An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

Entries Tagged as personal

Me and Gmail (revisited)

January 31, 2014 ·

Six years ago I blogged that I only use my Gmail account for mailing lists and asked people not to sent direct / personal email to my account.

Recently I decided to give Google Plus a second chance. I had stopped using it completely because it seemed to be "Facebook for geeks" and I try really hard to keep my tech life and my "real" life partitioned on the web: Facebook for IRL friends that I share interests with and have at least had dinner with; Twitter for tech chatter and news. Nowadays, many of my Facebook friends are also on G+ (or have migrated from Facebook to G+), and along the way Google enabled G+ for Google Accounts, which is where I've managed my email for several years. And, yes, G+ has gotten better. It's still primarily "Facebook for geeks" but there's more interesting content from people I know in real life and I figured it might be a nice avenue for "musings on technology" that don't really belong on my blog (and are too long for Twitter anyway). And as Facebook gets more and more annoying with its filtering, its ads, its auto-play videos, and its somewhat weird privacy settings, maybe G+ will see more and more non-geek users, which in turn will make it more appealing to me...

Now, having two G+ accounts - both and - is a royal pain in the bejeesus because you get circle notifications on two addresses and you end up having to keep two different browsers open, each logged in via a different account. Google doesn't let you merge accounts. Boo! So I decided to strip G+ from my account, and just use my Google Account for all my Google needs. That had been working out pretty well so about three weeks ago I decided to effectively shut down my account: I started switching all my mailing list subscriptions over to and set up rules in Google Mail to push mailing list content to folders so I didn't have to see it in my desktop client (I really like Google Mail on the web for reading mailing lists!).

In that three weeks, according to Google's "Account Activity Report", I've received 5,200 emails from almost 900 contacts, and I've sent just over 300 emails to just over 100 contacts. I'll be interested to see what a full month looks like on now that I have disconnected everything from my account.

So, six years ago I warned not to send personal / direct email to because it might get lost in the flood of mailing lists. Today, if you send any email there, it might as well be /dev/null - I no longer use, on the other hand, still remains the best way to contact me!

Tags: personal

Dell XPS 12 Convertible & Windows 8 - First Impressions

December 19, 2012 ·

No doubt much to many people's surprise, I recently bought a Windows machine. I've used every version of Windows since 3.1 but I've always preferred Apple's offerings, both in terms of hardware and software. So what do I think of this new Dell machine and Windows 8?

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Tags: dell · personal · windows8

Help me choose an ultrabook!

November 05, 2012 ·

MacBook Air 11" or Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook Convertible or something else?

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Tags: personal · windows8

How I got started in ColdFusion

August 02, 2011 ·

I took a rare vacation day yesterday - and was truly away from the computer all day - so when I caught up with my daily Refynr feed, I found I'd missed How I Got Started in ColdFusion Day. Since I'm probably the odd one out, based on the stories I've been reading on various blogs this morning, I figured I'd throw my story out there, a day late...

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Tags: coldfusion · personal

Google Wave - Disappointed?

November 19, 2009 ·

As Google Wave rolls out more invitations, I'm seeing a lot of people complaining that it doesn't seem to do much useful stuff. I'm actually finding Google Wave very useful. So why do I like it and many other people don't? I came across a great blog post by Daniel Tenner that asks "What problems does Google Wave solve?" where he talks a lot about what Google Wave is not and that provides a big clue as to why many people aren't finding it very useful. Most of the complaints and confusion I see are from people whose experience is just public waves. That's understandable. We have no point of reference for completely open collaboration tools, except perhaps wikis. But a wiki has (some) structure and has 'pages' and 'content' and a sense of navigation. That's missing from Google Wave - by design, since that's not what it is aimed it. Public waves really are a waste of time (in my experience so far). Where Google Wave really shines is in closed group collaboration. If you have a team that is working on a project that needs to refine ideas, concepts, proposals, documents and be able to maintain discussion threads in context, then Google Wave can be very effective. Waves work best when they have a narrow focus and a set of dedicated contributors - rather than some random, open-ended topic and a big crowd of people going "So, what's this Google Wave all about then?". And, no, I don't have any invites at the moment. I'll tweet when I do.

Tags: personal

No Scotch for me!

May 25, 2009 ·

I was due to speak at all three venues for Scotch on the Rocks but unfortunately, I have to stay home. As many of you on Twitter and Facebook already know, my wife slipped and fell on Friday and hurt her ankle very badly. We were in the ER until 4am and x-rays confirmed her ankle was broken. Badly broken! She has a tri-malleolar fracture which essentially means she's snapped off the bottom of both her tibia and her fibula. She'll be going in for surgery as soon as the swelling has gone down enough to operate, hopefully on Thursday. She's going to be off her feet for about a month and I need to stay home and look after her. I'm very bummed about missing Scotch - it was the one conference I wanted to speak at this year (and originally was going to be the only conference I spoke at)! Here's looking forward to Scotch 2010! Andy and Kev should be publishing an updated schedule in the next few days - I know they have backup speakers on the waiting list. In the meantime, here's Jay's x-ray: Click for a bigger image!

Tags: personal · scotch09

Throbbing Gristle

May 02, 2009 ·

A few people have asked me for a full write-up of the San Francisco gig so here it is... When I got in line outside the Grand Regency Ballroom, I found myself between a couple who'd seen TG at Coachella and a guy who'd seen them at the LA show. Nothing but praise for both performances which heightened my anticipation. Inside, we head to the merchandise tables to buy the new album (The Third Mind Movements - wonderful!) and the special per-venue T shirt (a very cool idea). Despite the very wild looking crowd, everyone is very polite and friendly, patient in line, smiling. You'd never think you were at a hardcore industrial music concert! I wandered into the main theater space and was able to get right up to the barrier at the front, just right of center stage (right in front of Genesis, as it happened) and found myself next to the couple from Coachella again. We got into a deep discussion of politics (pointless since we agreed on everything) and then the support band came out at 8pm. A bit surprising since no mention had been made of a support act... they seemed small and young... they said they would play just one song and it lasted 30 minutes. Check out Erika M. Anderson recording part of "Kind Hearted Woman". I liked it a lot and the album is coming soon apparently... can't wait! The stage cleared, much roadie activity (and Erika's band clearing up their own instruments) and then at 9pm, Genesis, Cosey, Chris and Sleazy took the stage for the main event. They opened with "Very Friendly" (about Ian Brady and Myra Hindley) followed by "Persuasion" (which was equally creepy). It was about this point that I realized just how shocking and controversial their music must seem to most people, even 30 years on. I recognized almost every song they played but I had to go look up the set list to be sure. We got a creepy/funny "Something Came Over Me", a chilling "Hamburger Lady", a beautiful "Almost A Kiss", an echoey "Endless Not", a romping "What A Day" and an immensely powerful "Discipline", the final number. In between songs we had humor (esp. the humiliation of Stephanie) and sweetness (the introduction of Genesis' daughter and the admonishment for thinking bad things about her). The sound was incredible, pounding bass making your internal organs shake (standing next to the right hand speaker stack helped) and being so close to the band added to the power of the performance. And then, very politely, it was all over and the wild looking crowd filtered gently out into the night, smiling. When I woke up the next morning, I was still buzzing from the concert and my ears were popping for days afterward. TG in SF will probably be one of the most memorable concerts of my life.

Tags: personal

GTD - why?

April 20, 2009 ·

A great interview with David Allen looks beyond the hype of GTD to the practical reasons why GTD works and how it came to be. There's a lot of great advice here if you're considering GTD or already trying to apply it. It's a lot more pragmatic than many people seem to think.

Tags: personal

Throbbing Gristle live in San Francisco

April 14, 2009 ·

Excuse the off-topic post... I am going to see Throbbing Gristle at the Grand Regency Ballroom on April 23rd (Thursday next week). The show is SOLD OUT but I bought two tickets so I have a spare... If you'd like to go to the concert with me, it's $40 for the second ticket. Here's what the Ann Powers said in the Los Angeles Times:
Throbbing Gristle: Coachella is known for helping reunite alternative-rock elders, but rarely is a returning group as foundational to a style of music as is this English outfit. More than 30 years ago, Throbbing Gristle basically invented industrial music, melding synthesizer music with found sound and provocative, sometimes repulsive imagery to push punk into its darkest future. Its members continued to shape the genre in groups such as Psychic TV and Chris & Cosey, but this return to the source allows fans to participate in a collaboration that's essential and consistently inventive.
Here's what the TG website says about the San Francisco gig:
THURSDAY 23rd APRIL - SAN FRANCISCO Grand Regency Ballroom - 1290 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109
TG will play one 75 minute set of various material from throughout their history.

Special 'TG USA 2009' merchandising will be on sale, including: all new TG CD album, TG T-shirt specific to this event, TG Tour Enamel Badge, TG Tour Embroidered Patch.

Tags: personal

In praise of Apple customer service

April 13, 2009 ·

So most people like to blog about how poor a company's service is. At the risk of being accused of fanboi-ism, I'd like to blog about how good Apple's iTunes Store support is. I recently bought a copy of Pavement's "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins" album (awesome!) and found that tracks 20 and 21 had an audio problem: the end of track 20 and the first 30 seconds of track 21 sounded like CD skipping.

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Tags: apple · personal