Fall In Love With Writing (Again)

This is not my normal ‘type’ of post.  It’s not really a review either.  It is more of an ‘homage’ to good design and hard work.  Read on.

About two years ago I put a tiny bit of funding into a Kickstarter project being developed by John Saddington.  (By the way, if you want a textbook on how to run a Kickstarter study the blog posts on that Kickstarter link I just shared).  Pressgram was John’s attempt to allow users to tell beautiful stories through photography, but without having to give up any rights or confer any third-party ownership.  It was a gorgeous app, but to be fair, it was an ambitious project that was always going to have a hard time against the big boys in the room.  Pressgram has now closed down, but I have the t-shirt to prove I was there.

Desk, a publishing app for OS X is what has occupied John’s time since the last project (aside from Ironyard, speaking engagements, family, etc.).  3,146 hours to be exact, over the past year.

The result?  Simplicity.  Elegance.  Beauty.  Technical accomplishment (full formatting, HTML / Markdown / media capability baked in).  Desk is a product that will encourage you to start blogging, or, perhaps, get you to start writing again.

Why I bought a Chromebook

Recently I purchased a Samsung Chromebook, joining the over 21% of laptop segment purchasers in 2013 who have done so. What is it that would cause a self-professed Apple fan boy to go out on a limb and get one of these devices? Let me share five reasons with you, and some quick observations of my experience with the device to date.

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What, then, are the points that attracted me to pick up the Samsung XE303C12-A01US and add it into my computing mix?

  1. Size. This device is a great size for travel or a day on the road stopping in at a coffee shop. With a screen of 11.6″ and overall dimensions of 0.69 thick x 8.09 wide x 14.4 long this computer is almost as svelte as my other object of lust the 11″ MacBook Air. I use a 15″ MacBook Pro as my day-to-day computer, but having traveled with it a few times I started looking​ ​longingly at fellow travelers as they sat at Starbucks with a smaller lighter computer. The Chromebook is an interesting alternative if small is what you are after in a computer.
  2. Weight.  Much the same as the size argument, weight is always a significant consideration for me. With the Samsung coming in at just 2.4 lb vs the 15″ MacBook at 4.46 lb, I know that packing it will not be an issue in the future, at least with weight. It is the same weight as the 11″ MacBook Air for goodness sake.
  3. Battery life.  Advertised at 5+ hours, I have yet to fully test this claim, but so far it seems to hold up. This is one area where the larger MacBook Pro has the Chromebook beat at over 7 hours.  Still, over five hours is nothing to sneeze at.
  4. Google Apps.  Here is where the biggest stumbling block is going to be for most reading this.  You are tied to the Google ecosystem. Really tied. More tied than Apple ever considered tying its users. If you use Google Apps for Business to manage your corporate email, calendar and contacts as we do at my businesses then this little computer is a great choice, perhaps even as a primary laptop. You log on using your regular Gmail email and password and all your Chrome browser and email settings immediately pop up on your computer. However, other programmes you may be looking for, such as the Microsoft Office suite, are not available. Oddly, even everyday programmes like Skype are not available.  Instead Google pushes users towards its Google Voice or Google Hangouts products. this may change in the future, but if these programmes are critical to you then the Chromebook may not be a good option.
  5. Cost. This may be the best feature.  At $249 USD it costs less than an iPad and around the same as a Kindle Fire HDX.  It’s a price point that makes this computer an easy choice for the work that we do the bulk of the time.  Email, web browsing, cloud based applications are all perfectly suited to this device.

4 Reasons To Record Key Learnings When Notetaking

The other day my wife had a coaching session with our business coaching company, Shirlaws Cayman. At the end of the session as papers were being gathered and coloured pens put away, Kristen, our coach, asked Christina to take a moment and jot down her ‘key learnings. Why is this so important?  Read on.

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Every day in business we participate in meetings. We pull out the requisite notepad, scribble away, then generally conclude the meeting with some tasks to be done before the next meeting. What is different about recording ‘key learnings’?  I thought about this for a bit, and reflected on my own past reporting of key learnings after my coaching sessions.  The list below is not exhaustive, by any means, but reflects my thinking on the value of recording ‘key learnings’.

3 Tips For Getting Your Goals Back On Track

Have you ever felt like you have come completely off your tracks? Projects just not getting done in time, disconnected from your routine, commitments not being met? Of course you have. We all have, and I have too. In fact, I have been off track for the past few weeks (probably months) now. Let me tell you three tips I used to step back and take control again.  Read on.

accident of a wooden toy train

I read a ton of blogs across a wide spectrum of subjects. One could say they are my resistance. I like to think I am learning and fine tuning my research into procrastination. Seriously though, from these blogs I pull ideas that I want to apply in my personal life. I have written about a few of these and, honestly, I’m not doing that great in any. So many thought leaders in the world of blogging say that you have to be honest, real, and open in your writing. Well, this is me ‘fessing up.  It is also me passing on some steps that I am working on to get back to my commitments.  If you are in a rut and off track a bit, hopefully my experience is of some help in getting you realigned.

So, what happened?

Know When to Switch Off

I try to write about topics related to leadership and productivity. Normally this means that I end up banging out posts before or after work, and on weekends. I call it ‘captured time‘. I enjoy the process, but I never stopped to think that sometimes what I enjoy may be considered and encroachment into the total switch off time of others. This realization came to me while driving with my daughter to go spend some daddy-daughter time by the fountain at Camana Bay. Read on.

Taylor

We had an hour to kill waiting to pick up my son, Ryan, from an activity so Taylor and I decided to go and chill for a bit and watch the kids play in the fountain. As we drove there together my normal Sunday blogging ideas (or lack thereof) started to invade my mind. What was I going to write about? How was I ever going to find the time, what with this non-productive visit to the park and all?