Monday, September 20, 2010

It really works: Coccoon organizers

It happened again..... sitting in the Skyteam lounge in the "D" and had another person ask about my laptop organizer. In a previous post I had only just purchased the Coccoon Grid-IT organizer and could not necessarily claim all that much experience with it.

Since that post I have 30,000+ more miles on the thing and no less than 25 trips through the scanner belts with not only our TSA but also the ranks of security at many more international airports.  To date nothing gets more appreciative nods for the security personnel and passengers alike than the Grid-IT.

Available in different sizes and configurations you should be able to use it to clean up you D-SLR bag, your laptop case, Game-Boy rig or any other clutter you might have in your life.

My Grit-IT 15 holds:

Try it and you'll like it. If you have any other travel tips let me know. Still have a few more flights before I reach Diamond Medallion this year. For still more shameless commercialism see what other stuff I try to hock.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to Pack you suitcase like a Clown Car

I'll have to give this method a try. Looks like about 2 weeks worth of stuff.

Only issue now is what to do with all the SWAG I have to transport for my colleagues:

  • Tent
  • Running Shoes
  • GPS for bike
  • Ski Hat
  • Gloves
  • Case for DVD drive
all of which was ordered via my Amazon a-Store.

Survival 2000 feet underground

Newsweek (sarah-ball: Amazing. Click to enlarge. ...)

The Story of the Chilean miners trapped for the last few months has brought us many bizarre twists and turns; Stories of the miners wifes and mistresses meeting at the vigil site, the on-going drama of 33 people living in isolation for so long, the outrage that they are not getting the cigarettes they asked for.

In any case the most interesting aspect of the story for me is the relatively straightforward stopgap put into place by the rescue workers to getting these guys as much comfort in their situation as possible all through a hole smaller than a grapefruit. I guess they can have kiwi but not full melons down there.

It's a bit different story than when the media had all but written of any hopes finding the miners let alone a rescue back in August.

Now we get to read about their diet, their psyches, their love lives. Too bad we did not get a crew in there for a Big Brother or Survivor type show going. We could amp up the story by gradually reducing their rations each day and seeing how long it takes to resort to cannabalism...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Getting ready to get on and off airplanes.... AGAIN

SO, after a whopping two weeks at home, I get to start the cycle of planning for the next two weeks trip to Europe. Thank goodness for "The Oatmeal" and his reality check ...The crap we put up with getting on and off an airplane - The Oatmeal

Thanks to the Oatmeal for this dose of Sanity
Getting ready to travel again and preparing for the round robin of Intercontinental travel. Last month I had to go to Japan and wrapped up my long summer in Europe. Both of those trips were quite a departure from my normal mode of travel (I spent 8 consecutive weeks in Europe and only one week in Japan), now I have to prep for a two week trip.

Pack light or Pack well?
Two weeks is a bit long for a pure no-checked bag trip (unless you have laundry facilities or like wearing hotel sink washed clothes), but nobody likes having to do the whole bag check fiasco. But am I the only person who finds the advice on the "ONE Bag" or "travel with no bags" sites a little over the top? Really, who likes wearing clothes to work that you just washed and dried in the sink last night?

So it seems that even after accumulating 100,000 actual miles this year, I still am not a qualified road warrior. I waste time in baggage claim, and carry too much shit; But then again, THEY smell funny.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why working at home is both awesome and horrible - The Oatmeal

My big  brother, a long time Techni-HO, was recently cut loose from one job and landed another. His new job has offices in "CheezHead-land" while he resides in "West Mittenton". One aspect of his new position is that he is the lone Mittentonian employee and will be working from home.

Matthew Inman (a.k.a. The Oatmeal) recently made another brilliant comic that addresses the situation. Why working at home is both awesome and horrible - The Oatmeal

For my bro, and others in similar positions I offer my advice; culled from a few years of personal failures
  1. Behave just like the home office is still at "THE OFFICE"
  2. Commute 
  3. Keep regular office hours
  4. Leave the home office 
  5. Find an office space

1. Behave just like the home office is still at "THE OFFICE":
Many people are tempted when envisioning the Home Office of the glory of being able to work in ones undershorts. This is IMHO a big mistake. Break from home habits;  Shower, groom, and dress just like you are going to the "Office". Make a mental start to your day by following the exact routine you would if you had to meet with the boss at the main office, avoid falling into lazy patterns that you will have to unlearn later. Additionally, you start the day prepared for that late call to head out to customer site.

2. Commute 
To assist in the break from home habits to work habits give yourself a commute; even if it is only a walk around the block or a short bike ride. Mentally gather yourself for the working day and make a clean break from the home front.

3. Keep regular office hours
Determine when you are on and off the clock and stick to it (at least try). Set expectations among your co-workers for when you are working and when you are not. Follow repeatable and predictable patterns. If you don't like having the Hong Kong Office call you at 7:00 PM then don't send them emails at that time, or call them on the evenings that you are breaking office hours. You are most likely not getting paid for a 24-hour day so don't work one.

4. Leave the home office
Otherwise you will always feel like you are at work and never be able to relax even on holidays and weekends. That is the curse of the home office, you never leave work. Consider setting up an alternative phone line as the "Office line" (get one free from Google if you have to). And have people call you there during office hours; leave the home phone unanswered during business hours and do the same for the business line during off hours. If you make a clear distinction of office time to home time others will follow the lead.

5. Find an office space 
Working from home is no picnic and makes being home less enjoyable sometimes. Make an office space specifically for work; Rent one near home, set up shop in the library or Coffee house, or set aside space in your house ONLY for that purpose. I find it impossible to leave the work behind if my workspace is the Kitchen Counter or the same computer desk I sit at for chatting it up with buds on the Social Net. Likewise, it is hard to get to work in the space you also use for leisure.

Good luck if you are making the move from Cubicle Hell to working from home. But make sure you set yourself up to be successful in both walks of life--by keeping them as separate as possible.