Getting Back into the Swing

This post is actually a few minutes into the next day.  But I’m still trying to get into the swing of things.  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to put parts of my life that aren’t on track, back on track.  Of course this is easier said than done.  But like Matthew Kelly–an amazing Catholic inspirational speaker and evangelist–says: “Our life changes when our habits change.”  Changing habits is a long and difficult process, and honestly I’ll be happy if I can get everything in place by the end of THIS year.

In totally unrelated things, I found out that the original Starcraft runs beautifully under Wine.  I’m going to try some of my other Windows games in the future, and see if I can realistic ignore using my Windows partition.

Welcome to 2010. Where the Hell is My Robotic Servant?

Happy New Year to all my readers!  2009 was quite an emotional year: the first batch of my close friends got married, a death in the family, the ups and downs of dating, professional life and all that jazz.  Last year I’ve felt I’ve grown like no other year.  I started work in 2008.  But 2009 was the year that I feel I kicked off the sneakers, t-shirt and shorts laid-back attitude of  a university undergrad, and donned the look and feel of a professional.  I definitely feel the change was for the better.  Also last year I rolled up my sleeves and told myself to do the things I wanted to do, but kept on putting off.  True, I came up with some grandiose plans that I couldn’t of finished realistically.  Still I  managed to tie up most of the loose ends of previous years.  My projects moved forward by a bit.  My organizational skills improved, and I no longer procrastinate on tasks for months.  I still leave things off, but only for a few days.  At most a month, if something is a bit more complicated or delicate.  Come to think of it, most of the tasks that hang around are ones that will take hours to do.

Now the new year, nah new decade begins.  I feel I’m a better professional, writer, programmer, businessman, outdoorsmans and well… man than a year ago.  Ditto for 10 years ago.  So whats next for 2010?  Lets hope no massive shift in society occurs (and that I fear more and more is a possibility to no-one can simply ignore) and God willing that nothing crazy happens in this upcoming decade.  I’d hate to live the life of a Snake Plissken, Mad Max or an Afghani.  Assuming that nothing happens, my new years resolutions come from a modified version of last year’s:  (Which yes stems from goals of 2007…)

  • Become a Senior Software Developer/Consultant
    • 2009:  Learnt the Spring MVC framework, EJBs, AJAX, ExtJS and other Web 2.0 technologies.
    • 2009: Advanced in my skills in databases and Python scripting.
    • Learn and become a Qt/C++ developer.
    • Learn to manage risks, estimates, costs and client expectations as a consultant.
    • Advance my knowledge of Python, PHP and Javascript web frameworks.
  • Become a Published Writer
    • 2009: Started work on a number of novel ideas.  In total wrote about seven or eight separate chapters.
    • Finish and publish at least one novel.
    • Read a finished piece at The Totally Unknown Writers Festival 2010.
    • Publish my university articles in novel or series form.
  • Start a Masters in HCI Design
    • This is a blue skies idea.  But I do plan to go back to university and start working on a Masters degree on HCI (Human -Computer Interface) Design.
  • Become a Libre Software contributer
    • Continue work on justCheckers.  Possibly create and release the mythical version 1.0.
    • Get involved with the KDE or Maemo projects.
  • Build out my stealth mode start-up
    • 2009: Created a business plan and strategy.  Now I just need to execute on it.
    • Build an initial product offering, that will fund future development.
    • Add finances into the mix.
  • Personal
    • Get a full driving license.
    • Date that awesome girl. (Ladies a bit of help with that one? You know who you are.)
    • Get more involved with outdoor sports.
    • Deepen my faith and my knowledge of the world around me.
    • Learn to use a “freaking” calendar, rather than ignoring it.
    • Clean up the mess that is my home computing system.
    • Regular exercise and fitness.

And thats about it… Time to take on 2010.  I’m disappointed by the general lack of robotic servants, flying cars, jetpacks and moon bases.  Still I’m thankful for no nuclear war, giant mutant predatory creatures wandering the streets,  grey goo accidents or human-unfriendly singularity AIs too.  So 2010 probably won’t mean a radically different future for humanity.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t all have something look forward to this year. 🙂

Time Management Resolutions for 2009

The fifth day into the year, and I can already foresee a number of huge changes in my life.  As I mentioned before the transition from thinking like a university student to a fully self-sufficient adult is a pretty huge one.  One of the things that I foresee is a glorious lack of time.  Essentially, I took upon a large number of personal projects and I might take on a few more this coming year.  And every task and every idea needs time to realize and complete.  So I decided upon a few New Years resolutions:

  1. Keep my tasks and projects organized.  I’ve worked out that I will keep to the core concept of the GTD methodology.  All that I need is some central, efficient manner to organize my evergrowing TODO lists.  At the moment I am experimenting with a number of different applications, to avoid the dreaded list on a piece of tattered paper syndrome.
  2. Handle communications efficiently.  I am already using the Inbox Zero method.  And for the most part I can keep track of everything and handle e-mails quickly.  My personal e-mail inbox is usually has zero messages.  My work inbox is a bit more chaotic, but I’ve gotten it down to zero in the past.  Nowadays no more than 30 e-mails stay in my inbox.
  3. Avoid wallowing and putting things off.  OK, this is a weak spot in my case.  There are days that I don’t feel like doing anything.  Unfortunately, while there are times my life feels like on hold, the world doesn’t stop.  So in essence I put off all kinds of work and only more piles on.  And it gets to the point that I get depressed just by looking at all the things I have to do.  Instead this year, if I feel like I am in rutt, I will take some menial tasks.  That way I keep my mind off whatever I am thinking about and still get stuff done.
  4. Do it now, not later.  One of the worst things to litter my tasks are the little day-to-day incidents.  The little errands, the little messes of life so to say can generate a disproportionate amount of work.  And it adds up.  Quickly.  So I have to stop procrastinating on these little tasks.  I think it is more effective to take all these little nuisance tasks, aggregate them together and do them all at once.  That way I can avoid task switching-even thought my task log method helps with that a bit-and clear these trivial things before they get out of hand.
  5. Keep taking bits off the big projects.  I have a number of large projects.  Some involving writing, some involving coding, etc.  Now I know that I can’t just sit down and finish a large part of a project.  My schedule and life in general won’t allow for that.  So instead I plan on taking bits and pieces off each my big projects each day.  And I’ll incorporated those bits into my daily tasks.  That way my projects will go forward a bit every day.

Now I should be able to accomplish all these resolutions without too much trouble.  My biggest concern is to make sure my tendency of inactivity doesn’t get in the way this year.  These resolutions should not only reduce the size of my TODO list.  But they should also remove a great deal of stress.  And the sense of accomplishment will definitely shine through on days where all I want to do is sing the blues.  So wish my luck and may you too have productive and joyful year ahead.

P.S.: I hope that by writing these blogs on time management will help someone.  Or at least inspire someone to achieve more in their life.  If they help you, please give me a shout on the comments section.  I love to hear from you and read your comments.

The Forecast for 2009

First of all: Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone had a great time celebrating Christmas and ringing in the new year.

So it looks like the second day of the new year is slowly coming to a close.  This year promises to be as exciting and interesting as last year.  Maybe even more so.

This year I plan on finally achieving the goals I sat out last year.  I have a lot of writing and coding ahead of me.  Hopefully I will get involved with the KDE and Maemo projects early this year.  Also the transition from student life to corporate IT worker should sink in soon.  I am optimistic I will grow drastically in all aspects of my life this year: academic, professional, artistic and personal.

However some doubt, and grey clouds lie on the horizon this year.  The situation on the economic front looks dire.  I worry since the parallels of the great depression and hell that followed afterwards are there.  Except that this time around ideals seem more distant, nations seem more violent and the machines of war are far more lethal and potent.  And I don’t think literature or computing will cut it to get us out of the mess, we set upon ourselves so long ago.

Hopefully, my darkest nightmares will not realize themselves.  They did not solidify last year.  Instead many a happy accident happened.  And this year looks like many more happy accidents will occur.  But this I wouldn’t put up a todo list.  It doesn’t seem practical, and doesn’t account for the unexpected.

Todo Progress So Far

Remember my TODO list for this year? No, I’m not gonna tell you when I posted it. And no if you find it, you are not allowed to post a link or a hint to it. If you are long time reader and you found it, consider yourself part of the in-crowd.

So how well am I doing? Out of the 8, only number 3 actually is realized to date. Realized late April to be more exact. Item 1 fell through the cracks. justCheckers is dead and served its purpose for me. Number 2 is a real work in progress, and I plan on realizing it before the end of the year. Number 4 is still a dream. With number 5, I’m currently stumbling around with. Maybe a certain someone out there somewhere can help with that. Number 6 is something I need to badly do before the inclement season starts. Number 7 and 8 are still in the initial stages.

Totals so far: 1 success, 1 failure, 3 in progress and 3 that need work on. Not the greatest score. I’m only 12.5% to maybe 25% done. Still have much to do.

Review of 2007, the Promise(s) of 2008

The year 2007 has been quite a dynamic year for me. Instead of writing a long article about each thing… cause that might take me an year to write and edit, I will just present a list of lists of things that happened.


  • Completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto at Mississauga.
  • Picked my diploma for Bachelor of Science.


  • Traveled to Italy and Poland.
  • Walked down Unter der Linden in Berlin, Germany.
  • Checked out the Tower of London, National Gallery and Museum of Natural History in London, England.
  • Saw the sights of Florence, Rome, Assisi, and bunch of the Umbria region of Italy.
  • Walked around Gdańsk, Szczecin, Poznan, Gdynia and Malbork in Poland.

Software Development

  • Increased my knowledge of information security.
  • Restarted my involvement with the justCheckers project.
  • Deepened my understanding on software libre and open source.
  • Learned Javascript, CGI-Perl and JSP.
  • Joined the Ubuntu Toronto Users group.


  • Led a mock-up startup for a course.
  • Learned how to read and understand businesses.
  • Discovered the many aspects of open source businesses.
  • Read My Job Went to India, or how to stay in IT.


  • Wrote six articles on quantum computing.
  • Wrote seven personal essays that form my Hacker, Gamer, Lover book.
  • Wrote and voiced in an audio documentary, Casanova.
  • Started writing a science fiction novel.

Social Activity

  • Learned of the open access movement.
  • Learned the basic ethical theories: utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, and Rousseau’s social contract.
  • Debated for network neutrality.
  • Read Stallman’s Free Software, Free Society.
  • Read about the anti-software patent efforts in the EU.


  • Went to Taize in Montreal.
  • Made a lot more friends.
  • Learned the subtle art of dating.
  • Survived the downs of 2007.
  • Got my G1 driver’s license. Again.
  • Invented task logs, an organizational tool.

Things to Do for 2008

  • Finish justCheckers.
  • Write and publish two books.
  • Get a software development related job.
  • Start a company.
  • Find a real girlfriend.
  • Learn to drive and get my full G license.
  • Learn C and C++.
  • Get involved in a major FOSS project.