Lead a vivid life that does good

Category: Technology / IT

When to settle for good enough

Often good enough is pefrectly fineOne of the first computer games I ever developed in my teens was a very simplistic helicopter game, where you would hunt out submarines and bomb them. It was simplistic for two reasons, the first of which I was learning to code, and the second because all games were clunky back then, which is what you would expect from home computers that you plugged into your TV screen.

As a young guy I was good at coding, and this knowledge allowed me to learn new skills coding in Visual Basic as I got a real job. However when I compare myself to our IT team I’m a good amateur at best.

I have in the past really enjoyed coding (I like creating new things), and right up to last year I’ve dreamed of teaching myself the latest technologies.

Then I realised, in a moment of brilliance, that it’s a ridiculous idea. To be the leader I need to be, I don’t need to be a better coder.

Good enough is fine.

Good enough is perfect for me.

And realising I’m good enough at something, is incredibly liberating.

Obviously I’m not saying you shouldn’t get better at things. I never want to stop being a better leader of leaders.

Choosing what will really make you the person you want to be is essential for letting go of what’s not.

Getting to a point where you can say ‘I’m good enough at this’, not only allows others to be better than you, but frees you from some dream which may be more of a subconscious burden than you realise.

What are somethings you’ve always wanted to be better at?

Maybe, good enough is fine.

Do you have 406 things you could get rid of?

Floppy Disk 1993This is a picture of a floppy disk I own and have held onto since 1993. It’s a backup disk of the accounts from my one of my first businesses in 1990. I have no idea why I am holding onto it. Maybe it is part memento and part my own personal IT museum, as it certainly has no practical use.

The issue with this disk is that it is representative of a lot of things I have around the house and work that I don’t really need. Things I am holding “just in case”.

So at the beginning of February I decided to start a minimalist challenge. It basically goes like this.

1 Feb – Get rid of 1 thing
2 Feb – 2 things
3 Feb – 3 things

… all the way to …

28 Feb – Get rid of 28 things.

A total of 406 items I will either throw out, sell, or give away.

Now because I love freedom I have decided to bend the rules and basically just make sure that I get rid of 406 things by the end of Feb, and to date I have got rid of 160 items from either home or my office. And in addition each of my kids need to do 30 things and Karina needs to do 100.

600 items as a family sounds a lot, but it is surprising how much stuff we keep “just in case” I need it in the future. Once I started looking with a fresh set of eyes it was amazing what I saw.

Do you have 406 things you could get rid of? – You might be surprised.

Like a lot of things, it all comes down to the right question.

For example, in the wardrobe. Instead of asking “Is there any chance I will wear this in the future?”, which is our normal question.

I need to ask tougher questions;
“Do I wear this often?”
“Do I love it?”
“Do I look good in it?”

If the answer is no, it’s a real contender for the get rid of pile.


263 |365 Pegs

Day263.jpgSimple in design. Functional in use. Cheap to produce and meets the users requirements.
My experience with IT projects over the years is that they generally lack these basic requirements. We could learn a lot from pegs.  

224 |365 Intuitive (Mac OSX vs Windows)

Day224_2.jpgPeople who have grown up with Apple computers think they are intuitive, easy to use and everything makes sense. People who have grown up with Windows computers think the same.
Intuitive is a word that describes learned actions. It is really hard for something that someone has never used to be intuitive.
My Macbook, as a Windows user is counter-intuitive. It does some cool things in really difficult ways, that take all of the fun out of them.
Windows = Alt-Print Screen
Mac OSX = Control-Command-Shift-4
The Windows version is easier to remember. The Mac version is harder to use not intuitive at all, but is way cooler.
A reminder that when we create processes or web or tools, we need to make them both cool and intuitive.

150 | 365 ­ ŒDIY Technology

Day150.jpg One of the things I love about the Internet is the opinion it offers. If you have a problem with just about anything, someone somewhere has experienced the same problem.
Today I pulled by DVD/HDD recorder to bits again. It’s a Phillips and it’s had 2 or 3 things go wrong with it since the warranty ended. Now it is not recording correctly and I tried replacing the hard drive with a newer larger hard drive. It didn’t work so I put the old one back in.
I searched the internet last night again, and have some other things to try today.
I would say also, that one of the things I dislike about the Internet is the opinion it offers. So often the “solutions” are not solutions at all and are advertising gimmicks to lead you to a certain website.
It takes a while to troll through them all to find real knowledge. But I have access to knowledge that I wouldn’t have just 5 – 10 years ago.
[150 | 365 – ‘DYI Technology’ – Inside an unreliable, practically useless Phillips DVDR3455H DVD/HDD recorder – I wont buy Phillips again]

Once a geek, always a geek (some cool tech tools I am using)

Playing around with a few tech toys recently and a couple of them are very cool.

Evernote Evernote 

I used to use google notebook (which was in beta and they are no longer developing). Evernote is tool you can use for making notes about anything. You can be on a website and send a part of the text to evernote. You can email notes to it. I can take a photo from my phone of something I want to remember and it uploads. Or you can type a new note directly.

Whats more, there is a desktop version that syncs to the web version which syncs to my windows mobile (phone).  Its free and very functional, or you can pay $45 US per year to have additional features and secure syncing.

Dual Monitors Dual Monitors

Old technology, but have just set it up. I have been getting annoyed with the amount of paper I print out, just so I can compare to something else on the screen. This solves it and allows for much more.

Sure this looks really geeky, but it is awesome and don't know why I didn't do this a long time ago.

One small problem, I stole the second monitor off someone elses desk, will need to sort that first thing Monday. 

Ipod TED video iPod Nano

Watched my first video postcast on my Nano. Had it for a year and only listen ever listened to music, audiobooks and audio podcasts.

The quality was very cool and watched a podcast from TED. It was Jacqueline Novogratz from Acuman Fund talking about a third way to think about aid. Cool to see the images and the quality was remarkably good.

RFID tags

There are a lot more issues for supply chain companies that are looking at implementing RFID into their process than just the cost of the tag.

They need to consider investment in technology, current system integration, and the bandwidth to handle huge volumes of tags in one spot (like a truck driving through a entrance, and a reader capturing all tags)

Back in 2003 the Auto ID Centre in the US did some predictions on the price of RFID tags into the market place.

It is interesting to look at the chart produced by the Centre almost 5 years ago. They envisaged two scenarios: (1) By 2008, EPC tags have come close to reaching the mythical "5-cent" tag, and there would be "fast adoption"; (2) tag prices stay higher, and there is "moderate adoption.”


Clearly the adoption of RFID has been slower than expected and at best is their second prediction.  We are a while away before we really see RFID become a significant force in the tracking of products.

EpcrfidtagNB: RFID means Radio-frequency identification (see wiki) and are small tags that generate a genreally unique radiowave, which can be read by devices without having to scan bar code etc. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader.

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What if apple did a phone?

Introducing iPhone

They are going to and it is called iPhone.

This is going to be a cool device. It combines a PDA, iPod & Phone into one. Super Hi-Res touch screen.

This is one sexy little device. Will be released in US in June and probably not here until next year.

[Hat tip: Rod Drury]