AM Philippine time) ................................. 243 September 2011 ............................................... 260 Learning new tricks about learning: maps and history .......................................................... 277 Session follow-up #1: Discovering Yourself Transcript: Blogging (Part 1): Blogging and through Blogging ......................................... 243 introverts ..................................................... 260 Back to school, back to study groups .......... 278 Thinking my way through a tough MS SQL Notes on transcription with and without a foot Monthly review: June, July, and August 2011 Server 2000 replication problem ................ 244 pedal ............................................................. 261 ..................................................................... 279 Git bisect and reversing a mistaken patch .. 245 Starting up my experiments in delegation Weekly review: Week ending September 16, again; the difference between what I want to 2011 ............................................................. 279 Kids’ cartoons and learning piano .............. 246 do and what I want to see............................ 262 IBM Comic: Watson on helpdesk duty; Weekly review: Week ending August 19, 2011 variants .........................................................281 ..................................................................... 246 Weekly review: Week ending September 2, 2011 ............................................................. 264 Update on typing: Added AutoCorrect hotkey Thinking about outsourcing transcription or script, now clocking in at 118wpm .............. 282 doing it myself ............................................. 247 Thinking about improving our freezer use . 266 Planning for currency conversion ............... 282
2011 – sachachua.com Transcript: Blogging (Part 4): Parenting .... 282 Tweaking my Windows 7 setup more: Emacs Weekly review: Week ending October 21, 2011 Working with the Editorial Calendar plugin for on all virtual desktops! ................................ 299 ...................................................................... 311 WordPress; on scheduling posts ................. 284 Monitoring multiple WordPress sites for Geek travel update: Mostly as planned ........ 312 Batch cooking, community-supported comments using Yahoo Pipes...................... 299 Thought roundup: Podcasts, drawing, cats, agriculture, and gardening .......................... 284 Geek travel: Planning outfits using matrices and towels .................................................... 313 Weekly review: Week ending September 23, ..................................................................... 300 Practising drawing: variations on a theme .. 314 2011 ............................................................. 285 From the feeds: Ramen, personal assistants, Transcript: Blogging (Part 9): Learning from Quantified: How I spent seven weeks ......... 286 productivity, co-schooling, and being yourself others............................................................ 314 ......................................................................301 From the feeds: entrepreneurship, teaching, Decision review: Switching from Rackspace biking, riding ............................................... 289 Working with FTP sites ................................301 Cloud to Linode ............................................ 315 Getting better at working at the office ........ 289 Transcript: Blogging (Part 7): Learning how to Weekly review: Week ending October 28, 2011 write............................................................. 302 ...................................................................... 315 Transcript: Blogging (Part 5): Getting started ..................................................................... 290 Decision review: Working at IBM ............... 303 Stories from our trip: Furry caterpillar ........ 317 Converted my Arduino foot pedal into a The joys of development with Selenium web- Quantified Awesome: Data from waking up 3 Teensy foot pedal! ........................................ 291 testing .......................................................... 305 hours earlier than normal ............................ 317October 2011 ................................................... 294 Weekly review: Weeks ending October 7 and November 2011 ............................................... 320 October 14, 2011 .......................................... 305 It turns out that “I suck” moments are more From the feeds: Selling benefits, not features; negotiable than I thought ............................ 294 Passioneer survey (Submit your answers by caramel apples; graphic novels for kids ...... 320 Oct 18) ......................................................... 306 Weekly review: Week ending September 30, Planning an Emacs-based personal wiki – 2011 ............................................................. 294 Monthly review: September 2011................ 307 Org? Muse? Hmm… .................................... 320 Tracking and organizing my clothes: From the feeds: Writing, more writing, Transcript: Blogging (Part 10): Difficult substituting mathematics for fashion sense 295 journalism, and automation........................ 308 situations ...................................................... 321 From the feeds: Saving money, making money, Jetlag-assisted early days ............................ 308 Decision review: Cat boarding .................... 322 balancing life, reading books, and making Transcript: Blogging (Part 8): Slow life down Weekly review: Week ending November 4, rainbows ...................................................... 297 and speed it up ............................................ 309 2011 ............................................................. 323 Learning browser-based testing with Selenium Figuring out how to plan for a month ......... 309 Quantified Awesome: Development-driven ..................................................................... 298 Stories from the trip: Making my peace with behaviour and integrated tests for life ........ 325 Transcript: Blogging (Part 6): Looking back endings .........................................................310 Monthly review: October 2011 .................... 326 ..................................................................... 298 Sketchnotes from Quantified Self Toronto Oct Quantified Awesome: How much music do you Decision review: Marrying W- .................... 298 21 2011 ..........................................................310 have?............................................................ 327
2011 – sachachua.com Visualization resources ............................... 329 Transcript: Blogging (Part 13): On frequency Thinking about how to get even better at bulk- ..................................................................... 346 cooking ........................................................ 329 Decision review: Scheduling posts and using Transcript: Blogging (Part 11): Looking back at themes ......................................................... 347 the year ......................................................... 331 Weekly review: Week ending November 25, Decision review: Metropass instead of biking 2011 ............................................................. 348 to work in November................................... 332 Thoughts from helping with homework ..... 350 Weekly review: Week ending November 11, Quantified Awesome: 116 web resources for 2011; thinking about the temptation to work Quantified Self............................................. 350 ..................................................................... 332 Rails experiences: Building an interactive Stories from the trip: Terminal 3 ................ 335 tutorial .......................................................... 351 Quantified Awesome: A place for everything, Things I’m learning from tracking ............... 351 and everything in its place .......................... 335 December 2011 ................................................ 353 From the feeds: Friendship, planning ahead, Transcript: Blogging (Part 14): Writing for and crossroads............................................. 337 yourself and writing for others .................... 353 Massages, physical feedback, and behaviour Upcoming decision: Considering different modification ................................................ 337 cellphone plans for J- .................................. 354 Transcript: Blogging (Part 12): Two homes 338 Weekly review: Week ending December 2, 2011 Decision review: Lenovo X220 tablet PC (with ..................................................................... 354 graphs!) ....................................................... 339 Clearing out the basement .......................... 356 Weekly review: Week ending November 18, Quantified Awesome: How I’m starting to use 2011 ............................................................. 340 Tap Log for Android .................................... 356 Learning how to model with Google Sketchup Busy, busy, busy week ................................. 358 ..................................................................... 343 Geek tidbits: Postfix configuration for Quantified Awesome: Why I track .............. 343 development and testing ............................. 359 From the feeds: Development, food, Transcript: Blogging (Part 15): Tools to help connecting with people, e-books, finance ... 344 you get started ............................................. 359 Ruby on Rails: Extending ActiveRecord::Base Blog analysis for 2011: 173,363 words so far; to define your own ActiveRecord association also, using the Rails console to work with methods ....................................................... 344 WordPress ................................................... 360
January 2011 – sachachua.com o [X] Tidy up Preparation 23 IncludingJanuary 2011 o [-] Tidy up my computer, too: hours disassembling washer backup, reorganize, clean and dryer o [X] Plan garden Work 19 Took some sick timeWeekly review: Week ending December31, 2010 Plans for next week hourshttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22022January 1, 2011 - Categories: weekly Work Routines 16From last week’s plans hours o  Work on Project M: Documentation, tidying up Social 8 Work hours o  Work on Project S: Clean things o [X] Work on Project M: Make up sure users have permissions to do Writing 2.5 things o  Idea Lab: Run Idea Lab hours o [X] Work on Project S: Clean o  Illustrate networking tips Travel 2 I’ve been using some of things up hours this for writing time, Relationships too o [X] Idea Lab: Process responses o  Look into cooking or cleaning o [-] Illustrate networking tips Break 2 assistance hours Relationships Life Exercise 1.25 o [-] Hike or bike with W- hours o  Get well o [-] Write more cards o  Hire a virtual assistant again Learning 0.75 o Had Maira’s family over hours Time analysis o Had New Year’s Eve dinner with Driving 0.75 W-’s family Dec 25 to December 31 practice hours Life Time totals messed up because I didn’t track as Untracked 39.75 much over the holidays, but here’s a guesstimate: hours o [-] Get MobileOrg Android patches into mergeable state Sleep 53 ~ 7 hours per day hours Tweaking my time-tracking… o [X] Review and revise plan, outline 2011
January 2011 – sachachua.comA terrible cold has put a crimp in my productivity W- has kept me on a steady infusion of chicken This New Year’s holiday must have been theand my holiday celebrations, but W- has been soup, cuddles, and Pride and Prejudice – several quietest holiday I’ve had in a while. It’s weird!totally awesome at taking care of me. He’s been different versions, in fact. I’m half-dreading the abrupt change in paceshaking his finger at me for having insisted on when I get back to work tomorrow, particularlyspending Friday working when I should have I like BBC’s Lizzie and Lost in Austen’s Darcy the as I’ve managed to commit myself to some ratherbeen in bed. “You’ve been working feverishly,” he most. Heresy, I know. Colin Firth in the BBC’s high-intensity days coming up.said, “and now you’ve come down with a fever.” 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is theThat explains why I was shivering underneath all definitive Darcy, of course. Lost in Austen’s (Fortunately, the world works in mysteriousthose covers. Fortunately, it’s nothing W- hasn’t Fitzwilliam Darcy (Elliot Cowan) does more of a ways. It could have been crazier, but it isn’t.)dealt with before, and aspirin soon sorted that transformation from utterly disagreeable toout. (Thank you, mdern medicine.) totally awesome. It’s hard to write about anything other than being sick when you’re sick.Definitely time to break out the ginger tea. Ginger tea (salabat): The powdered form is(Hello, salabat!) very convenient, of course, but you can make up Actually, this is not true. I snuck in some work a batch by crushing ginger and boiling it it in this afternoon and I made a lot of progress water. Add brown sugar to sweeten it. writing a developer’s guide for the system we’reSick days building. It’s hard for me to write about life orhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22023 You can’t do much with a cold except to try to not productivity or connecting at conferences whenJanuary 2, 2011 - Categories: life, sketches make it any worse. Definitely a good time for my nose is stuffed, but I can talk about node relaxing. access records and workflow transitions, noStill sick. Flush with a fever, congested with a problem.cough and a cold, voiceless, and all around underthe weather. Not the best of ways to spend a Momentum and holidays Maybe that’s what I should do next time I’m sickholiday, but a worse way to spend a workweek, so http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22026 and feeling lethargic. Never mind the mid-daythis is okay by comparison. January 3, 2011 - naps. A good round of coding or documenting is Categories: life, productivity, sick a great antidote for the doldrums.To soothe an irritated throat, in amug, combine: Monday: I don’t do “relaxing holidays” very well. Being sick is great for all sorts of realizations, My idea of a perfect holiday is one where I’m all actually. I have the free time to do whatever I Juice of half a lemon wrung out at the end and ready to go back to want to do (within reason). I don’t have the work. Building a chair. Bottling a gazillion jars of energy or the inclination to do many things. Tablespoon of honey jam. Taking apart and rebuilding appliances. Granted, a lot of that is because of the cold, but if Hot water Hanging out with family and friends. (If you’ve I don’t get around to doing something even met them, you know what a whirlwind they can though I have an unencumbered day, what are(Do not give honey to babies under a year old.) be.) the chances of my getting around to it with an extra half hour?
January 2011 – sachachua.comHere’s what I’m learning: http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22029 It keeps you awake and concentrating. January 4, 2011 - It makes your reading active.Writing and coding boost my energy, and are a Categories: blogging, highlight, sketches, tipsgreat way to cheer myself up if I’m feeling It helps you remember the thoughts ofunproductive. the author.Playing the piano is fun, too. I’m slowly getting Maybe I can get the same benefits by writing myback into it (compensating for the time I couldn’t thoughts down elsewhere, but not on the printedspeak?). I like the slow development of fluency. pages. Ratchet up my book-blogging, perhaps, asPlus, my playing nudges J-, and she ends up a life-long project to build a personal, digitalteaching herself a bit too. I’ve been teaching syntopicon?myself Schumann’s “Von fremden Ländern undMenschen” (the easy version W- has started a fresh new professional notebookfrom http://www.free-scores.com/download- for 2011. In this, notebook he writes down ideassheet-music.php?pdf=8153) because of its and lessons from his work and from the books heappearance in McDull, but it’s also a pleasure re- reads. He’s been taking notes on another bookencountering old friends like Für Elise. (larger version on blog) I’ve browsed and dogeared – Visual Meetings.Drawing and preparing for presentations are I sporadically keep paper notebooks. They can bepretty low on my radar. I should think about how Marking up books much more convenient than typing on a laptop,to tweak that. Fortunately, I’d written a number http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22030 especially when one is propping a book open toof blog posts from when I was presenting more, January 5, 2011 - the right page. Perhaps the tablet will make itso I can remember what it’s like. Categories: book, highlight, reading easier to keep my handwritten notes?Sewing has a bit more of an activation cost than I’ve been rereading Adler and van Doren’s “How What would my ideal book notes system be like?it could. When work settles down again, I’ll set to Read a Book”. I always get tripped up by the Decades later, I’d like to be able to say – ah, ifaside some time to see if I can fix this. advice to mark up one’s books (p48-51). I’ve you’re interested in that, here are the books I’ve experimented with this on and off – wild sallies read about it, and this is how they’re connectedTomorrow is going to be a busy day. I still have a into the world of underlined passages and marks to each other, and the arguments they made, andbit of a cough and some sniffles, and I’ll probably in the margins of books that I own — but I always how my personal experiences have supported orwork from home, but my voice is back and I can recoil, returning to furtively dog-eared pages contradicted them, and what I’ve done with whatfocus on work. (More easily on work than on (and even this, when done to library books, earns I learned from those books, and what else I couldother things, even.) me a teasing frown from W-). But Adler and van add… Doren spend two and a half pages arguing for the value of writing in one’s books and giving tips on Margin notes can’t contain these, but maybe I’llSketches: If you want to make the most of how to do it effectively. Their reasons: figure out my own system over time –your next conference, you should blog searchable, hyperlinked, backed-up, personal,
January 2011 – sachachua.comand social. In the meantime, I keep my notes in CAPTURE: Using Org + Remember to capture notes into this system – text notes in my Org filean Org text file, organized in an outline, tagged book notes uses the same process as my other and blog entries for linkability/commentability.with keywords, and (occasionally) published on notes. Diagrams can be scanned in and attached Progress…my blog. to files. I used to scan and OCR dogeared pages, but typing or dictating them in is okay, and itWhat’s your system for book notes? helps me review. The capture part of my process Emacs, BBDB, and getting your contacts is fantastic. on the Android or iPhoneISBN:0-671-21280-X http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22034How to Read a Book ORGANIZATION: org-refile or copying and January 7, 2011 -Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren pasting are easy, so this part of the process is Categories: android, bbdb, emacs fine. Want your Emacs BBDB contacts on yourMoving my book notes online REVIEW: I might schedule times to refresh my Android or iPhone?http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22033 memory of certain books. I can do that with OrgJanuary 6, 2011 - Categories: emacs, reading agenda fairly easily. The easiest way I’ve found is to export your contacts to CSV, then import them intoI moved more of my book notes online, reasoning SHARING: Here’s where the process breaks something like Google Contacts. You can exportthat a braindump is better than occasional down a little. org2blog-post-subtree is great, and your BBDB contacts using bbdb-to-outlook.el,whining about the lack of a good system. ;) I’ve used that a number of times to post the which is available in the BBDB package inFellow Emacs geeks who use Org will probably relevant subtree of book notes. That adds the the bits/ directory. Download bbdb-to-outlook.elget the most out of this, as they can open it in notes as entries in my blog, storing the post ID in from Sourceforge if you can’t find it in yourEmacs and work with the hierarchy, but someday my Org file so that I can get back to the post BBDB directory. To use:I may figure out a neat little hyperlinked solution afterwards. org2blog also makes it easy to editthat will make it easy for everyone else. Or I’ll entries, hooray. 1. Load bbdb-to-outlook.el and use M-xpull more and more of these posts into my blog, eval-buffer to load the code.where they’ll be individually linkable and Once it’s in my blog, people can use thecommentable. categories to find other entries. However, my 2. Use M-x bbdb to open your BBDB current blog layout doesn’t highlight the records, and search for . to show all theCompare: http://sachachua.com/blog/category/ categories, and it’s not easy to browse the records. Alternatively, search for a subsetbook/ , which wins points for being graphical and different book-related categories. Maybe it’s of your records.highlighted and comment-friendly, but loses worth tweaking a “reading” or “book” category 3. Type O to run bbdb-to-outlook andtopical organization, overview, search, and layout page. choose the file.offline access. Aha! How’s http://sachachua.com/blog/book- Tada! Step one done. Review the file and deleteIt’s a start. Here’s what’s working well: notes/ ? It’s a manually-edited list at the top anything you don’t want to include. (thanks, Org!), followed by an automatically- generated index. I’ll gradually move my other
January 2011 – sachachua.comTo import the contacts into Google Contacts, go o [X] Work on Project M: o Started teaching myself the pianoto Google Mail and click on Contacts. Click Documentation, tidying up againon Import and choose your file. After some time o [X] Work on Project S: Clean o Sketched my goals for 2011.and some fiddling, you can get that synchronized things uponto your Android or iPhone. o Posted my book notes and o [X] Idea Lab: Run Idea Lab improved my book workflow.I haven’t thought about syncing, but I’m trying to o [X] Illustrate networking tips o Posted a Kijiji ad looking for akeep my BBDB as The Master File for Contacts piano teacheranyway, as it’s so much more flexible than any o Learned how to hack Drupalother contact database I’ve tried. (Although messaging and notifications Plans for next weekgist.com is pretty cool and I do like the Android’s o Found out my Lotusphere 2011merging of photos, contact info, and updates…) session got accepted WorkThere was some work on synchronizing BBDB o Had team lunch with Jennifer o  Finish up on project Swith the Palm, so that might be a possibility. Nolan, Johnny Patterson and o  Start testing project M Elena NeroslavskayaEnjoy! o  Fix my Lotus Notes Relationships o  Look into LotusphereWeekly review: Week ending January 7, o [-] Look into cooking or cleaning assistance Relationships2011http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22035 o Watched Bride and Prejudice with o  Get around to hosting a get-January 8, 2011 - Categories: weekly W- and J- (hooray library DVDs) together, maybe a game night o Read Pride and Prejudice and o  Plan May tripRelearning the piano. It’s interesting. I canremember playing better than this. Now I’m re- Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls Lifelearning how to play these pieces, going, “Ahh. o … and in general, enjoyed all sortsThat feels familiar. And then there should be this of things Austen o  Get back into sewing: work onbit over here – yes, that’s right.” On the other black dresshand, I read notes a little bit faster now than I Life o  Post more book notesdid before. o [X] Get well Time analysisGetting well. A persistent cough and some o [X] Hire a virtual assistant again Sleep 73.6 ~ 11 hours per day,sniffles, but definitely better than last week. hours thanks to goodFrom last week’s plans o Watched Bottle Shock, also from the library – that was fun weekends Work
January 2011 – sachachua.com http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22037 extract. I made pandesal. W- discovered a goodWork 33.5 A little overtime, but January 9, 2011 - Categories: life combination: egg tarts (3 whole eggs + 3 extra hours it’s good egg yolks), coconut macaroons (4 egg whites),Break 22 Recuperating We celebrated J-’s birthday at Korean Grill and oatmeal cookies (the recipe we use involves 2 hours House last night. During a lull in the eggs and an extra egg yolk). All in all, nine eggs conversation as people digested the vast and no extra parts languishing in ramekins in theWriting 12 quantities of food we’d just consumed, she took fridge. hours out her iPod and started flipping through an e- book. Of course, now we will need to find coworkersPiano practice 7 and friends willing to take some of these baked hours Her uncle asked, “What are you reading?” goods off our hands (and away from our waistlines)…Routines 5.5 J- answered, “Pride and Prejudice.” hours Life is good. Simultaneous jaw drop from uncle and aunt,Outsourceable 4 grins from W- and me. hours Work on the business from the outside, “Pride and Prejudice?! Are you reading that for not in it – Book: Effortless entrepreneurExercise 2.5 school or for fun?” http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22038 hours January 10, 2011 - “For fun!” Categories: book, entrepreneurship, readingSocial 1.5 hours We’ve been on an entire Pride and Prejudice kick One of the key points of “Effortless entrepreneur” this past week. We watched the 2005 movie, the is that you need to create systems and delegateTravel 0.5 Worked from home so Lost in Austen miniseries, Bride and Prejudice work so that you can free up time to improve hours that I wouldn’t get (the Bollywood version; quite a few laughs); read your business. others sick “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the p38. Work on the business from the outside, notUntracked 5.9 Jan 1-3 had hole-y Dreadfuls” (the prequel to “Pride and Prejudice in it. A great entrepreneur builds systems to run hours records, but Jan 4 – 7 and Zombies”); quoted and joked and the business as if it were a machine, and stands was all tracked improvised. over it instead of being part of its inner workings. A business owner should sell that Yes, we’re geeks. machine to clients and perfect its functionality,Once my categories settle down, I might do some but not sit in the gear room. How many timesbetween-week analysis… — have you seen a local store owner answering phones, doing paperwork, and assisting We spent a very agreeable afternoon in the customers all at once? This business ownerSnippets from life kitchen. We chopped up vanilla beans for making works IN the business, not ON it, and hasn’t
January 2011 – sachachua.comidentified the different positions within his vegetate a bit more, then hit the sack. I’m looking forward to do even better. At work, Ibusiness, such as receptionist, salesperson, and Or perhaps you’re a parent and you want to to learn more about Drupal 7, consulting,cashier. Instead, he does all those jobs himself. leave work with just enough energy to and the processes we have. I’m also looking get through your parental forward to writing up more notes and coachingCreating manuals and training maps for each requirements in the evening. others. In the rest of life, I’d like to experimentposition from the get-go forces you to evaluate with delegating again, invest time into becoming Option B: On the other hand, let’s say youwhat needs to be done and helps identify tasks a better writer, and continue building wonderful go to work and intentionally keep halfyou might not think of right away. That can mean relationships. of your energy for yourself. You givefewer unpleasant surprises down the road. At the company 50% of the gas in yourfirst, you’ll likely have to work IN your business How about you? How can you not only work in tank. After you leave, you spend thatand do most, if not all, of the work for each your business, but on it? 50% improving yourself. You go toposition. That’s common when you start out. But night classes. You go to the gym. Youcreate a system that allows you to just work ON it Effortless entrepreneur: Work smart, play hard, go to the library. You go to meetings of make millionsas soon as possible. Once that system is professional growth groups, like 2010 Nick Friedman and Omar Solimanoperative, a business gains its true value. Toastmasters. Three Rivers PressWork on your business, not just in it. It ISBN 978-0-307-58799-2 Well, maybe not 50%. If you can do your workmakes sense, although lots of small-business with 80% effort, and then invest the rest intoowners find it hard to make that jump. Book: Effortless entrepreneur 2011-01-10 Mon building skills and processes, then it’s like a 19:27How can people practice this now? After all, even savvy entrepreneur investing time into buildingif you work for a company, you work for yourself, systems, not just fighting fires. Sometimes it’stoo. more like a full-energy work and 20% extra, but I Wrapping up projects and preparing for enjoy the work and the learning along the way. the next oneIt’s kinda like what Trent (The Simple Dollar) http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22039 At work, I’m learning about the way we work on January 11, 2011 - Categories: career, ibm, workwrites about in “Who is your real boss? Someperspectives on career success”: projects: the processes, the templates, theMy belief is this: the people that succeed are the questions and conversations. I like making We’re in the final phases of our two Drupalpeople who invest that energy and time and systems, processes, and tools, so I’m learning projects. We’re writing test scripts, fixing bugs,patience and thought a little differently. how to improve things. and loading production data. In a week or two,What do I mean? we’ll finalize the source code and save a copy of I’m working on applying this idea of “working on the database. I’ve really liked working on these the business, not just in it” in personal life as projects, and I’m looking forward to working on Option A: Let’s say you go to work each well. Hence the household optimizations: batch similar things in the future. day and leave it all on the table. When cooking and a chest freezer, tweaked routines, you leave work, you’re so drained you relationship-building. Capacity-building for can barely make it home. You sit on the As I wrap up on this project and get ready for future adventures. future ones, I can’t help but think how working in couch, vegetate for a while, eat dinner,
January 2011 – sachachua.comIBM Global Business Services helps me learn Maybe work on a conventional skill set – cooking marathons are an excuse to break outabout different parts of consulting. We can help J2EE? the knives, chopping boards, and stacks of foodwith proposals for new projects. We have an containers, and we have great conversations Work on paperwork: project assessments,internal marketplace that lists openings and while slicing and dicing. We also enjoy the walk certification, etc.required skills. We can submit our resumes and to the supermarket (which often involves a side-set up interviews. We need to do a little Improve the Lotus Connections toolkit trip to the library, and you know how I enjoymarketing on our own, and we always have to that). Folding laundry is a good time to watch awork on keeping our skills up to date. Just like independent consultants need to always movie (borrowed from the aforementioned be building their pipeline, I should see if I can library), which leads to more shared experiencesToday I attended a call with my resource balance my future project work so that I’m and in-jokes, which helps cultivate a relationship.deployment manager. Her role includes always working on the pipeline for the next Turn chores into social bonding time, and thematching people with projects. She shared some thing: helping out with bids, learning a new skill, time will fly.tips on how to make the most of our tools, some and so on.things we might invest time in if we have some Use the time to reflect anddowntime between projects, and upcoming Fun! improve. Cooking is a great time to learn newprojects we might be interested in. recipes or improve my skills. Tidying up reminds me where things are and gives me an opportunityHere are some things I’m looking forward to Three tips for cheerful chores to simplify. Spend a little extra time makingdoing if I have some time between this and my http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22040 things better for the next time you do something.next project: January 12, 2011 - Categories: life, productivity Eliminate or delegate things that really Help write proposals for Drupal and Web I’ve been taking a closer look at household tasks sap your energy. Speaking of cats: scooping 2.0 projects that I could outsource or simplify. Groceries, out four litter boxes was not fun. So W- did a bit laundry, cleaning, cooking… of research and ordered a Litter Robot. The o Compile case studies spaceship-like contraption now commands a o Estimate Drupal projects … but really, they don’t take that much time, and corner of the living room (next to the toolchest, I probably get more value from doing them than actually). It’s been worth it not just for o Prototype? I would from a few extra hours of writing or convenience, but also for entertainment value. write up and share my Drupal notes work. Our cat Luke loves to watch it, but when he steps on it for a closer look, the Litter Robot stops Create and compile assets (Drupal case Here are three tips I’ve found that help me enjoy rotating. This confuses him and always makes studies, Web 2.0 overviews, etc.) what I’m doing. Maybe you’ll find them useful, me laugh. Learn more about Drupal 7, AJAX, too! information architecture, mobile We could cut back on savings and hire some of development, project management, and Many hands make fun work. Turn the chore these tasks out – but we’d probably replace them other interesting things – discuss into an excuse to build a relationship. For with time spent taking long walks together, priorities with manager example, W- and I love cooking. Our batch- learning new skills, or improving the flow of life.
January 2011 – sachachua.comWhich is basically what we would’ve been paying possibly one of my new recommendations in this Regularly buy something that yousomeone else to handle, so we might as well do it area. historically have viewed as frivolousourselves. but which you can truly afford. I’ve been thinking about whether I’ve got the Buy more gifts for the people you love.What do you do to make chores cheerful? right balance of saving for near-term expenses, investing for the future, and enjoying the Go easier on yourself and family when it2011-01-12 Wed 19:38 present. The book has an entire chapter on this comes to everyday expenses. (pp.103 to 112). I particularly like the section on reflecting on whether you’re postponing This year’s probably going to be pretty easy toBook: Let’s Get Real About Money: Profit achievable dreams, and the quote: plan for, actually, because we’ve got the two bigfrom the Habits of the Best Personal It is very well to be thrifty, but don’t amass a trips planned (Netherlands and the Philippines),Finance Managers hoard of regrets. and we might look into improving the insulationhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22041 of the house. We’re also saving up for otherJanuary 13, 2011 - Categories: book, finance French poet, Charles D’Orleans (quoted adventures over the next year or two. Big rocks. on p.118 of Let’s Get Real About Money) It’s easy to plan other things around those:Let’s Get Real About Money: Profit from the perhaps piano lessons, sewing lessons, gardeningHabits of the Best Personal Finance Managers I’m reminded of Ramit Sethi’s story about how experiments, and woodworking projects.(c) 2008 Eric Tyson some people set aside money for meetingFT Press, New Jersey interesting people. Might be a fun experiment, Anyway… “Let’s Get Real About Money” is a goodISBN: 978-0-13-234161-5 although perhaps not to that scale. Ditto for read. Try the self-test in front, and check out the learning and experimentation, which I do chapters on insurance and managing risks. HaveMy expectations were low. The subtitle “Profit explicitly save for, and which has paid off quite a fun!from the Habits of the Best Personal Finance bit in terms of interesting life experiences. So I’mManagers” made me think of celebrity-focused not doing too badly in this area, and I’m 2011-01-13 Thu 21:22“secrets”-type books with more fluff than continuing to learn.content. But hey, it was on the library bookshelf,so I picked it up anyway. I’ve found all sorts of There are useful tips on p131 on keeping saving 13,705 steps and countinggems in unlikely books, and I’ve skimmed my in proper perspective. Here’s the summary: http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22042way through seemingly-solid books that proved January 14, 2011 -to be disappointments. It’s easy to take risks on Understand the standard of living that Categories: android, exbooks when they’re free. ;) can be provided by the assets you’ve ercise, health, life, trac already accumulated. kingI was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Thebook has a lot of practical advice on money and Get smart about investing your money. 13,705 steps in tworelationships, family, raising savvy kids, Go on a news diet. and a half hours ofspending plans, frugality, investment, insurance, leisurely walks spreadand learning more. Well worth a read, and out over one day,
January 2011 – sachachua.comencompassing three not-entirely-necessary After all, when you’ve gotten to the vicinity of 10k Lifestrolls involving two libraries, a drugstore, and with another trip to the library (and another o  Get back into sewing: work onone supermarket. But it was worth it: several armful of books), you might as well keep going. black dress – postponedbags of books, a package of dental floss, a pantryrestocked with instant noodles, and the Do you use a pedometer to track your walks? o [X] Post more book notessatisfaction of seeing what it’s like to walk the What are you learning? o Enjoyed a week of pandesalrecommended 12,000 steps. Photo (c) 2009 Tambako the Jaguar – Creative o Achieved small goal of walkingI headed out for the second half of my walk right Commons Attribution No Derivatives 12k steps in one dayafter we wrapped up a project. The euphoria was Plans for next weekmaking me buzz too much to write, so I decidedto take good long walk. Weekly review: Week ending January 14, 2011 WorkThe streets here are wide and well-lit, and our http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22043 o  Wrap up project Mneighbourhood is wonderfully walkable. The January 15, 2011 - Categories: weeklylargest park in Toronto is a few blocks from our From last week’s plans o  Document case studieshouse, although I more often walk to the library o  Write about lessons learnedand to Bloor West Village. Near work, Work o  Apply to open seatsunderground passages let me wander about o [X] Finish up on project Swhile hiding from winter. o  Follow up on Lotusphere o [X] Start testing project M o  Draw networking guide forI enjoy walking. Even when winter’s giving me o [X] Fix my Lotus Notes conferencesthe sniffles, it’s still fun. Sometimes I think ofElizabeth Bennet walking from Longbourn to o [X] Look into Lotusphere o  Chat with Vikram KalkatNetherfield (three miles, or a mile less than what regarding Web 2.0 o Outlined talk on learning on theI walked today), except in better shoes and more networkcomfortable clothes (but not anywhere near as Relationshipsawesome a hat). Relationships o  Have get-togetherTracking has certainly influenced my behaviour. o [X] Get around to hosting a get- o  Help with J-’s Little Big PlanetI’ve taken to using Walttend Lite to track my together, maybe a game night partysteps because it can correctly track on my GoogleNexus One even when the screen is off. None of o [-] Plan May trip – read lots of guidebooks Lifethe other pedometer apps I tried could do that,so Walttend it is. Once I was out there, it was o Picked up microscope slides for J- o  Get through busy weekeasy to talk myself into going just a little bit o  Post more book notes!further so that I could check off my 12,000 goal. o Helped J- with homework on bullying/harrassment
January 2011 – sachachua.comTime analysis I also want to break “Routines” down into more For even more Emacs goodness outside the detail, so I can see where my time goes. package system, check out the Emacs mirror,Category Hours Notes which lists more than 2,900 packages availableSleep 61.1 Average of 8.7 hours – through Git. Emacs 24 and the package manager typically around 8 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22045 Thanks to: hours during weekday, January 15, 2011 - Categories: emacs and longer during weekend Phil Hagelberg for the post about ELPA By default, the Emacs 24 package manager (M-x package-list-packages) points to a small Jonas Bernoulli for the post aboutWork 40.7 Lots of good work emacsmirror repository of Emacs packages. Want more? PhilRoutines 18.4 Hagelberg added support for multiple repositories to package.el. There’s the original 2011-01-15 Sat 10:31Break 16.5 Relaxed weekend ELPA at http://tromey.com/elpa, and there’s a community package source called MarmaladeSocial 13.2 Spent time with Maira, that anyone can upload packages to. Add this to Switched my Fido plan and celebrated J-’s your ~/.emacs and evaluate it: http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22046 birthday January 16, 2011 - Categories: phone ;; Add the original Emacs Lisp Package ArchiveWriting 7.2 (add-to-list package-archives I switched my Fido plan to the $35 “Unlimited ("elpa" . "http://tromey.com/elpa/")) Joy” plan they were advertising. For $3.70 lessExercise 6.6 Long walks ;; Add the user-contributed repository than I was paying for my current plan (not (add-to-list package-archives considering taxes), I could make the followingTravel 2.8 ("marmalade" . "http://marmalade- changes: repo.org/packages/"))Learning 0.9 Piano Old plan New planOutsourceable 0.3 You should then be able to call M-x package-list- No included outgoing Unlimited texts to packages to browse and install Emacs packages. text messages Canada and international numbersMostly tracked, yay! If you don’t have Emacs 24 yet (and you might want to wait for the official release if you use 1000 Unlimited evenings andI took the TTC 9 times, using tokens. things like BBDB), Phil suggests evening/weekend weekends downloading package.el from the Emacs minutesNext week, I plan to stick more closely to my development tree. This version includes supportalarm settings (no hitting snooze!) and gradually for multiple repositories. 100 anytime minutes 150 anytime minutesreduce my sleep back to 7 hours a day. Stillrecovering from a cold – I cough less now, but Istill have the sniffles.
January 2011 – sachachua.comLast month, I used 6.5 minutes on Tip: Check your cellphone plan – your Yesterday’s batch of potato-rosemary breadevenings/weekends and 5 minutes during the choices might have improved! worked out really well. I formed them asday. I do like the security of knowing incoming individual rolls instead of a loaf. Loaves are morecalls aren’t going to cost me a lot, though, space-efficient, but rolls are easier to share andespecially as I sometimes use IBM’s VOIP Batch baking for fun and awesomeness eat. It was satisfying to see the bread risesystems to call people and have that connect to http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22047 properly, especially as my Friday batch ofmy cellphone. I sent seven text messages, which pandesal didn’t rise at all. (I’m switching to acost me $1.05 (compared to text messages in the pandesal recipe that calls for proofing the yeast,Philippines! =( ). I made one long-distance call of as the recipe I’ve written down doesn’t have thatless than a minute. step.)It would have cost me eight dollars in prorated I enjoy baking. It’s even more efficient whencharges to switch to the plan immediately, but we’ve got several recipes lined up to use similarI’m fine with waiting until the next billing cycle. oven temperatures, because then the oven can keep on going. This is the first time I’ve done aWhat do I plan to do with the changes? The double batch of lasagna, and I liked the flexibilitychange I care about the most involves unlimited of sharing or freezing the second pan. I think I’lltexting, which will probably lead to lots of do that with future batches, too.Twitter updates while I’m out and about, andmore frequent contact with family and friends in I’m planning to gradually clear the freezer ofthe Philippines. =) most of the raw ingredients we’ve stored so that January 17, 2011 - Categories: cooking we can make more room for individual portions.I can probably get a cheaper or more featureful We like stocking up on frozen fruit, raw shrimp, It takes just a little bit more time to make twoplan with WIND Mobile, but since I can easily and other ingredients when they’re on sale, but pans of lasagna instead of one, and it works outswitch my Fido plan without locking myself into there’s something to be said about turning fresh to be slightly cheaper per serving, too. (90another contract, I don’t mind changing to a ingredients into convenient frozen meals. Maybe minutes of preparation including making pastabetter Fido deal while considering the decision to someday we might get a bigger chest freezer. sauce and cleaning up; < $2 dollars per servingswitch. Over the holidays, WIND advertised a We’re certainly making the most of ours! for us.) Batch cooking is a great way to save timepretty sweet unlimited voice/text/data plan for and money.$40, but I’ll wait until the reviews settle down a Here are some of our freezer favourites.bit. They seem to have coverage and customer Oven What can you do with two pans of lasagna? Youservice challenges. I’ll keep an eye out for future Lasagna can keep half a pan in the fridge, divide up thepromos, though. My Google Nexus One is other half into individual portions, and share the Baked beanscompatible with the WIND network (thanks to other pan with family or friends. We took theW-’s wonderful research), so that should be okay. Roast turkey second pan to Morgan and Cathy’s along with the potato-rosemary rolls I baked yesterday, and we Roast vegetables had an excellent dinner. =)
January 2011 – sachachua.com Roast chicken Kevin Waite asks, “What format do you use to keep your recipes? Do you use Freemind or Org Shepherd’s pie Mode?” Meatballs W- and I write good recipes down in a notebook. Turkey pot pie / chicken pot pie Using paper instead of the computer means that Shake-and-bake chicken both of us can easily add new recipes, we can draw or use graphical shortcuts, and we don’t Stove have to worry so much about spilling things on our notes. Using a bound notebook instead of Chili individual recipe cards means that we don’t have Curry to worry about losing any favourites. (see the blog for the full image) Rice and beans W- started out by keeping it as a food diary, Pinakbet complete with luscious descriptions and Of recipes and memories fountain-pen ink. Now it’s more of a recipe stash, Adobo http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22052 but even the sparse notes evoke sensations. Pasta sauce January 18, 2011 - Categories: cooking Because cooking is such a part of our lives, each page brings lots of memories. Even the blank pages near the end tell a story through theDo you cook in batches and freeze individual splatter from the time that the pressure cookerportions? What are your favourites? exploded when W- was cooking too large a batch of beans.Sketchnotes: Gretchen Rubin, Happiness We get many of our recipes from the cookbooksProject book tour in the house, and we frequently refer to the twohttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22049 editions we have of the Joy of Cooking. We alsoJanuary 17, 2011 - turn to the Internet for other recipes, like theCategories: happiness, highlight, sketches, sketch recipe for home-made vanilla extract. We copynotes recipes into our notebook for ease of referenceFull-size version of my sketch notes and recall. Flipping through the pages remindsfrom Gretchen Rubin’s talk and book signing of us of things we should cook again.the Happiness Project, Chapters Indigo W- and I also keep electronic lists and copies ofBay/Bloor Toronto, January 17. some recipes, just in case we need to change our plans at the supermarket. We almost always shop with a grocery list, but sometimes we’ll swap
January 2011 – sachachua.comrecipes if the produce or other ingredients don’t doing, think about the costs and incentives of off: The immediate benefits of understanding,look good. I keep lists in my Org outline too, so different activities, and work on ways to change the medium-term benefits of recall, and the long-that I can easily review our batch cooking recipes those costs and incentives, you can make it easier term investment in a knowledgebase. Theor my list of recipes to try. for you to do the kinds of things you want to do insights people share with me through comments and avoid the things you don’t. In this blog post, and the insights they pick up from me throughThere are so many blank pages to go. Looking I’m going to see if this geeky way of looking at reading are icing on the cake. Cost: Time.forward to filling them up! fun actually works. Change: I think I spend a good enough amount of time on this and that I get great value for the The relevant quote from The Logic of Life: time I spend on it. I might try spending less timeFun and rational economic theory: The Rational Economics of an Irrational on it.reflections on the book “The Logic of Life” World ( Tim Harford, 2008)http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22053 p4. Rational people respond to trade-offs and to Reading. I read voraciously. Fortunately,January 19, 2011 - incentives. When the costs and benefits of Toronto has one of the largest library systems inCategories: book, fun, highlight, life, reflection something change, people change their behavior. the world. Pay-off: I pick up new words and ideas Rational people think – not always consciously – that I can use in life and writing. Cost: Time andWhat do you do for fun? Why do you do it? about the future as well as the present as they try space. Change: although taking book notes andDo you want to shift your patterns? to anticipate likely consequences of their actions doing life experiments based on what I’ve read in an uncertain world. help me make sure I get more value from theI was surprised to hear Gretchen Rubin (The time, I probably spend more time reading than IHappiness Project) say at her book talk that most What do you do? What are your behaviours? should. I get diminishing returns from, say, thegrown-ups don’t know what they would do for What are the benefits? Let’s take a look at fun. Xth personal finance book I’ve read, and Ifun. I can easily list things I enjoy doing. I can Here’s what I do (roughly in order of preference), suspect I sometimes read things to feel smug. ;)probably even explain why I enjoy doing them why I do them, and what I’d like to change. (Like the way people watch reality TV shows?) Iand how I want to change or improve. can increase the cost of reading by planning to Spending time with W-. This is an easy one. ask questions and write book notes for books thatSometimes knowing what you would do Pay-off: Richer relationships, more in-jokes, and come in. I can increase the benefits of reading byfor fun isn’t easy. It forces you to confront the quite a bit of learning along the way. We like sharing book notes and life experiments. I canfact that you do not do some things for fun, that cooking, discussing books, going for walks, and shift to higher-value reading (new subjects,the intrinsic enjoyment of it is dormant or gone. picking up shared hobbies, although we question-driven research).For example, I realized that making or giving occasionally watch movies (mostly borrowedpresentations had dropped off the list of things I from the library). Cost: Time. Change: This part Baking or cooking. I enjoy trying new recipesenjoy doing just because. has good balance, so I don’t need to increase or or making our favourites. Pay-off: Yummy food, decrease it. new experiences, and closer relationships withAre there activities you would like to enjoy W-, J-, and friends. Cost: Time andmore? What about activities you’d like to enjoy Writing. I love writing down what I think and freezer/fridge/bread-box space. Change: Goodless? I’m like that too. Rational economic theory what I’m learning. I’ll even write as a way of balance here, no change needed. (Although it’sto the rescue! If you look at what you enjoy procrastinating other things I need to do. Pay- interesting that I’ve been procrastinating
January 2011 – sachachua.comworking on open source in favour of making look into piano lessons if that will help me learn maybe by creating blocks of time where I canbread, probably because the pay-off from faster. focus on open source.appreciative family / friends makes me feelwarmer and fuzzier.) Gardening. Pay-off: Yummy food. Satisfaction — of self-sufficiency (at least in small parts!).Walking or biking. Pay-off: Satisfaction of Experiences with nature. Shared experiences Things that I would like to enjoy more:knowing I’m getting some exercise, long-term with W- and J-. Cost: Time and some money.health benefits, and often shared time with W-. Change: I want to do this more efficiently next Drawing. Pay-off: New skills; satisfaction fromCost: Wearing winter-friendly clothes when I’m growing season, working my way to a better creating things; improved ability toworking at home; making time for a walk when yield. communicate. Cost: Not entirely happy withI’m at the office. Change: More of this, maybe at drawing on my tablet yet; switching cost if I usethe expense of some writing. (Or maybe I can use Building furniture. Pay-off: Shared interests the tablet downstairs. Change: If I get better atwalking time to think about what I want to and shared time with W-. Custom items. The drawing through practice and learning, and I getwrite…) I can lower the costs by changing into satisfaction of making things. Cost: Time, money, used to drawing with one of the programs on mygoing-out-friendly clothes when I’m working at and risk. Change: More of this during the computer, then I’ll find this easier, more natural,home, and blocking out time for walks. summer! =) and more enjoyable. GIMP? MyPaint? Paint? OneNote? Inkscape? I should pick one and learnPlanning and reviewing my finances. Yes, I Sewing. Pay-off: Satisfaction of making things it inside and out.actually enjoy doing my books and reviewing my that fit my preferences. Cost: Frustration, time,plans. I’m weird. Pay-off: Satisfaction of knowing some money. Task-switching cost – have to set Making and giving presentations. Pay-off:things are going well; confidence in being able to up. Change: I’d like to do more of this. I can do Improved understanding. Helping other people.plan for purchases or goals. Cost: Time. Change: that by starting with small projects, practising Connecting with others. Passive networking.This doesn’t take a lot of time, but I should and improving my skills (so that I can reduce Cost: Time. Risk of boring-ness. Obligation.probably spend less time on this. frustration), and attending lessons (formally Stress. Change: If I write more, I’ll have more to blocks the time off, makes it easier to task- harvest for presentations. If I ignore the fear ofOrganizing. Pay-off: Investment into being able switch). being boring and just get something out there,to find things again, reducing frustration. The that will help me deal with the stress of creatingsatisfaction of having a neat-ish place. Working on open source. Pay-off: The buzz something for public use.Appreciation from W-. Cost: Time. Change: This of solving problems; the convenience ofis currently reasonable, although I could invest programs that fit the way I work a little bit Meeting people. This includes meeting newsome time into simplifying and improving better; the appreciation of other people; people as well as hanging out with friends. It’ssystems so that I can avoid even more clutter. improved technical skills. Costs: Task-switching much too easy for me to go into introvert mode (loading the relevant programs, remembering and get out to meet people only once in a while.Playing the piano. Pay-off: Satisfaction from where I am and what I’m working on, getting Pay-off: Potentially interesting conversations.learning and from listening to music I’m playing. into the swing of things); occasional bit of Opportunities to help others. Aha! momentsMental exercise. Appreciation from W- and J-. paperwork. Change: I’d like to do more of this, myself. Friendships. Cost: conversations thatCost: Time. Change: I think this is okay. I might don’t go beyond news, sports, and weather.
January 2011 – sachachua.comChange: I should do more of this. Maybe if I — Boy, did we ever learn a lot from that. Ifocus on remembering how fun it was to hang out posted more sketchnotes, networkingwith my friends in the Philippines, that will How about you? What do you do for fun? What tips, Emacs news, and career reflections, too.motivate me to build more friendships here too. are the costs and pay-offs? What would you likeSimplifying my get-togethers might lead to my to change? Plans for January:actually having regular monthly get-togethers.Setting aside specific blocks of time to be social The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics o Workwill also help me work around my introvert of an Irrational World  Finish Project Mtendencies. 2008 Tim Harford ISBN 978-0-385-66387-8  Finish Project S—  Start new project 2011-01-19 Wed 06:20Looking at this, I suppose I could scale back on o Relationshipsreading, baking/cooking, planning, and  Host get-togetherreviewing my finances. Monthly review: December 2010 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22054  Send delayed holidayI can integrate organizing into my daily routines January 20, 2011 - Categories: monthly cardsbetter.  Get into the habit of Update: fixed year, thanks! meeting peopleI can work on remembering or increasing thepay-offs for meeting people and making Forgot I hadn’t done one of these for December. o Lifepresentations. Good thing I’ve been getting my to-do capture  Improve my routines: system sorted out again. In November’s review, I set aside time for drawing,Then I can set aside blocks of time that I can use said: sewing, and makingfor drawing, sewing, or making presentations, What will December look like? Lots of good presentationsand another regular block of time for meeting work, more productivity experiments, maybepeople or investing in relationships. some Android hacking, a few social get-  Post goals togethers, and onwards to another great year.When summer comes again, gardening can take Reviewsthe place of some walking, and biking will take We did most of the work on Project M and o Weekly review: Week endingthe place of my subway commute. Project S, both Drupal projects for non-profits December 3, 2010Woodworking/building furniture is also who had received grants from IBM. Ispending time with W-, so that should be okay. experimented with changing what day my week o Weekly review: Week ending starts on,making taho, illustrating cards, December 10, 2010Thinking about this and writing things down and Android use. Lots of Android hacking, too. o Weekly review: Week endinghelps me tweak the balance. Oh, and we disassembled and reassembled a new December 18, 2010 washing machine and dryer, and both worked!
January 2011 – sachachua.com o Weekly review: Week ending o More thoughts on week o Thinking about time tracking December 24, 2010 beginnings: it’s about being o Thinking about housework proactive o Monthly review: November 2010 o Sometimes you have to work at Writing and blogging o Yearly review: 2010 being happy o Writing about lots of different Development, work, and geek stuff o Making the most of the conference kinds of things hallway track o XKCD, tic-tac-toe, and fractal o What if sharing knowledge could goodness o Conference tips: planning your make a difference between life attendance and death? o Android life so far o Blogging and conference o Understanding analytics for o Android Tasker: Setting time networking tips personal blogs limits for Angry Birds and other timesucks Sketches 2011-01-19 Wed 08:28 o More MobileOrg hacking on the o Quantified Self Toronto: Second Android Meetup Sketchnotes from Quantified Self Toronto o Test-driven development and o Happy holidays, eh! meetup #3 happiness http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22057 o Sketchnotes: The Science of January 21, 2011 - o Code and consulting Blogging: Dan Zarrella (Hubspot) Categories: highlight, quantified, sketches, sketc o More reflections on code and hnotes consulting Life and experiments o Using Simpletest and o Taho spreadsheets to populate Drupal with data o Happy Holidays, Eh! First edition greeting card giveaway o Reflections on mentoring new developers in Drupal o Reflecting on life as an experiment, gender gaps, and o Drupal fixes: Modifying the privilege entries in Calendar o The great washing machine o What’s coming up in Emacs 24 adventure o Ten lessons learned from Tips disassembling and rebuilding our washing machine
January 2011 – sachachua.comClick on the image for a slightly larger version. Weekly review: Week ending January 21, o Baked lasagna and shared it with 2011 Morgan and Cathy http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22058 January 22, 2011 - Categories: weekly Life Oh boy. Between the M and S projects wrapping o [X] Get through busy week up, Lotusphere preparations, and general o [-] Post more book notes! scrambling, life is going to be pretty busy for the next three weeks. Must make time to get plenty o Attended Quantified Self meetup. of sleep. Shared my grocery tracking and From last week’s plans time tracking experiences. Posted sketchnotes. Work o Posted rational economic theory analysis of things I do for fun ;) o [X] Wrap up project M o Started using Keep Track on the o [X] Document case studies(See the full image on my blog) Android to track values o [-] Write about lessons learned (productivity, energy, happiness)Topics: neurotropics, step counting, tracking o [X] Apply to open seats o Downloaded pre-certifiedthrough low-cost devices (mylifestracks.com StudioTax 2010 (keener!)doesn’t seem to work – correct URL?) o [X] Follow up on Lotusphere – I’m going! Plans for next weekI also shared my time tracking, grocery tracking, o [-] Draw networking guide forand price book. People found the batch Work conferences – more progresscooking stuff interesting. =) Here are the slides Iused: o [X] Chat with Vikram Kalkat o  Finish deliverables for ProjectQuantified Self Toronto #3: Sacha Chua – regarding Web 2.0 MTracking time, groceries, prices, etc. o  Get my Lotusphere plans o Registered for Lotusphere;View more presentations from Sacha Chua. together booked hotel and flightSee past notes: second meetup, first meetup. o  Prepare Lotusphere BoFCheck out more sketchnotes, more sketches, or Relationships resources on working with themore things about the quantified self. Learn Lotus Connections API o [-] Have get-together – postponedabout upcoming Quantified Self Toronto events to Feb o  Finish pre-conferenceon Meetup – see you at the next one! networking tips slides o [X] Help with J-’s Little Big Planet party Relationships
January 2011 – sachachua.com o  Connect with coworkers I resolved to spend less time writing and more Last Hour time drawing. Today was difficult. I had too o  Be extra-wonderful to W- Category wee Notes s many stories to tell, too many thoughts to catch. k Life Break 12.0 16.5 Mostly eating- o  Survive even busier week related; will o  Book a massage for some time break this out after I get back from Lotusphere? separatelyTime analysis Social 10.1 13.2 Quantified Self Last meetup, Hour hanging outCategory wee Notes s with W- and J- kSleep 61.6 61.1 8.8 hours of Exercise 7.7 6.6 sleep a day; Writing 7.3 7.2 the constant battle of the Travel 2.9 2.8 My thoughts flitted about, escaped. Drawing was satisfaction of frustrating. I felt inarticulate. And yet, slowly, I waking up Learning 2.7 0.9 started to be able to breathe with it. early, the need to avoid sleep Outsourceabl 0.8 0.3 deprivation, e and the interestingnes I’m going to try limiting my writing time further, s of evening and cutting a little bit back on sleep. Also life experimenting with breaking routines down intoWork 46.4 40.7 Overtime more detail. dealing with project wrap- up Sketches: What index cards are teaching me about drawingRoutines 16.0 18.4 Cooking: 1.6 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22063 hours, tidying: January 23, 2011 - But then, an afternoon later, I found myself 0.5 hours Categories: highlight, presentation, sketches drawing.
January 2011 – sachachua.com Another figure takes shape under my fingers. Today I discovered the joys in the greys of pencil on card, the smudges of erasures never I draw a conference badge and write down some completely gone, the roughness of lines, and the tips. I relax by drawing a cat. Another tip or constraints of a 3×5 card. And something else three. Another cat. The next steps. A personal about the way I draw– goal. A networking tip. A meta-reflection. In snatches, in non-linear frames, like the way I hear snippets of future speeches in my imagination– Jumping around, going where curiosity takes me. It’s like I dip in and out of watching this presentation, but it’s all jumbled up. I might say, oh, there’s a nice idea. That one too. Let’s see… oh, yes, that makes sense. And yet there’s me in this too, saying, hmm, what if there’s this? And then this? Oh, then that would mean that thisMost of the time, I even managed to concentrate would be good for this part. Now that will needon a project I’d been procrastinating for a while. revision. I’ll draw a new card. Ah, it’s slowlyHere is one frame that will probably become a coming together.slide: I spent eight hours drawing. I can draw handss better than I did before. And bicycles. And conference tips. It was fun. There’s more to draw and more to learn. Maybe I’ll throttle my writing further by coursing it through drawing, letting the frustration of pent- up stories drive me to increase my visual vocabulary and my drawing skills. It’ll be interesting. I love drawing on the computer because of the Index cards. Try them out. =) colours, the ease of revision, the cleanliness of the lines, and the infinity of space that I can draw on. Unbaffled http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22067
January 2011 – sachachua.comJanuary 24, 2011 - Categories: sketches That’s okay. Let them eat the seeds. Winter is interesting turns of phrase, I now check the table winter. And isn’t it fascinating how they persist, of contents, head straight for the chapters with how they contort, how they dangle and leap like the most promise, and evaluate whether or not to Cirque du Soleil acrobats in order to get what continue. This means I spend less time reading they want? on autopilot. While I’d love to be enthused about Mortimer J. Adler’s collection of essays and We scatter peanuts on the snowy deck so that our references on the Great Books, it’s just lower- cats can watch the squirrels grab them. Some priority at the moment. squirrels are cheeky enough to tease the cats, safely separated by solid glass. The cats chatter, Increasing the cost of writing: Switching to little hunters gnashing their teeth and twitching a “draw first, then write” procedure is working their tails. We have fun watching the cats well for me. Not every blog post is going to be watching the squirrels. illustrated, but it will be fun drawing more. I might also experiment with requiring myself to I’m having more fun drawing on index cards work on a non-writing, non-reading personal now. I can carry more shapes in my head. And I project (sewing, for example) before I can sitW- hung up a bird-feeder, suspending it drew all the pieces I needed for a standalone down to write a blog post. Or maybe walking, andunderneath a baffle (here a repurposed metal presentation I’ve meant to put together for a even tying the length of time or the number ofplate supposed to block squirrel access) and while. We’ll see how well it works! words I can write to the length of exercise or thedangling it from a far branch. The squirrels have number of steps (divided by a suitable number,been undeterred, raiding the seed supply for food of course). This probably means going back toto get them through another winter. No birds in Tweaking fun and nudging myself out of evening pages, although exercise would go wellsight. They’re all hanging out near the warmer procrastination with morning pages.parts of this neighbourhood, no doubt. So much http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22069for fair-weather friends not easily bribed with a January 25, 2011 - Decreasing the cost of drawing: Achieved byhandful of seeds. Categories: highlight, kaizen, life, productivity settling in for a good afternoon of drawing with pencils, index cards, and cats willing to provideWe once checked out a book declaring war on Using rational economics to analyze what I do for creative breaks. Result: I drew the networkingsquirrels. It contained reviews of different fun seems to have paid off. By changing the costs tips presentation I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve“squirrel-proof” bird-feeders, concluding that and benefits of different activities, I’ve managed sent it off for review, and will post it whenthere really is no practical way to foil this to nudge myself out of (excessive?) reading and approved.ingenious and nimble animal. (Well, maybe the writing, finally tackling some projects I’ve beenchicken-wire cage we built to protect our plants – procrastinating for a while. Decreasing the cost of sewing: Making thebut then the birds can’t get through the mesh, time to watch the instructional videos helped meeither…) Increasing the cost of reading: I decided to learn how to use the serger, which meant being be pickier about the books I read. Instead of able to finish the pants I’ve been meaning to skimming books looking for nuggets or hem.
January 2011 – sachachua.comNext: Hmm, maybe I can apply the same process do it, though. Use a desktop blog editor that org2blog.el to support crossposting. ;) The Javain order to become more social… makes cross-posting easier. tool will probably be easier to share with other people. I might give it a try.2011-01-25 Tue 20:45 How: I’ve set up Windows Live Writer to publish to both my WordPress blog What do you do to make cross-posting easier? (http://livinganawesomelife.com) and my LotusCross-posting between Lotus Connections Connections blogblogs and a personal blog (http://w3.ibm.com/connections/blogs/sachach Draft Lotusphere BoF on working with thehttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22068 ua , accessible only within IBM). After I publish a Connections APIJanuary 26, 2011 - post, I click on the blog dropdown in the top left http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22070Categories: blogging, connections, ibm corner to select another site, choose new January 26, 2011 - categories, perhaps edit the body of the post, and Categories: conference, connections, ibm, lotus,I confess: I sometimes forget to update my publish the post again. It takes a few extra clicks presentationinternal blog. I want to reach as wide an audience and opens up a whole new world of serendipitousas possible, and my personal blog is a way of conversations. My birds-of-a-feather session got voted intomaking ideas and thoughts and insights Lotusphere 2011, so I’m preparing somesearchable and public. While I update my Now why: Why cross-post between blogs? conversation starters.personal blog every day (and still have plenty of Lotusphere BoF – Working with the Lotusstories I want to share), my IBM blog I see my personal blog as an archive of things I’ve Connections APIoccasionally languishes. I post when I have learned. If something can be publicly shared, I’d View more presentations from Sacha Chua.something specific to say about IBM, but like to share it there. If not, I can copy theotherwise, I forget. New resolution: cross- information into my private notes for ease of What should we add to this? What should wepost more – who knows who might find it reference. remove? #ls11useful? Cross-posting to an internal blog makes it easierHere’s something I want to share which will for people to come across potentially useful posts A braindump of tips for other newdefinitely help me, at least two other people, and through our internal search engine as well as immigrants from the Philippinespossibly others too. =) through browsing the recent updates. For http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22071 example, I really should go back and cross-post January 27, 2011 -Delphine Remy-Boutang and Anna my Drupal-related posts. Categories: canada, highlight, philippines, tipsDreyzin asked me how to cross-post betweenblogs. I don’t know of an automatic way to do Cross-posting to an external blog makes it easier For Anna Simbulan (welcome to Toronto!) andthis yet, although I keep being tempted to write a to keep those blogs up to date and to engage a others this can help along the way. =)tool that periodically checks my external blog for different audience.posts tagged “ibm” and crossposts them to my Winter and clothingLotus Connections blog. There’s a manual way to Kaizen (continuous improvement): I’m this close to either writing a Java tool or hacking
January 2011 – sachachua.com Toronto can be cold. Dress in layers. Long Be prepared for homesickness. It’s a The Toronto Public Library is amazing. underwear, sweaters, gloves, and hats can natural part of moving. Sign up, get your library card, and help you keep warm. Thinsulate is better use http://torontopubliclibrary.ca to get than knit when it comes to blocking out Be prepared for cultural differences. books delivered to the branch closest to wind. Layers are better than a big coat Avoid making jokes or statements that you. It even has a number of books in because you can adjust the warmth are racist, sexist, homophobic, or Filipino. Check out the e-books, movies, depending on changes in weather, otherwise politically incorrect. music CDs, and graphic novels as well. physical activity, etc. It can feel pretty lonely when your The library has many seminars for Winter can also be pretty grey and barkada and social support networks are newcomers and job-seekers. There are depressing. If you’re finding it hard to get half a world away. Check out classes, go many other newcomer organizations, too. through the day, get plenty of sunlight. to activities, meet people, make new Take advantage of the services and Sometimes colourful things can be friends. training they offer, such as networking helpful, too. events and free training. Free video-calling programs like Skype Things might look pretty expensive, and social networking tools like Facebook Public transit works pretty well. You can particularly if you do the CAD-PHP help you keep in touch with old friends. even use maps.google.com to plan your conversion and think about how much route. cheaper you could get things at ukay- If you want to cook recipes from home, ukay or bazaars. Check out second-hand you can find many of the ingredients in Work stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Chinatown or even in some of the larger Value Village. You can usually find supermarkets. For example, you can find If you’re applying for a job, it’s worth perfectly good clothes, coats, and Skyflakes, ampalaya, bagoong, and halo- reviewing your resume and using the household items for much cheaper than halo ingredients in Chinatown. The No Canadian conventions. For example, the retail price. Frills supermarket in Dufferin Mall has people here don’t indicate their age, Skyflakes, too. marital status, height, or weight on If you need to walk around downtown resumes. Toronto, check out the underground There aren’t that many Filipino PATH. restaurants downtown, though. Definitely If you get stumped by employers worth learning how to make things at requiring Canadian experience, consider Find something to enjoy about winter. home. You may find some neighborhoods volunteering or working in a different I’ve learned to think of winter as a season with Filipino stores (including places position for some time in order to pick up for cooking, baking, hot chocolate, and where you can buy balikbayan boxes). that experience. early(ish) bedtimes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_ Manila#Toronto Finance Home and society Resources
January 2011 – sachachua.com If you’re having a hard time getting a Pre-conference networking tips for the Work credit card, get a secured credit card first, Instructional Technology Strategies o [X] Finish deliverables for Project then use that to build your credit history. Conference M When I started, I got the TD Green Visa http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22072 card. I deposited some money and that January 28, 2011 - o [X] Get my Lotusphere plans deposit was used to secure the card. Once Categories: conference, connecting, highlight, net together you qualify for a better card, you can working, sketches, speaking, tips o [X] Prepare Lotusphere BoF switch to something like PCFinancial Instructional Technology Strategies resources on working with the Mastercard (equivalent of 1% rewards) or Conference: The Shy Connector’s Guide to Lotus Connections API MBNA Enrich (3% cashback on groceries, Getting Ready for Conference 1% on regular purchases). Awesomeness o [X] Finish pre-conference View more presentations from Sacha Chua. networking tips slides Compare prices online. Buying textbooks o Helped build Drupal site for or other things? Check ebay.ca and other This is for http://itsc.oetc.org . Thanks to Darren internal coordination of sites before buying things in person. You Hudgins for the nudge to make this! marketing materials for AIS can often find significant discounts Canada – yay for being able to online, too, and shipping is reliable. Look quickly build things using Drupal! for free or cheap stuff on craigslist.ca or Weekly review: Week ending January 28, kijiji.ca, or join a Freecycle group. 2011 o Talked to two groups about Idea http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22073 Labs Keep some savings in a checking account January 29, 2011 - Categories: weekly o Booked travel arrangements for as an emergency fund / buffer and the Lotusphere rest in a high-interest savings account. I’m typing this weekly review outside an empty Don’t overload yourself with credit card meeting room at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, where Lotusphere will be held this year. Relationships debt. Pay off your credit card every month, if you can, and plan your It’s definitely conference season. o [X] Connect with coworkers spending so that you don’t have to live I’d been taking a lower-key approach to o [X] Be extra-wonderful to W- paycheck to paycheck. presenting this year, so I don’t have too many (taking off for a week) Enjoy life. =) There will probably always conference commitments planned. I had fun o Accepted accommodation plans be things and people you will miss, but sketching pre-conference networking tips for for Kathy and John’s wedding in maybe Toronto can become a second ITSC using index cards. the Netherlands home. Definitely an early bed time tonight. Plenty of Life —- work this week. Plans for last week o [X] Survive even busier week What other tips would you add?
January 2011 – sachachua.com o [-] Book a massage for some time Last Last after I get back from Lotusphere? Category Hours Notes Category Hours Notes week week o Connected with Toronto newcomer from Philippines Sleep 55.3 61.6 7.8 hours of Sewing 3.6 sleep a dayPlans for next week Travel 2.8 2.9 Work 40.4 46.4 Some Work breathing Writing 1.8 7.3 o  Help at Lotusphere as a room time between projects Learning 1.2 2.7 monitor o  Potentially host a BoF on the Social 12.8 10.1 Outsourceable 0.8 Connections API Drawing 12.8 Maybe half of What have I learned? o  Learn from Lotusphere this counts as presentations (content and work technique) Rational economics is useful for modifying your own behavior. Routines – 8.7 13.9 Relationships general If I spend my weekend afternoons or weekday o  Connect with IBMers, partners, evenings drawing or sewing instead of writing, I Routines – 3.7 1.6 and clients at Lotusphere can get into the flow and make a lot of progress. cooking Life Routines – 2.5 0.5 It’s satisfying to check off things I’ve been tidying procrastinating. o  Do time analysis of conference time On the other hand, it’s hard to resist writing, Prep – 0.7 Can I still get ~8 hours of planning because thoughts are buzzing around in my head. sleep a day? Drawing helps a little with that. Prep – laundry 1.7 What’s exercise like? Maybe I’ll try doing only one day of alternate o  Eat salads. See if I can order Prep – general 5.1 focus each week. That might give me some space. half-portions. Although I’m not sure if it’s the confounding Break 9.0 12.0 effect of a conference – I always get a little buzzyTime analysis around conferences. It’s like adapting to a new Exercise 4.0 7.7 4 days with time signature or tempo. Last at least 10kCategory Hours Notes week steps Hmm…
February 2011 – sachachua.com 35 Clients are interested in collaboration and on links in e-mail right now, so full embedded have lots of adoption insights. We’re transactions might encounter resistance or mightFebruary 2011 starting to see interesting case studies from open up new phishing holes. Project Vulcan is clients. In addition to reporting excellent returns worth watching. on their investments, clients shared qualitativeLotusphere 2011 wrap-up People are already doing interesting feedback, such as stories of pilot groups whohttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22074 things with the Lotus Connections couldn’t imagine giving up the tools. SuccessfulFebruary 4, 2011 - clients used executive support, communication API. Embedding Lotus Connections content /Categories: conference, highlight, ibm, lotus, not plans, mentoring, metrics, incentives, role interactions into other websites, adding morees models, and other techniques to help people information to Lotus Connections, using make new forms of collaboration part of the way different authentication mechanisms… peopleThis was my first Lotusphere, and it was a blast. people worked. sketchnotes from the birds-of-a- are rocking the API. The compliance API that’sLotus has such an active, passionate, experienced feather session on adoption coming soon will help people do even more withcommunity around it. Heading to the conference, Lotus Connections interactions, too.my goals were: LotusLive is awesome. LotusLive currently includes web conferencing and parts of Lotus The next version of Lotus Connections [X] Learn more about Lotus Connections Connections. LotusLive Labs includes a technical will be even cooler. I’m particularly excited adoption and APIs preview of LotusLive Symphony (collaborative about the idea blogs and the forum document/spreadsheet editing), Slide Library, improvements, which seem tailor-made for the [X] Learn about IBM’s strategy and and Event Maps. (I wish I’d seen Event Maps kind of collective virtual brainstorming we’ve innovations when I was planning my Lotusphere been doing in Idea Labs. Idea blogs are [X] Get a sense of the ecosystem around attendance!) Granted, Google Docs has been straightforward – a blog post or question with Lotus (partners, clients, etc.) around for longer than LotusLive Symphony, but comments that can be voted up or down – but [X] Meet people and make personal I’m curious about the ability to assign sections they’ll go a long way to enabling new use cases. for editing or review. Forums will also have question/answer/best connections answer support. [X] Brainstorm and share insights Activity streams and embedded [X] Show my appreciation for the cool experiences are going to change the Sametime Unified Telephony rocks. I need work people do inbox. I don’t know when this is going to go into to find out how to get into that. I like click-to-call people’s everyday lives, but the idea of being able ringing everyone’s preferred devices, easy [X] Learn more about conferences and to act on items right from the notifications will be teleconferences, and rules for determining phone presentations pretty cool – whether it’s in an enriched mail forwarding. [X] Fulfill my room monitor client like Lotus Notes or a web-based activity stream that might be filtered by different Lotus Notes and Domino are getting even responsibilities attention management algorithms. It’ll be more powerful. XPages looks pretty cool. I’llHere’s what I took away from the sessions and interesting to figure out the security implications leave the rest of the commentary on this to otherBoFs I attended: of this, though. It’s already a bad practice to click bloggers, as my work doesn’t focus enough on
February 2011 – sachachua.com 36Lotus Notes and Domino for me to be able to give data summarized in some very cool resolution techniques, asymmetricjustice to the improvements. graphs. I want to have data like that. knowledge of others, persona separation/integration, acceptance of Talking to Hiro about crowdsourcing andThe Lotus ecosystem is doing well. Lots of change; overlap with leadership maturity sharing the cool things we’ve been doingactivity and investment from partners and models; context dependency of with Idea Labs.clients. decisions… Seeing all these people I met online.Analytics + research = Talking to Bonnie John about the politics Finally getting to meet Tessa Lau, Bruceopportunity. Interesting research into of writing about process improvement. Elgort, Julian Robichaux, Mitch Cohen, Interesting thing to untangle. Moreattention management, activity streams, social and other folks, too! It’s great to be ablenetwork analysis. thinking needed. to connect with people on a personal level, thanks to blog posts and Twitter. Swapping tips on Gen Y life with JulieLotus geeks are a world of their own. It’s (How do people manage to keep up to Brown, Alexander Noble (@alex_zzz>),amazing to spend time with people who have date and remember all of this stuff? I felt Brandon Anderson (@branderson3), andimmersed themselves deeply in a technology all warm and fuzzy when people othersplatform for almost two decades. There’s a depth congratulated me on the recent wedding,and richness here that I don’t often find at and I wished I remembered more tidbits If I get to attend Lotusphere again, I’d love to betechnology conferences. There’s also a lot of about them. Working on that!) able to stay at the conference hotel. It would betough love – people like IBM, and they’re not much more convenient and I’d be able to go toafraid to call us out if we’re not clear or if we Being reminded by David Brooks and more of the evening get-togethers. The chancesseem to be making mistakes. =) other early adopters that I’ve been around of my being able to attend again probably depend from the beginning of Lotus Connections. on how much of the Social Business adoptionNotes from conversations (Okay, David did that in a BoF.) It seems consulting we’ll get to do over the next year, and Lotus Connections has always been I hope we do a lot. I’d also make time to checkThe hallway track (those informal encounters around. <laugh> out the showcase. I missed it this year, thanks toand chance connections) resulted in great Joining the geek trivia challenge. The all that chatting.conversations. For me, the highlights were: questions about television and comics went way over my head, but it was good Next actions for me Being adopted by various groups – so to spend time with other folks, and I had helpful for this Lotusphere newbie! so much fun. Well worth needing to For work, I’ll probably focus on external Web 2.0 Special thanks figure out how to get back to the Port / social media site development while other to @alex_zzz, @belgort, @billmachisky, Orleans hotel after the conference shuttle groups figure out the structure for social business @branderson3, @ericmack, service ended. adoption consulting. I’m looking forward to and @notesgoddess for bringing me into learning from the case studies, insights, and Talking to Jeanne Murray and Rawn fascinating conversations. questions that people have shared, though, and Shah about a personal maturity model for I’d love to do more work in this section. Andy Schirmer walking me through his social business. Some ideas: control of task spreadsheet with eight years of task recipients, trust, transparency, conflict
February 2011 – sachachua.com 37Here’s what I need to do for post-conference A story of pi tons of geek moments, and I’m lucky to meet sowrap-up: http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22076 many people who relish being geeky. Life is good. February 4, 2011 - Categories: geek [X] Go through my index cards and write 2011-02-04 Fri 21:52 additional notes A trivia question related to pi and my teammate’s  Contact people I met and follow up on subsequent recitation of pi to ten digits reminded me of this memory which I may not yet have On appearance and bias: thoughts from conversations the Nerd Girls panel at Lotusphere 2011 shared here.  Catch up with work mail http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22077  Catch up with personal mail — February 5, 2011 - Categories: highlight, reflection, women  Write further reflections It was an evening get-together with several o  Time analysis friends in the roofdeck garden of our home in the Philippines. After dinner, the conversation o  Appearance and bias turned to geek superpowers, the little specialties o  IBM and women in technology and quirks we’d developed over time. The friend on my left started reciting the digits of pi. To my o  Reflections on careers, loyalty, surprise, the friend on my right joined in – the story, and alternatives same pace, the same digits, and I in the middle o  Presentation reflections (time entranced by this melody of tenor and baritone. for questions, presentation style, They went to about 100 digits head to head, then rapport, morning sessions?) one dropped out; the other continued to 200 digits or so. It was as sublime a concert as I have  Plan my next steps ever listened to.Other Lotusphere 2011 wrap-ups you —might like: Chris Connor, David Greenstein, One of the topics of great interest during theLuis Benitez (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day If you’re curious, you might want to check out the Nerd Girls panel at Lotusphere 2011 was that of5), Andy Donaldson, Marc Champoux (… where Wikipedia page on piphilology – the creation and appearance. How important is grooming?are the female bloggers’ writeups?) use of techniques for remembering pi. What about first impressions?See also: Lotusphere social aggregator, Planet — People shared the usual advice: DressLotus, Twitter search for #ls11, Twitter/blog appropriately. Be yourself. Neatness counts.archive Like the way beauty often brings pleasure to viewers, my reaction to intellectual displays is Like the way I skip fluffy guest posts full of2011-02-04 Fri 16:04 closer to “Oooh, that’s awesome” than to “You cliches, I try to avoid sharing the same thoughts have way too much free time.” W- and I have you’ll find everywhere else. So I found myself
February 2011 – sachachua.com 38thinking about one of the points raised, which I dress for minimal thought during most approach to thinking about appearance. Thisyou don’t encounter that often. days, for either blending in or standing out topic usually focuses on: “How can I get other during get-togethers, and for practicality when people to think better of me? How can I increaseOne of the participants had observed that travelling. Slacks, blouse, sweater/blazer, and my chances for a raise or a promotion? How can“booth babes” at a tech convention can scarf give me a good uniform for the workweek. I project more status and confidence?”drive people away. My take-away from that is If I’m speaking at a conference, I might dig outthat *you should make sure that what you my cream suit. If I’m attending a crowded event, For that part, my questions are more along thecommunicate with your appearance supports I might wear a red top or bring a hat. If I’m lines of “How can I stay true to my values? Arewhat you want to communicate.* Too much travelling, I pack my Tilley’s my goals in line with those values andattention to appearance can conflict with Endurables businesswear: hand-washable slacks, priorities?” And there’s another, much moreyour goals. You can dress to blend in or you can blazers, and blouses that will dry overnight in a interesting question for me: *”How can I correctdress to stand out. Suits help you build rapport pinch. I wear flat shoes for comfort and boots for my biases?”*with people who are more comfortable with suits. warmth. These routines mean that I need toJeans and a geek T-shirt help you build more spend very little time thinking about what to Our biases around attractiveness reducerapport with people who are more comfortable in wear. the quality of our decisions. People getjeans and T-shirts. dinged for being too fat, being too old, being too There’s a limit to how much time, money, plain, and even being too attractive. Women areTweaking convention can support your and energy I want to spend on more harshly judged than men, and are thegoals, too. I’ve turned up at technical get- appearance. I’m not going to spend on make- target of much body-policing from advertising,togethers in brightly-coloured ethnic clothing to up, cosmetic surgery, or designer items. I media, coworkers, friends, and even themselves.make several points along the way: a. it’s okay to suppose going to a dermatologist or havingbring personal interests into the tech world, b. frequent facials could help my face clear up, but I’ve received plenty of privileges. I’m young,it’s okay to be a girl, c. there are people here from it’s no big deal. I won’t experiment with body ink, female, enthusiastic, and easy to get along with,different cultures, and d. it’s good to have fun. piercings, or hair colour. The gradual onset of and that has almost certainly helped me do whatThat this made me easier to spot in a crowd was gray hair won’t be dyed away, and the wrinkles I do. I have plenty of mentors while other peoplean excellent bonus, and it worked really well. will be welcomed. (I do invest energy into (perhaps less cheerful, perhaps less “cute”) It making sure I get the kind of wrinkles I want: sometimes works to my disadvantage. There areKnow what you want to say, and make more smile lines than frowns! =) ) This is partly areas of consulting that I probably won’t focus onsure your appearance supports it. Re-think because I have other priorities, and partly until I have more gravitas, if ever.what you want to say, too. For example, if the because I want to help build a society wherepath towards becoming an executive requires these things matter less, where we don’t shame I also carry biases. There’s that preference forexpensive suits and other status symbols, it people for appearance or age or lifestyle choice. people who are cheerful; people with symmetric,might not be for a person who disagrees with angular features; people who are trim; peopledry-cleaning, at least until people create better — who carry themselves with confidence. I workwashable suits. (Or you can pick a different against these preferences, pull my attention awayuniform: black mock turtlenecks and jeans Thinking about this further, I realized that I’m from that so that I can focus on other factors, trytotally works for Steve Jobs.) not really interested in the conventional to separate seeing from thinking. (I indulge this
February 2011 – sachachua.com 39bias with my husband, though, whom I think is education and culture and the availability of Workvery handsome, and with whom I have the leisure time and the ability of people to access o [X] Help at Lotusphere as a roomlicense to look at as much as I’d like; but I always this technology. monitormake it clear that I love him for much greaterreasons.) It isn’t easy to separate all these factors, and I o [X] Potentially host a BoF on the may never be able to do it completely. There’s a Connections APILikewise, there’s dealing with that bit of shame in it too, when I realize how many of o [X] Learn from Lotuspherereactive judging of people who frown a lot, society’s messages I’ve internalized into these presentations (content andpeople with weaker postures, people who are quick impressions of other people. technique)overweight, people who dress inappropriately… Iwork to separate negative perceptions and reality I want to make better decisions. I want toso that I can make better decisions. There’s be able to see the best in people, unclouded by Relationshipsableism, sexism, ageism, racism, and a million the preconceptions I carry. I might never be able o [X] Connect with IBMers,unnamed stories we tell ourselves without to eliminate my biases, but I can recognize them partners, and clients atexamining them closely. and slow down when they might be in play. If I Lotusphere slow down and understand, for example, how myYou can eliminate the visual aspect first impressions colour my decisions, then I can Lifethrough teleconferences, but that doesn’t clarify my reasons and reject invalid ones.solve the problem. We joke about everything o [X] Do time analysis ofsounding smarter when said in a British accent, You’ll find plenty of books about how to groom conference timebut accent stereotypes do influence judgment. yourself for particular kinds of success. Wouldn’t Can I still get ~8 hours ofI’m glad that accents are getting more mixed up it be interesting to build a society where this sleep a day?now, what with people mixing cultures and matters less?people getting cross-trained in different accents. What’s exercise like?It helps challenge that bias. Then there’s Colander photo (c) 2010 Ben Hosking – Creative o [-] Eat salads. See if I can orderconfidence and pitch and vocabulary and Commons Attribution License 2.0 half-portions. – Mostly, but Ifluency… really like having hot meals. Buffet 2011-02-05 Sat 08:40 was okay because I could eatPaying attention to and adjusting for all smaller portions.these biases is partly why I like the movetowards virtual connections, particularly Weekly review: Week ending February 4, Plans for next weekduring the beginning. If I can’t see or hear 2011people, I can more easily focus on what they say. http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22078 WorkHowever, the Internet replaces one set of biases February 5, 2011 - Categories: weekly o  Start on new project involvingwith another. Instead of being influenced by Facebook and Rails Plans from last weekappearance, I’m biased by how articulatesomeone is – and that’s tangled up in class and
February 2011 – sachachua.com 40 o  Work on ITSC blog post, Last Last keynote presentation Category Hours Notes Category Hours Notes week week o  Post more Lotusphere-related reflections 6:25, 6:08, work o  Work on Deeper Insights 6:51, 6:53; presentation on social learning catch-up Drawing 12.8 12:43 on o  Work on Remote Presentations Friday that Rock presentation Routines – 3.7 cooking o  Possibly sign up for consulting Work 59.9 40.4 Lots of course conference Routines – 2.5 time tidying Relationships Travel 19.6 2.8 Two flights, a Prep – 0.7 o  Catch up with tasks at home number of planning o  Give Maira some of the spices hotel shuttles o  Organize get-together Prep – 1.7 Social 14.8 12.8 Hanging out laundry Life with Lotusphere  Share more reflections from Sewing 3.6 o folks Lotusphere Learning 1.2 o  Open up investing TFSA with Routines – 7.8 8.7 Waterhouse general Outsourceable o  Review my goals and upcoming Prep – general 4.0 5.1 projects Observations: I got a decent amount of sleepTime analysis Break 3.8 9.0 during the conference. As expected, work Last expanded into the time I normally spend writingCategory Hours Notes Writing 3.6 1.8 or hanging out with W- and J-. I spent most of week the travel time writing, listening to audiobooks,Sleep 53.8 55.3 Conference Exercise 0.5 4.0 A lot of watching movies (RED, The Social Network), and sleep length: walking got napping. 8:25, 7:45, filed under
February 2011 – sachachua.com 41I walked around 16k steps a day (up from my 12k [-] Host get-together – Postponed to Weekly review: Week ending Decembergoal; there was one day I walked over 20k steps). February 31, 2010My shoes weren’t the best for walking. They’re [-] Send delayed holiday cards – Oops! Weekly review: Week ending January 7,flat, but they didn’t have the padding of tennis 2011shoes or hiking boots. The cushioning insoles [-] Get into the habit of meeting people –helped, though. No blisters. Still looking for Must work on this Weekly review: Week ending January 14,office-ready flat shoes with good support. 2011 Life Weekly review: Week ending January 21, 2011Monthly review: January 2011 [X] Improve my routines: set aside timehttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22079 for drawing, sewing, and making Weekly review: Week ending January 28,February 6, 2011 - Categories: monthly presentations 2011 [-] Post goals – Wrote goals, haven’t Monthly review: December 20102011 was off to a great start. Lots of Drupal work, posted thema conference, and a new project lined up. I Sketchesstarted an internal project using Drupal 7, which Plans for February:is pretty cool. I got into the rhythm of making Sketchnotes: Gretchen Rubin, Happinessbread every week and of baking larger batches of Work Project book tourfood to share. I made time for some things I’dbeen procrastinating, and I had fun. I’ve been Pre-conference networking tips for the  Work on new project Instructional Technology Strategiesreading more books that analyze everyday life,and I’ve been having fun using those perspectives  Put together talks for Deeper Insight, Conferenceto examine my life. Good stuff. Remote Presentations That Rock, and the Sketchnotes from Quantified Self Toronto ITSC meetup #3Plans for January:  Mentor more people Sketches: If you want to make the most ofWork your next conference, you should blog Relationships Sketches: What index cards are teaching [X] Finish Project M  Organize get-together me about drawing [X] Finish Project S  Get visa and arrange travel details Unbaffled [-] Start new project – Finished the month with Lotusphere, lined up a Life Reflections project for return  Write up more reflections Moving my book notes onlineRelationships Tweaking fun and nudging myself out of Reviews procrastination
February 2011 – sachachua.com 42 Fun and rational economic theory: Of recipes and memories p.12: Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for reflections on the book “The Logic of Life” people who are smart and ambitious and A braindump of tips for other new interested in the world and in its good opinion. Work on the business from the outside, immigrants from the Philippines But at one level it’s too hard, and at another, it’s not in it – Book: Effortless entrepreneur 2011-02-05 Sat 17:44 too cheap and easy. Because all it really requiresGeek stuff of you, mainly, is to read the zeitgeist of wherever and whenever you happen to be and to assume Disagreement and the road to trusting the masks necessary to be the best at whatever Emacs, BBDB, and getting your contacts the zeitgeist dictates or requires. on the Android or iPhone yourself http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22080 Wrapping up projects and preparing for … But nothing important, or meaningful, or the next one February 6, 2011 - beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out Categories: argument, highlight, kaizen, life of imitations. What is really hard, and really Emacs 24 and the package manager amazing, is giving up on being perfect and Cross-posting between Lotus Connections I’m glad whenever I find myself disagreeing with beginning the work of becoming yourself. blogs and a personal blog someone. Sometimes I change my mind, learning more in the process. Sometimes I understand my Connect that with this excerpt from Everyday Draft Lotusphere BoF on working with own reasons better, and learn more about why I Ethics by Joshua Halberstam: the Connections API think what I think. As long as I disagree well – in an argument instead of a fight, clearly presenting p109: We live our lives within a changing moralLife reasons and understanding alternatives – then I climate, and the temptation to adapt can be grow in the process. overwhelming. … The moral nonconformist, Sick days however, pays little attention to the popularity or Momentum and holidays Henry Will sent me a link to this Harvard unpopularity of his moral positions. He is–it’s Business Review blog post on teaching yourself embarrassing to talk this way in our cynical Marking up books to trust yourself. world–after truth, not applause. Genuine moral Snippets from life nonconformity is difficult to achieve and difficult …take the time, and the quiet, to decide what you to maintain. Don’t be too quick to assume you’re Three tips for cheerful chores think. That is how we find the part of ourselves already there. Book: Let’s Get Real About Money: Profit we gave up. That is how we become powerful, from the Habits of the Best Personal clever, creative, and insightful. That is how we It isn’t easy to figure out what one thinks. Finance Managers gain our sight. For me, writing and drawing are the best ways to 13,705 steps and counting It reminds me of this slim book I tucked into my sneak up on myself. In conversation, I’m Switched my Fido plan library haul: Anna Quindlen’s Being Perfect. sometimes too malleable. I catch myself listening Here are some excerpts: for approval. Even when blogging, I catch myself Batch baking for fun and awesomeness refreshing the pages, looking for comments,
February 2011 – sachachua.com 43looking for validation. Because the feedback for http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22081 People often tell me they’re worried aboutwriting tends to be slower and more in-depth February 7, 2011 - Categories: geek, ibm, learning finding enough material for their blogs. The truththan the reactive cues of conversation, though, I is, there’s so much you can write about. Here arehave more time to think about my reflections and Today I sat down with my manager to sketch my four questions that can help you think of thingsdevelop them. I can also slow down and untangle learning plan for 2011. I’ll start off with skills for to share.the feedback on my message from the feedback IT architecture: defining scope and estimatingon my way of delivering it. effort for projects, designing and implementing What do you want to learn more systems, and leading the development. For about? When you write about something –When I can form a tentative understanding of a development, I’ll focus on rich user interfaces, whether it’s completely new to you or somethingtopic, then test it in discussion with other people modernization, and integration. Next, I’ll learn you’re puzzling out – you can understand it moreor in contrast with other positions I read, then I more about solution development. In the second deeply. Write about what you’re figuring out.gain a little more confidence that my reasons are half, we’ll see if I can learn more about leading Write about how you’re figuring it out. Writerooted in more than the urge to agree or teams. about what you’re learning along the way.disagree. Running into the imperfections of my (Sharing is an excellent way to learn even more –understanding is part of the adventure of I spent most of the afternoon working on people often comment with better ways to dobecoming myself. documents of understanding and estimates for things!) upcoming projects. It’s interesting work,Tying it all together into tips for myself and for although I don’t trust my numbers quite yet. I’ll What do you want to change? This is likeother people this might help: Feedback might be get better at estimating the more I do it, and I writing in order to learn more, but withabout your message or about your delivery. Be plan to prototype something quickly to check commitment and action. Do you want to changeclear about what kind of feedback you’d find the some of the numbers for the riskier parts. It’s the way you spend your time? Think about whatmost helpful – usually feedback on delivery, if actually quite fun doing this number-crunching. you do, why you do it, and how you’re going toyou want to keep your message authentically you, It’s like balancing my books. (Yes, I’m weird.) change. Want to save more? Write about youralthough content-related feedback can also help goals and your progress. Writing helps youyou recognize what you resonate with. Don’t be It’ll be even more wonderful when I’ve gotten the understand more, identify ways to improve, andlimited by the idea of perfection or the need for hang of doing these things. Yay learning on the publicly commit to growing. It also gives you aagreement. Test yourself and learn how to trust job! record of progress, which can be useful foryour thoughts. motivating yourself. 2011-02-07 Mon 21:52— What do you want to share with other people? Have you solved a problem that otherHow are you teaching yourself to trust yourself? Things to write about: questions for your people will probably run into? Save people time blogger’s block by sharing your solutions. Do you have a tip that2011-02-06 Sun 21:16 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22082 will make it easier for people to do things? Share that. Do you have a passion you’d like to teach February 9, 2011 - Categories: blogging, highlight others? Share that.Working on estimates
February 2011 – sachachua.com 44What do you want to remember? Write Show the connection between what he’s Is there value in full randomness (ex: fiveabout the memories you want to be able to working on and the business priorities reminders randomly set for one day, even if thoserevisit. Write about the feelings and reasons you reminders all come in the morning) or is it more Improve his productivitymay want to review. Write about tips and about moment-to-moment randomness (ex: asolutions you’re likely to need again. Write for … and do all of that with at most 5 reminder set randomly in each 2-hour period)?yourself. It’s okay. minutes of tracking a day. In which circumstances would interrupt-drivenI tend to write posts that combine these The interesting thing about randomness is that it methods like this be better than time tracking orquestions. For example, my reflections on what I might have a different effect on behaviour. If you time-and-motion-type studies? Boz shared thatdo for fun help me learn more, change, and can’t anticipate when you’re going to get polled he never quite got the hang of time tracking, so itremember why I want to change. If sharing the and you’re honest about your responses when might be about enabling a different set of peopleprocess inspires others, that’s a neat bonus. you do, would that help you focus on more to explore this class of experiments. important things so that you don’t catch yourselfHow about you? What do you want to learn more goofing off during the polling time? Does measuring time (either through samplingabout? What do you want to change? What do or through time-tracking) offer significantyou want to share? What do you want to What are good questions to ask during the benefits over, say, tracking quantity of tasksremember? sampling moment? Boz has: completed in different categories (like Andy Schirmer does) when it comes to measuringMore tips on how to have tons of topics What are you working on? alignment with priorities?2011-02-09 Wed 06:01 Who are you with? Hmm… How important is this? I might give it a try. I like my time-basedThinking about personal random moment How is this related to the business analysis, though, so I may increase thestudies objectives? granularity of my time-tracking (track at the taskhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22083 level whenever possible). I can then simulate These questions also helped Boz stay focused – work-sampling based on that data. I might alsoFebruary 9, 2011 - immediate benefit.Categories: geek, productivity, quantified try fixed-interval sampling using KeepTrack on the Android, although I tend to skip Questions/ideas related to tracking:John Handy Bosma (Boz) proposed a personal interruptions.productivity random moment study. His goals Is the effect of uncertainty worth the added effortare: Related: required to build a custom tracking solution (or buy one), or will fixed time intervals be Find out how he’s spending his time in acceptable? If fixed time intervals are okay, then http://www.unifr.ch/psycho/applied/deu terms of the proportion between off-the-shelf apps can be stitched together for tsch/publications/Klumb_Perrez_SIR_0 important and unimportant task this functionality. 4.pdf
February 2011 – sachachua.com 45 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl easy to get back into the language, the platform. Books to write es/PMC1069965/ It helps that I do a lot of Emacs Lisp – lists and http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22085 macros make me happy. February 11, 2011 - Categories: plans, writing2011-02-09 Wed 10:58 I’ve built some of the core features of the site, My mom celebrated her 65th birthday this week. and I’m excited about the next components I’m One of her goals for her 70th birthday is to putHackbuzzbuzzbuzz going to work on. I should keep detailed task logs together a book.http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22084 so that I can use that for estimates in the future.February 10, 2011 - Categories: geek, life It’ll be useful. I’m tempted to adjust my current It made me think of the books I want to write. If estimates downwards, but I shouldn’t – I need to you take away the intimidation of a book–finalIt’s a little scary how much you can do with leave space for things that might come up. (Or go drafts, agents, publishing, marketing–and see itfocused days of hacking. down.) instead as a coherent, clear, worthwhile collection that helps people get from point A toAfter waking up early and revising some What can I do to make tomorrow point B, then writing a book (or a book-wiki) is adocuments of understanding, I started working better? There’s a meeting, so that will be good wonderful thing. It’s about organizing knowledgeon a Ruby on Rails prototype for one of my non-coding time. I’ll try to stick to that take-a- in a way that many other people can use.projects so that I could get a better handle on quick-break-every-hour thing, too.how much time it would take me to implement Here I’m reminded of Joseph Sestito’s “Write forthe client’s requested features. When I decided to Extra time spent working is usually time pulled Your Lives: Inspire Your Creative Writing withstop for dinner (or really, the cats decided for away from things I should also pay attention to, Buddhist Wisdom”:me), I found myself shaking – low temperatures, like my upcoming presentations, so I shouldlow blood sugar, perhaps both. Easily fixed, block off more non-coding time tomorrow and p112. With this motivation, you can develop whatalthough I really should get back into the habit of this weekend. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I can I call “the lifeline of books” concept. Mortimer Jwalking around and nibbling on healthy snacks walk to the bank and set up my investing TFSA. Adler developed a list called Great Books of thethroughout the day. I’ve actually worked close to 40 hours already Western World. If you examine these books, you and it’s only Thursday, so I should probably scale will find that most of them begin with extensiveI’ll look into making my regular breaks more back tomorrow. outlines. For example, if you read Aristotle’sintrusive so that I actually remember to take Ethics, you will see that the outline is five or tenthem. Ah, that’s right; fresh install of Linux, no Tempo’s still a little too fast. I’ll post this and tidy pages long, depending upon the translation – itWorkrave set up yet. It’s hard to resist the pull of up. If I’m still buzzing after I tidy up, I might go is extremely detailed.flow, but I need to if I’m going to develop other to bed early. Or I might play the simplifiedskills and enjoy life. Pachelbel’s Canon on the piano for a bit – that’s As a creative individual, you will generate more great for slowing down. ideas for writing beneficial books than you couldIt’s so much fun to plunge back into fluency, have time to even begin in this lifetime; yet, youthough. I haven’t done Ruby on Rails since 2007. 2011-02-10 Thu 19:07 may have just enough time to write theirI skimmed a Rails book during one long outlines.commute and then hit the ground running. It’s Therefore, when you leave this life, in addition to
February 2011 – sachachua.com 46leaving behind your body, possessions, friends, Remote Presentations That Rock Becoming Sistersfamily, and everything else, you can also leave May and December In Your Back Pocket: The Benefits of Planyour own lifeline of books. These are the outlines B to Zfor the The Written Lifebeneficial books that you did not have the time to Stoic Optimism More than a Number: Creating a Happywrite in this lifetime, so that others can put their Career in a Big Company The Abundance of Timeminds to work on the creation of these books. Being Real Online: How to be a Person, 2011-02-11 Fri 06:10What are the books and book ideas I want to Not Just a Brandleave behind? Worth It or Not: Analyzing Your Decisions and Improving Your Plans Weekly review: Week ending February 11, Livin’ la Vida Emacs: More than a Text 2011 Editor The Elephant and the Bee http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22086 Work Better Together: an Individual’s Persuasion: Using Rhetoric, Argument, February 12, 2011 - Categories: weekly Guide to Collaboration Tools and Negotiation in Everyday Life From last week’s plans The Shy Connector’s Guide to Social How Wonderful Can It Be?: A Life of Networking Continuous Improvement Work Sketch Notes: Visual Notetaking On Fire: Bringing Passion to Work and o [-] Start on new project involving Life Facebook and Rails The Bright Side of Life Still Life with Cats o [-] Work on ITSC blog post, Photography with a Difference Geek in Love keynote presentation Take the First Circus A Classic Education o [X] Post more Lotusphere-related Bookworm: Making the Most of Reading reflections Life, Limited: Freedom, Creativity, and Sharing What You Know Happiness through Limits o [-] Work on Deeper Insights With My Own Hands: Adventures in presentation on social learning It’s All Part of the Story Cooking, Gardening, Sewing, and other o [-] Work on Remote Presentations Domestic Arts Ineluctable: A Life of Words that Rock presentation Sharing to Learn: How to Write, Draw, Living by the Numbers o [C] Possibly sign up for consulting and Speak Your Way to Understanding Most Things Right course – skipping this for now Lunch is in the Freezer: Batch-cooking In Between Worlds: Stories of o Learned how to use estimating Tips and Recipes Immigration worksheet The Happiness Habit A Few Pages Ahead o Talked to Boz about productivity
February 2011 – sachachua.com 47 o Worked on newsletter tool Plans for next week Life o Estimated and scoped projects, o  Write about things I’m working yay! Work on improving o Got back into Ruby on Rails, o  Clarify scope and prepare o  Get through busy week prototyped a project estimates for other Drupal or Rails projects Time analysis Relationships o  Work on Facebook/Rails Tried new routine: wake up early-ish, have project breakfast, do personal stuff or work, switch to o [X] Catch up with tasks at home o  Work on newsletter tool – fix work, have lunch, work, have dinner, tidy up, go o [-] Give Maira some of the spices to bed. This meant not doing anything that bugs, implement requests – will do that today required a lot of thought or creativity in the o  Look into AIS IP address bug evenings, and moving those activities to the o [X] Organize get-together with simple_access> morning instead. o Celebrated my mom’s 65th o  Put together ITSC presentation Last birthday Category Hours Notes and blog post week o Looked for some experiences to o  Sketch Remote Presentations share with people (movie, opera) That Rock revision Sleep 62:36 53.8 8.9 hours  Outline Org-mode talk average Life o o [X] Share more reflections from Work 47:17 59.9 Got carried Relationships Lotusphere away o  Give spices to Maira; cook prototyping o [-] Open up investing TFSA with Louisiana-style shrimp and Waterhouse – will do that on Monday o  Watch The King’s Speech with estimating W- o [-] Review my goals and upcoming Social 13:00 14.8 Chinese New projects o  Possibly get people together for Year dinner opera with W-’s o Experimented with lower-key daily routine; need to mix in more o  Prepare paperwork for Dutch family social interaction or shared visa experiences? Writing 11:03 3.6 Assorted o  Go to Dutch embassy o Brainstormed books I would like reflections o  Meet Mike Nurse to write/read some way o  Chat with David Singer
February 2011 – sachachua.com 48 Observations: I slept more than expected A quiet week led me to thinking about friendship LastCategory Hours Notes because I gave in to the temptation to snooze. W- and how I can learn more about it. W- and I are week simultaneously shifted to a late-night routine, so both introverted and we spend most of our time he woke up later in the mornings, which at home. I need to make a deliberate effort to getTravel 3:24 19.6 Some influenced the snoozing bit too. I think I’ll try together with people. Otherwise, it slips off my commuting this again, but with activities blocked off for radar. morning hours so that (a) I don’t fill it with workRoutines – 7:49 7.8 by default, and (b) I have a clear reason to get up Why am I thinking about this? I see the closegeneral and get going. friendships my mom has developed with my ninongs and ninangs (godparents) and withExercise 5:39 0.5 Walking It was a quiet week, which was a good way to people throughout the world. I think about the around recover from the buzz of Lotusphere. I suspect a laughter and openness of my barkada (clique of good balance may be more towards the social friends) back home. I reflect on Aristotle’sBreak 5:12 3.8 side, though, and I spent some time focusing on Nichomachean Ethics and what he shares about developing relationships (finally answered my e- friendship. It’s a good thing. It enriches life.Routines – 5:08 mail, for example!). Next week is going to betidying pretty busy on the social front. Something in the I plan for the long-term when it comes to middle, perhaps. Maybe one occasion planned finances. I can certainly invest the time and each week. effort into developing something deeper andLearning 1:49 more important than that. I know that if I’m left I have a feeling that it would be worth spending to my own devices, I’m probably not going toRoutines – 0:43 time developing friendships. I miss that sense of make much progress, so deliberate action iscooking knowing other people that I had with my friends, worthwhile here. and the extra richness of shared experiences. IDrawing 0:33 have to consciously reach out and be interested I have friends. I’m also aware that I don’t get to in people to deal with the asymmetry of see those friends very often. There’s a bit ofPrep – general 4.0 knowledge. It’s generally easy to know what I’m asymmetry, too, which I thought about again at thinking about because I write about it, but other Lotusphere. It’s easy for people to know aboutPrep – people tend not to. the significant events in my life, and even theplanning day-to-day details. I don’t have that same sense Hmm… of awareness about a lot of people, and I’d like toSewing develop it. On friendship and getting better at it There are so many people I’d like to get to knowOutsourceable http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22087 further. I want to help make their lives a little February 13, 2011 - better. I want to help them ask interesting Categories: friendship, kaizen, life, reflection questions. I want to learn from what they’re
February 2011 – sachachua.com 49learning along the way. It gives me pleasure to host a decent party for the cost of my meal.) I’ll speaking is a great way to get to meet otherthink about them and to hear about their lives. probably start with movies and opera, and maybe fascinating people. I’ve made friends and learnedEven focusing on people I already know will give look into setting up lunch or coffee with people. about opportunities at post-conference dinners.me plenty of opportunities to learn aboutfriendship – and then there are all these Have you worked on learning more about Reading that, I feel something dormantfascinating people I have yet to meet. In other friendship? Have any thoughts to share? stirring. There’s something about sharing mywords, it’s not you, it’s me. =) I can work on me. passion and being inspired by other people.Thank goodness many people use Twitter and On presenting, anxiety, and moving There are more posts in my archive. IFacebook to share what’s going on. The forward wrote about reaching people in the back row. Ifragmentary nature of these streams mean that I http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22092 wrote about dealing with stage fright by turningget glimpses into other people’s lives, but they’re February 14, 2011 - Categories: speaking presentations into conversations. I wroteinterleaved with other updates. I sometimes find aboutkeeping things fresh and shared themyself flitting from update to update without a I have four presentations on my calendar, feedback I’d gotten from presentations.deeper sense of each individual person. spread over the next two months. They’re all on topics I’ve written about: two talks on I can also see myself changing. In OctoberSo I’m thinking of working on this from two networking, one talk on presentation tips, and 2009, after an occasion that really showed measpects: online and in-person. one talk on Emacs. I should prepare the the contrast between face-to-face presentations presentations over the next two weeks. and the reach of online ones, I started thinkingOnline, I’m trying out tools like Gist that give about how and when to decline invitations tome a social dashboard which aggregates news, I catch myself procrastinating. And if I’m speak. In March 2010, preparing for anotherorganizing it by person. I set aside time to think going to procrastinate by tidying or writing, I presentation, I found myself reflecting on what Iabout other people, learn more about what’s might as well turn my reflections to why I’m was missing from face-to-face presentations.going on in their lives, take notes, and reach out. procrastinating, so I can figure it out and fix it.I set aside some money for the little differences I Maybe I can find a new equilibrium. I thinkcan make in people’s days. I switched to a phone The advantage of having a blog is that I it’s a combination of factors, and I’m going toplan that includes international text messages, can review what I felt and thought think about them for a bit because it’s useful totoo. I’m also going to more regularly check and before. For example, in one of my earliest blog understand a challenge before you use its forcerespond to personal mail (hi!). posts about public speaking, I wrote that I against it, turn it flat on its back, and tickle it into wanted to become a professional speaker. This submission.In person, I’m deliberately looking for was why:experiences I want to share with other people,and for opportunities to learn more about I love sharing ideas with people. I love bringing Higher costs lead to higherpeople’s interests. This is a bit more of a stretch my enthusiasm and my passion to a hall and standards. With the shift of manyfor me because I like spending time at home and infecting as many people as I can. I love learning presentations to virtual channels, the rise ofI hardly ever eat out. (I once attended a New about presentation techniques and fascinating blogs, Slideshare, and recorded presentations asYear’s Dinner and found myself thinking I could ideas. I love getting people to think. Besides, alternative ways of sharing information, tighter
February 2011 – sachachua.com 50travel restrictions at work, and a flourishing life together something without feeling like a the presentation ideas running through myat home, I’m much less inclined to travel to nattering newbie. head…conferences myself. The relative opportunity costhas increased. I project my higher standards ontoother participants, and become more anxious And now that I’ve got that all written More about getting 27″ washers andabout delivering enough value to justify the time down, I can see that it doesn’t make dryers down 26″ hallwaysand expense. sense. The thing that trumps all of that hasn’t http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22093 changed: I’m moved to speak and connect with February 14, 2011 - Categories: highlight, lifeAs I get better at writing and occasionally other people because I want to help them make aillustrating my thoughts, I become more change in their life and because I’m curious Flora writes:impatient with presentations. Presentations about what I can learn from them too.take more time to prepare and more time to found your blog googling ’27″ washer dryer 26″deliver. They are not as searchable or as linkable I tell myself sometimes that I come up with hallway’ and am in awe of your story aboutas text. Their main benefits are that they are presentations because other people ask me to, or disassembling and reassembling your LG washermore engaging than plain text or static because I want to learn about something myself. and dryer. We’re currently dealing with a similarillustrations, and they can reach a different But even the things I already know–have situation. I won’t bore you with the details butaudience – people who prefer listening to struggled with, have come to understand, still basically, we decided to buy a Samsung laundryreading, for example. continue to explore– those are already worth pair because, in the store, both machines sharing. measured 26 ¾ inches and our staircase is 26Unlike blog posts or stand-alone slide 3/4 inches at most. We tried getting themdecks, presentations have deadlines, I’ll experiment with a few changes. I’m delivered and met some very rude andexpectations, and potentially mixed going to try speaking with minimal or no slides, condescending deliveryreception. I can postpone writing about which will force me to be more vivid and people who were not cooperative at all. Theysomething, but I can’t back out of a commitment memorable in speech. I may choose some topics wouldn’t even try getting the machines throughto speak. I promise something with the abstract to focus on, and see if invitations and speaking the first door which was 27 1/4 inches wide. Theyand I’m not sure if I can deliver. If I write a blog opportunities can align with those. I might took the machines back and now we’re faced withpost that offers little value to people, they can illustrate if inspiration strikes, but not by default. the decision to get them redelivered or returningsimply move on. If I give a presentation that them and beating our dirty clothes on rocks (orpeople are too polite to walk out of, I not only For my upcoming presentations, I just need to something). I was wondering if you could tell metake an hour of their life but make them miss the dig deeper and find the core message I have a bit more about your experiences withopportunity to hear a better speaker. to share. With that, all the rest of the words and disassembling your machines. Was it really images will flow. difficult? Do you know if there are professionalThen there are changing comparisons. In a technicians who would do that kind of work forworld filled with TED and Ignite and all sorts of people like me? Did you find the servicegreat talks available through Youtube, beautiful Writing about all of that seems to be working. I manuals really helpful? I imagine that this isn’tslides on Slideshare, and whatnot, it’s hard to put could hardly get to sleep last night thanks to all the first time this has happened to people so I wish there was more of a support system out
February 2011 – sachachua.com 51there for those of us with horizontally challenged who are happy to do this for a fee. =) If you need Follow the instructions forhallways and stairways. to do it yourself: disassembling. Read and understand all the instructions before you start. Make sure the Look for the service manuals for the machine is unplugged. Take lots of pictures. washer and dryer you want to get or you Label all the containers you use for storing want to buy. This may take some digging screws. Label any wires you unplug. We used around because there are plenty of sites that will plastic containers for screws and masking tape charge you a fee for the service manual, but you for wires, writing down positions with a black may be able to get it for free. If you don’t find the marker. Wear the gloves whenever possible. one for your exact model, you might find one for There can be lots of sharp edges inside a a similar model. Make sure you get a service machine, where they don’t expect anyone but manual that shows disassembly, not just a user’s trained technicians to poke around. You can manual that describes how to operate the bring parts down separately. This also makes it machine. Also make sure you have a pair of work easier to move the machine down. gloves with good grip, lots of things you can label and put screws into, and all the tools you’ll need, You may need to squeeze the chassis in such as screwdrivers, clamps, and wrenches. order to get it through your narrow hallways. Remove trim that might get in the Take care when lifting the machines. A way. Consider taking out drywall. Expect that the dolly can be very helpful. Lift it with another paint will be scraped, and that the machine will From Appliance adventures person. Gloves can help, too. You may need to also get a bit scratched. If it’s no longer square take it out of the box in order to get it through once it gets to the laundry room, hammer or the door. If so, look at your doors and corridors nudge it into being square again.Oh dear. Yes, that is a challenge. As you can for anything that might get in the way, andimagine, disassembling a machine and squeezing remove them if possible. (We scratched the front Reverse the instructions in order toit down a narrow hallway will void your warranty of our washing machine with the door closer we’d assemble the machine again. Hookand rough up the hallway, so it can be a tough forgotten to remove.) Think about the more everything up. Plug in the machine and see if itdecision to make. We decided to go for it because scratchable sides when planning how to carry the starts up. If it doesn’t, you may have anwe had the budget for an experiment like that machines in, and make sure that the path to your expensive paperweight. Sorry.and we preferred to take the risk instead of intermediate disassembly area is clear.spending time and money on either coin laundry Run a small load or run through the testor plumbing renovations, but your mileage may Confirm the machine turns on before you cycle in order to confirm that thingsvary. This is not professional advice, so always disassemble it. If your machine is dead on work. Look for signs of leaks or missedexercise your judgment. arrival, you want to know before you void the connections, and be ready to turn the machine warranty. off just in case.When we were thinking of doing this, we didn’tknow any appliance repairers, but you mightwant to call around. Surely there must be people
February 2011 – sachachua.com 52 that laundry is one of my favourite parts of the Remote presentations are harder than in- weekend? person presentations, but they can also be more powerful. Yes, you’re limited in terms of Good luck! body language and delivery. Yes, you have to compete with e-mail, Sametime, and a million Related: interruptions. But if you know how to work with the strengths of remote presentations, you can The great washing machine adventure reach people more effectively and more intimately. Ten lessons learned from disassembling and rebuilding our washing machine Let’s talk about the biggest challenge for remote presentations: the fact that it’s so 2011-02-14 Mon 08:28 easy for people to get distracted or to walk away. In real life, most people won’t walk out From Appliance adventures the back door. They’ll stick around long enough How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Webinar: Energy, Interaction, and for you to make your main points. Online, if youW- says that it really helped that he disassembled ROI lose people’s attention, it can be very hard to getthe broken washing machine in order to get it out it back. And it’s doubly tough because you can’t http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22094of the laundry room. The service manuals I found read people’s body language. You can’t see if February 15, 2011 - people are interested or if they’re off checkingonline were fantastic, too, with clear, step-by- Categories: highlight, presentation, speaking, tip mail, and you can’t pull them back by sayingstep instructions and diagrams. Sometimes it s something interesting if they’ve already hung up.was hard to find the part they were referring tobecause we didn’t know what it looked like, but I’ve been invited to re-do my Remote You’ve got to offer people something theygoing back and forth between close-up diagrams Presentations That Rock presentation this can’t get from reading your the slides orand the exploded parts list solved the problem. February. I can’t resist improving presentations listening to the recording. Why is it worth every time I give them. What do you think of paying attention to you? For me, that comesPlan for this taking at least a weekend, and keep this? down to two things: energy and interaction.kids and pets away. Energy This presentation and speaker notes will beThe good news is that if you successfully manage available at URL. (If giving this remotely: Please Why should people attend yourto get your laundry pair through your hallway feel free to use the text chat to ask questions and presentation? People aren’t going to come justand down your stairs, laundry becomes a whole share your thoughts throughout the to hear the facts or numbers. They can get thatnew experience. We laugh about the laundry presentation.) from the slides. If you’re a leader, they want toadventure whenever we do a load, and I still can’tget over how quiet the new machines are hear your confidence, maybe get a better sense ofcompared to the ones we had before. Is it weird who you are as a person. Even if you’re not an executive – even if, say, you’re an IT specialist
February 2011 – sachachua.com 53presenting a technical topic – you’ve got to bring light from your laptop screen so that they don’t what they need to do next. Don’t fade out withyour energy to your presentation, to show people reflect off your lenses. White shirts make it easier just Q&A. Wrap up with a quick summary andwhy it matters to you and why it matters to them. for your webcam to pick the right colour-balance maybe a memorable tip, and make sure people and exposure. Practice. know what the next actions are. If you’re doingA huge part of this is your voice. You need a remote presentation, think of websitesto sound like you, and you need to sound It’s a good idea to tell people when you’re people can visit to learn more or actionslike the presentation is worthwhile. If going to be on video. I know someone who people can take to commit to doingpeople give in to the temptation to multitask, found this out the hard way. She was giving a something, while they still have the buzzyour voice is going to be the only thing that can presentation, and then her husband walked past and energy from the presentation. Thisbring them back. Emphasize your key points by in the background… in his underwear! So make it means you need to plan your time well. Peoplechanging your pace, changing your pitch, clear that you’re going to be on the air, and close have back-to-back meetings and commitments.pausing, repeating things. Let your message the door. Then you can make a much better–and Plan to end a little early so that they have time tocome through in your voice. Energy. Urgency. more professional–connection with people. act on your message before they get distracted byConfidence. something else. Video can bring you much closer to people InteractionYou’ll be surprised by how much little than most in-person presentationsthings matter. Get a phone headset so that you can. Sure, you probably won’t be able to do as This also means you need to get people’scan breathe properly and so that you don’t get a many gestures, but people can see your facial buy-in along the way, so that when you get tocrick in your neck. Stand up if that helps you get expressions. Use them. If you step back a little, the end of your presentation, people are whereinto the “presentation mode”. Have pictures of you can do some gestures. they need to be. This brings us to the secondpeople around if that helps you remember that part of making remote presentations thatyou’re talking to real people so that you can make How can you bring all these tips rock: Interaction. Q&A. I’m not talking aboutthat connection. Turn off the conference together? Figure out what you want to say, but the five minutes near the end that you thinkentry/exit tones so that you aren’t competing don’t stop there. Figure out why it matters to you you’ll have for questions. You know that hardlywith (or distracted by) beeps. and why it matters for other people. If you can’t ever happens. You run into technical difficulties. figure out why something is worth giving as a People start late. People take a while to think ofAnother, powerful way to share your presentation instead of as an article or a set of their answers.energy is to add video. Now you might be slides, don’t do a presentation. Just send thethinking, “I don’t look good on video.” While we information. Save presentations for where Don’t leave Q&A to the end of yourmay never look as polished as Sam Palmisano presentations can make a difference – when you presentation. Make it part of yourwith a video crew, it’s actually easy to look want to persuade people. presentation. If I have an hour for a presentation,decent. Get a webcam. Even if you pay for this I’ll typically plan between seven to twentypersonally, it’ll be worth it. Find a quiet place – End on a high note. If you’ve done a good job minutes of content, with the rest of the time forno coworkers on conference calls, no at convincing people for the need for action – Q&A and about five minutes at the end todishwashers going whrrr. Find a clear and you’re always doing this with a presentation, summarize and send people off with actions. Thisbackground and good lighting – maybe a blank even if you’re just presenting information – make works really well. It forces me to fit my keywall near a window. If you have glasses, dim the it easier for them to take action by showing them
February 2011 – sachachua.com 54points into a short attention span, and leaves glance at the text chat without getting distracted When you’re speaking to an internationalroom for the interesting part: the conversation. from what you want to say–and this takes a lot of audience, Q&A might be harder. People in practice–then you can even start weaving those some cultures aren’t comfortable with askingHow do I make sure things fit? I figure I questions and answers into the flow of your questions during presentations. You can getshould talk at about 160 words per minute. (I presentation. It’s fantastic when you can pull this people used to the idea by starting off withactually talk faster, but I try to slow down to off. typical questions people might ask, and160.) If I’m planning for 20 minutes, then that’s encouraging people to share their questionsroughly 3,200 words. If I write down what I want Q&A is good for people and it’s good for through a text chat if they don’t want to use theto say and I’m over 3,200 words, then I have to you. You can learn so much from phone.cut and simplify. Don’t start with the slides. Start Q&A. You can find out what’s important towith what you want to say, and make room for people, and what you should include when you’re If you really don’t get any questions, thenwhat’s important. If you’re trying to say too following up. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with you can share more examples and backupmuch, split it up into multiple presentations or lots of questions, some of which you might not material. Flexibility pays off, and it shows thatrefer to additional information that people can even know the answers to yet. Great. That not you know your stuff.use to learn more. only gives you opportunities to learn more, but Radically increasing your ROI also to share those lessons with others. We’ll talkQ&A can be much more powerful in a web about this again when we talk about radically Now you might be thinking that it takesconference than it is in person. In person, increasing your ROI from presentations. time to prepare good presentations likeyou’re usually limited to three or four questions. that. It takes only a few minutes to throwIn person, people have to remember their You can still have people ask their questions over together slides if you’re going to figure out whatquestions and wait for the Q&A period, then line the phone. Now this is important: you should to say on the fly and you don’t mind if peopleup for the microphone, say their question, and wait at least seven seconds for questions forget or tune out. It takes time to plan yourwait for your response. In person, you don’t before you move on. Maybe wait even longer. presentation so that you have a clear, concise,really get a choice about which question you want I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a engaging core message. It takes time to prepareto address first. Online, if you ask people to conference call where the speaker said, “Any for Q&A. It takes time to learn how to use web-share their questions throughout the questions?” and then after a very short silence, conferencing tools. But it’s a bigger waste ofpresentation using the text chat, you not says something like “Thank you, goodbye!” and time if you don’t.only get an instant feel for where people are I’m thinking, “I’m still coming up with questionscurious or confused, you can also pick the most I want to ask!” As a speaker, you should wait Presentations are surprisinglyinteresting questions–or the easiest ones–to until the silence becomes uncomfortable, and expensive. There’s the time you put intoanswer first. You don’t have to read people’s then wait some more. It takes time for people to preparing it: maybe half an hour for a quickbody language – they can tell you what’s on their absorb what you’ve just shared and think of what update, maybe four hours for a regularmind. else they want to learn. If you need to fill the presentation like this, maybe days for a high- silence, share some questions other people have stakes presentation. There’s the time you spendWhen you’re starting out, you might want asked you, or share some questions people might giving the presentation. And then there’s theto have a moderator watch the text chat be thinking about. time people spend listening to you. Now I’m infor you. If you find that you can occasionally Global Business Services, so utilization is always
February 2011 – sachachua.com 55in the back of my mind. If I’m talking to a group your slides, your draft speech. If you’ve got a And this is where remote presentations can reallyof 35 people for an hour, I probably need to offer blog, write about your presentation there. I’ve help you rock. Work with the strengths of theyou more than $100 in terms of value, and I need been blogging my speaker notes and my slides on webconferencing tools that we have, and you canto create more than $4,000 of value for IBM and a blog. You’d think that would mean that people really connect with people. Invest a few extraour clients. Is it worth it? I want to make can skip the presentation because they already minutes to share your presentations andsure it is. know the key points, like the way you might skip recordings, and you can radically increase your a movie if you already know how it ends. Instead, ROI. Use remote presentations to reach moreSo let’s talk about radically increasing what happens is that people suggest ways to people than you can bring together in a room,your ROI for presentations. When you’re make the presentation even better, and then they and that will pay off for you in professional andpreparing and giving presentations, how can you come anyway for the energy and interaction. personal connections.get even more leverage on the time and effort Result: better presentation, better interactionyou’re investing? There are two parts to (because people have been thinking about things Here are seven small things you can do tothat: before and after your deeper), better reach, and better ROI. Share improve the energy, interaction, and ROIpresentation. Let’s talk about what you can do whatever you can share. of your remote presentations:before your presentation. The same goes for after your presentation. Get these slides or my speaker notes soFirst: Figure out if you can get more people When you’re giving a presentation that’s that you can review them going forward.– and more of the right people – to get not confidential, make sure you record (URL)value from your presentation. It takes the and share it. That’s one of the benefits of givingsame time to give a presentation to 20 people as a remote presentation – they’re easy to record Make your life better by sharing these tipsit does to give a presentation to 200. Remote and share. It’s a few extra clicks using LotusLive with other people who give remotepresentations make this even easier, because Meetings, and then you can share your presentations.people don’t have to be in the same area and they presentation with other people. Share your Volunteer for a remote presentation ifdon’t have to arrange for travel. They just have to slides. Figure out if your presentation or a subset you don’t already have one on yourdial in. This depends on the purpose of your of your presentation can be shared externally. calendar. Practice will help you learn.presentation, of course. If you’re planning a Take the extra five minutes to scrub it and sharesmall-group collaborative meeting, go ahead and it on a site like Slideshare.net. Share your Take a good look at your upcomingkeep it at six people. But if you’re sharing speaker notes. Share the questions people asked presentations and practice putting somesomething of general interest, open it up. Post it energy into them. Make sure they’re and your answers to them. It takes a few extraon Inviter, which is this IBM service for sharing minutes and greatly improves your reach. When worth listening to.calendar events. If you’ve got a blog, write about your presentations are shareable and searchable, Get a webcam and learn how to use ityour upcoming presentation. Post it on your they become a very powerful networking tool. well. Figure out where in your workplaceProfiles board. Tell people about it. Make it easy And they’ll save you lots of time, too. I can’t tell or your home you can do a goodfor people to find. you how often I refer people to my past presentation. presentations in order to help them learnSecond: Share as much as you can while something I’ve shared.preparing. See if you can share your outline,
February 2011 – sachachua.com 56 Cut your next presentation in half so that who have years of experience. Even in mature productivity. Learn about pitfalls and challenges, you can leave room for questions and fields, though, you might be able to find niches too. There’s no substitute for experience, but answers. where things are rapidly changing. awareness is a good start – and that can help you brainstorm opportunities for you to get involved. Review your past presentations for things Read. Read everything about that topic that you you can share, and share them. can get your hands on. Learn how to speed-read Write notes and look for ways to explain if you don’t already do so. Don’t worry about ideas in simpler terms. Summarize whatWe’ll come back to these tips five minutes near words you don’t understand or concepts that are other people have said. Link to resources peoplethe end of this session so that they’re fresh in too complex. Gradually, as you absorb more might find useful. Share examples and theyour mind. I want you to be able to walk out of information, more of the things you’ve read will principles they demonstrate. Share your notes onhere with a clear understanding of how you can make sense to you. a blog. Make presentations and volunteer toapply these tips and how they can transform the speak. This helps you understand a topic deeperway you present. What’s holding you back from Stay up to date. Find the key players in the and build the beginning of a reputation.giving better remote presentations? What do you space that you’re working on. Check out theirwant to learn more about? blogs, their presentations, their tweets – What can you write about? Write about what whatever you can get that gives you more you’re learning and why. Write about the2011-02-15 Tue 07:58 information. Set up searches and alerts so that mistakes you made and how you solved them (or you can find new material as it gets published. are trying to solve them!). Write about howFrom zero to hero: a newbie’s guide to you’re learning and from whom. Write about the Use bookmarks to organize your resources out there. Write about the thingslearning and building a reputation alongthe way research. You’re going to immerse yourself in a you’re finding out. Write about the connections flood of information. Use social bookmarking between your topic of interest and other thingshttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22095 systems like Lotus Connections Bookmarks or you know about. Write about what you want toFebruary 16, 2011 - Delicious to keep track of interesting things learn next. There are plenty of things you canCategories: blogging, highlight, learning you’ve read, and to organize resources into your share, even as a beginner. own categories. That way, when you need to findA friend of mine is a new IBM consultant who something again or if you want to send someone Experiment. Can you try things out yourself?wants to learn more about and develop a a link, you can quickly get it along with related Apply the ideas to your own life and share thereputation in social analytics. I thought I’d resources. results. As you build credibility, you might beshare some tips on how to learn and build a able to convince your team to give a new practicereputation along the way. Collect examples of ideas being been a try. Share those results, too. Come up with applied to real life. If you’re interested in Web ideas and try them out. Use these experiences toPick your field carefully. Another mentor of 2.0 and financial services, you need to be able to convince people to let you work on projects.mine said that emerging technologies offer the tell stories about innovative companies and thebest opportunities. In a new field, it’s easier to results they’re seeing. If you’re interested in Volunteer and expand yournot only catch up, but even distinguish yourself. social analytics, find case studies where analytics responsibilities. Make sure your manager,In mature fields, it’s hard to compete with people has led to increased collaboration and your mentors, and your coworkers know what
February 2011 – sachachua.com 57you’re interested in learning or doing. Volunteer I’ll take a look at this one. Hmm, this whitepaper followers or posting at least one blog post a week,to help with projects or presentations that need looks like something our company could learn and more about actions and results. What’s thatto be done. Ask your manager to help you from. Let me send it to the director in charge of story? Walk through it in your head, check if it’sstructure a way to learn on the job. that. plausible, and identify the pieces you need to build in order to make it happen. Doesn’tLearn. Share what you’re learning along the way. Director: Hmm, an e-mail from the VP, I better investing in those pieces make more sense nowExperiment. Volunteer and expand your read it. Ah, an article that looks like it will help that you can see how they’re related to your endresponsibilities. You can go from being a newbie with one of the challenges I’m currently working goals?to being known in surprisingly little time, but on. Hey, this guy has some great tips. I wonder…you need to get out there and make things Oh, he has a website with other articles and That led me to think about the ideal stories I tellhappen. Good luck! presentations! Great. I’m going to flip through myself. When I write for my blog, this is what I the presentations that look immediately useful. I hope will happen: should probably bookmark this site so I can comeImagine success for social media back to it later. Hey, he’s on Twitter. Let mehttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22096 check out what he posts… He’s got an upcoming Me: “Ah! Now I understand things a little better.February 16, 2011 - seminar – that looks interesting, maybe I’ll Let me go try that and see what happens. … Yup,Categories: blogging, connecting, conversation, k attend. I think I’ll follow him on Twitter so that I that works, and here’s how I can make it evenaizen, networking, story, web2.0, writing can hear about other updates. Hmm, maybe he better.” can do some consulting for us for this project –I was talking to an independent consultant who that would save me a lot of time, help me get the Someone: “I need to figure out something. Letwanted to get better at using social media to results I need… (and if he’s as good as he seems me search… Hmm, that look interesting, let meexpand his network. I suggested that he put to be, I’ll look like a star). try that. Hey, that works. Oh, that looks usefultogether articles and presentations that he can too. And that one! And that one! I’m going to addshare with his contacts (mostly executives) that Someone else searching on the Net: Hmm, I this to my feed reader. … Oh look, another postare useful and that they would probably share need to learn more about ___ if I’m going to be from Sacha. She reminds me that it’s possible towith the right people in their companies. able to deliver those results. Oh, here’s an article be cheerful and have fun doing awesome things. that might be useful. Those are good points. Let =) Hmm, I know someone who might find thisThinking about this, I realized that imagining the me save this. I wonder… ah, he has other articles useful too…”ideal scenarios can help people recognize the and presentations. Those are useful too. Let mevalue of investing in sharing knowledge or read them… I wonder if he’s available to do some Someone: “Can you help me with __?” Me: “Ibuilding a social media presence. You consulting. Oh, look, he’s in Toronto too. That could’ve sworn I’ve written about that aroundcan say that sharing is important, or you can makes it easier. I should give him a call. here… Ah, there it is! Here’s theimagine a story that goes like this: link.” Someone: “Awesome. Thanks!” Think about what success looks like. Tell yourselfCEO of small business: Oh! It’s an e-mail from a story about what could happen. It’s probably__. He always sends me useful information, so less about just increasing the number of your
February 2011 – sachachua.com 58What are the stories you imagine, and what do friendships of good character. Of these, I’m Or must we add ‘when it is recognized’? Forthose stories help you learn about what you can interested in friendships of good character. In many people have goodwill to those whom theydo to make them happen? this kind of friendship, you appreciate the have not seen but judge to be good or useful; and goodness of other people and they appreciate one of these might return this feeling. These yours. You wish them good, and they wish you people seem to bear goodwill to each other; butOn friendship and becoming more social good as well. how could one call them friends when they dohttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22098 not know their mutual feelings? To be friends,February 18, 2011 - One can’t have many friends at this level. then, the must be mutually recognized as bearingCategories: connecting, friendship, philosophy In W.D.Ross’s translation of the Nichomachean goodwill and wishing well to each other for one Ethics: of the aforesaid reasons.I’ve been talking to people about my project ofbecoming more social, getting better at But it is natural that such friendships should be That makes me think of several things. First, toconnecting. It makes sense. I get to practise and infrequent; for such men are rare. Further, such wish good for other people, you should knowpick up tips at the same time. =) Sometimes friendship requires time and familiarity; as the them beneath the surface. It’s easy to say that Ipeople say, “Sacha, aren’t you already pretty proverb says, men cannot know each other till wish my friends to be happy, but knowing thesocial? How big is your network, anyway?” But they have ‘eaten salt together’; nor can they specific things they consider pleasurable or goodit’s not about that, and I think I’m starting to admit each other to friendship or be friends till means I can share good experiences, find goodfigure out what it’s about. each has been found lovable and been trusted by gifts, or help people grow. each. Those who quickly show the marks ofThere are so many interesting people. W-, of friendship to each other wish to be friends, but I’m probably an outlier in terms of writing andcourse, is gosh-darn-awesome. And there are all are not friends unless they both are lovable and making it easy for people to get to know methese wonderful people I’ve gotten to know: my know the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise through my interests. If I’m going to get to knowfamily, my barkada, my ninongs and ninangs, quickly, but friendship does not. other people, then I’m going to need to take themy friends in Canada who helped me get the initiative and reach out, maybe slowly getting ahang of those first few winters, my friends at And also: sense of a person over time. I can get better atwork and in various clubs, my friends through this by also, say, compiling notes on people’sthis blog and Twitter and all these other Now there are three grounds on which people expressed preferences. (Yes, I’m a geek.)networks, and people I have yet to become good love; of the love of lifeless objects we do not usefriends with. So the limiting factor isn’t the lack the word ‘friendship’; for it is not mutual love, Second, friendship is reciprocal. I can feelof people to develop friendships with, but my nor is there a wishing of good to the other (for it goodwill towards many people, such as theability to do so. would surely be ridiculous to wish wine well; if people I’ve gotten to know through blogs. Some one wishes anything for it, it is that it may keep, may even feel goodwill for me back, without myWhat does it mean to be friends with someone? so that one may have it oneself); but to a friend knowing. Friendship, I think, is when we bothIn the Nichomachean Ethics, where he devotes a we say we ought to wish what is good for his know it and that mutual understandingbook of fourteen chapters to the topic of sake. But to those who thus wish good we ascribe influences our actions.friendship, Aristotle distinguishes between only goodwill, if the wish is not reciprocated;friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure, and goodwill when it is reciprocal being friendship.
February 2011 – sachachua.com 59I think that people are rather better at caring them tick, or chasing the pleasure of making aspiring-writer, with vivid descriptions andabout me than I am at caring about them. This someone’s day. general cheer. I’m half-inspired to do moredoesn’t mean I don’t care about other people as letter-writing myself, or to bring that kind ofmuch. It means that I think other people are So that’s what I’m talking about when I say I vivacity to my blog.more thoughtful and are better at making a want to get better at connecting or I want to beconnection, and that there’s plenty of room for more social. It’s not about making sure I’ve “got (Will you put up with descriptions of life? In anyme to learn. Add to that the occasional my dance card filled”, or that I go out to at least case, it is my blog, and I would like to be able toasymmetry of knowledge and it can be a little one get-together each week, or even that I remember. =) Prepare for more adjectives!)awkward, but I’m getting better at getting past remember to host tea. I think it’s more aboutthe awkward bit and just focusing on getting to knowing people more so that I can appreciate Now I am on the lookout for other epistolaryknow people more. their goodness and wish them good, and about gems. I have requested “A Woman of building deeper connections. Independent Means” from the library,One of the things I’m particularly curious about remembering my mom’s recommendation. Dois developing friendships online. When I listed 2011-02-18 Fri 06:50 you have any favourites?people I might call if I needed a favour or Ineeded someone to talk to, I realized that therewere some people I’ve never actually seen in Book: Daddy Long Legs, and letters LinkedIn tip: Customize your profile URLperson. I’d like to get even better at cultivating http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22099 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22100friendships online. From literature and other February 18, 2011 - February 18, 2011 -people’s examples, it’s clearly possible to develop Categories: book, reading, writing Categories: connecting, linkedin, tips, web2.0deep connections beyond your geographic reach.With many of my friends outside Toronto – or A chance remark by the turtle about Daddy Long This tip’s for Mike Nurse and other people whoinfrequently met even in the same city – it’s Legs led me to request the 1955 musical from the are looking for small things that could makesomething worth learning more about. Toronto Public Library, and then to read the LinkedIn more useful for them… =) book online. Fred Astaire’s dance sequencesA lot of this is a matter of time: time to learn (particularly the first one where he makes Did you know that you can customize yourabout people, time to share experiences, time to drumsticks dance better than most people do) LinkedIn URL to make it more memorable,build trust, and so on. I can’t do much to speed and a couple of good lines, and a nice ending writable, and professional?things up. But it’s also equally a matter of made me smile. Yes, the age gap’s bigger in theattention – if I don’t invest that attention, then movie than it was in the book, and it must’ve 1. Log on to linkedin.com.that time will pass without much effect. been hard for Astaire to perform that with what was going on in his personal life, but it’s still a 2. Click on Profile – Edit Profile.Of course, reflecting on the Ethics, I need to be good one. 3. Click on Edit next to your Publiccareful that people and friendship don’t become Profile URL.means. It’s not about checking off a little The book, on the other hand, was ancheckmark on my list of things to learn, or unexpectedly delightful find. It’s written as adissecting people and finding out what makes series of letters from this orphan-turned-
February 2011 – sachachua.com 60 4. Click on Edit next to Your Public publishing slice-of-life posts whenever I had tips share, so although I was trying to keep to one Profile URL. Choose a short, to share. Sometimes, though, I ended up with post a day, I itched to write more, and new items memorable URL. Click on Set Address. “stale” blog posts that I wanted to share but often pre-empted things in the backlog until didn’t. In a medium as current as a blog, it seems those things were no longer relevant. 5. Optionally customize what people see on weird to write about something that happened your public profile. three days ago. After a few tries at keeping a 6. Click on Save Changes. scheduled queue of posts in my WordPress blog, I turned to keeping the posts in my Org fileIf you want to make it easier for people to instead because it was easier to choose whichconnect with you on LinkedIn, put your new URL post to publish than to keep shuffling dateson your business card, your e-mail signature, around in WordPress.your website, and other social network profiles.Little things like that help make it easier for Sometimes I’d post more than one blogother people to connect with you. post anyway. Looking at my double- and triple- post days, most of those posts followed up on conversations, and I’m glad I posted them when IDecision review: Limiting my blog to one did. If I’m writing something that I think mightpost a day be generally useful, I’d rather blog it than keep ithttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22105 in e-mail. Whenever I tried to stick closely to myFebruary 19, 2011 - one-post-a-day rule, I found myself postponing responses instead of, say, copying and pasting It’s a tradeoff among different people’sCategories: blogging, highlight, kaizen, reflection the relevant tips into an HTML mail. Postponing needs. On one hand, posting short tips, sketches, writing responses didn’t help with Inbox Zero or quick frequently would benefit conversational partners conversations, so I often decided to just go ahead as well as searchers. On the other hand, postingIn 2009, I decided to limit my blog to around one and post. Rhythm can make or break an too frequently would give subscribers negativepost a day. I wrote as many notes as I wanted in a asynchronous conversation. value. I guess the chart looks a little like what’sprivate text file, and selected only one or two to on the right – but what were the numbers?share each day. Rhythm affected my writing, too. Whenever Would subscribers get impatient with two posts a I had plenty of many scheduled posts lined up, I day? At what point would searchers getPeople liked the new frequency. They found found myself spending days without writing. diminishing returns from posts that were tooit more manageable. Instead of getting three or While there were days that I welcomed the extra sparse and quickly written? And what about whatfour e-mails or feed items a day, they got one or time, it was throwing off my routines. I felt like I I wanted from my blog – a way to remember andtwo. was binge-writing: gorging myself on writing, share life? I found myself posting more generallyI liked the new frequency too. I started then putting it off until the need to write and useful posts about writing and blogging insteadshuffling blog posts around depending on how think drove me back to the keyboard or the pen. of ephemeral memories, glimpses of life – but Iuseful I thought they would be to others. This There were very few dull days that passed loved the chance connections I had when I wrotewas generally a good thing, as I put off without a story, a lesson, or an idea I wanted to about things like burning pancakes or planting in
February 2011 – sachachua.com 61the garden. I’d hate to become yet another How often do I post more than one thing it seems to be increasing. So, yes, I’m writinggeneric blogger writing bland, inarguable, and a day? longer posts. It’s plotted on the secondary axisimpersonal tips, or to write for what I thought (0..7000) so that the other lines aren’t drowned Am I more consistent in the number ofmight be the widest use when there might be out. posts now than before? Consistency isinteresting things to explore in the nooks and good for subscribers; you want to knowcrannies of life. The green line shows the number of comments. that I’m not going to suddenly overwhelm My spreadsheet doesn’t show any strong you with mail/items. (Well, aside fromIt’s a trade-off between other factors, correlations with either my post length or the that mail snafu I had, but things shouldtoo. Should I write fewer posts, but longer ones? number of posts, so it doesn’t look like I’m be working smoothly now.)I like sticking to one thought per blog post, scaring people off with long posts or too-frequentthough. Maybe I should do “reader mailbag”-type Am I writing longer posts? posts.posts, but that probably still requires more of a How is that related to, say, the number ofweekly routine, and I do like posting people- As it turns out, I’m actually pretty good at comments people leave on my posts?related updates within a day or two. I’d like to keeping to around one or two posts perspend some time revisiting old posts or sharing day. This year’s had an average of 1.1 posts per A little number-crunching, and voila:my reflections on other people’s posts. How do I day, well within reason (and subscriber patience,fit that in around the new things I want to write I hope). Knowing this means I don’t need toabout? And I’ve been meaning to move time spend a lot of time fiddling with this decision,away from writing to other activities. Perhaps I’ll although I do want to find the rough spots andbe more ruthless about prioritizing what to write figure out how I can smooth them over.about, and leave other unfinished ideas as draftsin my private notes – or maybe I’ll drop hints So here’s what I’m going to try next:about things I’d like to think about, in case otherpeople can point out things they’d like to learn I’m going to change my “normal”more about as well. level to one or two posts a day instead of just one, which means I canData can help explore decisions things feel less guilty when I post two or evenlike this. Before I put a lot of time into figuring three blog posts on one day.out whether I can set up a separate “firehose” The red line shows the number of posts. As you can see, I’ve gone from really spikey to a If I have multiple conversationcategory in my blog that gets excluded from e-mail notifications and feeds until I promote posts somewhat more consistent line hovering at follow-ups, I’ll combine them into ainto the regular stream, I can find out how often I around 30 posts a month. This means you can mailbag-type post instead of sticking tomight need it, what effects it might have, and subscribe without fear, or check back roughly the one-thought-per-post guideline. Thiswhether it’s worth looking into. Instead of every morning. means I can get responses out in a timelythinking about this in a vacuum, I decided to way without ending up with three or fourconduct a little post-analysis. I wanted to know: The blue line shows that my average post length additional posts. (in terms of characters) is somewhat spikey, and
February 2011 – sachachua.com 62 I might build in more revision into http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22106 o Finally sent in Lotusphere my writing routines, so I can get February 19, 2011 - Categories: weekly expenses better at writing and I can express things even more clearly and concisely. This From last week’s plans Relationships could be the second post in a day if I don’t have any conversation follow-ups. If I’m Work o [X] Give spices to Maira; cook disciplined about limiting my writing Louisiana-style shrimp o [-] Clarify scope and prepare time and just doing quick descriptions of estimates for other Drupal or o [X] Watch The King’s Speech other stories/ideas I want to write about, Rails projects – Current pipeline with W- then this could also be the time I spend handled o [-] Possibly get people together for reviewing those and fleshing those out. o [-] Work on Facebook/Rails opera – postponed to next week I’m going to try to show more of project – waiting for paperwork those here-and-now moments o [X] Prepare paperwork for Dutch instead of just keeping them in the o [X] Work on newsletter tool – fix visa backlog. It’s probably inconsequential bugs, implement requests o [X] Go to Dutch embassy that I feel happy about the grass peeking o [X] Look into AIS IP address bug o [X] Meet Mike Nurse through the patchy snow. I like it, and I with simple_access> want to get better at writing not only o [X] Chat with David Singer about tips, but about life. =) o [X] Put together ITSC presentation and blog post Life I’ll channel the rest of my darn-I- want-to-write-about-that-too o [X] Sketch Remote Presentations o [X] Write about things I’m frustration into drawing and other That Rock revision working on improving communication skills I want to o [-] Outline Org-mode talk – will practice. o [X] Get through busy week – not work on next week actually that hectic, yay!Sounds like a plan. o Added standalone wiki support to Plans for next week community toolkit – for DebraHave you come across this blog through a Johnson Worksearch? Do you read this blog regularly? Do you o Added generic newsletter supportsubscribe to updates (thanks!)? What would to community toolkit – for Darrel o  Sketch ITSC keynote by Davidmake it work better for you? What have you seen Rader Zachworking on other personal blogs? o  Give ITSC keynote on o Added template file support to community toolkit – for Darrel networkingWeekly review: Week ending February 18, Rader o  Learn about ECM and web2011 o Did some quick illustrations services
February 2011 – sachachua.com 63 o  Follow up on documents of This Last This Last understanding Catego Delt Catego Delt wee wee Notes wee wee Notes  Put together Idea Lab resources ry a ry a o k k k k Relationships Break 4.8 5.2 -0.4 e-mail o  Go to Second City with recent hires and friends Drawing 0.6 -0.6 Travel 1.5 3.4 -1.9 Some commuting o  Host tea get-together 1pm our Exercise 4.7 5.7 -1.0 Including trip to place Saturday Feb 26 Dutch embassy Work 40.4 47.3 -6.9 Proposals, o  Watch Die Fledermaus CommunityTool (http://toronto-opera.com) Learnin 0.6 1.8 -1.2 kit, g presentations o  Watch Madame Butterfly (http://toronto-opera.com) Prep – 0.4 0.4 Writing 12.5 11.1 1.4 o  Send birthday cards general o  Try making a beet smoothie or Still hitting snooze in the mornings. It’s hard in Tex-mex lasagna Routine 1.8 4.4 -2.6 winter and a warm bed. I’ve asked W- to help me s– stick with my resolve to get up in the morning, Life cooking and may experiment with returning to the other o  Enjoy extended weekend: week’s routine of having a very light evening. spend focused time revising, Routine 6.3 7.8 -1.5 drawing, presenting, cooking, and s– Lots of time invested into building relationships, tidying up general following up on my previous reflections on friendship. Good use of time – instead of doing o  Experiment with giving Routine 3.8 5.1 -1.3 extra work in the evenings, I used that time to presentation through Zipcast s– reach out instead. Looking forward to doing (Remote Presentations That Rock, tidying more drawing and cooking over the next few Monday?) days.Time analysis Sleep 65.3 62.6 2.7 9.3 hours averageExperiment for the week: more social stuff. Met Waking up: looking at my datapeople, had mentoring chats, reached out Social 25.9 12.0 13.9 Skype, http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22109through e-mail, etc. Starbucks, and February 20, 2011 - Categories: geek, graph, life, quantified, sketches
February 2011 – sachachua.com 64Whenever I manage to wake up early a few days Is it a matter of getting to bed earlier? the Instructional Technology Strategiesin a row, I feel great about it. But I don’t do it Conference. Here’s what I came up with: Would it help to disable snooze entirely?consistently. I spend a couple of days waking up ITSC Guide to Conference Awesomenessbefore 6 AM and enjoying a good spurt of Is it a matter of setting my alarm clockwriting, and then I find myself slipping back into even earlier? (Ex: Set it for 4 AM so that I They’re going to play it live at the conference atlater bedtimes and later wake-up times (~ 7 AM) eventually get out of bed at 5 AM.) 12 PST. =) I’ve kept it short so that I can share aor hitting the snooze. Clearly there are some few quick tips and then get out of the way of all Would it help to set our programmablethings I still need to tweak about my system. that awesome networking. It sounds like a great thermostat warmer in the morning, or crowd. promise myself a hot cup of tea when ITime-tracking means I’ve got a way to see what get up?my current sleep patterns are like: If you’re here from the ITSC, you might also be Would it help to set my snooze interval to interested in my sketchnotes from David Zach’s 5 minutes instead of 10? keynote. Click on the image to see the full version. How about if I find a way to turn my Android into a light clock? (Using Tasker to bring up a bright app, maybe…) What if I give up on waking up early and instead shift to more of a night owl schedule? Advantage: can sync up with W-. I’ll need to figure out how to give my personal pursuits the creative energy they need, though. Here are other pre-ITSC conference networking tips I’ve shared: Hmm. More things to hack… Instructional Technology Strategies Conference: The Shy Connector’s Guide to Getting Ready for Conference Average sleep length when waking up ITSC guide to conference awesomeness Awesomeness http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22111 before 6 AM: 7:09 View more presentations from Sacha Chua. February 21, 2011 - Average sleep length when waking up Categories: conference, connecting, event, netwo after 6 AM: 8:47 For more networking tips, check out: rking, presentation, sketchcast, sketches, speakin The Shy Connector Average sleep time for wake-up times g before 6 AM: 9:45 PM, which is a bit of a View more presentations from Sacha Chua. stretch but is doable. Darren Hudgins liked my Shy Connector presentation a lot, so he asked me to put togetherHere are the questions I’m thinking about: some quick tips to share with the ~400 people at
February 2011 – sachachua.com 65(Also see my full notes for the Shy Connector Braindump: Note-taking in Org Modepresentation and other blog posts about (GTALUG, in person)connecting) Learning on the Network (virtual, IBM)I made the video with the guide to conference I also plan to experiment with Slideshare’sawesomeness using Microsoft Onenote, Zipcast feature, maybe doing “RemoteMicrosoft Powerpoint, a Lenovo X61 tablet PC, Presentations That Rock”, “Six Steps to Sharing”,Camtasia Studio 7 (which doesn’t get along “The Shy Connector”, and other presentations.perfectly with the Windows 7 on my tablet). I’dlove to go back to the free Inkscape drawing There’s always room for growth. Thinking aboutprogram for drawing if someone can help me that last presentation, what worked well?figure out how to get it to smoothly digitize. =)Thanks to IBM for sponsoring this effort! The tech check turned up some problemsFollow me on Twitter (@sachac) for more communicating with the hotel conferenceupdates. I’ll be around from 12 PM to 1 PM PST New recipes: chapati, curried chickpeas, room, so I decided to go with a recordingto answer questions or share other tips. Use the vegetable biryani (from sauce), Tex-mex lasagna instead. Not as fun or as interactive as a#itsc11 hashtag or mention me by adding real-time presentation, but if I’m not@sachac to your tweet. If you’re here after Lots of time spent putting together going to be able to listen and react toFebruary 21, feel free to leave a comment on this presentations. Worth it, though! Looking people anyway, I might as well record it.blog post for Q&A. Hope this helps! forward to improving my workflow further. Sketching the presentation was fun. EasyPrompter was a great tele-prompter.How I spent my Family Day weekend Kaizen: Thinking about presentations It was much better than scrolling throughhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22114 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22115 a document myself. I put the webcam in front of it. I might look a little cross-eyed,February 22, 2011 - Categories: sketches February 22, 2011 - but it does speed up the production of Categories: kaizen, life, speaking recorded presentations quite a bit. I’ve just finished a presentation (The ITSC Guide It was a good idea to record the video and to Conference Awesomeness) and I’ve got a few then use Rehearse Timings to capture the presentations coming up: slide times. Saving slide transition times meant that I could change the slides Remote Presentations That Rock (Feb 28 (move the graphics around, for example) in person at IBM, plus virtual sessions at and re-record the presentation using IBM) Camtasia Studio without listening to everything again and again.
February 2011 – sachachua.com 66How can I make things better? can’t get Camtasia Studio to behave the Maybe I can make a routine of way I want it to. I got a black preview presentations so that they’re a smooth I can work on relaxing my eyebrows when screen possibly due to hardware and regular part of my life instead of I give presentations. They tend to go up acceleration, but there doesn’t seem to be being a bit bursty (it never rains, but it even during non-emphasized parts of the a way for me to disable hardware pours). presentation. acceleration in Windows 7. Also, I couldn’t get the picture-in-picture to I can add more pauses when show up in the top right corner, so I had teleprompting. to settle for the top left. Posted revised “Remote Presentations I can get dimmers for the lights we have, I can buy or build a proper teleprompter. That Rock” presentation or better yet, construct some softbox-type (Ooooh.) But I’m going to try building a http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22118 light sources. They’re ordinary daylight- rig for my webcam and laptop first – balanced house lamps from Home Depot February 23, 2011 - maybe this summer, when we get our Categories: presentation, sketches, speaking and they can be pretty intense. I’ve woodworking tools out again. Can’t wait! draped ripstop nylon over them to create a softer light, but it would be better to Next week, I’m giving Remote Presentations Things I’d like to grow into: That Rock in person at IBM 3600 Steeles have a good setup. If I can figure out how to mount them easily on the light stand Avenue on Monday. I decided to hold off on I’d love to animate my sketches instead of the extensive revisions I’d been thinking of (they currently use clips which can be using picture-in-picture video. That doing. Instead, I re-drew the slides and I hard to position), then I can use our light might mean starting off with video (to changed a few points. umbrellas. help establish personal connection) and I can use something like Blu-Tack and a then switching to animation or sketches. See http://sachachua.com/blog/remote for full tripod to position my webcam more If I get the hang of drawing in a single notes / discussion. firmly. Or maybe find/make a stand for screen instead of on an infinite scroll of Remote Presentations That Rock my webcam to allow me to position it in paper, maybe I can do it as a screen (2011)Click on Menu – View Full Screen to see front of my laptop. That should be easy to capture or whiteboard video. this in full-screen mode. build. I want to learn how to do chromakey The older version, for comparison: I can look around for a better “studio” video (or frame-by-frame sketching if I location. Maybe the spare room upstairs? absolutely must). Imagine being able to 7 Tips for Remote Presentations That I can cover the wall and the door with combine video and sketching in ways that Rock fabric, and set my lights. make sense… and the "e-book"-type presentation: I can try using my lapel microphone, or I should organize my past presentations Remote Presentations That Rock (v2) spring for an array microphone. so that it’s easy for people to see the View more presentations from Sacha Chua different topics and resources. I can try using Windows Movie Maker for chroma-key or picture-in-picture, if I
February 2011 – sachachua.com 67Some speakers are very consistent when it comes I write for selfish reasons, among which are the Write your thoughts down in a journalto content and delivery. I keep working on my benefits of the process of writing. Even if no one (private, if necessary) so that you can takematerial, gnashing my teeth over titles I want to read my blog, it would already be worth the time. a step back and understand them.reuse, because I’m still learning so much. I’m Here are four ways to get immediate value fromconsistent about a growing number of things, writing about life. Examples:though. I’ll have a blog post up with theresources, I’ll probably bubble over with energy 1. Clarity On presenting, anxiety, and movingwhen I give the presentation, and I’ll record and forwardshare as much as I can. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it On appearance and bias: thoughts from means. What I want and what I fear. the Nerd Girls panel at Lotusphere 2011Get More Value from Blogging, part I: The More reflections on code and consultingImmediate Benefits of Thought Joan Didion, authorhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22119 Writing helps me think more clearly. When 2. RecognitionFebruary 24, 2011 -Categories: blogging, life, reflection, tips, web2.0 I struggled with homesickness and doubt, I wrote down what I was thinking, what I was afraid of, The human mind has first to construct forms, what I hoped for, and what I wanted to do. When independently, before we can find them inPaul Gillin invited me to do an #infoboom things.tweetchat on the professional and personal I puzzled through a bug in my code, I wrote downvalue of blogging on March 3, 2011 (2pm-3pm the symptoms, the approaches I tried, and the solution I found. Writing forces me to slow down Albert Einstein, physicistEST). When I brainstormed some of the thingsI’d like to talk about, I ended up with a big list: and find words to express myself. Strand by When you can name a thing, younot just the value I get from blogging, but also strand, I can untangle the mental mess and turn understand it better. If I spend an hourtips for how you can build that too. I hope you it into something coherent. getting to the roots of my procrastination andenjoy this blog series! realize that it’s because I don’t value the results Tips: Next time you’re thinking about something complicated… enough, I can recognize that feeling when IPeople often ask me: Why do you blog? Where do encounter it in life, and I can do something aboutyou find the time to do it? How can you find all it. Writing helps me get a grip on strongthese things to write about? Use mindmaps to write down key ideas in emotions or confusing puzzles. Understanding a loose structure. See if that helps you something lets me work with it.I tell people I don’t have the time to not blog. It’s understand your reasons and youra tremendously valuable practice. Life-changing, alternatives. Reading voraciously helps me witheven. In this blog series, I’m going to explain how Use lists, tables, and other idea writing and with life. Books and blog postsblogging helps me both personally and organizers to think through a problem. help me learn how other people describe theirprofessionally, and I’m going to share tips on For example, you might make a list of experiences and find words that resonate. Otherhow you can get that kind of value too. pros and cons for alternatives. people’s phrases and metaphors can bePart I: The Immediate Benefits of Thought launching pads for your own.
February 2011 – sachachua.com 68Writing about life also helps me Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. Try using an outline to break the ideaappreciate it better. When I write about the down into smaller ideas, and continuethings that make me happy, I pay more attention Albert Einstein until you get to the level of detail youto them in life, and grow even happier. When I want.write about things I can improve, I get better at The brain can hold only so much inrecognizing opportunities to do so. Like the way thought at a time. It’s like a computer with Examples:that sewing helps me see clothes in a new light limited memory. This limitation frustrates me. Iand woodworking teaches me more about might be thinking of interesting things while This series!furniture, writing helps me learn about life. walking around or while doing dishes, but my mind flits from thing to thing without depth, andTips: Next time you struggle to describe that the older thoughts fade quickly and are hard 4. Reflection and improvementsomething… to recall. There are three principal means of acquiring Writing gets ideas and information out of knowledge… observation of nature, reflection, Give it a try, even if you don’t feel your and experimentation. Observation collects facts; description is adequate. You can go back my head. This external memory allows me to not only work with bigger things, but to work reflection combines them; experimentation and revise or build on your previous without the fear of forgetfulness or loss. This also verifies the result of that combination. notes. allows me to "chunk", improving both my Read what other people have shared and memory and my ability to work with ideas. By Denis Diderot, philosopher look for words or phrases that get you moving complex ideas out of my head and into a closer to the idea. form where I can get a handle on them, I can Writing is a way of having a conversation work with larger combinations. It’s like the way with yourself. Through that conversation, you Try a metaphor. Sometimes they can lead can look at what you’re doing, why you do it, and to surprising insights. that a pianist playing from memory doesn’t think of individual notes but of patterns, and the way how you can do things better. You can talk about Use writing to learn about life, and use what you feel, why you feel it, and whether that that chess grandmasters don’t think of individual life to improve your writing. pieces, but of configurations of attack and helps or hinders you. This reflective practice defense. Writing these detailed posts on the helps you understand yourself better andExamples: value of blogging allows me to use the high-level improve the way you work and live. summaries as building blocks for other thoughts. Tweaking fun and nudging myself out of I find it very useful to observe myself and procrastination Tips: Next time you’re working with a ask questions. After giving a presentation, I think about how I did it and how I can improve. Fun and rational economic theory large, complex idea… When feeling strong emotions, I ask myself why I Momentum and holidays feel that way and what that reveals about me. I Write down parts of the idea, then think about how I want to spend my time and summarize your thoughts and use the how that matches up with reality. Writing3. Size summaries to build the next level of reinforces that routine of reflection. thinking. Repeat as needed.
February 2011 – sachachua.com 69Writing helps me identify things I want to Get More Value from Blogging, part II: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched mybuild on, either when I read it back or when The Compounding Value of an Archive blog for notes. I’ve even come across answers toother people share their insights. Writing helps http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22120 things I’d completely forgotten solving.me work around the temptation to lie to myself February 25, 2011 -or to gloss over factors. When I write things Categories: blogging, tips, web2.0, writing It’s not a perfect system, but it’s betterdown, I have a better chance of figuring out when than nothing. Sometimes I don’t remember theI don’t make sense, and when I do. Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on the words I used. I have a sneaky suspicion that professional and personal value of blogging on Google might not have indexed all of my blog’sTips: Build some time into your schedule March 3, 2011 (2pm-3pm EST, #infoboom). pages, too. But I can usually turn up what I’mfor regular reflection so that you can… When I brainstormed some of the things I’d like looking for, and that’s good enough to keep me to talk about, I ended up with a big list: not just writing. Ask yourself: What am I doing well? How the value I get from blogging, but also tips for can I do things even better? Write your how you can build that too. I hope you enjoy this Tips: thoughts in a private journal or on a blog. blog series! You can also see other resources in this series. Whenever you solve problems that took Review your reflections occasionally to you a lot of time to figure out, spend a few see what else you can learn from them. Update: Added quote from Donald Knuth, extra minutes to write up your notes.Examples: thanks to Mohamed! When writing, think about whatever keywords you think you might use when Kaizen: Thinking about presentations The value of blogging: Part II: Archive searching. Use as many of them as you can, either including them in the text or On friendship and becoming more social Blogging provides value immediately and in the using them as categories/tags for your Decision review: Limiting my blog to one long run. Blog posts are saved in a chronological post. That increases your chances of post a day archive that can be browsed, searched, and finding information again. organized into categories. The more you write, the more valuable this archive becomes. Examples: 1. Search Drupal-related postsMore posts in this series: Get more valuefrom blogging But men are men; the best sometimes forget. Book notesTune in tomorrow for more tips. You can Shakespeare 2. Reviewalso subscribe using a feed-reader or subscribeby e-mail to get updates. Hope this helps! What did I ever do before writing? I’m not What is past is prologue. sure, but it probably involved reinventing the wheel again and again. My blog archive saves me Shakespeare time that I would’ve wasted re-solving problems.
February 2011 – sachachua.com 70Where did all that time go? If you’ve ever Writing about my decisions helps me Donald Knuthasked yourself that question or struggled to fill in review them later. For example, I wrotethe boxes during annual performance reviews, about limiting my blog posts to one a day. A year How do you know what you know? If youyou might find a blog useful. later, I revisited that decision to see if it still were to make a list of things you could teach made sense for me. I’ve got notes about what I other people, you’d probably be able to quicklyI use my blog for weekly, monthly, and want to do with IBM and some of the list some recent items, but you might forget toyearly reviews. My archived notes make it easy reasons why I love my husband, and I add to mention things you learned several years ago.to remember what I was working on and what I those regularly. Being able to read through my Blog archives can help you remember what youachieved. As a result, annual reviews are more blog archive makes it easier to remember the know so that you can build on it, combine it withfun than painful. This helps set a rhythm for my reasons for my decisions and to detect when other ideas, or share it with other people.life, too. things are changing. My archive helps me get a sense of what IRegular reviews keep me on track. I can Written accounts allow me to compare my know about a topic and how to organizereview my plans and see how I’m doing, or past selves with the present. How have I that logically. I can see the gaps that I need tochange them if my priorities have shifted. I can improved my skills? How have I changed my learn and document. As I revise, I improve mytell when I’ve been procrastinating something for mind? What have I lost and what have I gained? I understanding.a while (it shows up on multiple reviews!) and I can trace my stick-figure skills from my first suchcan think about whether or not I really want to presentation in 2008 to my most-recent By looking at what I tend to write about, Ido it. presentation through the evolution of can get a sense of where I pay attention my sketches. (I’ve gotten better at drawing and how that attention changes overTips: quickly, but I don’t draw with many colours as I time. I can also use my archive to slowly build used to.) resources for summary posts with links to Build a habit of weekly reviews, then details. include monthly and yearly reviews as Tips: you get the hang of it. Tips: Write down your reasons for a decision. Use your review time to reflect on your Set a reminder to review your decision Use categories to organize your posts so past and plan your future. and see if it’s worthwhile. that you can view them by topic. Write about your feelings and experiences Review your posts by category to see if3. Growth to help you revisit them. you can write a better summary.Without continual growth and progress, such Plan what you want to learn, write aboutwords as improvement, achievement, and 4. Overview the details, and then review your archivessuccess have no meaning. for the overview. The very act of communicating one’s work clearlyBenjamin Franklin to other people will improve the work itself. Examples:
February 2011 – sachachua.com 71 This series! kitchen, but cheery and reflective all the same. I don’t flip through my archive frequently, but it’s My life as a 25-year-old fun to bump into my old self through random Refuse to Choose: or life is a many- posts or "On this Day" posts. splendoured thing Tips:4. Value Write. Yes, even about the everydayA good blog archive’s value goes beyond the things, the little memories. You nevervalue of its individual posts. When people come know what might make you smile in theto your blog because of a search result or a future.referral, they can explore your archives to learn When you have more posts, try pluginsmore about the topics they’re interested in and like Random Posts or On This Day to helpabout you as a person. This is the compounding you bump into older posts.value Consider printing out a paper copy ofTips: your posts for easier flipping through. I do this every year. I gave Slideshare’s new Zipcast feature a Make it easy for people to discover try today in order to learn more about it and related posts. Use a plugin that lists rehearse for my upcoming presentation of similar posts, or include links to relevant "Remote Presentations That Rock". I announced posts when you write. Encourage people it on Twitter a few minutes before I wanted to to use categories to browse your archive. See other resources in this series. Tune in present. Around 12 people turned up to say hi, tomorrow for more tips. You can also subscribe learn, and share. I was a little nervous with Keep writing, even if it’s one tip at a time. using a feed-reader or subscribe by e-mail to get excitement (and lack of water nearby), but I Over the years, your archive can become a updates. Hope this helps! relaxed as I got into the swing of it. valuable resource. Zipcast has the usual web conferencing system5. Rediscovery Trying out Slideshare’s new Zipcast features, with more in the works. Attendees need feature an account with either Slideshare or Facebook.I’ve written enough that I don’t remember what http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22125 You can flip through slides, broadcast video fromI’ve written, and I enjoy rediscovering myself. It’s February 25, 2011 - your webcam, and use the text chat forweird, isn’t it, getting to know yourself like that. I Categories: presentation, speaking discussions. Where it shines is in its ease ofenjoy flipping through my past posts and hearing sharing: no unusual plug-ins or softwaremy past self. She’s very much like me: perhaps a downloads, Twitter and Facebookbit deeper into open source (time and the ability announcements built-in, and no meeting limits.to freely participate), less confident in the
February 2011 – sachachua.com 72People can flip through slides on their You can broadcast audio using your Pointer. Pen too, if possible, forown, too, which could be either useful or computer – no need to dial in. The audio annotating slides.distracting for people. You may want to avoid conference information for Pro users can Download link for presentation?slide-based jokes with lots of lead-up, be confusing, though, so you may need toconsidering that people can flip ahead and see tell people they don’t have to log in. Easy tweeting from within presentationyour punchline. (Slideshare: It would be great to have a Raise hands / polling interactions small place where speakers can postYou can’t point to specific things on the persistent messages: useful URLs, notes Here’s an interesting thought: How would youslides or record your presentations, but I about communication, etc. Maybe right structure a presentation to take advantagehear those features are in the plan. You also can’t under the video or under the conference of the sharing capabilities ofget the list of attendees yet, so you might want to info?) Zipcast, including the “post to Facebook”ask someone to track that for you. Don’t look for Encourage people to ask questions and checkbox in the text chat? Maybe you canscreen-sharing in this system yet, but who knows share their thoughts in the text chat. sprinkle “Twitter/FB/Q&A” breaks throughoutwhat the future will bring? your talk. If you get someone (or program a The drop-in nature of the presentation macro) to paste in retweetable or repostableZipcast’s an interesting entry in a crowded can be disconcerting as people filter in soundbites, that would be a way of sharing ideasweb-conferencing space. The ease of throughout the session. Try schedule your with people’s networks. Hmm…presenting and attending will probably win over presentations with a bit more warningmany users of other conferencing systems, and time, or build it so that you regularly I’m thinking of doing presentations everythe price is hard to beat: free at the moment, no recap throughout the presentation. Saturday in March, from 12 noon to 1pmmatter how big a web meeting you have. Check EST, at http://slideshare.net/sachac/meeting. out http://sachachua.com/blog/remote f My planned lineup: The Shy Connector, RemoteZipcast’s a promising way to reach lots of or more tips for remote presentations. Presentations That Rock, Get More Value frompeople on the Internet, and I’m going to Blogging, and Six Steps to Sharing. It’ll be goodexperiment with it more. I’ll still use LotusLive Things that would make this even better to share tips and learn from others. Anythingfor my IBM web conferences. I like the features for me: you’d particularly like to see from my pastof LotusLive, including the ability to draw on my presentations or blog posts?slides in real-time and the ease of inviting people Message box for details likewithout requiring accounts. (Besides, LotusLive communication instructions, URL for What’s a good way to plan these upcomingis IBM!) But Zipcast is a nifty (and currently free) further resources events so that you can easily save them toway to reach people online, so it’s worth a try. your calendar and receive Participant list and stats: when joined, updates? Eventbrite and other event-Tips on using Zipcast: when left (and on which slide, if management systems seem a little heavyweight possible)… compared to the ease of Zipcast’s sharing. Any People need Slideshare/Facebook Way to easily save the text chat suggestions? accounts to attend, so give people time to sign up if needed.
February 2011 – sachachua.com 73In other news, I think I’ve figured out my studio o Accepted invite to tweetchat with o [X] Enjoy extended weekend:setup: bounce the daylight-balanced lamps off Paul Gillen (#infoboom) on the spend focused time revising,the ceiling (low setup) or use umbrella reflectors value of blogging drawing, presenting, cooking, and(fancy setup), position the folding background in tidying up o Got started on bloggingfront of the cabinet to hide the My Little Cthulhu presentation o [X] Experiment with givingdoll and other distracting things, and broadcast presentation through Zipcastaway. Now if I can figure out where to put a small o Revised Remote Presentations (Remote Presentations That Rock,hairlight… That Rock Monday?) o Put together resources for the o Upgraded to 512MB web server value of bloggingWeekly review: Week ending February 25, for my blog, tweaked blog text2011 Relationships Plans for next weekhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22126February 26, 2011 - Categories: weekly o [X] Go to Second City with recent Work hires and friends – treated LindaFrom last week’s plans Ristevski o  Deliver “Remote Presentations That Rock” Work o  Host tea get-together 1pm our place Sunday Feb 27 (actually part o  Work on ECM project o [X] Sketch ITSC keynote by David of next week’s review) Zach o  Get things going with Drupal o [-] Watch Die Fledermaus project o [X] Give ITSC keynote on (http://toronto-opera.com) – networking o  Prepare other presentations Postponed to next week and resources o [X] Learn about ECM and web o [C] Watch Madame Butterfly services o  Do IBM #infoboom tweetchat (http://toronto-opera.com) on how to get more value from o [X] Follow up on documents of o [X] Send birthday cards blogging understanding o [X] Try making a beet smoothie o  Post the rest of series on getting o [X] Put together Idea Lab or Tex-mex lasagna more value from blogging resources o Had salad with Gabriel Mansour o Exported Social Business Jam Relationships discussions into spreadsheets and o Worked on connecting with blog commenters o  Host tea get-together did a lot of data analysis – collaborating with Brandon o  Reach out to new blog Anderson, Michael Muller Life commenters
February 2011 – sachachua.com 74 Life Good week! This Last  Experiment with fixed-time Delt o Category wee wee Notes wakeups a k k Get More Value from Blogging, part III: o  Draw more Sharing Makes the Blog Go ‘Round Routines 10.5 6.3 4.2 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22127 o  Write monthly review – general February 26, 2011 - Categories: blogging, tipsTime analysis Routines 2.4 3.8 -1.4 Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on theExperiment for the week: more social stuff. Met – tidying professional and personal value of blogging onpeople, had mentoring chats, reached out March 3, 2011 (2pm-3pm EST, #infoboom).through e-mail, etc. Sleep 55.7 65.3 -9.6 Going to bed When I brainstormed some of the things I’d like This Last when I feel to talk about, I ended up with a big list: not just Delt tired the value I get from blogging, but also tips forCategory wee wee Notes a how you can build that too. I hope you enjoy this k k Social 27.0 25.9 1.1 blog series! You can also see other resources inBreak 3.7 4.8 -1.1 this series. Travel 0.6 1.5 -0.9 After two posts on the individual value you canDrawing 4.7 4.7 Remote get from blogging, you might be thinking, “Sacha, Presentation Work 37.4 40.4 -3.0 Family Day holiday, you can get those benefits from a private journal s, ITSC too. So why blog?” Now we get into the social ITSC presentation benefits of blogging: how you can use it to createExercise 3.3 4.7 -1.4 value and connect. Even if no one reads your blog but you, you can get started with sharing, andPersonal 1.7 1.7 Writing 7.1 12.5 -5.4 then go from there.Learning 0.6 -0.6 This week I tried getting up whenever it felt 1. Direct natural to wake up, and going to sleep wheneverPreparatio 5.0 0.4 4.6 I felt tired. The result was a gentle introduction How do you get people to read yourn to the day, and a lot of good, focused work in the posts? Sometimes it’s just a matter of telling evening. them about it. If you’re starting out, you might beRoutines 8.9 1.8 7.1 Big batch of worried that no one will come across your blog– cooking lunches, I’m going to try that again this week, this time posts. Even if you’ve got regular visitors, people vegan picking a time to wake up and sticking with it. might miss out on posts that you know they’ll appetizers Aside from a really early wake-up on Monday, I find useful. If you know people who may be should be able to keep a regular wake-up time.
February 2011 – sachachua.com 75interested in a post, go ahead and send it to One of the advantages of a public blog It’s okay to write about many things. Cross-them. archive is that it’s searchable. You can write pollination can lead to fascinating conversations. a blog post about a solution to a technical I often hear from people who discovered my siteMove your conversations online. I often problem, and other people who run into that because of the technical resources I shared. Theywrite blog posts to answer people’s questions or problem can find your post without knowing you. browsed around, found my sketches and myfollow up on conversations, so it’s natural to This is a great way to save other people time. stories about cooking and life, and got a bettershare those posts directly with people through e- sense of who I am as a person. Make it easy formail, Twitter, or other means. I post answers on Making your knowledge searchable saves people to find posts on topics they’re interestedmy blog as often as possible, saving e-mail for you time, too. If people can find answers for in, and create opportunities for them to discoverinformation that’s confidential or of limited themselves, they may spend less time asking you other things if they want.value. questions that you can easily answer. You can use that time to develop your skills further and solve Tips:Send people you know links they might more challenging problems.find useful (but not spammy). In addition to Whenever you write a blog post, think ofdirectly sharing posts with the people who Tips: relevant posts and resources you can linkinspired them, I also frequently send posts to to in order to help people learn more.other people who might find them useful. During Include details that people might use ina conversation or a Twitter exchange, someone Use post titles that are clear, informative, their searches. For example, if you’vemight ask a question about public speaking, and interesting to encourage people to solved a technical issue, post the errorDrupal, or any of the other topics I’m interested click on them. messages and your solution.in. Instead of explaining everything from scratch, 4. ReferralsI can send links to relevant blog posts where Increase the chances of people findingpeople can learn more. your post by using the kinds of words To grow even further, make it easy for people to they would use to search. share your thoughts with others. EncourageTips: people to think of other people who might find 3. Browsing your blog posts useful. Add Twitter, Facebook Whenever you answer a question or share Like, or other social sharing services to your blog a tip that could potentially help other Not only can people find your blog posts posts. people, consider taking a few extra by searching, they can also browse at their minutes to post it on your blog. own pace. Encourage people to explore by By making your content easier to share, you help organizing your posts in categories and by your readers create value for other people, and When you post an item on your blog, linking to relevant posts from other posts in your you reach out to your network’s network. When think about specific people who might blog. When people can learn from you and get to someone e-mails a friend link to your post, that’s find it useful, and share it directly with know you on their own, you can scale up beyond a great referral not only for your content, but also them. the number of people you can help or get to know for you. People can also share your material with in real life. a wider audience by posting it on Twitter,2. Search Facebook, or other sites. They might even write a
February 2011 – sachachua.com 76blog post going into more detail and linking to Enable comments unless you have a Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on theyour resources. strong reason not to do so. If you’re professional and personal value of blogging on concerned about spam, you can moderate March 3, 2011 (2pm-3pm EST, #infoboom).Tips: comments, use spam-blocking plug-ins, When I brainstormed some of the things I’d like or review your comments regularly. You to talk about, I ended up with a big list: not just Add social sharing buttons for Twitter, might not get many comments in the the value I get from blogging, but also tips for Facebook, and other sites, and encourage beginning, but as you build your network, how you can build that too. I hope you enjoy this people to share. you’ll find a lot of value in the blog series! You can also see other resources in conversation. this series. Keep an eye out for when people share content, and thank them. Ask questions. Ask people for A blog is an incredible way to connect with suggestions, experiences, and tips. Invite5. Learning from others people. It helps people get to know who you are, people to participate, and show your what you’re interested in, what you’re good at, appreciation when they do.Sharing your questions, ideas, who you know, what you’re working on, and anyexperiences, and lessons learned with Make it easy to send you mail, either by entity till they got to share. Reading a blog,other people is a great way to learn from using the contact form or sharing an e- people can find out what you have in commonother people’s insights. When I share what mail address. If you’re concerned about e- with them, how you can help them, and how theyI’m learning, people often share even better ways mail spam, create a special e-mail address can help you.to do things. Encourage people to comment on that you can then filter.your blog posts with questions and tips, and you 1. Introductionlearn so much in the process of sharing. Make iteasy for people to send you e-mail if they have People like getting to know people. Whensomething they would like to share more you make a new acquaintance, you might lookprivately. them up on the Internet to find out more about See other resources in this series. Tune in them. Likewise, people look you up to find outFor example, when I posted yesterday’s tips on tomorrow for more tips. You can also subscribe more about you. A blog can be like your self-the compounding value of an archive, Mohamed using a feed-reader or subscribe by e-mail to get introduction. Your about page can include asuggested improving it by adding a quote from updates. Hope this helps! short biography, and your blog posts can provideDonald Knuth. I hadn’t come across that quote further details for people who want to knowbefore, but it made the post better. People have more.shared their thoughts on waking up early, doing Get More Value from Blogging, part IV:Lotus Notes mail merges, connecting with Connecting with People Make it easy for new acquaintances to findpeople, and so on. Share, and you might learn http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22128 your blog by adding it to your e-mail signature,something from people you wouldn’t have February 28, 2011 - business card, and social networking profiles.thought of asking. Categories: blogging, connecting, highlight, tips That way, people can read your blog to build on a brief introduction. As a result, a prospectiveTips: client or new acquaintance might discover
February 2011 – sachachua.com 77common ground with you. It speeds up the I find this aspect of blogging really helpful. It’s Use your blog to show your appreciationprocess of introduction, and simplifies getting to difficult for me to e-mail people to stay in touch, for people. Be positive – don’t use it forknow people. because I don’t want to waste people’s time. I’m passive-aggressive "appreciation"! often pleasantly surprised to hear from people When someone takes the time to mentorDon’t count on being anonymous or who have kept in touch with me anyway by you, share your lessons learned ifobscure. If you have a blog that you’d rather reading my blog. I appreciate being able to read possible. That way, your mentor canpeople didn’t read, you might have a problem in other people’s blog posts and status updates as a check it and share it with others.the future. Even systems with privacy controls way of finding out more about them withoutcan disclose data through programming errors, getting in their way. The conversation mightaccidents, or malicious use. Before you post grow in this low-key way until it becomes a 4. Reaching outsomething, think about whether you can deal friendship.with the consequences of sharing it. Don’t let that A blog gives you both a reason and a wayscare you away from sharing, though! People are Tips: to reach out to people. If you’d like to talk togenerally good, and they probably won’t hold people but you aren’t sure how to start theminor mistakes against you. Post regularly to give people reasons to conversation, you might write about those people come back. on your blog. For example, you could share whatTips: you’re learning from them her even from a Make sure that it’s easy to subscribe to distance, and what you might want to talk to your blog through feeds or e-mail. them about. Many people regularly search for Add a short biography to your about page. Keep in mind that this may be seen by Keep an eye out for people who regularly their name, and they might come across your both professional and personal contacts. comment on your blog or talk to you post and start the conversation. It’s an about what you’ve written, and invest interesting way to meet book authors, Add your blog URL to your e-mail thoughtleaders, and other people active on the time in learning more about them. signature, card, social network profiles, Internet. and other places people might check. 3. Appreciation Don’t expect a response, but be ready in case2. Deepening the connection people reach out. Who knows? Maybe you can A thank-you note is good; a public thank-you, even ask a question, and maybe people will share done well, is even better. When you share what a quick answer. It can pay to ask.How do people go from being acquaintances to you’ve learned from people and yourcolleagues or friends? How can you develop a appreciation for how they’ve helped, that builds Tips:chance conversation at a networking event into a your relationship with those people, inspirespartnership that last years? Shared experiences others, and reflects well on you. It also helpsand personal knowledge go along way to Show your interest, but don’t be creepy. people confirm what they’ve helped you learndeepening that connection, and you can help that Yes to admiration, no to stalking. and to share that with others – a great way to payalong through your blog. mentors back. If you reach out to people through e-mail, you can mention your blog post about Tips:
February 2011 – sachachua.com 78 them as a way of sharing what you’ve can build an archive of your thoughts. If people Tips: been learning from them. think your thoughts are interesting, they can explore your blog to find out more. If your When you read a blog post that inspires Look for something of value that you can thoughts are sprinkled in comments on different you to think about it, write a blog post bring to the conversation, even if it’s a blog posts, it’s harder for others to get that sense and link really good question. Don’t reach out just of you. for the sake of getting an e-mail from an Look for blogs on topics you’re interested A-lister, and don’t beg people for a link in. Read the comments for a while to get a You’ll still want to reach out to other back from their blog. sense of what the discussion is like. Try people through commenting on their blogs, of course. Many blogs can automatically posting a few comments. When you find5. The great conversation detect blog posts that link to them, but it’s nice to yourself wanting to say more, post those leave a comment summarizing your thoughts and thoughts on your blog, and link to it. (ButAround the world, lots of conversations are thanking people for the inspiration. Don’t make nicely!)happening through blogs. Someone posts an your comments all about you, though! Whenidea. Others write blog posts linking to the first you’re commenting on people’s blogs, it’s likepost and sharing their thoughts. Yet others write you’re chatting in their living room. You wouldn’tblog posts following up on those posts. Along the want to make the conversation all about you.way, people comment on blog posts, share their Read comments on other people’s blogs to get areactions on Twitter and other social networks, See other resources in this series. Tune in sense of the etiquette. Blatant self-promotionand talk about posts in person or through e-mail. doesn’t work well. Focus on adding value to tomorrow for more tips. You can also subscribe conversations on other blogs, and link to a using a feed-reader or subscribe by e-mail to getParticipating in the conversation is so relevant blog post if you’ve written about updates. Hope this helps!much better when you have your own something in more details.blog. You can write longer posts in it, and you
March 2011 – sachachua.com 79 I can deal with this. My manager thinks I can March 3, 2011 (2pm-3pm EST, #infoboom). handle it. IBM has a great support network and When I brainstormed some of the things I’d likeMarch 2011 I’ve got plenty of mentors. I’m learning a lot from to talk about, I ended up with a big list: not just the other people on the team. It’s going to be the value I get from blogging, but also tips forDealing with intimidating projects okay. And at the end of the day, I’ll learn how to how you can build that too. I hope you enjoy this work with a pretty decent-sized IBM software blog series! You can also see other resources inhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22129 stack, integrate with lots of middleware, work this value of blogging series.March 1, 2011 - Categories: career, ibm, work with complex web services, and maybe even turn things that scare me into things that I enjoy. You might feel awkward in the beginning, butI’m working on my first big IBM project, trust me, all that writing practice from your blogsomething that goes beyond Perl scripts and Here’s what I’m planning to do: will pay off. Blogging is a great way to figure outDrupal websites. My manager thinks it will be a not only what you want to say, but how you wantgood assignment for me. The component  Install Rational Software Architect and to say it. Better communication skills will helpdiagram looks like alphabet soup, and I haven’t learn how to use it to view project you at work and in life!worked with any of the pieces before. It’s designs.intimidating.  Learn how to use Rational Software 1. Writing Architect for web services.Open source projects like Drupal or Rails don’t Blogging helped me fall in love withscare me as much, even though they require a lot  Figure out what I need to learn for writing. I got frustrated in school, writingof figuring out and hacking as well. I think it’s Websphere Application Server or book reports and essays that didn’t reallybecause I’m confident that I can figure things out Websphere Portal to make the web matter. When I started blogging, Ifrom the source or from the Internet, and services happen. discovered the joy of writing for myselfbecause I can hold more of it in my head. This  Stay sane throughout the process. =) and others. It turned out to be a lot of fun,project will involve quite a few IBM components, and now writing is one of my favouriteand I can’t work with, understand, or even 2011-03-01 Tue 16:26 activities. It pays off at work, too.remember everything. It’s big. Tips:But I know this feeling of incipient panic, and Get More Value from Blogging, part V:I’ve dealt with worse before. It’s the same feeling Communication Matters o Practise outlining orI got as a teaching assistant at the University of http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22130 mindmapping your blog posts. AsToronto, doubting myself because I was helping you get better at planning yourpeople learn something I was just learning about March 1, 2011 - Categories: blogging, highlight, tips, web2.0, writ posts, you’ll be able to write themmyself. I remember feeling uncertain. I more quickly.remember feeling like an impostor. I felt inglike giving up. Then my department chair set me o Review your old posts and revisestraight, and I made it through. Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on the them. Figure out what you keep professional and personal value of blogging on
March 2011 – sachachua.com 80 writing about, and summarize or Tips: o Post your outlines and update your posts. presentation ideas on your blog, o Add something visual to your blog and use your blog posts to draft o Read lots of blogs to get a sense of – either something you made, or a presentations or collect material. the kinds of blog posts you enjoy relevant image from the Internet. This will make it easier to prepare reading. Emulate different styles (Respect copyright.) presentations later, and you can and challenge yourself to try learn from other people’s feedback different techniques. o One way to get better at along the way. o Don’t let perfectionism stop you photography or drawing is to set a from writing. Your blog posts may public goal of posting a photo or feel like rough drafts, but you’ll sketch regularly (ex: one photo a 4. Conversation get better at writing over time. day). Give it a try! Blogs make conversations so much easier for me. When I talk to people, I often find 2. Visual communication 3. Presentation myself thinking about or referring to things I’ve written. It really helps to have Whether you’re writing a professional If you give presentations, a blog can be an thought about some things and be able to blog or a personal blog, it can be good to incredible resource. You can use your express them clearly, and I love sharing add visual interest through photographs blog to draft and share ideas, collect additional resources. or drawings. You can develop an eye for material, get feedback, share your images and visual communication by presentation, and follow up with people. My blog posts have also led to all sorts of including Creative Commons-licensed conversations I wouldn’t have had photos or stock photos in your posts, Many of my presentations have grown out otherwise. I sometimes find it difficult to appropriately attributed when necessary. of blog posts, and I’ve received a number start a conversation. Fortunately, people You can also take your own pictures or of invitations to speak from people read my blog and start the conversation draw your own illustrations, adding more who’ve come across my posts. My blog with me, both online and in person. of a personal touch to your blog while gives me a place to try ideas out, refine helping you develop your skills. them, get feedback, and put together Conversations lead to blog posts, too. presentations. There, my blog gives me the opportunity My blog–and the presentations that grew to continue the conversation, reflect on out of it–helped me rediscover drawing. Tips: things I’m learning, and share them with You can see the evolution of a wider audience. I get to show my my sketches from scrawny stick-figures o Post your presentations and share appreciation for the insights people have on a Nintendo DS to slighly-less-scrawny the URLs when you give shared with me, and I get to learn from stick figures on a tablet PC. I’ve come to presentations. This gives people a other people’s perspectives. enjoy drawing, and sometimes people way to follow up. even ask me to draw something for them. Tips:
March 2011 – sachachua.com 81 o Write about things people might just write whenever I’m learning or solving find useful, then blend these problems. thoughts into your conversations See other resources in this value of Let me ask another way, about how much where appropriate. blogging series. time goes into each entry? @dgriess Depends on topic. Usually 5-15 minutes extra, or o Follow up on conversations in Tune in tomorrow for more tips. You can 30+ if I’m braindumping tips for others / your blog. also subscribe using a feed- exploring something new. reader or subscribe by e-mail to get updates. Hope this helps! What would you recommend for those 5. Avoiding the curse of expertise who try to blog on behalf of their company? How can they carve out Many people don’t want to write about Questions and answers from time? @KevinMGreen things they don’t feel are their expertise. #infoboomSC tweetchat on blogging It’s marketing, professional development, Experts are experts because they’ve http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22131 networking, and all sorts of good stuff. Great achieved unconscious competence; ROI. Makes sense to do it. they’ve forgotten more than other people March 3, 2011 - have learned. Experts often have a hard Categories: blogging, tips, tweet, twitter, web2.0, writing Finding time always seems to be the time explaining things to other people biggest challenge. @KevinMGreen because they’ve forgotten the details that Try tweaking your workflow so that you write stump newcomers. So experts aren’t Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat about blogging. I learned so much from it, and I hope along the way. Check importance/efficiency of really the best people who can write about other things you do. things, especially for beginners. It’s better others do too! Here’s what we talked about. On making the time to write On perfectionism and personal branding to write along the way, while you’re learning, so that people can understand My question for this chat: What would and so that you won’t take things for Your output is amazing. I don’t know where you find the time to post daily. How help _you_ get more value from blogging? granted. What are your challenges / goals? do you do it? @infoBOOM Writing != extra work. Making it part of the way I kurtisgriess: Hardest thing abt blogging for me is Tips: planning and perfectionism… takes me forever! work helps me be more effective. http://sachachua.com/blog/p/21845. pgillin: Hardest thing for me abt blogging is o Don’t wait until you’re an expert. feeling I have to always be profound. Worried Write while you’re learning. Also, I think about ROI on my time. No TV; yes writing, reading, about wasting ppl’s time. (Sacha: Reading is o Use your archive to remember experimenting. http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22 optional, skimming is easy. You don’t have to be what it was like to learn 053. perfect, or profound, or even interesting. ;) ) something complicated. KevinMGreen: likewise How much time do you spend per blog? Paul #infoboomsc always trying to deliver can What time of day do you do it? @dgriess be intimidating I’ve tried writing morning pages, but I usually Sacha: Me, I’m looking forward to writing about
March 2011 – sachachua.com 82more things (life! work! awesomeness!), and brand @elsua What’s your thinking on comments? Dogetting better at organizing for discovery. I wish people worried less about "personal you try to respond to them brands" and felt better about connecting as all? @infoBOOMWhat are common mistakes you _people_. =) I reply to as many comments as I can. I’m suresee/experience? @KevinMGreen On finding ideas some slip through cracks. Easier than e-mail. =)Perfectionism and the related fear of having to Also, warm contacts.publicly change your mind or admit room for Many people have trouble coming up withimprovement. ;) Partly our collective fault, ideas for their blog. Any tricks you can How would you describe your voice? Orbecause we scare people re: the unforgiving share? @infoBOOM does that even matter to you? @infoBOOMmemory of the Internet. I disagree with that. You Write about everything My blogging voice? Me. I’m like this in real life. Itare never going to be perfect. You’re also never (http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22082). Don’t makes writing much easier — and living’s easier,going to get better unless you try. ;) worry about niche too. =) (http://sachachua.com/blog/p/7046).I wrestle with "perfecting" a thought. You don’t use gimmicks like "top 10" listsProbably thinking too hard on my Can you share any tricks for what to do or "best and worst." Is that byindividual entries. @dgriess when you run out of ideas? Or does that design? @infoBOOMIt’s easier to work with a draft or post than with a ever happen? @infoBOOM Can’t stand reading or writing generic blog postsblank slate. There will always be a better way to Do you ever run out of things to learn, or things with arbitrary rankings. I’ll use mnemonicsay things. you can help other people learn? No lack of structures, though. material.I can imagine there would be some folks You post weekly review lists. What’s theout there who may not feel comfortable What’s the one tool/resource you rely on reason? @infoBOOMabout blogging their work. @elsua to create such compelling On the practice of a weeklyBlog transparency may not be for everyone just content? @KevinMGreen review: http://sachachua.com/blog/p/6946yet, but it’s surprisingly less scary than most Best resource for blogging: Life. Best tools: thepeople think. questions: "Why? Why not? How can we make In your opinion, what’s the ideal length of this even better?" a blog post? Or does it depend on theHow can people bypass that risk aversion On practices topic? @elsuaand dive into it slowly, but steadily? Don’t I try to stick to one clear thought per blog post,fear, just blog? @elsua Do you write in your blog more for saying as much or as little as I have to say aboutSmall steps can help people get over fear, yourself or for others? What’s the that. Lengths vary.experience immediate balance? @kurtisgriessbenefits: http://sachachua.com/blog/p/7316 Mostly myself (can’t trust my memory). Often for What do you use to manage your editorial (usually specific) others, just in case others find it approach? I still send myself emails which … Ideally that people should understand helpful. is not really effective. @KevinMGreenhow blogging is perhaps the most I keep a big text file on laptop with rough notespowerful trait for their personal
March 2011 – sachachua.com 83and ideas, and I post snippets on a regular basis Archive of potential material. Better ROI and We’re thinking of doing another tweetchat withor by plan. reach. Invitations. Also, feedback on content, #infoboom in three months. In the meantime, if delivery, and technology. Continuous you have any questions, thoughts, suggestions,When someone sends you a question by e- improvement. Confidence. Connection. or tips, please feel free to share them throughmail, do you often post answer to blog and comments, blog posts, and Twitter! Would yousend them link? @infoBOOM Many bloggers are too focused on the like to host a conversation about a topic I’mShift e-mail conversations to blog posts when audience and less about the personal passionate about? Let’s talk about it!possible. Widens the conversation, reaches more value they receive. @KevinMGreenpeople, saves more time. Tons of immed. indiv. value.http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22119 New Get More Value from Blogging, part VI:You do write about a lot of topics. Do you bloggers, take heart, even if no one reads Let’s Get Down to Businessever worry that you lack expertise in these you! #infoboomsc http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22132areas? @infoBOOM March 4, 2011 -When you’re learning, that’s the best time to Can you tell one or two stories of Categories: blogging, business, career, highlight,write. Don’t wait until you’re an expert and remarkable things that happened to you tips, web2.0, work, writingyou’ve forgotten. because of your blogging? @infoBOOMMiscellaneous Got job created for me Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on (http://sachachua.com/blog/p/6456), found the professional and personal value ofWhen you started your blog, did you set mentors (http://sachachua.com/blog/p/6928)… blogging yesterday. When I brainstormed somegoals on spec. milestones (traffic, of the things I’d like to talk about, I ended upsubscribers)? @kaeppler Sacha, would love for you to share with a big list: not just the value I get fromEarly: class notes, Emacs snippets, things to insights on how you use blogging to blogging, but also tips for how you can buildremember. Didn’t care about traffic or narrate your work @elsua that too. I hope you enjoy this blog series! Yousubscribers, but happy I helped. Still don’t focus Blogging is a great way to understand complex can also see other resources in this value ofon traffic or subscribers, although honoured to issues. It also helps shape culture of knowledge- blogging series.see them. It’s not about numbers, it’s about sharing – many benefits!people. Is there one blog post that stands out as 1. ROI[…] Was "living an awesome life" your particularly memorable to you? Andfirst blog at all? @kaeppler why? @infoBOOM Blog your work to increase your return onIt’s actually just an alternative name for It’s like asking me what my favourite book is. ;) investment or effort by remembering moresachachua.com – livinganawesomelife.com is Lots of context-sensitive favourites. A recent effectively and by reaching more people.easier to remember/spell. ;) highlight: http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22017, but that could be because I cut my finger in the How much time do you spend solving problemsYou’ve written that blogging has made you process. ;) similar to what you’ve encountered before,a better presenter. How? @infoBOOM answering questions you’ve already answeredPractice in figuring out what to say, how to say it. before, or remembering information you need to
March 2011 – sachachua.com 84solve new challenges? Take notes and save that Make it easy for people to discover your Use your blog to demonstrate your skillstime. updates or even subscribe to them. and your character. Invest time into building thoughtHow much time can you save other people if you 3. Connection leadership through blog posts, articles,share your notes with them? Are there other and presentations.people in your organization, client base, or If you add personal touches to your professionalnetwork who could benefit from your solutions? blog, you can make it easier for potential clientsShare your notes. 5. Jobs and careers and coworkers to connect with you through common interests. Write about why you do theTips: A blog can help you look for a great job or plan work that you do and what you love about it. your career. Use it to explore your strengths and Write about your other interests, too. Invest the extra minutes in taking and figure out how to communicate them. Use it to sharing notes in order to increase your think about what kinds of companies would be a Tips: ROI. good fit for you, and where you would be a good fit. Use it to connect with people and ask them Don’t be afraid of bringing your for help. Use it to reflect on where you want to go2. Questions, updates, resources, and personality to your blog. Use it to connect with your career and what kind of value you wantserendipitous conversations with people. to create.One of the challenges of blogging is that you Example: Tips:don’t know who’s going to read it. That’s also oneof the advantages. When you ask a question, you Maybe people really are generous with Don’t beg for a job. Use your blog tomight be surprised by who answers it – perhaps their wisdom communicate strength, passion, andsomeone you wouldn’t have thought of asking. professionalism.When you post an update, you might make anunexpected connection with someone else, and 4. Reputation Build a network of mentors and friends.learn about resources you might not have Connect with people and ask them fordiscovered on your own. When you talk about Blog your work to build your reputation. When advice. people read about what you’re working on, theysomething you’re working on, you might end upin a serendipitous conversation with someone learn about your skills and get a sense of who you are as a person. The next time they come across a 6. Accountability and transparencywho can make use of it or help you with it. It’sthe online equivalent of the lucky hallway chat, challenge that looks like it’s a good fit, they might think of you and refer the opportunity to you. Blogging is a great way to make publicexcept with a lot more people in the virtual commitments and hold yourself to them. You canhallway. Particularly if you’re starting out, sharing your knowledge will help you build your network and use this for both personal and professional your reputation. goals..Tips: Tips:
March 2011 – sachachua.com 85If you speak on behalf of a company, then you Why come when you can get the contentdefinitely need a fast way to respond to any from my blog or posted presentations?issues that come up. With the speed ofconversation on Twitter and blogs, you can’t wait See other resources in this value of Get extra energy from hearing and seeingfor press releases. Establish this channel before a blogging series. Tune in tomorrow for more me talk about things I’m excited aboutpublic relations crisis comes up. It’s better to tips. You can also subscribe using a feed-admit a mistake and work with people on Ask questions and share your thoughts in reader or subscribe by e-mail to get updates. the text chatresolving it than to stonewall. Hope this helps! Connect and help me and others learn7. Culture Presentation experiment: Shy Connector, Here are the presentations I’m thinking of doing.Whether you’re an executive or a newcomer, you Six Steps to Sharing, and other They’ll be every Saturday in March, 12 noon – 1can influence the culture of your organization presentations in March! PM Eastern Time, and I’ll see if I can hack a waythrough what you share. When you share what http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22097 to record and sharing the presentations. Feel freeyou know through your blog, you encourage a to share these events with others! March 5, 2011 -culture of knowledge-sharing. When you add a Categories: presentation, speakingpersonal touch, you contribute to a culture ofhuman connection. When you show that you The Shy Connector, March 5, 2011, 12pm-1pm Slideshare’s new Zipcast feature nudged me toaren’t afraid of making mistakes and learning EST, http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/meeting experiment with giving more onlinefrom them, you develop a culture of growth. This Are you an introvert? I am too! Use these seven presentations externally. I regularly givecan have a powerful effect on your organization, tips to help you make the most of your introvert presentations inside IBM using our Lotus Liveboth online and offline. strengths and connect with people. Meetings service. Because of the usage charges, Add to though, I haven’t gotten around to offering manyTips: externally-available presentations. I accept invitations to speak, but I tend not to organize Consider the fit between how you want to things myself. Six Steps to Sharing, March 12, 2011, 12pm- write and what the existing culture is. Be 1pm prepared for differences, and modify your I think that’s worth experimenting with. Not only EST, http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/meeting approach accordingly. For example, if you are web conferences a good way to get ideas out Want to get started in blogging, but don’t think want to shift your surrounding culture to to more people, they’re also a great way for me to you know anything worth sharing? Here’s how share more, anticipate and address learn from the questions and answers people small steps can help you build the habit of people’s concerns. have. I’m going to organize weekly presentations, sharing and learning online. If you’re a leader, take the initiative in taking advantage of Zipcast’s beta and seeing Add to demonstrating the kind of company whether this is something worth investing in culture you want to encourage. going forward.
March 2011 – sachachua.com 86Remote Presentations That Rock, March 19, Work o Helped with study group2011, 12pm-1pm o [X] Deliver “Remote o Got my TD Waterhouse accountEST http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/meeting Presentations That Rock” sorted out (kinda)Want to get better at reaching, teaching, andinspiring people through online presentations? o [X] Work on ECM project Plans for next weekFind it challenging to connect with people or o [-] Get things going with Drupalcontinue the conversation? Use these seven tips project Workto create and deliver remote presentations thatrock. o [X] Prepare other presentations o  Work on critsit involving AJAXAdd to and resources and PHP o [X] Do IBM #infoboom tweetchat o  Start building web services on how to get more value from using Websphere Application blogging ServerGet More Value from Blogging, March 26,2011, 12pm- o [-] Post the rest of series on o  Shepherd the Rails project1pm, http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/meeting getting more value from blogging through legal approval process – Almost doneHow can you make blogging pay off for you Relationshipsbetter, personally and professionally? Pick up o Back into programming, yay! Gottips and ask questions in this session! AJAX/PHP project started. o  Meet up with Cate Huston andAdd to Maggie Zhou Relationships o  Help with study group o [X] Host tea get-together o  Book flights o [X] Reach out to new blogCan you think of other people who might find commenters – well, mostly old Lifethese presentations useful? blog commenters o  Try more Zipcast experimentsWhat else would you like to learn more about? o Checked out Liberty Village o  Practise driving Toastmasters o  Write about tweetchats andWeekly review: Week ending March 4, Life presentations2011 o  Work on planshttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22134 o [-] Experiment with fixed-time wakeups Time analysisMarch 5, 2011 - Categories: weekly o [X] Draw moreFrom last week’s plans o [X] Write monthly review
March 2011 – sachachua.com 87Experiment for the week: more social stuff. Met This is great stuff, and exactly what I should be This Lastpeople, had mentoring chats, reached out Category Delta Notes learning. Can’t wait! week weekthrough e-mail, etc. From last month’s plans: This Last to officeCategory Delta Notes week week several Work timesBreak 1.3 3.7 -2.4 [X] Work on new project Work 40.2 37.4 2.8Drawing 4.7 -4.7 [-] Put together talks for Deeper Insight, Remote Presentations That Rock, and the Writing 4.8 7.1 -2.3 ITSC: Did the second two, but not theExercise 3.8 3.3 0.5 firstPersonal 1.6 1.7 -0.1 More time spent commuting, but it was with W-, [X] Mentor more people so it was a lot of fun. =) Participated in LotusphereLearning 0 Learned how to estimate and scope Monthly review: February 2011 projectsPreparation 3.2 5.0 -1.8 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22135 March 6, 2011 - Categories: monthly RelationshipsRoutines – 2.3 8.9 -6.6 Living offcooking leftovers, February was an interesting month at work. Lots [X] Organize get-together efficiency of presentations, for one – that’s the easy part. yay =) [X] Get visa and arrange travel details Lotusphere was quite an experience, too. I’ve started helping with estimates, scoping projects, Learned new recipesRoutines – 7.6 10.5 -2.9 preparing paperwork, and learning newgeneral platforms. This is the longest I’ve worked at IBM Life without being heads-down on one or twoRoutines – 7.8 2.4 5.4 projects. Instead, I’m juggling the plans for [X] Write up more reflectionstidying several. My manager isn’t stressed out about this, Experimented with Zipcasts, tweetchats, so I’m not stressing out about it either. and other ways to share what I knowSleep 58.5 55.7 2.8 When it rains, it pours. If these proposals go Plans for March:Social 29.2 27.0 2.2 Tea party through, they’ll probably sign at roughly the same time. Some of them are flexible and some Work of them have tighter timelines, so March andTravel 7.5 0.6 6.9 Went up April promise to be full of learning experiences.
March 2011 – sachachua.com 88 [ ] Shepherd more projects to signing and Communication tips: Other stories: work [ ] Learn how to implement web services Disagreement and the road to trusting Lotusphere 2011 wrap-up on Websphere Application Server yourself A story of pi [ ] Create and deliver more presentations How I Learned to Stop Worrying and On appearance and bias: thoughts from Love the Webinar: Energy, Interaction, [ ] Finish blog series on blogging the Nerd Girls panel at Lotusphere 2011 and ROI Working on estimatesRelationships From zero to hero: a newbie’s guide to learning and building a reputation along Thinking about personal random moment the way studies [ ] Host another get-together LinkedIn tip: Customize your profile URL Hackbuzzbuzzbuzz [ ] Build a set of people to call once a week ITSC guide to conference awesomeness Books to write [X] Check out Toastmasters again Get More Value from Blogging, part I: On friendship and getting better at it [ ] Practise driving The Immediate Benefits of Thought On presenting, anxiety, and moving Get More Value from Blogging, part II: forwardLife The Compounding Value of an Archive More about getting 27″ washers and Get More Value from Blogging, part III: dryers down 26″ hallways [ ] Refine my plans Sharing Makes the Blog Go ‘Round On friendship and becoming more social [ ] Start seedlings Get More Value from Blogging, part IV: Book: Daddy Long Legs, and letters Connecting with PeopleWeekly/monthly reviews: Waking up: looking at my data Decision review: Limiting my blog to one Monthly review: January 2011 post a day How I spent my Family Day weekend Weekly review: Week ending February 4, Posted revised “Remote Presentations 2011 That Rock” presentation Can’t see cross-domain images in your Weekly review: Week ending February 11, Trying out Slideshare’s new Zipcast Flash file? Make a crossdomain.xml 2011 feature http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22136 Weekly review: Week ending February 18, Kaizen: Thinking about presentations March 8, 2011 - Categories: geek 2011 Imagine success for social media My mom recently noticed that images weren’t Weekly review: Week ending February Things to write about: questions for your loading in the Flash viewer 25, 2011 blogger’s block on www.adphoto.com.ph but they were loaded
March 2011 – sachachua.com 90to figure out what actions are important and probably a talk I’d need to give in person, trying to deal with this issue from the web servicewhere improvements would have the most effect considering webconference interaction patterns explorer:– where your moments of truth are. For example, and screen-sharing delays. Hmm…it really pays to improve my abilities in IWAB0135E An unexpected error has occurred.programming, writing, and note-taking, because (Maureen: there is a screenplay mode for Emacs. 302I do that a lot and it creates a lot of value at work Isn’t that amazing? Might be worth learning Foundand in life. On the other hand, I don’t stress out Emacs. More writing resources on theabout typing even faster, because that’s not my EmacsWiki. If you’re intrigued by it, check outbottleneck. And I also make sure to invest time theEmacs Newbie resources.) (Solution: Check the endpoints you’ve defined ininto all sorts of other aspects of life, because your WSDL, or define new ones. example.orgthose are important to me too. 2011-03-08 Tue 23:40 won’t work.)Back to Emacs and the presentation. My goal for Once we got over those roadblocks, things flowedthe talk wasn’t to convert anyone or show people Leveling up as a developer! smoothly. We used Rational Software Architectspecifically how to set up their environment. I http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22138 to define web services, deployed them onwanted to give people an idea of what my Websphere Application Server, and queried a March 9, 2011 - Categories: geek, ibm, workworkflow looks like, expose them to some of the DB2 database. We also figured out how to workthings Emacs can do, and perhaps inspire people It’s satisfying adding a bunch of IBM acronyms with complex data types and lists for both inputto learn more about their tools. (I made sure to and output. We needed to figure out how to to my “marketable skills.” They’re not thatmention lots of cool things about vi, too!) We intimidating after all! consume web services too, so I dug around until Istarted at 7:30 and had a great discussion for two found a web service defined by a WSDL thathours (two hours!) that flew by until the I spent the morning and part of the afternoon played well with our configuration. All these bitsorganizers suggested it was time to wrap up. pair-programming with Bharat Boddu on a time- and pieces will come in handy when we startQuite a few people came up to me afterwards and sensitive project involving an IBM software working on the real requirements.told me that they were inspired to learn more stack. It was a struggle in the beginning. Both ofabout Emacs. Whee! I can feel myself learning all sorts of new things. I us were new to all of this, and the sheer volume of information available for Rational Software love these moments: the magic of conceptsThat was tons of fun. I’d do it again. It has to be Architect, Websphere Application Server, DB2, snapping together, like the way you reach outan interactive group, somewhat casual (so that and other parts of the stack was overwhelming. and find things right where you’re looking forpeople feel free to interject questions) and The simplest of things tripped us up because we them. And I’m slowly inching my way intotechnical (helps to have a few other Emacs users didn’t know how to debug them. For example, we another area of developer awesomeness: dealingin the audience, and a general interest in tools). learned the hard way that adding the DB2 classes with middleware, service-oriented architecture,Voice is probably a huge component of it – both to the project’s classpath didn’t mean that they and all sorts of other business-y things.being able to communicate enthusiasm and for were part of the runtime configuration classpaththe conversational aspect of the discussion. Here’s what I do well, and what I’m learning to when the web services were deployed to theScreen-sharing or projection is vital; this kind of do even better. server. I also spent what seemed like an hourtalk wouldn’t have worked with slides. So it’s
March 2011 – sachachua.com 91 I’m good at breaking down tasks or I’m doing surprisingly well at ideas into small chunks that I can juggling multiple projects. I’ve got work on or test. This is really helpful two projects that are time-sensitive, and when learning something new, because it we seem to be doing okay. There are helps me gain skills andconfidence. It’s several projects in the pipeline that I’m challenging when I can’t get enough of a working on, too. I keep personal notes on grip on something to figure out what a what’s on my radar and what I need to do, good first task is, or sometimes what the and I’m good at keeping folks up to date. I intermediate tasks are, but once I get the can get even better at this by spending hang of the internal logic of something, I more time to communication and can go pretty quickly. I’m getting even planning, and possibly setting up some Wish it could pull in all of my old blog posts and better at this by learning about more filtering rules for my inbox. tweets, though! =) platforms and toolkits, and by learning bigger “chunks”. I’m glad my manager took a chance on these Potentially interesting feature: collaborate with projects, even though I did have to work through other people on a timeline. Hmm… Similarly, I’m good at breaking looming panic. ;) (It gets much easier to deal down unknown quantities and with intimidating systems when you get going!) figuring out how to test parts of them. I can apply the problem- Math and energy This is good. I like this feeling. And I can still fit http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22142 decomposition skill I use in development in sleep, presentations, blog posts, homework to estimating and planning, too. The book March 11, 2011 - help, and sanity breaks. =) Hmm… I recently read (How to Measure Categories: learning, life, teaching Anything) had great tips on how to 2011-03-09 Wed 16:51 strategically reduce uncertainty; reading We’ve been hosting math study groups over at that gave me a way to recognize what I’m our place every Friday afternoon, and doing and to improve that. So, for Trying MemoLane (social timeline) occasionally on other days too. Today we example, I can start with an estimate with http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22141 reviewed the multiplication table, and adding a wide range, and I can break it down into and multiplying fractions (even mixed the risky parts and some ideas on how to March 10, 2011 - Categories: web2.0 numbers!). We also snuck in a preview of get a better understanding of the dividing fractions (mindboggling!) and some numbers. Trying MemoLane on David Ing’s letters from the Greek alphabet (with brief recommendation. It organizes blog posts, Twitter excursions into pi, trigonometry, and others). I’m getting better at quickly posts, Facebook entries, and other social prototyping applications. It’s fun information into a rather pretty timeline. This They had been practising! The kids rattled off the taking a simple idea from a whiteboard has been done before, but Memolane does have a multiples of six, seven, and eight with growing sketch to a mostly-working prototype in a pretty interface. confidence. They only needed a little reminder to day. =D handle addition and multiplication of fractions.
March 2011 – sachachua.com 92After they told me how their teacher had sprung I’m so glad we’re doing this. I wonder how we o [-] Write about tweetchats anda brainteaser on them (24, 68, 101, 214, …), I can share more of what we’re doing, maybe help presentationsshared this one: 31, 28, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31… They more kids and parents gain confidence too… o [X] Work on planssolved it after a hint, and looked very excitedabout the idea of possibly stumping their 2011-03-11 Fri 20:56 o Gave GTALug presentation on Orgteachers. And then there’s this other one they left modethe house with: 3, 3, 5, 4, 4, 3, 5, 5, 4, 3, 6, … Plans for next week Weekly review: Week ending March 11,“I didn’t know how a math study group could be 2011fun,” one of the parents said, “but now I see http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22143 Workhow.” She had joined us a little early to find out March 12, 2011 - Categories: weekly o [ ] Work on critsit involving AJAXwhat it was like. Her son was practically begging and PHPus for a chance to do the multiplication tables, so From last week’s planswe did another round of them, with the grown- o [ ] Deploy web services ontoups joining in too. =) Work Websphere Application Server in test environment o [X] Work on critsit involvingWhat’s it like hosting a study group at our place? AJAX and PHP o [ ] Create stub web services,We aren’t like the tutors I remember from home: maybe integrate with DB2the quiet one who helped my sister with math o [X] Start building web servicesand other subjects, or the ones who came to our using Websphere Application o [ ] Sort out work priorities forhouse to help us with Chinese. W- and I have Server Apriltons of fun teaching. We come up with examples o [X] Shepherd the Rails projectand exercises, throw in all sorts of zany ideas, Relationships through legal approval processsneak in advanced material as well as o [ ] Catch up with mail, networksconfidence-building reviews. Relationships o [ ] Help with study groupI really like the small group format. I can bring o [X] Meet up with Cate Huston and o [ ] Make pie for Pi Dayeven more energy to that than I remember from Maggie Zhoumy days of teaching computer science in o [X] Help with study group Lifeuniversity, and I can modify the lessons andexercises faster. It’s like the thrill of an especially o [X] Book flights o [ ] Finish value of blogging seriesinteractive presentation, except that I get to o [ ] Write about tutoring mathactually see what people do with the ideas in the Lifeend. I can see the aha! moments happen, see o [ ] More Zipcast experiments: o [X] Try more Zipcast experiments what if I treat them like officeprogress week after week. o [-] Practise driving – it’s been very hours? snowy and icy
March 2011 – sachachua.com 93 o [ ] Write about tweetchats and the value I get from blogging, but also tips for This Last what I want out of them Delt how you can build that too. I hope you enjoy this Category wee wee Notes a blog series! You can also see other resources in o [ ] Make more bread k k this value of blogging series.Time analysis general included tidying time 1. Making your goals realHad a focused week at work (critical projectsplus lots of other things going on), but still Writing about your goals can be scary. You mightmanaged to keep it within reasonable hours. Routines – 1.6 7.8 -6.2 feel that people will laugh at your goals, or thatFound some time to apply digital painting tips I tidying they’ll embarrass you if you don’t achieve them.picked up from the Web. Shifted travel time and You might worry about sounding over-ambitious,social time to preparing for presentations. Sleep 59.0 58.5 0.6 or not ambitious enough. This Last Delt Social 24.2 29.2 -5.0 Presentatio But there’s a lot of value in writing about yourCategory wee wee Notes a n, study goals, even if you start by doing so in a private k k group entry. When you write about what you want inBreak 3.0 1.3 1.7 life, why you want it, and how you can get to that Travel 5.1 7.5 -2.4 point, that path becomes clearer. When your goals dim and your willpower fades, you canDrawing 1.2 1.2 Work 40.8 40.2 0.6 inspire yourself by reviewing your notes, reminding yourself of your goals and why theyExercise 2.2 3.8 -1.6 matter. Writing 4.8 4.8 0.0Personal 6.1 1.6 4.5 Preparing Tips: Set a goal for yourself. Write about it. Write presentation about why it matters to you. Write about your s Get More Value from Blogging, Part VII: plans for achieving your goal. Review your notes Inspiring Yourself and Inspiring Others when you need a burst of energy.Preparatio 2.0 3.2 -1.2 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22144n 2. Connecting with inspiration March 13, 2011 - Categories: blogging, inspiration, tips, web2.0, wRoutines – 3.2 2.3 0.9 Slightly riting The Internet can make it easy to connect withcooking more time other people who have similar goals. Look for for Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on the blogs that inspire you. If you share your breakfasts professional and personal value of blogging. reflections through blog posts of your own, When I brainstormed some of the things I’d like linking to the posts or people who’ve inspiredRoutines – 14.8 7.6 7.2 Probably to talk about, I ended up with a big list: not just you, you can build unexpected relationships and
March 2011 – sachachua.com 94learn from or even help your role models in surprised by how you touch other people’s lives. labour included. They’re definitely worth itsurprising ways. And it gets even better – you might learn a lot compared to eating out. The coconut cocktail from the people you inspire, too. buns (pan de coco?) I spent this weekendTips: Comment on inspiring blog posts. If you learning are cheaper at the store, but they werehave more to say, write a blog post that refers to One of the things that makes it easier for me to still very much worth making.theirs. Share what you’re learning from people think out loud – to share whatever I’m learningand how you’ve tried those ideas in your life. about or struggling with on my blog – is that I We followed a recipe from an old book that W- often hear from other people who’ve learned a had bought from a pastry store in Chinatown a3. Progress little from what I’ve shared, or who are glad to long time ago. It was a different way of making find someone else dealing with similar situations, dough. The first step was to mix yeast, warmChange can be long, slow, and tiring. If you can or who are happy to finally have words for water, and flour. I was a little nervous in thelook back at the progress you’ve made, though, something they’ve struggled to describe. We’re beginning because it was more of a slurry than ayou might find it easier to keep going. You can all in this together, and it’s great to be able to paste. Once it rose and I combined it with theuse your blog to keep track of your progress. help and inspire other people. rest of the flour, it was beautifully dough-like, made smooth and elastic through kneading. AfterIf you’re trying to establish a new habit, you Tips: Don’t be afraid of sharing what you’re several rounds of rising, I filled it with themight write about how well you’re doing, or what learning, even the parts that are hard. Who coconut mix, wrapped the dough around it, let ityou can do to make it easier to do what you want knows whom you might help along the way? rest some more, then popped it into the oven forto do. If you’re working on improving your skills, 15 minutes. The result:your blog posts can help you keep track of yourgrowth. For example, when I started learning And that’s the last item in this value ofmore about drawing, I blogged my stick figures. blogging series. Like this? You canThanks to my blog, I can see how my drawing also subscribe using a feed-reader or subscribetechniques have evolved over time, and I get less by e-mail to get updates. Hope this helps!frustrated because I know I’m making progress.Tips: Write about your progress, and think about Coconut buns and the economics of homesharing examples of your work so far. Don’t beat awesomenessyourself up if you miss a day, lapse into old http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22145behavior, or slide backwards. Focus on the March 14, 2011 -positive, and keep going. Categories: baking, cooking, family, life, love, refl ection4. Inspiring others Sometimes making things at home is cheaperInspire others? Yes, you can do that, even if than buying them. Sometimes it’s moreyou’re just starting out. If you share what you’re expensive. For example, the batch lunches welearning and how you’re living life, you might be prepare and freeze come out to $1-$3 per meal,
March 2011 – sachachua.com 95The buns were scrumptious. Not too sweet. a way to reinforce and express our shared I did a quick presentation of Six Steps toComplex taste. Yummy yummy yummy. values Sharing on Slideshare’s Zipcast this Saturday. a good reason for a blog post =)I had a lot of fun making the buns with W-, I haven’t done enough audience/list developmentplaying around with the voice and mannerisms to invite lots of people to sign up, as most of my So although baking buns takes time, it actuallywe’d picked up from a Julia Child video. I also internal and external talks are organized and pays off better than many of the other ways Imade some pie crusts for Pi Day (March 14). W- promoted by other people. As an experiment, I could spend weekend time, such as:filled the first pie crust with lemon meringue. I decided to think of this more like informal officesewed up some tea towels from the fabric that W- hours and the bonus of being able to review andhelped me pick out, and those passed their field reading think about some of the presentations I’vetest. We salvaged some wool scraps from one of watching movies (borrowed from the shared. That worked out well.my bins and repurposed an empty paper salt library, but still passive)shaker into a dice roller for J-’s math study I’ve been using this to test video setups aroundsessions. It was a great weekend for making programming or working (important to the house, too. This time, I tried the kitchen,things. invest time into relationships; doing well sitting on the floor near the back door. I got good in programming and working at the light, a clean background, and the right heightWe spend a lot of weekend time doing things moment, I think.) for the webcam – things that are more difficult toourselves: cooking, baking, sewing, fixing things, writing, even arrange when my laptop’s on the table. However,even woodworking during the summer months. sitting on the floor made breathing slightly moreSome of things cost us more in terms of time and There’s a reasonable limit to how much time I difficult, and it changed the way I spoke.money than we might spend on functionally would spend on baking or making other things at Downstairs is still my favourite setup, but itequivalent alternatives, but we get a surprising home. I don’t want to mill my own flour (just requires a bit of work – foldable background,amount of value from these activities. For yet). I think I’ve got a decent balance right now, three lights. The kitchen is the easiest to get upexample, baking coconut buns results in yummy and I look forward to picking up more as I get and running.coconut buns (for which a reasonable equivalent better and more efficient.can be bought for a little more than a dollar I couldn’t get my hair to stay still, so I wore a hat.each), but the activity is also: Am I trading off, say, more brilliance at work, or They’re handy for that. =) racking up income through side-hustles, or intrinsically enjoyable for us becoming more famous through writing? Maybe. If I want to get better at this, here are the key But this is good, and all of those other aspects of areas for growth: a way to develop skills life are pretty okay (even awesome!). Life is good. shared relationship time Connecting with more people who might find these presentations interesting an opportunity to create or build on in- Continuing experiments with Slideshare’s jokes Zipcast web conferences o Mailing list? an opportunity to strengthen other http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22147 o Event registration system? relationships (friends, neighbours) March 14, 2011 - Categories: speaking
March 2011 – sachachua.com 96 Figuring out a way to record the webconferencing tools. It’s good learning, presentations: I’ve been having problems though, and I’ll be around every Saturday in case getting audio+video through Camtasia on people have questions or ideas. the same computer, but I could record video and system audio if I can log in on a separate computer. Recipes: Coconut cocktail bun recipe http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22148 Developing material, of course March 15, 2011 - Doing this during the week Categories: baking, cooking, cookordie, recipeIs it worth investing time into this? As it turns out, ingredient lists areConsiderations: uncopyrightable, so I’ll try to post more of them when I write about our cooking adventures. (I’ve PRO: Reviewing and presenting previous come quite a long way from the beginnings of material is useful for confidence, flow, Cook or Die!) Recipe steps might be copyrighted, and constant improvement. particularly those that are creatively expressed, You will need a kitchen scale. This is actually but that should be no problem – I’ll just write my good, because volume measurements of flour and PRO: It would be good practice in other things can vary widely. building an audience and creating more own instructions. value. Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns and So here are the buns that have just come out of CON: Slideshare Zipcast pricing could our oven. (Yes, another set of buns. The ones I flexible bun dough recipe change soon. Shift to advertising- made just two days ago have vanished. There Adapted from David Ko’s Yung Sing Dim Sum supported Freebinar? (No webcam, but must be a bun-monster somewhere in the Recipes (A Chinese Snackbook): has screensharing and recording.) basement…) Webinars aren’t useful for me in terms of Bun Dough lead generation or revenue, so I won’t be After the success of this weekend’s coconut going for the for-fee options. =) Really David Ko uses this recipe for practically all the cocktail buns (gai mei bao), W- and J- suggested doing this more for fun and learning. buns in his book. It’s a white, slightly sweet hotdog bao, Nutella bao, and some more Hmm, maybe if I think of it like bread. coconut bao to use up the extra filling we had. CON: I could spend the time and effort Result: 12g active dry yeast writing, recording videos, and helping people learn, and I would probably get 495ml warm water better ROI from that. o Dissolve yeast in water.I think I’m going to keep tinkering around with 340g sifted all-purpose flourthis, but I might not spend the time right now tomake the most of Zipcasts or other
March 2011 – sachachua.com 97 o In a large mixing bowl, pour yeast volume. You can use the oven although it does take more time than solution into flour. The original trick here, too. squishing the dough manually. recipe says to knead the result for Spoon your filling into each flat piece of 5 minutes, but this paste results in Coconut filling dough, wrap it up, and roll it into the more of a liquid mix, so just mix it shape you like. Try to make sure the buns until it’s smooth. 175g coconut flakes are pinched closed, as the filling might o Leave in a warm place for 2 hours. 168g sugar leak out during baking. Or if you’re like us and baking 56g melted butter Set buns aside in a warm place to rise season (winter) doesn’t leave you further, covering the buns with a damp with an abundance of warm spots 1 egg cloth or cling wrap. Preheat oven to 375F. in the house, set the oven to 150′F 30ml (2 tbsp) milk for thirty seconds, then turn the Do an egg wash or another wash if you oven off. Put the yeast mix into 1 tsp vanilla extract (fun to make at want. Brushing the buns with a beaten the oven and wait until it doubles home!) egg (egg wash) gives them a beautiful in volume (around one hour). golden colour, and also makes it easier for 1/2 tsp baking powder sprinkled things (seeds, etc.) to stick. 60ml warm water a few drops of coconut essence (optional; Bake buns in a 375F oven for 15 minutes, 1 egg we didn’t have it in our pantry) or until the buns are golden brown. 225g cake and pastry flour (sifted) o Mix well and put in the fridge. You can brush the freshly-baked buns 560g all-purpose flour (sifted) with melted butter, if you want, but we We skipped the toppings because the regular skipped that step. 110g sugar coconut filling is awesome enough. 18g salt Other fillings we’ve tried: Assembly Hotdog 125ml milk Divide the dough into 24 portions. I tend Wrap the flattened dough around a 3g lard hotdog. Brush dough with beaten egg and to do this by cutting the dough in half 3g butter three times, then cutting the resulting sprinkle sesame seeds on top. You can eight pieces into three pieces each. push the sesame seeds into the dough o Mix all of the above with the yeast slightly to help them stick. mix in a large mixing bowl. Knead Roll each portion of dough into a round until smooth and elastic, adding ball. Arrange on a baking sheet, then Nutella flour as necessary. Cover with a cover and put in a warm place for 15 Spoon Nutella hazelnut spread into the damp cloth (or cling wrap and a minutes. middle of the flattened dough and roll it damp cloth; keeps your tea towels up. Brush dough with beaten egg and cleaner) and leave in a warm place Flatten the dough balls. I like using a sprinkle almond slices on top. for 2 hours, or until doubled in rolling pin here for a nice, even look,
March 2011 – sachachua.com 982011-03-14 Mon 23:14 developers next time we’re on a project like this. It would make work a lot faster and easier.Thinking about a developer setup So, what do developers need? We typically needtemplate to:http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22151 Set up our development environmentMarch 16, 2011 - software, licensing, config, source codeCategories: geek, ibm, kaizen, work control information, bugtracking, etc. Orient ourselves on different environmentsDevelopment on one of my projects has gone infits and starts. It’s been particularly challenging login/access/VPN details for integration,because the information about server testing, and production environments;configuration has been incomplete and scattered, deployment proceduretrickling in as the IT architects sort out what’s Confirm that the service is running correctlygoing on and find people who can answer Stoic philosophy to the rescue. It’s no use the full URL to the web-basedquestions. The other developer and I are both whinging about not having all the bits and pieces administration console and to other webnew to this software stack (Websphere Portal, up front. =) Besides, the people who set up the interfaces we can use, any hosts entriesWebsphere Application Server, FileNet, virtual images are people too, doing the best job needed (for name-based virtual hosts, forEnterprise Content Manager, DB2, Rational they can while probably being pulled in a million example)Software Architect). This means that we run into directions or afflicted with the curse of expertise,all the things that experienced developers take forgetting the kind of knowledge they take for Log on the server and look aroundfor granted: where to find documentation at the granted. It’s okay. It is what it is. VPN details, boundary firewalls, IPright level of detail, which ports and URLs to use addresses, usernames, passwords,(or even how to go about finding them), how to We’ve managed to figure most of the pieces out connection software (Remote Desktop?deploy our code, and how to diagnose and with a lot of poking around and experimentation. VNC?), file paths, location of log filestroubleshoot problems. I’ve successfully deployed a web service, found Write code sample code that can post a file to our Filenet object store, and written a web service client. API documentation, software versions, We’ve previously been able to connect to DB2, so ports, paths, usernames, passwords we should have all the major pieces now. The Deploy and run code next step is to wire it all up with application- file paths or upload interface, instructions specific code. on starting or restarting services I’m thinking of organizing all the bits and pieces Test that things are working of information we needed into a template that I web interfaces, ports, URLs, etc. can share with server administrators and
March 2011 – sachachua.com 99This could be a lot of information, and it might I like breaking things down into decision trees, o Draw with the power cord pluggednot be worth doing if you’ve got a couple of similar to the technique described by Ken in.developers who can pick things up quickly. On Watanabe in his kid-friendly book Problem o Keep track of the instances whenthe other hand, if you’re preparing a demo image Solving 101. It’s useful to figure out what the I’d like to plug in, and buy thethat could be used dozens or hundreds of times options are and what their costs and benefits battery when it gets on my nervesfor development, or if you gradually build this might be. I realized that I actually have two or when I notice myself using thedocument over time, that could be pretty handy. independent choices: what to do with the battery, computer much less. Currently and what to do with the laptop. Here is my using the tablet practically everyWhat’s in your developer setup template? current decision tree. day, so drop-off should bePhoto (c) 2009 Mecookie – Creative Commons noticeable. CHOICE A.1: Buy a new battery for myAttribution License Lenovo X61T CHOICE B.1: Save up for X220 tablet o Will need this if I sell or give the o Longer battery life2011-03-15 Tue 20:03 laptop to someone o 12.5″ outdoor-viewable display, o CHOICE A.1.1: Lenovo battery more horizontal resolution: 342Decision trees and self-challenges: how extra pixels, widescreen aspectmy laptop’s recent battery failure is a CHOICE A.1.1.1: ratiogreat excuse to think Lenovo.com – trustablehttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22152 but more expensive; $160- o 3.9 pounds with 4-cell battery 200 o Dual-array digital microphones –March 17, 2011 -Categories: analysis, decision, geek, kaizen CHOICE A.1.1.2: Craigslist possible use for Skype, – potentially $80-100, risk podcasting?The battery on my Lenovo X61 tablet refuses to of getting older batteries o 2.7 GHz processor optionhold a charge, and there seems to be no way to CHOICE A.1.1.3: Otherfix it. The battery is no longer covered under o Rapid Drive for faster Internet sources – risk of bootup/access?warranty, so I’ll need to replace it on my own if I getting the wrong kind ofchoose to. An easy algorithm for decision-making battery o Instant resume for wireless (up tois be to postpone spending money until I can 99 minutes)demonstrate really good benefits for doing so. o CHOICE A.1.2: Third-party(Or in this case, nine business days before I really battery $70-90 – risk of scams, o Warns when walking away fromneed a new battery.) Because I’m curious about unreliable batteries, hazards stylus (heh, nifty; haven’t lostthe way I might think about other choices, I’m mine yet, though) CHOICE A.2: See if I can get by withoutgoing to think through some of the strategies I one o Gorilla Glass – scratch-resistanceuse to make decisions. =) could be useful o Make my work laptop my mainDecision trees laptop for the moment. o CHOICE B.1.1: Give X61T to J-
March 2011 – sachachua.com 100 May still need to buy a Hmm. Well, I can still use my battery-less X61T Setting up challenges battery unless we want to for drawing, writing, and coding. I’ll need to treat it like a PC. properly hibernate it before transferring Another way to find out if I’m sufficiently locations, or leave it mostly in one place. I just interested in something is to ask questions and She’ll like the drawing bit. won’t use it out and about as much. I don’t spend set myself challenges. For example, if I want to o CHOICE B.1.2: Resell X61T on that much time in cafes, so it’s really more the double-check the potential benefits of the fancy Craigslist shift between the kitchen and the living room or new X220 tablet compared to, say, the lower- the basement. prices X220 laptop or my current X61T, I can ask Will need new battery the following questions: anyway So, what’s the estimated gap between the Will need to sell at a expected value of a fully-functional laptop and a 1. Will I draw often enough to make the discount because of wear battery-less one? In my case, probably not as tablet worthwhile? and tear much as it would be for other people, because I’ve got my work laptop in addition to this. The 2. Will I need more than 3 GB often enough CHOICE B.2: Stick with X61T until I to make the upgrade to a 64-bit OS worth reach the end of my two-year self- upper bound on value for me must be $5/day – definitely can’t be more than that, and is the hassle? upgrade cycle, or until I have strong reasons to upgrade probably nowhere near that number. The cost is 3. Will I run into CPU processing limits probably just a few more extra minutes starting often enough to make sense to switch? o 4.2 pounds, UltraBase, etc. up and shutting down, and a little less flexibility, which doesn’t translate into a large cost because I 4. Will I need the battery life often enough o Doesn’t use new buttonless to make the extended battery life trackpad can use that time for something else. It might even be a net benefit if it encourages me to use a worthwhile? o Bigger wrist rest space sketchbook during our upcoming trip. =) Worst- Answers 2 and 3 seem to be “no” at the moment. o Could potentially scoop up X220T case scenario is that it might cost me an hour of VMs would be a good use of additional memory on secondary market, or wait for work if I forget to save something, but that’s just and processing power, but I’ve been doing fine promos about discipline. with two computers. If I can cope with a battery- The value gap might be bigger for J-, but we’ll see less life, the answer to 4 is probably notI’m probably going to go with choice A.2 for the significant, unless I find myself going to wayshort-term choice, and we’ll see how my savings if she can handle it. It’s going to be a big gap if we more conferences and meetings (and if mywork out for choice B. We’re saving for a fair bit sell this, but then it’s okay to get a new battery closer to that day. Besides, I usually run my scanner proves unwieldy). The answer toof travel this year, so B.2 is more likely than B.1. question 1 is the most interesting.Fortunately, I work with two laptops, so it’s fine. laptops into the ground anyway. This one was anMy basic choice is good. Here’s another exception. I replaced my Eee after a little less I’ve taken lots of sketchnotes, but I’ve done fewertechnique I use to examine that more closely: than a year), but that was mainly because J-’s illustrations than I’d hoped I’d draw with the need for a computer coincided neatly with my X61T. The workflow isn’t as smooth as keyboardEstimating option value curiosity about tablet PCs. + Cintiq, but it’s (semi-portably) fun. I haven’t figured out how to stop GIMP and Inkscape from
March 2011 – sachachua.com 101jittering so much, although MyPaint and http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22155OneNote make beautifully smooth lines. I tend to March 18, 2011 -do my sketchnotes plugged in, but I have a few Categories: cat, drawing, family, life, sketchessketchnotes from meetings where power outletswere few and far between. If I use paper notes forthe portable sketches (maybe index cards ornotebooks?), then I’ll get a better idea of the One time when I came home, W- showed me theincremental value of A.1 or B.1. I can set myself picture he took of a toilet paper trail going to thean arbitrary threshold – maybe fill a notebook laundry basket. The cats refused to testify, butfull of out-and-about sketches and notes – and this is what I think happened.reconsider my decision when I’ve achieved it. between the kitchen and the living room addsResult: Better drawing skills, a habit of drawing, W- says the other drawing I made of Neko(cat)’s maybe a minute; not a big cost. Being able toand an idea of how much I might benefit from favourite positions for sleeping might be too draw with 16 million colours and infinitethe infinitely scrollable paper and the personal, it being set in our room and all. I erasures – now that’s something real. It makesmultiplicity of colours on a digital canvas. said Cat versus Human does it. He said my blog drawing a whole lot more fun. I might give the isn’t Cat versus Human. Which is true, because Autodesk SketchBook Pro trial another spin, too.— Cat versus Human is awesome and even has a It might be better for pencils and clean book coming out, but not inarguable. I didn’t illustrations.I’ve exaggerated the level of thought I usually go break out the persuasive techniques we learnedto for something like this. There’s room in my about in “Thank You for Arguing,” though. Drawing is a great way to remember, particularly“dream/opportunity/kaizen” fund for a new Instead, I’ll tease you with the captions: for things I’ve forgotten to take photographs of orbattery if it turns out I absolutely must have one. for which I’ve lost the files. My stack of blankBut it’s fun to think through the techniques I index cards is dwindling fast, and sketches pile The Pillow Hogmight use to decide something, and writing it up on my bedside table. This is fun. =)down now for something that isn’t critical may The Balancing Sphinxhelp me remember it later when I need to decide Quick comparison with SketchBook Pro: The Chaperonesomething more major. And who knows, it mightget you thinking about something… =) The Heat-seeker(I might end up getting a lot of value out People who know Neko (our oldest cat) or whoof not having a battery for this notebook. Look, a have cats of their own can probably figure out theblog post, and more reasons to draw/sketch on rest.paper! Stay tuned for progress.) I’m playing around with Artrage Studio Pro to see if I like it. I think I get more value from itCats: 0, toilet paper monster: 1; also, than from a new laptop battery. Putting myArtRage and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro computer into hibernation mode before moving
March 2011 – sachachua.com 102 and sun made me think about biking, and Grow more of our favourite herbs and gardening, and other wonderful springtime vegetables. pursuits. I’ve started a set of bitter melon, basil, Pick up lots of skills at work. tomatoes, and peppers. We’ll see how they work out. Practise drawing, writing, teaching, etc. Organize more get-togethers When I was planting peas in the garden, I realized that last Bike farther year’s parsley had self-seeded Have more fun! =) and the new sprouts were starting to come up. The As I head into summer, I want to be even more Internet says that parsley comfortable on my bike, I want to have friends germination can be a slow and over more often, I want to have an even more difficult process, taking four to six productive garden, and I want to fill notebooks weeks to grow from seed, so I’m with drawings and photographs. Hmm… happy that the parsley decided to get a head start. I took a picture, but It turns out that it’s pretty easy to knock the it didn’t feel just like that, so I drew power cord out of my laptop by, say, tripping on what it felt like: life reaching towards the sun. it or accidentally pulling it when drawing. I hadSmoothing is more controllable in Artrage, and I to draw that three times! <laugh>should check out the flood fills in that program First game of lacrosse catch, first bicycle ride,too. I do like the pen gestures in Sketchbook Pro, first gardening session… Life is good.though, and I’m sure they’ll be a lot more Weekly review: Week ending March 18,convenient with experience. I’m going to practise All the seasons take some getting used to. Winter 2011drawing in both some more. Who knows? I may is the big attention-getter, of course, but even http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22160even get both, if it turns out that they exercise my spring, summer, and fall have surprises for immigrants like me. Planning around growing March 20, 2011 - Categories: weeklybrain in different ways. =) seasons and frost dates? Dealing with super-long From last week’s plans days? Raking leaves and staving off the anxietiesSpring! of a looming winter? But it is what it is, and I’m Workhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22159 where I am, so I’ll make the most of what I’ve got. o [X] Work on critsit involvingMarch 19, 2011 - AJAX and PHPCategories: gardening, life, sketches What do I want to do and learn this spring? o [-] Deploy web services onto Websphere Application Server inIt was so warm on the walk back from the library Help celebrate my sister’s wedding. test environmentthat I shucked my coat. When I got home, I took (Whee!)my bicycle down from the wall hook. The warmth
March 2011 – sachachua.com 103 o [X] Create stub web services, Relationships This Last maybe integrate with DB2 Category Delta Notes o [X] Host pirate card game party week week o [-] Sort out work priorities for o [ ] Catch up on mail April Routines – 1.6 1.6 0.03 o [ ] Chat with David Singer tidying Relationships Life Sleep 60.1 59.0 1.07 o [-] Catch up with mail, networks o [ ] Draw more o [-] Help with study group – Social 1.0 24.2 - moved to next week o [ ] Update plans 23.25 o [X] Make pie for Pi Day o [ ] Catch up on mail Time analysis Travel 3.9 5.1 -1.18 Life This Last Work 44.3 40.8 3.52 o [X] Finish value of blogging series Category Delta Notes week week o [X] Write about tutoring math Writing 11.8 4.8 6.98 o [X] More Zipcast experiments: Break 4.5 3.0 1.45 what if I treat them like office hours? Drawing 8.5 1.2 7.27 I spent most of last week focused on work, drawing, and writing, shifting time away from o [-] Write about tweetchats and Exercise 9.8 2.2 7.60 social get-togethers. In the evenings, I usually what I want out of them sketched while W- and J- played Lego Star Wars. o [X] Make more bread Learning 0.5 0.50 I’ve been drawing and baking a lot recently, and I enjoy doing so.Plans for next week Personal 2.0 6.1 -4.08 I haven’t spent a lot of time on mail, though, so I Work need to focus on that and catch up. Preparation 3.3 2.0 1.28 o [ ] Sort out web services on Websphere Application Server Routines – 6.0 3.2 2.83 Pirate kitties o [ ] Figure out work priorities for cooking http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22163 April and May March 21, 2011 - Categories: cat, sketches o [ ] Send staffing guidelines for Routines – 9.8 14.8 -5.03 project M general o [ ] Catch up on work mail
March 2011 – sachachua.com 104 Websphere 6.1. I’d been using “Generate Java John Grimme, my sister’s fiance, celebrates his bean skeleton” from the WSDL file, which birthday tomorrow. (Well, today already, given worked fine for the 6.0 target, but which didn’t time in the Netherlands.) He gets this bad pun work for 6.1. The correct way to do it is to right- because of his deep love for lumpiang click on the service and choose “Generate – Top- shanghai,and because I’ve decided to get lots down Service”. more drawing practice. =) Makes me wish I thought of making birthday illustrations like this I also spent some time figuring out how to earlier! Oh well, I’ll just have to do some correctly use the XSD the IT architect sent me in drawings for other family members on other order to use it for the data types in the WSDL. occasions. This is how: <xsd:import schemaLocation="....xsd" namespace="..."> </xsd:import>One of the best things about drawing is that youcan draw things that don’t exist. Somehow your One of the pieces that was missing for me wasworld splits into all these different possibilities. dealing with namespaces, but once I got my headEven if you can’t quite capture what you hold in around XML again, I added some namespacesyour mind, it’s there. Your rough sketches and got the referred types working.remind you. So I’ve retwiddled our web services and gottenAnd so: pirate kitties. them to work with the new data structures. My test cases pass again. Progress!Drawing things you can’t see turns out to besurprisingly fun. 2011-03-21 Mon 20:03 He probably doesn’t need this recipe, but here itLearning more about Websphere and web Shanghaippy birthday, John Grimme! is for other people who are curious.service development Recipe: Lumpiang shanghaihttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22164 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22167 Lumpiang shanghaiMarch 21, 2011 - March 22, 2011 - Categories: cooking, family, food, recipe, sketche These ingredients can be changed quite a bit.Categories: development, geek, ibm, java s Experiment!So I finally figured out what was wrong with theway I was trying to generate my web services for 500g ground pork (fat is okay)
March 2011 – sachachua.com 105 1 large onion, chopped Make as many as you can until you run out of wrappers or filling. If you run out of wrappers a few cloves of garlic, chopped first, you can turn the rest of the filling into 1 medium-sized carrot, grated meatballs or little patties. If you run out of filling salt and pepper to taste first, you can use the wrappers for other fried goodies. spring roll wrappers: look for packages with photos of golden-brown deep-fried If you want to freeze any of the lumpia, you can delicacies on them if you need to be sure, do so now. (When Tita Gay came over for our as rice wrappers don’t work as well as the wedding, we made well over 300 pieces other kinds do of lumpia. Everyone had all the lumpia they egg, beaten (for sealing) could eat, and we enjoyed the extras for almost a month afterwards.) (Or arguers, more correctly? But Argumenteers is plum sauce (for serving) a fun little reference.) When you’ve made a batch of lumpia, heat 1-2Mix everything but the egg, the wrapper, and the inches of oil in a frying pan until a piece of bread Logos, ethos, and pathos. =) W- and I would likeplum sauce in a large mixing bowl. Test the sizzles or until the oil smokes. (This is why we to help J-, her friends, and other people learnseasoning by frying some of the filling in oil until don’t make lumpia often – frying can be scary!) more about critical thinking, rhetoric, argument,the pork is cooked, then tasting it. When the Fry the lumpia a few at a time, turning or rolling and eventually negotiation. Someday I may evenfilling tastes good, make the spring rolls. them so that they cook evenly. Avoid make a kid’s book about arguments so that kids overcrowding them, and give the oil time to heat (and grown-ups!) can get better at recognizing,Take a spring roll wrapper and spread it on a up again between batches. Lumpia is done when identifying, and responding to arguments. Firstplate or saucer. Put a teaspoon of filling slightly it turns crispy and golden brown. Let them drain step: pick up more practice ourselves.below the wrapper center, in a long finger-width on paper towels or in a strainer, and break oneline. Leave space on either side of the filling so open to test if it’s cooked inside. If it is, eat the The sequence we might work with is:that you can tuck the ends in. Fold the near evidence. Stop yourself from eating more. Fry upcorner of the wrapper over the filling. Fold the another batch. Test those for quality, too. 1. identify and break down argumentssides inwards. Moisten the far edges of the Remember to leave some for your guests.wrapper with some of the egg, then roll up your 2. classify argumentswrapper until you reach the end, rolling it as Serve warm, with plum sauce. 3. identify fallacies and respond to themtightly as you can. 4. identify figures of speech and rhetorical(*Optional: Wash your hands, browse the The three argumenteers effectInternet for a video on how to make it, then get http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22170 5. repair and respond to stronger argumentsback to making lumpia.) March 23, 2011 - Categories: argument, rhetoric, sketches So I’m going to try reading the opinion pages of the New York Times and other news sources and
March 2011 – sachachua.com 106analyzing the arguments there. First feedback. o Drafted administration guide forup: Teaching to the Text Message, Andy 3.1. Support: Short assignments force clarity and project ISeslsberg, March 19, 2011. reduce waste. 3.2. Support: Teachers can give short RelationshipsArgument: Short, Internet-focused assignments more individual attention. [Implied:writing assignments may be more More individual attention can help students o [X] Host pirate card game partyeffective than long writing assignments learn more effectively] o [X] Catch up on mailearly in the college curriculum. 3.3. Support: Short writing assignments encourage conciseness and creativity o [-] Chat with David Singer1. Long assignments don’t work. 3.4 Support: Moderation – colleges can still have o Received lovely French rolling pin1.1. Support: I’ve been teaching with long writing long writing assignments later in the curriculum. from W-assignments for years, [so I know what I’mtalking about.] Hmm… There must be lots of ways to make o Helped with study group1.2 Support: Students’ long writing assignments rhetoric and argument fun and interesting… o Had fun playing LEGO Star Warsare of low quality (“font-size manipulation, with W-plagiarism, cliches”).1.3 Implied: Teachers don’t have the time to Weekly review: Week ending March 25, Lifecheck long writing assignments in depth. 20112. Implied: Short Internet-focused writing http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22171 o [X] Draw moreassignments will be more interesting and more March 26, 2011 - Categories: weekly o [-] Update plansuseful.2.1 Support: Alternative formats get people From last week’s plans o [X] Catch up on mailinterested. Plans for next week2.2 Support: Real-life contexts for Workcommunication such as networking e-mails, o [X] Sort out web services on Worktweets, or comments will be more relevant to Websphere Application Serverstudents than essays or book reports. o [ ] Work on Rails questionnaire2.3 Support: Alternative assignments are more o [X] Figure out work priorities for project for client Clike students’ everyday life. April and May o [ ] Talk to client U regarding2.4 Support: Writing concisely is useful and more o [X] Send staffing guidelines for Drupalin tune with the world’s needs. project M2.5 Support: Great thinkers can pack a lot of o [ ] Finish administration guide forthought into a few words. [Therefore students o [X] Catch up on work mail project Iwon’t be missing out, and there might be useful o Did first pass of estimates forways to connect the lessons to past thinkers.] project M Relationships3. Support: Short assignments can help students o [ ] Plant lots of yummy vegetablesdevelop better skills and teachers give better
March 2011 – sachachua.com 107 o [ ] Chat with David Singer This Last Category Delta Notes week week Life o [X] Learn how to cook dal tidying o [X] Bake another batch of buns Sleep 60.8 60.1 0.7 o [ ] Get through busy week o [ ] Order laptop battery Social 11.0 1.0 9.0 Pirate party,Time analysis study This Last groupCategory Delta Notes week week Travel 7.1 3.9 3.2Break 17.6 4.5 13.1 LEGO Star Work 40.1 44.3 -4.2 In our math study group sessions, we often find Wars! ourselves reviewing lessons that the kids briefly Writing 1.7 11.8 -10.1 covered in school but hadn’t absorbed. ForDrawing 11.7 8.5 3.2 example, one of the kids was having a hard time with long division. “This is going to take a longExercise 1.9 9.8 -7.9 Lots of hanging out this week – hosted a pirate- time,” he said. He sounded hesitant, so I offered related card game party, hosted math study to help him review long division while W- gave group, and spent time playing LEGO Star Wars the other kids additional exercises. I shared theLearning 0.5 -0.5 with Wayne. Work is plenty busy, too. =) mnemonic that helped J- learn long division: Dracula Must Suck Blood, whichPersonal 1.2 2.0 -0.8 Gardening reminds people to divide, multiply, subtract, and Filling in the learning gaps then bring down the next number. We gotPreparation 0.6 3.3 -2.7 http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22174 through double-digit division, remainders, and March 27, 2011 - Categories: sketches, teaching decimal points, although he still needs to practiseRoutines – 2.0 6.0 -4.0 until he gets division down pat.cooking J- has moments like that with her schoolwork,Routines – 6.7 9.8 -3.1 too, so it’s good that we have these studygeneral sessions. The kids had taken up algebraic expressions before, but drew blanks when IRoutines – 5.5 1.6 3.9 turned our straightforward price + tax exercise into an exercise along the lines of “Let’s say I
March 2011 – sachachua.com 108want to sell a shirt for $30 after tax, which is On typing in Dvorak learning how to type QWERTY. We must have13%. What should the initial price be?” So we did http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22175 had keyboarding exercises in school, but by thena quick review of algebra, and we’ll do more next March 28, 2011 - Categories: geek, tips I typed faster than most people around already,week. and no one minded that I tended to hit keys with Stefan asks: whichever finger was already in motion.The kids’ classroom lessons are currently focusedon a simulation of real life. They have jobs, and I use the “normal” QWERTY-layout but I am Choosing the Dvorak keyboard layout has a fewmust balance their income and their expenses. thinking to switch over to Dvorak. I read consequences. First, it certainly increases geekSome are entrepreneurs, and some work at somewhere that you are using Dvorak. Can you cred, as odd computer-related decisions tend tocompanies. They’re learning about business, recommend it for someone who is not a do. ;) It also means that I have to switch theadvertising, accounting, and communication. programmer and just types some messages. I keyboard layout on my computer if anyone needsThey’ve even filed income tax returns. The am at 54 WPM in QWERTY. What is your count to borrow it. I can switch layouts, althoughteachers (also known as the Sometimes in QWERTY and in Dvorak. I am really curious sometimes starting up – or alternating betweenBenevolent Force in-game) occasionally shake about it. computers with different layouts – takes a littlethings up. I think it’s an interesting idea. more thought. I’ve changed some of my keyboard Short answer: Try it out if you’re curious, but shortcuts to make them more useful on a DvorakThis integrated, real-life-focused learning does don’t expect miraculous speed gains – typing keyboard. For programs like Nethack, I switch toleave little time to review lessons or build a sense layout is probably not your bottleneck. QWERTY because the shortcuts feel better thatof mastery in basic skills, and J- sometimes has a way. My inclination towards Dvorak is alsohard time talking about the specific lessons she’s One of my quirks is that I’ve switched my dependent on the keyboard size and feel – toolearning from the exercise. That’s one of the computer to the Dvorak keyboard layout – same small or too big, and I’ll switch to QWERTY.reasons why we’ve been stepping up our keyboard, just different software configuration. I There have even been times when I have most ofinvolvement, tutoring J- and organizing these taught myself Dvorak on a whim during the my windows set to Dvorak and one or twostudy groups. The teachers are doing their best, summer of 2002, to see how easily I could windows set to QWERTY – mildly confusingand I think the program might be more useful reprogram muscle memory. It took a month of because of the context-switching, but easythan a plain-vanilla-teach-to-the-textbook typing painfully slowly, and then things clicked. I enough to sort out.approach. Filling in the gaps at home is much currently type at about 90wpm on both Dvorakmore effective than waxing nostalgic or wringing and QWERTY. Typing layout isn’t the limiting factor for me,our hands in worry. though. At 90wpm, I can type about as fast as I I prefer Dvorak, though, because it feels like need to type in order to write or program. If IIt helps to understand that it’s normal for some more even use of my fingers. This is partly want to do things faster, it’s more about thinkingthings to be missed. No school is perfect, no because of the layout, which optimizes for more quickly rather than just typing moreteacher is perfect, and no student is perfect. It alternating fingers when typing English. This is quickly. My brain is the bottleneck, not the waytakes repeated exposure and practice to learn also partly because I learned how to type Dvorak the keys are arranged. (For example, this postsomething – as I learn and re-learn myself, using a computer-based typing program that was written at effectively 22wpm, not 90wpm.)stretching with these projects and hobbies. =) encouraged me to use the right fingers to press When I’m picking up lots of passages from books, each key. In contrast, I don’t remember ever I find that dictating into Dragon Naturally
March 2011 – sachachua.com 109Speaking 11 is reasonably fast, and it’s easier on returns had long sunk in. W- had encouraged her invest time into learning how to automatemy hands and posture too. So I don’t feel any to use a calculator, so at least she didn’t have to whatever she needs to do.particular urge to further improve my typing multiple all those figures by hand, but there werespeed, just as my reading speed is fine. I still still so many numbers to verify. How do people learn how to automate? It’s suchhaven’t gotten the hang of dictating new text to a time-saving skill, but it doesn’t seem all thatDragon Naturally Speaking, though. I currently My geek sense tingled, as it does whenever common. Maybe people are intimidated byfind it faster and less distracting to type new there’s an opportunity for a quick win through spreadsheets and programming languages, andcontent than to say it. automation. I coaxed her back to her homework. that fear of losing more time keeps them from “Come on, let’s set up a spreadsheet,” I said. gradually building the knowledge they need toSo: “That way, you don’t have to redo each of the save lots of time. If we can show J- and other calculations or worry about getting things kids the benefits of automating, maybe that lightWhether you’re on QWERTY or Dvorak, you wrong.” at the end of the tunnel will encourage them tomight see a speed boost if you train yourself to learn. If we expose them to the methods fortype properly – pressing keys with the right We brought up OpenOffice.org Calc. She was still automating tasks, such as putting calculationsfingers, keeping your fingers on the home row as lackluster, so I took the lead in creating the into a spreadsheet, creating keyboard macros, ormuch as possible, and using keyboard shortcuts spreadsheet. I asked her which tax return we writing short programs, maybe they’ll realize it’sand automation to reduce the amount of typing could use as a model, and she picked hers. We not scary – and maybe they’ll start modifying oryou need to do in the first place. Learning a new started filling in the formulas, checking her work creating new tools.keyboard layout might be a way to break yourself along the way. (We found and fixed an error inout of bad habits. Aside from that, Dvorak, her tax return, too!) Then we tested the In my experience, working with new automatingColemak, and other layouts might be worth spreadsheet on a few other tax returns she had frameworks is always slow and somewhatchecking out as an intellectual exercise. Who manually done, and she used it to check the rest. frustrating in the beginning. It helps that I don’tknows, you might enjoy typing in one of them! usually need or want to automate everything Result: Not only could she verify a correct tax right away. I break things down into small2011-03-28 Mon 21:47 return in less than a minute, but she perked up things, small wins. I might start by figuring out and started having fun with it. She made a pile of the most time-consuming parts and automating correct tax returns and a pile of incorrect ones, that 10%, or automating the most commonHelping kids learn about automation with sticky notes pointing out the deficiencies. operations. As I become more familiar with thehttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22176 She still doesn’t want to be an accountant again, tools and the process, I automate a little bitMarch 29, 2011 - but at least she knows that tedious tasks might be more, and more, and more. Eventually I mightCategories: automation, highlight, teaching automated away. even create a tool that other people can use, like the way my Community Toolkit for LotusJ- shuffled in and out of the living room, listless The next time J- finds herself doing tedious Connections is off and running.and bored. As part of a 9-week simulation of real calculations or verifications, I hope she thinkslife in school, she and her classmates had been about how much faster, more reliable, and more The hardest thing, I guess, is knowing where toassigned jobs. Her job was to be an accountant, enjoyable the spreadsheet was compared to start. I run into that problem a lot, because Iand the tedium of checking dozens of pretend tax calculating things step by step, and perhaps work with lots of different technologies and
March 2011 – sachachua.com 110frameworks. It’s like looking for the end of a I want to avoid burning myself out I sleep a median of 59 hours a week,tangled piece of string. That can be hard to find which is about eight and a half hours a I want to make sure I allocate enoughin the confusion, but once you do, you can start day. This is more than I expected, but I time to important activities instead of,unknotting the mess. I want J- to be able to manage to get a lot done anyway, so it’s say, getting carried away with lots of funthink: ah, this has to do with calculations, maybe okay. work and flow experiences, andI can get a handle on it by using a spreadsheet, I work a little over 40 hours each week,putting in manual steps if needed. I want to cultivate other deep interests except for the occasional week of crunch and relationships. time or travel. I don’t make a habit of 50-How do you use teachable moments to encourage hour weeks, and I get a little twitchypeople to automate? Fatigue and burnout are particularly big concerns for developers. There’s always the when I work too intensely several weeks2011-03-29 Tue 21:09 temptation to be unrealistic about one’s in a row (46 hours or so). This means that when I estimate timelines or project my schedule, either through over-optimistic estimates or through business pressures. utilization, I should assume 38 or 40-More thoughts on time analysis: However, sustained crunch mode decreases hour weeks instead of 44 hours.correlations and revealed preferences productivity and may even result in negative I spend most of my time sleeping (44%),http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22177 productivity. Sleep deprivation severely cuts into working (31%), or connecting with peopleMarch 29, 2011 - cognitive ability and increases the chance of (11%). Regular routines take up 9% of myCategories: analysis, geek, highlight, quantified catastrophic error. I like what I do too much to time, while my favourite hobby (writing) waste time burning out. takes only 5%. I enjoy my work and IPeople often ask about the time analyses I do as sleep well at night, so this time allocationpart of my weekly review. My weekly time Development is so engaging for me. I could keep is fine.tracking reports go back to about December 11, writing code and building systems late into the2010, when I started tracking my time using the night, at the expense of other things I could do. In economics, there’s the idea of afree Time Recording app on the Android. I do it Tracking time helps me keep a careful eye on revealed preference, which is basically whatbecause of the following reasons: how much time I spend programming. Like the your actions show compared to what you might way a good budgeting system helps me make the say or think you prefer. I may think I’d like to I need to track my project-level time for most of my expenses and gives me the freedom sew or learn languages or do the piano, but if I work anyway, to take advantage of opportunities, a good time spend time playing LEGO Star Wars III instead, budgeting system helps me make the most of my then that tells me that sewing, Latin, and I want to see where I spend my time and focused work time and allows me to also focus on Schumann are lower on my priority list. if that’s in line with my priorities, other things that matter (the care and feeding of (Rationalization: LEGO Star Wars is I want to know how much time it takes relationships, the development of new skills, and awesome and it counts as bonding time with W- me to do certain things, in order to so on). and J-, so it’s not all that bad.) improve my estimates and get better at planning, So here are some new things I’ve learned So, how do I really trade my time? Which from time tracking: activities are positively or negatively correlated
March 2011 – sachachua.com 111with other activities? I made a correlation matrix longer. Also, = live offto see how I spent my time. I used conditional I needed to home-madeformatting to make high correlations jump out at go to the frozenme. I found some interesting patterns in how I office for lunchesshift time from one category to another. some of theActivity Activity Linear Notes crunchy Sleep Cooking -0.62 Late1 2 correlation projects. weekend coefficient mornings = (r) Sleep Break 0.67 Relaxed days less cooking?Prep Personal 0.87 Getting Sleep Writing 0.60 Nice to know Sleep Prep -0.58 Likewise things in writing isn’t order means conflicting Sleep Personal -0.57 More sleep = I can give with sleep less time myself spent permission to Social Drawing -0.50 The Saturday learning learn afternoons or other things something weekday new evenings I spend with I can guess at the causality of some of theseCooking Prep 0.86 Makes people relationships, but the others are up in the air. =) perfect sense. instead of Still, I’m learning quite a lot from this exercise. Big chore sketching For example, I thought I was giving up sleep in days. order to write more or draw more. It turns out Routines Drawing -0.65 Lots of that sleep cuts into cooking, prep, and otherBreak Drawing 0.75 More chores = less personal interests (sewing, piano, etc.), and relaxing time drawing time doesn’t have much effect on work, writing, or = more drawing. I do sleep quite well, though, so it may drawing time be interesting to experiment with that. Personal Drawing -0.55 Learning other thingsTravel Work 0.69 When I I’m also happy to see I don’t give up too much = less time commute to because of travel – a median of 3.4 hours / week, spent on work, I much of which is spent reading, brainstorming, drawing probably or listening to audiobooks with W-. Travel time tend to work reduces cooking time, but that’s okay because we Travel Cooking -0.60 Lots of travel batch-cook in order to minimize weekday
March 2011 – sachachua.com 112cooking. It’s good to see that it doesn’t affect my do with your performance (although it might documentation, reading logs andother activities a lot. have a little to do with your happiness), I wanted debugging output. This is probably more to think about what makes a fast programmer. useful than typing at a gazillion wpm. YouThe same dataset lets me analyze my sleeping People tell me I’m fast. I know people who can need to be able to quickly spot thepatterns, report project-level breakdowns at pull programs together even faster. We touch- significant parts. Learn how to skim.work, and review quick notes on my day. I’m in type, for sure, but that’s the least of it. Working with complexconsulting, so I need to track and bill my time structures: The better you get atper project. Time Recording makes it easy to do A huge part of development speed is experience. understanding complex structures orthat, and I’m thinking of tweaking my workflow If you’re familiar with a programming platform, logic, the faster you can come up withfurther so that I can use task-level times to the error messages, the structure, the way things more effective solutions, and the less timeimprove my estimates. work and the way things are named, you can you spend going back and forth. You learn new concepts and write correct code much don’t have to do it all in your head. FindSo that’s where I am, tracking-wise. It takes me a faster than a newbie can.few seconds to clock into a new category, and the systems that work well for you (notes?habit is handy for making sure I know where my What if you’re faced with a new framework? mindmaps? diagrams?) and use them.phone is. Tracking my time also helps me stay You’ll still get a speed boost if you can relate the Problem decomposition: Breaking bigmore focused on what I’m doing. If you’re concepts to other things you’ve learned. If you problems down into smaller testablecurious about the idea and you have a can figure out the control structures you need steps can help you make quick progresssmartphone or other mobile device, find a time- and the debugging techniques you can use, then and keep things manageable. This is alsotracking application and give it a try. Have fun! it’s mostly a matter of translating to the new one of those skills that can give you lots of framework and picking up any quirks or local leverage on time. If you can get really2011-03-29 Tue 21:54 idioms. good at spotting the core of the problem and figuring out the key parts of the So let’s break it down further. What are small, solution, you can get something into placeBecoming a faster developer specific skills that can help a developer get really much faster. It’s also a useful skill forhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22178 fast? testing code thoroughly.March 31, 2011 - Categories: development, geek Good development practices: Source Touch-typing: Still practically a given. code control, testing, and all sorts of(NOTE: Becoming a faster developer isn’t You need to be able to think about your other development hygiene practicesnecessarily the same as becoming a more code, not about typing code. If you aren’t means less time spent fixing avoidableproductive developer. Becoming a more yet a touch-typist, sit down and work on mistakes.productive developer is better. Speed isn’t that.everything!) Collaboration: If you can get someone Speed-reading: This comes in handy else to do the things you’re really slow at everywhere. Much of programming is so that you can focus on the things you’reFollowing up on my post about typing speed, reading: reading requirements, readingQWERTY/Dvorak/alternate layouts, and the idea really fast at, the team can get much other people’s code, reading faster. This also includes documentingthat your keyboard layout probably has little to
March 2011 – sachachua.com 113 your work so that people don’t have to Latīnum studémus. Monē mē! Why Latin? Geek quirkiness. Secret languages reinvent the wheel. for greater connection. Potential classical The Latin textbooks that W- ordered from the education.What would you add to this list? library have arrived, and we’re slowly making our way through both Wheelock’s Latin and an It will be interesting. Let’s see if my blog can online copy of a Latin textbook from the 1880s. handle the characters…Quid est nōmen tuum? Nōmen meum est Writing is probably going to be painfully slow“Sacha” and ungrammatic for a while, but hey, it’s worthhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22179 a try. =)March 31, 2011 - Categories: Uncategorized
April 2011 – sachachua.com 115 in the front yard of an apartment building. I walk (It’s good exercise!) We found it at Home Depot This LastCategory Delta Notes past her garden on the way to the library and the for $8–much better than the ~$20 we’d paid at week week supermarket, and I’ve often admired how Plant World as part of last year’s experiment. It’s productive it is: rows of bok choi between the worth a try. If we get enough organic material, IPreparation 0.5 0.6 -0.1 walkways, beans and peas trellised with twigs, might do one bin with compost accelerator and even the occasional squash peeking out through one without.Routines – 2.0 -2.0 the foliage. I regularly see her tending thecooking garden, watering it by hand with a dipper and a I also started a 5′ double-row of peas yesterday, bucket, transplanting seedlings and pulling up and about 1.5 square feet each of bok choi andRoutines – 8.1 6.7 1.4 weeds. She knows I like her garden, and even rocket lettuce. The seeds I started indoors stillgeneral waves hi to me when we encounter each other on haven’t sprouted, although the cat grass from the street. three weeks ago is now ready for consumption.Routines – 1.5 5.5 -4.0 It’ll be okay. Worst-case scenario is that we buytidying The woman down the street has started her basil and tomato plants from the store. I do hope outdoor garden, turning the soil over, forming it our bitter melon plants come up, though, as weSleep 54.9 60.8 -5.9 into neat raised beds, adding planks for can’t find those grown in nurseries here. walkways to avoid crushing the aerated soil. She has more than 100′ square feet to play with, “Do you remember the sugar peas? It was a lot ofSocial 12.8 11.0 1.8 Study fun eating them off the vine,” said J-. almost all in full sun. Our backyard garden is group, shadier because of all the trees, but we’ve got catching “And the tomatoes!” W- added. about 70′ square feet, plus the pathway sides that up I used for cat grass and parsley last year. “My friends are so excited.” said J- as she helpedTravel 4.5 7.1 -2.6 I’ve started our garden, too. Yesterday, I turned tidy up the garden yesterday. the compost over, consolidating the winter’sWork 56.9 40.1 16.8 collection of leaves, kitchen scraps, and soil from “Excited about our tomatoes?” W- asked. three half-full bins to one and a half bins,Writing 6.8 1.7 5.1 appropriately layered (brown, green, brown, “I guess we’d better plan a summer tomato party, green) and liberally sprinkled with compost then.” I said. (Although that might be like accelerator. counting your tomatoes before they’ve set.)Starting up our garden We’re giving compost accelerator another try this That’s a great sign that gardening is paying off.http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22182 year. W- brought it up because he was impressed One doesn’t get quite as excited about the plumpApril 3, 2011 - Categories: gardening by how quickly last year’s organic material sugar peas one can get from the supermarket, or turned into rich, dark, compost. Then again, that the cherry tomatoes in plastic packaging that weOne of my gardening role models is the woman was also the year I started turning the material pass by because of their premium pricing. Butdown the street who grows all sorts of vegetables regularly, so I’d like to take some of the credit. the thrill of checking for fresh strawberries, peas,
April 2011 – sachachua.com 116tomatoes; the convenience of dashing out for Bookmark Lotus Connections so that for people on Bluepages or Lotussome dill or some cilantro; the abundance of they can easily search it in the future. Connections. Take advantage of the speedpesto picked from dozens of plants; the mentoring events that IBM Learning Learn to find people based on documentssatisfaction of tasting the fruits (and vegetables sometimes organizes and see if you can and other shared information.and herbs) of your work–you can’t buy these connect with anyone. Attendthings from the supermarket. And this summer One of my mentors told me that at IBM, it’s okay presentations and connect with speakerswe’ll get to enjoy it from the comforts of the if you don’t know something. If you don’t ask for or other participants. Once you have aMuskoka chairs we finished last fall! help and things get messed up, though, that’s mentor, ask him or her for introductions to other people who might be able to help. when you get into trouble. So I want to shareI’m so lucky. To be 27 and live in circumstances with you some tips I’ve picked up on how to learnlike this – a good-size backyard, walking distance Maybe you’re feeling shy. Maybe you as quickly as you can, from as many people asto the supermarket, the library, and the subway think, “Well, I’m new to IBM. Why would you can.station, biking distance to the Home Depot anyone mentor me?” I found it hard towhose garden centre I will undoubtedly frequent I’ve been with IBM for almost four years. I know ask people to mentor me, too, but I was(last year some of the staff said “Welcome what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by all the amazed by how generous people wereback!”)… Life is good. different things there are to learn: working with when it came to helping new people. Lotus Notes and other applications, dealing with Many mentors help others because other2011-04-03 Sun 08:54 people mentored them. Others mentor technologies, working with team members and clients… It can be really intimidating. people because they learn a lot in the Fortunately, at IBM, there are plenty of people process. Mentors have lots of reasons forThe Busy Person’s Guide to Learning from helping, so don’t be afraid to ask. who can help – but sometimes you need to stepthe Network (a guide for IBMers)http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22183 up and ask. Social networking tip: Look forApril 4, 2011 - mentors and role models who blog or post Mentors updates in Lotus Connections or on theCategories: ibm, learning, presentation, tips, work Internet. That way, you can easily learn If you don’t have a mentor yet, find one. from people in between your meetings. Even better, find several mentors. You can even learn from people aroundI promised to put together a talk on learning for Mentors can help you figure things out:an IBM virtual conference for new hires. Here’s the world, and people whom you might be the specific technology you’re learning,a rough draft, just to get it out of my head and too shy to reach to right now. For the tools you need to work with, the example, if you’re curious about whatinto a form I can work with. I’ll add URLs processes in your team or business unit,internally. The next steps I want people to take IBM Fellows do (they have the highest even your career plans. technical rank in IBM), or what viceare: presidents are like, or so on, you can How can you find a mentor? Share your Find a mentor, or even several mentors. learn from their blogs, tweets, and other questions with your manager and ask posts. Maybe you’ll find something you your manager to refer you to some people can comment on or ask about! who might be good mentors for you. Look
April 2011 – sachachua.com 117 How to work with mentors: Talk to Don’t stop with the documents you find, have collaborated on, and read blog posts your mentors about your goals and figure too. One of the best things you can learn for people’s notes and articles. out how they can help you. Take the lead from a document or an asset is where you in setting up meetings and asking can go to find more information. Are What if you still can’t find what you need, questions. Show your appreciation there related communities? Can you look and the people you ask don’t know of any through thank-you notes – and even up other things the author has written? resources, either? This is where you better, show your appreciation through When you come across a useful might need to ask more people. the results that come from taking your document, look for any author mentors’ advice. information or lists of related experts. If More questions and answers you need help finding the right resources Okay. You’ve got mentors. But you can’t or you have a question that’s not Have a short question? Try posting it on go to your mentors for every little thing answered by the document, you might be IBM Answers. You’ll get an e-mail you need to learn, so you still need to able to ask those people for help. (Look notification if anyone replies. While figure out things on your own. for communities or forums first, though – you’re there, see if you can answer any of this helps avoid e-mail overload, and you the pending questions. Documentation, assets, and other sources can ask more people for help. We’ll talk of information more about communities later.) Tip: Don’t just post your question on IBM Answers and walk away. Reach out You’re probably already used to searching Okay. Formal documentation is great, but to specific people to see if they can share the Internet for information when you’re there’s often very little of it, especially for anything. If you use Profile status trying to learn something new. It can be new tools and technologies. What do you updates, post your question with a link to harder to find just the right document do when you need to learn about the answer page. within IBM. If you’re new to a topic, it something that doesn’t have a lot of can be difficult to find beginner-level articles or manuals yet? Regarding experts: If you have a resources, or even to know what and question that needs deep expertise, you where to search. Files, bookmarks, wikis, and blog posts might want to give Expertise Locator a try. You don’t want to waste experts’ time, If you’re stuck, ask your coworkers or When I need to find out about something though, so if your request is non-urgent, your manager for help in getting started. new, informal, or obscure, I often check it’s probably better to start at a lower Take notes! Make a list of the resources people’s files, bookmarks, wikis, or blog level. People can escalate your request if you find useful as a beginner, and you’ll posts. This is where Lotus Connections needed. be able to share that list with other people really shines. You can search people’s who join the project. It’s a quick way to public files and presentations for new Sometimes it helps to ask many people create value – and people are more likely information, search bookmarks for instead of focusing on just a few. This is to invest time into helping you if they information other people have found where Lotus Connections Communities know that your notes will help them and useful, check out wikis to see what people and IBM forums come in. other people save time in the future.
April 2011 – sachachua.com 118 Lotus Connections Communities with questions that need much broader or answering other people’s questions, deeper experience than you have, or you sharing useful resources, and posting Whatever you’re looking for, there’s have no idea where to even start learning, notes of thanks or encouragement. probably a community or forum related your network is essential. to it. Search Lotus Connections Wrapping up Communities to find groups related to the If you can’t think of anyone who would topic. IBM Forums has older groups, too. know the answers you need, try thinking You’ll need to learn a lot at IBM, and of people who might know people who you’ll need to learn it quickly. Not Many communities have discussion would know the answer. Ask them for everything will be written down, and you forums. You’ll need to join the referrals. You can also look for people in might not find everything you need using community in order to ask a question. Lotus Connections Profiles or Bluepages w3 or an Internet search engine. You’ll Look at other posts to see how people ask and try reaching out to them. need to learn from the network. for help. Provide as much information as you can in your message, but don’t post Social networking tip: Lotus o Learn from managers, coworkers, any confidential information. Show that Connections Profiles is a great way to ask mentors, and role models about you’ve “done your homework” – describe questions and get quick responses from things you might not even know to how you’ve tried to solve the problem or whoever’s available in your network at ask about where you’ve looked for information. the time. You need to build your network That way, people might be more before you can use this effectively, o Follow the clues from people’s encouraged to help you. though. Look at the main Profiles page to files and assets to find related see who’s been participating, and invite communities and experts. Important: Ask the community owners them to your network. If they agree, you’ll o Search people’s files, bookmarks, (see the Members tab) Some be able to see their updates in your blog posts, and profile updates to communities use the “Mail community” timeline, and they can see yours. That see the latest. feature to handle questions, before means that if you post questions in Lotus mailing the community. Many Connections, people might see it and o Check out Q&A sites for additional communities have thousands of answer it. resources. members, and too much community e- o Reach out to communities and mail can make the community useless. Why would people spend time checking forums if you need help from out Lotus Connections and possibly more people. Building your network answering questions? For many people, it’s like a quick break by the virtual office o Gradually build your network so What about all those questions that watercooler, a way to catch up with lots of that you can easily ask for people’s people haven’t answered before, and for people and to help out people if they can. help when you have new which there are no active communities? Try it – spend a little time each day or questions. This is where your personal network each week building your relationships by becomes important. When you’re faced reading people’s profile updates, Good luck!
April 2011 – sachachua.com 119 2011-04-02 Sat 21:42 2. Install Ruby Gems. wget http://www.sqlite.org/sqlite- Downloadcd the latest Ruby Gems package and amalgamation-126.96.36.199.tar.gzSetting up Ruby on Rails on a Redhat unpack it. I got mine tar zxvf sqlite-amalgamation-188.8.131.52.tar.gzEnterprise Linux Rackspace Cloud Server from http://production.cf.rubygems.org/rubyge cd sqlite-amalgamation-184.108.40.206http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22184 ms/rubygems-1.7.1.tgz . Change to the directory ./configureApril 4, 2011 - and run: makeCategories: development, geek, rails, ruby, work make install ruby setup.rb gem install sqlite31. Compile Ruby from source. 3. Install Rails and rake LoadError: no such file to load – opensslFirst, install all the libraries you’ll need tocompile Ruby. gem install rails rake 1. Install openssl and openssl-devel.yum install gcc zlib libxml2-develyum install gcc If all goes well, you should now have Rails and 2. yum install openssl openssl-develyum install zlib rake.yum install zlib-devel Troubleshooting: 3. Go to your Ruby source directory and runyum install openssl the following commands:yum install openssl-devel *builder-2.1.2 has an invalid value for @cert_chain* 4. cd ext/opensslMy particular application has problems with 5. ruby extconf.rbRuby 1.9.2, so I compiled Ruby 1.8.7 instead. 6. make Downgrade Rubygems to version 1.6.2 with the 7. make installThis can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.ruby- following command.lang.org/pub/ruby/1.8/ruby-1.8.7-p174.tar.gz gem update --system 1.6.2 LoadError: no such file to load – readlineUnpack the source code for Ruby. Configure andinstall it with: yum install readline-devel (Stack Overflow)./configuremake sqlite3-ruby only supports sqlite3 Change to your Ruby source directory and runmake install versions 3.6.16+, please upgrade! the following: Compile sqlite from source: cd ext/readlineAdd /usr/local/bin to the beginning of ruby extconf.rbyour PATH. make
April 2011 – sachachua.com 120 equations is somewhat familiar to J-, but the 2 * (number of lions + number of tigers +make install process of solving algebraic equations confuses number of bears) = 2 * number of lions + 2 * all the kids. I have a feeling that we’re either number of tigers + 2 * number of bears. taking up the topic before the teachers have had(Code snippets) a chance to adequately explain things, or the I drew a lion, a tiger, and a bear instead of real-life situation (“Town”) leaves the students writing the corresponding phrases. =) Then J-You can’t access port 80 from another little time to focus on other lessons. Well, it is said, “Oh my!” and everyone laughed.computer. what it is (this is becoming one of my mantras these days), so we just have to do our best. The kids often forget that whatever they do toPort 80 (the web server port) is blocked by one side of the equation, they need to do to thedefault on Redhat Enterprise Linux 5.5. The small-group format is still working well. other. As a result, J- once ended up with theEdit /etc/sysconfig/iptables to allow it, adding a We’re going to try it with four kids to see if interesting equation 2 = 4. Looks like we need toline like: pairing them up to help each other will help the review how to use the equals sign. ;) We might kids learn more effectively and build more try the see-saw metaphor. If you have a balanced-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state NEW - confidence. W- has also checked out an armful of see-saw, you can keep it balanced by adding orm tcp -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT books from the library. I’ve been paging through removing the same amount from both sides. You “Real-World Algebra” and similar books to find can keep it balanced by multiplying and dividingMake sure you put it above the REJECT all line. some ideas for exercises the kids can relate to. from both sides. If you add, subtract, multiply, or divide one side without doing the same to theLoad your changes with We try to liven things up with energy and other, you end up with an imbalanced seesaw. amusing examples. They have to eventually We’ll see if that helps them remember./etc/init.d/iptables restart become comfortable with abstract exercises such as 5n + 30 = 180, and it’s difficult to make that Because we’re discussing new material for them, more interesting. I don’t want to just repeat the we have to walk through the exercises together(Cyberciti) fake word problems of standard algebra before they can try things on their own. When textbooks, so I’m keeping an eye out for real-life they try things out, progress can be slow and2011-04-04 Mon 11:06 situations in which I’ve used algebra myself. It frustrating. We’re seeing if we can take can be hard to notice when you take math for advantage of group dynamics by posing a granted, but math is everywhere, so I should be question and encouraging the kids to talk outHelping kids learn algebra able to collect examples. loud about the strategies they might use. Theyhttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22185 help each other out, too. The group formatApril 5, 2011 - Categories: learning, life, teaching In the meantime, there are small things we can definitely pays off – seeing other kids struggle or do to help them keep their attention on math or succeed helps a great deal.In the math study groups we organize at home, to remember the concepts more vividly. I triedwe’ve moved past fractions and percentages into this example for distribution: Do you have any favourite middle school groupthe wild and wonderful world of algebra. study resources or tips? =)Translating a problem into an algebraic
April 2011 – sachachua.com 121Why we use more than math textbooks There are several types of exercises. Completely I love research-backed books that help usand general-purpose resources abstract ones (here’s an equation, solve for n) get understand why we do what we do. Paulahttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22186 lots of confusion and little engagement. Practical Szuchman and Jenny Anderson’s Spousonomics:April 6, 2011 - exercises (how much would this cost after tax?) Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, andCategories: learning, math, teaching get some interest. Outlandish exercises drawing Dirty Dishes was no exception. The book takes a on the kids’ interests get lots of laughs – and look at common marital conflicts and situations,For last Sunday’s study group, we focused on solutions. So we mix practical exercises and showing the underlying economic principles thatalgebraic expressions. The kids were a little out outlandish ones, one to show math in real life influence our actions. For example:of sorts at the beginning. “Math is boring,” one and the other to get the kids involved. It’s likesaid. improv comedy, but for education. Division of labour: Splitting chores equally may not result in the most“The way it’s taught in school, maybe. But math This is where parents and tutors really need to efficient or the happiest of marriages.is really useful in life, so it’s good to learn it,” I step in and mix things up. Textbooks are written Specialize, remembering that payoffs cansaid. I shared a few examples of saving money for everyone. They can’t take individual interests change over time.with math, enjoying life with math. into account, and they can’t be revised each month to take advantage of pop culture Loss aversion: People hate to lose, references. When you make up your own which can result in really drawn-outThe group warmed up using a matching exercise, fights. The advice to “never go to bedmatching the word problems on the left side with exercises, though, you can do whatever you want. angry” can backfire. It’s okay to havethe algebraic expressions on the right. Then we time-outs.worked through some of the problems I’d I know J- likes Scott Pilgrim, Fruits Basket, andprepared. In one afternoon, we talked about: cats, so they turn up in math exercises. It’s not Supply and demand: If you want hard to pick up some standard forms of exercises something to happen more often, don’t cats and how much food they eat (1/4 from textbooks and translate them into more make it costly or risky. cup, twice a day, 365 days, n cats…) interesting situations. Moral hazard: It’s easy to take good T-shirts, sleeping cat toys, and chopsticks Helping someone learn? Make up exercises things for granted. It’s also easy to end up that look like lightsabers based on their interests and see what happens. trying to avoid any sort of conflict. The sweet spot is in the middle, where you’re how much it might cost to eat onigiri for not taking your relationship for granted, every meal, every day, for a year but you’re not paranoid about your Spousonomics: Using economics to how long you might be able to eat onigiri master love, marriage, and dirty dishes spouse quitting. given a particular budget http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22187 Incentives: Think about the incentives Scott Pilgrim, Wallace, and Knives Chau April 7, 2011 - you use and if they’re really effective. Categories: analysis, book, love, reading, researc Trust can be much more useful than more cats, including Neko on my head h nagging.
April 2011 – sachachua.com 122 Trade-offs: Think at the margin: (problem couples who usually end up patching party battery. It wasn’t cheap, but I figured that consider the costs and benefits of small things up) and lots of research. investing in tools is worth it. I regularly set aside changes. Ignore sunk costs when making money for tools and opportunities, so I used that. decisions. Get over the “it’s not fair” Here are some thoughts I particularly like: fixation. I ordered the new battery for full price. When I If there are areas you care about but you feel remembered that IBM has an employee purchase Asymmetric helpless in, put in the time and effort to develop program with Lenovo, I crossed my fingers and information: Communicate clearly. the comparative advantage in at least one of sent Lenovo an e-mail to ask if I could cancel my Don’t play games by hiding or them. The authors tell the story of one economist previous order. They cancelled it for me, and I withholding information. Figure out the who put the time into at least learning how to reordered it for about $30 less. Never hurts to essentials of what you need to share so bathe an infant so that his wife wouldn’t end up ask! that you don’t overload your spouse. with all the child-rearing tasks – and so that he Intertemporal choice: It’s easy to wouldn’t get tempted to take advantage of that I was thinking about the new Lenovo X220 make good decisions for the future, but kind of a division. tablet, too. I really like my X61 tablet. The X220 hard to stick with those decisions in the promises a faster processor, higher resolution, present. Use commitment devices to help Looking for things to read? In terms of marriage and a much longer battery life. I think I can get you stick with your resolutions or good research, I’d recommend “Spousonomics” and away without that for now, though. Waiting for ideas. Susan Page’s “The 8 Essential Traits of Couples used X220s to turn up on Craigslist or similar who Thrive”. What do you like? sites could really reduce my costs. (Hmm, maybe Bubbles: Non-bubbly married life is I can ask work about my laptop refresh cycle…) normal, so don’t stress out if you’re no longer infatuated. Beware of being unduly Decision review: Battery My battery arrived today. I’m really glad I can influenced by groups – just because http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22188 unplug my laptop and move it from room to everyone else seems to be doing room now. Yay! =) something doesn’t mean it’s right for you, April 8, 2011 - Categories: geek too. Don’t get overconfident. 2011-04-03 Sun 08:32 After several days of accidentally unplugging my Game theory: Don’t let the urge to battery-dead laptop (knocking away the power retaliate or overcompensate lead to you to cord, unplugging the wrong cable, etc.), I ordered wildly polarized positions. Work together a new battery. My laptop is still usable without a Writing more about life to get optimal results, not just battery. I just have to put it into hibernation http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22189 individually-optimal results, and use before moving it around. Power interruptions April 9, 2011 - commitment devices to help you stick could result in hard disk corruption, though, and Categories: blogging, decision, writing with it. I’d rather not have to deal with two broken components. I am going to write more about life.The book goes into far more depth, and is anexcellent read. It’s illustrated with case studies I decided to order an official battery from It took me a while to get used to this idea. I Lenovo.com instead of taking a risk on a third- started blogging as a way of taking notes – source
April 2011 – sachachua.com 123code, class lectures, and so on. That makes sense other people, and I might help other people along o Helped with math study group:to write down. It’s useful. It might even be useful the way. positive and negative numbers,to other people. I’m comfortable with writing algebrathrough decisions and sharing what I’m learning 2011-04-09 Sat 22:09from life, particularly if I can geek out. But Lifeeveryday stories? Should I write about thosewhen I could, say, write tips or draft Weekly review: Week ending April 8, 2011 o [X] Take a look at my time budgetpresentations instead? http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22200 o [X] Sketch more plans April 10, 2011 - Categories: weekly o [X] Practise drawingReviewing my print-outs of past blog posts,though, I find myself coming back to the From last week’s plans Plans for next weekmemories. The tips I’ve written up for otherpeople (or for myself) are handy. They’ll be the Work Worknucleus of a book someday. The technical notes I o [-] Finish first phase prototype forkeep help me save time re-solving problems. The o [ ] Doublecheck mail, implement client C – lots of good progress!memories are the entries that improve with age, feedback for project Cbecoming richer and more layered over time. o [X] Host Idea Lab for Japan o [ ] Follow up on Idea Labs o [X] Make presentation “The BusyThe friends I’ve made through writing about o [ ] Finish paperwork for project M Person’s Guide to Learning fromEmacs, Drupal, and other technical topics also the Network” (for IBM internalhave plenty of insights on life, education, crafts, conference) Relationshipsand other things. The experiences and o [X] Make bagels and bunsperspectives I bring to life turn everyday o Helped plan for project Mexperiences into geek explorations. I think it will o Assisted with Get Social, Do o [ ] Plan get-togetherall work out. Business event at work o [ ] Make fresh cranberry bagels for o Put together Idea Lab description, J-What it comes down to is this realization: Theseeveryday moments are worth writing sent to manager o [ ] Make big batch of lunchesabout, learning from, and sharing. I might o Helped Archie Trajano think o [ ] Write about math group studythink they’re ordinary now, but they anchor my about personal branding sessionsexperiences and make it easier to rememberwhole chunks of life, fleeting sensations, elusive o  Relationshipsthoughts. Like the way that even rough drawings o Biked up to Dufferin/St. Clairhelp me see and remember more clearly, words o [X] Prepare garden library with W-will be the white pebbles dropped by this Gretel o [X] Learn more Latinto find her way back. And who knows? Memories o Started more dill and cilantrotrigger other memories. I’m sure I’ll learn from
April 2011 – sachachua.com 124 Life himself successful if more project managers This Last Category Delta Notes asked him to troubleshoot their projects – both o [ ] Post book notes week week technical and non-technical issues. He’s been o  working at the company for 12 years, and he had Travel 1.3 4.5 -3.2 plenty of war stories and lessons learned to shareTime analysis with me. He told me that his peers know about This Last Work 45.9 56.9 -11.0 his skills, but he wanted to hear about moreCategory Delta Notes week week projects, expand the kinds of roles he took on Writing 3.4 6.8 -3.4 Tried projects, and go into projects with moreBreak 10.2 11.2 -1.0 batch- authority and leverage. writingDrawing 0.7 0.9 -0.2 posts Now that was a much more useful vision than “improve personal brand.” We could work with that. It might not even have anything to do withExercise 3.3 6.8 -3.5 FAQ: wikis, blogs, or Twitter.Learning 1.0 1.0 Why do I do these weekly reviews? See on So: How can one build a reputation for project the practice of a weekly review. work?Personal 5.5 5.5 Gardening What about the detailed time analysis? We figured that the best ways to reach the people See more thoughts on time analysis. Archie was interested in would be throughPreparation 8.6 0.5 8.1 Lots of planning managers and resource deployment managers. There are a couple of ways to do that: e-mail and On developing a reputation for projectRoutines – 1.7 1.7 presentations. workcooking http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22194 In terms of e-mail, one of the best things Archie April 11, 2011 - Categories: ibm, mentoring, work can do is to make sure that the results that he’sRoutines – 6.7 8.1 -1.4general getting turn up in the right people’s e-mail Over lunch, Archie and I talked about one of his inboxes. As it can sometimes be difficult to get business goals for this year. He wanted to work recognition or documentation of results fromRoutines – 2.0 1.5 0.5 on his personal brand. busy project managers, I suggested that Archietidying write up the problems he solves, the results, and I asked him what he meant by his personal tips for avoiding such problems in the future. IfSleep 60.6 54.9 5.7 brand. “What would success look like?” I asked. he sends this e-mail to the project manager and to our manager, they can forward it to otherSocial 17.1 12.8 4.3 Archie said that he’d like to be known more for people as needed – if they hear of a project that troubleshooting, and that he would consider has a similar problem, if someone asks them who
April 2011 – sachachua.com 125can help with a troubled project, and so on. It’s everyone had called around and sorted things out “They do more of this hopping backward thing,important to keep one’s manager up to date on with their parents, and everyone was well-fed, we yes, but cats can walk backwards if they want to.”the kinds of things one is good at or interested in, got back to math.because managers talk to other managers and So we did a few more of those exercises,can refer you to opportunities. One of the benefits of hosting multiple kids in a including things like -4 – (-5) and -(-(-2)). We study group is that you get more information also reviewed multiplying and dividing positiveIn terms of presentations, Archie can summarize about what people are learning in school. V- said and negative numbers. The kids seemedkey tips from his experiences into a short she needed help with positive and negative comfortable with that, and answered ourpresentation – maybe a top 10 list, or focused on numbers, so that’s what we started off reviewing. exercises with little prompting.a topic such as performance. This gives himplenty of opportunities to use and reuse the A quick review: 2 – (-3) = ? . Boggles all around. As we wrapped up our review of positive andmaterial. Speaking at a lunch-and-learn is one negative numbers, A- arrived. She’s in grade 6, away to do it, and he’ll get extra exposure from the Okay. A step down: -2 – 4 = ?. Still boggles and grade behind the other kids, so we modified ourinvitations going around. Speaking at one of our some guesses. exercises. She said she was taking up decimals ininternal education events will let him reach even class. I asked her how she felt about themore people. The presentation can be shared I drew a number line and labelled it with the multiplication table. “Bad,” she confessed, atinternally, included with newsletters, forwarded numbers. “Imagine a cat standing on -2. Which which the other kids begged (begged!) to doto other people. direction does the cat go if you’re subtracting 4?” multiplication practice.What else would you recommend? “Left!” chorused the kids. “-6!” “But first, we’re going to talk about algebra very quickly,” W- said. He briefly reviewed what an2011-04-08 Fri 20:40 I drew the cat ending up on -6. We did a couple algebraic equation really means, and the of other exercises along those lines. Nods all different parts of the equation: the constants, the around. Okay. variables, the operators, the assertion, and so on.Math study group: Positive and negative We hope this will help them remember to keepnumbers “What about -2 + 3?” I drew another numberline. their equations balanced, always doinghttp://sachachua.com/blog/p/22193 “Right! +1.” operations on both sides of the equals sign.April 12, 2011 -Categories: education, learning, life, teaching “What about 2 – (-3)?” I drew the cat on the “All right, multiplication,” I said, and we headed numberline. “Okay, we’re starting on 2. And outside to practise multiplication. The way we doIt was Friday, so J- and her friends were singing we’re subtracting, so we would normally move to it is good for building confidence and a sense ofthe Friday song as they hung up their coats and the left, but we’re moving -3 steps… so the cat numbers: we go through sets of five multiplesgot ready for our math study group. It turned out walks backward three steps.” until the kids can rattle them off smoothly. Forthat they had been so excited about coming home example: 6, 12, 18, 24, 30. 6, 12, 18, 24, 30. And “5!” said the kids. One of them asked, “Do your so on, around the circle. It’s really more of an(to a math study group!) that they’d forgotten toarrange things with their parents, and V-’s dad cats really walk backwards?” audio recall task than a calculation task, and ithad been waiting for her at school. Once gets them used to what the numbers feel like.
April 2011 – sachachua.com 126They catch themselves now, when they make a I remember teasing W- about how he wears a my pay grade, so I’m doing this even if it meansmistake. And they’re enthusiastic and run ahead toque to bed. (It’s a small, brimless hat also stretching quite a bit.of themselves, doing sets of ten instead of sets of known as a beanie.) Several winter months later,five, or challenging themselves further by doing I’m a convert to the cause. It’s interesting to see the applications of thejumping jacks while saying the numbers. behavioural economics principles I’ve been Wearing a hat to bed is an excellent way to keep reading about in “The Upside of Irrationality.”After multiplication practice, one of the kids your ears warm. This means less work tucking For example, there’s a chapter on findingpiped up and asked, “Can we solve the equation yourself in and fewer late-night struggles with meaning in work. The perceived meaning of workin the breadbox?” Ah. Yes. Those. I’d spent some blankets. greatly influences our motivation to do it. If youtime the night before writing up simple equations know there’s a chance your work will come toand hiding them around the first floor of the A hat also doubles as a handy sleep mask that nothing (cancelled projects and so on), you mighthouse – possible exercises for J- or the study keeps the light out if someone else wants to stay be less motivated to work on it, and more drawngroup, depending on how things went. So we up late reading. Just pull your hat down over to projects where you think you’ll make aagreed that they could look for the five Post-It your eyes. A little bit of light may come in on difference. Makes sense, right? (Ah, that’s whynotes I’d hidden IF they solved the equations as either side of your nose, but the reduction in light school projects bored me…)well. I settled in to review decimal multiplication may be enough to let you sleep easily.and division with A- to help her catch up, and W- Recognizing this bias means that I canreviewed the other kids’ work on the algebraic A warm hat, fuzzy socks, flannel pajamas, and understand my motivations and tweak them. It’sequations. microfleece sheets – that should see me through natural for me to want to spend more time on my the last gasps of winter and into spring. Slowly other project. I experience flow on it –Our Friday afternoon math study groups are a getting the hang of this! meaningful engagement. Although this proposalgreat ritual. Glad we stumbled into organizing is riskier and I more often run into the limits ofthem! I hope other parents can host study groups 2011-04-03 Sun 10:24 my understanding, it needs to be workedas well – it would be good for all the kids to see on. Here are some possible approaches foractive involvement – but it’s probably easiest for motivating yourself when working on risky,us, logistically speaking, because we can often Using behavioural economics to motivate uncertain projects:work from home and we both enjoy teaching. If yourself when working on risky projectsyou can, try it! http://sachachua.com/blog/p/22197 Break it down into small wins and April 14, 2011 - Categories: an