- UK Guardian: Timeline of the Universe – “Using observatories on the earth and in space, astronomers have been able to study the nature of the cosmos in unprecedented detail. By analysing the motion of distant galaxies, they have discovered that the whole cosmos is expanding under the influence of forces unleashed at its birth in the big bang.“
- Inform IT: Interview With Don Knuth – “I might as well flame a bit about my personal unhappiness with the current trend toward multicore architecture. To me, it looks more or less like the hardware designers have run out of ideas, and that they’re trying to pass the blame for the future demise of Moore’s Law to the software writers by giving us machines that work faster only on a few key benchmarks! “
- John Dvorak: Vista’s 11 Pillars of Failure – “You get the sense that Microsoft just piles code on top of code and somewhere in the middle of it all is MS-DOS 1.0.“
- NPR: Home Prices Drop Most in Areas with Long Commute – “Recent studies suggest that buyers underestimated the costs of their long commutes. Those expenses can add up to more than the buyers saved on the home.“
- Steven Pearlstein: The Bottom Is Up Ahead – “What if, for the better part of a decade, the United States had been living way beyond its means, consuming more than it produced and investing more than it saved? What if China and Taiwan and Saudi Arabia and even Japan were willing to finance that trade deficit on easy terms because it allowed them to peg their currencies to the dollar in a way that generated higher job creation and economic growth in their home markets?“
I’ve been suffering under the weight of an overfilled work inbox for far too long. Although I would do my best to stay on top of things, it has been a challenge to simply keep up, let alone make any headway. Far too often, I run into someone at a conference and they will say “I sent you an email.” I then have to switch in to apology mode and tell them that I’ve been drowning in email (which is the truth).
I decided against email bankruptcy. The situation isn’t that hopeless, and these are all business contacts. It would be rude, unprofessional, and counterproductive to simply throw them out and start over.
Instead, I decided to devote more of my time to working through the backlog and (just as important) to start tracking my progress on a daily basis. Like losing weight (another project for this year) getting caught up with your email is a long process, not something that can be taken care of overnight.
So, on March 31st I recorded the number of messages in my inbox at the start of the day, did my best to get the ending point, below the starting point, and iterated day by day. I had 1,941 things in my inbox at the beginning of the day and 1,873 in the day. This is the net progress, which includes the dozens of emails which show up and are processed during the day. I’ve been making good headway day by day and am now down to 1,334 messages. In about 2 weeks I have chewed through about 31% of my inbox. Here’s my record:
It turns out that tracking my progress (or lack thereof) on a daily basis is key. I used a Google Docs Spreadsheet so that I could get to the same data from the office, my home, or on the road (cloud computing, what a great concept .
Note that processed means that I have done as much as I possibly can to move the message forward. It doesn’t mean that I turned the message into a TODO item or that I moved it into a different folder for some later time which will never come. The message has been handled or it doesn’t count.
After I get my work inbox under control, I will start on my personal inbox. There are 3500 messages and the oldest one is from November of 2005. I may try the Mail Trends tool that I found in Life Hacker.
PS – Don’t email me to congratulate me; that would wreck my statistics!
- Joy of Tech: Warning Labels for Bloggers – “Caution: Excessive Twittering can seriously harm you and your followers. – Hilarious.”
- GEGL: Generic Graphics Library – “GEGL’s original design was made to scratch GIMP’s itches for a new compositing and processing core. This core is being designed to have minimal dependencies. and a simple well defined API.“
- Alex Iskold: The American Dream: 17 Years of Engineering Software – “The final project was to write an editor in Assembly 8086; and for over three weeks I was trying all possible combinations of letters and digits that could make the program run. I got it, but it was really like monkeys typing Shakespeare.“
- Me: Storage Space, The Final Frontier – “I am excited to be able to tell you about an entire new feature, a feature so new that it doesn’t even have a proper name, and that you can’t use just yet. But you can read about it and you can start thinking about the best way to incorporate it into your system architecture.“
- Journal of Virtual Worlds Research – “The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is a online, open access academic journal that adheres to the highest standards of peer review and engages established and emerging scholars from anywhere in the world“
- Firefox Add-Ins: Thumbstrips – “ThumbStrips is a Firefox extension that creates a filmstrip of thumbnails so you can see your history, and stop guessing at page names in the history sidebar.“
- Mitch Wagner: Qwaq Brings Virtual Worlds To Business Collaboration – “The power of virtual worlds is that they trick your brain into thinking you’re actually sharing a physical space with other people, participating in a shared activity. As a result, conversations and collaboration are richer. People who’d remain silent in a conference call, Webex, or chatroom will speak up in a meeting in a virtual world.“
- Piet Huk: Virtual Laboratories and Virtual Worlds – “Rarely in my life have I so completely misjudged a situation. Getting an existing group to make the transition to a totally new mode of communication turned out to be effectively impossible. Trying to change given ways of doing things provoked far more resistance than I had expected, in both my astrophysics and my interdisciplinary collaborations. Simply put, that just didn’t work, period.“
- Garrett Mace: Project ShiftBrite – “ShiftBrite is a simple device I am designing and producing. It allows easy control of a bright RGB LED. The interface is a straightforward clocked serial data line and a latch input.” – Via Make.
- Reuters: IBM to Host Private Second Life Regions – “Under the new project, currently in beta testing and set to go live within several weeks, IBM employees will be able to move freely between the public areas of Second Life and private areas which are hosted behind IBM’s corporate firewall. This will enable the company to have sensitive discussions and disclose proprietary information without having the data pass through Linden Lab’s servers.“
- Music From Outer Space: Welcome to Music From Outer Space – “This website assumes a basic level of electronics proficiency and knowledge. To build the projects found here you must be able to read and understand schematics, relate schematics to physical components, solder, do panel wiring, case building, and troubleshooting. None of these projects has step by step instructions to follow. “
- [Wikipedia: Pando](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree)) – “Pando is a clonal colony of a single male Quaking Aspen tree located in the U.S. state of Utah, all determined to be part of a single living organism by identical genetic markers and one massive underground root system.“