Jun 302008

I do a lot of work with files. I have a lot of files, too, so I’m always on the lookout for little programs that will improve things, here’s a few I’m trying out right now:

DiskUseAnalyzer – Analyzes your disks and helps you figure out which and where are the biggest files for cleanup. Unfortunately, this keeps crashing on my computer, so I use a command line utility from Microsoft called diruse, which in included in Support Tools for Windows XP and Windows 2000.

FlashFolder – Adds some awesome things to your Save As… dialog boxes, such as selecting open folders. A more detailed and excellent review with screenshots here. You can also set shortcut keys for things, like I have Ctrl-E for opening a list of open folders and applications. Very handy. Install required, but its a very light program.

Q-Dir – File Manager. I’m looking for a new file manager to help me setup my GTD system. Has a lot of nice features, including being fast, but the one feature I’m looking for is being able to open up txt files in the pane doesn’t seem to be there. Excellent all around. Review with screenshots here. No install required in Portable mode.

WinMerge – Tool for merging and telling you the difference between folders and text files. Very handy. Doesn’t have to be installed.

JkDefrag – Defraging program. Defragging can help speed up your computer. Might be faster than the windows defrag program, but I use it cause it doesn’t require you to have 15% free space to run. Review here. No install required.

DM2 – I keep Wikidpad, Palm Desktop and a few other programs open all the time, and I want to be able to get at them easily, so I want to put them in the system tray on the button right. This program allows me to do that + more stuff, such as minimize things to a floating transparent icon. I changed the shortcut settings so that middle clicking on the minimize button minimizes to system tray. Another less-featured(which isn’t a bad thing) alternative is TrayIt! Neither require installs.

I’ve just installed a few of these recently, so some of these will drop off the wire later during real world testing.

Criteria: I prefer programs that don’t come with installers (to prevent messy system sprawl) and are light on resources. I obviously prefer free programs, with a preference for open source. Programs have to be light, as well.

I’m trying to create a good system for managing GTD stuff on a computer. Reference is a key problem. I have a Reference folder, with a Folder-tree view on the side, but its not good enough, for a number of reasons: large folders get lost in there, so need some way to highlight the fact that a folder is large so if/when I have to cut some of the file usage, I know where to do first. I also have a lot of text stuff that I manage with WikidPad, that I would prefer to manage with a file manager similar to Linux which would allow me to open text files in the same window as viewing files. I also often have to store files related to an idea (pictures or internet shortcuts, etc). So I’m demoing a few programs for that, with Q-Dir being the first one.

BTW, I’ve decided to use my Desktop in two ways: 1. Inbox. I save stuff on there and process it later. 2. Workspace. I’ll keep shortcuts to folders/files in my Reference folder for projects I’m currently working on. I manage my GTD system with Palm Desktop and my Palm M125.


Jun 242008

Cal Newport over at Study Hacks posted The Most Important Piece of Career Advice You Probably Never Heard, and I agree. The big question to ask yourself:

Fix the lifestyle you want. Then work backwards from there.

Defining Lifestyle

What do I mean by lifestyle? Roughly speaking: a detailed feel for what your day to day existence would be like. Some questions to consider when imagining an ideal lifestyle:

  • How much control do I have over my schedule?
  • What’s the intensity level of my job?
  • What’s the importance of what I do?
  • What’s the prestige level?
  • What type of work?
  • Where do I live?
  • What’s my social life like?
  • What’s my work life balance?
  • What’s my family like?
  • How do other people think of me?
  • What am I known for?