Finding pace and peace with rituals

Last week Micheal Schecter from A Better Mess wrote a post called Find the Ritual In Your Routine. I have been thinking a lot about that piece. I have mostly been thinking about my own habits and the affect they have on me. What I have found with some habits is they have a similar result on me as the Getting Things Done Methodology. A quieter brain. If I don’t have to think about them they do not bounce around and produce undue anxiety.

Michael is right about how the routines can be heavy but my thought is there can be some huge benefits in terms of the routine.

Our routines can weigh on us. At first their consistency can be a comfort, but over time it tends to grow into something we dread. You can try shaking things up, but inevitably many aspects of our lives become routine.

Some of my habits/routines:

  • Carry habit: iPhone in left front pocket, keys in right front pocket, wallet in right rear and fieldnotes in the left. Maintaining this “habit” prevents me from worrying were things are. Also prevents that TSA-like pat down we all give ourselves when we are looking to see if we have everything before we leave the house.

  • Setting up a landing zone: This is a simple place where when you get home from work you dump all your stuff in your pockets. This way I always know where it is.

  • Coffee habit: I almost always get a grade quad Starbucks Ristretto Americano with vanilla in it(sorry @marcoament). The odd thing here is when I place the top on the cup I make sure the pour spout is 180 degrees opposite the cup seam. This way when I grab the coffee in the car I can use my fingers to make sure I know where the spout is before I raise it to my mouth. Preventing a hot mess in my lap.

  • Coffee Habit #2: I usually get coffee 2x a day. Morning and afternoon. Part of the process of getting coffee gets me out of my head and allows for a temporary change of scenery. While many might find this distracting, this generally allows me to step away from the work at hand and think about it differently for a few minutes.

These are silly examples. Perhaps OCD like ways to tame your mind to allow you to focus on other things, or maybe they are just nuts. I think everyone has routines, and I am willing to bet no two are exactly alike. But the key thing is:

I agree with Michael in the value of separating the items into have and want items. Trying to find the balance is the difficulty I suspect many of us go through.

photo credit: pierofix via photo pin cc

Introducing blocs.tv !

Today is a big day for me, primarily for personal reasons. I have been working hard on a side project for about 18 months. I have hinted on this blog and started a series of posts but they remain very cryptic. I have not revealed to much as I was tying up all the loose ends and not wanting to give away to much until I was 100% good to go. I will continue to expand on them more now.

Today I launched my new product called blocs. The website is blocs.tv

Blocs.tv is an accessory to be used with the Apple TV. The bloc allows the base of the Apple TV to sit in a base and prevent it from rotating (making it easier to use your remote). In addition the base provides a space to store the remote and easily get to it.

I love technology. I love clean simple modern designs. I love tactile materials. Sometimes all the cool shiny stuff can be cold. One of the goals of the design of the product was to combine a warm organic component with a fantastic piece of technology.

 Walnut bloc
Walnut bloc

If you have a chance please go check it out and let me know your thoughts !
Use the contact form on the store, add a comment here, or you can reach me on twitter.

Originality Score = 0

It seems a shame that after going through a trial that was focused on originality and copying Apple that a few days after the it ends with a decision against them that new images arrive showing Samsung’s new “original” laptop.

That would be fine if it were true, except it is a clone of the MAcBook Air. I guess on the originality side of the coin it does have a stylus but for me that falls more into the stupid category.

See the pictures and articles below:

9to5Mac
the verge
Cult of Mac

The Prototype

Once I thought I had a potentially viable idea I needed to find out how to bring it to life. I wanted to make sure that I was able to solve the problem that I originally was having and create a better product. I knew I wanted to make the product from wood initially and branch out to other materials later. Being a weekend woodworker gave me some knowledge of how this could be created by hand. But ultimately I wanted to be able to make in it on a C&C machine to get the level of precision I was hoping for.

I started drawing feverishly. Different views, angles, site lines. I made the item bigger and smaller. I quickly filled up a Field Notes notebook with ideas. But it still was not obvious enough when someone looked at it what it was (that may still be the case). This has to be done in a 3D rendered form. I needed this in a CAD format to show others and and get better feedback. I have not used AutoCad in sometime, nor did I have a current license to upgrade. I looked around and found that I could probably use Google SketchUp to create a detailed enough drawing.

Setting aside a weekend I started playing with SketchUp. It was pretty easy to learn and there were a lot of sophisticated demo drawings out there to encourage me that this could be done. A few hours later I had my drawing prototype. I emailed it off to a few more friends to get their thoughts and any recommendations for changes. The feedback was very positive but there were some recommendations for changes as well. I updated my drawing and went to meet with my friend who had some bigger machine equipment. He liked the design and we tweaked it yet again.

What I was trying to do is create a version 1 of a product. What I did not think about at the time was what was I doing? What I later realized at the time was I was trying to create myMVP or Minimum Viable Product. An MVP is the process used to get something started in many books like the Lean Startup approach.

Next up refinement and feedback.

———–

Related:
Step1: Ideas are Easy

Studio Neat — It Will Be Exhilarating

Yesterday I was talking with a friend about Kickstarter.  I was doing my best to explain how process works and giving her examples of successful projects that I have funded in the past. One of those examples was Studio Neat with the Glif.  This morning I opened up my reader and see that Shawn Blanc wrote a piece about a new book from the founders Tom and Dan about their expereinces over the past two years. From Shawns site to Studio Neat to check out.  Looking forward to reading “It will be exhilarating” ebook today!

 It Will Be Exhilarating
It Will Be Exhilarating

The New Microsoft…same as the old.

Yesterday the new Microsoft logo was introduced. I have seen a lot of mentions to thenew look. After reviewing it I only had one feeling – flat. I don’t mean 2 dimensionally flat although it is but more un-inspiring, lacking interest, more of the same.

Changing or updating your logo is not an insignicant thing. It affects the company in updating packages, websites, supporting material (business cards, letter head). More importantly it affects who your consumers see you.

Microsoft waited 25 years for this update and personally I think they failed. It lacks originality, it does not offer and unique visual queues or say anything about the company of note. I think Andrew Kim did a much better job over the course of one week

A sad day for cycling and a good man

As a former long distance cyclist and lover of the sport, the news today from the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) has me disgusted. They are recommending to the UCI to strip Lance Armstrong of all his titles, awards and winnings. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, has been “hunting” Lance like sport animal. Lance finally has had enough.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said Thursday night, hours before the deadline to enter arbitration. He called the USADA investigation an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”[1]

Apparently you can be tested hundreds of times and pass and be guilty. I imagine this is how a criminal who is truly innocent and gets the death penalty must feel. Circumstantial evidence appears to win out in some cases. Its WRONG ! Before DNA testing I bet this happened more than we would like to believe.

Lance has a truly unique life store beating cancer after the doctors gave him a 50/50 chance to then go on and win 7 Tour de France titles. A feat no one let alone an unknown American have ever done.

The UCI, the International Cycling Union, has the final say. Regardless they have several problems to address.

  • If Lance is stripped of his titles four of those wins would go to Jan Ulrich, an athlete thatHAS tested positive for doping and been banned for life from the sport.
  • the UCI has backed Armstrong and asked the USADA to explain why he should be stripped of his titles when none of the USADA’s own test have EVER come back positive. [2]
  • The sport has been tarnished more and more over the last 10 years form allegations of doping. While they want to send a message to the athletes they certainly do not want the image of the sport to decrease more by backing a sports hero.

Lance could have stopped racing sooner, taken his winnings and fame and partied like a rock start all over the world. I am sure he enjoyed himself but what he really did was start a foundation for cancer research that has raised over $500 million dollars. His family and the foundation are his priorities. Even if he wins this battle in another year there will be a new version of these allegations that he will have to deal with (come on its been 17 years and we are still talking about this).

Its a sad day for cycling. When a man so strong who has done so much good reached his limit and said enough. When you choose to continue working to help others over proving your innocence you will be branded as guilty.

Today a sports hero did not die, he became a larger one.

  1. Fox Latino News Article  ↩

  2. Fox Latino News Article  ↩

Seth’s Blog: Tattoo thinking

I love this post from Seth (like most of his).  He is reminding us and giving us permission to make mistakes.  I think a lot of peopl, myself included, allow themselves to be boxed in with their decisions. Find reasons to prevent changing things as opposed to trying to change things. The internet provides us the ability to be more flexible, fluid, able to react quicker then many other industries. Take advantage of it ! 

This Parrot’s Dead >

Don Macallister has hit an impasse with his great SCOTutor iOS apps.  All the apps were approved and then later pulled form the store as being just videos.  Don reworked the apps and resubmitted to show new functionality.  They were rejected and so was his latest appeal. 

I pointed out several video tutorial apps that had been reviewed and accepted into the store THIS MONTH but still no capitulation on the fact that they considered my Apps movies.

I pointed out the rework of the SCOTutor Apps to included additional app functionality, but still they won’t budge.

So I’ve pretty much run out of patience trying to get the Apps re-instated on the iOS store.

This is a disappointment.  Although iOS has a high degree of intuitiveness these apps have been where I have pointed friends and family to for additional training.  I have gifted these to many.  I think this is an example of where Apple got it wrong.

The Rise Of Third Party Services And Fall Of Google In iOS >

Graham Spencer from Macstories has a great post describing the history of services in iOS. The graphics are plain and simple.  There is a clear direction in which Apple is integrating with more outside services.  Google is almost out.  

Most of the recent iOS discussion is how good will Apple maps be?  Could Apple replace the mapping application which had become our de facto standard?  

Apple acquired a number of mapping companies to achieve the talent and products needed to create their own Maps app, including Poly9, Placebase and C3 Technologies. This was no small move in replacing Google Maps.

— http://www.macstories.net

But even if there had not been bad blood with Google I wonder if this would have happened anyway.  If you follow the timeline Apple really had a lot in one basket with Google.