It’s been one of those weeks, 16+ hour days, nose to the grindstone, no time to think about anything but the work that’s due RIGHT NOW kind of weeks, but thankfully it’s Friday - I think I’ve discovered one of those personal productivity gem that only surfaces when you’re busy.

All week I’ve whittled away at a list of (micro-) tasks that are easily accomplished in 10 minutes or less; the majority of them highly repetitive, and somewhat mindless, e.g. - cropping a group of 100 photos, transcribing written notes into a textfile, or tagging asset files according to project. And MUCH to my surprise I’m actually making headway, I based my approach on Merlin’s (10+2)*5 procrastination hack

Whereas Merlin’s approach gives you a two minute reward for each ten minute burst of productivity, my approach applies those two minutes towards the aforementioned small tasks - so an hour of my time now looks like:

  • 45 minutes of project work
  • 10 minutes of micro-tasks
  • 5 minutes reward time (usually spent reading RSS feeds or email)

I’ve been amazed at how much is doable in 2 minutes - wait… is that light up ahead?

shuffle Nonstop workout mixes‘T’ and I are going to brave the heat (and pollen) and start walking outside again tonight - we’ve been a bit occupied with the house remodel and haven’t done much walking as of late - I decided to pump up my workout with some new music - I discovered the amazing podcast ‘PodRunner’ a project of DJ Steve Boyett, who certainly knows how to spin the wax - each weekly podcast is roughly an hour of well-mixed fast-paced house music - certainly not the kind of stuff you sing along with, but perfect for keeping pace with a swiftly walking wife.

Free High-Energy Workout Mixes for your Ipod or MP3 play from DJ Steve Boyett

wings ISO Buffalo WingsConfession time, I’m a buffalo wing lover - I spent a substantial amount of time seeking out the tastiest buffalo wings in my little hamlet of Philadelphia — generally the wings I found sucked, but I also found some awesome wings, and like a good wingman - I’m going to hook you up.

IMHO buffalo wings need four things to be considered great:

  1. Meat: I hate scrawny wings, a decent chicken wing needs more than a bite of meat on it, and the first bite shouldn’t hit bone, we’re looking for healthy substantial specimens
  2. Thick hearty sauce: I’m a sauce snob, it should be thick enough that it sticks to the wings, tangy enough to make your lips tingle, but not ‘big heat’, I’m generally not after ‘big heat’ with my wings
  3. Meat/Sauce Ratio: This may seem odd to some, but I hate when the wings are swimming in sauce, I want just enough sauce to coat the wings, and not coat my hands, maybe if the sauce is really good a small container for additional dippage
  4. Quantity: It’s hard to eat one wing, it’s even harder to eat just five, I’m generally irritated when an order of wings is less than a dozen

Exceptional wings have one more thing:

  1. Accoutraments: 9 out of 10 buffalo wings orders comes garnished with celery and blue cheese dressing, which is totally fine — but I really appreciate when my wings are garnished with a bit of creativity.

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It’s been a hell of a week… thank god it’s almost over. Even though I usually slammed with work on the weekends, I still manage to relax some, it’s usually quiet, and I can generally ignore the phone and email till Monday.

Looking Forward to a Few Days Off

Since we’ve been entrenched in a home remodel for the past 10 months we’re forgoing our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas over Thanksgiving, perhaps we’ll take a few short day trips - ‘T’ has been promising me we could take a few days and go to the Spy Museum (in Washington) I’m a sucker for that stuff.

On a whim ‘T’ and I popped into the Caribou Café in Center City Philly for brunch, we’d never been there, but every-time I’d walk by, it was always crowded, and the food look very interesting. I’m not big on breakfast or brunch, but perhaps that’s going to change, simply put it was excellent - Caribou’s menu features authentic French bistro dishes - the brunch menu wasn’t huge, but we both easily found something we liked.

Me: Salade frisée -Warm potato, bacon and curly endive salad with croûtons and topped with a poached egg.

T: Croque monsieur - Parisian grilled ham and Gruyère cheese on brioche served with fries and salad.

I know, I know warm potato sounds a bit weird, but it rocked, definitely not the healthiest of meals, but it was mostly endive, and its not like I’m going to make a habit of french food. ‘T’s’ fancy pants grilled cheese and ham was a subtle cheesy heaven - in true ‘good-wife’ fashion she gave me a few bites - yum!

We definitely will be visiting again for dinner.

Our brunch conversation included a little game of ‘is that or isn’t that’ the table to our left featured Danny Devito, and the cast of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, I’ve never seen the show, but I loved him on Taxi.

Caribou Café
1126 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-625-9535

mkdir Instant Project Hierarchy I’ve mentioned Quicksilver in the past, it’s a hugely handy utility that makes using a Mac even more of a joy, what follows is my favorite timesaver, leveraging the power of the unix mkdir command with the speed and simplicity of Quicksilver. 99% of my projects start with me creating the following folder hierarchy:

Project Name
- client_assets: (hold all client provided materials)
- vc_assets: (holds all my created or collected assets)
- build: (the root of the project build)
img : (webready image assets)
ast: (js, css, etc.)

Nothing hugely exciting, but that’s the bones of a project, and the key to consistency - here’s how simple mkdir makes it: (Note the linebreak ¬)


mkdir -p ~/Desktop/Project\ Name/ ¬
{client_assets,vc_assets,build/{img,ast}}

I know it looks intimidating, but it’s not like I have to type it ever again, that’s where QS comes in - using the ‘Run Command in Shell’ action and saving the whole thing as a trigger - and BAM! I’m a project-folder-making sensei.

check The Lost Art of Customer ServiceThis post was born from aggravation over the last 4 days ‘T’ and I have had some of the worst customer service imaginable, you really have to wonder if a store or restaurant wants your business at all -

Our first stop is (of all places) The Apple Store (King of Prussia Mall) - Standing looking at a fully loaded MacPro Tower — absolutely in a buying frame of mind, just wanted to jump into Photoshop for a few minutes to solidify my choice, when over comes (let’s call her) Betty Apple Store Goth with her fancy nose jewelry, and even fancier attitude, asking me to vacate the $4k computer so she could show some newbies how to use their dot mac accounts — without beating a dead-horse, she lost the sale (and I told her so).

Our second stop was a lovely little Irish Bar named Kildare’s (also in King of Prussia) I ordered the Seafood Pasta (which was just okay) ‘T’ ordered the lamb stew - when she ordered it, our waitperson (let’s call her ‘Betty Kildare Waitperson’) informed her that the stew featured a ‘thin broth’. Maybe it was our ignorance to Irish pub buzzwords - but does ‘thin broth’ equate to a watery soup that tastes like a careful mix of dishwater and vinegar? It was absolutely horrid, and the stew itself had but one small sliver of potato (excuse me for expecting potato’s it’s freekin Irish cusine) ‘T’ picked the 6-8 chunks of lamb out, and spent the next half hour moving carrot and celery around in her nasty broth. Now this isn’t a restaurant review, ‘T’ informed the waitress waitperson that she was less than happy with her meal, and all the waitress could say was — ‘I warned you about the broth’… okay again not spending substantial time in an Irish pub, I wasn’t privy to the speak - but either of the following qualify as a warning. Read more

On any given day I have 100 things I have to remember and keep track of, projects, phone calls, email, appointments, conference calls - it’s a constant battle, I’m a devot ‘Todoist’ user (www.todoist.com), have been for at least 4 months, now that may seem like an insignificant amount of time but in the world of ‘online-task lists’ that’s forever; prior to Todoist, I tried dozens of others - rather than list them here, I’ll just mention the stand-outs:

  • Remember the milk: excellent features, brilliant user experience, fast and clean - why didn’t I stick with it? I have no idea.(»)
  • Basecamp/TadaLists/Backpack: clean simple interfaces, exceptional speed - they all suffer from too many features or not enough, plus to use them in any meaningful way you need to upgrade to the pay version. (»)
  • TiddlyWiki: I loved TiddlyWiki it’s a brilliant little product, self contained, Javascript driven portable - but it wasn’t particularly Safari friendly, not easily sync-able online, and lacked some of the forced structure that tend to help me stay on point. (»)

There where dozens of others, ultimately I needed to make a choice, for now at least that choice is Todoist - the interface is spartan, functionality is straight forward, and the developer hugely responsive - in recent weeks he’s added Gmail integration (via a bookmarklet), an API, and both iGoogle and Tiger Dashboard widgets - courtesy of the API and the Todoist community both a Firefox extension and a Quicksilver plug-in have been developed - the Quicksilver plug-in really make life easy.

HOW QUICKSILVER AND TODOIST ROCK MY WORLD

Here’s the scenario, I get an email (in thunderbird) that requires my attention - select the portion of the text that’s relevant - copy / invoke QS / hit period (entering text mode) / type ‘add’ (that should bring up the ‘add to Todoist’ action) / tab / type the first few letters of the category/project you want to add the text to (or you can use the up/down arrows to navigate your choices) / hit enter / YOUR DONE.

It may seem like a bunch of steps, but it happens really quick (YES EXPERIENCED QS USERS CAN CREATE A TRIGGER) at the end of every day I have an Automator script that prints out my Todoist checklist for the following day (pretty sweet…huh).