Posts Tagged ‘information’

Why Inbox Zero?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

As touched on in a previous post, I use my inbox as a larger part of a task management system; most of the emails I receive are directly related to things that need to be done.

Because I’m running Google Apps, every message is archived; deleting an email doesn’t mean that it’s not accessible if I ever need to look back for reference. Of course, at times, a certain email may contain pertinent information to an ongoing project. I’m not recommending deleting emails like that – have a folder system set up where you can move the message, then flag or color-code according to the task it relates to. But don’t leave it in the inbox.

Upon completion, deleting the email equates to checking off on a to-do list. Maintaining a clean inbox doesn’t waste time, it ensures prioritization and proper use of the time you have. And if you take care of messages as they come in, worries of a pileup are nonexistent. When you’re faced with a massive heap of emails, not only does a sense of desperation set in, but it’s difficult to know where to start – especially if there’s notifications from Twitter and Facebook all over the place.

I’ve had nothing but positive results from inbox zero.  What works for you?

LessConf 3010

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Last weekend, LessConf, a two-day conference about technology, startups, and business, was held at Georgia Tech Research Institute in Midtown Atlanta. This was the second iteration of the event; last year’s was in Jacksonville. Organized by Steve Bristol and Allan Branch, this was without a doubt the best tech event I’ve ever been to. Both Steve and Allan were incredibly chill and, more than anything else, just wanted everyone to have a good time. And that I did.

Day 1

Flickr: jay_tennier

Upon registration, attendees were able to pick up a copy of Seth Godin’s Linchpin, as well as various other stickers and giveaways. After a hilarious intro, the talks kicked off around 10:30. The lineup for the first day consisted of the following amazing speakers:

I especially enjoyed Cameron’s talk about finding inspiration in design. The difference between influence and inspiration was an interesting concept: influence is actively sought, while inspiration is not. Valuable insight was also given on how to capture inspiration when it surfaces; Cameron mentioned setting up a wall of paper next to a workspace, as well as keeping a dive slate in the shower. As someone primarily focused on front-end web development, I was able to gain new perspective on how to approach a project by taking a step back and becoming passively engaged. The revelation also hit me that good design shouldn’t always be focused on logic, but on how you feel.

Lunch was a great networking opportunity; my associate Adam and I had the chance to sit down with the Grooveshark team and exchange ideas. Shane’s Rib Shack catering provided by Balsamiq was also much appreciated.

The afterparty was held at Whiskey Park, inside the W on 14th Street. It was a prime location to talk with Shane Reustle, Geoff Hamrick, Chris Wanstrath, Julia Roy, and many more awesome people. Like everything else associated with the conference, it was about as off-the-hook as it gets. Loud music, dim lighting, flash photography, and free drinks (sponsored by MailChimp) made a perfect close to a day full of intelligent geekiness. It’s just how New Dorks roll.

Day 2

The second day of the conference started with bacon-infused pancakes, sponsored by Storenvy. After a good half-hour of catching up from the last night, the second round of speakers kicked off with:

Clay’s talk about becoming a linchpin was extremely inspiring; the value of resumes was discussed, with him outlining that a traditional PDF leaves little room for creative expression. A great example was shown through a Foursquare mockup resume, in which badges represented positions and achievements. In short, be so good they can’t ignore you.

The education portion of the talk also spoke to me; Clay expanded on how the current educational system trains the factory workers of tomorrow, primarily instilling the ability to follow instructions in graduates. From my personal experiences, I can unilaterally vouch for these observations. Question the status quo. Break rules. Be a leader.

At 11 that night, the final afterparty kicked off at Noni’s Bar and Deli, where Regator’s Kimberly Turner was DJing. I was interviewed by BZD Films about both Rank ‘em and the conference in general, and also had great conversations with Jessica Barnett, Janette Crawford, Chris Turner, and everyone else who made it out. I really didn’t want the two days to be over, but had an outstanding time and look forward to next year.

Final Thoughts

LessConf rocked. The end.

#googlefail: Are We Too Dependent?

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Last week, the interwebs stood still as Google suffered significant outages. Details weren’t extremely revealing; a blog post from Google simply claims that:

An error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam. As a result, about 14% of our users experienced slow services or even interruptions.

Others believe that AT&T may be to blame (I was unable to get through on my iPhone’s 3G connection). AT&T, however, disagrees:

After reports on #googlefail being related to our network, we looked & have not identified any problems that could have caused the outage

Putting blame aside, the amount of infrastructure that Google supports is huge; from search functions to Google Apps, the Mountain View giant is literally everywhere. I’ll perform countless Google searches on a daily basis, check feeds in Google Reader, host my email on Google Apps, get directions via Google Maps – the list goes on. I’d go as far to say that at least 50 percent of my day revolves around Google.

I can't imagine my day without Google.

I can't imagine my day without Google.

Google openly states that their ultimate goal is to create an index of all the world’s content. But there’s an extent of unhealthy dependency that goes along with that. Even with a brief outage, everything freezes in motion. Are our lives tied too closely to Google? There are other ways to obtain information and services, such as YahooLive Search, and the newly released Wolfram|Alpha. Unfortunately, Yahoo and Live Search don’t feel as efficient as Google, and Wolfram|Alpha is intended for an entirely different use.

But even if we are too reliant, I don’t see an immediate way around it. Indexing the world is a tough job, but somebody has to do it. I’m a huge centralization buff, and there’s no better definition of that than Google.

One of Google's recently unveiled servers.

One of Google's recently unveiled servers.

I’m not about to complain to the point of extremity. Most of the time, Google’s stability is exceptional. It’s also safe to say that they have a pretty firm hold on their servers over at the Googleplex – I’m more than willing to trade a few minutes of downtime for the existence of the awesome web giant.