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Care comes from employees, not institutions

The maintenance people at @waynestate don’t have to wrap the cord on the vacuum so neatly after every use but they do it anyways. Not only does this show the skill and care they put into their work but also reflects an attitude that spreads. You cannot dictate this type of care, passionate employees breed a passionate environment.

How much care do you put into your work? You might not realize who is noticing.

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Inbox zero obsession reduces productivity

Always being concerned about that next email, IM or todo list item can really hinder the GTD mentality. Melitiously keeping your inbox at zero and clearing IM’s and email as soon as they come in just to feel fulfilled is really distracting.

I keep my inbox at zero pretty much at all times, the downside is when emails start to come in it is hard they are hard to ignore. They are like that one dead pixel or that zit that just came out or no where. You just want to get rid of it as soon as possible and move on.

Just when you get it moved to a task or respond here comes another one. I have decided to only check for new email every three hours and clean it to zero before another three hour block of work.

Being so efficient doesn’t always pay off, I am going to opt for the distraction less few hours during the day to see if it helps out.

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Writing more, maybe enough for a book

A MessThroughout high school and even into college I really liked english classes, I liked the writing and creativity. The construction of a well formed document with flow and coherence.

I guess that is why I started a blog, it has been an on and off relationship for a while since high school and when motivated my thoughts can come flowing out.

Its like programming, after some well thought out procedures and operations does the flow of the program work, function correctly and look beautiful.

One of my new years resolutions is to get back into writing, I really enjoy it and it needs to become a large part of my life. Now working with some really phenomenal writers I see where I am lacking and really need to get back in the game.

Its easy as a programmer to just say “Im a programmer, it doesn’t matter if i spell things correct as long as they are consistent”. That has been the mentality at work for a while now and it really doesn’t help anyone since misspellings often fall through the cracks and it makes everyone look unprofessional.

My biggest issue is using larger or obscure words since working on the web and dumbing everything down to fifth grade level its hard to get back to reality and write good copy where every word counts.

There is a lot of things I am passionate about and web standards and accessibility is one of them. Working the university environment as really inspired me to take my knowledge and teach others.

Although standing up, teaching and seeing everyones reaction when they get it is great I would love to expand my reach beyond the people I know. I will be speaking at a conference in March about publishing and promoting events online.

A large part of my job is creating tools for people to use and teaching them how to take advantage of them. Although we are part of a university environment the tools we create are meant to be used outside since marketing has to reach external audiences.

And seeing more of the people I follow online writing books and speaking at large venues about their passions really inspires me to write a book and help everyone curious about how pulling information together in a decentralized environment. Getting the tools built, getting peoples buy in and keeping users using the system for their and the whole communities advantage.

More to come later on book ideas and more frequent updates due to my New Years resolution.

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First day out of the pit

Totally my own officeSo it has been a full day in my own office and unfortunately I didn’t get much time to myself. The Publications team was gone to a conference so we moved all of their desks and computers to their new working space. I was only in my office for increments of 5 minutes to check mail and phone.

The photo attached is the office how I got it. Nothing of mine in there and nothing cleaned. Not at least my computer is in there, things are cleaned up and I have a whiteboard. I will post another picture when it is all done.

Having your own space is like being inside a bubble, I am use to working in a large room with eight or so people. If I had a question about something I could just ask it while still staring at my computer and working. Who ever knew the answer would shout it out and work would continue. Although my office is right next to the pit I cannot hear whats going on out there, I have to rely on alternative methods to communicate. IM mainly but typing is though on the wrists sometimes. I kinda wish everyone had an iSight and we would all just talk and see each other.. nevermind, creepy.

Anyone have any good suggestions on how to deal with communicating when isolated in your own office?

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Time for a new computer

So i broke down today and i bought a new computer. Well it is going to replace my current first generation Mac Mini G4 1.42 Ghz. Basically i found myself pretty much waiting 60% of the time instead of programming. Just having Eclipse, Photoshop, Apache, Firefox and iTunes open grinds this little machine to a halt. My solution yesterday was to just remote into my work machine and do all my work on that, it worked well but it is not a permanent solution. With my mom getting a new 20” iMac and the new Intel chips smoking the pants off the PowerPC chips i needed to upgrade. Also this will allow me to get rid of my Windows box for good, i will be running Parallels for any future Windows needs. The setup i ordered is not like super awesome impressive but it will do for now.

Mac Mini
1.83GHz Intel Core Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM-2×1GB
120GB Serial ATA drive
SuperDrive 8x

A MacPro and a Mac Book Pro is on my wish list but not essential at this point. Once my current project which is a total back/front end re-development of their current architecture gets up and running ill need a more robust environment.If anyone is interested i am selling my windows box, currently i am not selling the monitors (two 19” BenQ flat panels) but i will consider it if someone is interested, here is the setup:

AMD Athlon 3200+
512 Mb PC-3200
160 Gig, 2 SATA 150 drives in RAID-0
Nvidia Geforce FX 5700 Ultra
DVD-Rom
DVD-Burner DL 8x