Friday, January 18, 2013

Progress on the resolutions

Wolfson Main GateI’m a month into the new year, and things are going pretty well despite the cold, snow, and experimental issues.   I know, it’s only a month if I count the time off on Christmas break.  But, since it is the point where I make some clean breaks and started making some changes, this is a good time to take stock and share some notes.

- I got going on regular exercise and the conditioning finally kicked in this week.  It takes a month for me to feel like I’m able to perform at the customary level on the machines without feeling winded during the session and sore at night. My theory is that, since cardiac tissue replenishes of a 30-day clock, it take that long to see a difference in strength and endurance.  Now that I’m there, I need to keep it rolling.

- I’m up to H on my address book project, culling lost and irrelevant contacts and forging LinkedIn connections with those that remain. I’ve had some really nice notes from people, news updates and photos, and its having a lot of side benefits besides just a cleaner contact list.

Wolfson Back Gate- I’m gradually integrating the Nexus 7 into  my life.  So far I haven’t cut the cord and left the shoulder bag at home, but I am trying to reach for the tablet instead of the laptop when on the road.  A few learning points:

  • A tablet just isn’t functional unless it’s connected, so I bought a data chip through Roamline that makes data-only connections at low rates in 135 countries.  So far I really like it: I turn it on when I need it and it really extends my reach.  Recommended.
  • The internal microphone is small and poor-quality, so I wanted to add an earbud-microphone combination.  A London wholesaler had a good one for 10 gbp, but it utterly failed to work with the Nexus.  Apparently it needs a proprietary pin-jack: I’m going to have to try a Bluetooth earphone.  With noise canceling.  Wasted.
  • I connected the tablet to my email sources and the Google client combined the feeds into a nice working mailbox with 3-day history.  But it also erased the originals on my server for one source, splitting my mail across devices.  Tech support says that can’t be avoided for that particular server: I lost about 3 days emails.  Wasted.
  • The reading experience is really good.  I veg out with the newspaper, a magazine, and, lately, the included copy of Pride and Prejudice.  It’s crisp, clear, responsive, not much different than a book.  I may even warm up to Darcy.  Recommended.
  • Connectivity has been hit and miss.  It’s pretty good on WiFi (although it would not connect in a Starbucks yesterday) but I’m baffled on how to use my Nokia mobile as an access point or modem for it, as I do with my laptop.  In the UK I’ve got an unlimited mobile data plan with O2, so it would be nice to use it to the fullest.  Wasted.
  • I’ve gotten a cover which does a great job, making the tablet easy to hold onto and protecting the screen.  I’ve (so far) resisted getting a cover with a keyboard, forcing myself to use the touchscreen, and it actually works well for small notes and replies.  I need to make more use of OneNote to replace / supplement my written notes, but I like what I’ve been able to do with it.

So, still a work in progress.  But we’re coming to terms and I like the form factor and the capabilities.

Wolfson court- Finally, while I’m dong a good job of keeping up with daily reading and listening to Dutch, I’ve made far less progress towards doing more reading and speaking.

And my resolve to stay detached from stresses and irritants crumbled this week under assaults from Board members and accountants.  I had a long talk with a good friend mid-week about how to handle bad behavior: turning the other cheek seems to just insulate people’s actions from their consequences.

The two things that I decided would solve it are to face people with specific cautions when they cross bright lines, and to pass through at least some of the consequences rather than deflect or absorb them all myself.  I don’t know if it’s effective yet, but it is making me feel better.

Photos via Wolfson College, Cambridge

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