Consulting the Oracle; How Journaling Answers Tough Questions

I keep a journal. I actually have several forms of journals too. I have a todo list that i’ve maintained for over 3 years now. I never delete anything from the list unless its completed. But I’m using a wiki so even those can be retrieved again if I really want. After a few months when the list gets too long to ever complete, I move the unlikely-to-be-completed ones to a Skipped list. I find it frees up tremendous amount of creative energy; versus constantly working to remember and remind myself about event-related and order-of-operations and high-priority information. And it is therapeutic for me to go over the list after a year–take pride in my accomplishments, laugh at the things i thought were a priority that turned out not to be, and dig out some old gems that I am now in a better position to do for the next year.

I also own a two-sided scansnap scanner and I scan everything. If it doesn’t fit in the scanner, I cut it in two. Everything gets scanned and shredded. No more file cabinets. No sensitive data lingering around the office. All the PDFs get backed up online with Dropbox. I can now access my physical mail from anywhere. The new freedom is mobility. I can find anything and everything I’ve ever got, faster. I applied for a new mortgage loan and they were amazed at how fast I could produce every document they required. I have every receipt in case I am ever audited.

Then I have a blog where I post things I want public feedback on, or things I want to contribute to the world.

I keep notes on every call I make in a notepad and save the file with the timestamp for the day and a summary in My Documents folder. I can refer back to every call quickly–a better and simpler system than any CRM software I’ve ever tried.

Then I have a private journal where I talk about things I am not ready to share with others.

Its great to review all these things. Especially when I am burdened. Its a great source of strength, strategy, and a catalyst for creativity. I can totally understand how journaling answers tough questions. Nobody cares more about your problems than you. Nobody has thought more about your problems than you. And often times you already know the answer, you just need someone else [like your past self] to remind you.

Sweet! Chrome as Live JavaScript, CSS, HTML editor

Yesterday it occurred to me as I was editing styles with Chrome’s Developer Tool that there should be something to automatically list for me the differences in the stylesheet before and after the changes I made, so I could just add the different rules across all the selectors to my stylesheet by copy and paste. I started googling and found one better: Chrome DevTools Autosave (by Nikita Vasilyev).

Took me 15 minutes to install and configure but it actually saves any changes you make directly to the static files on the server. Albiet, it does not work with PHP, HAML, SCSS/SASS or any of the server-side exclusive scripts, but I still found it helpful for my purposes. I was editing a stylesheet generated by compass, but I can still use `git diff` to see what changed and copy/paste those changes into my original SCSS file.

Check it out. Especially if you do a lot of slicing and themeing, I’m sure it has potential to be a big time saver for you, as well.

Credit: http://addyosmani.com/blog/autosave-changes-chrome-dev-tools/

California Tech Startup Relocation – Part III

The Question:

Just about every week for the past few months I’ve received invitations from startup founders to relocate to CA in order to participate at CTO / Co-Founder level in their venture. This because the Silicon valley VC / Angel investors have some requirement about will not fund unless tech team is a) local to CA, and b) “long-term”. Any of my Angel/VC/Entrepreneur friends know how it might be possible to participate without relocating from UT w/ family? I doubt it would last more than 2 years. So far my offer is to only relocate for $130k salary plus $10-25k sign-on bonus and/or 100% moving expenses paid. But still having trouble convincing the wife on this since I make a better-than-average living working remotely.

The Answers:

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Hug a FSF/GNU Programmer Day!

Linux + Google OS + Chrome aim to make the browser the future. Look at Microsoft Office vs. OpenOffice/LibreOffice vs. Google Docs. http://bit.ly/jWRaLS Notice in US + Canada the browser app is cutting into desktop. The OpenOffice rebels moving to Google Docs. Subsequently, India + Philippines adopting because they work for US + CAN. The Chromium.org Chromebook video demonstrates this very well http://bit.ly/fRRHgy but there are others like Linux Mint and Peppermint Ice Linux.

This is the classic age-old battle of FSF+GNU decentralized vs. MSFT+APPL centralized platform locking strategy in general. Here you see Canonical’s Ubuntu cutting into marketshare of both Windows and OSX http://bit.ly/im7xi0

Cloud computing is definitely going to be the future for private sector. Clasically however, I expect big government to remain firmly rooted in the past except for black budget project cooperatives with Intel+IBM+GM.

In recognition of this fact, I propose a new international annual holiday where we all say thanks to AWS, Akamai, Heroku, and the millions of independent heros burning the midnight oil to dismantle those who seek to imprison information rather than keeping it free.

Thank you Google, Canonical, FSF, GNU, and … ok maybe Apple, sometimes.

Virtual Appliances

I just noticed this feature in VirtualBox 4.0.4 called Virtual Appliances. A quick Google search turned up the following description:

VMWare has a ‘Virtual Appliance Marketplace’ that contains pre-assemblied VM images configured for various purposes. For example, if I want to compared (and learn) django (a python based web framework) and ruby on rails, I could download two images, setup two VM’s and start hacking. No need to configure a LAMP stack, no need to worry about trashing my base system with installs/uninstalls.”

Oh, this is what I have been doing myself internally for a few years now. I build servers generically, then quickly clone them, hack on them until the project is over, then delete them or archive them or revert to a “clean” snapshot. Productivity has been through the roof! Now, it looks like there’s a marketplace for this:

Some of the more interesting appliances:

  • Cacti, Nagios
  • Exchange 2007
  • Openflier NAS appliance

Something to watch, I think.