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I dusted off an old website this weekend. Cleaned up some content and relaunched it. The site is LearningOSX.com. I started it a few years ago when I switched from a PC to a Mac, grew tired of posting content and let it sort of gather weeds.

If you are a Mac geek and want to learn some of what I know about using the Mac, check it out.

 

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26 Time Management Hacks

There are a ton of great gems in here. One of my favorites –

Yesterday’s homeruns don’t win today’s games.

What’s your favorite?

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Meograph looks like a cool tool to tell stories using multimedia content.

Meograph: Four-dimensional storytelling.

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Is your company this cool?

Slide deck from Reed Hastings describing the company culture at Netflix. It’s some really good advice on how to scale creative driven companies while maintaining agility.

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If you were laid off today, who would be the first ten people you’d reach out to for advice, or to catch up with? When is the last time you spoke with them? If you can’t even list ten people, much less remember the last time you caught up with some of the people you would normally call references, it’s time to start reaching out now, while you’re comfortably employed and don’t need anything in particular.

via Use the “Layoff Test” to Build Your Professional Network.

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Find a home for used books

bookmooch_logo I hate throwing out books. My wife says it’s like throwing out knowledge. I can’t agree more. Consequently, I have accumlated a large pile of books which if put in order would allow an anthropologist to track my career and life.

Recently, I decided to start decluttering my office. Of course this meant doing something with all of those books. I made a conscious decision to get rid of any book I haven’t looked at in the last year. The challenge became finding out *how* to get rid of them.

I started on Half.com but the hassle of putting them on Half.com, figuring out pricing then waiting until someone buys them didn’t seem that fulfilling. Anyway, I wasn’t getting rid of these books for the money.

It was then I stumbled across Book Mooch. Book Mooch is a service that allows users to swap books. It works like this:

I have a pile of books I put into the Book Mooch inventory, if someone a copy of a book, they ask me for it. I then ship it to them. This in turn earns me credits that I can use to mooch a book from someone else. The book owners pay the shipping cost and no money changes hands.

I may still go the Half.com route but Book Mooch appeals more to my altruistic nature. If you have a pile of books accumulating in your house, Book Mooch ’em.

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5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kid Do

Funny talk given by Gever Tulley on why letting your kids do *some* dangerous things is good for their development.


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Save Driving Time – Avoid Left Turns

Interested in cutting down on your driving time? It’s easy. Avoid left turns. At least that’s what UPS is doing.
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according to Heather Robinson, a U.P.S. spokeswoman, the software helped the company shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and has reduced CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons. So what can Brown do for you? We can’t speak to how good or bad they are in the parcel-delivery world, but they won’t be clogging up the left-hand lane while they do their business.

[tags]economics, environment,software development[/tags]

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Boost Your Willpower by Exercising your Mental Muscle

All of us have struggled to maintain self-control. Whether it is to have that last drink at a party, or a a cookie before dinner. An interesting article today in the New York times seems to suggest that self-control is a form of mental muscle that can improve with training.

Studies now show that self-control is a limited resource that may be strengthened by the foods we eat. Laughter and conjuring up powerful memories may also help boost a person’s self-control. And, some research suggests, we can improve self-control through practice, testing ourselves on small tasks in order to strengthen our willpower for bigger challenges.

In order to improve our self-control, the authors suggest working on smaller easily attainable goals. Obtaining small success will help improve your will-power making more difficult goals easier.

[tags]Lifehack, psychology, self-help, productivity[/tags]

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Easily Import Song Ratings to iTunes

Updated
iTunes IconA few years ago I was given an iPod. Like many, I loaded all of my songs into iTunes and used it as my primary music player. At some point iTunes stopped working and nothing I did would get it working again.

At that point, I switched to an alternate music player, JRiver’s MediaCenter. While this software served my purpose, I recently had a need to move back to iTunes. The only challenge for me was how to move my song ratings into iTunes. No big deal you say? Well, for me, song ratings are the key to all of my playlists (a subject of another post). If I had to start from scratch, rating my 5000+ song library, I would be working straight through the new year.

My initial thought was to do it with some software. However, thinking about it some more, I came away with a better solution – playlists.

The idea I have is to create playlists based on song ratings inside of MediaCenter. These are “Smart Lists”
that automatically update as songs are rated. MediaCenter allows you to export these playlists into various formats. One of them M3U is supported by iTunes. Here is what I did:

  1. Imported all of my songs into iTunes. This took some time.
  2. Created the following playlists in JRiver MediaCenter
    • 1 Star
    • 2 Star
    • 3 Star
    • 4 Star
  3. Exported each playlists as an M3U file
  4. Start iTunes
  5. Select File->Import and open the playlists you just saved. When you do, iTunes will
    import the playlist and display it under the iTunes playlists.
  6. Click the newly created playlist
  7. Highlight all of the songs in the playlist
  8. Right mouse click over the songs and rate them
  9. Repeat the import process for each of your playlists

Since iTunes can import M3U files, migrating your song ratings will work with any other player that also support M3U playlists. Most do.

There are a couple of caveats to this tutorial which are rooted in the M3U file format. The M3U file stores both the filename and the path to the file. There are two (at least) potential problems.

  1. If you want to move from Windows to OSX
  2. If your music file locations have changed

If you have either of these problems then a little Script-Fu should do the trick. It wouldn’t be too hard to write a quick parser in Perl/Python/Ruby which changes the path and filename to the new locations.

[tags]iTunes,iPod,Productivity,Tips[/tags]