Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) Instagram (@sholden), or Facebook (sholden). I also recommend checking out my AztecMedia.net produced sites: Chvrches Fan Podcast (@chvrchespodcast), ThePodCraft Beer Show (@thepodcraft, @techguysteve, Untapped, @techguysteven); Tech News Radio (@technewsradio), Air Gapped Networks (@airgapnet), Jersey Boys Podcast, and Veteran Stories. [Updated: May 9, 2021]


Thoughts & Tips for May 2021

Circle-blur-1This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

All but one of us is vaccinated. Guess which one? Ha Ha! #stay_home_if_sick, #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, #wear_a_mask

Theoaks2Christy and I had a great 2nd retreat to The Oaks to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary.  It was super reflective and restful.  Here are some photos!

I recently did a Getting Things Done (GTD) related presentation to Manager-Tools' M Conference attendees alumni group.  Here is more information about the presentation with an offer to present to other groups or organizations that are interested in productivity.

Scavenger-huntMy work did a virtual Spring Break scavenger hunt (above are some of the photos).  It was super fun and collaborative with friends & family helping out. It was also nice to get out-and-about little bit more. I highly recommend doing something like this if you have the opportunity.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Carson-lb-state-Carson is going to be graduating high-school soon, and has decided to go to Long Beach State to study nursing.  We are very proud and excited for her upcoming college season.

Summer vacation plans seem to be coming together: Mission Beach beach house rental, back to The Oaks, Def Con (Las Vegas), and camping at San Elijo State Beach.

I am hoping that my friend's D&D session (mentioned in previous posts) will get us through this epic battle I have been DMing for months, and on to a new "underwater" related adventure created by our other DM Darren.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Here are some greate Windows 10 tips from ZDNET. The one about the new Clipboard History is especially useful as I have had to use a 3rd party tool to do this in the past.  To open Clipboard History, press Windows key + V. Neat!

Wireless-podcast-gear

I have been experimenting with these Rode Wireless Go Compact Microphone Transmitter & Receiver Systems for The PodCraft Beer Show.  So far they are working well, and they definitely decrease the amount of gear I need to drag to each recording.  I think they are also making the conversational style of the podcast easier to record, and edit on the back end.  I'll probably do a future full review, so standby for more information.

Engadget's article on "Google makes it easy to jump back to the search box by pressing '/' -- The new shortcut makes it easier to refine your search results." should enable you to quickly expand searches to include addition terms.

I knew how to schedule the release of emails, but this article from Wired describes how to do this on Apple iOS devices and on Google Android devices for text messages.  Super handy to know.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” - Peter Drucker


Introduction To Getting Things Done (GTD) Presentation Offer

Title Slide

I was recently asked by the Manager-Tools.com team to present to their M-Conference monthly collaboration Zoom meeting on the topic of David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD).

It was a lot of fun to put together the material, share my personal GTD journey, summarize current training & coaching offerings, provide some tips & insights, and summarize some great resources available.  The Question & Answer (Q&A) during the presentation and at the end was also super cool.

This is what the presentation covered:

Table Of Contents

I would be more than willing to provide the same presentation to other groups or organizations. Just let me know!

As a bonus, here are all the links I referenced:

Also the company that did the GTD Workflow Map graphic for David Allen has a ton of free resources at: https://xplane.com/worksheets-subjects/people/.

And here are my notes from attending the M Conference in 2019. 


Thoughts & Tips for March & April 2021

Blur2This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

All is good health-wise and no major COVID-19 impacts.  We are looking forward to vaccines. #stay_home_if_sick, #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, #wear_a_mask

Some how I didn't get around to a February post.  Things have been pretty focused at home (taxes, CISSP Continuing Education (CE) credits, ThePodCraft, etc), and work (new role) which is probably why it never got to the top of the priority list.

LOOK FORWARD TO

Our visit to the The Oaks (our photos from our 1st trip) to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary is coming up soon.  And I am going to be taking some annual leave from work the first full week of April just after Easter.

I continue to be Dungeon Mastering (DMing) for my Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) group.  We have been slogging through the "epic" battle over 5 or 6 sessions (3-4 hours of real-time) to play 5+ minutes in game time (each turn has been 6 seconds long). I think the "snatch-&-grab" adventure I was planning is going to be something to do later, as our other DM is ready with his next adventure.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Wired recently published some great Gmail tips that are worth reviewing if you are a Google Gmail user.

I learned a few things about how to better use Virtual Desktops on Chrome OS in this article.  I am currently using four: Main, GTD, Social, & Media.

I am not much of a wine drinker but I thought this graphic I found on Reddit to be helpful enough that I saved it into my REFERENCE library in Google Keep:

Wine

I believe I have a pretty good online password strategy.   Here are some times related to cracking common password patterns.  This is why your passwords need more complexity as of 2021.  The bad news is that every year going forward the time to crack passwords is going to get less as processors/memory/storage/cache/technologies/approaches/etc. get better:

Password Crack Times By Complexity

I have been using LastPass for several years (paying customer), and I still find it to meet my needs: works across many devices, Family Plan, easy to have different passwords per site, and complex generated passwords can be customized.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit


Thoughts & Tips For February 2021

Red-blurThis photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

January seemed to be on cruise-control here at our home.  All is good health-wise and no major COVID-19 impacts.  One super great blessing is that Christy's school where she teaches has been able to hold classes since September with no major issues.

Suite-dude

The attack on the Capital was horrific. It is shocking to me that so many in the Senate and the House are so supportive of the Cult of Trump. I'm not confident much will change with the impending Impeachment #2.

The kids are back in school, and we are back to juggling spaces, times for video calls, etc.  But we are getting pretty good at that!

LOOK FORWARD TO

Conrad is turning twenty-two this month and seems to be enjoying SDSU. He and a friend did a fun video recently called "The Shed" (YouTube)!

It looks like Christy and I are going to be headed back to The Oaks (our photos from our 1st trip) in April which should be a great retreat as we celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary.

I am going to be Dungeon Mastering (DMing) for my Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) group two little side adventures over the next month or so. One is an "epic" battle and another is going to be a "snatch-&-grab."

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Here is a great visualization of the Pomodoro Technique for breaking up focused work into time slices that I've found to be pretty effective especially when working a big project:

The_pomodoro-technique

I also ran across this graphic on tips for camera settings that I've saved off in Google Keep for easy access:

Photo-Cheat-Sheet

This article -- "Comic-Con 2019: Former CIA agents explain 6 ways to conduct and evade surveillance" -- has some technology tips worth reading from a perspective of how to be more private and secure with your phones and devices.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit


The California Representatives That Supported Election Fraud Claims

Representatives-california-who-voted-against-2020-election-results

The above California House of Representative Members all voted on January 7, 2021 to challenge the legitimate election of Joe Biden as President of the United States of America. (ABC7) (NYT) (TheVerge)

By the end of the day on January 7, 2021 the U.S. Capital was attacked by terrorists in an attempted insurrection to keep Donald Trump in office.

Here is some references on them:


Thoughts & Tips For January 2021

Pine-needle-treeThis photo is part of my Nature Collection!

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

Over the past month we have been celebrating outdoors & socially distanced the Holidays, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Best of all is that we continue to be blessed with a hedge of protection with regards to COVID-19 and health in general.

Christmas2020

Unfortunately I do have some bad news -- on Saturday morning (December 26) we found out our elderly black lab Kaley escaped our yard, and we have not been able to find her.  We are all very concerned and sad.  But we continue to hold out hope she will be found:

Screenshot 2021-01-01 at 1.08.46 PM

SUPER FUN ADVENT CRAFT BEER CALENDAR

Chris and Charlie -- the hosts of ThePodcraft Beer Show -- gave me this awesome customized Advent Calendar filled with twenty-four excellent craft beers:

Thepodcraft-advent-calendar

You can see photos, descriptions, and top 3 list here!

HOLIDAY SCAVENGER HUNT

The NAVWAR Enterprise had a fun virtual scavenger hunt for employees and their families over the weekend of December 18-20, 2020.  The family had a good time working on it.  We didn't finish in the Fastest Top 30, but we got everything done!

Scavenger-hunt

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If you are looking for a great coffee mug, tea kettle, desk/garden creatures, or unique stickers/t-shirts/etc. then check out Skeletal Dropkick!  I am enjoying my new Bear Mug, and custom D&D stickers!  I also got an original custom drawing on my box! FUN!

Skeletal-dropkick

If you are doing "family" tech support for folks on multiple platforms, then check out the free Chrome Remote Desktop tool from Google.  It works cross platform, and also works on Chromebooks.  I personally use this nearly on a daily basis to get from my Chromebook to my Windows 10 PC for Windows-based activities.

This site puts some things in perspective on what has changed since you were born - https://neal.fun/life-stats/. It includes a lot of positive data, and not so much on data that might be controversial, but definitive worth trying out.

This great calendar visualization of 2021 continuous year from Kairos Cognition (a productivity consulting & consulting firm associated with David Allen's Getting Things Done) inspired me to create my own version in Google Docs which I published in PDF.  This is what mine looks like:

My-Continuous-Wall-Calendar-2021

In discussing this continuous year calendar on the GTD Connect forms, a fellow member shared his own horizontal version.  I copied it (PDF) and here is what it looks like:

My-Continuous-Wall-Calendar-2021-Horizontal

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” — George Carlin


2020 Christmas Advent Craft Beer Calendar

I got the following Christmas Advent Craft Beer Calendar from Chris & Charlie who host ThePodCraft Beer Show (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook):Beer-advent-calendarCraft Beer #1:

1

"Centre" (Imperial India Pale Ale (IPA)) [untapped] from Other Half 

Craft Beer #2:2

"Motueka Daydream" (Oak Cream New England-style IPA) [untapped] from Other Half

Craft Beer #3:

3

"Tropic Of Thunder" (Lager) [untapped] from Stone Brewing

Craft Beer #4:

4

"Yodale" (Coconut Lager) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #5:

5

"Lilikoi Sour" (Sour Ale) [untapped] from Harland Brewing

Craft Beer #6:

6

"Dort" (Dortmunder-style Lager) [untapped] from Modern Times

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #7:

7

"Circle Of Hops" (San Diego Pale Ale) [untapped] from Burning Beard

Craft Beer #8:

8

"BCN Fog" (Double Dry Hopped Bi-Coastal Double IPA) [untapped] from Humble Sea

Craft Beer #9:

9

"Pseudo Sue" (Pale Ale) [untapped] from Toppling Goliath

Craft Beer #10:

10

"Tree Hugger" (Tart Ale with tropical dragon fruit, passion fruit, and coconut) [untapped] from Great Notion with Pure Project

Craft Beer #11:

11

"The Pupil" (IPA) [untapped] from Societe Brewing Company

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #12:

12

"Autumn Gold" (Murky IPA) [untapped] from Pure Project

Craft Beer #13:

13

"Smacker's Mango Passionfruit" (Fruited Sour Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Craft Beer #14:

14

"Covington" (American Pilsner) [untapped] from North Park Brewing Co.

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #15:

15

"H-C (Hecto-Cooler)" (Fruited Imperial Sour Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Craft Beer #16:

16

"Fingers Of Gold" (Murky IPA) [untapped] from Pure Project

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #17:

17

"Where Vultures Fare" (German-Style Pilsner) [untapped] from Burning Beard

Craft Beer #18:

18

"Blueberry vs. Lime" (Sour Smoothie Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Craft Beer #19:

19

"Bluemeboshi" (Imperial Sour Ale with salted plum & blueberries) [untapped] from Pure Project

Craft Beer #20:

20

"SuperFun!" (Double Dry Hopped Pale Ale) [untapped] from Other Half

Craft Beer #21:

21

"Reality Maze" (Imperial Stout with Coconut & Vanilla) [untapped] from Modern Times

Craft Beer #22:

22

"Passion Pool" (Gose Style Ale with passionfruit & sea salt) [untapped] from MKSD (Mikkeller San Diego)

Craft Beer #23:

23

"Strata Rocket" (Wet Hopped West Coast IPA) [untapped] from North Park Beer Co.

Craft Beer #24:

24

"Larry's Latest" (Sour Ale) [untapped] from Bell's Brewery

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

My favorite top three beers from this year's advent calendar:

  1. "H-C (Hecto-Cooler)" (Fruited Imperial Sour Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature
  2. "BCN Fog" (Double Dry Hopped Bi-Coastal Double IPA) [untapped] from Humble Sea
  3. "Motueka Daydream" (Oak Cream New England-style IPA) [untapped] from Other Half

Thoughts & Tips For December 2020

Wood-dec-2020This photo is part of my Wood Collection. It was taken at The Oaks! Also check out my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

We continue to be blessed with a hedge of protection with regards to COVID-19 and health in general. We continue to be vigilant and focused with:

  • #wear_a_mask
  • #wash_your_hands
  • #social_distance
  • #stay_home_if_sick

We had a great socially distanced & 90% outside close family Thanksgiving. The only downside was not having lots of left overs.  I hope yours went well.  Onward into Christmas!

Related to the election, I am not surprised this is being dragged on.  Hard to have a dialog with people who don't want to listen, don't want to change, and see others as their mortal enemy.  We need more conversations and learning around common good like what is being offered here!

THESE ALL FEEL LIKE THEY ARE ON CRUISE CONTROL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show just published Episode #20.  So much fun!  See below for proof!
  • D&D with friends from high school continues to be a blast.  My Halfling Fighter just leveled up to 6th level!
  • I had one Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in November.  It was in-person with only 5 people which worked out better than expected.  One more planned for December (already full at 9 people).  I will more than likely offer at least one virtual and one in-person in January. - one virtual and one in-person. 
  • The LEVELS experiment I mentioned last month is done.  I didn't end up learning anything more than what I outlined in November
  • We recently treated the family to a "STAYCATION" in Pacific Beach. It was awesome:

Beach-nov-2020

BEST ADVENT CALENDAR EVER?

The hosts of ThePodcraft Beer Show -- Chris & Charlie -- gave me this awesome DIY customized Advent Calendar filled with what I can only imagine is great craft beer.  

Thepodcraft-advent-calendar

I plan to post a lot of images on social media.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

I am a big fan of a book by Gene Kim called "The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" (Kindle, Audiobook) which prompted me recently to read "The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement" by Eliyahu Goldratt (Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback), and Gene's follow-on to "The Phoenix Project" called "The Unicorn Project: A Novel About Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data " (Kindle, Audiobook).  All three are excellent as they turn technical and process improvement efforts into real-world fictional stories that are engaging and insightful. If you are delivering technology capabilities, and haven't read these, then I highly recommend getting them in your queue. #continuously_learning or #going_nowhere

If you are looking for a Christmas Advent Devotional then check out our church's "God With Us" (PDF).

Once a year, right after Thanksgiving, I go through every email that is "SUBSCRIBED," and decide if I want to continue to SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE.  So far in 2020, UNSUBSCRIBE is winning!

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened." ― Sir Winston S. Churchill


Thoughts & Tips For November 2020

IMG_7341This photo is part of my Wood Collection.  Also check out  my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

It is quite a blessing that we continue to be healthy on the COVD-19 front. We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick. 

My candidate for President of the United States in 2020 continues to be Jo Jorgensen. Hopefully the Presidential election will not end up with a lot of legal battles, and the country can come together on whomever wins. We need to change the narrative about how to disagree agreeably, debating with facts & science, and stop the militarization of politics and public discord.

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show has had a lot of great craft beers recently. Fun times.
  • D&D game play continues and is super fun.
  • I had two Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in October - one virtual and one in-person.  They both went pretty well.  The virtual one still needs some debugging.

HEALTH EXPERIMENT

I've been doing a 28-day glucose test using LEVELS.  I learned about the offering via this podcast that Kevin Rose had with Josh Clemente -- "Why track your glucose levels?".  A couple of things I've learned with my intermittent fasting routine:

  • Fruit, juice, etc. (anything with sugar) shouldn't be in the first hour of my eight hour eating window.
  • Yoplait yogurt tastes great, but that is probably because of the sugar which nearly always spikes my glucose.
  • I can keep my glucose levels less "spikey" if I eat my normal fruit serving in two half-settings spread out over 15-20 minutes.
  • Looking more at labels of things trying to add food items with less sugar.
  • Walking or riding my bike after eating keeps my glucose levels more "flat."
  • IPAs, Pale Ales, Lagers, etc. don't seem to increase my glucose levels.  All the new stouts, fruit beers, and some sours with a lot of fruit that I've now trying because of ThePodCraft do "spike" my glucose levels.
  • Gin & tonics, & bourbon do not seem to increase my glucose levels.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If you need to export your Google Keep notes, then here is how to get them out in individual HTML files => TIP!

Another good tip if you are using a Chromebook:

Good tip to share

Another good Chromebook tip is to make sure your Downloads directory in Chrome is not the Downloads directory on the local drive of the Chromebook.  I recommend switching it to a folder in Google Drive.  If you ever have to Powerwash your Chromebook back to factory reset, then you will more than likely not lose any data.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"If we have 6 hours to cut a tree, the wise will use 4 hours to sharpen the axe." - Abraham Lincoln


Thoughts & Tips For October 2020

Wood-oct-2020This photo is part of my Wood Collection.  Also check out  my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

We are AOK on the COVD-19 front.  We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick.  

My candidate for President of the United States in 2020 continues to be Jo Jorgensen. I think she would have been great in the 1st debate (#letherspeak, #letherdebate), but that didn't happen.  I think the Presidential Debates need to move back to a non-partisan group like League of Women Voters as the Presidential Debate Commission is just run by the Republican & Democratic parties with no interest in real republican democracy and a free marketplace of ideas.

Theoaks1Christy and I had a wonderful opportunity to do a self-guided retreat with COVID-19 protections at The Oaks the last weekend in September. It was an amazing weekend -- where we were able to relax, connect, and grow. Here are some photos of the amazing facilities and grounds.  And here are some pictures of nature from around the area.  Highly recommended!  If you have any questions, then please let me know.

Theoaks2

I also managed to record the event bell on the last day.  There are two versions.  One with little changes from the original recording:

And another where I tried to clean up the audio a little bit:

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show continues to put out weekly shows.  It is a lot of fun.
  • Still playing D&D. It is also a lot of fun.
  • I taught a socially distanced -- with additional COVID-19 protections -- Getting Things Done (GTD) class at work in September.  It went pretty well.  Next up is a virtual GTD class in early October.  That is going to be a learning experience!

EXPERIMENTING WITH MEDITATION

I'm still enjoying my emerging meditation practice. I got a couple of emails about my meditation post from last month, and the benefits others have had with meditation. The Oak app that I have been using to help me build out my practice has three main functions  (HOME, COURSES, GROWTH):

Oak1

Under the HOME you will see (I use the Meditate > Unguided):

Oak3

And under COURSES you will see (at the time of this post) just one available course (but more are planned):

Oak2

If you press on GROWTH you will see your personal tracker on how you are doing by day.  I can see my current streak and my longest streak for Meditate > Unguided since this the only one I am using at this time.  It is pretty simple and well designed.  I recommend it if you are looking for something to experiment with.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

My favorite audio editing program is still the open-source application Audacity.  It works on Macs, Windows, and Linux.

The two days a week I am riding my bike with a stationary-trainer on our backyard porch, I am nearly always watching videos from this You Tube channel Indoor Cycling Videos. They are excellent!

For the last month or so, I have been trying to look at my Getting Things Done (GTD) Next Action lists and my Projects list as something doable in the next 7 days.  So far, I've seen more throughput in completing more projects and tasks.  Items that are outside of 7 days are moved to the Later list in Nirvana for my personal system, and a similar Next Actions (Later) list in Microsoft Outlook Tasks for my work system.  These Later lists are then reviewed using  a lens of -- "is this doable in a month" -- and if the answer is "No", then the item moves to Someday/Maybe.  This has definitely increased the number of "Someday/Maybe" items, but that has been manageable since I am reviewing them once a week during my Weekly Review.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“Having resentment against someone is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill your enemy.” ― Nelson Mandela