Many Pies

Many Pies

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making to do lists into a game

Following up on my post Being more organised is less fun I came across this item from Pulse Laser, the blog of a company called Berg who seem to have fascinating work to do. They link to a website called Chore Wars and an app called Epic Win, both of which turn to do lists into games.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lazyweb request - help me understand OpenID

I have some questions about OpenID that I plan to find the answers to one day, but maybe someone will heed my lazyweb request and supply them.
Here are the questions:
1. Does it matter which provider you use?
2. What if the provider goes out of business? Are you stuck?
3. If I switch OpenIDs what do the sites I've logged in on the old one need to do to help me switch to the new one?
4. Is that part of the spec or does it depend on what the sites do with my OpenID?
5. When I log in what information is my OpenID provider passing on to them?
6. What implications does it have if I tick the "log me in automatically" option available on

As well as finding out the answers to those, I may put in something about Microsoft Hailstorm on wikipedia, as it doesn't have its own page.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Being more organised is less fun

I've been using OneNote alongside Outlook for the past few months. It's really handy and a great way of managing my todo list. A while back my todo list was an email that I'd keep in the drafts box. Then I switched to tiddlywiki. With OneNote I can achieve a frightening level of organisation. I type something into OneNote, and press ctrl+shift+3 and a task is automatically created in Outlook for this thing to be done by the end of the week. With OneNote I can see things laid out in four dimensions (two dimensions on the page and then two other dimensions with Notebooks and tabs within them). With Outlook I can see things organised by due date.

Each day I can review the tasks to be done and either do them, or defer them to the next day, later this week, or next week depending on priority. When things are awaiting on other people I can add a symbol with a keystroke to show that I don't need to do anything more with it, and I can see a list of those waiting things from OneNote.

(It may even be possible with a bit of programming to get tasks lined up with even more accuracy. My computer could say to me "you've got 15 minutes before lunch and an appointment straight afterwards, so here's your next task that shouldn't take too long - write a blog post". Or "you really ought to be going home now, and you're probably a bit tired - why not do a little bit of light document editing and then go". )

But I find that the more organised I am the less fun things are. There is a brief moment of satisfaction when I press ctrl+shift and number key as I know that I don't have to do anything else to make sure I get a reminder. Ticking off tasks as done is also satisfying for a second or so. But it doesn't last, I'm back to a list of things arranged in order of importance that have to be done. It means that I'm more effective and important stuff gets done first, but it's a bit soul-less.

I've been thinking a lot about games recently. There's talk on the interwebs about bringing gaming elements into tasks to make them more enjoyable. There are people who are trying to develop games that teach you things, like Smokescreen which teaches about on-line privacy. I've also been reading my son's Official Nintendo Magazine and a couple of articles about bedroom games makers, of which I was one in my teenage years.

What I'm wondering is how I can continue to get important stuff done, and have fun doing it?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't drink and type

Last week a laptop was brought into our IT office. Someone had sneezed while drinking coffee and spilt the coffee on the laptop. It was dead. Don't do it - don't drink and type.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Random thoughts

Random thoughts from my trip to London yesterday:

I noticed that Android phones aren't ashamed to declare their operating system in the Carphone Warehouse and Samsung billboard adverts. Previously I'd just seen the little Android figure peeking out from behind a phone on a TV advert. I guess it's a unifying brand across all the different handsets. Of course they mention the Android app store. So "app" is the new buzzword - I saw a browser toolbar being described as an app the other week.

I listened to a few episodes of Guardian's tech weekly podcast and one of the presenters mentioned that one of the Google offices had a beach volleyball court. So do we!

Vacancy statistics - marketing people needed

I'm just running some stats on the data behind our vacancies page. As you might expect the top sort of jobs for Wycliffe Bible Translators is "Language Related" (400 out of 1172 vacancies). However the next highest category is "Marketing and PR" (157), closely followed by Teaching, Admin and IT.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Blackbaud NetCommunity user group

I've just come back from a Blackbaud NetCommunity user group in their London office. They've had others in the past 2 days and this was the last of the current lot. We had a general presentation from Robert McAllen on interactive websites, and then some future features of NetCommunity 6.20. Some of the staff haven't had the presentation on that yet (I think it's tomorrow guys) so I won't spill the beans here - yet.

As it wasn't just a product presentation but a user group we got a chance to talk to each other I was able to hear about other people's experiences with implementing logins, as we've done recently.

It was quite useful to hear about future plans, and also just to chat to other users. There are more in Glasgow later this month if you're in that part of the world.