Hierarchy of Digital distractions

At a recent internal meeting, we were discussing productivity and the various levels of distractions that one has these days. Did you know that there is a hierarchy of digital distractions (see image below). No wonder, in todays connected, and agile world, for some people why it is so difficult to get any actual work done (that is not to suggest that they are not busy of course).

At this meeting, analogy of the distraction was coined as the “monkey” – the monkey that each of us has on our shoulder and the constant attention it demands – I.e. the distraction. And we all know we cannot control this monkey and bottle it up. The idea isn’t to try and bottle it up, which will rattle it more trying to get out and demand more attention – but rather let it out in a controlled manner for some time – similar to how one would take a dog out for a walk (of course different outcomes) Smile.

So instead of avoiding distractions, which might be very difficult for some folks, the idea is to let it out in a controlled manner – so the monkey is entertained and happy. This will help concentrate on the rest of the times and enable one to be more productive. And the science behind is how our brains gets the same effect as with drugs, and the ‘pleasure’ effects – it is both fascinating and scary.

Chart showing in a pyramid the various types of digital distractions

Chaos

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

#haiku #GeekyHaiku

Humans and threading

We,  humans, are multi-threaded by design and can do many things in parallel –  with two exceptions I think. The only two blocking function we have to deal with are sneezing and farting. During these times, all current activity must be suspended for the duration. And of course it can be pretty annoying (or depending on the function, embarrassing).

So next time you check in some code, think about it –  is this smelly and sneezy (yep, that’s a word, now) or have I done the right thing?

Parenting – Thought of the day

The legacy all parents should give to their children is an insurance policy in happiness; but the premiums must be paid today during their upbringing.

Thought of the day

You think Life is the mystery; Life is but the rapture of flight – Allama Iqbal

Anything is possible!

How inspirational is this! I get goose bumps just seeing it. Awesome. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible.

 

RIP Nikhil – my dear dear friend

kaleidoscopic!
not those here-and-now colours
but in memory

cloudy sky is filled
full of black twiggy branches
a large crow shoots past

picket fence and trees
standing tall like sentinels
like sad sentinels

comes-on quietly
so benign the sensation
so bloody empty!

this revelation
times at last you think you know
shrug! alas you don’t

fleeting memory
self-flagellation head-shake
another one lost

again and again
scene full of twiggy branches
black crow descending

🙁 😥

Lessons from the Internet

Lessons from the Internet – If you never learn how to fail, you will never learn to scale!

Landfill Harmonic movie

Who cares what it smells like, it’s what it sounds like that matters. See the first 54 seconds, and then you will be hooked.

10 things extraordinary bosses give employees

Got a really good read from Jerome, fellow Avanade colleague – ten extraordinary things bosses give their employees. Not surprisingly, good bosses care about getting important things done. And exceptional bosses care about their people.

  1.  Autonomy and independence
  2. Clear expectation
  3. Meaningful objectives
  4. The true sense of purpose
  5. Opportunities to provide significant input
  6. A real sense of connection
  7. Reliable consistency
  8. Private criticism
  9. Public praise
  10. The chance for meaningful future

More details here.

Google Logic

I came across this very interesting article in the guardian called “Google logic: why Google does the things it does the way it does“. This is a fascinating insight and a lot of it makes sense to me. What was also interesting to understand a little more on how the mindset is very different from the other corporates and technology leaders out there. Especially interesting the self-righteous view one perceives that Google has of themselves. It is a little long, but worth a read.

Broke my Microsoft Surface Pro device!

I am probably the only guy on the planet who broke his Surface Pro device! 😳 So much so that the screen shattered – so much for Gorilla glass and all that!

I was starting out on a 4 week long trip and the Surface slipped and fell at the airport when taking it out for the X-Ray machine. It fell on one corner and the screen shattered. With small pieces of glass everywhere on it, it was not usable. However it did work when I switched it on a week later. Here are a few photos that show the extend of the damage and the fact that it was still working post that!

Surface Pro 1 Surface Pro 4 Surface Pro 3 Surface Pro 2

Thought of the day

Whilst the following was said in the context of mobile ad-hoc network (MANETs) I believe it can hold of many situations that life throws at us.

Efficiency and quality are of equal importance!! Both come from experience, not from study. Study as you go, don’t assume that you’re ready for the real world because you studied first.

—Jon Davis

Realisation of the Day

A common mistake people make when designing a computer system completely fool proof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools 🙂

Is technology making us less human?

Guardian story Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US where a number of academics have done studies which conclude that Twitter and Facebook don’t connect people, but on the contrary they isolate them from reality got me thinking about this and wonder if Technology is making us less human!

MIT professor Sherry Turkle’s new book Alone Together (which seems interesting and is something I have not had the bandwidth to check out), is leading an attack on the information age. It does seem to agree with the recent articles like Is Google making us Stupid? I don’t quite understand Facebook (even though I have been more on it recently); my views on Facebook are quite well known, especially in the context of privacy and security. If I talk to a friend who could be in Delhi or San Francisco, I don’t feel as connected having a dialogue with him or her over Facebook as I do when talking on the phone, IM or even email. Often people thing just because they have posted something on Facebook, that is the end of it – it almost seems at times, I am too lazy and can’t be bothered, so will post a message and get it over with – or as they say in Punjabi – “syapa mukao”. 🙂

In a related note, but a little different context I do think the vast information available to us is making us more stupid and we are forgetting the ability to learn, grasp, understand and appreciate the basics and fundamentals. When something is a quick Bing or Google away it makes us all very complacent. It also means that for us sitting down and reading something which is more than a few paragraphs is getting very difficult. I know I can also see this happening first hand. And I notice it every day at work – especially as the newer and younger generation joins the workforce; things that I would take for granted or appreciate does not seem to be the same. Of course and sites like LMBTFY and LMGTFY don’t help.

I was quite stuck by this paragraph from the article Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The process of adapting to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the changing metaphors we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. When the mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating “like clockwork.” Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them as operating “like computers.” But the changes, neuroscience tells us, go much deeper than metaphor. Thanks to our brain’s plasticity, the adaptation occurs also at a biological level.

I think it would be good for me to get a copy of Alone Together and then maybe post something back (feel free to comment below if you have read the book and got any feedback). Of course I do see the irony in the fact a geek like me talking about possibly to using less Technology.

What Baby App?

Any suggestions for any a good iPhone App for tracking Baby feeds, sleeping, pumping, etc. that the wife can use?

Below is a list of what I was able to find online; some of these on reading the reviews seem better than others but no one specifically stood out. Anyone with real world experience?

As of now, we are leaning towards Total Baby.

How to best use TFS?

So you have a team (somewhat like mine right now) which is inexperienced with TFS and not very sure about this whole branching, merging, shelveset thinggy and extremely nervous when using it.

So, what will you do? Well you might try and train them, show them how to use it, write documents showing how to use it, have processes in place, try and use some tools to help, etc.

But, what do they do? Well this seems to be along the lines …. 🙄

Being a coder - made easy

Byte order marks and CRLFs?

It continues to surprise me that people who write software for a living these days (i.e professional developers) have no understanding of what byte order marks are and how they relate to different encodings. Most developers I interact with have no clue – including of course how EF BB BF differs from FF FE. Also so few of them have a understanding of linefeeds and how that differs from Unix to Windows.

If this is the trend, then it probably is not a good sign of the times to come.