Facebook or LinkedIn – that’s the question

Posted 2011/04/07 by miroadamy
Categories: lifehacks

Tags: ,

Few weeks ago, I canceled my Twitter account and stopped using Twitter altogether. I do not miss it at all.

The next vector of distraction to be brought under control is Facebook. This is a tougher nut to crack – because of wide variety of people in my circle of friends, Facebook plays many different roles.

  • It is a connection to old friends and colleagues from the old continent and old country.
  • It is a family connection.
  • It is a connection to people that are not on FB through their friends or relatives that are.
  • It is a link to people I worked with and wanted to keep in touch.
  • It is a link to people I share common interest with

This variety creates a problem of itself (which is multiplied by English/non English division).  Tool that does too many things, does not do them very well.

Honestly, I do not understand how some people can maintain hundreds of “friends”. The group of this size generates so much noise, so many updates that the news stream becomes close to useless. One can always hide updates from most significant  “link spammers” but that opens up a question: is there any point in providing a view into your life to somebody whose updates you do not read anyway ?

First attempt to solve this is to separate the “private world” and work. In my case, there is no clear boundary as I am fortunate to work with so many of my close personal friends (many of which are on FB) and in my current employment I am lucky to consider many of the people I work with to be much more than just work buddies. Nevertheless, my goal is to get down to two digit number of Facebook friends.

To achieve that, I would like to ask some of my current Facebook friends to reconnect on LinkedIn. I absolutely want to stay in touch,  just using different channel.

My public profile is http://www.linkedin.com/in/miroadamy.

See you there

Better GMail than GMail

Posted 2011/02/11 by miroadamy
Categories: Mac

Tags: , ,

Since 2005 when I switched to GMail, I was living in browser. For better or worse, I learn to put up with issues like speed, lack of hotkeys, UI that is not as responsive as it should be, drag and drop that works most of the time. To be fair, in these five years browsers and GMail UI improved tremendously. It was rational decision to trade all these for simplicity of the UI.

Even after switching to Mac in 2006 – first for home, a year later for everything did not change this, I kept using browser despite better choice. Apple Mail may be decent client but it never felt quite right and otherwise decent Thunderbird had always issues with trading off multi-platform reach for integration and true Mac-ness.

All of this changed today after installing Sparrow. It is all I ever wanted – IMAP based access that really works, with minimalistic but elegant interface, Twitter like simplicity and that special sauce which discriminates great OS-X application from average. For very reasonable price $9.99 available in App Store.

99% of all GMail features are there – the only one I had to sacrifice is multiple signatures for single account. Before, all my work email was redirected and merged into my private GMail account, set up with multiple aliases and GMail was smart enough to pick different signature based on sending address. To do the same, I had to cut the redirect. Luckily, both Sparrow as well as  iPad mail client support multiple accounts so I have access to all accounts inside single client on Macbook or iPad.

Sparrowhttp://www.sparrowmailapp.com/, available in App Store.

Highly recommended.


Bye bye Twitter

Posted 2011/01/30 by miroadamy
Categories: lifehacks

I have came to a conclusion that I do have too much stuff in my life.

Too much and too little and the same time.

Too much information. Too many interruptions and distractions. Too little time to think.

Too much consumption of information and not enough time to process it and do anything meaningful with it – learn from it or create something new.

The only way how to get out of the self-digged hole is to start cutting.

One of the big sources of distraction and cause of many pointless hours spent on Web is Twitter.

I was using Twitter mostly as filter: by following people with similar interest, trying to curate the content “out there”.

It worked to a certain degree – and I indeed discovered some interesting pieces of information I would miss otherwise.

The real questions I have to ask are: did these discoveries justify the time spent reading through pointless tweets (big portion of twittersphere) ? The answer is no. What would I miss by not finding them ? The answer is – not much, really. What difference did not missing them make in the
long run ? And the final answer is None.

It is very hard to say something that matters in 160 characters. Some people can do it, I am not one of  them.

So after few years of being on Twitter I am deleting my Twitter account today.

Bye bye Twitter. I will try not to miss you. And I am sure you will not miss me.

Podcast recommendation

Posted 2010/11/24 by miroadamy
Categories: podcasts, programming

I have find new podcast that I want to share with you. It is called “This Developer’s Life” and is produced by well known digerati Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, about 50 % of them produced by Leo Laporte’s TWIT Network (This Week in Tech, Macbreak, This Week in Google, FLOSS Weekly and occasional Security Now).

What I like about Leo’s network is professionalism of audio production, usually good and interesting panel with topics that are worth listening to. Few other podcasts come even close to the TWIT level of perfection.

Except this one which is much better. Not necessarily from audio or production point of view – although they are both very good. This developers life goes way beyond what Twit does. It is not a dialog of few interesting geeks, it is story. Story nicely designed, well crafted, interwoven with really good music. It changes from dialog to story with commentaries, but keeps you interested. An episode usually
focuses on single theme and contains several stories. Topics are not technology, but the area where technology overlaps with life: motivation, audacity, highs and lows of programming career

Great selection of guests, including cybercelebrities such as John Resig or Miguel de Icaza.

I almost never listen to a podcast episode twice. For this one, I do.

Highly recommended.


JSP compiler configuration in JBoss 4.2.x for ATG

Posted 2010/02/24 by miroadamy
Categories: atg, Java

The post is on corporate blog – http://blog.thinkwrap.com/blog/2010/2/24/jsp-compiler-configuration-in-jboss-42x-for-atg.html

Thanks for all the adds

Posted 2010/01/26 by miroadamy
Categories: lifehacks

As regular listener to multiple TWIT Network podcasts (This Week In tech, Macbreak Weekly, This Week in Google, Free Libre Opensource Software, Security Now, Windows Weekly) I am very much aware of all the advertisers that keep Leo and the gang in business and make the podcast’s stream going. I have even acted upon several of the ads: we are customer of SquareSpace.com (the corporate blog runs on that platform), GoToMeeting is regular part of day-to-day business – we have several accounts and use it regularly for meetings. I would use GoToMyPC if I had any need to go to a PC :-). I bought Spinrite, although I used it only once over last 3 years.

Strangely enough, the only advertiser I do not see of trying out is Audible – not because I would not like their product offering, quite the opposite. I simply have have absolutely no time for more content in my life: TWIT plus few additional podcasts, Apple TV and ZIP.ca give me way more that I have time to consume. I have no intention of buying Mustang with Sync – my selection of gadgets purchased as part midlife crisis is strictly limited to shiny objects featuring either Apple logo or an IP address, ideally both. But back to point: I feel I have done my share in keeping TWIT in business and do not really want and have to listen to same adds 3-6 times every week.

Fortunately, the adds are not too annoying to justify drastic measures and additional inconvenience – such editing them out from MP3. I have to give Leo credit for being sensitive in his ad selection – except Mustang, which I find to be least in line with TWIT audience – most products were pretty good.

I found very simple solution that surprised me with completely unexpected side benefit. Whenever Leo goes to an ad (and J.C. Dvorak disappears to baste meat), I turn down the volume to 0 for 2-3 minutes. Just turn the volume off and focus on driving, walking or whatever I am doing. I do not plan, evaluate, program or think about anything, only focus on the current moment and feel whatever is happening right now. I found this being an excellent stress relieve and instead of being annoyed by the ads, I actually started to look forward to them. I do not necessarily subscribe to *all* that New Age hype about being in the present moment, but finding an opportunity few times a day just stop and focus on whatever is happening right now, however simple or mundane that activity is, has its benefits. And there is always something going on: at minimum, you are always breathing.

Therefore, Leo and all Twits – thanks for all the adds. Ignoring them in a creative way is actually very healthy.

One month with Windows 7

Posted 2010/01/25 by miroadamy
Categories: Windows

It has been one month now that I started to use Windows 7 based Dell Vostro 1320 notebook on daily basis. The hardware parameters of this little thing are: Core 2 Duo 2.26, 500 GB HDD, 8 GB of RAM, 13″ screen, Windows 7 Professional (64 bit of course, how else with all that RAM). All this with 3 year next business day warranty for about $1400 CAD – not bad deal at all.

Reason of going bi-OS was need to run different configurations of ATG suite, consisting of 3-4 instances of JBoss (each with 1-2 GB of RAM) and the database server at the same time. The database server is quite often SQL Server which as we know does not really run on anything else but Windows. The performance penalty of using VM on notebook is too large so I had to go native. Alternative arrangement – Bootcamp on new Macbook Pro would be way too expensive – just price of additional RAM and Windows would be about $800, all  this with sharing 500 GB between 2 OS-es, so I took the chance to use Windows on PC grade hardware.

First impression on OS front: I like it. It is definitely the least annoying OS made in Redmond. Ever.

Microsoft picked good features to copy from OS-X – the dock is finally something that works. I really like the “compatibility mode” – it has saved me few times already when installing software either too old or too paranoid to go ahead without detecting XP. Combination of explicit and implicit restore points also worked very well for me: it is nice relief after years in running installers with the feeling “if this  fails, I am screwed and nothing but completely reinstall will get registry back to same state again”.

What also works much better than any windows is waking up and jumping networks. Wifi is quite reliable and security zones make sense. Kudos to Microsoft for getting it (finally) right.

All these observations are made while I am using Windows 7 in parallel with Snow Leopard. I have expected it to be much more annoying and uncomfortable going back and forth. The only thing that still drives me crazy is  the Ctrl-versus-Command key schizophrenia. I really wish there was a way how to make this be consistent.

On hardware side, I am less enthusiastic. The form factor and portability of beefed up notebook is the best thing I am really happy about. The rest is OK. Keyboard is OK, but not great. The trackpad drives me crazy with being much smaller that it could be and not allowing multi-finger scrolls. Screen is OK but not as great as the MBP equivalent. DVD drive often does not close and the convenient buttons for media  play should provide some form of tactile feedback.

I found that ideal mode of using the Vostro is to switch it on, put is somewhere within reach of WiFi network and access the desktop using remote desktop client from a Mac. This way I have access to really good keyboard and trackpad as well as the option of using all the Mac only software I need in addition to Windows: like Things,  TextMate, OmniGraffle. The cloud based services (Google Docs, DropBox, Evernote) take care of keeping things that need to be in sync in sync. Best of both worlds.