Monthly Archives: April 2007

At-Work Productivity: IM

I’ve been reading Lifehacker for a while now, and, up till now, have been bombarded with productivity tips and tricks that have been more or less useless since I haven’t been working on anything I’ve been the slightest bit interested in.

That’s changed, though. I’m now working on stuff I’ve been itching to work on for about two years. So all the stuff I’ve been digesting about how to be an awesome software developer starts to have relevance. But it also means I have an awful lot of bad habits to break.

The first bad habit is probably instant messenger. Lifehacker has some IM tips that I’m going to try to follow.

I hope people don’t take it personally if I ignore them on IM. I’m going to start making use of status messages and invisibility. My default mode is still going to be online, but if I’m working on stuff, my status will say that. I turn notifications off and I’m going to ignore whatever comes in until the next break time.

I like IM a lot. We use it as a communication tool in the office. You can get quick feedback from people without having to compose emails, but it’s still relatively asynchronous–you don’t have to connect and stay connected with people like on the phone.

IM is good. I don’t want to get rid of it. But it can be a real distraction. Not that I can’t use a distraction sometimes, but I do kinda need to get work done. So I’ve got to be a bit smarter about how I use it.

Flash!

I didn’t think you could get them anymore. When I was hunting around for heatwraps, I stumbled upon what I thought was an extinct species: low-capacity flash memory cards. And they’re cheap!

I found 64MB compact flash cards at Pharma Plus for $7.50. Perfect for the Quickpad. They’ve got bigger sizes too, but you’re probably better off going someplace like Canada Computers for those.

They’ve got smaller xD (only Type M at the Shoppers I checked) and SD cards too, of course. Those might be useful for something.

I’d have never thought to look in drug stores. But it makes sense. My dad’s pharmacy always did photo processing and stuff. So it makes sense.

I just picked up my old 2 megapixel camera from home, and I’m using the 8MB card from that, but I think I might pick up one of the 64MB cards, just ‘cuz it might come in handy. I mean… $7.50! Sure the price per MB sucks compared to the 4GB+ cards you can get these days, but I don’t need that space.

CTRL-A Manifesto

Nick’s posted his platform for president on the CTRL-A forum and I think it’s awesome. An exerpt:

When I applied to University, I came across CTRL-A’s website. “Wow,” I thought, “It would be so cool to be part of an actual anime club”. It seemed like such an amazing thing that was beyond my reach. When the acceptance finally rolled in for Waterloo, I was so happy. Not only was I accepted into what I was told was the hardest program to get into, Computer Science at Waterloo, but also, I would be able to join CTRL-A and be part of an actual anime club.

Aw, that made me misty-eyed. That was totally me 12 odd years ago. Except that in 1994, CTRL-A didn’t have a website. But it was still all awesome and shiny and new. And I didn’t know Computer Science sucked yet. But then…

Maybe I didn’t know what an anime club was supposed to be, or maybe I still don’t, but when I strolled into my first CTRL-A meeting, I wasn’t very excited. Not only was it particularly stuffy, what with people arguing about the constitution, but I felt out of place. From my little knowledge of anime, I suggest some shows for samplers, and was scoffed at, to say the least. The shows weren’t much better. It wasn’t all that exciting to come out to the shows, and I gradually through choice and accident, ended up missing more and more shows as I joined the club for the second time.

As one of the people who likely scoffed at show suggestions, I’d like to apologize. I’m old. It’s what old people do. It’s one of the reasons I’ve gotten out of the way.

Nick is right on the money. CTRL-A should be a fun club where anime fans can hang out with their friends. It actually was once. I think it could be again. It just takes someone who cares enough to come along and make that happen.

Go Nick! If I were still going to meetings I’d absolutely vote for you. Any UW students out there should go and do that. It’s your club. Make the most of it.