Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas in Hurstville

Gotta love Chinese people. A large number of shops open including fish mongers, butchers,  bbq shops and grocery!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Sanebox trial

I tried Sanebox and really liked it but today cancelled my account. I was only using it in my gmail which has a lot of crap emails which are almost spam-like (especially since I have a lot of people from overseas emailing me to be interested in their goods -- I mistakenly went to the Guangzhou Trade fair a few years back and handed out my business card!)

Sanebox created a separate label for in gmail and filed lots of my newsletter type emails and junk mail into the box which was great. I then got a digest email at some point in the day (check your timezone settings as if you set it up right it will send it at the end of the day) which pointed me back to the sanebox. This then enables you to train your contacts so that the email gets treated in the correct manner.

It did save me time and it did save me brain 'time', but I also missed a couple of emails which would have been better had I responded to in a more timely fashion. My email isn't that out of control so I've decided that I just need to be more disciplined and create filters and unsubscribe from more things.

I like the digest but it would work a lot better if I could process straight from the digest rather than having to go to another interface (webpage) to do it.

What I really need (and I think zeromail does) is the ability to mark an email as "unsubscribe" (in a very easy way like a short cut key!) and have it unsubscribe me in the background. Maybe zeromail is a service I need to try.

One thing that would be really cool from any service is the way to manage 'out of date' emails and auto delete or auto archive them when they expire. Things like deal-a-day (Zazz) or job alerts or my Google calendar which I send to myself on a daily basis would be great if they can sit in my inbox for the relevant day (allowing me to read/review and even delete it) and once it 'expires' (the following day) it disappears out of my inbox. Hopefully zeromail does this or maybe gmail already has the functionality and I haven't found it yet.

I find accessing my email on my phone helps me clear out a lot of the junk anyway as I can just tick and mark and mass delete or mass archive.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Commuting in Sydney - what it means

I am frustrated with the poor quality reception from Optus 3G and even Telstra NextG wasn't cutting it on my current train line. I catch a train from Riverwood station to Wynyard and I may as well not be connected as the reception is that poor. It doesn't help that the tunnels have very poor reception as well.

I need to be connected in order to do most of my laptop type work. For work purposes I need to be connected and even on my personal stuff I have my head in the clouds most of the time and need to be connected to update the bargainhunter.com.au blogs or visit elance.com to connect with some of the contractors.

I use to have great use of my commute time when I was travelling by bus to work every day from Kellyville Ridge to the city. It helped that I was at the end of the line both ways (well one stop from each end!). So I ALWAYS got a seat and I had heaps of time to get work done. Too much time. 1.5 hours each way! I'm not complaining about my shorter commute times. I just want to try and maximise the time I have on the commute.

So I started googling. Thinking that maybe someone had a way to optimise working on a train/bus situation. I googled for "commute optimise work" and variations on the theme. Most of the hits sounded right. I even limited the search to lifehacker.com thinking that may help me out. But in the US "commute" usually means being in a car and stuck in traffic! So they talk about making phone calls or listening to self improvement or educational or audio books. All good and well if you have headphones on a train or bus situation. But phone calls would likely get glares. W has also told me about when he was in Japan and was given "the look" and people moved away when they talked on the train to each other. (The theory is that no one talks on a train in Japan as it's considered rude). In Sydney it's not nearly that bad but still uncouth if you listen to loud music or talk on the phone too loudly and for a lengthy period.

So how does one optimise 'working' time on a bus or train (or ferry!) in Sydney or other similar type commuting cities? Most people have their smart phones out and Blackberry smart phones and can tap away at that. For some smart phones it will still require a connection.

I'm investigating options of using portable apps for things like email (even offline Gmail doesn't work too well for me) and have already resorted to cutting and pasting text into my blog posts. Maybe I should have stuck to Wordpress so I could do offline blogging via something like Live Writer.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Bargain Hunter now Live -- Looking for Bloggers!

A shameless plug for the website I have been wanting to launch for years now.  www.bargainhunter.com.au went quietly live in February.  I’m now looking for extra content for the site from bloggers and people who are willing to write full articles.

I’ve had some interesting feedback about the site from the beta testers (thanks to all of those who did some testing and provided feedback!).  One thing I had forgotten is that I had already disassociated the ‘bargain’ part of the URL from my thinking.  There are so many deal sites out there that long ago I decided it was going to be re-shaped as a shopping hub of information about how to shop and where to shop for certain things rather than having just special deals. 

Also the feeds from other sites which did log ‘bargains’ and deals were seen to be akin to advertising.  I plan to move those to somewhere more suitable.  Maybe a ‘deals’ page?  I also wanted to make use of the existing online catalogues similar to what Lasoo already do.  There are a couple of sites out there that do this already but I don’t think it has captured the attention of the web community.  Or maybe it’s just me they haven’t captured!

Would love more feedback about the site if you have some or just head over there to check it out and contribute on the forums!  Let me know if you are interested in blogging as well.  I really do need some more content Smile.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Eye Update

I’m continuing my eye exercises every second or third day so do it about 3 times a week – usually in the morning light.  I’m sure I would get better results during the middle of the day but I don’t have the right facilities to do it at lunch time.

The results have been good and I’ve been slowly making improvements.  John has now got me some soft contact lenses –2.00 for both my right and left eyes.  These are meant to somehow ‘remind’ my eyes the shape they are meant to be in as well as offering some correction so that I can at least see things to some extent.  I’m still struggling in meeting rooms and either choose the seat closest to the screen or the furthest one so I can use my glasses.  (I put the glasses on top of the contacts).  John wasn’t too sure that was a good idea but since it works so well when I drive I have asked him to send me some less strong glasses, as the –2.75 lenses with the –2.00 contacts is really good for night time driving but really over strong for everything else. 

My eyes in the last few months have felt some ‘pain’.  Maybe it’s just muscular pain from the ‘exercising’.  It’s nothing persistent but can be somewhat annoying.  I do convince myself that the pains are good and that my eyes must be changing for them to feel that way Smile

John has asked me now to do the Distance and Chart drills with both eyes with lenses at the same time. It reduces the exercise time so I’m happy.  I’ve been taken on as a long term client which I’m pleased about.  Apparently everyone wants a quick fix (so do I!!  but I’m a bit more realistic considering how many years I’ve been wearing contacts and glasses). 

So the results at 6m distance is as follows (using –2.75 glasses):

  • Before exercise – lines 4 or 5
  • After exercises – line 6 or 7

So still managing to make improvements which is good. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Chart Lenses

I received a nicely packaged set of new chart lenses from John yesterday. It was 'disguised' as an Xmas card :). Australia Post or Canada Post took their time as John told me he sent them on Dec 13th!

John had organised for them to be tinted grey so I could tell the difference. These would now be my chart lenses which would help me with locking in the improvements and my night vision.

So I tested my eyes on the chart and at a distance of 3 metres in good lighting the results were as follows:
Naked eye Line 1 but blurry!
With -2.75 glasses Line 6 but blurry. Strangely I can almost in my periphery see up to line 8 but it is very elusive. Even Line 6 is blurry but I can make out the letters which is what I use as my gauge.

I then did the distance drill first with my left eye and then my right eye with the old lenses for 1.5 mins each eye. It is a lovely day outside although quite hot!

I cracked open the new grey lenses for the chart drill and put both of these on and proceeded to the kitchen with the lights turned on to do my chart drill. I'm always uncertain if I'm doing it right but the results seem to indicate something good is happening. After a couple of minutes (at most!) I then took the lenses out and went to the 3 metre mark to do my 'after' test.

Naked eye Line 4 but blurry (yep an improvement of 3 lines!!)
With -2.75 glasses Line 8 but blurry. So an improvement of 2 lines. That's pretty good except I'm at 3 metres... and the chart if I could read Line 8 at 6 metres would indicate that I have 20/20 vision. So a while to go yet!

I've also been trying to incorporate 'blinking' for 5 minutes (rapid blinking) into my day. I read somewhere that this is a good way to improve eyesight and I figure it can't really hurt as it's meant to be Oxygenating my eyes. In any case it's 5 minutes and I've been doing that straight after any Tabata exercises I do or I fit them in otherwise.

Overall it's still exciting to see the progress!