Monthly Archives: January 2016

Deep work, or the lack thereof

…knowledge workers spend 70-85% of their time attending meetings (virtual or face-to-face), dealing with e-mail, talking on the phone or otherwise dealing with an avalanche of requests for input or advice. Many employees are spending so much time interacting that they have to do much of their work when they get home at night.

The collaboration curse, The Economist, Jan 23 2016

My office hours this year have been pretty packed, mostly occupied by meetings and training sessions. While they’ve (mostly) been productive – thankfully! – that does lead to a paucity of time available for ‘deep work’.

So when I stumbled upon this article (shared on Facebook), it really resonated with me – in fact, it’s something I’d remarked to my team leader earlier in the month. Apparently my remark also struck a chord within him, and he’s trying to get more of his work done early in the morning rather than late at night (by switching to a 7:30am reporting time).

I’m still enjoying my work, but I really hope this is a situation that will change for the better, later – I definitely want to ensure I get some leisure time of my own, too!

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Android trial summary

So I’ve decided to cut the Android trial a little early. After two weeks of using the Nexus 6P as a primary device, I think I’ve experienced enough to decide that an Android handset is still not my first choice at this point in time. Thought I’d just catalogue some of the (very subjective) impressions from the experience.

+Google apps

One of the main reasons I’ve been considering switching back is the superior Google integration. Google Now works better (Google Now on tap is pretty cool), cool features come out faster (Google Maps’s driving mode was released on Android sometime during my trial period), Google Photos backup is done more seamlessly… The list goes on. Google does support iOS pretty well, but due to various factors (e.g. nature of iOS; Android prioritisation) this is still nowhere as comprehensive as on Android. Will definitely miss having this!

+Default program customisability

Something I find rather annoying about iOS is the inability to change default programs (e.g. browser, navigation). No such problem for Android! Will miss this somewhat, though truth be told, I’ve already gotten used to working around this issue in iOS (usually nothing copypasting won’t solve). Still, I’d be rather happy if Apple were to one day allow more customisability in this area.

+Great emoji

  

 This is a rather flippant reason, but you’ve gotta love those yellow blobs Google uses for its emoji. It was fun seeing them on my handphone for awhile; after giving up the Nexus I’ll probably only get to see it on Hangouts (on the computer).

-Notification customisability

I’m not sure if I just hadn’t discovered the way to do it, but something that drove me crazy was the inability to receive silent notifications (no sound, no vibration) if the app did not support such a setting. As far as I can tell, the ability to customise notifications is done within settings for each app, so I was unable to totally silence notifications from news apps, for instance (I want to see breaking news, but don’t want notifications on par with new messages when they come in!).

Ecosystem integration

This is probably an unfair statement to make, since most of the rest of my device ecosystem (Macs, iPad, AirPlay stuff) is Apple-centric, but I just feel that Apple offers more cross-platform synergies. For instance, I like being able to mirror my SMSes on my computer (e.g. it’s pretty useful for getting OTPs when required on certain websites). I’d have had to make some investments (e.g. cables, Chromecast, apps) to extend these synergies to an Android device, and at this point I guess the benefits don’t really warrant this cost.


It’s not been entirely a wash, though – I’ve currently got an offer for the phone that’s above what I’d paid for it; if the sale actually pulls through, I’d actually have made a (small) sum of cash on this trial!

Oh, and I guess I’ve gained knowledge and all that, too. But cash is always nice. 🤑

Project 366, 2016

It’s been awhile since my last Project 365s (done in 2010 2007), and since I’d started the year predicting possible change, I figured this was as good a time as any to give it another go.

Based on past experience (and the current status, really), I wouldn’t really be able to do a picture a day, so I’ll just make sure the final picture tally reaches 366 (it’s a leap year). Just as I appreciate having the annual entry to look back at, I do rather enjoy flipping through the pictorial journals from time to time, too!

So… here it is – a work in progress, my Project 366 for 2016!

2016

Project 366, 2016

Back to Android (trial)

I’ve been toying with the idea of switching back to Android for some time now, especially with the latest generation of Nexus phones (5X, 6P). I use so many of Google’s services, it only seems logical to make use of the native platform that has apps optimised for them. It’s been quite awhile since my Nexus One (my last Android mobile phone), though, and I didn’t really love the platform that much when I’d borrowed my friend’s Nexus 5 to use for awhile.

Still, I figured I should give the platform a fair trial – I was using a device two generations old (I felt it was sometimes not very responsive). Its specs were not comparable to the iPhone 6 Plus I was used to, which hardly made it a fair comparison. So I decided to look out for a second-hand Nexus 6P to try out with lower risk (since I had bought it at a lower price, the cost incurred would be lower should I need to resell it).
 And so the experiment begins! I plan to use the 6P as my primary device until the end of the month or so, after which I’d decide whether or not to keep it. I’m currently finding the Android interface to be rather foreign (things have changed since Gingerbread), but I suppose I should have gotten over that by the end of three weeks!

Forks in the Road

This annual blog post thing has become one of my most cherished habits. As the years go by, I hardly have time to pore through every entry; but these posts help to summarise the general gist of the events going on and the accompanying mood across the years. It’s become almost like a cathartic experience, re-reading these entries every year before composing a new addition to the series.

2015 has been a year of change, primarily career-related – I’ve changed roles and am rather enjoying the pace of office work, and am rather appreciative of the new people I am working under/with. These are things that make a difference. That said, the work does seem to be less… fun. That seems to be a rather silly reason to give up a good working environment, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see if returning to work in school is something I’d really want to actively pursue.

There are other changes that might be made – I think 2016 is going to be a year of decision-making and possible change. I can’t say I’m thrilled, but it’s definitely something to be excited about!