:: urbansheep (urbansheep) wrote,
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urbansheep

[ L ] LifeHacks // Best practice in infoorg

Самый лучший тренд-лист. Обязательно к изучению всеми и каждым, кто имеет отношение к информационным задачам (все культурные люди входят в этот список).

Notes from Danny O'Brien's NotCon Recap of Life Hacks

Cory Doctorow
doctorow@craphound.com

June 6, 2004
Imperial College, London

Everyone in Silicon Valley has heads up displays, WiFi Hands, they're the borg.


I walked onto stage with 220 index cards and got a cheap laugh.

But index cards are the inspiration for Life Hacks.

I went to PARC and saw Kent Beck, founder of Extreme Programming, whose improv approach is quite admirable.

  • The nugget of Extreme Programming is index cards
  • He read from the cards and then threw them like shuriken into the audience
    • PARC audiences are like Statler and Waldorf
      • "I hate drop-down menus and I wish I'd never invented them"
  • A person in the center of the paperless office with paper
    • "Look on your works ye mighty and despair"
    • Paper is the way forward
  • I'm an average programmer with great habits, learned from masters like Ward Cunningham

I was the world's most disorganized person, and I resolved to adapt the habits of the world's most organized and prolific geeks and become a Charles Atlas of organization


I emailed and contacted 70 technologists, asked 100 questions and got 14 replies back

I got a bunch of screenshots, habits, code, anaecdotes

  • JWZ -- Netscape hacker, sells beer, hangs out with goth chicks
  • Gnat Torkington -- Perl hacker
  • Brad Templeton -- Chairman of EFF
  • Guido van Rossom -- Invented Python
  • ESR -- Gun toting nice man, author of Cathedral and Bazaar
  • Ann Mitchell -- Antispam lawyer
  • Morbus Iff -- Amphetadesk, prefers dialup to broadband
  • Paul Ford -- ftrain.com
  • Dan Egnor -- Sweetcode.org
  • Edd Dumbill -- XML.com
  • Cory Doctorow -- Writer
  • Simon Cozens -- Perl Hacker
  • Tim Bray -- W3C
  • Piers Beckley -- LA Scriptwriter (meant to get a perl scriptwriter, got an LA scriptwriter -- we'll call him "the control")

Results

Screenshots

  • Rather dull
    • A lot of shells (Brad)
    • A big shell
    • Shells (Paul Ford)
    • Shells and incoming hate-mail (JWZ)
    • Shells
    • emacs
    • Dan Egnor -- wins geek prize -- Google employee so lots is masked out, shells, shells, two shells, "shelly", browser, shells
    • Piers uses Outlook, bless 'im

Conclusion: people use shells

  • Not necessarily for efficiency
  • Respondents are geeks -- people who can read NTK in courier with no linebreaks love shells
  • The prolific people Danny knows are involved on the public net
    • Most shells are to remote computers
    • Shells are good for connecting to a public computer on which your public stuff lives
  • Shells don't hamper efficiency

Conclusion: People use todo.txt (Ford's is 27,000 lines long)

  • Don't use complicated apps
  • Use Word, BBEdit, Notepad, emacs, vi, whatever
  • Why?
    • If you want to organize yourself, take the stuff you're going to forget quickly and dump it just as quickly -- if it's in your short-term memory, you have to put it somewhere
    • You need to be able to find and enter text fast
      • Can cut, paste and find text fast
      • XML Guy: "Not interested in tagging my behavior with metadata -- just want to find stuff. Google shows that text can be found quick"
      • Text editors have incremental search (Mozilla: type slash and begin typing for your search string) -- quick way to lock-in on your desired text
        • In Moz, Panther, Launchbar, Quicksilver, etc
  • Text can be trusted
    • Power users trust software as far as they've thrown them in the past
    • Power users know that the bigger an app, the flakier it is
    • They've upgraded and crossgraded a lot, which means that they need text, which can run on every platform
  • Cory: I use mail for everything, it's got access, version and metadata control
  • JWZ: Every app expands to handle mail
    • Some bits of life are too short to learn another app
  • Joel on Software: Uses Excel for everything
  • Clients send website designs in PowerPoint
  • Don Lancaster sees the world in PostScript -- he imprinted like a chick on that app.

Conclusion: We'll have private blogs

  • People use blogs all the time
  • They'll just use their blogs for everything, project mgmt etc
  • LiveJournal: 4% of posts are private -- people talking to themselves

Conclusion: We'll have private RSS feeds

  • People suck lots of data into RSS
  • Sysadmins publish all status reports as private RSS feeds

Conclusion: Geeks use secret scripts

  • Thrown together
  • Shoddy
  • Embarassingly coded
  • Often forgotten
  • Universal scripts
    • Random sig generators
      • Linux Torvald's first Usenet post is trying to get pipes to work in his random sig generator
      • Netscape killer -- kills whatever app hangs most often
      • ssh foo: tunneling into and out of firewalls
      • mail wrangling
  • Sync
    • A way of making files mirror to another devices (Cory backs up to spare powerbook, HDD, remote server, and iPod)
    • Complex and personal
      • People don't trust existing sync apps
      • Write their own rsync stuff
  • Boilerplate
    • Letters and projects
      • Screenwriting template
      • Form responses to common email
  • Mungers and viewers
    • Ward Cunningham has a thing that counts how many files were changed on a given date -- a quick way to find files that are related to one another
    • KDE app shows you files that are low-down on your dir tree that are taking up all your disk space (Danny found half a gig of filed-away virii)
  • Not much cross-app automation
    • This was everyone's big dream for scripts -- AppleScript would pick up your mail and turn it into a GIF with Photoshop and put it on a webserver
    • No one does this -- even though you can
    • They're too brittle -- it's like remote objects
    • Unix pipes might be as complicated as you can get
    • Longhorn will test this -- an OO shell interface between apps
  • Loads of webscraping
    • Make your own RSS
    • Worth the brittleness
    • Download your banking info and graph it
  • Lots of making public
    • RSS and syncing
    • "We write these things so we can upload them to webservers"
    • This is all to tidy things up so that it's fit for public viewing
    • Ideas rot if you don't do something with them. I used to try to hoard them, but they rotted. Now I just blog them or tell people about them. Sometimes they still rot, but sometimes someone finds them useful in one way or another" -- Edd Dumbill
    • Publishing is like your mum coming over -- you have to clean it up and make it presentable
    • This not only makes you appear more prolific -- it actually makes you more prolific

Here's a killer app that exploits all of this:

  • Decent email search (bastards at Google!) -- this is what makes gmail good, even cypherpunks will put all their mail in Google and their friends in Orkut
  • Easy webscraping -- select a page, select stuff, turn it into RSS, learns when it breaks (with your feedback), and improves (spike ebay auctions, track airports, etc)
  • Keyboard macros for Windows/Linux
  • Filepile for everyone -- Suppose hypothetically that there was a site that let you share pix etc with your friends. The idea is to have a dir on your desktop that synch the files you drag into it with your friends.

Recommended books

  • Getting Things Done: David Allen
  • Home Comforts: Cheryl Mendelson (20 pages on dishwashing!)
  • Test Driven Development: Kent Beck





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