Working, without a office.

24.08.2013 02:00

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.


My paper system.

23.08.2013 02:00

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


The Merlin Mann / 43 folders problem.

22.08.2013 02:00

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.


Purchasing a new computer.

18.08.2013 02:00

I finally did it; I ordered a new Macbook Air on thursday, and it arrived the day after.


I always chose to put in as much memory and CPU power as possible when I get a new computer; not because I need it now, but to hopefully get a computer that is usable everything from a few months to a few years longer.

Macbook Air vs Macbook Pro with a retina screen.

I have been going back and forth on this issue many times during the last few months, and I decided to go for a new Air. First of all, I might have ordered a retina model if the new retina models have been out by now.

You might wonder why I did not wait. I didn’t wait because my old Air was very close to dying on me. And I could not afford to wait any longer.

What’s new?

This computer is more or less the same as the one I had. It’s faster, longer battery life and much more memory.

The 4GB memory limit on my 2011 Macbook Air was without doubt the biggest issue I had with it.

Other than that? I can’t see much of a change.


The new power adapter standard from Apple is the one and only thing that I do not like at all about this computer. I understand why they did it, but I still don’t like it.

I own many of the old Magsafe-1 chargers, five to be exact. – My office – One in each of my two bags – At home – My parents house

Because of the amazing 12 hours of battery that this model have to offer, I might not need five adapters. I’m almost never 12 hours at my office, and when I am I could just bring out the adapter from one of my bags.

It’s a great evolution.

Very few Apple products is a revolution, but this new Macbook Air model is a great evolution, of a great products line. And I would like always recommend most people a Macbook Air.


Digital hoarding

10.08.2013 02:00

Hoarding . All of us have more or less the same problems when it comes to files and folders on our computer. Some of us know it, others ignore it and most people just don’t give a fuck.

Most of us that have used a computer for more than a few months have a lot of files. We take some pictures, make some movies, download some music or maybe we write something here and there. You will end up with files everywhere and you can’t find anything.

Unless, you have a system.

My system. I have three types of content stored on my computer that I care about. Source code, pictures and my writing. All of them are different and have different systems in place to make sure that I store what I need and get rid of or archive the stuff I don’t need.

But I also have a “general” system for everything else. I use Dropbox for almost everything, and I love it. It makes sure all of my files and databases are available across all of my macs, and it also makes the process of configuring a new mac a lot easier.

Archive. I have one folder in Dropbox, on the root level called Archive and inside that one I have a few other folders named something like “20130810”; this is the date of today.

What I do with this structure in to quarantine files for deletion. The first thing I do when I have a spring cleaning (or any other time for that matter) on my computer is to go through this structure, all of the folders with a date older than 6 months are checked, if I still think I will need the files inside them I’ll move them to another folder inside Archive called “Permanent”.

So put everything that I don’t need now, but I might need later into the Archive structure; it is in one place and it is simple.

The reason I do the whole quarantine process is to figure out what files do I really care about six months after I put into some place I can’t get to in just a few clicks.

And then I stop syncing the folder to dropbox and removes it.

Source code. Most of my development peers have a copy of most of their projects since they started doing development, and I have nothing. Some of it is due to a few hard drive failures, while others is just because I don’t see the point in storing unmaintained code.

How relevant is the code for your CMS if you don’t maintain it for a few years? And how much less work would it be to start from scratch than to rewrite your old code?

Pictures. I lost all my pictures in a hard drive failure sometime in 2007; that was the point when I started researching and implementing insane backup systems.

There are a lot of different approaches to handling pictures, anything from keeping every single shot to just the best.

All of my pictures are shot in raw and the converted to Adobes DNG format when I import them into Lightroom. After that I will star them from 1-5; everything with 1 will be deleted within the day, and everything with 2 will be exported and than archived in other places (I will come back to that in a few moments).

All of my pictures with marked with either 3 or 4 stars will be re-evaluated at least a few times a year. I do this to make sure that my library only have the pictures I am proud of and think is really good. I don’t need 400 pictures of the same landscape or sculpture; I want the 10-15 best pictures.

2 stars. I use the 2 star mark as a collection of pictures that are not amazing, but I want to keep for sentimental reasons. But I will not keep them in Lightroom for very long. I export both full size JPEG and DNG files and then I just delete them.

The DNG files will be archived in Dropbox and then I add the jpeg picture files to Evernote. Some of them will live forever in Evernote, while others are deleted later on.

Text content. Almost everything I store of text content is blog posts, school papers, poems and stuff like that.

I used to store all of them in both either nvalt or Ulysses and wherever they were used.

For example, I had a copy of every single blog post I have written for the last few years there. But, I came to the conclusion that I this was a really stupid idea. I have all of the good ones on my Squarespace site anyway.

So I deleted them.

To make this short and simple. Most of my drafts live in byword, ulysses or nvalt; while all of my completed documents live either in some kind of blog, site or document system – or just in nvAlt or Ulysses.

I want one copy, and many back’s of it. But not more than one copy of any single document or file on my harddrive.

Important. Nobody in this digital age can store everything and be able to find it; except for John Siracusa.

You need to find the apps and services that you need to manage, sort and store your data in a way that makes everything manageable. The most important thing is to find the files you need, when you need it!

Think about how to find the information later on, when you don’t remember where you saved it. Try to store all of the content of the same type in the same place, and avoid all proprietary and “closed” systems that don’t have a very good export feature.

But, you also need to have a workflow that makes you go back and to review everything. You need to remove all the clutter, all of the files you don’t need anymore.

Remember, you need to have at least on local backup to an external drive and one in the cloud as a bare minimum.


Where did everything go

08.08.2013 02:00

Relax everything is still up, just go here. Like I wrote about in my last blog post in the old blog – I am going to dedicate all my blogging related focus to writing fewer, better and longer pieces.

And the current blog have been through so many different formats and blogging engines that I decided to start blank, and just move the old one to another url. The old content will continue to exist in the current form for a while, but not forever.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that everything on the internet should exist there forever in whatever form it was created in. I’m not 100% sure what I am going to do with the old content, but I know that I will sort it, and move some of it into its own “blogs” here on this site, delete some of it and also do some rewriting and merging of articles.

I hope you enjoy the new format, and the new content.

And yes I know that I just broke every link to my site, and blog that exist on the internet. Do you know what? I could not care less.