Google Wave

Just got my Google Wave account. Looks good, but I am amased at how few of my contacts have accounts. This put a bit of a damper on the collaboration !


Nokia n900 announcement .. I think I'm disappointed

So I was indeed correct a new Nokia Internet tablet is on its way. And there are many things to like, such as a phone, a much more powerful processor etc.

On the other hand it looks like the new OS will not run on the N8xx hardware, which is disappointing as I don't think I will be buying the new machine.

I agree with this blog by Pengiunbait, in that the reduced size means a smaller screen ( I need a bigger screen but the N810 is the smallest my varifocal eyes can now deal with), and a less adequate keyboard.

This release seems to be heading to be a phone, but I actually want better internet tablet !! I am happy to have a separate (small) phone if necessary.

So I think my requirements and the Nokia Internet family are diverging. Still perhaps they will have the resources to have 2 variants in the range?


Peter Siebel's new book: Coders at Work

Interesting preview by Marc Hedlund. If this book is anything like as good as Practical Common Lisp ( which is very good indeed) then it will be worth owning. Rather a change of topic from Peter but, as Marc points out, the fact that Peter is a coder too allows for a different sort of book from say a journalist doing the interviewing.

See here for a previous entry

N810 prices falling...

I am very happy with my Nokia N810. I noticed that the price was starting to fall again.

Perhaps this is the reason why: RX-51/N900
Now with phone! Obviously, the Google Android is not the only Linux based phone from a major player.

I hope that the (non-phone) parts of the OS are backward compatible with the N810.


A great overview of how to use org-mode

This is super:
Org Mode - Organize Your Life In Plain Text!
Org Mode - Organize Your Life In Plain Text!

I have not studied all of it, but it certainly clarifies a few things for me, points out some new features which had slipped through my net, and shows how to avoid using one huge file for everything! Storing to-dos etc. in a holding file and then working through (weekly review?) looks good.

I am expecting to be spending some time in .emacs again!!


Google Wave

A bit behind the wave (groan), but this looks cool:

Can we integrate it with RTC?


#tweekly summary

Kelly hosted a really useful one-hour Weekly review on Twitter yesterday (6pm BST). Every five miutes or so, Kelly would fire out a tweet marching us throught the 11 steps of the GTD weekly review. Why was this a valuable session (as opposed to following the book by oneself on a Friday pm. say):

  1. Having a defined public time was a great way of getting people to actually do the review. For hours, in some cases days, before the event, tweets were going out creating a real buzz.
  2. In addition to someone keeping the time (Kelly), she also sent out advice with each 5 minute period to prompt ( "No waiting on list? Check your sent mail!")
  3. Kelly was able to answer folks questions - for example, when someone expressed a fear of the "mind sweep" adding too many new to-dos, Kelly was able to offer reassurance!
I'm sure these sessions are not strictly necesary, but the crowd and the great advice/coaching are great motivators - with greater experience I'm sure people will be more suceessful in doing Wekly Reviews alone.

Here is a summary ( with helpful tips) from the Tweets:

** Collect loose papers and materials
*** Gather everything that's loose into an Inbox, Tray or folder.
** Get “In” to zero
*** a good way to process in is 4D's: Delete it, Do it (under 2 mins), Delegate it, Defer it (onto a list)
** Empty your head
*** Open a Word doc, or grab and pad and clear your head for 5 minutes
*** SOME MINDSWEEP TRIGGERS: Family, health, meetings you've had, meetings you're going to have...
*** MORE MINDSWEEP TRIGGERS: Your direct reports, finances, 401k, the dog, your car, health appts you've been putting off...
** Review Action Lists
** Review past calendar data
*** Many times reviewing your old calendar (go back about 3 wks) catches things you meant to do. 3 more mins left)
** Review upcoming calendar
*** REVIEW UPCOMING CALENDAR TIP: if you find something you need to process, you can add to your mindsweep for now.
*** if you don't get anything on reviewing your calendar, try going further out. Recurring Tasks are great for calendar
** Review Waiting For list
*** if you've got a list review it. If you don't have one, what are you waiting on?
*** WAITING FOR TIP: Review your email Sent folder. Usually some waiting for's hiding in there.
** Review Project (and larger outcome) lists
*** Projects are your outcomes that require more than one action step
*** PROJECT TIP: If you are not willing to take any next action on a current project, are you sure it's not Someday/Maybe?
*** PROJECT TIP: Most people we coach have 30-100 current personal & professional projects. Don't be surprised!
*** PROJECT TIP: Projects are typically completed within 18 mos. If you can NEVER mark it done, it's likely an Area of Focus.
** Review any relevant checklists
*** birthday checklists? travel checklists? home mntce?
*** CHECKLIST TIP: Maybe you want to CREATE a checklist? Anything recurring that would be good? What to always pack for vacation?
** Review Someday/Maybe
*** If you have one, update it. If you don't have one, create it!
*** SOMEDAY TIP: You'll trust S/M list(s) more if you know you're actually going to review them again. Otherwise they'll die.
*** SOMEDAY /MAYBE TIP: S/M is not just a "fantasy wish" list. It can be a fantastic place to stage "not yet" projects.
** Be creative & courageous
*** Any new thought-provoking, creative, risk taking ideas to add to your system?
*** What's REALLY got your attention in your job, family, environment? This is the last step!


Supporting org-mode!

I am a great fan of org-mode (for Emacs) I started using it to Getting Things Done, where it is super for entering tasks, prioritising, tracking and closing. But it is also good for note taking, time recording, simple tables, publishing to a variety of formats.

Strongly recommended - in fact, install Emacs for no other reason !!

Vote for org-mode!!

A modern view of starting Clojure in Emacs with Slime

This looks promising:
in which are found tricks of the trade concerning clojure authorship - Technomancy

Now what about co-existing with SBCL?


YALB - Yet Another Lisp Book

Land of Lisp - O'Reilly Media
Lisp is a uniquely powerful programming language that, despite its academic reputation, is actually very practical. Land of Lisp brings the language into the real world, teaching Lisp by showing readers how to write several complete Lisp-based games, including a text adventure, an evolution simulation, and a robot battle. While building these games, readers learn the core concepts of Lisp programming, such as data types, recursion, input/output, object-oriented programming, and macros. And thanks to the power of Lisp, the code is short. Rather than bogging things down with reference information that is easily found online, Land of Lisp focuses on using Lisp for real programming. The book is filled with the author Conrad Barski's famous Lisp cartoons, featuring the Lisp alien and other zany characters.

Conrad's other stuff, such as Casting Spels, has been humorous and informative - on pre-order!

Common Lisp has been blessed with some great books, even if few in number ( Practical Common Lisp, On Lisp etc. spring to mind). I wonder how the advent of Clojure will affect Common Lisp and the flow of great books?

Cool - live MDA via Google App engine

Epsilon + AppEngine + Ajax = Epsilon Live « Epsilon Weblog
The Epsilon website already includes several screencasts and examples that demonstrate the tools and languages it provides. The preview release of the Google App Engine for Java has made it possible to go one step further and allow people to actually write and execute EOL (the core language of Epsilon) programs straight from their browser without needing to download or install anything.

Diplomacy - a long neglected game

I can remember some distant games of Diplomacy - the board is still around. I have even talked with some friends about restarting. Now this:
Practical Leadership: Diplomacy is Fun Leadership Training
I just got back from chaperoning a high school trip to Costa Rica. While there, some of the kids put together a make-shift Diplomacy game out of a pizza box top. Playing gave the kids and me fun lessons in leadership and negotiation.

Diplomacy as training in trust ? Hmmm.

The game recently celebrated its 50th anniversary - with a rather disappointing reissue of the game.


stumpwm under Linux

True to my normal form I find something interesting but am loathe to do anything too irrevocable!

In this case, I have found stumpwm which is a mouse-less window manager inspired by emacs - lots of key commands! Very fast ( when you know what you are doing)

The instructions talk about changes to .xinitrc which sounds much too difficult if things go wrong. Then I found this gem which describes how to add stumpwm (or any other window manager) as a choice under Ubuntu on login.

Works great.

Now I just have to remeber a new set of key bindings!!

Update: Found this screencast. Very cool - note 2 things: 1) the ogg version is far clearer, C-e is used as the prefix whereas C-t is the default.

Noah 3988 box update

Well, after my post here, mini-itx.com came through - they sent me a new front panel very promptly after I e-mailed them. Apparently the new Noah boxes have a better switch - though unfortunately the replacement for mine was of the old type.

So 10 out of 10 for doing business with mini-itx, but still a little concerned about Noah boxes - I will have to look closely at them when the next system is due. Hopefully there will be a good review somewhere......


Emacs Command of the Day on Twitter (ecotd)

Another great pointer from emacs-fu but this time to a Twitter account!

emacs-fu: emacs command of the day
Anyway, reason to bring up twitter again is the Emacs Command of the Day-twitter feed. The idea is that every day, it provides some useful command, and it's a response to a similar feed for Vim. It's only just started, let's see where this goes.

I am following! I particularly like the way that this ecotd account is following vim - competition is good,


Package management in GNU/Emacs?

but the one thing I remember that it still somewhat missing in GNU/Emacs, is package management. XEmacs has a nice system where you can mark packages for installation, and then get them from a website; much easier than the GNU/Emacs way, where you need to manually download things, maybe compile them, and update your .emacs - at least for things that your OS or distribution does not provide.

This has changed now with ELPA, the Emacs Lisp Package Archive. It's Tom Tromey's answer to the XEmacs package manager

Need to give this a try. Update: Tried it - works fine; some concerns on inadvertently getting rogue software but otherwise great strart.

Noah 3988 Case problems

Last July I built a kit from Mini-ITX.com and it has proved to be a very nice box: quite, small, powerful enough for a NAS, but it can also act as a reasonable workstation (but not gaming machine!)

Last night however, the pretty blue power button disappeared inside the case - an inspection showed that the plastic "spring" element had broken. To make matters worse the actual power button is not directly behind the hole in the front panel, so temporary fixes (like poking in a pencil!) won't work.

I can see this being a very irritating problem to fix - gluing plastic never works for long. So if anyone has any insights into how to approach this, please let me know!


Steampunk Snowboard

Jake found this: http://steampunkworkshop.com/steampunk-snowboard

but wanted to know more. Well here is some more:


I would have commented on Jake's site but the captcha image didn't work for registration


emacs-snapshot for ubuntu jaunty

Good pointer http://jfm3-repl.blogspot.com/2009/04/nice-ubuntu-emacs-snapshot-ppa.html


N810 as a real Linux machine

Now this 'box' is proving to be both a consumer internet tablet and a Linux machine:
  • consumer: instant messaging, great sound including podcasts, video etc. I have now got maximise window and zoom hardware buttons off pat and scrolling by pointer makes browsing faster
  • linux: shell, getroot, apt-get, ssh. Used ssh to install stuff ona nother machine
Great stuff!


nokia N810

Received my new toy this morning! Very small and a beautiful build. The screen is very clear.
Not sure about the built in keyboard - troublesome on a slippery surface.
A comprehensive set of internet type applications, with the browser able to cope with most formats.

One thing to work on: how to get dependent packages installed automatically


M-x proced

From yrk:

I stumbled across M-x proced, which gives you a Dired-like-esque-ish view of system processes. I especially liked "T", which toggles a tree view.

For some reason I am really blown away that it works under Windows!! I am so surprised:-)


Gloomy day - let's test twitterfeed!

Does this entry on my blog get to twitter?

Gloomy day - let's test twitterfeed!

Does this entry on my blog get to twitter?


Pilot Capless Pen

I am now the proud owner of a Pilot Capless pen.

I have been keen to get one for a while now but a few things came together:
  • My old pen leaked when I was with a client - not a major problem on that occasion, but I took it as a warning
  • That pen kept drying out - I must admit that I use a laptop so much that my pens get very intermittent use ( I also got some Namiki ink to solve this problem - some people have cited Quink ink as a problem for pens which aren't used frequently)
  • My wife allowed me to buy my own present :-)
Initial experiences are positive - looks great and writes smoothly. Leaking and drying up will take time to test.

I hadn't seen this article until just now, but the advantages of the pen are well put and the same on-line site Cult Pens was used: great price and very fast delivery.


More on doing GTD

A very interesting post by Venkatesh Rao.

Interesting to see how a 7-year GTD veteran deals with lifes uncertainties - and his memory! Actually that last point makes it especially valuable - hearing from from super-organised , never forget anything people is so unrealistic..... well isn't it?


Blogging from emacs with g-client

Just to add a new , weird and wonderful way of blogging, I have now
added (re-added?) Emacs as an environment. A bit of messing about
with Emacs 23 and w3m-snapshot to make it work.

New David Allen book arrives

My copy of "Making It All Work" has arrived, yet more to read
post-Xmas, but I think this will be near the top of the pile

Pocket Informant on Blackberry

One of my favourite applications on my dear old iPAQ is Pocket Informant. The iPAQ is now mainly a (rather large) music player.

I was delighted to find that PI is now available for my Blackberry

Excellent news - really looks good and has many great functions - everything seems very easy to see ( I love the Agenda view) and adding new stuff is easy. My categories etc. for GTD work just fine.

This version lacks things that I would like from the Windows version: hierarchies of tasks, links from tasks to contacts are a couple that I used to use a lot. As this is an early version on this platform I am confident there will be new features coming along regulalrly