Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I want to discuss an important project issue with you

I think that spammers, the scourge of the email world, have become inherently more stupid and desperate lately. Below is a screen shot of an email that I received in my Spam Inbox this morning. The funniest part of the whole email is the part that I have highlighted. They are actually going to the trouble of telling me this email is not spam even though the sent from email address is from Israel (.il) and they want me to respond to a .yahoo email address and the person has what is apparently an Asian surname.



I know that my last statement seems a little off color, but when I think of someone with an Asian surname I don't usually jump up and say "That person is from Israel". Turns out I am probably right. Here is what, according to Wikipedia (I know, and I'm calling this spammer lazy, ironic huh?) says the population of Israel looks like:


Group[8]
Population
Proportion 
of total
Growth rate
Jews
Of which:[9]
Mainstream
Haredi
6,119,000

5,162,500
956,500
75.0%

63.3%
11.7%
1.7%

1.2%
5.0%
Arabs
1,688,600
20.7%
2.2%
Other
349,700
4.3%
N/A
Total
8,157,300

1.9%


Anyway, it is idiots like this that are killing email for the rest of us. I find email to be an extremely useful tool, and I wish there was a way to find and punish the people who write these god awful scripts that generate this junk.

Evernote helps you remember everything and get organized effortlessly. Download Evernote.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Breaking Old Habits is HARD!

One of the reasons that I dusted off this old blog is because I want to really try to create some new, good, habits. I really want try to be more productive with my idle time, as opposed to getting sucked into Facebook and Twitter. And YouTube and Tumblr… You get the point. I am finding that creating a good habit is a lot harder than breaking a bad one. For instance, I can’t seem to stick to a regular schedule with updating this blog. Granted, I have probably written more in the past two weeks than I did all of last year; even if the content was only half as meaningful.

Here are the things that I am trying to do in order to be more productive and healthy:
  1. Blog more. Obviously. I have set a goal for myself to sit down and type something out at least three times a week. Last week I hit it no problem. This week… Well it’s Friday evening and I’m just barely typing out my second post. That still leaves time. But my one idea of the day is to write a post about how I am struggling to write posts. How meta is that?
  2. Drink more water. In the past there have been days when I haven’t had a single glass of water. On this one I am doing pretty well. My goal is 64oz of water per day, and I generally hit that one. The problem arises when I get busy. I normally have a one track mind, so if I am concentrating I often forget to take regular drinks. That makes a deficit that I try to make up in the hours before bed, which, for obvious reasons isn’t a good idea. One thing I do to try to remind myself is carry a water bottle. Problems occur when I set the bottle down though…
  3. Exercise more. I realized that I was becoming a fat slug. I gained back all of the weight that I lost over the summer and it’s only getting worse now that I am between seasons at my job. This is because I am far less active now. So I set a goal of :30 minutes of exercise per day. Problem is I forget to exercise… Do you see a pattern yet?
  4. Floss. This one I just started this week and so far I’ve held steady. I just try to make sure that I do it before I brush my teeth every night, which is one of the few good habits that I have.
  5. Track Foods. I have used an app called Lose It in the past to keep a calorie count for myself. I am pretty diligent about this one, but sometimes I go over my calorie allowance for the day… Oh well you win some you lose some. 
  6. Write in a To-Do list. I do keep up with my to-dos pretty well. Or at least I am good about writing typing things into Things (my to-do app). Checking them off is another story though. For instance, I set up a repeating to-do to workout for :30 minutes every day. See number 3.
When all is said and done I am making the effort, and I know I’ll create better habits, even if it is just flossing every night before bed. How do you form good habits? What challenges do you face? 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Apps That I Love: Evernote and Pandora

It's no secret, the internet is polluted with websites (including this one) and apps. It seems there is an app for just about everything. Although I haven't looked for one and I don't have a need for one, I'm sure that there is an app for telling you when to use the toilet. And believe me, I have tried my fair share of useless apps. Yes, I was one of those guys that thought that the Coin Toss app was a perfectly sensible idea, I mean because taking your smartphone out of your pocket is way easier than digging out a quarter or rock/paper/scissors.

Every once in a while though, you come across something that is really useful, something that improves your life; something that you didn't think would be useful until you tried it. Two of those apps for me are Evernote and Pandora. They are apps that I use almost every day, and (especially Evernote) I'm not sure how to get through the day without them. 

In fact, I find these two services so useful that I *gasp* pay for them. I do this for several reasons; the first of which is that I want to support the teams that brought me these incredibly useful tools. I am a firm believer in that you should pay for what you use. I know, I know, we all pay one way or the other, nothing is actually "free" (and if you think that then you should turn off your computer, go out into the woods and start living a foraging lifestyle). With my subscription to services that I actually use I am giving the companies that I am supporting a guaranteed source of income; I am paying for what I use, and I use these apps all the time.

The second reason, that I pay for the premium subscription is that I get enhanced functionality from them. With Evernote I get Optical Character Recognition (OCR) so the app can actually read and search my handwriting and print only documents. I get more upload and storage capacity as well. With Pandora One (the name of Pandora's subscription service) I get more "skips" for songs I am not in the mood for and NO COMMERCIALS. This was the first reason that I subscribed (that and the cheap price of subscription). I could only take so many ads asking me to sign up for Pandora One. So I guess that I was sort of bullied into that one, but I won't go back to the free version anytime soon. 

There are hundreds upon thousands of apps out there. Which ones do you support? And why?