Archive for Productivity

WordPress 2.5

I've just upgraded WordPress.. not too many hangups involved this time around – until I find something screwy like that it won't actually post this.

I've seen a lot of complaints about the new wp dashboard… but I'm liking it so far.

If you notice anything that seems wrong, anything that's broken – leave a comment (if you can) or click the chat widget in the sidebar.

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Reader Requests

Sometimes we all need a little inspirado.

I thought I'd try something a bit different and create a place for anyone reading this blog to suggest a topic. Whatever you want to see written about, type it up in the comments box below and I'll take a stab at posting about it.

I've tried my hand at posting about umbrellas, getting everyone sick, and a few other suggested topics that I don't feel like looking up because I think you get the idea. So give it a shot, and we'll see if I can take your idea and run with it – hopefully in a direction that's somewhat entertaining.

I'll also add a link to this post to the top of the page, probably in the navigation bar – right before the Pepsi Purple link,  so it's always accessible.

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Have you bitten the Google apple?

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It's a very tasty apple. And it seems that with every bite, somehow it manages to grow larger.

What started out as a project by a couple of guys just chillin' around and doing the college thing, has turned into a force that has undoubtedly changed the way the world functions. Google has changed the world. It's a bold claim, but it's been made before, and I'll make it again.

The driving force behind Google seems to be a desire to take a problem that we didn't even know we had, and create or acquire and develop on top of another service in order to solve that problem. Back before Google Maps there was Yahoo! Maps and Mapquest (and some other ones that aren't big enough for me to remember off the top of my head.) These services were good, they were usable, and most people were satisfied with them, but Google has gone above and beyond them. Sure, the directions are never perfect, but neither are the ones from the other guys, but when I need directions I turn to Google.

on top of the world

When I need to do product research, I turn to Google. Google Groups is a great place to find reviews, or just a web search to bring up the relevant pages on Amazon or epinions or all those other sites. Looking for an image? Google. Entertaining video? YouTube (you know who owns them, right?) FeedBurner, Blogger, GrandCentral, Google Documents/Spreadsheets, the list is much larger than that, and it keeps growing.

Google keeps track of the traffic statistics for this blog. They also provide the ads that I make absolutely no money from (and am going to rearrange and make less obtrusive with the new layout and design.)

I've gotten all the way down to this point in the post, and I just remembered the biggest Google service that I rely on – Gmail. I'll ramble on for pages about how much I love Gmail, so I'll just say that I think it's an incredible email service.

What worries me though, is that all companies come and go. Google is strong now, they're the biggest player in this market, but what happens when they start to falter? Will someone else rise up and dominate the internet, the worldwide market place? Will someone else change the way people interact with each other and the way we share and spread information? Or will Google just become an unstoppable force?

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GrandCentral Invites

Now that google has 'acquired' and moved to their classic invite system, it has come to my attention that there are people seeking out these 'invites.'

Personally, I find that the novelty-factor of the service outweighs its usefulness, but I'm sure there are plenty of you that would be able to utilize it more fully than myself. I do like that I can record a separate greeting for different contacts, send some of them directly to voicemail, and that it can ring multiple phones at once so I can answer wherever I happen to be – all using just one phone number. I guess that alone makes it worth using for me.

So, first 10 commenters on this post – I'm going to send an invite your way. Make sure that you type in a valid email address, since that's where I'll send the invite to. Your email address will not be visible, and will only be used for sending your grandcentral invite.

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Thirty Day Challenge

Have you ever wished you could become more successful at internet marketing? Do you have a product/service/website that you wish you could promote more effectively and efficiently? That's exactly what the 30 Day Challenge aims to help you accomplish.

The "challenge" kicks off on August 1.. 30 minutes from when I started typing this.. and continues for – get this – 30 days. The goal is to make your first $10, somehow, on the internet without spending a single cent of your own money. There's a lot of hype surrounding this project, but from the excitement of the community that's been built, I think that it has a lot of potential.

Personally, I have no idea what to try to market, and don't know what I'd work towards to make even that first $10.. but I think if the knowledge presented over the next month is as useful as it's being made out to be, that I'll walk away with a much better idea of how to effectively market on the internet. And that skill alone seems worth the effort to follow along.

So, if the idea of making a bit of money, learning how to promote your (*whatever it is you want to promote*), and just joining part of an incredible community sound appealing – give the 30 day challenge a try.

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Slow computer? Don't shutdown.. hibernate!

This page seems to have become pretty popular for people searching for information about the Hibernation option on their computer. Unfortunately this post has very little information other than my experience with it. I have created another page: Using The Hibernate Feature In Windows XP in an attempt to provide you with some information that you may find useful. If you have any questions, comment on that post and I'll try to expand upon it.

I've basically retired my desktop computer in favor of my (slightly) older laptop. It's going on about two years now, and while not the fastest or most powerful, for the most part it gets the job done. The mobility is what sealed the deal and has left my desktop unhooked since my last move.

My main beef with this thing is the startup time.

A few nights ago I needed to pull up some photos on flickr quickly.. I got home, hit the power button, and then kept complaining into my phone about how long it was taking to startup. It must have taken 3 minutes or so, or maybe it just felt like that because I was in a hurry. I won't go into the part about how my (attempted humorous) reaction to those pictures has probably done irreversible damage to an already delicate situation.. I'll just mention that it's one of the big things in my life that I'm trying to improve on, and hopefully as I make progress I'll be able to post some helpful/insightful articles that someone out there may find useful.

Anyway, I'm far from computer illiterate. I have a degree in computer science, I'm a programmer by nature and training, so I know my way around these magical boxes. I've de-crufted, disabled unnecessary services, killed unused startup programs, etc.. it's helped, but it's still too slow for my taste. The solution? Hibernate. Rather than waiting seemingly forever for my computer to startup, I can now get to a usable desktop with my wireless connection all ready to go in probably under 20 seconds. Not impressive, but it's a definite and noticeable improvement.

What does hibernating do? Instead of just terminating all the processes and getting the system into a "safe" state to power off like shutting down does, hibernating writes the contents of your computer's memory onto the disk and then powers off. When the computer is turned back on, windows loads this file back into the memory, loading any programs you had open at the time of shutdown. It's like creating a snapshot of where your computer was before it turned off.

The problem? Some programs may not like it, and may hiccup. I had a problem with this on my desktop way back, and can't remember what program was causing the problem.. I just make sure I close everything before I hibernate, I never liked shutting down with running programs, I prefer to close them rather than having the OS go at it. Also, you know how the longer you run your computer, the more likely it is to slow down and get sluggish? You'll get that too after awhile since you're not actually shutting down with hibernate. My solution is to just restart every few days.

So there you go. If you're in a similar situation, next time you go to shutdown try changing the drop-down from "Shut down" to "Hibernate" and see how it works out for you.

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Stop wasting everyone's time

Brad Isaac posted an excellent article on his Achieve It! blog about getting answers to life's toughest questions.

What really struck me about the post was that I could see myself (a lot in the last few weeks) making a mess of things in my life by asking the wrong question and getting frustrated by the answer that I got back. I'd suggest reading the post for yourself, but I'll briefly go over what stuck in my head – I know I'm not doing the article justice, but bear with me.

  • When you need an answer to a question, be direct and actually ask the question. Don't over-generalize what you're asking, because the answer you get will reflect that.
  • Be prepared to take in the answer that you get. Make sure you remember it.. write it down. Getting the perfect answer doesn't matter if you just forget it.
  • But most importantly, use your new information wisely. If you're looking for advice, and you get it, you need to act on it. You need to be ready to act on it right away. Once again, the best answer is meaningless if you don't do anything with it.

It's simple. It makes sense. But for some reason I haven't been doing it, and looking at the way I've handled things before, it might actually be a change that I need to actively work at.