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Category Archives for "Ethan Banks"

StayFocusd Extension For Chrome

During the last month or two, I’d gotten into a habit of trawling through Imgur, looking for memes I could spin into humorous tweets about networking. It became a game to see what tweets I could create that people would find funny.

That game was successful, in that I had many tweets that were liked and/or retweeted dozens or, in a few cases, hundreds of times. But there was a downside. I was spending a lot of time on Imgur seeking inspiration. I was also spending a lot of time composing tweets and checking reactions.

I Hurt Myself Today

This led to the familiar cycle of Internet addiction. I was hooked on Twitter…again. I’ve been through this with Twitter off and on for many years now. My use of Imgur was also obsessive, opening the app on my phone multiple times per day and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling while looking for new fodder.

Using social media in the context of addiction is subtly different from simply wasting time. Addiction, for me, means using social media when I didn’t plan to. There’s a compulsion that would drive me to fire up Tweetdeck and check out all of my carefully curated columns, review Continue reading

Space To Think My Own Thoughts

Everyone Creates

A challenge for people who make things is living in a world where everyone else makes things, too. On the Internet, everyone seems to be making something they want you to consider and approve of.

Sometimes, that Internet creation is as simple as a tweet or Facebook post. Like it! Share it! Retweet it! More complex creations, like this blog post, are still easy enough to make and share that there are likely hundreds of new articles you might be asked to read in a week.

If you were to carefully keep up with everything you subscribe to or follow, your mind would never have time to itself. You’d never be able to think your own thoughts. You’d be too busy chewing on the thoughts of other people.

Overconsumption

For this reason, I believe constant consumption damages productivity. Designers, architects, artisans, writers, and other creators need time to think through what they are making. Writers need a subject and word flow to clearly communicate. Technology architects need to deeply consider the implications of their designs from multiple angles.

Deep consideration takes contiguous blocks of time. Achieving a flowing state of mind takes uninterrupted time. Thoughts build one on Continue reading

Space To Think My Own Thoughts

Everyone Creates

A challenge for people who make things is living in a world where everyone else makes things, too. On the Internet, everyone seems to be making something they want you to consider and approve of.

Sometimes, that Internet creation is as simple as a tweet or Facebook post. Like it! Share it! Retweet it! More complex creations, like this blog post, are still easy enough to make and share that there are likely hundreds of new articles you might be asked to read in a week.

If you were to carefully keep up with everything you subscribe to or follow, your mind would never have time to itself. You’d never be able to think your own thoughts. You’d be too busy chewing on the thoughts of other people.

Overconsumption

For this reason, I believe constant consumption damages productivity. Designers, architects, artisans, writers, and other creators need time to think through what they are making. Writers need a subject and word flow to clearly communicate. Technology architects need to deeply consider the implications of their designs from multiple angles.

Deep consideration takes contiguous blocks of time. Achieving a flowing state of mind takes uninterrupted time. Thoughts build one on Continue reading

The Pros & Cons Of Task Managers

Task managers are tools that allow you to maintain organized lists of the things you need to do. Over the last couple of months, I have shifted my workflow to revolve around a task manager. That means that what I do each day is driven by the tasks that are on my list.

If the task is on my list, I perform that task until it’s completed or at least moved as far as I can move it. If something pops up that must be dealt with immediately but is not my task list, I create a task, complete it, and cross it off.

My goal is to not simply to get things done. I want to get things done, in the right order, on time, and without forgetting any of my commitments. My workflow tends to have many small details as well as unexpected disruptions each day I must react to. My task manager helps me control all of these things.

Control is an important keyword, because control of your day is what a well-utilized task list can provide. Nonetheless, there are both pros and cons to the task-driven life.

Pros.

  1. Maintain focus. In my world, tasks must get Continue reading

The Pros & Cons Of Task Managers

Task managers are tools that allow you to maintain organized lists of the things you need to do. Over the last couple of months, I have shifted my workflow to revolve around a task manager. That means that what I do each day is driven by the tasks that are on my list.

If the task is on my list, I perform that task until it’s completed or at least moved as far as I can move it. If something pops up that must be dealt with immediately but is not my task list, I create a task, complete it, and cross it off.

My goal is to not simply to get things done. I want to get things done, in the right order, on time, and without forgetting any of my commitments. My workflow tends to have many small details as well as unexpected disruptions each day I must react to. My task manager helps me control all of these things.

Control is an important keyword, because control of your day is what a well-utilized task list can provide. Nonetheless, there are both pros and cons to the task-driven life.

Pros.

  1. Maintain focus. In my world, tasks must get Continue reading

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For December 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in December 2017.

PACKET PUSHERS WEEKLY PODCAST

PRIORITY QUEUE PODCAST

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For December 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in December 2017.

PACKET PUSHERS WEEKLY PODCAST

PRIORITY QUEUE PODCAST

Pre-Order My Computer Networking Problems & Solutions Book And Save 40%

I co-authored Computer Networking Problems And Solutions with Russ White. The nice folks at InformIT.com are accepting pre-orders of the book and ebook at 40% off until December 16, 2017. Go get yourself a copy of this short 832 page read via this link containing all of InformIT’s titles coming soon.

Or, if you use the book’s product page instead of the “coming soon” link above, use code PREORDER to get the discount.

All “coming soon” titles on sale at InformIT: http://informit.com/comingsoon

Product Page for Computer Networking Problems & Solutions: http://www.informit.com/store/computer-networking-problems-and-solutions-an-innovative-9781587145049

Pre-Order My Computer Networking Problems & Solutions Book And Save 40%

I co-authored Computer Networking Problems And Solutions with Russ White. The nice folks at InformIT.com are accepting pre-orders of the book and ebook at 40% off until December 16, 2017. Go get yourself a copy of this short 832 page read via this link containing all of InformIT’s titles coming soon.

Or, if you use the book’s product page instead of the “coming soon” link above, use code PREORDER to get the discount.

All “coming soon” titles on sale at InformIT: http://informit.com/comingsoon

Product Page for Computer Networking Problems & Solutions: http://www.informit.com/store/computer-networking-problems-and-solutions-an-innovative-9781587145049

Postpone Inbox Procrastination

I’ve recently admitted to myself that my ineptitude with my inbox is due largely to procrastination. That is, I can’t face the task that a particular inbox message presents, and thus I ignore the message. With this admission comes a desire to reach inbox zero each and every day. I don’t like my productivity squashed by ineptitude. I must overcome!

But how?

  1. Getting to inbox zero each day is, first of all, an important goal. In other words, I really want to be at inbox zero each day. I don’t want to leave items hanging around for the next day. Therefore, among all my tasks, I have to prioritize inbox management.
  2. I filter messages heavily. I use Gmail, and have begun digging into the filtering system. At the moment, I have 27 rules that route messages to folders. Those rules are covering several dozen PR agencies, newsletters, and auto-notifiers. This helps me to focus when I’m working on my inbox, making it much easier to evaluate and react to messages depending on the folder they were routed to.
  3. I unsubscribe from uninteresting lists. Because I work in media, I receive pitches everyday from PR firms who don’t know me, but Continue reading

Postpone Inbox Procrastination

I’ve recently admitted to myself that my ineptitude with my inbox is due largely to procrastination. That is, I can’t face the task that a particular inbox message presents, and thus I ignore the message. With this admission comes a desire to reach inbox zero each and every day. I don’t like my productivity squashed by ineptitude. I must overcome!

But how?

  1. Getting to inbox zero each day is, first of all, an important goal. In other words, I really want to be at inbox zero each day. I don’t want to leave items hanging around for the next day. Therefore, among all my tasks, I have to prioritize inbox management.
  2. I filter messages heavily. I use Gmail, and have begun digging into the filtering system. At the moment, I have 27 rules that route messages to folders. Those rules are covering several dozen PR agencies, newsletters, and auto-notifiers. This helps me to focus when I’m working on my inbox, making it much easier to evaluate and react to messages depending on the folder they were routed to.
  3. I unsubscribe from uninteresting lists. Because I work in media, I receive pitches everyday from PR firms who don’t know me, but Continue reading

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For November 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in November 2017. I’ve included content summaries to motivate you to click. See, that’s coming right at you with how I’m trying to manipulate your behavior. I’m honest like that.

PACKET PUSHERS WEEKLY PODCAST

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For November 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in November 2017. I’ve included content summaries to motivate you to click. See, that’s coming right at you with how I’m trying to manipulate your behavior. I’m honest like that.

PACKET PUSHERS WEEKLY PODCAST

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For October 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in October 2017. I’ve decided to add some content summaries so that you have good incentive to give some of the podcasts a listen if they tickle your fancy.

PACKET PUSHERS WEEKLY PODCAST

PRIORITY QUEUE PODCAST

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For October 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in October 2017. I’ve decided to add some content summaries so that you have good incentive to give some of the podcasts a listen if they tickle your fancy.

PACKET PUSHERS WEEKLY PODCAST

PRIORITY QUEUE PODCAST

Think Of Your Audience

One of the challenges technical authors face is that of peer respect. That is, technical people who took a lot of time to learn what they know want to be respected by their peers when they write. They want to be recognized for their knowledge, wisdom, and insights.

In that context, there’s often fear before pressing “Publish.” Was every detail correct? Was every scenario considered? Was the very latest information about a topic included?

The fear of hitting publish is well-founded for technical authors, because technical folks have a way of being nit-picky, pedantic, and annoying. One small detail wrong, one badly stated premise, and the angry comment and critical tweet claws come out, slashing at your ego.

Will they like me? I just want everyone to like me.

One solution, of course, is to have a thick skin. If you view criticisms as a way to improve a piece, that’s the best route to go, especially when the commenter has a good point. Being able to ignore critics is another useful skill, because there are plenty of folks who say a lot while adding no value whatsoever.

However, I think the most important point to keep in mind Continue reading

Think Of Your Audience

One of the challenges technical authors face is that of peer respect. That is, technical people who took a lot of time to learn what they know want to be respected by their peers when they write. They want to be recognized for their knowledge, wisdom, and insights.

In that context, there’s often fear before pressing “Publish.” Was every detail correct? Was every scenario considered? Was the very latest information about a topic included?

The fear of hitting publish is well-founded for technical authors, because technical folks have a way of being nit-picky, pedantic, and annoying. One small detail wrong, one badly stated premise, and the angry comment and critical tweet claws come out, slashing at your ego.

Will they like me? I just want everyone to like me.

One solution, of course, is to have a thick skin. If you view criticisms as a way to improve a piece, that’s the best route to go, especially when the commenter has a good point. Being able to ignore critics is another useful skill, because there are plenty of folks who say a lot while adding no value whatsoever.

However, I think the most important point to keep in mind Continue reading

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For September 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in September 2017.

Packet Pushers Weekly Podcast

Packet Pushers Priority Queue Podcast

Datanauts Podcast

EthanCBanks.com

Newsletters

I closed down the Hot Aisle newsletter after months of struggling to know what to do with it. Originally, the Hot Aisle was a way for me to express my individual voice about networking, design, emerging trends, and the IT industry without necessarily having that opinion attached to Packet Pushers, my company. It was also an unsponsored newsletter, which I felt was a nice thing to be able to Continue reading

All Of Ethan’s Podcasts And Articles For September 2017

Here’s a catalog of all the media I produced (or helped produce) in September 2017.

Packet Pushers Weekly Podcast

Packet Pushers Priority Queue Podcast

Datanauts Podcast

EthanCBanks.com

Newsletters

I closed down the Hot Aisle newsletter after months of struggling to know what to do with it. Originally, the Hot Aisle was a way for me to express my individual voice about networking, design, emerging trends, and the IT industry without necessarily having that opinion attached to Packet Pushers, my company. It was also an unsponsored newsletter, which I felt was a nice thing to be able to Continue reading

How Uber Charges You Money, But You Get No Ride

I spent part of last week in Seattle, a city known for its frequent rain. While caught in some weather with my lovely wife, we felt that grabbing an Uber was preferable to walking back to the parking garage. Being on the road, we weren’t prepared to handle a steady downpour.

I fired up the Uber app for the first time in a long time, as I’m not in need of Uber services very often. Hmm. Things had changed since the last time I hailed a ride. Some major GUI changes had happened, along with the app requesting an upfront commitment of a little cash before requesting a pickup. Um…okay. That’s new, but that makes sense. I suppose the cash commitment means that fewer people would cancel their ride after the driver accepts it, and that’s fair enough.

Here’s where it gets ugly, though. We’d hailed a ride during a rush hour in Seattle. There were a lot of cars on the streets. While it wasn’t gridlock, it was busy. An Uber driver accepted my request, and then a few moments later, I get a call. More or less, the driver said, “I’m not that close to you, and it’s Continue reading