January 31, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 11:20 AM
January 30, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 11:18 AM
January 29, 2005
GTD, or exposing ones foible based systems to the world

I've poked into David Allen's GTD methodology repeatedly for a good while now - the book has sat on my shelf, come off my shelf, and returned to my shelf a number of times (and yes, it has been read!). For the past year or so I've been happily reading along with the communal experiments over at 43Folders (and the allied Google Group for 43Folders). I even began spinning up a Chicago GTD MeetUp group...

The past month I've been working to get back on the GTD wagon, after a couple months not trying very hard. My lists of Next Actions had gone stale, my projects were (and truth be told still are) underrepresented, and my inbox is not yet empty. But getting back on the wagon, day by day, has been paying off - especially on those days when I have both the self-discipline and the open uninterrupted time to plow through NA lists.

In a recent entry, Kevin made noises about jumping on the GTD wagon himself. So for him (and for me ease in retuning in the future), my system.

For one iteration of my system, I used ShadowPlan extensively, with a master project outline with subitems each tagged with their Next Action contexts (in some cases this was more than one context tag, which in hindsight was excessive syntactic sugar. This outline lived only on my Palm (I love Jeff Mitchell's work, but the MacOSX desktop feels too table-focused for me as yet).

I might have kept that up, but the data entry to the Palm in Graffitti2 seems to be a bit of a step back; particularly on managing word breaks (every L I put at the end of the word became a T!). So rather than write things down, I'd THINK of writing them down, forgetting them 10 minutes later. I looked at using the OmniShadow Plug-In scripts, but they don't support tags yet, which were a pivotal part of the Shadow based system.

For about 3 days I tried keeping my project lists on a thumbdrive and using the pyGTD script to build the nicely prioritized list of actions. But I ran into more problems running the script on my OSX home computer vs my WinXP work computer - I lost actions, or spent 15 minutes cleaning up one file or another when it would inadvertently get munged. If keeping actions in a trusted system is paramount, keeping them in an untrusted system is paramountly foolish.

I've been running a HipsterPDA solution for the last 2 weeks. Combined with some other paper-based and electronic items, it appears to be working reasonably well. The simplicity of the tools has helped me to focus less on the system and more on the doing.

In the HPDA, I am keeping a pair of carddecks; one is a set of context based next action lists (@calls, @comp, @errands, @errands, @home, @homeComp, @office (which subsumes my work computer), and @waitingFor). This deck also holds a set of blank cards, for use in capturing inbox items and ideas when I'm not sitting with a notebook.

The second deck is a set of projects, each with a set of known steps or tasks to complete the project; some projects are never-ending, an artifact of poor project definition on my part. But they're listed, and I have plenty of cards with which to make more.

As I work through the day, I've been trying harder to logbook what I do; decisions I make, configuration options chosen, paths taken. This is easier at the office, where I have been trying to keep logbooks for years. I need to integrate this in my personal life as well. Arguably this could be wikified, but the impermanence of bits in an enterprise has held me back from renewed experiments. I've begun using some Moleskine hacks to try and improve searchability of paper - news on that front in ~6 months.... As I go through the day, I use my logbook as a quick INBOX, transferring actions from the book to the HPDA on a periodic basis.

Why not use the Palm's builtin apps? Because I like to synchronize the hard landscape - and I can't sync effectively at work. As it is, I use an ineffective 'copy outlook to palm by hand' mechanism, but it allows me to keep my personal and work schedules to be blended only so far as I want them. YMMV.

Posted by esinclai at 06:12 PM
January 27, 2005
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January 26, 2005
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January 25, 2005
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January 24, 2005
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January 23, 2005
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January 22, 2005
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January 21, 2005
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January 20, 2005
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January 19, 2005
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January 18, 2005
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January 17, 2005
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January 14, 2005
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January 12, 2005
File Under Familiar

This morning, as I watched portions of the SteveNote... AZ said

We're going to be hearing about this for the next few days, aren't we?

Sounds a bit familiar...

Posted by esinclai at 06:53 AM
January 08, 2005
Paws Crossed

Paws Crossed
Originally uploaded by esinclai.

As previously mentioned, Kitty and Molly have their paws crossed for Orlando in far off Italy. Molly demonstrates here.
Posted by esinclai at 03:29 PM

Originally uploaded by esinclai.

Even in Chicago one can buy what appear to be delicious London tourist paraphernalia, as we discovered at our local Fox and Obel. The larger tins are fruit, the smaller are mint.

Instead, I walked out with some Chinese Five Spice, but not the $17 for a pack of two vanilla beans. That Jamie Oliver must have more money than me.....
Posted by esinclai at 03:27 PM
What I've Done, and a Trifecta

I've been long form silent yet for a while, while I've promised others writeups of various events of the past few weeks. Between family visits, holidays, recovery, and work I appear not to have recovered sufficiently to give these events the text they deserve.

So what we've done

  • Spamalot - Anne and I (and a bunch of coworkers) went to see this over the holidays during it's preview run at the Schubert Theatre here in Chicago. It's an entertaining farce based not-so-loosely on the beloved Monty Python film of the same name. And it certainly isn't an DaVinci Code, either. Lots of jokes transport themselves from the film, some wittily crudely, others in the service of mockery of overblown Broadway Musicals. I expect it will have a strong run in NYC, but I worry for it's actual longevity. But hey, I would have said that about the Producers I suspect.
  • Holiday dinners - we did our usual thing this year. Pizza the night before (AZ's Dad and I agree on the value of excessive cheese). And for the holiday itself we have the judeo-christian mashup of brisket served with latkes. It was delicious, if I may say so myself.
  • Gizmos - in the late 80s, before I returned to Bloomington, the Gizmos played a reunion. I missed it, meaning I still never got to see the boys in action. So the announcement that there would be another Gizmos Reunion (the Dale Lawrence version) filled me with no small portion of joy. And I was not disappointed. Two covers (Ramones, Pistols), and all the hits from the new reissue Rock and Roll Don't Come From New York. I've been counseled by my trusted advisors that not having this in your youth makes it hard to love, but uninitiated FOAFs at the show were impressed enough to pick up the disk. It'll be 10 years or so before the next reunion, but clear your calendar now.
  • Books for Gifts - Every year AZ and I give each other books for gifts at the important gift giving occasions (xmas, birthdays, Thursday in passing the bookstore...). This year she treated me to three books rocketing to the top of my inbound list.
    • Dale Lawrence's "Hoosier Hysteria Road Book : A Guide to the Byways of Indiana High School Basketball" This is Dale's compendium of over 400 Indiana High Schools and their gymnasia and roundball programs. It's a loving portrait, in facts, numbers and diner addresses, of one man's exploration. And the diner tips will come in handy as AZ and I drive to the Southern Annex each month.
    • Heny Mitchell's "One Man's Garden" Mitchell was garden columnist for the Washington Post, and has a nearly ephemeral beauty and humor in his writing. I'll be adding his other books to the wishlist soon.
    • Antonino D'Ambrosio edited " Let Fury Have the Hour: The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer" This was the true wildcard gift this year I think. A collection of essays (from Sylvie Simmons to Billy Bragg and all the way around the alphabet) about Joe Strummer. Combined with the exhibition AZ and I saw in London this year of Joe's work, it has helped to keep his spirit in my heart.
  • ECC's tradeMark came by Chicago for a gig on his current tour with Chromelodeon. Chromelodeon got a bit jam-bandy in their longform, but 8 musicians in video game inspired (and covering) show can make a hellishly beautiful racket. ECC's gig was in good form - at least one new song, and band accompanied oldies (Jesus Carp, Son of Cod) made for a fine, if snowy, night. The night before Mark and I found ourselves on a deserted NEIU campus looking for the studios of WZRD. When we found them (buried in the basement of the student building, of course!), the smell of the station brought back all the WQAX memories one can hold at once. What a great thing, community radio.
  • Vulgar Boatmen - Completing the Dale Lawrence trifecta by seeing VB tonight.... lots of wiggle!


Posted by esinclai at 11:18 AM
January 07, 2005
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January 06, 2005
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January 05, 2005
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January 04, 2005
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January 01, 2005
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