Saturday, August 29

Snow Leopard, so far..

Been running Snow Leopard since yesterday. As Apple promised, on the surface, you can't really tell that anything is different. When you click on the dock, you notice the popup is different. You notice the stacks are different when you click on them. You notice the 20Gb (Yes, GB!) of space on the Harddrive that you get back. (20 on my machine at least.)

But the thing that I noticed so far is the speed. Especially in Safari when it comes to javascript. Loading things like Gmail come up almost instantly now. Further pointing out how much faster Snow Leopard is than it's predecessor. The installation took about 45 minutes on my wife's laptop, was very smooth, and had zero problems.

So far it's running like clockwork. If I run up against ill experience I'll make note and post it, but so far, it's running like a top.

Snow Leopard, so far..

Been running Snow Leopard since yesterday. As Apple promised, on the surface, you can't really tell that anything is different. When you click on the dock, you notice the popup is different. You notice the stacks are different when you click on them. You notice the 20Gb (Yes, GB!) of space on the Harddrive that you get back. (20 on my machine at least.)

But the thing that I noticed so far is the speed. Especially in Safari when it comes to javascript. Loading things like Gmail come up almost instantly now. Further pointing out how much faster Snow Leopard is than it's predecessor. The installation took about 45 minutes on my wife's laptop, was very smooth, and had zero problems.

So far it's running like clockwork. If I run up against ill experience I'll make note and post it, but so far, it's running like a top.

Tuesday, August 25

Snow Leopard is coming..

In case you've been living under a rock for the past couple days, as plastered all over Twitter and every computer related gadget site, Snow Leopard, the next release of OSX is coming out on Friday.
This release is mostly enhancements to the Leopard operating system, not really any new "features" per say (even though there are a ton), but mostly bug fixes.

However, today, there has been some news circulated around about an anti-malware solution within Snow Leopard. There have been screenshots all over Gizmodo and Engadget today with this little blurb about OSX Leopard alerting you to the presence of a new piece of malware on OSX.

Now, in the past Apple hasn't taken a proactive stance against any type of malware, running ads claiming that Macs are not prone to viruses and trojans like the Windows platform.

We all know this not to be 100% true. While Apple does have it's own share of DNS Changing trojans and things like that, they are very very few and far between, and even harder to get onto an Apple system than their PC counterparts.
Some trojans and malware requiring you to perform actions like typing in your admin password and things like that. So this "anti-malware" solution is in a new territory.
Turns out there is some details starting to emerge about this anti-malware solution, apparently right now, it's in a Preferences file called "XProtect.plist", and as of right now, it appears that it only checks for two known OSX Trojans.

In addition to that, it only checks the files if they were downloaded through iChat, Safari, Entourage, and several other applications.

Files that are on a CD, Thumbdrive, etc, are not checked against this plist file. Presumably, the things that this XProtect file checks for are all "downloaded" trojans. Attack vectors that appear over iChat, like those that have come out in the past.

I find it interesting that this is taking place. Will Apple keep this file up to date with System Update? Will they enable greater functionality within the system for this file? Scan files?
Right now OSX Server uses ClamAV to check incoming SMTP email messages arriving through the software against known malware, whose to say that Apple doesn't take this solution a step further and make it simple to use?

I can't imagine that OSX as an attack platform will stay isolated for long, but we'll see, with the new security improvements that have been made within OSX, like improved address randomization and things like that, we'll see how much of a successful attack platforms these "next gen" OSes turn out to be.

Thursday, August 20

Rambling on Productivity and Email (Part Three)

The Calendar
The essential part of any productivity system is the calendar. Managing your time for your projects is probably one of the most vital portions to getting anything done. Without disruptions, without the cruft of the day, you can focus on your problem.
The essential problem with any environment is poorly set expectations. If you think you are going to be able to have your coworkers and boss read your mind, you are grossly mistaken. They don't know that you may be behind on a certain project, they don't know that you may need more time with whatever it is you are working on. They know what you tell them. In most big corporate environments, one of the ways they can find this out is by looking at your calendar.

I use Google calendar for my organizational skills, because that's what I have integrated into my system, its what our company uses, and it works. However, these ideas should work perfectly for your Microsoft Exchange calendaring system (or whatever calendaring system you happen to use).

Set aside some time
Begin by setting aside some time, usually Monday and Friday, to yourself. This is your time to be able to get things in the proper order and organize your thoughts into a coherent structure. I like Monday and Friday because Monday allows me to plan for the week, Friday allows me to review any last minute details that MUST be done this week, cannot wait for Monday, and gives me time to knock them out.
Obviously the times to do this on Monday are first thing in the morning. On Friday I like to set aside the hour of 3-4. I call this "Review Time". There are no meetings scheduled during this time. This is your sacred time to balance your thoughts. As David Allen says in his seminars on GTD, anything that goes on your calendar is a contract, a hard bet, a commitment. The calendar is sacred. Don't put things on your calendar you "might" do. Put things on your calendar that you are going to do. If you aren't going to do it, make it a "Todo", file it under "someday", and take a look at it in your daily review time.

Right now, go to your calendar on Monday and Friday and block off an hour to yourself, go ahead, we'll wait here.
During this time on those days, you do exactly what I stated above, and see if it helps. I find it useful to set aside, just a half hour, right after lunch to see where I was at for the day, review my To-do list, and then accomplish everything that needed to be accomplished for that day.

Do your best to schedule
You will be surprised how well this works. I ask people, even my wife, to her greater annoyance, anything that I need to be at or participate in, needs to go on my calendar. I need to remember it, and I need to be there. My calendar is how I schedule things and is my organizational tool. My Google Calendar is synced between my desktop and my iPhone, and the web (so my wife can get it). If it's not on my calendar, either I don't know about it, or I can't be there (I've declined). Make sure it's on my calendar and we'll be good. Force your coworkers to be the same way. Stick to the time limits.

Scenario: Some guy comes to your desk.
Them: "Hey Bob -(you)-, Do you have a few minutes to talk about project x?"
You: "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm in the middle of something right now, let's set aside a few minutes to talk about that this afternoon (tomorrow, friday). Can you send me an invite for that at 3?"

Bam. Interruption gone, scheduled time to talk about project x, and you move on with what you were talking about. This isn't perfect. Sometimes you'll have to deal with little interruptions.

Wow. Talk about a perfect example. Seriously. Right after I finished the previous paragraph I received a phone call. Wanting to schedule a furniture delivery. Now, had I not answered the phone, it would have went to voicemail and I then I could have called them back at my convenience, scheduling the furniture delivery time at on my terms.
However, when it comes to furniture delivery, the sooner you book the delivery date, the faster you will get your stuff. So I took the call. I sat down in front of my Google calendar, blocked off the date that my furniture will be delivered. They say they are going to call the day before with the exact 3-hour window of delivery time, which is slightly annoying, but I'll deal with it. Now I know on that furniture delivery day, I will be available.

Back on topic, even though that really wasn't a deviation. Wife just called. Of course I had to take that call.

Scheduling YOUR time is on YOUR terms. Sometimes you can't help it and you have to work around other people's schedules, so you have to be flexible. But don't be flexible once you put things on the calendar. People are expecting to meet with you, you are important enough to have a meeting with and talk about a dedicated subject. Don't disrespect another persons time by saying you'll be at a meeting and then not showing up. If you have a conflict, decline the meeting.
The tricky part is the "maybe" response to a meeting invite. If have to respond with Maybe, and I try very hard not to, I write an email and explain why I replied with maybe. If the person can possibly reschedule for a more convenient time for both parties, then that is fine, however, give the person you are responding to the common courtesy o understand why you replied with Maybe. Then, maybe, then can move the meeting to a mutually beneficial time.

Example: I have a meeting at 1pm that usually runs over. If you send me a meeting invite at 2pm, I'll respond with "Maybe" -- by the way, Outlook calls this "Tentative". Then I'll write you an email saying something like this:

"Dear Bob,
I apologize for having to respond to your meeting invite with "Maybe". I have a meeting at 1pm that sometimes runs over time. If there is another time you'd like to push the meeting to, say, 2:30 or 3pm that same day, that would be good with me as well. I have an opening on my calendar at that time.
Thanks in advance,
Me"

Meetings that run over time are evil. If the time is going to run over, schedule a followup. Or ask the meeting attendees if they can stay, or need to go. If anyone needs to go, let them go. Don't disrespect their time. They didn't disrespect yours by attending your meeting.

Out of Office
I personally am not a fan of the "Out of Office" message. It's a bad security practice. Especially for the security and network personnel. It allows someone sending you an email to know that you are not in the office right now, and right now would be an excellent time to attack the network. Instead, I like to use the calendar for this. Block the time you are going to be Out of the Office out as "Out of Office". I believe in Outlook, they color the "Out of Office" time differently, purple I think. Of course this only works for people in your domain, (exchange wise), or people that have access to your calendar, (say, Google Calendar). But, I believe this to be a more secure and more polite way of handling your Out of Office. If it's important, someone will schedule a call, talk, or meeting, but you have to train your coworkers to do this. If it's not important, you'll get back to the email when you get back. Besides, if it's THAT important, they should just pick up the phone and call you.

I write these articles to give you a broad overview of what works and how to structure it. You have to apply it to your own life and situation. This method doesn't work for everyone, but it sure does work for me.

I just want to echo something that Merlin Mann has said. I hate that the default meeting time in an hour. I wish you could change that in some way. In Google Calendar, iCal, and in Outlook, the default meeting time is an hour long. I want to be able to say the default meeting time is 30 minutes. If I want to expand it, I can. But blocking a whole hour of my time? Working approx 8 hours a day, that's not very much time. Anyway, sorry, pet peeve.

Please leave comments below.


Rambling on Productivity and Email (Part Three)

The Calendar
The essential part of any productivity system is the calendar. Managing your time for your projects is probably one of the most vital portions to getting anything done. Without disruptions, without the cruft of the day, you can focus on your problem.

The essential problem with any environment is poorly set expectations. If you think you are going to be able to have your coworkers and boss read your mind, you are grossly mistaken. They don't know that you may be behind on a certain project, they don't know that you may need more time with whatever it is you are working on. They know what you tell them. In most big corporate environments, one of the ways they can find this out is by looking at your calendar.

I use Google calendar for my organizational skills, because that's what I have integrated into my system, its what our company uses, and it works. However, these ideas should work perfectly for your Microsoft Exchange calendaring system (or whatever calendaring system you happen to use).

Set aside some time

Begin by setting aside some time, usually Monday and Friday, to yourself. This is your time to be able to get things in the proper order and organize your thoughts into a coherent structure. I like Monday and Friday because Monday allows me to plan for the week, Friday allows me to review any last minute details that MUST be done this week, cannot wait for Monday, and gives me time to knock them out.

Obviously the times to do this on Monday are first thing in the morning. On Friday I like to set aside the hour of 3-4. I call this "Review Time". There are no meetings scheduled during this time. This is your sacred time to balance your thoughts. As David Allen says in his seminars on GTD, anything that goes on your calendar is a contract, a hard bet, a commitment. The calendar is sacred. Don't put things on your calendar you "might" do. Put things on your calendar that you are going to do. If you aren't going to do it, make it a "Todo", file it under "someday", and take a look at it in your daily review time.

Right now, go to your calendar on Monday and Friday and block off an hour to yourself, go ahead, we'll wait here.

During this time on those days, you do exactly what I stated above, and see if it helps. I find it useful to set aside, just a half hour, right after lunch to see where I was at for the day, review my To-do list, and then accomplish everything that needed to be accomplished for that day.

Do your best to schedule

You will be surprised how well this works. I ask people, even my wife, to her greater annoyance, anything that I need to be at or participate in, needs to go on my calendar. I need to remember it, and I need to be there. My calendar is how I schedule things and is my organizational tool. My Google Calendar is synced between my desktop and my iPhone, and the web (so my wife can get it). If it's not on my calendar, either I don't know about it, or I can't be there (I've declined). Make sure it's on my calendar and we'll be good. Force your coworkers to be the same way. Stick to the time limits.

Scenario: Some guy comes to your desk.

Them: "Hey Bob -(you)-, Do you have a few minutes to talk about project x?"

You: "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm in the middle of something right now, let's set aside a few minutes to talk about that this afternoon (tomorrow, friday). Can you send me an invite for that at 3?"

Bam. Interruption gone, scheduled time to talk about project x, and you move on with what you were talking about. This isn't perfect. Sometimes you'll have to deal with little interruptions.

Wow. Talk about a perfect example. Seriously. Right after I finished the previous paragraph I received a phone call. Wanting to schedule a furniture delivery. Now, had I not answered the phone, it would have went to voicemail and I then I could have called them back at my convenience, scheduling the furniture delivery time at on my terms.

However, when it comes to furniture delivery, the sooner you book the delivery date, the faster you will get your stuff. So I took the call. I sat down in front of my Google calendar, blocked off the date that my furniture will be delivered. They say they are going to call the day before with the exact 3-hour window of delivery time, which is slightly annoying, but I'll deal with it. Now I know on that furniture delivery day, I will be available.

Back on topic, even though that really wasn't a deviation. Wife just called. Of course I had to take that call.

Scheduling YOUR time is on YOUR terms. Sometimes you can't help it and you have to work around other people's schedules, so you have to be flexible. But don't be flexible once you put things on the calendar. People are expecting to meet with you, you are important enough to have a meeting with and talk about a dedicated subject. Don't disrespect another persons time by saying you'll be at a meeting and then not showing up. If you have a conflict, decline the meeting.

The tricky part is the "maybe" response to a meeting invite. If have to respond with Maybe, and I try very hard not to, I write an email and explain why I replied with maybe. If the person can possibly reschedule for a more convenient time for both parties, then that is fine, however, give the person you are responding to the common courtesy o understand why you replied with Maybe. Then, maybe, then can move the meeting to a mutually beneficial time.

Example: I have a meeting at 1pm that usually runs over. If you send me a meeting invite at 2pm, I'll respond with "Maybe" -- by the way, Outlook calls this "Tentative". Then I'll write you an email saying something like this:

"Dear Bob,

I apologize for having to respond to your meeting invite with "Maybe". I have a meeting at 1pm that sometimes runs over time. If there is another time you'd like to push the meeting to, say, 2:30 or 3pm that same day, that would be good with me as well. I have an opening on my calendar at that time.

Thanks in advance,

Me"

Meetings that run over time are evil. If the time is going to run over, schedule a followup. Or ask the meeting attendees if they can stay, or need to go. If anyone needs to go, let them go. Don't disrespect their time. They didn't disrespect yours by attending your meeting.

Out of Office

I personally am not a fan of the "Out of Office" message. It's a bad security practice. Especially for the security and network personnel. It allows someone sending you an email to know that you are not in the office right now, and right now would be an excellent time to attack the network. Instead, I like to use the calendar for this. Block the time you are going to be Out of the Office out as "Out of Office". I believe in Outlook, they color the "Out of Office" time differently, purple I think. Of course this only works for people in your domain, (exchange wise), or people that have access to your calendar, (say, Google Calendar). But, I believe this to be a more secure and more polite way of handling your Out of Office. If it's important, someone will schedule a call, talk, or meeting, but you have to train your coworkers to do this. If it's not important, you'll get back to the email when you get back. Besides, if it's THAT important, they should just pick up the phone and call you.

I write these articles to give you a broad overview of what works and how to structure it. You have to apply it to your own life and situation. This method doesn't work for everyone, but it sure does work for me.

I just want to echo something that Merlin Mann has said. I hate that the default meeting time in an hour. I wish you could change that in some way. In Google Calendar, iCal, and in Outlook, the default meeting time is an hour long. I want to be able to say the default meeting time is 30 minutes. If I want to expand it, I can. But blocking a whole hour of my time? Working approx 8 hours a day, that's not very much time. Anyway, sorry, pet peeve.

Please leave comments below.




Tuesday, August 18

Rambling on Productivity and Email (Part Two)

Managing To-Dos
As I promised a follow up post to my previous blog post here.

I stated, I try to manage things through Todo lists. When I read an email that I need to take action on, I make a ToDo out of it. Simple to complex, I make a ToDo out of it. Not just emails either. If I am in a meeting and I hear an "action item" for me, I knock that out. If I get a shopping list from my wife, I put that in my Todo list as well.

There are several tools that I have evaluated and used over the years, let me go over a few of these and see if any of them help you. The one that works for me is not the one that may work for you. You have to figure it out for yourself. Make the ToDo list work for you, not you working for your ToDo list. If you find yourself spending most of your time in your ToDo list "managing it" (prioritizing, categorizing, contexting... You are doing it wrong. Managing your ToDo's should not be a ToDo within itself.)



Google Tasks is a built in Task manager into the Gmail interface. It is accessible on the left hand side of your Gmail interface near the labels. (Look for the obvious word "Tasks"). I like this method, it's keyboard accessible, works great, and is accessible from the web.

However, There are two reasons I don't use Google Tasks. First is templates. If I want to make a standard "Group" of tasks. Say, 10 things that I must do with each client, I want to be able to template these 10 things, copy the template and use it over and over for each client. The second reason is, for some reason, right now, Google for Domains doesn't support an iPhone version of tasks. This sucks. It works in the regular Gmail, but not in Google for domains, yet. If you have the luxury of using Gmail for your primary email, I'd suggest checking out Google Tasks. Learn the keyboard shortcuts for it, and you'll whiz through it. Best feature? Being able to create a ToDo related to an email (So you can go to the ToDo and get back to the exact email). Shift-t.



All three of these are web based services that you can use for ToDos. I tried several of these, however, most of these require an extra step, or an extra website to log in to and maintain. To me, that's not reducing the amount of work I have to do, that's increasing it. I shouldn't have to increase the amount of things I have to do in order to manage a ToDo list. Each of these has their own merits. I think Remember the Milk is the most extensible. (Meaning it has an iPhone app as well.) GTDAgenda was fairly nice. In the interest of Full Disclosure, I was asked to evaluate GTDAgenda and received a free account. I used it very little because of the above reasons. Backpack is overkill. It's like a Wiki, on crack.



Or OmniOutliner.

This is what I use, it's an OSX only application, but it allows several things that I find vital. The only thing that I don't like about it is that it's a separate app on my system (As opposed to Gmail Tasks, which is built in.) If I have an email (or damn near anything on my computer) I can highlight it with my mouse, and mash a keyboard shortcut (which is customizable) and Omnifocus takes what I have highlighted and makes it a Todo. This is the best.

I am able to assign contexts and projects to everything, assign due dates, make reoccurring tasks... etc.

It also allows me to use templates, as I discussed in Number 1. I can set up a series of tasks, then copy the series of tasks by right clicking and saying "Duplicate".

It allows me to Sync between my computer and my iPhone. Now, the way this takes place is, Omnifocus takes it's DB and puts it up on MobileMe's iDisk. The iPhone, with it's accompanying app then syncs with the DB up on the iDisk. Not a big deal, but it can be a pain to have to keep two in sync. I'd rather just use Google Tasks.

Pain in the butt part? It's expensive. Stupid expensive. It's 79 dollars for the OSX app, and it's another 19.99 for the iPhone app. I think this is bull.



This is another program similar to Omnifocus. Simpler to use. (Less complex of an interface), but also, it's 49.95 for the App, plus another 9.99 for the iPhone version. It syncs, but not with MobileMe. Your computer that has the app on the desktop must be on the same Wifi network in order to Sync. That's fairly annoying.



This is a shell script, basically, that allows you to simply manage ToDos in a simple fashion from the command line. You can barely do contexts and project tagging, but you can't do subordinate projects or anything like that. It's a pretty cool little tool if you are one of those people that likes to manage everything you possible can in a command line. I have several friends like that, and I like to be like that too, but this program just doesn't have enough of the features I need to be able to manage it.


6) Tasks in your email client

Outlook, Thunderbird (with addons), and Mail each have their own ToDo system.

A) Outlooks works like this. You can drag an email over to the right pane (in Office 2007), you can also drag an email down to the "tasks" icon in the left pane at the bottom of the screen. Problem with either one of these solutions is, if you move the mail out of the inbox and into a PST, poof. The ToDo is gone. Seems counter intuitive to me. Anyway...

B) Thunderbird has various plugins for Managing Todos. I didn't put many man hours into investigating the use of the ToDo system within Thunderbird, because I didn't use Thunderbird for more than about five minutes.

C) Mail.app -- This is the only Mail program on OSX that has a ToDo system worth a crap. But even it has it's own problems.

You can create a todo based off an email, highlight the text you want and tap the "Todo" button. Mail will create a Todo based on the email. This Todo is stored in a central db that is shared between Mail.app and iCal. Problem is, as of right now, there is no way to get those ToDos on your iPhone. Come on Apple. Plus Mail.app is dog slow when dealing with 200,000 emails. (And gmails imap implementation sucks)

So, currently I am using Omnifocus until the second best (Google Tasks) comes along. At which point I will probably abandon Omnifocus, even if Google Tasks doesn't allow me to template, I will gladly ditch Omnifocus for a less "sync-y" built in, Cloud managed Task manager. I paid the full retail price for both of the Omnifocus apps (basically totaling about 100 dollars for two apps... to manage Todos. (Seriously Omni Group. The Pricing?)) It's a good pair of programs, but it's a bit overweight and expensive for what its use is.

After my Todos get into my Omnifocus program, I arrange them in two methods.

1) Project

2) Context

If the Todo is work related, I put it under "Work". If the Todo is home related (ex. Get new lightbulb for Microwave), I put it under home. Context is the "Where" portion of the todo.

So if I need to email Dave about that thing we were working on, the Project will be "Work" but the Context will be "Email".

That way, if I have a few minutes, I can take a look at my Todo list under the context "Email" or "Phone" or something, and knock a few of them out. This allows me to fit in ToDos that I have time for. Which will bring me to my next post on productivity, using my Calendar. But that's for another day.

Please leave comments below.






Monday, August 17

Rambling on Productivity and Email (Part One)

I know I have written many articles on productivity as it relates to Email and GTD before. Check out some past articles here, here, and here. In fact, that last article is my most hit and read article on my blog, in the (almost) five years I've been blogging.

Recently, with a lot of various changes within my personal lifestyle, such as getting the iPhone 3GS, consolidation of email addresses, and generally trying to establish a workable workflow in life, I've been putting the touches on how to process email and generally work with things in life more efficiently. I'll try and write a series of articles on this, so I don't bore you with one big long one.

First, and probably the most interesting as far as I think, is how I process email.

So, my corporate email is Gmail. My company moved our Email hosting solution to Gmail a bit ago, foregoing the traditional take on keeping email in-house, backing it up, using IMAP or Exchange, having people manage it. etc.. It saved our company a ton of money by doing it, and I find that things are much more efficient now that our email is hosted in Gmail.

First off, almost everyone in the computer industry has a Google account now. It's a hard pressed experience to find anyone that doesn't have a @gmail.com account now. I know a ton of companies that their actual email domain (such as ours) is gmail's engine as well. So it's a familiar interface. There was a bit of learning curve with some of our personnel when we first moved to Gmail, but so far it's been great, and if you are a business with the flexibility and need to reduce the amount of machines and backups and people that you are currently maintaining, I'd seriously consider taking a look at Gmail for your corporate enterprise.

Anyway, back to productivity...

Accounts and Consolidation
All my email accounts forward to one account. One. I virtually have about six email accounts for various things (such as emails originating from this blog), but all of them are forwarded to one account. This makes consolidation of email and processing much easier. In Gmail under "Settings", and then under the "Accounts" tab, you can put all your email addresses you have under here and it will be able to "Send mail as:" for all of the accounts that you forward to your one account. Below the accounts you are specifying are two radio buttons.

"Reply from the same address the message was sent to"
or
"Always reply from default address"

If you want to have all your email coming out of your one "consolidated" account always be that single address, leave the bottom radio button checked, however, if you want your email to be allowed to be sent as the address that it was received on, check the top radio button. This will allow all of your email to be addressed from the proper account when you reply or forward.

Labels
Gmail has abandoned the traditionalist thought of "putting email into folders", and after a while so did I. Now, for those of you (like me) that were used to their email coming into the inbox, and then having a series of filters, either in Outlook or Mail.app, as you would read in my previous articles, to put those emails into folders, Gmail is a bit different. Instead of sorting things into "containers", you may have one email that is "tagged" with different containers. These tags and containers are called "Labels". Think of an email like a piece of paper. You can label this piece of paper with several things to remind you where to find this paper. So, let's say it's work related. You might tag it with "Work". What if it's a receipt? But it's also work related? You might tag it with "Work" and "Receipt", and maybe "Expense Report". The email doesn't exist in multiple copies, it's just labeled additional things.

There are two types of labels in my opinion. Types that I call "Straightfoward" and "Dynamic". (You won't see those terms in the interface, I just made them up.) Straightforward for me, is a static label. For instance. Anything from the domain "Sourcefire.com" is labeled as "Sourcefire". This can be considered a static folder, or Straightforward label.
Then I have another type of label that I call "Dynamic". This label spans across "folders" and labels. An example of this is, "Customers". Any email I get from a customer, I label as "Customer". These emails probably exist in about three other labels (receipts, to-do, Sourcefire, etc) but are also tagged as "Customer" so I know where to immediately go find an email from a customer.

Filters
Filters are a way of automatically performing different actions on emails. Applying labels, deleting them, marking them as read, skipping the inbox, etc. I talked about some of the things you can do with filters in this post. So I encourage a read of that. I use Filters as "How can I possibly get this email out of my inbox in the most efficient way possible if its something that I don't have to read right away".

For instance. I belong to about 20 or 30 listservers of various natures. Computer listservers, Apple listservers, Gmail listservers even. Things that interest me, things that I like to read or participate in. (This nets me about 1000 emails a day) But you know, these aren't things that need to be dealt with immediately. Sometimes, ever. The Listservers that aren't as important bypass my inbox directly. Read the above post on how I do this, and you'll see.

The point of this is, the email that I don't need to DEAL with right away gets put away.

When an email hits my inbox, I have one of three actions that I do with it.

1) Read it, Reply to it.
2) Read it, Make a Todo out of something it contains.
3) Read it, Archive it.

That's it, either write them back, make a Todo, or get rid of the email. I don't keep things in my Inbox. Inbox Zero is what I attribute this to. I follow the principle of "if an email takes less than two minutes to respond to, do it. Do it right now." If I think I'll need to write a long winded response, or I'll need to look something up in order to get a proper response to your email, I flag it as a Todo, and I Do it when I get done the inbox process. If I need to forward it, I do it. If I read it, digested the email, and it contains no action, I archive it. I'll write a blog post later on Todos and how I process those.

Another key thing if you follow my advice for email consolidation with Gmail is -- keyboard shortcuts. Seriously. You have got to learn these things. Go into your "Settings" in Gmail, and enable the Keyboard shortcuts. Go back to your inbox and Hit "?". Question Mark. You will get a nice on screen display with all the shortcuts that are available in the Gmail interface. It will take you about two weeks to master these, but after you do, you'll be flying through email. Almost too fast. Make sure you actually read what you are doing. Sometimes I'll make the mistake of checking off several emails at a time and archiving them. Accidentally archiving one I needed to deal with.

The reason I attribute some of my workflow process to the iPhone 3GS is, this is the first iPhone where the Gmail web app wasn't a complete dog in terms of performance. Prior to this version of the iPhone using the Gmail web app worked just fine, don't get me wrong, but it was slow enough to just tick me off enough to not want to use it. Now with the iPhone 3GS, the processor is faster, it executes javascript faster. It's become my replacement for the built in app on the iPhone now. (Oh yeah, and cut and paste helps a lot too when trying to put stuff into a ToDo list.)


Until next entry...

Please leave comments below.


Rambling on Productivity and Email (Part One)

I know I have written many articles on productivity as it relates to Email and GTD before. Check out some past articles here, here, and here. In fact, that last article is my most hit and read article on my blog, in the (almost) five years I've been blogging.
Recently, with a lot of various changes within my personal lifestyle, such as getting the iPhone 3GS, consolidation of email addresses, and generally trying to establish a workable workflow in life, I've been putting the touches on how to process email and generally work with things in life more efficiently. I'll try and write a series of articles on this, so I don't bore you with one big long one.

First, and probably the most interesting as far as I think, is how I process email.

So, my corporate email is Gmail. My company moved our Email hosting solution to Gmail a bit ago, foregoing the traditional take on keeping email in-house, backing it up, using IMAP or Exchange, having people manage it. etc.. It saved our company a ton of money by doing it, and I find that things are much more efficient now that our email is hosted in Gmail.

First off, almost everyone in the computer industry has a Google account now. It's a hard pressed experience to find anyone that doesn't have a @gmail.com account now. I know a ton of companies that their actual email domain (such as ours) is gmail's engine as well. So it's a familiar interface. There was a bit of learning curve with some of our personnel when we first moved to Gmail, but so far it's been great, and if you are a business with the flexibility and need to reduce the amount of machines and backups and people that you are currently maintaining, I'd seriously consider taking a look at Gmail for your corporate enterprise.

Anyway, back to productivity...


Accounts and Consolidation

All my email accounts forward to one account. One. I virtually have about six email accounts for various things (such as emails originating from this blog), but all of them are forwarded to one account. This makes consolidation of email and processing much easier. In Gmail under "Settings", and then under the "Accounts" tab, you can put all your email addresses you have under here and it will be able to "Send mail as:" for all of the accounts that you forward to your one account. Below the accounts you are specifying are two radio buttons.

"Reply from the same address the message was sent to"

or

"Always reply from default address"

If you want to have all your email coming out of your one "consolidated" account always be that single address, leave the bottom radio button checked, however, if you want your email to be allowed to be sent as the address that it was received on, check the top radio button. This will allow all of your email to be addressed from the proper account when you reply or forward.


Labels

Gmail has abandoned the traditionalist thought of "putting email into folders", and after a while so did I. Now, for those of you (like me) that were used to their email coming into the inbox, and then having a series of filters, either in Outlook or Mail.app, as you would read in my previous articles, to put those emails into folders, Gmail is a bit different. Instead of sorting things into "containers", you may have one email that is "tagged" with different containers. These tags and containers are called "Labels". Think of an email like a piece of paper. You can label this piece of paper with several things to remind you where to find this paper. So, let's say it's work related. You might tag it with "Work". What if it's a receipt? But it's also work related? You might tag it with "Work" and "Receipt", and maybe "Expense Report". The email doesn't exist in multiple copies, it's just labeled additional things.

There are two types of labels in my opinion. Types that I call "Straightfoward" and "Dynamic". (You won't see those terms in the interface, I just made them up.) Straightforward for me, is a static label. For instance. Anything from the domain "Sourcefire.com" is labeled as "Sourcefire". This can be considered a static folder, or Straightforward label.

Then I have another type of label that I call "Dynamic". This label spans across "folders" and labels. An example of this is, "Customers". Any email I get from a customer, I label as "Customer". These emails probably exist in about three other labels (receipts, to-do, Sourcefire, etc) but are also tagged as "Customer" so I know where to immediately go find an email from a customer.


Filters

Filters are a way of automatically performing different actions on emails. Applying labels, deleting them, marking them as read, skipping the inbox, etc. I talked about some of the things you can do with filters in this post. So I encourage a read of that. I use Filters as "How can I possibly get this email out of my inbox in the most efficient way possible if its something that I don't have to read right away".

For instance. I belong to about 20 or 30 listservers of various natures. Computer listservers, Apple listservers, Gmail listservers even. Things that interest me, things that I like to read or participate in. (This nets me about 1000 emails a day) But you know, these aren't things that need to be dealt with immediately. Sometimes, ever. The Listservers that aren't as important bypass my inbox directly. Read the above post on how I do this, and you'll see.

The point of this is, the email that I don't need to DEAL with right away gets put away.

When an email hits my inbox, I have one of three actions that I do with it.

1) Read it, Reply to it.

2) Read it, Make a Todo out of something it contains.

3) Read it, Archive it.

That's it, either write them back, make a Todo, or get rid of the email. I don't keep things in my Inbox. Inbox Zero is what I attribute this to. I follow the principle of "if an email takes less than two minutes to respond to, do it. Do it right now." If I think I'll need to write a long winded response, or I'll need to look something up in order to get a proper response to your email, I flag it as a Todo, and I Do it when I get done the inbox process. If I need to forward it, I do it. If I read it, digested the email, and it contains no action, I archive it. I'll write a blog post later on Todos and how I process those.

Another key thing if you follow my advice for email consolidation with Gmail is -- keyboard shortcuts. Seriously. You have got to learn these things. Go into your "Settings" in Gmail, and enable the Keyboard shortcuts. Go back to your inbox and Hit "?". Question Mark. You will get a nice on screen display with all the shortcuts that are available in the Gmail interface. It will take you about two weeks to master these, but after you do, you'll be flying through email. Almost too fast. Make sure you actually read what you are doing. Sometimes I'll make the mistake of checking off several emails at a time and archiving them. Accidentally archiving one I needed to deal with.

The reason I attribute some of my workflow process to the iPhone 3GS is, this is the first iPhone where the Gmail web app wasn't a complete dog in terms of performance. Prior to this version of the iPhone using the Gmail web app worked just fine, don't get me wrong, but it was slow enough to just tick me off enough to not want to use it. Now with the iPhone 3GS, the processor is faster, it executes javascript faster. It's become my replacement for the built in app on the iPhone now. (Oh yeah, and cut and paste helps a lot too when trying to put stuff into a ToDo list.)

Until next entry...

Please leave comments below.




Sunday, August 16

Apple and the Google Voice app, surprise in store?

Awhile back Apple decided it was going to reject the native (as in "non-web-app") app for Google Voice from Google, citing that it "duplicated functionality the iPhone already had". Which, by the way, is against the developers terms of service for developing iPhone apps. Now, I have heard a bunch of blowback against Apple about this, and I'd like to throw my conspiracy theory into it. I'm also writing this in hopes, that basically Leo Laporte from TWiT and MacBreak Weekly see it, and Kevin and Alex from Diggnation see it. As these podcasts have just been going at it saying how Apple is an evil empire. My point is, maybe everything isn't as it seems. (as well as all the other podcasts that have been lambasting Apple since the rejection).

First, if you haven't heard of Google Voice, Google Voice allows you to have one phone number that you give to people and that phone number can be assigned "Back-end" phone numbers that the Google Voice (GV from now on) phone number calls. So, for example, if you call my GV number, it will, depending on who you are, call my home phone, my cell phone, and Gizmo (VOIP Program) all at the same time and I can pick up any one of the three. Furthermore, if you leave a voicemail on my GV number, your voicemail goes through voice to text transcription and gets SMSed and Emailed to me. I use GV for several reasons.

One, I can give it to ANYONE and I can assign what phone number you ring when you call me.
Second, I can give the number to anyone, and I can change my backend phone numbers as well. One phone number for the rest of my life basically. I give you my GV number, and you don't have to worry about what my current cell number is. It's on ME to change it on the backend of GV.
Third, People don't know my actual cell phone number. But there really is no advantage to that.

GV works like this, (well at least on mine), if I get a phone call to my GV number, it rings through to the backend phones. Using minutes. It's not like Skype or Gizmo or anything like that. It's an actual phone call. It's using AT&T's minutes.

When someone sends an SMS to my Google Voice number, it gets sent to my cell phone. Just as if you were sending a text message directly to my cell phone. It costs the same.

There are a lot of conspiracy theorists out there on the internet that think that you can make calls for free, therefore AT&T is preventing the app from getting on the app store. The only reason that I could see AT&T bitching about this is that it would be easier for people to give out the Google Voice number, so at some point users who would switch off of AT&T, since changing the GV number on the backend is trivial, they'd be able to just switch numbers and not take their cell phone number with them. But this argument doesn't even make any sense. Actually it's hard for me to articulate what I am trying to explain as it doesn't make any sense. Since taking your phone number with you to a different carrier is a trivial exercise.

Now, all that being said, I think I've said what everyone on blogs that I read and podcasts that I listen to are saying, so here's my take:

Apple turned the GV app down because it "duplicated iPhone functionality". Which, as I said earlier, is against iPhone Dev agreement. What people aren't remembering is that awhile ago Apple did the same exact thing. Remember?

It was a podcast application. Podcaster. Podcaster was also rejected because it duplicated functionality on the iPhone. (or in iTunes depending upon which article you read). What happened to that application? Well, it disappeared into the sunset, because later, if you remember, Apple gave you the ability to download and play podcasts directly from the iTunes store on the iPhone itself. Yes, AFTER. So Apple has pulled this trick before. Most likely because the functionality to download podcasts via the native iTunes store on the iPhone itself was already in development at the time of the rejection of the app.

So, here's my thought.

If Apple did the same thing to Podcaster that it's doing to Google Voice, then that tells me that in a future release of the iPhone software, the Google Voice functionality will be native. NATIVE. Like, built into the iPhone.

For this to happen, Google and Apple would have to partner up. Much like they did for Google Maps. The team that would develop the iPhone app and the the team on the Google Voice side, quite possibly be on different teams, aside from that, the people involved with working with Apple on the "native" Google Voice functionality would probably be under a very strict NDA. Which is why the developers of the "current" GV wouldn't know that it was being worked on for native functionality inclusion. Apple is famous for it's secrecy. This isn't a stretch of the imagination by any sense of the word.

I have no insider knowledge of the iPhone division of Apple, so I can't verify this.

Imagine this, go to Preferences on the iPhone you log into Google Voice through a Preference, and then, you have a slider. Left for Native iPhone phone number, Right for Google Voice Number. The Google Voice number, of course, acts a little differently as the call has to be sent up to GV for GV to initiate the call and call both parties back. (There are apps that did this in the past, GVMobile is one, which I was smart enough to get a hold of before Apple pulled it from the store.) But what if the iPhone could work it so that you never knew about the "call back" from GV. What if it just looked like a native phone call, it just took a bit longer to connect, and the iPhone just background-auto-accepted the call. You'd never know it. It would act and look like a phone call from the native iPhone number.

SMS would be routed through GV's special SMS connectors so that they would appear to come from you GV number. All the while, you are still being charged "standard text messaging rates" and cell phone minutes from your calls. The only difference in the user experience is, people are seeing your GV number on their caller ID's and that's it.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this one. Please leave comments below.



Apple and the Google Voice app, surprise in store?

Awhile back Apple decided it was going to reject the native (as in "non-web-app") app for Google Voice from Google, citing that it "duplicated functionality the iPhone already had". Which, by the way, is against the developers terms of service for developing iPhone apps. Now, I have heard a bunch of blowback against Apple about this, and I'd like to throw my conspiracy theory into it. I'm also writing this in hopes, that basically Leo Laporte from TWiT and MacBreak Weekly see it, and Kevin and Alex from Diggnation see it. As these podcasts have just been going at it saying how Apple is an evil empire. My point is, maybe everything isn't as it seems. (as well as all the other podcasts that have been lambasting Apple since the rejection).

First, if you haven't heard of Google Voice, Google Voice allows you to have one phone number that you give to people and that phone number can be assigned "Back-end" phone numbers that the Google Voice (GV from now on) phone number calls. So, for example, if you call my GV number, it will, depending on who you are, call my home phone, my cell phone, and Gizmo (VOIP Program) all at the same time and I can pick up any one of the three. Furthermore, if you leave a voicemail on my GV number, your voicemail goes through voice to text transcription and gets SMSed and Emailed to me. I use GV for several reasons.

One, I can give it to ANYONE and I can assign what phone number you ring when you call me.
Second, I can give the number to anyone, and I can change my backend phone numbers as well. One phone number for the rest of my life basically. I give you my GV number, and you don't have to worry about what my current cell number is. It's on ME to change it on the backend of GV.
Third, People don't know my actual cell phone number. But there really is no advantage to that.

GV works like this, (well at least on mine), if I get a phone call to my GV number, it rings through to the backend phones. Using minutes. It's not like Skype or Gizmo or anything like that. It's an actual phone call. It's using AT&T's minutes.

When someone sends an SMS to my Google Voice number, it gets sent to my cell phone. Just as if you were sending a text message directly to my cell phone. It costs the same.

There are a lot of conspiracy theorists out there on the internet that think that you can make calls for free, therefore AT&T is preventing the app from getting on the app store. The only reason that I could see AT&T bitching about this is that it would be easier for people to give out the Google Voice number, so at some point users who would switch off of AT&T, since changing the GV number on the backend is trivial, they'd be able to just switch numbers and not take their cell phone number with them. But this argument doesn't even make any sense. Actually it's hard for me to articulate what I am trying to explain as it doesn't make any sense. Since taking your phone number with you to a different carrier is a trivial exercise.

Now, all that being said, I think I've said what everyone on blogs that I read and podcasts that I listen to are saying, so here's my take:

Apple turned the GV app down because it "duplicated iPhone functionality". Which, as I said earlier, is against iPhone Dev agreement. What people aren't remembering is that awhile ago Apple did the same exact thing. Remember?

It was a podcast application. Podcaster. Podcaster was also rejected because it duplicated functionality on the iPhone. (or in iTunes depending upon which article you read). What happened to that application? Well, it disappeared into the sunset, because later, if you remember, Apple gave you the ability to download and play podcasts directly from the iTunes store on the iPhone itself. Yes, AFTER. So Apple has pulled this trick before. Most likely because the functionality to download podcasts via the native iTunes store on the iPhone itself was already in development at the time of the rejection of the app.

So, here's my thought.

If Apple did the same thing to Podcaster that it's doing to Google Voice, then that tells me that in a future release of the iPhone software, the Google Voice functionality will be native. NATIVE. Like, built into the iPhone.

For this to happen, Google and Apple would have to partner up. Much like they did for Google Maps. The team that would develop the iPhone app and the the team on the Google Voice side, quite possibly be on different teams, aside from that, the people involved with working with Apple on the "native" Google Voice functionality would probably be under a very strict NDA. Which is why the developers of the "current" GV wouldn't know that it was being worked on for native functionality inclusion. Apple is famous for it's secrecy. This isn't a stretch of the imagination by any sense of the word.

I have no insider knowledge of the iPhone division of Apple, so I can't verify this.

Imagine this, go to Preferences on the iPhone you log into Google Voice through a Preference, and then, you have a slider. Left for Native iPhone phone number, Right for Google Voice Number. The Google Voice number, of course, acts a little differently as the call has to be sent up to GV for GV to initiate the call and call both parties back. (There are apps that did this in the past, GVMobile is one, which I was smart enough to get a hold of before Apple pulled it from the store.) But what if the iPhone could work it so that you never knew about the "call back" from GV. What if it just looked like a native phone call, it just took a bit longer to connect, and the iPhone just background-auto-accepted the call. You'd never know it. It would act and look like a phone call from the native iPhone number.

SMS would be routed through GV's special SMS connectors so that they would appear to come from you GV number. All the while, you are still being charged "standard text messaging rates" and cell phone minutes from your calls. The only difference in the user experience is, people are seeing your GV number on their caller ID's and that's it.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this one. Please leave comments below.



Where did the Snort Drinking Game go?

I received an email asking if I still had a copy of the Snort Drinking Game now that I moved my domain back over to Blogger's engine.
The Snort Drinking Game is here. I'll post a link on the right hand side.

Thursday, August 13

A friend and his Evernote installation

Evernote. The thing that has saved my sanity, and countless trees around the world to prevent things from being printed out. The ubiquitous capture tool. Anything you want to remember, on the computer, in voice, in pictures, darn near everything you can put into a digital device can be recorded into this tool.

I use it for many things. I keep track of projects in them. Information for a hotel that I need to stay at? In Evernote. Webpage I need to remember? In Evernote. Notes that I take on the back of a napkin? Evernote. Pictures of things I need to remember? Yup.

Friend of mine Jim recently blogged about all the goodness that helps him in Evernote, and he posted it on his blog. Be sure and read his post too.

Now, Evernote seems like one of those tools that you download, use a couple times and forget about. But, let me encourage you. You use it. Use it to remember one certain project or something. Put all your notes for that project into Evernote, and you'll realize that you want to start using it more. Then more, then more.

Eventually you'll get to the point where it becomes a part of your everyday life. It becomes your filing cabinet, your todo system..

It's free. You start off using it to remember things about projects, saving webpages to it, saving PDFs inside the program. Using your Evernote client to push all your information you need to remember to one location. One location you can access on your Blackberry, the iPhone, the Web, your Desktop... Then you wind up wanting to put EVERYTHING in there, as I do. Word Documents, Xcel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations..

I recently did a project that spanned several months, I had to write a big paper and a presentation. I had to coordinate across Sourcefire in several departments, and had to take a bunch of notes. Evernote allowed me to keep it all in one place, simply.


Please leave comments below.



Tuesday, August 11

Walking and Running Barefoot

Long ago, more than five years ago now, I was in the Army. I ran everyday, four and five miles, and I was a fast runner. My fastest two mile time being 10:26. Now, that speed isn't a land speed record or anything like that, but I say it to illustrate that I used to run a lot. Short and long distances, Honolulu Marathon of 2001 being the longest distance I ran. (26+ miles).

When I had my accident in the Military (an antenna fell on me), it hurt my back immensely and I thought I'd never have that kind of exercise (running) again. Hang up the shoes, I'm done running. It hurt to stand for 15 minutes, hurt to walk through the mall, how was I possibly going to get out on the road, or offroad and run again?

In 2008, after deciding that I was going to live on painkillers for the rest of my life, and I sure wasn't going to get metal rods placed in my back (the military's solution to my problem), I decided on a different kind of medicine. Chiropractic care.

Say what you want, but I swear to this day, it worked for me. I went to a Chiropractor for awhile, and he used a machine to adjust my back. Now, I am not sure how this machine is supposed to function, but I didn't really feel any relief in pain, I was still living day to day with the realization that I couldn't pick up my daughter and carry her around. That was rather disheartening. Eventually my Chiropractor said, "Let's do a manual adjustment". You know, lay you on the table and twist you like a pretzel until your joints pop, I guess, back into place.

Say what you will, but since the first day he did that, I haven't felt much pain anymore. Every once in awhile I'll that old familiar cramp in my lower back, at which point I'll go up, get adjusted, little massage, and I'm good to go. I probably go to Chiro about once every two months now.

Last year I decided to start running again. Bought me some new running shoes, ran 2 miles, was tired. You figure, I haven't ran, or walked a long distance in several years at this point. Next day I got up, and I was sore. Sore I haven't been in years. A different sore, a sore that you felt gratifying in being. Not sore because you were in pain, sore because you did some exercise. Those of you that are runners or lifters know what I am talking about. The next time I ran, I ran a little longer, and it felt good.

Recently, I've started reading a lot about the benefits of running barefoot, and I read several articles about special shoes that were designed to protect your feet against, things like, glass on the street and other items, but still mimic the barefoot running experience. One shoe I read about was the Vibram FiveFinger, and the other was the Nike Free.

I researched them immensely and decided to purchase the FiveFinger after a couple friends of mine recommended them to me. So, this past weekend I went to a store in Rehobeth Beach, DE and picked up a pair.

I wore them all of about ten steps, and my two year old saw them and exclaimed that she didn't like them. They were scary, she didn't like them, and to put them back in the box. Despite what my wife was saying about them (she really didn't care for them either), they scared my daughter. I can't have that, so I wound up returning them the next day, a bit let down.

Then I went and bought some Nike Free-s. Tell you what, I like the Vibrams better, for the short amount of time that I owned them, but I really like wearing the Nike Frees. Even for walking. It's nice being "barefoot" or even having that "barefoot" experience, all day.

So, as a rather recent edition to my wardrobe, I can't make a judgement call on them yet, but I will, and I'll follow up this post with an eval after I get more of a chance to run in them. But so far, so good.

Please leave comments below.


Hey, something is different here....

So... You may notice something looks a little different here. I moved a couple things.

I moved the blog from me.com's servers, back to blogger's servers. I have my reasons, mainly, because I lost a lot of visibility into my reader's favorite links.
I also changed the theme. As much as I like the black background, it can be a bit difficult to read, and I might change it around a bit, as I really don't like this theme either, but we'll see. Now that I am back on blogger's platform, I have a lot of flexibility around the design of the site. Like, full html/css access to everything.

I brought only the best posts over from the other blogging platform (iWeb). Basically all the best ones that had the most comments and things. I didn't bring the comments over, if you want to comment on the posts, you may, and I'd encourage it.

Thanks to my loyal readers.

Please leave comments below.


Walking and Running Barefoot

Long ago, more than five years ago now, I was in the Army. I ran everyday, four and five miles, and I was a fast runner. My fastest two mile time being 10:26. Now, that speed isn't a land speed record or anything like that, but I say it to illustrate that I used to run a lot. Short and long distances, Honolulu Marathon of 2001 being the longest distance I ran. (26+ miles).

When I had my accident in the Military (an antenna fell on me), it hurt my back immensely and I thought I'd never have that kind of exercise (running) again. Hang up the shoes, I'm done running. It hurt to stand for 15 minutes, hurt to walk through the mall, how was I possibly going to get out on the road, or offroad and run again?

In 2008, after deciding that I was going to live on painkillers for the rest of my life, and I sure wasn't going to get metal rods placed in my back (the military's solution to my problem), I decided on a different kind of medicine. Chiropractic care.

Say what you want, but I swear to this day, it worked for me. I went to a Chiropractor for awhile, and he used a machine to adjust my back. Now, I am not sure how this machine is supposed to function, but I didn't really feel any relief in pain, I was still living day to day with the realization that I couldn't pick up my daughter and carry her around. That was rather disheartening. Eventually my Chiropractor said, "Let's do a manual adjustment". You know, lay you on the table and twist you like a pretzel until your joints pop, I guess, back into place.

Say what you will, but since the first day he did that, I haven't felt much pain anymore. Every once in awhile I'll that old familiar cramp in my lower back, at which point I'll go up, get adjusted, little massage, and I'm good to go. I probably go to Chiro about once every two months now.

Last year I decided to start running again. Bought me some new running shoes, ran 2 miles, was tired. You figure, I haven't ran, or walked a long distance in several years at this point. Next day I got up, and I was sore. Sore I haven't been in years. A different sore, a sore that you felt gratifying in being. Not sore because you were in pain, sore because you did some exercise. Those of you that are runners or lifters know what I am talking about. The next time I ran, I ran a little longer, and it felt good.

Recently, I've started reading a lot about the benefits of running barefoot, and I read several articles about special shoes that were designed to protect your feet against, things like, glass on the street and other items, but still mimic the barefoot running experience. One shoe I read about was the Vibram FiveFinger, and the other was the Nike Free.

I researched them immensely and decided to purchase the FiveFinger after a couple friends of mine recommended them to me. So, this past weekend I went to a store in Rehobeth Beach, DE and picked up a pair.

I wore them all of about ten steps, and my two year old saw them and exclaimed that she didn't like them. They were scary, she didn't like them, and to put them back in the box. Despite what my wife was saying about them (she really didn't care for them either), they scared my daughter. I can't have that, so I wound up returning them the next day, a bit let down.

Then I went and bought some Nike Free-s. Tell you what, I like the Vibrams better, for the short amount of time that I owned them, but I really like wearing the Nike Frees. Even for walking. It's nice being "barefoot" or even having that "barefoot" experience, all day.

So, as a rather recent edition to my wardrobe, I can't make a judgement call on them yet, but I will, and I'll follow up this post with an eval after I get more of a chance to run in them. But so far, so good.

Please leave comments below.


Hey, something is different here....

So... You may notice something looks a little different here. I moved a couple things.

I moved the blog from me.com's servers, back to blogger's servers. I have my reasons, mainly, because I lost a lot of visibility into my reader's favorite links.
I also changed the theme. As much as I like the black background, it can be a bit difficult to read, and I might change it around a bit, as I really don't like this theme either, but we'll see. Now that I am back on blogger's platform, I have a lot of flexibility around the design of the site. Like, full html/css access to everything.

I brought only the best posts over from the other blogging platform (iWeb). Basically all the best ones that had the most comments and things. I didn't bring the comments over, if you want to comment on the posts, you may, and I'd encourage it.

Thanks to my loyal readers.

Please leave comments below.


Tuesday, August 4

Defcon was awesome, you should go next time.

Just wanted to say hello to all my friends that I hooked up with at Defcon this year. It was great. Great parties, good friends, good talks, good times. I’ve put up a couple videos that I took during Defcon, one being this one:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWondV3e1r8


Of the Bendy Girl at the IOActive Party. She was good. DJ Keith Myers did an excellent job of DJ’ing the party on Saturday.


I went to several talks, one being the Adobe 0day “debacle” talk. Where the disclosure of the PDF Vuln from Adobe was discussed. I think the presenter (from Shadowserver) did a good job of trying to explain the benefits of partial disclosure, full-disclosure, and non-disclosure. I still think full-disclosure is the way to go.


In any case, good times had by all, thanks to all for making it a great, safe, Defcon.