What's in a Backup?

If you lost your cell phone right now, how many people would you be able to call? What about your PDA, or computer? If all the magic smoke came out, how long will it take you to be up and running?

Hopefully, all data that cannot be reproduced, such as your priceless photos and home movies, will have a secure backup of your prefered manner. What about the data that is easily gotten but has taken years to accumulate? Often times this will fly right under the radar.

Then again, it's not possible, at least not yet, to backup any and every piece of information. Appropriate selection is necessary.

Whatever you decide don't be the one to ask the question: "Backup, what backup?"


Relearning a Skill

About four years ago, I read about the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout. Always one to try out new things, I switched my layout over, and gave it a try. I tried to learn how to retype using a different keyboard layout.

Frustrating is one word that would aptly describe that experience. Since I do most of my typing while at work, I had that computer switched over. I would switch back to Qwerty when my slow typing would frustrate me. It lasted about a week before I just gave it up.

Fast forward about a year or two, and I'm reading on Slashdot, and come across some comments about how people have switched over to Dvorak, and the reasons why. While the verdict is still out on if Dvorak actually improves typing speed, one thing that it does is reduce the stress that on your hands and wrist typing causes. Working in IT and spending at least forty hours a week in front of a keyboard, this is very important for me.

All of a sudden, I had a reason to give it a try again, and so I did. There was no switching back and forth this time. I completely removed the Qwerty layout from my system. It was slow, and frustrating, oh, and did I also mention frustrating? Typing, like a lot of things that you do physically, is something that once learned becomes a muscle memory. It's something that you can do automatically, unconsciously, anyone who can touch type will tell you. All of that was wrong all of a sudden.

The only two keys that are shared between the alphabet between the layouts are the letters A and M. Everything else is different. I felt like I was a three year old pounding on the keyboard. The letters that my brain wanted to appear were coming out all wrong.

As hard as that was though, even more difficult was relearning keyboard shortcuts. Copy, cut, and paste for instance. Even though, mentally you know it's a Ctrl-C, your fingers automatically go for the proper keys. Well, C, X, and V get moved. They're still C, X, and V, only their positions are I, B and the Period keys. Relearning the new physical locations of these and other keyboard shortcuts was probably the most difficult thing for me.

It took me about two months (a seemingly very long two months) to get to where I was comfortable with Dvorak, and perhaps another two or three to get to where I was before, speed wise, in Qwerty. I honestly can't say if it's faster or not. One thing that I know for sure is that my typos have drastically decreased. My typing accuracy is greatly improved as a result of learning the new layout. I've also never had any problems with RSI despite my constant keyboard use (though, since I never had any RSI problems before the switch, I can't tell if changing made a difference in that regard).

Dvorak is not for everyone primarily because it's not something that can be learned over night. It's more than just leaning a new style of typing since you have to unlearn the old. I, though, feel that the change was well worth the time investment.


Blog-smchlog! I'm Too Busy to Blog

Too busy to blog? Count your keystrokes. « Jon Udell Annotated

Was the email message you wrote to three people possibly of use to thirty, or three hundred, or thirty thousand? If so, consider blogging it — externally if that’s appropriate, or internally otherwise. Then, if you want to make sure those three people see the message, go ahead and email them a pointer to it.

This is a very good article, especially for people who feel that they are too busy to blog, or even that there is very little business sense in doing so. All too often do I see people write some great peace of marketing advice and send it off to a client. Then a few days later, they are looking for it in their email so that it can be copied and pasted, and then sent right out again.

Getting your name or your companies name out there, especially in relation to your specific field, is never a bad thing. Why not practice keystroke conservation?


This is the NEWS

I was talking with my wife yesterday, and she mentioned that she had turned on the news to just catch up as to what was happening in the world. She turned it off when all that was being shown was non-stop coverage of the funeral of a young athlete that was killed last week (it's always sad when someone dies, but especially at such a young age).

That was the news, that was all of the news. Despite the fact that it was a very tragic and local event, it highlighted the very reason that I have not watched the news in a very long time: You will be informed of what they want to inform you about, and you will like it.

One has no control over what they see. You get the commercials, and stories are drawn out. Either a little bit of everything is covered, or in the example above, one thing is covered very well, but nothing else. Certain news stories that may be of interest will be teased at but not actually covered until well into the broadcast (no doubt trying to hold the audience for as long as possible). Obviously there is a better way. It's no wonder that the industry can hear their own death tolls. The general trend over from hard hitting to newsertainment is a clear indication of this.

A side note: I knew things had gotten bad when the local channel here had a section called "cyber-corner" where they basically read word for word headlines that were posted online earlier that day. I don't want to hear what a website reported on from the newscaster on TV, what do you think Digg is for? No thanks.

Personally, I'll stick to my radio (during the commute into work), and various RSS feeds. I get the news, both in quality and in quantity, the way that I want to.

Implementation of Disqus

I just set it up to run here, we'll see how it works. Looks like it could be a very useful alternative to the default commenting on Blogger.