Archive for the 'General' Category

Half a year goes by, and I don’t make a blog post

Friday, July 5th, 2013

…sorry about that.  I used to be so good at making one post a month.

A lot of work has been going into things other than my blog.  Raising two kids takes a lot of work, and so far my wife hasn’t gone for the division of labour of one child each and Dad takes whichever is less work at the time.  The Brock University’s eLearning Initiative continues to be a lot of work.

But mostly, there are so many more [micro] ways to communicate these days.

More to come soon — this is my transition.

My Productive Practices

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

productive matrix

At this time of year the interwebs get very productive creating blog postings about productivity, and this blog is all about me adding  information to an existing saturation, so here goes:

These two recent articles have some good ideas for a more productive 2013:

Geeks are always keen to approach organizing their lives as an engineering problem.  Hence the obsession with David Allen’s Getting Things Done is a time-management methodology  and the steady flow of ideas that come out of lifehacker.com

Here’s what I consider my top five most productive practices:

  1. The OHIO principle for E-Mail: Only Handle It Once.  
    Don’t keep re-reading waiting until you’re ready for a response, choose to handle then or not respond at all (with an exception for the “can’t read this here” problem with mobile devices – but mark it as unread).  I’m not a dogmatic process-to-zero inbox person, but I do work sequentially. I’ll only mark as read when the messages is “no longer my responsibility” and some times that means responding asking for clarity to buy a little time and share the responsibility of transmitting a clear message.
  2. Tasks are important and ubiquitous.
    I think I’m one of the few people who values Microsoft Outlook’s Tasks feature, and there’s all kinds of other task Apps.  The trick for me is having those task synced across all my devices, so that when I have the moment of inspiration or recollection I record it easily.  Tasks (or your calendar) is often an important next step after E-Mail comes in that allows you to “deal” with it at an initial level and mark the message as read.  It’s also worth noting that a project is not a task.

Me and Evernote

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Long ago I promised myself I’d blog about <a href=”http://evernote.com”>Evernote</a> when I made more than 1000 notes. I broke that record on Friday November 9, 2012 so here’s a quick summary of what Evernote is and what I use it for.

Evernote is intended to help people remember everything. While I haven’t achieved that, I’m a lot closer.

Evernote is a desktop, phone/tablet, browser plugins and a web application that allows you to capture information from anywhere. The application also indexes all entries so that the content can be quickly searched, including any text in pictures – for example: whiteboards.

All these collected notes are synced to client/applications on almost any device that connects to the internet – as a lowest common denominator, there is evernote.com.

Evernote has a provision for tagging notes, but more importantly it lets you start new notebooks and sub-notebooks. I use this to collect notes about the kids, projects at work, my favourite beers and wines, and other notebooks – including some I’ve shared with others.

There’s lots of information on Evernote’s site, so instead I’ll share what I use to for:

At home and around the town:

  • Lists of things to pack, buy, collect and almost anything else.
  • Pictures of the various medicines and other records my kids have taken – both kids have their own notebook.
  • Planing and document projects around the house – including the summer’s minor fence project and last summer’s major patio project and year before that’s nursery project. The notes are important, but the pictures are handy to travel back and forth from Home Deport with.
  • Records and information about the cars and appliances.
  • I transferred my wife’s recipes etc. from an old laptop to all her new devices – I also have access to the this shared notebook and…. don’t use them.

Code Babies – HTML for Babies

Friday, October 26th, 2012


Six months ago I ordered the Code Babies book Web Design for Babies (Vol. 1) . I took a while for it to arrive as PayPal passed on an old address and I failed to catch it, but after a number of months both ends figured it out and then package arrived. Code Babies were kind enough to include a poster (now in our second child’s room).

The board book’s colours are bright and the content teaches children about SGML-based markup languages and their tag and property based structure, demonstrating the merits of extensibility. I consider my children a significant revision of their parents, and it’s my intent that as they encounter new experiences in life they demonstrate exciting innovation when possible and otherwise fail gracefully.

I taught myself HTML when I was about 15, reusing a notebook that had been used for story writing from when I was about 8 for my notes. Why not give my children an earlier start, especially since they have 2 more versions of HTML and CSS to learn than I did?

Since both our children were born with their own web site already up and running (first child’s site was standards compliant and dynamic, the upgrade for our second child brought a responsive, bootstrap-based, design) the sooner they can contribute to the World Wide Web the sooner they can start shaping the world they’ve found themselves in.

Next lesson: POSIX-based file structures and how they relate to putting away their toys.


Birth Blog Announcement of Alyssa Clare

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Alyssa Clare

My wife Lindsay were joyfully surprised by the birth of Alyssa Clare on September 17th at 5:41, 2012.

Alyssa Anne Clare was expected to be delivered by C-Section on October 9th, but showing the independence she no doubt got from her mother and the hurried pace she got from her father she arrived about 4 weeks early.

Lindsay and I did not know we were having a daughter until she was there before our eyes. We couldn’t be happier to have our little girl, and she completes our 2+2 family. The waiting room at Joseph Brant Hospital was filled with family waiting for the news, but her older brother Evan was the first to be told that he had a little sister. Evan has also been a good older brother to the “ba-by” sharing hugs and being the first to alert anyone that Alyssa might have lost her hat. Born at a weight of 5 pounds 6 ounces she needs to stay warm.

Alyssa’s four grandparents, two aunts, three uncles and many others in the GTA have all had a chance to hold her and she is well loved.

We’re excited for what Alyssa will grow into, and the experience of watching a baby grow to a toddler and older again but from a new perspective.

Full gallery can be found here

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Get this widget at roytanck.com

Our private gallery of family photos has received upgrades in anticipation of Alyssa’s arrival and you’re welcome to visit it to see the latest updates if you know the trivial account and password. mattclare.ca/gallery


P.S. It’s hard to write a blog posting like this and not think of a future hacker trying to research Alyssa’s security challenge questions — you know, when she runs for Prime Minister and people want to read her E-Mail.