Thoughts & Tips For November 2018


Very Sad News

The majority of this post was written before I learned that my wonderful mother - Marlies Holden - passed away unexpectedly yesterday (10-31-2018).  I am currently at the airport leaving for Sacramento.  Please pray for me, my family, and all those hurting right now.


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Health Update

Again ... the Pilates physical therapy courses I have been taking have been making a big difference in my overall physical health.  My core is stronger and it has been almost 5 months since my major back pain incident -- basically everything is going better than expected (no pain, no real negative effects).  I am slowly getting back to running, but trying to keep that limited by doing intervals of running for 1 minute and then walking for 30 seconds (repeat 28x times).

Technology

I just ordered the new Kindle Paperwhite and I'm looking forward to the upgrade.  I really like reading on my Kindle vice phone or iPad.  

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Thankful For

My work related trips in September were good and productive. I really enjoyed the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio; and highly recommend going if you have 4-6 hours:

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And the trip to Omaha, NE was great because the weather was very enjoyable (these are pictures from an afternoon run):

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My last David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) class for FY2018 went well.  And the concert with Maggie Rogers and Mallrat was awesome:

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Future

We have some tentative plans to go to the mountains the weekend of Veterans Day, and then a trip to Palm Springs area just before Thanksgiving.  The week of Thanksgiving should be fun as we always host Thanksgiving dinner, and the family and some close friends play a friendly game of touch football before eating.  And then we can also start decorating for Christmas.

Tips

I watched on the plane back from Omaha, NE a very interesting documentary called "Neat." Basically it is well done history of bourbon in the United States.  It really captured my attention, and I think I going to be deep diving on the topic of bourbon for a while.

If you are using Google Chrome, then I highly recommend checking out the extension Clipboard History 2.  It keeps a running log (as long as you want) of items you have cut-n-pasted.  I find it really useful to cut down re-typing links or other material when writing.  It also is a handy history of what you have been working on.  If you cut-n-paste passwords though, you might want to look at the settings around clearing the history after a certain number of items, and maybe not do a cloud sync of your clips.  I haven't looked into the security of the data protection in the tool.  Better safe than sorry.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.” – Ralph Charell


Thoughts & Tips For October 2018

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Health Update

Things are slowly getting better.  The Pilates classes I have been taking are really making a difference.  My core is really getting stronger.  I did pretty well on my 2nd Sprint Triathlon beating my expected time by a couple of minutes:

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I finally broke down and got some Bluetooth workout/running/gym headphones.  I think I picked these because of the price, they were from Anker which I think has good Q&A, and the overall reviews.

Thankful For

This past September had a lot to be thankful for.

My friend Mark Horstman from Manager Tools was in San Diego teaching a group of leaders at my work how to do Better Interviewing.  I highly recommend this training:

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I got to see my favorite band Chvrches with my family.  My daughter and I were in the front row with my friend Bruce from Texas.  It was a very memorable show:

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Also the opening band was Lo Moon and they are awesome:

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My niece's wedding was also wonderful:

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And my last training class for Getting Things Done (GTD) at work in FY2018 was great.  It is awesome to be able to help others better manage their lives in a productive and effective way:

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Future

I have a couple of work related trips that should be very interesting and I am planning to learn a lot at them.

Another great musician - Maggie Rogers -- and her opening band Mallrat are coming to San Diego in September and I'm so looking forward to seeing them live.

Tips

Do you have a Roomba that is running slow because of old batteries?  This was out situation over the summer.  I'd charge the Roomba and then it would only be able to do half the room before needing to be recharged.  I got this battery replacement and it is like we have a new Roomba.

I have probably said this before, but 3x5 cards seem to be the best possible note taking solution for me.  I recently bought some cards that were "not the cheapest" and had some  thickness to them.  The newer cards are very nice to write on and because they are firm and solid, more enjoyable to use.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” — Jack Kornfield


Thoughts & Tips For September 2018

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Picture from RawPixel

Health Update

Back in July and August I mentioned my recent lower back injury with sciatica down my left leg.  I've seen some improvement in my numbness on my foot via some customized pilates physical therapy.  I'll know more after I complete the total of 10 sessions (5 1on1; 5 group). I'm working hard to avoid surgery.

Technology

I recently picked up a Philips Hue starter kit that came with two bulbs and hub for our master bedroom.  The main reason was to get less "blue light" 1-2 hours before heading to bed.  There are a lot of positive health and sleep reasons for reducing blue light before going to bed (Harvard Medical School.) So far it seems to be working well with the Google Home & Google WIFI system we have working at home and the Hue app is pretty easy to use also.

Thankful For

This year's DEFCON was amazing and you can check out my notes from the conference here: TechNewsRadio.com.

My favorite band - CHVRCHES - played a show for Jimmy Kimmel and I was able to attend.  Several videos of the performance can be found on YouTube: Video#1, Video#2, & Video#3. It was very cool to hang out with other CHVRCHES Fan Podcast friends and I managed to get a picture with the band after the show.

IMG_20180814_190909-02We also had another wonderful couple of days camping at San Elijo State Beach

Future

I completed another Vital Smarts' 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) class in August and I have one more to do in September to close out FY2018. 

My next Sprint Triathlon (500-m swim, 15-km bike, & 5-km run) will be September 16, 2018. 

CHVRCHES are coming to San Diego on September 20, 2018.

My niece Haley is marrying Alex at the end of the month!

Tips

I really enjoyed the new Getting Things Done (GTD) book called "Getting Things Done for Teens."  It is an easy read, has great examples, and a bunch of new perspectives that is very refreshing.

Speaking about reducing "blue light" I've also turned on the reduce blue light options on all my devices from sunset to sunrise.  I've been sleeping much better the last couple of weeks since doing this blue light reduction and not having any caffeine after 3-pm in the afternoon.  I got these ideas to try out via Kevin Rose's podcast on the topic of sleep with Professor Mathew Walker.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”  — C.S. Lewis


Thoughts & Tips For May 2018

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Photo by Tod Seitz on Unsplash

Technology

The new Wyze camera is working out great.  I've also gotten the Android app to run on my Chromebook which makes monitoring at home much easier.

Thankful For

I have completed three Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) at work and I'm now a Certified GTD Trainer!  I have another class the first week of May. And I'm planning to deliver three more classes before the end of September.

I really enjoyed Infinity Wars.  Great movie. The ending is massive.

Our trip to Disneyland was a blast.

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Future

It looks like in May there is of course Mother's Day, a possible trip to Washington DC, and Memorial Day weekend.

Our church is planning to pack 100,000 meals on May 6th.  This is double the 50,000 we did last year!

Tip

I really like this computer reading glasses.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill


Thoughts & Tips for March 2018

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Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

Technology

I recently picked up this Pisen Wireless Presenter Laser Pointer 2500 for my upcoming GTD class.  It appears to work well has a laser pointer, mouse, and slide forward/backward.  I can also be used as a USB charger and has an internal rechargeable battery.

Thankful For

The two-day course at Rescue Academy with Mike Foster on Feb 8-9, 2018 is was awesome.  I learned so much!

Future

My first Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work is scheduled for March 8, 2018.

Tip

Back in October 2017 I listened to this Tim Ferris interview with Jocko Willink.  This what I remembered Jocko recommending to get started with a new exercise.  He said to just do that thing as much as you can.  And then rest, and then try to do it again. Rest. Repeat trying and resting up to 8 times.  I've always sucked at doing pull-ups.  So every day in November, I just tried to do one. Over and over again.  And by the end of the month I could do one.  Then December became two pull-ups. January ended with 3 pull-ups.  And in March I am doing 4 pull-ups 6 days a week!

Quote I'm Thinking About

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." - Donald Rumsfeld


Thoughts & Tips for February 2018

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Technology

I found out a gotcha with my new Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder.  You need to format the card on the H6 before you record anything.  If you don't, then the files saved are in a strange pseudo file system that can't be recognized on desktop OSes (Mac, Windows, Chromebook, Linux, etc).  To get the audio off you'll probably have to use Audio Out and record the audio on another device (like a PC running Audacity).

Thankful For

The trip to Hawaii with Conrad was awesome.  We got to swim with sharks!

Hamilton was good. I am glad I got to see it.

Future

I am still working on setting up Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work.  I need to create a Wiki for the course, use our training system to create a record for each class, and reserve rooms for three dates into the future.

This two-day course at Rescue Academy with Mike Foster from Feb 8-9, 2018 is going to be interesting.

Tips

Regular morning routines before I go on a run have really helped me have the right mindset for the day.  I start off praying and reading a daily devotional (~10 minutes), and then I doing a series of pushups, stretches, and situps before running (~10 minutes).

Google Keep has two good reminder options.  One is time based - like set a reminder for April 1, 2018.  The other is geolocation based.  The next time at "Costco" buy XYZ.


New Ambient Information Display From Lenovo

SmartDisplay_1-COLLAGE (1)Engadget recently published a hands-on review from CES 2018 on a new smart-screen device from Lenovo -- "Lenovo Smart Display hands-on: Google Assistant gets a new kind of home".

It looks like a nice device for not only using Google Assistant, but also displaying ambient information.

I see ambient information as context specific personalized information displayed on a screen that you regularly have access to.  For instance, in my home office I have a laptop running Google Chrome with 7 tabs open and then I use an extension called Revolver - Tab to cycle through each tab every 60 seconds.  I also have the same setup at work, but with a different set of tabs.

I see finding, customizing, and building out these displays in such a way that add value, but isn't distracting to workflow, is going to be an interesting area to study for human factors scientists.

More info from Lenovo's Blog about Smart Display.


Thoughts & Tips for January 2018

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Technology

I got a Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder for Christmas (see below).  I'm really excited to try it out in Hawaii (see below).

Thankful For

The A Holiday Variety Show in Hollywood, CA at the Fonda on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 was awesome.  My favorite band CHVRCHES played three songs.  It was awesome.  UPDATE (1/23/2019): More details if you are interested. 

Christmas was awesome.

Future

My son won a trip to Hawaii and is taking me - January 2 - 7, 2018.  

We also have tickets for the musical Hamilton in San Diego, CA in January 2018.

Uncomfortable

I'm still prepping for teaching my first set of classes using Vital Smarts material for a new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training class at work. 

And I signed up for a two-day course way out my comfort zone - Rescue Academy with Mike Foster - in February 2018.  I'm going to learn a lot, and hopefully help more!

Running Tips

Stretch (~10 minutes) plus do several different sets of situps and pushups before a run. Do pull-ups after your run.

Rotate shoes everyday.  I have 5 pairs of shoes and rotate through them.  I usually just get the basic running shoe at Costco.  This has worked better for me than having two high-end running shoes and rotating between them.  I switch out a set of shoes after about 6 months.


Thoughts & Tips for December 2017

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Technology

My primary computer for the last couple of years has been a Chromebook.  I recently upgraded to an HP Chromebook 13 G1, and I'm loving the 16-GB of RAM and Intel Core m7 processor.  I was able to find it on Craigslist, so I got a pretty good deal on it. Review of this chromebook at PC Magazine.

Another great find on Craigslist was a Garmin Fenix 3HR for tracking my runs, swims, and other health data.

Future

I'm really looking to A Holiday Variety Show in Hollywood, CA at the Fonda on Wednesday, December 13, 2017.  My favorite band CHVRCHES is organizing and playing as part of the show.

My family and I are planning to see the new Star Wars movie on Saturday, December 16, 2017.  I'm very excited about Episode 8!

Uncomfortable

Last month I took a today training class from Vital Smarts that will enable me to teach the new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) at work.  It was a great experience and it will be awesome to be able to help others with GTD at work. As an introvert this really got me out of my comfort zone. More info on train the trainer programs at Vital Smarts.

Tips

One of the key take-a-ways from the GTD training was looking at my Next Action list before doing anything in the morning like checking email.   While hard to do at first, this has really given me a focus on what was on my plate for the day in a way I've never experienced before.

During the month of December I re-evaluate all the email lists I am on.  I usually unsubscribe to 90% of them.  It makes my inbox for the new year all fresh!


Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) or Facebook (sholden). I also recommend checking out my AztecMedia.net produced sites: Chvrches Fan Podcast (@chvrchespodcast), Tech News Radio (@technewsradio), Air Gapped Networks (@airgapnet), Jersey Boys Podcast, and Veteran Stories. [Updated: Nov. 20, 2018]