Posts

Cutting down on clutter with the Outbox Method

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We are only human, descendants of Homo Habilis the tool user, and we get emotionally attached to our tools and memorabilia, loath to discard anything that has use or value or recalls memories.  In time this causes clutter as we acquire more durable goods than we donate, recycle or discard.  When I chose to move from Cape Town to Ireland, I also desired to strip away clutter and start afresh with only things I would actually use, plus a few sentimental or beautiful items.  In the process, I've refined a trivially simple but effective method to cut down clutter and prevent accumulation sometimes called the Outbox Method.

Taking notes in a notebook made from trees

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A few weeks ago I started a new job that calls for a lot of training, and I chose to take notes using a dead-tree notebook instead of a notebook computer (gasp!).  The notebook itself was conference swag dating from 2011, and happened to be a a Moleskine Ruled Soft Notebook Large (13x21cm, 192 pages). I have since grown fond of it and finished the last page today. Yesterday I bought another despite the disturbingly high price per page (on Amazon it's about 30% less and still pricey).

Review and summary of "The Blue Zones"

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The book is titled "The Blue Zones: Lessons for living longer from the people who've lived the
longest" by Dan Buettner.  The big idea is that some parts of the world have significantly more people living to 100 years old than the global average, so let's see what's different or notable about how them and their ways of living, because maybe there's something to learn from them.  There's a smattering of input from scientists at the beginning and end of the book, but the bulk of the content is personal observations, anecdotes from centenarians, and travelogue of Buettner's "Blue Zone Quest".

Warning: "look at the successful people" is a common approach popularised by the "get rich" sub-genre of self-help books. But what the approach finds is possibly-spurious correlations.  For example, Dan observed that several centenarians are fond of an evening glass of red wine , or port, or saki - but it is a massive jump from observin…

Summary of Time Management for System Administrators

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This post summarises and reviews the book "Time Management for System Administrators" (companion site: Everything Sysadmin) by Thomas A. Limoncelli.   My role increasingly includes systems to administer, which means more interruptions taking away from development projects, so hopefully this will be useful.

MemSQL's recipe for a SQL database that's as fast as memcached

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This post summarises the points I found interesting in the longer High Scalability post entitled "MemSQL Architecture - The Fast (MVCC, InMem, LockFree, CodeGen) And Familiar (SQL)" that gives an overview of the architecture of MemSQL, which is a SQL database reinvented for 21st-century hardware.  MemSQL's developers claim it to be the fastest database in the world, or at least so fast that you won't benefit from memcached, thus simplifying your app architecture.

A comparison of file synchronisation software

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This is my biased comparison of the following free software for local file
synchronisation: FreeFileSync, SyncToy, Create Synchronicity, cwRsync, WinRoboCopy, Unison, DirSyncPro and Synkron.

TL;DR: FreeFileSync is the best of the bunch, especially for two-way sync.

Given uncapped internet and money to spare, Dropbox would be an excellent all-round solution that puts your files on every computer you use and keeps them all in sync, and lets you recover deleted files.    I also use Google Drive for for document storage: word processing, spreadsheets and PDFs.   However, for those of us with multiple computers, need for backups, and caps on our home internet connection, there remains a requirement for offline software to synchronise camera photos, videos and other large files.

Powering the future

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I'm concerned about the potential for anthropogenicclimate change to irrevocably damage
ecosystems and biodiversity, and cause a lot of human suffering.  I'm also excited about the potential of new technology to mitigate the damage by reducing carbon emissions.

I found myself thinking about the technologies I've read about that could help, and below I've collected some of my favourites that, in my amateur opinion, have the potential to greatly reduce carbon emission in residences, commerce and wheeled-transport.

Energy Efficiency
Greater efficiency can reduce the building of new coal power, as well as make it more feasible to supply residences and commerce from wind and solar resources.
Replacing residential and commercial incandescent and halogen lamps with LED lamps & computer-controlled timing.   LEDs go one better than fluorescent.Replacing street lamps with dimmable LED street lights.  Traffic lights already under way.Replacing residential and commercial elect…