Thursday, January 11, 2007

As promised...

Here are those links I collected today:

Someone once said that if you were to make a list of your 10 closest friends and acquaintances and order your earnings and theirs from smallest to greatest, you'd probably find yourself somewhere near the middle. All that this means is that we are subtly influenced by our friends, even when we're not aware of it, especially in matters of money. Being somewhere in the middle is probably more comfortable for the average person.
Top 25 Personal Finance Myths -

Those who do have profiles view them infrequently, if at all, once the account is created and the initial enthusiasm fades. Barely a fifth are accessed "several" times while just 26 per cent are used once a day by their owner.

In further findings, Pew debunks the myth teens are leaving themselves open to predatory adults by making too much personal information available online. Sixty six percent have ensured their profile is protected and cannot be openly viewed.

Bubble bursts on Web 2.0 site membership claims | The Register

And if the Higgs is lighter than physicists thought, then we might not have to wait for the Large Hadron Collider, a brand new, massive particle smasher, to come online at CERN, the European particle physics lab. The LHC is scheduled to start smacking stuff into each other this year. Instead, the folks who run the Tevatron, the big collider at Fermilab in Illinois, might be able to nab the Higgs first.
Wired Science -

British scientists are preparing to launch trials of a radical new way to fight cancer, which kills tumours by infecting them with viruses like the common cold.
Common cold virus may be new weapon to fight cancer | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited -

Last fall, he put his revolutionary polemic into action with Manifesto Games, a site where you can buy and download computer games that, like Gibbage (shown at left), are too lo-res, too niche, or just too damn weird for retail shelves.
Wired 15.01: PLAY -

As you can see, FileMenu Tools rolls several simple utilities we've posted about before into one nice package. Add to that the ability to create your own custom commands (your imagination is the limit, really), and this freeware, Windows-only tool looks pretty good. — Adam Pash
Download of the Day: FileMenu Tools (Windows) - Lifehacker -

According to Eric Thompson of AccessData, a typical password consists of a root plus an appendage. A root isn't necessarily a dictionary word, but it's something pronounceable. An appendage is either a suffix (90 percent of the time) or a prefix (10 percent of the time).

So the first attack PRTK performs is to test a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords, things like "letmein," "password," "123456" and so on. Then it tests them each with about 100 common suffix appendages: "1," "4u," "69," "abc," "!" and so on. Believe it or not, it recovers about 24 percent of all passwords with these 100,000 combinations.

Note created January 11, 2007Schneier on Security: Choosing Secure Passwords -

Like Dustin mentioned in his latest post, Origami Experience™ is the newer, cooler, more functional version of the Program Launcher. Not only can you quickly open your programs, files, folders, or websites, but now you can now easily access your media content. Last but not least, we’ve listened to your feedback, and integrated all of the configuration tools directly into the application. No more extra applets to manage!
Team Blog : Origami Experience™ Feature Screenshots -

I can write essay after essay about the inefficacy of security cameras. I can talk about trade-offs, and the better ways to spend the money. I can cite statistics and experts and whatever I want. But -- used correctly -- stories like this one will do more to move public opinion than anything I can do.
Note created January 11, 2007Schneier on Security: Surveillance Cameras Catch a Cold-Blooded Killer -

Know that box of sad, unmarried, AC adaptors you've got lying around? Tim Matheson's quickie video video tutorial shows you how to hack 'em to power low voltage electronics.
Hack Your AC Adaptors To Power Low Voltage Electronics - Consumerist -

Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.
Workrave -

GTD is a great time management practice. There are many great applications out there to organize your tasks and your life using GTD. But when it comes to Outlook, a very popular application which manages mail, time and contacts, a user has only the option of plugins designed for GTD. Let’s face it. We all are reluctant to leave our favorite application and use another one just to manage tasks. And then? Another application for emails, another one for tasks? It can be really confusing.That’s why I developed Jello.Dashboard. It’s just a homepage for Outlook, easy to install and use and totally free.
Jello « Jello.Dashboard -

A stranger called Abbas. He knew where he lived in Manhattan, in the upper West 100's. He knew Abbas had a fireplace in his bedroom. Abass's apartment was not for rent, but the caller saw an ad on Craigslist saying it was. Abbas did not place this ad.
Blogger Finds Own Apartment Listed On Craigslist - Consumerist -

And thus ended that experiment. That took some extra special parsing with Vim... I only thought of the easier way as I was finishing this post, which is pulling the HTML from the print version of the notebook instead of the functional one. I will also post my editing commands to remove all of the notebook functional crap shortly.

Hard to hold onto resolutions...

Haha, so much for updating every day. I'm lucky to get every other day.

However, I did make progress. I got into Wesabe, which is an interesting form of free Quicken for the web. It is rather slick, and has already spotted issues with my spending habits. I need to review all of my subscription services and clarify if I need them or not. Thank you again Lifehacker.

I've also really optimized my method of using Google Notebook. I now have the browser extension that lets me insert notes into a right click. I will be appending some insightful quotes into a links-tagged posting on an occasional basis. I do read a whole lot of news sites between coding jobs and this tool really makes it easy to recall all that I found interesting or relevant.

This weekend will be dedicated to organizing papers. I have a whole stack, and with taxes looming, it'd be a good time to start preparing.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Spam sucks...

I have two accounts, one of which (unfortunately my main one) is impossible to use due to the daily choking of spam. I get about 250 spam messages on it a day. No joke. The filters do catch 90% of it, but that still leaves 25 a day to clean out manually. I think I'll make it one of my goals this year to keep my email down to 0 each day.

Anywho, good morning. I'm slowly adjusting my schedule (goal #19) waking up earlier and earlier each day (today it was 0609h). One day I'll be at the goal time of 0500h, which will let me exercise in the mornings, meditate, and do my brain exercises all without losing my schedule. I think that I'll also work on posting twice a day, once at the beginning of each day, and once at the end. It'll help to bracket my day a little bit. At the very least recording my waking time in the morning will let me keep track of my progress.

Speaking of progress tracking, while 43things is a great tool for making resolutions, it's not so good at tracking progress. I may have to create a tool for this, because there doesn't seem to be a good one out there to record this kind of general progress. For now, I'll keep the info in an XML, just to parse it later. One of my biggest problems though is that I don't like to record failure. That'll be a psychological hurdle for me to surpass.

At least I'm not feeling nearly as groggy as I was yesterday. That's an improvement.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

New day new post...

I love sundays.

I was able to finish a whole bottle of sake last night and play some Okami. I played until 0200h, when my fatigue kicked in and I zonked. The place is much more organized, as Dawn and I have built some organizers, then scoured the bathroom and the kitchen. This place is almost livable.

I got to play only after Dawn finished with Final Fantasy X, which she hasn't played through. I'm starting to believe that pursuing the current generation game machines aren't all it's cracked up to be; it's just as entertaining to play the older games, and there are a lot that I haven't played. Besides, with all my dedications (see list on right), I only have one night to really get into anything game-related, and that's Saturday night.

Anyway, I played out the perfect morning. Woke up late, ate breakfast first thing, cleaned up thoroughly, did my meditations, reading, and brain exercises (Brain Age, Konductra, Sudoku), and am writing in my blog. I obviously can't do this every day, so I have to compromise for workdays, but this feels pretty damned good. I also have to figure out how in the heck I'll fit in exercise. This wasn't a problem a couple months ago, but since I've fallen off of the wagon so to speak it's been a bit more difficult to get motivated in the morning. I'll have to come up with some sort of a schedule, then figure out how long it'll take me and retime my sleep schedule accordingly. I'm also going to figure out how to lighten my nighttime activity, so that getting to bed at 9-10pm isn't so difficult (this'll make getting up at 5 to have enough time to get going in the morning easier).

Also, I installed MSys and MinGW yesterday. I was having trouble with the wxHaskell toolchain under GHC6.6, and I figured I'd build from the ground up. I haven't coded C++ in a long time and now is as good a time as any to refresh my skills. If you haven't learned any Haskell, it's a fascinating language. It is the model functional language now, and can do a lot of stuff with very elegant code. It does take a lot of rewiring though.

I have about 4 or 5 different coding projects I do want to commence upon. I have a Swing coding project involving a new IDE system, which I've thought about for several years now but have done nothing towards. I also want to build my own brain training regime, based off of my reading and some other ideas that I've had about the subject. That, along with a new organizer program that I want to build in Haskell, and a new card game that I've placed in a Google Notebook called TaxiCab which is a variant of the Japanese series of card games involving Hanafuda cards called Koikoi (two things to note here: I discovered this fascinating variation of games from Clubhouse Games, and also learned at the same time that this is how Nintendo got its start as a company). Anyway, enough of that tangent. Needless to say I have a lot of coding work to do. I believe my track for today will be to get my papers organized, then vacuum, mop the kitchen (the one thing we didn't do yesterday), and then code for the rest of the afternoon, taking a break to come up with a daily plan for the next week.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

So much for keeping up on things....

Well that was an enduring week. I work in the financial sector, and the culture there encourages many extra man-hours. This 3 day week I put in only 40. At the very least they gave us more vacation, woo-hoo! I do love my job, but the culture can foster burnout if you're not prepared to balance your life. Anywho, that explains the hiatus. That and my laziness. :)

As far as my goal progress... I added more this week, yet they didn't hit me hard because I don't look at my goals on a daily basis. I'll need to build an applet for that. I already have it hooked into my Google page (using this) and that helps me remember at work. I also use the Google notebooks on my main page to record stuff regarding my goals while I'm at work so I remember to bring it home. I have started to read more, and I will be adding a link to my page that will let you know what I'm currently reading and maybe some blog posts about it as well. One of my goals this year is not only to read more but also to digest more of what I read instead of letting it flow in one eye and out the other. I am reading the MindHacks book right now, and although it's not a real hacks book per se, it teaches you about the brain and all that it is capable of. This book and the Lifehacker blog are part of the reason I wanted to start this blog in the first place. I wanted to record my progress on my resolutions, as well as the applications of life hacks on my own life, hence the term Viviomancy (not in dictionary, vivi = living, mancy = divination or presumption, aka attempting to predict the effects of hacks on my own life and analyzing my efforts). Besides, the term just sounds cool.

I'm also going to start another Mark Haddon book (I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time last year and loved it). How I came upon this book is rather interesting. I lend my stuff all the time, and am really patient about it. I have lost things because of this, but I don't care. You lend something to somebody when you don't use it anymore and you think that they'd benefit from it. Whether or not you get it back is moot because my rule is that I only lend out one thing at a time to a given person, meaning they could benefit more if they returned items. That being said, things do happen. I lent my copy of Curious Incident to a friend at work. She read the book but was in the process of moving and misplaced it. These things happen; she was so upset about it though, that not only did she buy me a new copy of the book but bought me another book by the same author. This kind of karmic action is really moving, and she totally earned points in my book from it. Funny enough, when she gave me the book I'm starting this weekend (A Spot of Bother) , her husband found Curious Incident in his nightstand. It seems that the book is spreading, which makes me happy.

Anyway, I'm adding another resolution to my list; I will update on a daily basis. This way I keep up on my items, review them and maybe make progress on them.