Nov 302005

multitasking Just listened to the 43Folders podcast on the Myth of Multitasking and I have to agree that we really do not multitask. We may switch between projects rapidly in a form of time slicing – but our mental processor does not have enough free cycles to split between two real tasks. This is not to say there are not things that you can do at the same time. It is of course easy to listen to a book on tape or to music while you drive but the obvious distraction caused by using your cell phone while driving proves your brain really does have problems doing two things at once.

Our brain cannot truly multitask – it does not have the ability to process interrupts effectively. G. Wade Johnson makes this point well:

When an interrupt comes in, there is a forced task switch just like with preemptive multitasking. Unlike a computer, humans cannot store their mental state on the stack and come back to it. An interrupt pretty much makes you lose all of the dynamic state you’ve built up. Anything you’ve written down or committed to more long-term storage is retained of course. But, the part that you are working on right now is lost unless you explicitly take time to save it.

Kathy Sierra writes about ‘being mindful’ as a solution to the distractions we call multitasking in her blog post about Your brain on multitasking:

Our brains can’t do even two independent things that require conscious thought, especially if those two things involve different goals. But that’s OK, you might think, since multi-threaded systems on a single-processor aren’t technically doing two things at the same time.. they’re simply switching back and forth so quickly that they just appear to be processing simultaneously. But that’s the problem… the brain isn’t a computer, and in many cases the brain works much more slowly than a modern processor.

--Photo: Multitasking--

She contends we will get more done if we ‘practice mindfulness’ instead.

Practicing mindfulness is like adding more hours to your day. If you’re mindful, time slows down. You get more done, enjoy things more, and feel less stress.

So if you’re stressed for time, do everything you can to resist the seemingly-intuitive notion that doing several things at once will save time. … Obviously there are exceptions, especially if you’re quite content to let the quality of the work go down, or to be rude to the person you’re talking to.

Of course the biggest reason I don’t get anything done is that I spend all my time reading all these blogs!

Nov 302005

5000 Channel Universe We have one satellite dish hooked to the house now to be able to record the HomeSat classes that we use for homeschooling our kids. I have thought about switching from cable to the DishTV – but the thought of adding another satellite dish to the house just is not appealing. Now I know it can be done!

According to the Beckley, WV, Register-Herald if 20 movie channels are not enough,

then come to Al Jessup’s house — where his 5,000-plus radio and television stations from around the world beamed in by his 12 satellite dishes are bound to keep you entertained somehow.

“Up in the sky, there’s lots of free stuff,” he said.

The last time he counted, he received more than 5,000 channels. He has stopped counting since.

Because the programming is free, it changes regularly, he noted. Sometimes, a program he likes will disappear and something he dislikes will be put in its place, or vice versa. For example, he once had three ABC stations from Wyoming only to have it reduced to one.

“One day it may be here, the next day it may be gone, the next day it may be back,” he said. “You never know.”

HatTip to Boing Boing

Nov 292005

Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they really are not after you!
Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie

What Is An AFDB?

An Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB) is a type of headwear that can shield your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers. AFDBs are inexpensive (even free if you don’t mind scrounging for thrown-out aluminium foil) and can be constructed by anyone with at least the dexterity of a chimp (maybe bonobo). This cheap and unobtrusive form of mind control protection offers real security to the masses. Not only do they protect against incoming signals, but they also block most forms of brain scanning and mind reading, keeping the secrets in your head truly secret. AFDBs are safe and operate automatically. All you do is make it and wear it and you’re good to go! Plus, AFDBs are stylish and comfortable.

BEWARE OF COMMERCIAL AFDBS: Since you should trust no one, always construct your AFDB yourself to avoid the risk of subversion and mental enslavement. Sometimes, AFDBs will be sold on places like eBay. Do not purchase these pre-made AFDBs, even if the seller seems trustworthy. They may contain backdoors, pinholes, integrated psychotronic circuitry or other methods that actually promote mind control.

Nov 292005

I have a Palm Tungsten T3. I supplement the T3 with a Garmin ETrex Legend for 2 reasons. 1) I don’t want to drop my T3 on rocks or water while I am searching and 2) The Garmin seems to have a better ‘real-time’ response.

All the software I use, and screenshots on my palm are listed here: Treo Software (CacheMate, Cetus, TomTom Navigator)

My overly complex processes for such basic tasks:

Standard stuff: * Get PQ emailed to me for top 5 locations I cache in, save them (since GSAK doesnt support IMAP4) * Update databases in GSAK * Filter out 4.5-5.0 Terrains usually * Export to CacheMate * Export to TomTom POI file * Sync Treo 650 to PC

For trips (Caches on a route): * Create PQ for every 75 miles along the trip. * Take said GPX from PQs, and make a giant GPX in GSAK. Export it * Use a script I made, enter in starting and end Zipcodes, X miles from highway to list, and the Big GPX file It outputs the following: – pruned GPX of all caches within X miles of the route, – HTMLpage which is a google maplet that shows me all the caches – TomTom POI file – CacheMate PDB

Like GSAK, this is really just a bloated gpsbabel/makeov/XML & XSLT parsing system. But its easy. Ill be releasing it as opensource soon, once I simplify it down from needed a large CygWin install).

In the field: * Kick off TomTom Navigator, * Look at overhead view of the area in a map, turn on GeoCaching POI (points of interest) which shows me a yellow icon for each cache and where it is. * Pick the Cache, click it, goto “Navigate to this location” * Drive there, park, and hunt * Then I kick off CacheMate, read the last 5-10 logs, sometimes the hint. * ClickNAV (CacheNav) or CetusGPS, and get within 10-20 ft of the cache. * Take a picture, Hunt for it, take more pictures * Write a log note. * Repeat!

If I need new caches in the field, * Goto in Blazer web browser on Treo * run query, save GPX file * Email (VersaMail) or FTP (EzFTP) the script to my server * Run webbased or shell based (pssh) gpsbabel on the script * Download Cachemate file, and import. * If this fails, I PalmVNC to my desktop, massage the data there, and email it to my Treo.

I have mobipocket, but really never use it. Checking the logs and hints CacheMate or on the website is easier and saves me a lot of trouble and space.

The worst part about this is integrating my CacheMate notes back to GSAK or the website to write logs. There is no flow or real good process for it. Ill normally just leave shorthand in CacheMate, go home to the website, log it.

I blow away my CacheMate DBs daily and recreate them from a fresh GSAK export. If it had an “update” instead of duplicate feature this wouldnt be needed, but it was cheap and thats complex method to pull off on a Palm DB.

Technology has finally come of age. And I think devices like the Treo or insert your cool gadget here are amazing. But not everyone does, and many hate gadget talk, in the word’s of “ I Don’t Care”. Feel free to ignore or pass this post by if you prefer to keep it simple or paper-based.

Make sure you do not keep CacheMate on the card. If you do use FileZ ir zLauncher, move the DBs before Syncing, and then back to card.

Nov 252005

Just read where a Home Depot accused a man of shoplifting after borrowing a pencil and forgetting to return it! Most businesses give away pens and pencils with their names on them, Home Depot has to decide whether or not to call the police.

This story just shows how management, in one of those Dilbert pointy-haired moments, decides on a zero-tolerance rule instead of allowing common sense and thinking. I do understand the thinking that leads to not giving minimum wage employees the power to decide where the rules can be bent, but forcing employees into 100% compliance of any policy is a sign that management that has given up on managing people and is telling its employees, “We do not trust you to make good decisions.”

This reminds me of the stories you hear about kids bringing GI Joe size pistols to school and being suspended because the school has a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy regarding bringing weapons to school. The problem is not the person enforcing the rule – the managers who wrote the policy should be fired.

I just made a small purchase at Home Depot. I plan on returning it and letting them know that I will be shopping at Lowe’s for the next year. For all I know I may have picked up a pencil there – or maybe even one of those little plastic parts bags to keep the parts in that I was buying replacements for.

I would thing some of Home Depot’s competitors should start handing out pencils at their doors inscribed with some clever slogan like: “We appreciate our customers – Have a pencil on us”

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