Thoughts & Tips for June & July 2021

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This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

The last two months have been going well.  Mother's Day in May was great, and so was Father's Day in June.

We have been slowly getting back out to our favorite places to eat, visiting breweries, attending church in person without masks, seeing friends, and having more group events at our house.

Getting vaccinated has a ton of benefits!

Biggest news is that Carson graduated from High School:

Carson-graduation

Another nice piece of new news is that my niece Hayley and her husband Alex are having a baby girl in December:

Screenshot 2021-07-02 15.10.08

I have also been able to teach two Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in-person at work which has been very enjoyable.  One class was in May and the other in late June.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The epic D&D battle I have been DMing for several months has finally ended, and we are on to a new "underwater" related adventure created by our other DM Darren.

We have several mini-vacations coming up across July & August: one week in Mission Beach at a condo rental; a weekend retreat at The Oaks; a couple of days in Las Vegas for Def Con; and then beach camping at San Elijo. It will be nice to get out and about, but also not have to travel too far from home.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If I had to pick a single glass style to drink craft beer out of I think it would be this one (Amazon link):

Teku-glass-for-tpcSince May 20th I have been charging all my mobile electronics off-grid using this setup from Jackery (originally purchased just for camping):

Jackery-solar-systemThis includes: cell phone; iPad (didn't realize what a power hog this was); Garmin watch; bike lights; Go Pro & other camera batteries; all the new Rode podcast/audio recording gear; and a variety of  smaller battery packs.  Hard to say the total impact to our home electrical bill, but kind of a fun experiment.  It will be interesting to see how long I can do it.  My cell phone does get charged when it is in the car, so that makes things a little easier. I am not charging my main personal Chromebook computer this way until we go camping this summer.

The solar unit is the SolorSaga 100W (Amazon Link), and the portable battery unit is the Portable Power Station Explorer 240 (Amazon Link). 

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"Saying no saves you time in the future. Saying yes costs you time in the future. No is like a time credit. You can spend that block of time in the future. Yes is like a time debt. You have to repay that commitment at some point. No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility." - James Clear


Thoughts & Tips For March 2020

WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON?

I did do a Sprint Triathlon hosted by the UCSD Triton Triathlon Team on Feb. 16, 2020.   It was tough but good fun:

Sprint Tri PhotosFeb. 16 was also my son Conrad's 21st birthday.  We had a good time celebrating:

Conrad B-Day

I've also enjoyed a few great IPA-ish beers this month. Here are some recommendations:

Some Awesome Bitter Beers

Thanks to one more day in February (aka the 29th), I was able to get our 2019 taxes done, and see one of our favorite 80s cover band -- Resurrection Radio at the awesome Helix Brewing Co. in La Mesa, CA. This is a setlist from a previous show.

TECHNOLOGY AND TIPS

One of my favorite authors -- Mark Greaney -- was in town on Feb. 18th promoting his new book "One Minute Out" (this is book #9 of the Gray Man series) at Warwick's in La Jolla.  It is highly recommended this new book and the overall series in general. Here is a picture from that evening:

Mark G Speaking About His New Book

Last month I mentioned that my new HP PC only has USB 3.0 ports on the front of the computer.  I ended up getting this 4-port HUB so I could move more of the high-speed connections back behind the computer.  So far it is working out pretty well.

Some great tips here on how to correctly wash your hands! [REDDIT]

FUTURE STUFF THAT I AM EXCITED ABOUT

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“Each moment is a place you’ve never been.” — Mark Strand


My Travel Folders

Back in the day the David Allen Company would sell physical products like planners, file folder systems, inboxes, etc.  One of the last things I bought from them before they stopped selling physical products was their ORANGE mesh travel folder system.

Mobile File System GTD Nov2019It consists of the following folders:

  • IN - Your mobile inbox just like in your office at home and work.
  • TO OFFICE - Items that need to get back to your office.
  • TO HOME - Items that need to get back to your home.
  • ACTION SUPPORT - Anything that you currently physically need to complete PROJECTS or NEXT ACTIONS.
  • WAITING FOR SUPPORT - Physical items or reminder notes of items you are waiting for someone else to complete.
  • READ/REVIEW - Items you want to read or review while being mobile.

Based on my needs, I have added two additional folders:

  • REFERENCES - Key references I want to have with me while mobile. For instance physical copies of the GTD Mastering Workflow Series Methodology Guides.
  • CALENDARS/CONTRACTS - Print out of key yearly work and family/school calendars.  And then a select list of phone numbers and emails I might need to reference if I don't have my phone.

These could be duplicated today with a good label printer and quality plastic file folders.

You can still get a good amount of GTD material in electronic format like planner templates, methodology guides, workflow map, etc...


Inbox Zero - It Is Doable - Example #1

Inbox-zero.email
I recently attended for work the Manager Tools M Conference from October 9-10, 2019 in Dallas, TX.

I made a deliberate decision to not check my work email from just before the beginning of the conference on Wednesday, Oct. 9 until I got to the airport on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 10. 

My main motivation for this decision was because I wanted to stay as focused as possible on the conference content, and the people at the conference. 

I should also point out that before walking into the conference on Wednesday morning my work email Inbox was empty.

In addition, I would also like to say my only motivation for writing this blog post is to validate that getting your Email Inbox to Zero can happen. 

If you read through the whole post, I didn't get every email with a Next Action or Project done.  All I did in David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) terms is (1) Capture, (2) Clarify, and (3) Organize.

Once at the airport: I VPN'd into work; downloaded all my email on the server to my "Clarify" folder in Outlook; and went into airplane/off-line mode.

During the first two hours on the plane on my way back to San Diego I cleared my Inbox. 

I had 213 emails to process: ten were calendar invites; 24 were quick email replies (less than 2 minutes), 51 turned into Next Actions (three of which started new Projects), 23 were Reference, and the rest were Trash.

After I sync'd up email the next day (Friday morning) I had 28 new messages.  Four of them were calendar invites, and four of them I had to Read (less than 2 minutes) and then Trash as they weren't worth keeping for Reference.  The rest I just Trashed after reading the email title and first line of the message. No new Next Actions or Projects.

So, it is doable.  It takes practice and making it a habit.  Here is a link for more information on GTD coaching and teaching.


Thoughts & Tips For October

Wood-doorHealth Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things are going pretty darn good. Not back to 100% but I'm not sure that is totally possible.  Just did a Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 29 (500m swim, 17K bike, & 5K run).  I was slower than I wanted, but I finished, didn't get hurt, and didn't finish last in my age group!

20190929_104027-01Getting Things Done (GTD)

Several things going on related to #gtd:

Technology & Tips

I have had a "free" version of Plex Server running on the home network to serve up digital movies, photos, and music for several years. The free version is a solid product. But recently I upgraded to a version that enables access to our family's collection of media remotely while not on our home network.  Wow! Very nice! Especially when you are on travel.  No more copying down files before going on a trip.  Just get what you want, when you need it, while on travel.

If you get to New Orleans, then I highly recommend you visit the World War II / D-Day Museum:

DSC01417-COLLAGEFuture

I am definitely ready for the 2019 Baseball Playoffs.  It should be a great October.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” - Winston Churchill


Thoughts & Tips for August & September

Omaha-woodOverload Museum - Photo: Steve Holden

Health Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things are going pretty well since my last update in July.  My current "perfect" weekly workout routine is: 30 minute run (Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat); Pilates & swim (Wed & Fri); and bike & swim (Sun). Also usually every day starts off with a 30-40 minute set of stretching, rolling, and core exercises.

Christy and I had a good time on the July 4th doing the 10K Old Pros in Scripps Ranch, and the kids did the Fun Walk/Run. It was the first time I  have run more than 5K in over a year.  My time was slow, but it felt good and nothing broke!

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Traveling

In July, Christy and I had a weekend trip up to Napa for a wedding.  It was a lot of fun, but I would not recommend flying in/out of San Francisco International Airport because of the traffic coming/going to the Napa area.  It was pretty bad.  Recommend considering Oakland airport or Sacramento airport for visiting Napa.

DSC01040-COLLAGEWhen we were up in Napa we had some great beers at Field Work Brewing:

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In August, Christy and I made our regular trip to #hackersummercamp in Las Vegas for Def Con 27 (2019). I go to the conference during the day, and Christy gets time to read and relax. Then we get some dinner & craft beers, and binge watch a show in the evening.  In previous years it has been Homeland & Game of Thrones.  This year it was Season 1 of Westworld. You can get a copy of this year's Def Con conference report here: https://www.technewsradio.com/2019/08/def-con-27-notes-references.html.

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We also took Spencer, Carson, and some of Carson's friends up to Universal Studios in early August.  While they were at Universal Studios, Christy and I explored Griffith Park - hiking, multiple location sighting of the Hollywood Sign, seeing great views from the Observatory, checking out some outdoor movie sets (for instance the Bat Cave!), enjoying the Autry Museum Of The American West,  and had a great lunch at the Crossroads West Cafe.  If you have never been, I recommend it -- you can almost forget you are in LA!

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Honoring My Mom

Also in the beginning of August my sister and her kids came down to San Diego for the weekend.  We had a wonderful time remember our Mom and spending quality time together - including a harbor cruise.

2019-08-03 09.20.58-COLLAGE

Getting Things Done (GTD)

Several things going on related to #gtd:

  • I taught two classes this summer at work - one at the end of July (Class#10), and another at the end of August (Class#11).  I'm going to be teaching at least one and maybe two courses in the DC area in September.
  • David Allen had a great presentation about "building the ultimate GTD application" at the #GTDSUMMIT, and I summarized all the content - video, audio, and documents - on my blog ---- LINK!
  • I am also very excited about the new book "GTD for Teens."  It is very approachable for teens, and young adults.  If you aren't a big reader (and like lots of pictures), then maybe this version is for you!

Technology & Tips

My trusty work Samsung Galaxy S8+ recently had an issue where it appears that the battery was expanding, and causing a gap to grow on the side.  I was able to get a replacement new phone - Samsung Galaxy S10+.  I'm really enjoying this new phone.  Here are some setup recommendations and tips that I ran across during my setup:

I am still enjoying the Sony RX-100 VI (6) ... but I just learned that there is a new Sony RX-100 VII (7) out now.

Future

Some plans are starting to come together:

  • Work trip to DC.
  • Work trip to New Orleans.
  • Sprint Triathlon at the end of the month.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Simplfy, simplfy, simplfy ... Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose." - Henry David Thoreau


Thoughts On The Sony RX 100 VI

Screenshot 2019-07-20 at 15.10.45

I've had my Sony RX 100 VI since early June and I have been using it a lot since then.  Most of the photos and movies were taken as a "travel" camera during a recent trip to Europe. 

I've also been carrying it around with me just about everywhere I go, and I have found the pictures to be so much better than my Samsung Galaxy S8+. 

I recently read this review on Wired about the Sony RX 100 VI. I agree with most of what is written in this review, but I haven't seen the poor low light performance reported or the overheating at 4K video (I haven't tried to do 5 minutes of recording to be honest.  At the most 30-45 seconds at a time).

I posted some of my pictures taken at the GTD 2019 Summit in Amsterdam on Google Photos (most of them are mine, a couple are from the official photographer who used a different camera body and lens).  Most of these were in low light.

Screenshot 2019-07-20 at 15.03.25

 


Where We Stayed (While In Europe 2019)

PlacesineuropeWhen we were in Bad Pyrmont, Germany we stayed at Hotel Schaumberg.  It was a great location for us, the room was great for the three of us, and the food for breakfast was awesome.  I would stay there again.

When we were in Belgium we stayed with our Belgium family in Ottingies (south of Brussels).  It was great.  We'd stay there again also :-)

Our Airbnb in Normandy was excellent (photos).  We would highly recommend staying there. The host was amazing. The area around our Airbnb -- known as Les Bateaux -- was a short walk down to the beach and a great location to explore D-Day historical sites, memorials, and museums. 

In Paris we stayed at the Hôtel de Roubaix (6 Rue Greneta, 75003 Paris, France).  I thought the place was average and good for our situation.  It was easy to get to and easy to navigate to the Louvre for sure by walking.  Also it was easy to get from the hotel to the airport via a big transit hub that was just down the street (10 minute walk).  We used Booking.com to reserve our rooms.

Our Airbnb in Rome was great (photos) the location was about a 30 minute walk to the Vatican and then a 30 minute walk to the Colosseum. The host was excellent and very helpful in helping us get to and from the airport.  The place included a full kitchen, air conditioning, and was roomy enough to spread out.  I'd recommend staying at this location if you travel to Rome.

The next stop was Amsterdam.  I spent a lot of time trying to find a good AirBNB but wasn't successful.  I also looked into some of the nicer hotels but the prices were 3x what we ended up paying.   We ended up at Hotel Isis (Spreeuwenpark 17, Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam, 1021 GS, Netherlands) via Booking.com.  It was definitely spartan but clean.  And I felt safe in that part of town. The walk to the ferry and taking the ferry was fun and different.  Having the ferry stop in Amsterdam at the Central Train station was a bonus.  I probably wouldn't stay there again but if you are in a pinch it is doable.

After Amsterdam we made our way for a 1-night stay in Berlin at the Hotel-Pension Cortina (Kantstr. 140, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin, 10623, Germany).  This hotel was also booked via Booking.com.  I was also not able to figure out a good AirBNB option in Berlin, and since we were staying just one night I wasn't as detailed in my research on this hotel. It turned out fine, but just like Hotel Isis it was spartan but clean.  Our room was on the shared courtyard so it was noisy at night.  I definitely would have considered some other hotels if I wanted more comforts.

Our last night of the trip was spent at the Marriott Sheraton at Frankfurt Airport.  It was by far the best hotel room we stayed in during the trip, and given that we just walked up and got the room, the price was pretty affordable.  It was a great ending for the trip.  Solid night sleep and great shower in the morning.  The walk back to the airport was easy, and we got through security/customs/immigration without any issues.