Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Years' Resolutions

I've decided to make some New Years' Resolutions for 2010. There are some things I want to do fairly soon that are generic wishes or goals, and then there are things I know I can accomplish if I just sit down and really focus on them. Once they are done, they will stay done and be useful in the "lifehack" sense. Most of these are items to get back on-track after letting myself develop some bad habits during college. Only these items - those that can be quickly tackled if I focus on them, and don't require excessive planning or new resources - are being listed here as resolutions. Here's the list (which I will continue making changes to over the next week - I'm hoping to make this fairly comprehensive and then be able to use it as a checklist):

  • Get the e-mail backlog under control. I suspect that most people reading this are familiar with this phenomenon - once upon a time (probably in 2002 or 2003), I used to promptly reply to all e-mails. Now it's not unusual for things to sit for months or even years. I suspect that if there wasn't an ocean to get lost in, I'd be able to get things moving more quickly when they come in. Part of this will likely be accomplished by condensing mailing lists (I'm told that more than a few contacts of mine have quit mailing lists outright recently, but I'm hoping to avoid that jump). I have several e-mail accounts to tame, and I'm also looking to completely break ties with the NC State webmail system (and back-up the old e-mails).
  • Get my Projects blog looking respectable. While I don't intend to change older content on here (for the sake of my own sanity, I need to learn to trust my younger self to have not done anything too embarrassing - and to be honest, even the potentially scandalous things I've posted here and elsewhere are nothing I'd mind owning up to, even in cases where the tone is a bit more hysteric than I'd like), I do need to finally get the layout under control. I'd like this to look a bit like a portfolio, and to not use a generic Blogger template. I'm well aware of all the "The cobbler's children have no shoes" problems here, and I want this to be my home on the web. As I continue to loosen my chains to other "social" platforms (and hold out against joining Bebo/MySpace/Friendster/Facebook/any other trendy closed site), I feel a need for this blog to be a bit more functional.
  • Determine a real photo hosting solution. I may decide that the best approach here is the popular flickr pro approach, but I'm yet to make my final decision. I want to be able to get LEGO photos out faster, upload some photos done just for the sake of learning to take better photos, and even push out decent event coverage (concerts, LEGO conventions, etc).
  • Determine a semi-permanent music collection solution. I'm not sure what exactly I'd like in terms of a repository for music that I don't need on my laptop regularly, but I'd like to have a clue (OK, this may be a longer-term goal). At a minimum, I need some new database/spreadsheet/cloud whatever solution for keeping track of what I own and what I think of things. I also need to repair some holes in my digital collection caused by various hard drive crashes (doing back-ups on the cheap using my parent's older computers seemed like a good idea at the time...)
  • Determine a new process for adding music to my collection. When should I rip CD's? How many listens should I give something before deciding to add it to my library? How many new (current to the year) CD's should I be purchasing? What's a healthy dollar amount to limit this hobby to? As a sidenote, I'm weary to ask for advice here because I'm told few people are as anti-illegal downloading as I am (the legal sort, especially of the "free promotion" variety, is awesome if you ask me though). It's time to get some sort of process in order here, though.
  • Get off of floppy disks and Zip disks. Yes, I still have floppy disks around the house. I still have data on them I want preserved. I really need to get those moved to at least my external hard drive (again, a longer-term, safer storage solution would be wise, but I'm trying to think in terms of what I have already bought and can use instead of in terms of additional resources).
  • Get out of the MiniDisc format. It was never a great idea to get into a proprietary format designed by Sony, but hey, YOU didn't get several hundred dollars worth of professional-grade, easily mobile recording equipment for $30 when you were in high school. I have many exciting stories and concerts captured on minidiscs, and some of those concert bootlegs have been promised to various people over the years. It's time to liberate this stuff and get the taper-friendly stuff shared. I have since bought a newer recording device that makes transferring recordings to a PC (and then to the format of my choice) much easier.
  • Cover political issues better on this blog or a separate channel. I'm not sure yet if I want to do this right here, but it should be done. On the previous bullet point, I mentioned owning a recording device that can easily record things and make it easy for me to archive those recordings. However, using it for casual conversations or without the consent of everyone who appears on the recording is illegal in some states. I'd like to do a better job of covering that (and other legal and political issues related to me and what I've written about) in the future. I also see the occasional opening for further political commentary, but sometimes I suspect it's for the better that I don't get too into the pathetic day-to-day battles.
  • Begin uploading more content of my own. Even as I've shied away from using the computer as much in my non-work times (I'm on the PC all day - as much as I love coding, it's healthy to step back a bit when I can), I've noticed that I've been creating many more things worth sharing online. I'm hoping to share way more photos, LEGO ideas and creations, legal music from taper-friendly bands, and original music by me (with and without robots) in the future.
  • Finish writing those articles I keep saying I'll write. Writing about RSS, simple web design, Google reader, yubnub, and other technologies I consider daily necessities really needs to be done soon. I'd like to be able to share the resources I love so much! It would be great if I could actually direct people to my website when I want to explain how I use things.

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