Sep 28th, 2021 · 1 post

Familair territory

I've been finding myself drifting back to the apps that I used heavily a couple of years ago to gain some familiarity.

Moving from Pocket back to Instapaper, Apple Notes back to Bear and Things back to Todoist. I'm starting to find the familiar triggers again and, dare I say it, a productive flow when using these apps. Something that I haven't had for a long time.

It's great being out of the wilderness and back in familiar territory again. Long may it continue.
Permalink / Tags: apps, productivity

Sep 23rd, 2021 · 1 post

Permalink / Tags: Nicholas Bate

Aug 30th, 2021 · 1 post

The end of the suit?

 It's hardly surprising to hear that Marks & Spencer no longer sell suits at half of their bigger stores. Suits have been in decline for a few years now. Clothing trends have been leaning toward more casual alternatives, and in the workplace, more casual attire is allowed.  And with the pandemic, and many people finding themselves working from home, the suit has taken a bigger hit. 
However, in the first two months of the Covid pandemic, when millions of people were forced to work from home, M&S said it sold just 7,500 suits - a fall of 80% compared to the same period in the previous year. 

—  Suit you sir? Not any more at some M&S stores
Since I left school, I've always had at least one suit. Over the last few years, though, I'm down to a single suit and a small collection of smart trousers and shirts. I rarely need to wear a suit. In fact, the last time I wore a suit might have been about two or three years ago.

That's not to say I'll not own a suit. I'll always have one, and I'll always recommend to my sons that they own at least one suit. There's always going to be an occasion for a suit. It's just that these days, it's less often than before.
Permalink / Tags: fashion

Aug 28th, 2021 · 1 post

A good day

Proud of Ethan winning his first Junior Club Championship at Paisley Golf Club.

A superb match over 36 holes that went to a second playoff hole before the winner was decided.
Permalink / Tags: golf, Ethan

Aug 20th, 2021 · 1 post

Build paths first

Michael Wade explains the sidewalk rule and why we should build paths first.
Keeping things simple and action-oriented is difficult and yet if that orientation is not present from the start, it may be too late. Territory may already have been seized and boundaries drawn.

The Sidewalk Rule 
In a recent project, I took the advice of another team when setting up a new project and categorising the work involved based on a template this team used. In doing so, I complicated the project before it even began. I should have built paths first before building sidewalks.
Permalink / Tags: Business, project management, agile

Aug 19th, 2021 · 1 post

Looking forward to Foundation, Apple's take on Isaac Asimov's novels.
Permalink / Tags: Apple, books, TV, scifi

Aug 18th, 2021 · 3 posts

Star Wars Visions trailer

The trailer for the new Star Wars anime anthology is impressive, most impressive.

In other news, I should really get YouTube embeds working on my site.
Permalink / Tags: Star Wars, trailers

Permalink / Tags: family, toys

Time and attention are unrelated

Jason Fried recounts a tale showing that time and attention are unrelated.
What I don’t have – and what I can’t squeeze in – is more attention. Attention is a far more limited resource than time. So what I should say is “I don’t have the attention”. I may have 8 hours a day for work, but I probably have 4 hours a day for attention.

The difference between time and attention
Permalink / Tags: productivity

Aug 17th, 2021 · 2 posts

The new update to the Things app sounds rather good. You can now use bullet lists and Markdown in your task's notes.
Permalink / Tags: tools, apps, productivity

A long overdue course correction

It appears the wheels have come off my system for managing my workload. Again.

I say again because this seems to happen every few months. There I am trundling along all happy and productive, and then one day, I forget to do something, and I end up having to get myself back on track and build up the habit again. This time is a wee bit different, though. For a few months now, I’ve been strolling along, just doing what needs to get done and letting a bunch of other things slide.

Now it feels like I’ve spent enough time ignoring what I have let slide, and I need to do something about it. Unlike in the past, when I’ve been able to get back up and running in a few days, this is going to take slightly longer. I’ve got some major housekeeping to do over the next few weeks, and it’s going to be a significant pain, but it needs to get done.

The first task is getting everything that I want to do collected in one space. In the past, I’ve used several methods for doing this, including dumping everything to a list or adding everything to a task management app.

Something I haven’t used for a while, though, is a mind map. With the bonus of being paper-based and away from a distracting screen, it lets me group and order everything while I’m collecting it without too much fuss. I’m quite looking forward to it.
Permalink / Tags: tools

Aug 16th, 2021 · 1 post

More recommendations from humans please

This blog has been quiet of late. I haven’t felt the need to share much of anything over the last year. In fact, in the previous few years, I’ve bounced back and forward on the want to keep running this blog. The motivation to blog has waned, but it’s something that I still want to do. It’s a strange feeling to have.

One of the things that I enjoy about blogging is the passing on of information. In the past, I would often share links to stories and posts that I have found through my daily read of the websites that I follow. It’s an excellent way of passing on the good stuff on the internet. The old fashioned way. Without the vanity metrics of likes and followers. Without the need for algorithms to find you the right content.

I should do this more often. I should share more links to the things that I find interesting on the internet. Not because I want more followers or readers, but for the intention of passing something else on that I found fascinating as an individual. As a reader of my blog, you might like it; you might not like it. However, there’s one thing that I can guarantee you. Each of the links I share on my blog is a post or a story that I found interesting and recommend as a human and not as an algorithm.

Maybe that’s something that we could do with more of on the web.
Permalink / Tags: blogging, open web

Jul 12th, 2021 · 1 post

Hello Obsidian

Today I installed Obsidian on my iPhone and MacBook.

For months I've struggled to get a hold on day to day stuff and things frequently fall by the wayside. I'm hoping that Obsidian can be a repository for many things but also a place where I can connect these things together.
Permalink / Tags: tools, Markdown

Jul 1st, 2021 · 1 post

Wealth is not money

Nicholas Bate reminds us that wealth is not money.
 7. But in the end realise much of what we want money for is available for free if we only slowed down: time, friendship, great health, watching a sunset. And that's soft wealth. Priceless, of course.

Thursday Wealth Accumulator, 7 
Permalink / Tags: Nicholas Bate

Jun 30th, 2021 · 2 posts

Permalink / Tags: Working Smarter

Amazed by GitHub Copilot

I must admit, I am blown away by GitHub's latest technical preview, Copilot, despite not having access to it yet. It's almost like having Stack Overflow, your favourite snippets collection, and a pair programming buddy rolled into one.

There are some concerns being voiced about how this will impact the value of a developer's role.

While GitHub's Copilot will in time automate a fair amount of time in a developer's typical day, it can't account for the complexity involved in solving real-world problems using code. While the snippets generated by Copilot look to solve simple tasks, it's piecing these tasks together by the developer that counts. A developer's role is not just to write code but to understand the code being written. GitHub's Copilot looks to do both by providing generic suggestions that the developer can change to solve the problem they face. 

Given that my brain is not quite as sharp as it once was, I welcome any tool or product that helps me write and understand better code. GitHub's Copilot will definitely help me do both. While it won't make me a 10x developer in the future, it will definitely make me understand and be more proficient with more programming languages. 
Permalink / Tags: tools, programming, GitHub

Jun 29th, 2021 · 1 post

When does it become too hot?

In the last couple of weeks I've read about the impact of rising sea levels in the Florida Keys and now this week, we have the highest recorded temperature on Earth.
Jacobabad crossed the 35C wet bulb threshold in July 1987, then again in June 2005, June 2010 and July 2012. Each time the boundary may have been breached for only a few hours, but a three-day average temperature has been recorded hovering around 34C in June 2010, June 2001 and July 2012. The dry bulb temperature is often over 50C in the summer.

Hotter than the human body can handle: Pakistan city broils in world’s highest temperature
I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have to work in such heat. However, it's widely predicted that many more parts of the world will need to deal with such temperatures over the next few decades.  

At what point though does drastic action need to be taken instead of being acknowledged?

When does it simply become too hot for people to safely live their lives?

Clearly, we're already there. 
Permalink / Tags: Climate change

Jun 22nd, 2021 · 1 post

The slow heartbeat of Earth

Even Earth has its own heartbeat.
But through all of that, it seems Earth has been keeping time. A new study of ancient geological events suggests that our planet has a slow, steady 'heartbeat' of geological activity every 27 million years or so.

This pulse of clustered geological events - including volcanic activity, mass extinctions, plate reorganizations and sea level rises - is incredibly slow, a 27.5-million-year cycle of catastrophic ebbs and flows. But luckily for us, the research team notes we have another 20 million years before the next 'pulse'.

Earth Has a 27.5-Million-Year 'Heartbeat', But We Don't Know What Causes It 
Permalink / Tags: Earth, science

Jun 18th, 2021 · 1 post

First paragraph: The Midnight Library

Trying to reboot the reading habit again.
Nineteen years before she decided to die, Nora Seed sat in the warmth of the small library at Hazeldene School in the town of Bedford. She stared at a chessboard on a low table.

—  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Permalink / Tags: First paragraphs, books, Matt Haig

Jun 17th, 2021 · 1 post

Lunch date

I just had a wee lunch date with Jennifer at one of our favourite local restaurants.

Nice to get out of the house, have the cooking done for you and be in great company.  Shame I have to get back to work now. 

Matthew Lang

Freelance web developer specialising in Ruby on Rails