Hjertnes.blog

Why is important.

September 16, 2013

I was chatting with someone on facebook this morning, and suddenly I realised something. To say something, without any context or information around why you believe or think something have to be one of the least interesting things in the world (right after religious belief).

When someone is saying something, I usually prefer to figure out they why and how before I start arguing with them. I’m not perfect with this myself, but I try to do this when I do write something. It does not matter what you think about something or someone as long as you can give a solid reason for stating it.

For example, if I write a piece about some new fancy writing app. Then I would start by writing what is good about it. And how it’s different from all of the other 100 000 iOS or OS X writing apps out there. And I would also write if I would be using it, and why I would / would not do so.

This is what good writing is all about.

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The iPhone 5s camera.

September 12, 2013

I follow most of the Apple news, but I don’t really write or care that much about most of it. The main reason is that most of the cutting edge technology today is not very important for me and they kind of work I am doing.

But, the new camera and flash exited me quite a bit. I will not buy a 5s. I don’t upgrade my devices before they break.

The key things about the new iPhone 5s’s camera is: — Larger image sensor — Larger aperture — Revolutionary flash

I will not go into the details here. But I want to write about what I hope this camera gives us.

The problem with almost all of the current phone cameras out there is that they only deliver decent pictures outside in sunlight. The outcome in most other situation is something noisy and close to useless.

I’m not talking about useless for Facebook, Twitter or in IM. Most people might not think about this. But I assume that most people would like to print some of their picture or do something on a larger screen at some point.

I do a lot of albums both as presents and for people I know. And I have also made quite a few presentations for bigger birthday celebrations through the years. And my experience is that most pictures taken with a phone (includes the iPhone 5) is usually useless when you print it. You will see that it is noticeable worse that what you would get out of a midrange point and shoot camera.

I often feel bad for the people I see shooting all of their vacation pictures with a phone camera. All of the pictures my stepfather shot with a decent point and shoot and a SLR from the 80s and the pictures my grandfather shot with a decent point and shoot during my childhood will be miles ahead of what any phone have been able to shoot up to this day.

So what I hope for in the 5s, is a camera that finally can preform close to a real camera. Not because I want to get rid of my DSLR; but I would like to be able to get a useable pictures from my phone every not and then.

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iPhone 5c is not the “budget” iPhone.

September 12, 2013

I don’t really do that much news related commentary anymore. There is a lot of reasons for that, and it is something I plan on writing an article about at some point.

Let’s get back to the iPhone. I have not read a lot of stories about the iPhone event, or stories about the new phones in general. I skipped all the podcasts that was just talking about the iPhone event.

But. I have been listening to a few podcasts that was talking about the new phones. And I felt it was about time to write about this.

Many people was expecting a “budget” or “cheap” iPhone model. We did not get that. But we got a less expensive iPhone. That alone is boring, at least for me.

The thing I find very interesting is that Apple is treating the less expensive iPhone as the go to product, and the advanced and more powerful as something for the geeks and all the other people that want or need the power of the 5s.

There is nothing surprising or new about this. Apple is doing the same thing with their desktop computers. The iMac or Mac mini is the go to for most people, and a pretty low portion of it is buying the Mac Pro.

Let’s just hope that they don’t wait three years until the next “non c” iPhone model arrives.

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Some Macbook Air advice.

September 10, 2013

It’s been a while since I have written anything. First of all: it’s not because I am leaving this site or anything like that. There have not been any time to write much at all, during the last few weeks.

I’m still trying to figure out the perfect “groove” for being an effective and quality oriented student.

The other reason for not doing much is that I am working with a larger piece about DayOne and what I think it is great for. And even more specific: why you should consider using it.

But, let’s get back to the Macbook Air.

I have owned three Macbook Airs, since 2011, and I have loved each of them.

Expectations. The key thing you need to understand if you are moving from a Macbook Pro or a Mac mini to a Macbook Air is that it will not have the same kind of processing power. Not close to it.

To be completely honest. The only place I notice any lag is in Lightroom, when zoom in on a RAW image and have to wait a few seconds while it loads it.

Don’t upgrade! Seriously, don’t upgrade every year. Two of my three Macbook Airs have been the 2011 model(because of a soda spill incident). And when I upgraded the to this 2013 model almost a month ago, I noticed very little speed improvement. Some, but not a lot.

You might consider upgrading from the 2012 to 2013, if battery life is very important. But I don’t think upgrading every single year is something worth it for most people.

Understand. This is very important. You should understand the difference between the different Apple laptop models, before you buy something.

You have the Macbook Pro, which is very fast and a bit more expensive. And you have the Macbook Air; which is cheaper, better battery life and fast enough for most people.

The fact that I can walk from my flat, with my laptop a few text books and no power brick and spend between 10-12 hours away before I need to charge it is amazing.

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Be good at one thing.

August 27, 2013

There is this cool and unique, hot dog shop, here in Bergen. It’s very old school and there is almost always a line. I can’t eat there since I am a vegetarian, but I really enjoy the concept.

And everyone I know that have eaten there, love it.

First things first, this is not the kind of store that have every single thinkable fast food thing you can think about shop. I’ll guess you have them all over the world; 20 types of pizza; and kebab, burgers and everything else.

This little shop have a few different kinds of hotdogs, and jus the classy kinds. I don’t think they have anything with bacon. I think there is either ten or under ten different types of sausage there.

When you jump on to the “toppings” or whatever you want to call them, I have seen a development during the last ten years, where people for some strange reason put on from ketchup to potato salad or even shrimp salad on their hot dogs.

This shop don’t do any of that. You can onion, either raw or the crunchy kind, ketchup and mustard; that’s it.

And when it comes to drinks; you can get a glass of juice for free, if you want a coke or something; well then you have to go and get that somewhere else.

The thing I like about this shop is not the food, but more the concept. The guy that runs it have been able to distil what he is trying to deliver down to the purest and most core and true to itself experience possible. And people like it.

There is nothing I love more than the kind of businesses that you get the impression that they have found the one thing they are and want to be good at.

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Working on something difficult.

August 26, 2013

Sometime when I am working on some really difficult writing, I end up with nothing; or it seems that at the first glance.

I have been working on a argument analysis for my studies for large portions of the day. The stuff I have written is unusable; but it is not for nothing. You don’t need to write something good every time, you sit down. You just need to move in the right direction.

I know what and how I am going to write tomorrow; and that is the important thing.

But, if you used the whole day on writing and ended up with nothing. No usable writing and no idea where to move your focus to something greater, then it would be bad. Really bad.

The whole thing is about moving in a better direction. It might not be the perfect direction; but as long as you keep moving against the goal — then you got something.

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Working, without a office.

August 24, 2013

I really hope this is my final draft of this text. It all started as a response to the whole “home working” thing; combined with me going back to school and this being the first time since I was 18 where I don’t actually have a set place where I do the majority of my work.

There are a lot of reasons for having a dedicated place for doing all of your work, and I do know that it makes you more productive in general; but it is also a good idea to work from somewhere else a few times a week.

One quick note before I move forward; I still have access to my employers office, but I don’t like to go there when I don’t work for them. It’s just a bit combination between me mainly focusing on what I should be doing when I am there and a lot of distractions when I am there.

Setup. So everything I need to do 90% of my work can be backed into my messenger back or a backpack within two minutes.

  • Pens + refills

  • Notebooks and Index cards

  • Macbook Air

  • Books; the ones I need, nothing else.

  • 30pin USB cable

  • Macbook Air power-brick

  • Water bottle.

  • Camera

As you might expect, there are a lot of stuff missing from my bag. I don’t have my kindle, iPad or that much fancy stuff at all.

I can probably fit everything I would ever want to use in my backpack if I wanted, but this makes it harder to find the stuff I need, and a lot heavier to carry.

How often do I use my Kindle or my iPad when I am not either on my couch at home or traveling? Almost never.

You might wonder what the logic behind not carrying an iPad, but brining my DSLR with me; I take pictures almost every day. And to having to go all the way home when I decide to go for a trip and taking some pictures is more of a hassle than to just always having it in my bag.

Let’s get back to my main point. You should be able to get started doing something productive within a minute, if you are carrying your whole “office setup” in a bag of some sort. That’s the main reason for not carrying everything you might need; you should rather just carry the stuff you need in most situations.

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Why I think it is important to just do it.

August 24, 2013

I try to say this as often as possible, and in a why that is universally in a way where you can use it in as many areas as possible.

There are always to kinds of people, those who do, and those who want to do.

Let’s take some examples in two areas that I spend a lot of time with; writing and photography.

Photography. I know a lot of very good photographer talk against the approach of just “taking” pictures everywhere; and more about planning and all of that stuff. This might be important later down the line, but I think this is bullshit when you are starting out.

I always bring my camera where ever I can. I went outside a ten minutes ago to smoke a cigarette, and like I often do — I brought my camera. I shot 10-15 pictures, I don’t know if any of them was good.

I usually just shoot a lot of pictures when I am out, and then look at them when I am back.

The reason for this is that I usually can’t judge if they are that good without looking at them in Lightroom.

I don’t bring my camera because I expect to take the most amazing picture, when I am out for 10-15 minutes. The only reason for bringing it is to shoot, keep trying to get the picture I really want, the one I have been trying to shoot since march of the stuff around my house.

You will get a hell of a lot better at it by doing it every day.

Writing. I do it a lot. Every day. If I get an idea, and is somewhere and have the time, I will usually start writing it there and then.

Most of my stuff is not published right away. Just keep writing, keep writing — you will get better all the time.

Critical. You need to be critical, not matter what you are doing. You need to understand or get an understanding for what is it about whatever you are doing that is not as good as the stuff the great people in the area is producing.

Focus on one thing, and try to get better at that.

No one expect you to go from being an average blogger to John Gruber, Merlin Mann or Patrick Rhone over night; just give it time and try to get a little better every week.

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My paper system.

August 23, 2013

When you look at any system, I think you will find a few important things about them. — What is the purpose? — What parts are in them, and what are they solving? — What can you change about it to make it more efficient, or better in any other way?

My paper system is very simple, and I always try to keep it as simple as possible; without loosing anything important.

First things first, I try to have a work setup that I can put into one of my computer bags in about two minutes.

Let’s get back to pen and paper.

Pens. I always carry my Pilot Metropolitan and my black Retro 51; and a few refills for both. I prefer writing my a fountain pen, it’s both about the feel and how my writing looks with it. But, they don’t work on everything; so I use my Retro 51 on paper that don’t work with fountain pens.

My Retro 51 is also my go to pen, when I am in class. The reason may be valid, or not; but I will be taking a lot of notes in a short period of time, and I don’t want to think about if the ink is dry enough when I turn the page.

Paper. There is two paper products I always have in my bag; and one that I always carry on my person. They is a large Moleskine notebook, Index Cards; and a Field Notes is always in my back pocket.

They are all different, and serve three very distinct purposes.

Field Notes is a brilliant product. They are cheap, lasts just about long enough — and works great for what they have been designed to do.

The thing I use them for is to just take quick notes when I am not in front of a computer; this is the only place I will write tasks I have to do or ideas.

Moleskine. They are not cheap, but I think they are the perfect product if you look at the combination of availability, paper quality and price. The fact that I can walk into any book store or pen and paper shop and get one is the main reason I am using them.

The thing I am using them for is journaling, writing or notes during meeting or classes.

Index cards is one of my favourite “hack” items I have picked up from Merlin Mann. I use them for just about anything that I need to be moving around to figure out how to do something.

Everything from brainstorming, to just loose topics that I have to connect together; for example in a argument analysis.

Good luck with your paper system

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The Merlin Mann / 43 folders problem.

August 22, 2013

I think I start to hit a well known problem on this blog. There is at least 10 drafts for blog posts in my Byword iCloud container, they are all posts I though — and still think — is a good idea. But, I’m not happy with the result, for now.

The reason I call this “The Merlin Mann” or “The 43 folders” problem is very simple. Merlin have talked about this problem many times on his Back to work podcast on 5by5; you don’t post anything to your blog because you feel like the content you are producing either isn’t good enough, or isn’t up to the standard of your previous published content.

You could call this good or bad; either is acceptable. I don’t like it — I hate to not being able to produce content. Nothing drives me completely more nuts than spending hours writing words and realising they are completely useless.

One of the big difference between the me today, and the me from a few months ago is that I wont put out stuff I think is bad.

What to do? The key question is: what should you do about this?

I don’t know. The thing I usually do is to just leave the posts alone for a period and to pick them up again and try to turn them into something I can be happy with.

And some of them are just left there to be deleted a few months later.

I have never had any luck with rewriting the same text over and over again on the same sit-down and being able to turn useless collections of words into anything good.

It might be my judgment or my abilities as a writer. I don’t know.

Standards are a good thing. I really thing they are. The difficult thing is to always try to find the spot where you are pushing yourself to something better. While on the same time don’t keep yourself from putting anything out there.

The only thing worse than producing not as good as you would like content — is to not producing anything at all.

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