Scott Hanselman

Personal Systems of Organization

September 30, '05 Comments [12] Posted in Subversion | Tools
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A number of folks up at the Summit this week have noticed me "syncing to paper." Folks who know me think I'm uber-technical, but there's a comfort in using paper.

Lots of folks use a HipsterPDA (DIY Planner) or have heard of it. Others are enthusiastic about their Moleskine, or as I like to say, the "iPod of Journals."

My basic system of personal organization is this and has 'Analog' and 'Digital' facets:

  • Very Short Term (A few days)
    • Analog - I have a tiny single sheet of paper, folded in a special way from PocketMod.com.
      • I use it for quick notes, small calendars, randomness, etc. I use it with a Fisher SpacePen not only because the SpacePen is the smallest and best pen out there, but also because it expands via it's cap to a full size and comfortable length.
      • The key with this piece of paper is the ease at which I can make another and toss this one. I go through about two a week with only on existing at any time.
      • It's tiny and along with the pen, fits in my pocket. That combo beats any PDA out there (unless eInk makes a 2x3 PDA one day)
    • Digital - I have a crapload of email in my Blackberry. As my Inbox is The One True Inbox, I email myself to create todos/tasks/reminders. These tasks are then filed using the "Short Term" system below.
  • Short Term (A week to a month)
    • Analog - I use a Moleskine small Pocket Ruled Notebook, but there's a number of wonderful options.
      • This is a high quality, very portable notebook with a hard cover that reminds one of its value, both monetarily and emotionally. It's actually not that expensive, but it's of high enough quality that you wouldn't want to lose it.
      • For some pages, I print out templates from the DIYPlanner and tape them into the Moleskine.
      • I use the Covey Quadrant System for organizing most Todos.
      • Time-specific Appointments are "sync'ed" (copied manually) to Outlook, see below.
    • Digital - I use Project-specific Outlook Folders along with ones called Action, Deferred, Waiting For. My system is Do It, Delegate It, Defer It, Drop It.
      • I have currently zero emails in my Outlook Inbox, reaching ZEB at least weekly. Thanks Omar!
      • I have a folder called Shared Desktop that is sync'ed to three machines using FolderShare. Whatever I'm working on (non-code) goes in that folder, and is available everywhere.
      • My calendar in Outlook is sync'ed between work (Exchange) and home (PST) and wirelessly to my Blackberry. It's always up-to-date, and is made public (save private appts) to folks at work.
      • I use CVS at home at CVS/SubVersion at work for all code and/or versioned documents.
  • Long Term (Months to one year)
    • Analog - I use the 43 Folders system from Getting Things Done.
      • This means there are 31 folders, labeled 1 to 31, one for each day. There are 12 folders labeled with the months.
      • These sit in a small plastic folder holder from Office Depot. The result is a "circular" buffer where I can put reminders. I've got itineraries for trips I've got scheduled in March, I've got reminders like 'Buy furnace filter." This is a place I check daily to be reminded of something. When the day folder is empty, I move it to the back and it becomes a day in the next month.
    • Digital - I've got a RAID Array at home, along with FolderShare and a REV Drive.
      • This combo keeps long term information always available but always backed up. The REV disks are taken to the safety deposit box quarterly.

Nutshell, the single sheet of paper -> notebook -> outlook and the circle of life continues.

Update: In a nice moment of synchronicity, I notice that Andy uses a SpacePen and PocketMod as well!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Coding4Fun - Look at Me! Windows Image Acquisition

September 30, '05 Comments [0] Posted in Learning .NET | Coding4Fun
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There's a new Coding4Fun Article up. In this one I take a $3.99 web camera from Goodwill (the local charity donation store) and using .NET 2.0 turn it into blog-updating updated webcam.

I use Windows Image Acquisition and their COM Interop Library along with .NET 2.0's new FTP support. The code is available in both C# and VB.NET.

Enjoy!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Boo - Shiny CLI Language

September 30, '05 Comments [5] Posted in Learning .NET | Ruby | Tools
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BoodiagramBoosharpdevelopYou may or may not know, but Boo is a .NET Language that you can download and start working with immediately, and it's a great example of just how flexible the CLR is. I've always said that VB.NET and C# are just skins, so wear the skin that's comfortable to you. I've been watching Iron Python (.NET Beta 2 required) with great interest for a while, but just haven't gotten that into it.

Boo, on the other hand, while Pythonesque, is still C-sharpy enough as to not cause one to vurp as a rejection reaction from so many years of semicolons and curly braces. Additionally, there's something attractive about Boo's tagline: "A wrist friendly language for the CLI."

Boo is very much like Python, but then adds interesting things like duck-typing typified by Ruby. It includes some nice automatics like automatic variable declaration, automatic type inference, automatic type casting and many other things described in the Boo Manifesto.

Sure, you can download Boo, unzip it and find yourself running around the command line confused and tinkering with Boo, but sometimes it's nice to have an IDE to jump in right away. It's kind of a mood thing. I don't feel the need for a Ruby IDE, but Boo is "legit" enough that I want some sense of integration.

If you're interested in getting into Boo or just exploring, here's my recommendation on how to start in order to have the best possible experience (as of the original date of this blog post).

Starting with Boo

  • Download Boo
  • Download SharpDevelop (a lovely alternate IDE written in C#. Currently the Sept Refresh)
  • Some magic: Download the unofficial installer for the Boo Sharp Develop Add-In (Sept Refresh)
    • Note that Booish is presented as a toolbox window in SharpDevelop letting you have "immediate window" like behavior in a Boo shell.
  • Get Lutz's Reflector (If you don't have it. Put it in your PATH.)
  • Get Ayende's (Alpha) Boo Lanuage Binaries for Reflector and put them in the same folder as Reflector.
    • This adds Boo as an option in Reflector when you're disassembling things. Good for learning or re-reading your old code afresh in Boo.
    • You'll need to go View|Add-ins and add Reflector.BooLanguage.dll to the list.
    • Now you can disassemble to Boo (more or less)
      Booinreflector

Now, run SharpDevelop and checkout the examples in the Boo zip file. Enjoy a Boo Tutorial, perhaps Hello Boo! or Boo Kung-Fu, or my favorite, a comparison with C#.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Using the PSP Playstation Portable as a Portable Media Center

September 29, '05 Comments [5] Posted in Reviews | Movies | Gaming
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Pspvideo9A number of times this conference the comparison between a PSP (Playstation Portable) and a Windows Portable Media Center has come up.

Most folks don't realize that a $250 PSP will fill a specific void in their [media] life. I couldn't justify buying a WindowsPMC brick for >$400, but a $250 PSP was a no-brainer. Why, well, not only is the true 16x9 screen truly unbelievable (literally has to be seen) and it can play games, but it is a VERY accomplished movie viewer.

I have a number of UMDs as they are very inexpensive and fantastically convenient to watch on planes. Flat out: if you fly regularly, buy a PSP and enjoy movies in a great form factor, with a nice screen and stop worrying about laptop battery life (I've yet to drain my PSP battery in a day) or worrying about the guy in front of you whose seat-back will likely come down during the flight.

However, the PSP can also be a fantastic companion to either a Media Center PC, or Beyond TV.

Take a look at PSP Video 9 and how easy (like one button) to transfer video onto a PSP. Note that a 1 GIG Memory Strik can be had for $80 (via Froogle) and can hold as much as 4 hours of video.

This means I can "PSP Cast" a TV show and have the latest episode of "House" show up on my PSP for viewing.

I just can't see how a Portable Media Center (read: brick) can compete with this brilliant device.

UPDATE: I've started using "Crunchie" to convert my Windows Media Center PC's *.dvr-ms files into mpeg or avi. Then they can be fed directly into PSPVideo. This makes one more source I can pull potential TV from. Since I'm going on a 5 day road show next week and have 6 flights, I'd like to have a bunch of TV queued up. I also use DVArchive to pull video from my two ReplayTVs.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Network Intrusion My Ass

September 29, '05 Comments [6] Posted in Musings
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I'm at the W Hotel in Seattle, downloading three SP2 updates for various Office products (OneNote, Office, Visio), syncing RSS with FeedDemon, chatting on Messenger, Skype is up, Google Sidebar is off doing something, Windows Automatic Updates is spinning and I get this little gem:

Intrusionmass

Since when did using your computer effectively become questionable? Well FORGIVE me if there's life beyond Port 80. I swear, you request more than one page a minute and these fools think it's a DoS.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.