October 3, 2018

Good Days Should Be the Default

Some days will be bad. Friction and uncertainty are implied when trying to create something, and that means not all plans will work out.

But the default day can be designed to lean towards good. Break projects into smaller pieces, make a lunch walk a habit, sneak some reading into the day. Find what gives you a boost and design your day so that it incorporates these nuggets.

Nobody owes you a good day, but if we’re spending it sitting in front of a screen with air conditioning and a water fountain close by — we still have it better than almost everyone in the history of humanity.

October 2, 2018

Attention Volume

When designing a process that needs an approval scheme, look for the number of times attention is required — you may not have to break down and classify all possible requests.

If an approver has to check once a week a report that includes 30 requests and can pick out any that seems strange, the volume of requests is not 30, it’s 1.

The natural tendency is that you’ll try to create filters so that only major items are escalated. But it’s possible that you’re wasting more aggregate time than a simple straight to the top process would take.

This insight isn’t mine. I was defining an unnecessarily complex process for work and went for a sanity check with my boss. Glad I did.

October 1, 2018

Sleep Procrastination

Not going to sleep when I’m tired is among the most stupid things I do. When my day self keeps clicking around instead of diving into a task — I know I’m being dumb, but it’s a likable idiot.

But after the kids are asleep and the eyelids are heavy, to allow the moment to pass because there’s a YouTube review I have to watch?

If I’m not going to be more productive everyday, at least I should be more lazy. Otherwise my time here is really being wasted.

September 30, 2018

Acknowledge Bias

When having a political or controversial discussion — and you sincerely want to evolve the points of view — there’s value in sharing your bias up front.

If both parts want to have a dance of ideas, it will give context and allow everybody to more wisely choose their contributions. Otherwise, the deadlock can be achieved even before the shouting match begins, and everyone saved some time.

September 29, 2018

Believe Make Believe

A few episodes into The Dragon Prince and falling in love with it as I did with The Last Airbender a few years ago. Both the world and its characters have something that makes them real.

Being realistic does not make it relatable. Great fantasy can be more faithful to reality.

September 28, 2018

Gig Economy and Human Context

We ordered a pizza today from our favorite local Italian place vía Uber Eats. It was early, but it started raining pretty hard. Our pizza was picked up by Yenari (she/her) on a bicycle and delivery was estimated in 10 minutes. It’s seemed pretty accurate compared to past orders.

It’s still raining Costa Rica rainforest style. I worry a bit, the route to the restaurant is simple, but it’s a long hill. 5 minutes later: We’re sorry, your order has been cancelled.

Inconvenient, yes — hungry kids make millennials look like monks — but… what happened to Yenari? Is she alright? Did she fall or decide it wasn’t worth the $3?

It’s an open secret that the gig economy is a stepping stone to the self-driving pizza box revolution. But in the meantime, I’d be ok with more context about people who will arrive at my door with food my family will eat.

September 27, 2018

Backup as I Say, Not as I Do

I’ve bragged about my backups before, which is why I was horrified yesterday to find out my personal MacBook — the one I got just to keep a local copy of all photos at full resolution and back them up at a different place than iCloud — had not done a backup since November 2017.

So do yourself a favor and check your backup software this weekend:

  • Check the backup schedule
  • Pick a random file and restore
  • Force a backup
September 26, 2018

Learning = Study + Practice

Over the past year, coffee has been my fixation. I’ve consumed hours of videos, bought books, perused blogs and browsed products. As a result, personalized recommendation engines have gone nuts and suddenly YouTube, Google News, and Amazon only display coffee stuff. A vicious cycle develops.

At this point, I become pure theory. I know proportions, methods, and origins. But I haven’t really tried any of it.

This isn’t bad, it’s just important I recognize the stage. It’s now time to get down and dirty. Mess up trying and experiment. It’s time to practice.

This will take a while, but slowly the fog of knowing is lifted and learning begins. With it, your tastes and preferences become real. And when you’re about to get bored… an opinion forms.

Now it’s time to go back to studying.

September 25, 2018

Evolving Meanings

Perusing through my journal I found this from 2016:

You really can’t appreciate being grateful, until you have children.

I was probably a bit sleep deprived then, but it surprises me how much that feeling has grown.

Not saying that before I didn’t know what being grateful was, or that I understand it better now. Just that the word and its meaning have changed exponentially for me in the past two years.

Makes me wonder what other words I can take a snapshot today, and enjoy the change in a few years.

September 24, 2018

Measure it yourself

Measure twice and cut once sounds great, but it usually runs against the more realistic perfect is the enemy of good. However, you should never jump to the other extreme not measuring — or what is almost the same: trusting the measurements provided by others.

I was reminded of this by the new Screen Time in iOS 12. As an impatient fanboi, I enabled a daily 1 hour allowance on my Social Network group apps as soon as I upgraded my iPhone. I started hitting the limit on Tweetbot, Amaroq and Instagram right away, but I trusted it was measuring the right thing.

The fail became evident today when in a middle of a work call, Skype reached the Social Network limit.

I lost 1 week of behavior data which I could have used to apply representative limits per apps. A borderline banal problem in the real world, but an actual lesson to self when looking at fast implementations of any software/system.

September 23, 2018

Home (folders) Improvements

Growing up, I remember my dad usually having some sort of home improvement project over the weekend: fixing the ice machine, clogged shower head, or even replacing some plumbing.

Since I’m a old millennial that always rents, my projects at most involves hanging a shelf. But, on the digital world, I’ve also be slacking on my home front.

Some improvements I’m thinking of:

  • Fixing Ana’s photo workflow
  • Organizing our 1Password vaults content and permission
  • Setting up a local backup drive (again)
  • Moving my Arq backups from Dropbox to Backblaze B2

As I write, many more come to mind. But the actual list is not that important, it’s knowing that there’s an improvement project that needs to happen — rather than refreshing tweetbot yet again.

September 22, 2018

Posting with a Commit

I’m beta testing Blot’s new Git client — rather than the original Dropbox system — and I’m giddy of how cool it is to post now.

I see some advantages and some pain points. It’s fully reversible, so I’ll play with it a few weeks and decide.

September 21, 2018

iPhone XS 256GB Space Gray

In case anyone’s wondering, I ordered an iPhone XS 256GB Space Gray with the new AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss warranty.

I’m very excited — since I’m upgrading from an iPhone 7, it’ll be a major jump. The wait wasn’t as painful as expected, and I’m happy to be back on a S upgrade cycle 1. I had no doubt I’d upgrade this year so my finger was already on the mouse button to buy the XS even before it was announced. Still, the bang for the buck’ness of iPhone XR did give me a little pause.

Since I’d already convinced myself that I wanted an OLED screen, the impasse lasted very little. But there’s no doubt it’s a great year to be getting an iPhone.

The new AppleCare+ is another very nice — and as usual with Apple, expensive — service. I haven’t broken my iPhone screen more than twice in the last 9 years, but ever since I first signed up to the first iPhone Upgrade Program I’d worried about losing my iPhone and be left the payments. The simplicity of the program won me over:

Many traditional plans offered through carriers and other insurance providers often require customers to file and get a police report. Apple’s requirement is that the Find My iPhone app is switched on at the time the phone is lost or stolen.

Also different this year I didn’t get the iPhone Upgrade Program. Since I no longer have a major carrier mobile line (switched to Google Fi) I didn’t want to wait until it was available for sim-free phones. I did buy it with PayPal Credit, which claims to give me 6 months interest free payment — we’ll see how that works out.

So how do I like it now that it was delivered? No clue. I’m in Costa Rica, so I have to wait a few weeks before I visit Miami and pick it up… but the picture of the box sure looks nice.

  1. My iPhone models until now: Original -> 3GS -> 4S -> 5S -> 6 -> 6S -> 7.

September 20, 2018

Sublime Merge - a new Git client from the makers of Sublime Text

From the site:

A snappy UI, three-way merge tool, side-by-side diffs, syntax highlighting, and more.

Sublime Text is always open on my Mac — I use it for everything from complex text manipulation to a simple pad for content. We also use Git everyday, but I only need to observe the process. Still, I haven’t found a Git client that clicks with me.

I’ll be testing this out on the next few weeks.

September 12, 2018

Google’s Inbox app is shutting down in March 2019

Google says that there are still a few features due to make the migration from Inbox, specifically the bundles” that group similar emails together into a single block, like those related to a single trip. That’s coming to Gmail, but there’s no word yet on the timeline for it.

Crap. Inbox is my default email client on the iPhone, and my cleanup-mode email app on the desktop (maybe 30%). Since I’m still on the iPhone 7, I didn’t notice the lack of iPhone X update — so this caught me off-guard.

Guess I’ll follow along to Gmail, but for now lack of bundles and overall flow doesn’t make it a sub-par alternative for me.