Plan and adjust accordingly to a situation

Carrying too many gadgets/stuff at once is one of the things that a mobile phone will definitely cure: no more bringing video/photo cameras, video players, music players, wrist watches, pen or paper–it’s all in one gadget. It even seems very minimalistic to just bring one thing instead a bag-full of stuff.

However that concerns me as a centralization of all those stuff can be its strength and weakness at the same time. If the mobile phone runs out of charge one can’t use it anymore until it can be recharged somewhere else. If the memory card is full of music files then one can no longer add any more photos. That happened to me when I still had my old mobile phone: I used it as my music player then as a video camera recorder at one time and it ran out of charge in a few hours…

Maybe the question here is not whether one should bring a smartphone out of the house, but rather what one should bring at all. This reminds me of two sayings: “Never bring a knife to a gunfight” and “don’t kill a fly with a bazooka”. One should plan and adjust accordingly to a situation.

For example, I won’t need to bring a pen and paper inside a dark cinema nor a music player at a concert although I could use a small flashlight to guide myself in and out of the cinema or a video camera to record a movie about the concert. Bring stuff that you’ll definitely need in a given situation.

However, not all plans work out the way one plans it most of the time. This is where adjusting to an unexpected situation comes in. If I suddenly needed to use a mobile phone and I didn’t have one, what are my other options? Look for a stand-alone telephone box? Ask a friend if he or she has a mobile phone on him or her? Go to the nearest place I know that has a phone?

The question I posted on whether I should keep my mobile phone or not has been answered: I’ll only bring it when the situation calls for it.

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Work Productivity Trick 1: Make distractions harder to access

In the past, I used to do quite a lot of social networking while working. I would have my notepad program (gEdit), browser (Icecat), and social network service desktop program (Gwibber) on all at the same time. I would switch between checking my Statusnet or Twitter for the latest news, researching an article, and chatting with someone. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster.

After reading Leo Babauta‘s Focus, I realized that my trigger was boredom and it made me click on Gwibber more than I was researching and writing a post. I had to do something else besides do those when I get bored so I did the following instead:

  1. Open all the sites connected to my research
  2. Removed all my accounts on Gwibber
  3. Changed the passwords to random ones using a password generator like KeepassX
  4. Turned off the modem

This way, I would be able to work on my articles in peace without any notifications. Even if I needed my modem to be on, the removal of my accounts from Gwibber made it less easier to access my SNS (instant negative feedback for the old habit). If I got bored, I’d get up, put a 10 minute alarm clock, then read a book or something (positive feedback for the new habit).

What do you do to make your work distraction-free?

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Why the mobile phone is obsolete

I’m thinking of not using my mobile phone anymore. More so, I don’t see the need to buy a more expensive (and reportedly more privacy-violating) smartphone.

Just thinking how I’m accessible to anyone via the following makes the mobile phone obsolete for me:

  • Landline Phone (if I’m at home)
  • eMail
  • Instant Messenger

My mobile phone is an Alcatel OT-E101. It’s no smartphone but it does the job enough for me. It’s inexpensive and tough as you can see in this video. But am I using it as a mobile phone should be used?

Here’s how I use my mobile phone now:

  • When I go out with my family, I use it as a watch or calculator.
  • I use it daily as an alarm clock to wake up or be informed of a certain event.
  • I use it rarely as an electronic notepad (albeit a VERY slow one).

After reviewing the list above, I see that my mobile phone can be easily replaced by much more cheaper devices: a digital wrist watch and pen & paper.

I would like to end this post with a decision, but for now I haven’t done so yet. Maybe you can help me out? Should I or shouldn’t I just not use my mobile phone anymore?

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My minimalist Trisquel GNU/Linux set-up

Making one’s desktop as clean as possible is what I want to happen here. Most may say that I should transfer to another GNU/Linux distribution or use another desktop like Xfce, but I find Trisquel the easiest to use and Gnome as the most eye-catching.

I’m currently using Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.5 Slaine on a Gnome 2.32 desktop, but the instructions below should work with almost any Debian 6 or Ubuntu 10.10 based distro with the same Gnome version.

This is what my desktop looks like:

  • I removed all my desktop icons by using gconf. You can follow the directions here.
  • I use only one panel and these are the properties:
    • Orientation: Bottom
    • Size: 21
    • Autohide: checked
    • Background: None
  • I Installed the following:
  • I only added the most necessary info/shortcut in the panel. In my case I only left the ones listed below:
    • Kupfer icon: to know if it’s working
    • Sound: so I can easily lower or amplify volume while listening to music or videos
    • Time/Date/Temp/Weather: for obvious purposes
    • Main Menu: I’d use it in cases where I can’t remember the program name I was looking for in Kupfer.
  • My theme is SkiesOfAzel’s Atolm and here are some instructions on how to install it.
  • My desktop background is from Omni by fancq

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