Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Link: training self-discipline

As a telecommuter, I well know the struggle with self-discipline. It's very hard to keep away from all the regular home-distractions and actually get down to work. But it's a necessary part of every day life.

This article on training self-discipline has some good tips on how the author has been working towards better self-discipline, and also some good general discussion on the benefits.

I especially agree with his point that you need much more discipline if you have large amounts of freedom. I remember it being much easier to get down to work when I had to actually get up and go into the office at a set time each day.

Anybody else here telecommute? Do you do anything to wok on your own self-discipline?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Emerald isle and censorship link

Hi all - sorry I've been quiet... I've been away on holidays in Ireland, learning how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness :)

There's several comments I need to reply-to, but my schedule's all haywire due to the holiday and my birthday plans... I'll get to you eventually I promise!

In the meantime, gizmag have posted an article abut an plan to let people in heavily censored cultures (eg China) get past the censorship with an interesting protocol called Telex that hides requests in the HTTP headers of normal, uncensored web requests. Kind of an interesting idea. Enjoy

Monday, 15 August 2011

Life at 36

When I was 5 I liked to do jigsaw puzzles upside down (to make it harder) and blow bubbles off the balcony -- watching them drift over the street. I liked to walk to school by myself (one block) and learn Origami from the lady in the flats behind us.

When I was 7 I wished on every star that I could have a baby sister. When I was 8, I got one.

When I was 10 I liked to explore the backways of Oyster Bay, picking flowers to make perfume (which smelled terrible). I played fantasy make-believe games with my cousins - involving magic and unicorns, where we saved the world.

When I was 12 I got another sister.... I stopped wishing. :)

When I was 13 I liked to play make-believe with my sisters and all the younger cousins. Gordy and I plotted adventures for us all, in-amongst the bamboo.

When I was 15 I like to climb up on the roof and watch the clouds drift by. I liked to ride my bike home from school and play LARP in the park across the road.

When I was 17 I liked to swim in the backyard pool, drifting underwater with my hair floating loose around me. I liked to frantically scribble in my diary and day-dream about movies; making up adventure stories or inserting myself as a character in my favourites.

When I was 20 I loved the freedom of being independent, waking up in my own flat to the sound of Cockatoos in the pine-trees. I liked being free to wake up in the afternoon and go for a walk in the twilight, or in the quiet time after the curfew painted the streets with night. I liked staying up all night, having coffee with friends, as television got progressively more idiotic. As the sky began to warm with first light - I went out again. I liked feeling the expectant hush of the cool dawn, then retiring before the hustle woke up.

When I was 22 I loved my writing diary - pouring out my heart or playing with words, crafting new worlds on a page. I liked learning new things -- drifting from subject to subject. I liked psychology, programming and the occult. I loved my cats. I liked it that I got married and was somebody's wife. I liked meditating with my husband -- humming toneful chords without meaning. I liked learning martial arts with him.

When I was 24 I loved my garden. I spent days drifting through it and tending to the plants. I liked picking silver-beet and herbs and cooking up a meal that I'd taken from seed to table. I liked shopping at Bunnings for fruit trees. I liked spending Saturday nights with the Druids, singing, meditating, drinking mead and telling stories. Then the morning-afters, skinny-dipping in the wading-pool as the sun climbed the sky.

When I was 26 I moved interstate by myself, to see the Big City. I liked exploring the back-areas of Chatswood in search of great food. I loved hacking together brilliant solutions for colleagues desperately late on their projects. I liked rock-climbing with my work-mates and playing network games in the training room until late at night.

When I was 28 I loved freedom. The freedom to choose my own time, to choose what to learn, to work on my own projects. I liked smiling at my young class-mates who complained about the work - knowing this was easy compared with Real Work. I liked the meditation of archery. I liked spending my time reading while sipping coffee, or eating noodles at the local hole-in-the-wall. I liked long walks in the evening, scoping out my local territory.

When I was 30 I liked building my own small business, knowing I owned it and I could achieve whatever I wanted. I liked learning medieval crafts alongside eager students, and feasting with friends in a medieval campsite. I liked reading books, sipping coffee after a good workout at the gym. I liked watching myself learn how to walk again.

When I was 32 I enjoyed being a senior developer, being at the top of my form as well as earning high pay. I enjoyed choosing my first major investments in shares and buying my first property. I loved planning what to do with my life, and choosing to gather interesting experiences around me - New Zealand, the Northern Territory, Thailand. I learned photography, spanish and investing. I watched a *lot* of DVDs.

When I was 34 I moved internationally by myself. I loved exploring in a new country: visiting ancient ruins and watching Shakespeare at the Globe. I enjoyed getting better at photography, meeting new people and seeing new places. I built my own startup with friends. I enjoyed my morning coffee at the local in Windsor, and walking past a castle on my way to work in the morning. I loved pottering around in my allotment late into the long, english summer nights.

When I was 36 I loved getting about europe in my first car; learning French, and then eating my way around the French countryside. I enjoyed picking fresh fruit/veg from my allotment and making blackberry pie. I loved the lazy schedule allowed by working from home, and lazy Sunday afternoons drinking velvety latte with a Cranberry-and-orange muffin at my local cafe in Windsor, in view of the castle.

This post began as an exercise: "for every five years, write what you enjoyed doing". It helps you find out what you most enjoy - and how your tastes change over time. I also like to do it to remind me of the good things in life - which can be so easy to forget sometimes.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Crocker's rules

Declaring yourself to be operating by "Crocker's Rules" means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you.

I love it.

I now declare that I operate under Crocker's rules. Call me out on my bullshit - I want to know the real truth. Especially call me out (and remind me of this post) if you see me having a problem operating under Crocker's rules themselves.

I think I have been subconsciously operating under these rules for quite some time now. Admittedly - I also use them (a lot) on other people... even if they haven't asked for it. It is debatable whether this is a Good Idea.

I still find it a much easier atmosphere to work in - if you don't have to go through backflips of pleasantries just to say something without accidentally insulting the other person: not because what you're saying is insulting - but because you failed to put in the correct, socially-acceptable amount of padding...


"hi there, how are you, hope your holiday went well. By the way, you know a few weeks back you borrowed my stapler. I was wondering - if you have finished with using it, that you might possibly find some time to bring it back? If that's ok. thanks a whole bunch.. love to the kids - T"


"hi, could I please have my stapler back? T"

The full set of Crocker's rules here

How about you? Do you dare take the challenge? Disagree with the whole concept?