Ruby Is a Titanium Mountain Bike

From Tour de Babel

If languages are bicycles, then Awk is a pink kiddie bike with a white basket and streamers coming off the handlebars, Perl is a beach cruiser (remember how cool they were? Gosh.) and Ruby is a \$7,500 titanium mountain bike.
Worth the read.

Why Is It So Hard to Be Like Apple?

By now, everyone has seen this video, which shows what would happen if Microsoft redesigned the iPod packaging. It’s spot on, but it got me to wondering: Why is it so hard to be like Apple? On the surface, it seems simple. Create well-designed, simple, user-centric devices, and promote the heck out of them. It seems simple, but clearly it’s not or everyone would be doing it. There have been countless “iPod killers” brought to market over the last few years, but none of them have made a dent in Apple’s market share.

What’s the missing ingredient?

Chuck Norris Facts

A list of facts about Chuck Norris

Contains gems like:

Chuck Norris has counted to infinity. Twice. The Great Wall of China was originally created to keep Chuck Norris out. It failed miserably. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Someone has way too much free time.

How to Integrate Remote Employees

One of my “must-read” blogs, Rands in Repose has a post seeking advice on keeping employees who work from home (or any other remote location) in the loop.

I’m ready to learn and that’s today’s question, “How do you, as a remote employee, stay in the loop?” The converse, if you prefer, is, “How do you, as a co-worker or manager of a remote employee, keep everyone on the same page?” Work-from-home employees is becoming a bigger and bigger trend, and there are a lot of companies that seem to thrive in this environment. When it works, it seems to be a win-win for both the employer and employee. It does introduce a number of issues, particularly if only part of the team is working remotely.

There’s some good advice in the comments for the post, including advice on tools, as well as cultural issues.

The Power of Lists

One of the things that impacted me the most about GTD is lists. It’s such a ridiculously simple concept, but it’s incredibly powerful. I was reminded of this recently when I saw an article at Boxes and Arrows called Check It Twice: The B&A Staff Reveals the Way They Make Lists. It isn’t about GTD at all really, but it’s useful nonetheless. It includes things like “Holiday cookies”, “Refrigerator lists”, and even included a bit about Backpack, but the one that I found most interesting was called Mantras:

  • Simplify
  • Smaller, smaller
  • Do only what you love, love everything that you do
  • Embrace constraints
  • Less
  • Honor your mistake as a hidden intention
  • Disrupt business as usual

…And so on.

I like that, I think I’m going to add that to my lists.

Back to my original point, one of the first things I started doing when I implemented GTD, was to start keeping reference lists. I use the “Memos” section of my Palm T5 to store them. I was first inspired by The David’s tip, but I’ve gone on to create some of my own.

Here’s a sampling:

  • Fun Projects - Little programming things I may want to do some day.
  • Model numbers - This is a list of model numbers for much of what I own. That way when I’m out shopping and I remember that I need to buy furnace filters, I don’t have to try and remember what size I have, it’s right there in my list.
  • Blog topics - Things I may want to write about here someday. * Music - Various albums, songs, and artists I may want to buy.
  • Books - Books I want to read
  • Gift ideas - Throughout the year, when my wife mentions something she’d like, I jot it down in a list with her name. When it comes time to buy gifts, I’ve got a list to choose from. I have one of these lists for everyone I buy gifts for. My kids, parents, in-laws, etc.
  • Checklists - I keep checklists for certain things I have to do regularly, like “Project startup”, “New employee”, etc.

This is only a few of my lists, I probably have 50 or so.

Do you have any lists like this? Share in the comments, I’m always looking for new ideas.

Micro-business Links

A couple of micro-venture links from the last couple of days:

Mark Cuban on Success & Motivation

Mark Cuban, whose writing style I really enjoy, posts a collection of the articles he’s written over the last few years on how he got to where he is today.

Life Beyond Code - 10 Questions to ask yourself when you are small

Rajesh Setty does a reality check for startups.

I found both of these via microISV, which is a great resource for people interested in that sort of thing.

Just Do It

Steve Pavlina has updated one of his older articles into a new one titled Do it Now, in which he describes the method he used to graduate college in three semesters with a 3.9 GPA. From the article:

In order to accomplish this goal, I determined I’d have to take 30-40 units per semester, when the average student took 12-15 units. It became immediately obvious that I’d have to manage my time extremely well if I wanted to pull this off.

That’s an understatement. I’m not sure that just anyone could pull this off, but Steve claims he did (and I really don’t have any way of proving one way or the other).

Regardless, there are some really good time principles in this article. Definitely worth a read.