Archive for January, 2007

Some things just don’t get done

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

At the end of the day, as I empty my locker and pack my diary, I decide that once I am home I will concentrate on just perhaps one or two broad tasks before I sleep. Usually I have something specific in mind – installing a new hard-drive, learning more about PHP and finishing my coursework have been recurring themes recently. So why do I never get round to them?

By the time I have walked my girlfriend to her Dad’s office, taken the odd picture and walked home, it is often 6PM or later. When I get home I am cold, tired, suffering from iPod-induced deafness and occasionally in a cold sweat. The last thing I want to do is pour over a book the thickness of my clenched fist, operate on my PC or do school work. There is always that niggling little voice in my head telling me that I don’t have to worry, there are hours to go.

The problem is, it is… how can I say… hampering my productivity. So I have devised myself a little ‘Getting Things Done’ system. It seems to be increasingly effective – OK, so I am writing this blog post as I should be either sleeping or exercising, but you can actually see my carpet, I have practiced guitar for a solid hour, been for a jog and tidied out a cupboard.

I want to share this method of organization, which is based largely around a book that I have never read. I will share it sometime next week, after it has been refined and I can confirm its effectiveness.

If you want to join in my little experiment, you will need the following:

  • A note book, preferably unruled (I am using a slightly-larger-than-a5 blank-paper textile-bound book-thing from WHSmiths. Choose something without a cardboard spine – i.e. something that won’t fall apart within a week)
  • A good pen that you enjoy writing with (avoid cheap, nasty ones – you will resent using them)
  • Some mini post-its
  • A note block (the kind that you put by the phone to scribble things down, but don’t bother buying a pen for, rendering them totally useless and causing great frustration)
  • Tack of your choice (I use UHU white-tack rather than blu-tack because it is more pliable. That and you can get it from Poundland.)

Oh, and be prepared for some GTD geekery.


You might also want to prepare the following:

  • A couple of fleurescent highlighter pens in different colours (not a prerequisite of my GTD system, but they really do seem to have a positive impact… and they’re very pretty)
  • Some wall space for sticking notes to (I moved an A1-sized poster onto my ceiling and am using that space currently)

As an irellevant aside, if you’re into this kind of thing you may be interested to know that Partners are selling A1-sized whiteboards at stupid prices – you can get the board itself plus extra hooks and loops for wall-hanging and pens of your choice – black and red FTW – for less than £15.

DRM is Bad.

Monday, January 29th, 2007

As it is nearing the launch of Vista, the latest incarnation of Windows, it seems a good time to warn some passing visitors of one of its most serious flaws: it is defective by design.

Windows Vista is crippled by built-in Digital Rights Management, or DRM. This form of ‘rights management’ has been around for a while now, largely unnoticed by the masses, but it is being bought more and more into the spotlight by the impending launch of Visa, which has DRM integrated deep into the operating system.

DRM is touted to be a necessary practice that works to prevent media pirating and to protect copyrighted work for the creators of original material – songwriters, musicians, actors, that sort of thing. In reality it restricts consumer’s legal ‘fair use’ rights in regards to their purchases, restricts what individuals can do with their purchases, and is used anti-competitively. (more…)

Platform Update

Friday, January 26th, 2007

I will be updating to WordPress version 2.1 in the following minutes. Site function may be disrupted for a while.

Update: The update went smoothly and all systems are stable and running. Captain.

First impressions:

  • All of my plugins work fine. Hoorah for backwards-compatability!
  • Spell check works fine but disables the Fox‘s spellchecker.  Hooray for cross-browser spellcheck!  Boo for incompatability!
  • The bug that occasionally causes the automatic link-maker to freeze is going to really annoy me before long.
  • The touted auto-save probabaly doesn’t work.
  • The new image-manager is nice.
  • The import/export feature is going to make developing for on my local server much easier.

New WordPress released, Project 365 update

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

It seems like forever since I have been here.

It is 12am here, but I feel that I must write at least something tonight.  So here it is: WordPress 2.1 has just been released with a whole host of new features and improvements (grab it here).  Amongst other things, my favorite features look like they will be:

  • Built in spell checker (how can anyone survive without Firefox’s built-in dictionaries?)
  • Auto-save (just like gmail; no more accidentally pressing backspace outside of a textbox and losing 20 minutes worth of waffle)
  • Customizable homepages, sans-plugins

I will install this tomorrow, all being well, but I can almost guarantee that this will screw up my homepage and will take several hours to fix – which may span across several days depending on how much time I have to spare.

In addition to continuing my eternal quest to learn PHP proper, I have been taking at least one photo every day as part of my ‘project 365’.  I mentioned earlier that I would host these online, but I am having some trouble with this currently.  They should be on this site in some form or another early February, even if this means that they are integrated into my main blog.  I am currently debating whether to keep an online photo-diary, or just display the pictures in some sort of gallery.

Problems with WordPress

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Just a quick update – the reason that you haven’t been getting any large posts or Project 365 goodness recently is that my publishing system WordPress is throwing a wobbly.  Not entirely sure what’s happening, but something to do with filesizes.  I hope to have it sorted out in a few days.

The new site design is coming on too… more on that soon.

My Ibanez (8 of 365)

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Today we play with depth of field and the focusing settings.

A loose definition of the depth of a photo is the amount of the photo that is in focus. If everything is in focus, the photo is said to have a ‘deep’ depth of field. If a particular subject is in focus and the rest is not, the photo has a ‘shallow’ depth of field.

Ever since I have started to get into photography proper I have adored depth of field – I love the way that it can be used to guide the viewer’s eye, or focus his or her attention. On my old point-and-shoot camera, I discovered that I could get a very shallow depth of field by using the macro setting. On my new EOS 400D SLR, however, it works a little differently.