- The best article on health I’ve read: Unhappy Meals | Michael Pollan (in Romanian – Rezumat pentru articolul Mese nefericite (cel mai bun articol despre a trai sanatos pe care l-am citit) | știrimess: știri scurte, ca pentru messenger (închis)).
- The best documentary I know of on health – Sugar: The Bitter Truth – YouTube (in Romanian, more details – Schimbător de vieți? Despre zahăr, video în engleză, 90 minute (cu alternative de non-vizionare): Olivian Breda).
- The best diet I know of: Mediterranean Diet Review: Foods & Weight Loss Effectiveness / Mediterranean Diet — What You Need to Know — US News Best Diets.
- How to lose weight / live longer? Eat less. BBC News – The power of intermittent fasting / Eat, Fast and Live Longer – Horizon on Vimeo
What are the best goals to set in order to motivate yourself?
It’s simple – put no goals to yourself. Instead, focus on creating a system in which you will like things.
So, instead of saying “I’ll write 10 pages each day for a month”, say “I’ll find something which I like doing, like writing, and have lots of fun doing it”.
Quotes on this:
The researchers came to a stunning conclusion – one they didn’t expect and a result that turned conventional wisdom about both education and parenting on its head. The kids who were rewarded for their pretty pictures chose to spend less time drawing than those who weren’t rewarded. The children who weren’t told about the prospect of any prize continued to enjoy drawing, but the children who were given awards seemed reluctant to carry on without the promise of further honours. The initial award reduced the children’s motivation rather than spurring them on to greater heights.
But that’s not all. The investigative team also asked a group of independent art aficionados, who were unaware of the goals of the study, to evaluate the quality of the children’s handiwork. The pictures drawn by the children who were rewarded tended to be rated as less competent, less skilled than those drawn by the unrewarded children. In other words, the rewarded children didn’t just spend less time drawing when given a choice in the matter; they seemed to put less effort into their art too. (source)
A new study by a pair of researchers at the University of Chicago and the Korea Business School shows that this approach has some benefits. Focusing on goals fires up your intentions to engage in the activities that will help you achieve those goals. But there’s a major downside. Stay focused on your goals and you spoil your experience of the activities you’ll need to pursue. In turn, that makes it far more likely that you’ll drop out early and fail to achieve the very goals that you’re so focused on. (source)
Here’s another example. Going to the gym 3-4 times a week is a goal. And it can be a hard one to accomplish for people who don’t enjoy exercise. Exercising 3-4 times a week can feel like punishment – especially if you overdo it because you’re impatient to get results. When you associate discomfort with exercise you inadvertently train yourself to stop doing it. Eventually you will find yourself “too busy” to keep up your 3-4 days of exercise. The real reason will be because it just hurts and you don’t want to do it anymore. And if you do manage to stay with your goal, you use up your limited supply of willpower.
Compare the goal of exercising 3-4 times a week with a system of being active every day at a level that feels good, while continuously learning about the best methods of exercise. Before long your body will be trained, like Pavlov’s dogs, to crave the psychological lift you get from being active every day. It will soon become easier to exercise than to skip it – no willpower required. And your natural inclination for challenge and variety will gently nudge you toward higher levels of daily activity while at the same time you are learning in your spare time how to exercise in the most effective way. That’s a system. (source)
First, read some more on the Stanford marshmallow experiment – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Stanford marshmallow experiment refers to a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University. In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward (sometimes a marshmallow, but often a cookie or a pretzel, etc.) provided immediately or two small rewards if he or she waited until the experimenter returned (after an absence of approximately 15 minutes). In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI) and other life measures. However, recent work calls into question whether self-control, as opposed to strategic reasoning, determines children’s behavior.
So, the solutions here would be to be able to think of something else (distraction) or think of the final prize (change the desire).
The second solution, by Scott Adams:
Expanding on that point, let’s say you have a choice between pasta and a white potato. Assume you enjoy both foods equally and you want to choose the best one for your waistline. Which do you pick?
I recently posed that question to a crowd of ninety senior managers at a huge tech company. About 88 of them chose the potato. That’s the wrong answer because pasta is only half as high on the glycemic index. The two people out of ninety who knew pasta was the better choice wouldn’t need to use as much willpower later in the day to stay within a good diet range. Studies have shown that if you use your willpower resisting one temptation you have less in reserve for the next. The systems approach to weight management is to gradually replace willpower with knowledge, e.g. knowing pasta is better than a potato. (The book describes more ways to replace willpower with knowledge in the diet realm.)
This solution implies finding a system in which the craving isn’t there.
Third – find habits and create them. Find what you like about the craving, and create a system / habit which stops it from happening.
- First note: It might be a better idea to watch movies at the cinema. Not for the quality of the video or sound, but for your experience of going to the cinema, the people you’re with, the people around you.
- Second note: I’m not an expert in computer software for movies. I’ll share my experience.
- The best program to watch a movie - BS Player.
- If you want to watch part of the movie, do something else, continue viewing, BS Player has the single most useful thing to me – resume where I left off.
- It’s got a very good search for subtitles. You set the language (EN / RO / whatever), and the software can automatically look for subtitles for the movies which don’t start with one already. Even if the movie has a subtitle, it can still search for new ones.
- It’s very good at scrolling through the movie, either with clicking at the desired destination, or using keys.
- It has simple keys (if you know the keys of WinAmp, you’ll do fine – XCVB. F for full-screen, Space for play/pause).
- It has simple to understand menus.
- As a setting, in Romanian, I like to set the subtitle font for Central European, which has diacritics – ș, ț, ă, â, î.
- I watch the movies in sequences, not the whole movie at a time, so I like to set the default movie to another player (VLC, Media Player Classic). I like BS Player better, but the function for continuing the movie where I left off doesn’t work so well if I open lots of other videos.
- Văd frecvent evitarea liniei de pauză pe net (e o linie mai lungă –, în locul ei văd cratima -).
- Văd frecvent scrierea 13 – 17 ianuarie (greșit), în loc de 13-17 ianuarie.
Some things to add:
- Reading is nothing without reflection. If you only get stuff in, you don’t go through the necessary processes to do change. Some people advise others, for this, to stop and think (1) and put into practice what you read (2). I advise another thing – teach others. Give presentations with what you learn. Even better, write. Keep a blog. Make it public, if it makes you any better. More on this – Writing Is Thinking · An A List Apart Article.
- Will Smith says if you are hurt when you run, you should keep running, and this is why running is good. I’m thinking more in health terms – do sports, do any sports, keep doing that sport. At times, even if it mildly hurts, but don’t overdo it, and always ask for an external, proper, opinion on this.
Sometimes, I install Windows-es. They’re all sort of them – XP, 7, 8, different service packs for each of them, x64 and x86. Windows 7 with SP1 on x64 is a different thing than Windows 7 on x86 with no SP. Some programs work, some don’t. The thing is, you can’t predict things easily. You install Last FM and don’t know if it will work, and if it will work correctly. Again, the thing is lots of programs are not installed right away with Windows. So, you install Windows, you install the other software and, surprise!, after a month of usage you discover you need some other programs. And these don’t work.
I don’t have a clear solution to this. I just wanted to clarify some things.
In marriage, you first go through engagement. Even engagement starts after meeting someone. All these meetings generally start with the first date. The first date starts from doing something which gets a positive emotion.
You see, in all these steps:
- The first emotion – the first date – the following dates – the engagement – perhaps moving in together – marriage – children.
People first take a taste. A sample. They see how it’s like.
I think this is mostly a productivity reason – prior to making the big step, you take a small step and see how it’s like. Prior to making the perfect situation, you make a not-so-perfect and try to perfect it.
In day-to-day processes this could mean, instead of hiring someone with a 3 years contract, you have a trial of three months. Instead of signing a big contract, sign a small one first. Instead of doing it all at once, do it in small steps.
You want to build a PC from scratch? How about, prior to buying all the pieces and then seeing what it’s like, you first watch an YouTube video with this?
You want to build a house? How about you first get an idea of what construction is by helping a friend doing home improvement, to get a taste of the process?
Some things can’t be tested. You can’t test how it’s like to fly a plane. You can have an idea, but for the process itself you just need to do it. You can’t “partially” move. When you go and sleep at other people’s houses, you don’t have enough time to test everything, and you won’t know 100% how would it feel if you lived there. You can’t partially move (well, most of the time, see engagement above).
For the other ones, those who can have a trial version, it’s actually better to do it like this.
Let’s say 3 people want to work for you. You could go through a laborious process of finding the best candidate, or you could hire all 3 of them for one week and see how it goes. And at the end of the week keep one, or two, or three, or none. Or extend the test period to two months. And after that to two years. And after that to a contract without a time frame.
It’s a typical mistake – you assume that you can predict future behavior by analyzing the past. So, you read CVs, one interview, another, a test, and all of that to predict the behavior of the potential candidate. How about you give that person something to do, and you would see exactly, on the spot, what are the weaknesses and strengths?
You want to clean the whole house in one day. How about you start in small processes, which can be not linked to the big one? Organizing a cabinet. Organizing the deposit box. In the end, by doing the small steps, the final task will only involve dusting and using chemicals to clean, and using the vacuum cleaner, and it would only take a few hours, instead of a whole day.
You want to reorganize your hard drive. How about you start with a folder. And, in another day, with a different one. And, yes, you will have a very large folder with old documents, which will take more time. But by that time you would have entered the mood and you would know the pleasure you (probably) have after finishing a small step.
Save the world. One step at a time.
You may try first automatic repair.
If not, try to boot:
- Press and hold the power button until the tablet turns off.
- Press and hold the following buttons (in sequence) to boot into the BIOS: Power button > Volume Up > Voume Down. When done correctly, it will show you the BIOS screen.
But instead of booting from a “real” Windows bootable CD, you need either:
- A repair disk provided by Lenovo (you need to contact Customer Support for this, but I failed in getting a CD from them).
- A repair disk made previously in Windows 8, by following these steps (you should do this as a pre-emptive measure).
I was going through some memories in school, and I thought of the following - what’s the ratio between costs & benefits of doing:
- A group photo at the beginning / end of the school year / work year, given directly at the opening / end of that year.
- A photo with the participants at an event, be it low profile (a meeting in town with friends), or high profile (school banquet, Christmas party, New Year party, birthday, wedding, baptism).
To me, the cost & effort is rather low, but the benefits are large.
Also, it’s important that the memory is physical (on paper, in my hands). Sure, digital is fine, also, but physical is much better.
I do this:
- RescueTime monitors pretty much every action I take, and while the data is locked in there (you need a premium account to see your own data in full details), I am confident I can/will take it out sometime in the future.
- Last FM records every song I listen to on my profile.
- I have a keylogger which saves every keystroke.
- I have a clipboard utility which automatically saves the clipboard into a log file.
Why is this helpful?
Gmail has a nice feature:
You can delegate access to your Gmail to another person so they can read, send, and delete messages on your behalf. For example, you can delegate e-mail rights to an admin in your organization, or you could delegate your personal email access to your spouse. The delegate can also access the other person’s contacts by clicking the Contacts link. Clicking the To,Cc, or Bcc links in the mail compose window will also bring up your contacts.
You won’t be able to give anyone permission to change your account password or account settings, or chat on your behalf. You can specify up to 10 users. Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government customers can specify up to 25 users. (source & details)
What happens when you get to 10 emails for which you have access? You can’t add other ones anymore.
How to solve this?
Let’s say that emails email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com … firstname.lastname@example.org all give access to email@example.com. If you want to add firstname.lastname@example.org, you can’t. The solution is to login as email@example.com (or any other one in that list) and go to Settings => Accounts, and in there remove the granted access. In this way, you will be able to add firstname.lastname@example.org, replacing the missing address.
Unlike granting access, which takes a while to process, removing the granted access is instantly done.
Today, one of my clients’ websites got hacked. The homepage was a simple text message, no page was accessible.
What are the steps to make it back again the way it was before?
- Download WordPress from WordPress.org web site and put it again.
- Update the database, if/when requested.
- Recreate wp-config.php from wp-config-sample.php.
- Temporarily set a different theme (you will put it back again, of course).
- Check in admin if the widgets section of the web site has a malicious code (it was the case at my client’s web site).
- Check the homepage / other pages for malicious codes.
- If you have a database back-up, recover it from there.
- If there is still a problem with the site being hacked, recover all the files in wp-content folder from a back-up.
- Change the passwords of:
- WordPress admin / other admin-class users.
- (if different than CPanel) FTP users.
- Install security plugins (more than one).
I liked the fragment from this article a lot:
Nu o sa mai “tocesti” niciodata. Desi toata lumea stie ca la medicina pierzi noptile invatand, daca dai de un curs care trebuie tocit, evita-l. Cauta in schimb o carte despre materia aia care sa poata fi citita cu placere. Intotdeauna e una la biblioteca. Si o sa o citesti cu placere pentru ca oamenii care au scris-o iubesc ceea ce fac, iar dragostea trezeste interesul si pentru informatia cea mai arida. Prefera metoda asta chiar daca auzi ca la examen profesorul vrea sa scrii cuvant cu cuvant dupa cursul lui. Nu e adevarat. Iar in felul asta, facultatea o sa treaca foarte usor. (Vlad Stroescu on MedLive)
What he says is the following – in school, you have two basic options:
- You can learn things by heart, forcing yourself to remember things.
- You can read things with pleasure, with enjoyment, being happy with what you read. Instead of focusing to remember most things in a text book, you should rather focus on reading things which give you pleasure.
While most people would think that the first option is not only implied by default, but also mandatory, the author says he is comfortable to suggesting this as a viable alternative to memorizing things.
- Let’s say someone gives you a written note with a bank account.
- Let’s say you’re a teacher and have to calculate averages for 30 pupils from 4 different exams at a respected university.
- Let’s say you’re an accountant, and have 40 bills to put into an accounting system.
Each of these situations should leave with little room for any error, and with big problems if you do something wrong (money are put into a different account, a pupil does not join the university and, finally, you do wrong things in accounting).
How to make sure you’re right about inserting the data correctly?
- A classical solution would be “insert & check”. The thing is, most people would be affected by confirmation bias – “Oh, I wrote 19,275, and here it is on the original paper – 19,275. This must be right!”. Therefore, to be absolutely sure everything is correct, most people would check more than one time. But the final feeling would still be of uncertainty – “What if, still, I am wrong?”.
- I would suggest a solution which is more efficient time-wise, and, likely, with a better final peace of mine – “This must be right!”. The solution involves inserting the data two (at extremes, three) times. So, instead of making an Excel with all the pupils’ data, make 2 (even 3) Excel spreadsheets. In the end, there are automated solutions which check for differences. Even a fast ALT + TAB between two open windows with the same data should give a good result. In the end, the job is done faster & with better results for the inner peace.
In the last years, I have bought getseoideas.com, fiieficient.com, getaresultnow.com, olivian.ro & olivianbreda.com. This year betterish.com, audithink.com, oliii.com. While they’re not the greatest web site one could have, they’re, as “betterish” implies, OKish and, at times, betterish than other options.
How to create your own?
- Find a keyword which clearly defines your web site – SEO / efficiency / results / Olivian / Olivian / better / audits / Oli.
- Try to find an exact match domain. Olivian.ro is an example.
- Try to adapt the words using either of these methods:
- Add some letters – Oliii.com. For this, wordoid.com is an excellent tool.
- Add full name – OlivianBreda.com.
- Create complex sentences (I don’t recommend this method anymore, the first three web sites are closed, I don’t consider they represent my current ideas anymore -getseoideas.com, fiieficient.com, getaresultnow.com).
- Play with words – betterish / audithink (again, wordoid.com).
Everyone would want o.ro or o.com, or something like that (very short). Even just SEO.com or results.com would be better. Since you can’t have this, try the next bext thing.
How to have this price for two years in a row?
The trick is to combine:
- Buy cheap domains for the first year (current deals include GoDaddy.com for 2 USD or buying from a lesser known registrar for 1 USD).
- In the second year wait for a thing like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which should give you a “transfer to us” option of 1-3 USD (I used NameCheap.com).
Combining these two should give you a .com domain for around 2-6 USD for two years.
The offer is far greater than any regular individual offer you might get. (as I know of)
P.S. #2: Last evening I went to buy oliii.com from GoDaddy.com for 2 USD. Previous to this, I had bought audthink.com. The thing is, you could typically only could have bought a single domain for 2 USD (one per client). But if you made your shopping cart without being logged in, applied the discount, when you logged in with your address & card data, the basket still remained at 2 USD. I did 2 or 3 tries like that. Then I came to buy the domain. Surprise! It costed 4,000 USD. Four thousand. I looked on the Internet and I found Network Solution were selling domains for 1 USD. I bought the domain for 1 USD, instead of the requested 4,000 of GoDaddy. Anyhow, bad practice (changing it quickly). Very bad.
Let’s say you go to an event and you make 10 different videos. You want them all uploaded on YouTube. How can you make the process faster?
The trick is simple – instead of having a single tab in your browser in which you upload the videos, one by one, you should rather open 5 tabs and upload two videos in each. While the speed won’t exactly be 5 time faster this way, the total time will be much smaller.
Another trick is to group uploads into tabs by size – so the biggest file should have its own tab, and the smallest files should all be grouped in their own tab.
Note – if you want a secure transfer, you may wish to password protect the file with a password (you can create a password-protected zip or rar archive).