Remember your towel today

Today is the day to sport your new fashionable nutriment soaked towel because its Towel Day.

Towelday-InnsbruckTowel Day is celebrated every May 25 as a tribute by fans of the late author Douglas Adams.[1] On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on May 11, 2001.[2] The towel is a reference to Adams’s popular science fiction comedy series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Help your IT guy help you

When things go wrong you call your IT guy. Everybody has an IT guy! Whether it be the neighbors kid next door, or your friend from the local college. Here are some ways of making sure your IT guy can do his job as efficiently and fast as possible. When fixing technical issues the most valuable tool is without a doubt information. Knowing what went wrong, what caused it and isolating the faulty component are key issues. You wont know how to fix something unless you know the problem.

  • Speak the truth – nobody is judging
    The first advice is simple, but overlooked most of the time. Speak the truth.
    When i was working tech support i would hear numerous times how things just broke by themselves. When asked what was happening when the computer/Internet stopped working people mostly reply “nothing”. Ironically enough we tend to cover up what we were doing in fear of being blamed as the cause of the problem. However when fixing computer problems more information is always better.
  • Be precise
    When explaining what happened be sure to not only tell the truth, but also be as precise as possible. Try to convey exactly what happened in detail. Make sure you to the best of your knowledge are using the correct terminology. Remember the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t necessarily know what you are looking at, and might be confused if you assume prior knowledge. Be explicit with your description, and don’t underestimate visual descriptions.
  • Keep drivers nearby
    New computers and components usually include some driver Cd’s and perhaps some manuals. Make sure to keep some sort of organized depository of this information. You never know when you will need it. This includes stuff like drivers, manuals, licenses, warranties and program discs.
  • Keep backups handy
    You have heard you should make regular scheduled backups a million times. But for most people it will not be a reality untill they actually loose some important data. Prevent the problem, but making sure your backups are as up to date as possible. Having backups ready when help arrives also helps prevent a major re-format to fix the issue. And in the worst case you will loose very little data and be up and running much faster. So do backups! now!

What to do when things go wrong

450731_41122063 First off you might want to contact your IT guy to get some help. Help the process by having as much information ready as possible. This includes exactly what you were doing when the problem occurred, what happened in detail and what the situation is now. In some cases it can avoid a visit if the problem could be solved over the phone. Should the problem be bigger than something solvable over the phone use the time before help arrives to get out your repository of drivers, software and licenses. Make sure everything is ready, and in worst case scenario make sure the computer is accessible. This means cleaning out any clutter under the desk so you can get to check cables during troubleshooting. Also make sure any tools that might be necessary are available before help arrives.

Turn the frown upside down

When things go horrible wrong learn from the situation. I sucks if you loose some data, pictures and whatever you might not have backups from. But instead of being depressed about the lost items make sure the situation never repeats itself. Plan out some backup solution. Put dates into your calender for when you need to make your next backup to help you actually keep updating the backup. If you haven’t already done so, gather up all your drivers and software and keep it in some easy to reach location making a possible re-installation later on much easier and stress-free.

Got any tips on how to get help the best way, or more effeciently when computers go down let the readers know in the comments 😉

Week numbers in Google Calendar

Weeks in GCalA feature I have been missing in Google Calendar is a simple Week numbering scheme. Mostly people will be talking about what week they have vacation, or what week number a certain event takes place and I simply hate that my overly used calendar does not display it.

For a while I had a greasemonkey script that added week numbers to my Google calendar. However two drawbacks presented itself with this solution

  • It was a fix local to a specific browser install (e.g. my laptop) and thus had to be installed on all my used machines
  • It had some flaws and I never bothered to find a replacement script (nor code one myself as I’m horrible with dates :p)

Today as we needed to get some week numbers checked for a calendar project, I was forced to find a solution. And by goodness a great solution exists. A calendar you can add to your own, that simply displays the week number. Its both global for all your access to the calendar and it is easy to turn on/off by simply unhiding/hiding that particular calendar.

I am currently also using another public calendar for displaying local Holidays, and I must say I am a bit disappointed I have not done this earlier. But without further ado, rambling, delay, musing and other babble here is the solution Google itself presented when I asked:

Instructions to add week numbers to your GCal:

  1. Add the below calendar, by clicking the URL and accept…
  2. Enjoy!


The blog is burning!

It is said in Egyptian and Greek mythology that the Phoenix would end its long cycle of life by building a nest, and burning up in a fierce fire. From the ashes a new phoenix would arise destined to live at least as long as the old one. This mythical story and the above dramatic headline is a bit exaggerated.

imageReflection Design simply got a smaller fire but utilizing Feedburner from now on. So its now possible to click the RSS button on the right to follow the musings of me. I decided that since I use Google Reader to follow a great deal of blogs myself, why should people out there be cheated from doing the same from me. I simply love the automatic delivery of content, rather than me having to regularly visit a site to check for updates. Remember back in the days of early browsing I was trying to setup something similar with offline readers, that supposedly check for updates and reported when new stuff was available. Sadly it did not work anywhere near as well as today’s RSS feeds.

If you don’t know what an RSS feed is allow me to quickly educate you, and provide links to use Google Reader (my recommendation) to get started reading Reflection Design (and others) from the convenience of your RSS Reader.

Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into “widgets,” “gadgets,” mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.

Hope you all enjoy this new feature of the blog, or should I say enhanced feature of the blog.

Where did your time go ? – ManicTime

1068015_16571819 Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
William Penn

Ever wonder were your day went, when you are sitting at the computer ? How much time you spent developing that website for a client ?

Through the time I have tried various little tools to keep track of what I am working on, for how long and possible find out how much time I have wasted on Facebook on a given day. Most of them worked just fine, but in the long run I never used them for longer periods of time. Various reasons for this but mostly the applications just did not fit my workflow, required too much constant interaction or simply didn’t have the features I really need.

I recently discovered ManicTime. Great little application that sits in the background recording your computer usage with little memory footprint.
It allows you to afterwards pull out statistics, tag time periods with specific tasks and/or see most used applications for a given time. Basically everything you need from a time tracking application.

The interface is simple to use and fast to learn. Simply put this little piece of software allows you to get a perfect overview of how you spend your time on the computer. Personally I will be using it to keep track of hours spent pr. project I am working on as it allows me to tag periods of time with specific project tags, and thus get a collected time usage for each project 🙂

You can download it for free from here: Manic Time

Keep your HD in silent zen states – or else …

It was recenly found that shouting at harddrives decreases their performance. Simply put harddisk drives do not like being shouted at anymore than you do.

Brendan Gregg demonstrates in the video below, how shouting at the diskdrives decreases the performance of the drives. Of course the expenation is not that the drives dislike being shouted at, or loose their focus and start worrying about being good enough, dresses up in goth clothes, hates the world and becomes an underacheiver… uhmm no.

Sound is vibrations, and shouting at the drives simply causes vibrations that affect the drives an decrease performance. Simple as that, but still interesting. At least i found so 🙂


Also a funny sidenote i found this video of Justin Long (from various Mac commercials).

Merry Christmas!

So today is christmas. I watched Muppets Christmas Carol as my personal tradition on Christmas Day, and now i am a few hours from a nice christmas dinner with my parents. Cannot wait to sink my teeth into the perfectly cooked duck! 🙂

Merry Christmas everybody!