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Intuition Is A Danger To Our Way Of Life

Intition Dangerous
Greetings and welcome once again to Steve's Paper-Based Planning Column Of Joy...I think. Uh, yeah, I think that's what it's called these days. Hard to say. It changes a lot. No, no, wait, it's Steve's Paper-Based Column Of Planning For Paper-Based, uh, something...no, wait, that's not it either. Um, hmmm, let me see... Ah, I've got it. Steve's Irreverent Paper-Based Column Of Vole Control... ah, bugger. That's wrong too. This could take a while. I'll come back to it.

Today's column is about preparedness, being ready for an emergency. Now, the key to being ready for an emergency is to try and figure out what kind of emergency you might be faced with. The consequences of failing to plan for emergencies can be quite serious, as we have seen again and again this year with disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq and this got me to thinking: Am I prepared? Am I prepared to deal with the most likely threat to my person, to protect myself from the dangers I am most likely to face? Am I prepared to deal with the ongoing, never-ending disaster of my intuition?

Bookbinding 101: Your First Book

Last week I gave you a fast and dirty introduction to binding your own books. This week I'm going to show you just how easy making and sewing your own book can be. The easiest book to make is a one signature book, as seen in the first image. Today, I'm going to show you how to fold the folios, make a single signature, awl punch the paper and then sew your book with a bookbinding needle and waxed thread. While I am giving instructions to create a digest (5.5" by 4.25") sized book, you are welcome to cut your paper to make your book any size you want. I've cut paper and made single signature books to add into my Hipster using this method.

IT Forms: Machine Log

Hello, eric again, here at the intersection of paper and Systems Administration. While the Machine Profile is a very useful form, it's not the most useful part of my "Machines" binder. That's the Machine Log form, which is quite similar to the Contact Log, and is used in two basic ways: things to do, and things you've done.

The Digital Packrat

Obsolete Computer MuseumWoe to my poor wife, for she has married a packrat. You know my type: the person who keeps one --or multiple-- "junk drawers" or "junk boxes" filled with discarded wires, ticket stubs, twisted metal bits, leather scraps, ancient gadgets, cheap giveaway items with long-bankrupt businesses' names inscribed, old candies, and unknown thingamabobs that just might belong to something important, so they can't be thrown away without incurring stress. To be fair, I'm getting much better, and have learned a certain "threshold" of actually discarding or giving away unused things. "Chuck it!" is my new mantra if in doubt. (I'm glad to say that the lab at left is not my own, although I've come close.)

But being a packrat who is also an I.T. professional, it also means I have many thousands of freeform digital bits drifting loose about my many machines as well. Lately we've been getting ready to move house, and part of this means the consolidation of information from my various Mac, Linux and Windows boxes that will soon be put into storage. Looking over the vast array of data scraps, I realised how very important it was to do something about it. And I didn't want to waste all my valuable time doing it, so I resisted the geek-driven urge to create a wiki, database or online application, and instead turned to a user-friendly solution I've used to good effect in the recent past.

The Voles Of Wrath

Vole (from Wikipedia)Greetings all and welcome once again to Steve's Weekly Column Of Paper-Based Planning and Electrical Safety. As I'm sure is obvious to anyone who reads this column on a regular basis, I pride myself on being clear, cogent and well-organised, but I'm afraid Doug's right. I was a little unclear last night when I phoned him up to tell him that my column wouldn't be ready. I thought that I had given him a fairly complete picture of the situation, but in fact, as I look back on it, due to the anxiety of the situation, it probably came out something like:

"Voles, no power. Smoke, firemen, no column. Smoke voles!!"

Alone in the Dark

Well, Steve's not actually alone, since he's there with his family. He is in the dark, though, and doesn't have access to his email and instant messenger, so I'm quite sure he's pretty lonely anyway.

He called me last night with a rambling tale about mad rodents in the walls, lots of people with flashing lights, people panicking in the dark, and a fuse box "burning festively." I'm looking forward to hearing the full story, but unfortunately we're going to have to wait until Steve (and Henry and Co.) get their power back. Sorry, folks.

Bookbinding 101, A Quick Introduction

I love bound books with their pretty covers and blank or lined sheets. The market is flooded with a wide assortment of books that come in all sizes, shapes and bindings. For each personality that’s out there in the world writing their thoughts down on paper, there is a perfect blank book to match their style and mood. However, purchasing journals from a store is not only addicting, but can get expensive. That is why I’m going to spend the next few articles here on D*I*Y Planner to introduce you to the art of bookbinding and making your own perfect journals. This week I plan on starting off simple by giving you an quick and dirty overview of the world of bookbinding. Next week, I’ll show you just how easy it is to make your own book in a few simple minutes. And finally, two weeks from now, I’ll take you through a more complex and stunning example of the art.

Understanding Personality Types, Part 1

My picture nameSome time ago I did a workshop on personality type with a government department. We had been working all morning and people were starting to get the idea of personality type when the boss arrived. He wanted to bring the group up to speed with the plans for the coming year. He spoke for about a half hour and then left quite cheerful, encouraging the group to learn all they could. He was a cheerful, positive, extroverted man who clearly liked his staff and was liked by them.

From the beginning of his talk, I realized it was not my field and I didn't know what he was talking about. In time, I began to wonder how much the others were getting. He was clearly enthusiastic, and intended to communicate his enthusiasm. After he left, out of curiosity I asked: "How many of you understood him and his message." Everyone burst out laughing. I turned to the foreman of the group, who had been taking frantic notes during the boss' talk, and asked him. He replied: "I didn’t understand him either, but I have my notes so, over time, I can ask him to explain certain things a bit more. Then I can go to the group and explain what he meant."

IT Forms: Machine Profile

Lots of software exists for keeping track of various computers. These software tools all revolve around some sort of database, and have fields for make and model, IP and MAC addresses, Inventory tags, Software installations, and so forth. While some of this software is very slick, it is almost always complex. Updating a central database can be a complicated process of logging in, clicking, typing, clicking, typing, clicking, and logging out. And if a machine is down, it may also involve taking a laptop or a clipboard as an intermediary before the typing and clicking can begin. Surely the D*I*Y Planner mindset can offer a better way.

Read on to see how I use a custom form to get this information out of the database, and into the binder.