Thursday, January 22, 2015

OneNote 2013 - Task Management Tool - My System for task management

OneNote 2013 and OneNote in general is a very useful task management tool. It is really designed for note-taking and organizing your notes. When it comes to task management, its main purpose is not to organize your tasks unless you use it together with Outlook tasks, but I have developed a pretty good system that works well for me by utilizing some beautiful features of OneNote. I actually use GMail to manage my personal tasks, but when it comes to work, I needed something with more capabilities and I picked OneNote. 

How did I end up using OneNote?
Over last 9-10 years I have spent time trying to improve my organization skills and as a result of that, I searched for tools that can simplify my professional life. I liked the simplicity of Tasks application on early Blackberry phones and I was a big user of that app. I also went through the phase of maintaining my to-do list in text files and managing them via some useful editors such as Notepad++, Editpad, and CrimsonEditor. As my role and responsibilities changed and as the need for rich text format notes increased, I needed to find a tool that is Microsoft Word with better organizational features. That tool ended up being OneNote. I call OneNote IDE / Visual Studio for notes and tasks; if you are a tech person, you know what I am talking about.

What exactly do I use OneNote for?
- Taking notes in meeting
- As a knowledge base application (aka my Wiki)
- Reading emails and saving a useful piece of information/email into my Wiki in OneNote
- Keeping track of tasks that are current
- Keeping track of tasks that are in the backlog
- Organizing the tasks and all the details for my projects
- Sharing notes and to-do tasks with the team through a shared notebook in OneNote
- Team collaboration through a shared notebook in OneNote

Why OneNote?
It is a complete solution for note taking and organizing notes. If you use GTD (Getting Things Done) concepts, then you can use it for task management. However, if you expect to be reminded to do a specific task, you will either have to integrate OneNote with Outlook tasks or find some other product that had alerting system. Please watch my YouTube video below to see the system I am talking about.

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#OneNote #OneNote2013 #OneNote2010 #Outlook#Outlook2013 #tasks #taskmanagement #manager#organize #Microsoft #Office #Office365 #GTD  #GettingThingsDone  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Automatics also get some credit. Right?

I recently wrote a post about traditional manual transmissions in our cars and how there is something special about them. Traditional Manual Transmissions - Why? What's so special about it? 

I need to slightly re-evaluate. 

Having driven cars with regular automatics, shiftable automatics, double-clutch automated manuals and traditional manuals, I want to say that automatics in general deserve more credit than they do. Automatic transmissions changed the car industry when they were introduced. At first the automatic transmissions were not efficient from both economy and performance points of view. However, manufacturers have invested a lot of engineering time into this technology and we are at the point now where a car with an automatic transmission can achieve better gas mileage than the same car with the traditional manual transmission.

When it comes to performance numbers, we also reached the limit which allows a regular driver driving an automatic out-race a regular driver driving a traditional manual. The automatic transmissions also give you consistency.

On the other hand, the subject of being engaged as a driver with an automatic vs. manual is a very hot subject. It is a constant discussion/debate among car enthusiasts. I think this subject is not up for a debate. It is a personal preference from driver to driver and from car enthusiast to car enthusiast. 

For those who still prefer a manual transmission (including myself at this time), we still have to admit that automatic transmissions (also automated manuals) on sporty and sports cars are very engaging. I mostly owned cars with manual transmission and my previous car was a Mini Cooper with a shiftable automatic. I really enjoyed this Mini Cooper. I drove this car pretty much 99.9% in the tiptronic mode. Mini really tuned this transmission. In the sport mode, this transmission had very fast upshifts and downshifts. It was really fun taking it on canyon roads doing those upshifts and downshifts. The only modification that I had on this car was a custom Magnaflow cat-back exhaust. This tiptronic transmission paired up with a nice exhaust tone gave me satisfaction for 3 years. Then I started missing traditional manual transmissions. I sold my Mini Cooper and bought a Honda Fit with a traditional manual transmission. I had to first go through the honeymoon phase driving this Honda Fit and then I had to objectively analyze the situation and my conclusion was that "Automatics should get the credit that they deserve and that it is not all about manuals". 

Mini Coopers have regular automatics that allow you to shift gears. 997 models of Porsche 911 also have regular automatics and they are very tuned. I drove my friend's Porsche 997 automatic with manual shifting capabilities and this is very fun. When you start getting into the category of automated manuals (aka double-clutch transmissions), then automatics deserve even more credit. I drove my friend's VW GTI with DSG transmission. This thing is very enjoyable. The shifts are especially engaging when paired with a nice exhaust tone. I don't want to even think about PDK transmissions on the new Porsches; they would make me switch back to automatics :)

So the question "which one is better" in itself is a wrong question. It all depends what car it is paired with and what your preference is. Whichever one you pick, make sure that your car does not sit in your garage. Get out there and drive it. Enjoy it.

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#cars #PDK #DSG #transmission #clutch #doubleClutch #tiptronic #automatic #manual #shiftknob #gears #gearshifter #5speed #6speed #7speed #8speed #CVT 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Creativity vs. Organization?

I have noticed that I am more creative in my software engineering field when I am less organized or when I tune down on my organization. This allows my mind to function differently. However, when I finish going through a creative period, I still have to catch up on the organization part because that's what the tech lead position requires from us in general.

Over the years I built a system for myself to do my general task management and the task management during large projects. The main goal was to make this system as mechanical as possible to that my mind is not busy organizing things; it should be busy dealing with the engineering problems and solutions. So when my organization system is truly mechanical, this also allows my creativity to kick in and it's a great feeling when you reach that level.

Do you feel the same way about this? I should research if there is any scientific study about the relation between creativity and being organized.

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#tech #technology #programming #code #coding #programmer #softwareEngineering #softwareDevelopment #creative #creativity #organization #organized #taskmanagement 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Smart TVs - Do we need the smartness?

Smart TVs ??

Smart TVs maybe getting smarter and the user interface is getting better. However, for us tech nerds is this even a factor in TV purchase decisions?

Most of us tech nerds would get Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV after purchasing that TV. The only thing we care about is the resolution, and the ports that the TV has.

Right :) 

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#tech #technology #TV #resolution #HD #4Kdisplay #Roku#AppleTV #chromecast #AmazonFire 

Purchase or Develop ?

To purchase a tool/solution or to develop it yourself? 

That is the common question in companies that have the luxury and cash to purchase expensive packages. There are pros and cons on both sides. 

If you decide to purchase a solution, you have to do all the calculation to make sure it is worth the investment over paying your developers to implement something custom for your company. 

It all depends on what part of a solution you are purchasing instead of developing yourself. If you marry your business too much with external tools/solutions, then you have to follow to some degree their train schedule. What degree is the limit?

On the other hand you may develop it yourself. However, do you have the expertise in house. Even if you do have expertise, do you want your developers working on this instead of implementing requirements from product managers.

These are not easy decisions. 

Trends change quickly in IT industry and the main question you have to ask yourself is: Is the tool/solution that I am about to purchase a part of just this current short-term trend or is it here to stay?

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#tech #technology #programming #programmer#softwareengineering #softwaredevelopment#SoftwareArchitecture #software #ITsolutions #code #coding

Sunday, January 4, 2015

When your company is going Global, it means ...

Global does not mean that you have global systems necessarily. At a minimum it means that one part of business supports the other part of business at its infancy days. You could take it a step further by globalizing the software application architecture and systems, but a lot of times "one fits all" looks great on paper in huge corporations but in real life it slows you down and it might open the door to your competitors to disrupt.

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#tech #technology #Enterprise #EnterpriseArchitecture #EnterpriseSystems 

VIP Emails replacing SMS ...

VIP Emails vs. SMS:
I replaced my SMS communication with the VIP feature for emails on my iPhone. I use this with the family members. I set it up so that I get a notification on my lock screen with a sound. My family members did the same. This works well because when I am at work, I can use my desktop to respond to these messages because they are just emails at the end of the day. With emails you get more options and capabilities to use on mobile and desktop.

You can also use Google Voice phone number as alternative. Google Voice has desktop interface as well.

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My 2014 Picture Collection: Nature, ...etc

My 2014 Collection of Nature Pictures and other random pictures.

Album Link

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#nature #ocean #sunset #snow #hills #mountain #lake #OrangeCounty #California #SoCal #Europe #Portugal #Atlantic #Pacific #BigBearLake #LagunaBeach #Lisbon #DanaPoint #LaderaRanch #PCH #California1 #Monterey #PebbleBeach #Irvine #Denver #Colorado 

The Code is as Good as ...

The code that you write now might be elegant, but how elegant is it going to be 6 months from now if many other developers have their hands in it?

Your code is as good as it is maintained.

Software developers take pride in their code and it hurts to see your elegant code evolve into non-elegant code due to lack of maintenance.

Therefore, you need to work with your leadership team to incorporate regular code maintenance in the busy schedule of adding new features and fixing high severity defects. Something needs to be done; otherwise, your team/company will experience the results of technical debt.

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#tech #programming #programmer #SoftwareDevelopment #SoftwareEngineering #code #coding #coding101 #almirsCorner #KeepItSimple #TechnicalDebt