Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Piracy here in bangy

The piracy situation here in Bangalore actually makes me laugh.
99% of software/movies/music is pirated, excluding free and OEM stuff ofcourse. Just go to one of the local VCD-walas and you'll be blasted by a ton of original look-alike DVDs, CDs, etc.
"Ey! Iddu original DVD enappa?"[Is this an original DVD?]
"Howdu saar. Original. Illi hakilwa?"["Yes Sir. It is an Original. It says so here"]

Ofcourse, no original DVD says it's an original and has a footnote "Made by the EL1M1NT0RZ".

Worse, most people don't really care if it's original, fake, or pirated as long as it's cheap and decent quality. People aren't concerned about loss to the real creators and legal problems(which you can do away with a couple of hundreds anyway).

Oh well.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Task throttling

Some people, like me, take a preposterous amount of time to get some things done. For example, I take about 20-30 minutes to have a bath. Now 1/2 hr a day for a bath is crazy. So, one day I was late for school. What did I do? I task-throttled.

Now task-throttling is a technique to speed up work. It can't speed up all jobs. Only things that require us to do a lot of different seeming things, like getting ready or cleaning up. I don't know if it works for everyone, but it worked for me.

Here's the idea: You mentally set a mini-task to do within every 10 seconds. Say, you are cleaning up your room. You think to yourselves, "Gather all dirty clothes from the wardrobe". And you try to do that under 10 seconds.Now 10 seconds meaning not 10 seconds in actual life, but 10 seconds in your mind. Say you can't get all the dirty clothes for whatever reason. You are counting down 10 seconds in your mind. You just slow down when you realize you can't do it. You protest: "Ah crap! then I can take all the time I want". Well, you try to push down the time to absolute minimum and keep counting, even if you are saying 1/2,1/4,1/8...

Why slow down and not restart the 10 secs? By restarting the 10 secs you feel you weren't able to complete the task. That kills motivation. You want to feel like you CAN do it.

How does this speed things up? By allowing you tofocus on a single task for a limited amount of time. I was able to cut down my bath time to 10-15 mins.

Obviously this technique can't be used for intellectual work. Can only be used to fuzzy-type physical work. You should give it a shot and see if it works. Or you might be naturally effiicient.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

My GTD System

GTD, for Getting Things Done, a time management technique, has made a big impact on the geek community. As for me, serious usage of this technique only began today.

I spent almost 12-15 hrs setting up my system. I have made certain additions to the system, most notably, goal lists. Most of my system is based around the Moleskine notebook and index cards. I'll launch off into a description of my system.This post as such is intended for someone who already knows GTD.

I use my Moleskine Pocket Plain Notebook(PP) as my main inbox. I've slapped a bunch of Post-its at the back and all my reminder style stuff go there. Any receipts pieces of paper and other 'hard' things go into the Accordian. I also have reserved an area of my desk as my physical inbox(which I must upgrade to a proper inbox). All my Action lists are on index cards. I've made @study, @move, @comp, Agendas, Waiting For, and Someday/Maybe lists and all of them are in my Moleskine, kept in a convenient triangular 'pocket' I made at the front and back. Less used lists are in the Accordian.

My project lists are a bunch of 3x3 post-its in my Moleskine. Each post-its defines the Outcomes and Purpose of each project. For my calender, I use a simple calender I got from my local stationary store.

So I don't write anything in my Moleskine? Well I do write my higher goal lists(quarterly, annual, mission statements and core values). It also functions as a sort of mobile journal. It also has a bunch of other stuff like quotes, gtd flow diagrams, daily logs and lettering charts.

Well, that's my GTD system summarised. I hope I haven't missed anything. I actually haven't gotten much time to use much GTD. I will be doing a lot of stuff in the coming week, so let's see what happens. As for today, I bumped into an old friend and spent almost all my free time talking to him.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oooh yah!

Yay. I got my 3 Moleskines. These are super cool notebooks. I got a Plain Pocket Notebook, a Daily Diary/planner and a Memo Pockets Notebook. Check them out here.

What's so great about these seemingly normal notebook? One, it has a elastic wrap thingy which keeps the book together. It's also got a pocket at the back. The paper is very good quality. and most importantly there is a certain sacred-like quality about the notebook.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

On Human Choice

Lately I've been wondering whether humans really have any influence over their own life. Sure, you may say that you can choose to read this post or not and that you certainly have a choice. But I was thinking if that choice was already made long back. What choice you take will depend upon your character. You may make some decision but that decision is taken because you are a certain type of person, and you are that certain type of person because of all the influences, the sights, sounds and ideas that you were exposed to in your life that made you the person you are now. You have some characteristics because of your genes. All these things are out of your control. Further going all those things are influenced by something else and so on but it must end somewhere. Maybe that's God. God, whatever it is, sets a stage and says,"Big Bang!" or something. Everything clicks. Do we have ANY choice? It may seem so. You may now start deciding against certain choices to prove that you can choose. But again, I(or something/one else) influenced that. And a ton of other things influenced me to write this.

But despite that theory of mine, I think, as far as we are concerned, that we DO have a choice. That's what sets an intelligent being apart. Between an stimulus and a reaction, we have the option to choose. It may be artificial to some extent. But once armed with that knowledge, once we realize that we can choose our reaction, we start making better reactions.

I was blaming other things and persons for my problems a lot lately. Not openly though. I was giving myself excuses. But today I've realized that whatever anyone may do, I can't change that. I can make a difference by changing myself. Even if the whole world goes to hell, I can choose not to go. And that is an encouraging thought.

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