This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. You can follow this list of links as I post them on Friend Feed or on Twitter. Or you can get the weekly update by subscribing to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.
- [BLOGGING] 70 Simple Power Tao Secret Hacks to Writing the Perfect Productivity Article, Plus a Guide & System for Doing It, thegrowinglife.com
- The ultimate guide to writing lifehack posts. :)
- [BLOGGING] A Secret to Blogging Success – Build Upon What You Build, problogger.net
- Good advice for anything, really. Always leverage what strengths you already have.
- [BLOGGING] Thurday at Noon is the best time post and be noticed (PST), 3.rdrail.net
- When is the best time to post a story that will get noticed?
- [CODE] Git forking for fun and profit, blog.labnotes.org
- Really good explanation of distributed version control and GIT and why you should git it.
- [CODE] Invitation to try out open source code review tool, mail.python.org
- Google’s Mondrian code review tool is going open source.
- [CODE] Programmers Don’t Read Books — But You Should, codinghorror.com
- Reading one programming book a year makes you a better programmer than the average.
- [COMMUNITY] Listening to Customers is Hard, Hard, Hard, continuations.wenger.us
- Some tips on how to make the most out of customer feedback.
- [CROSSLOOP] The Crossloop Community, winextra.com
- I’ve been unhappy with the social aspect of Crossloop before (namely, takes to long to get someone to install the software), but the “helper” marketplace can be a great thing.
- [DIGG] The StatBot pits Digg vs Digg, thestatbot.com
- Digg 2007 vs Digg 2008 for keywords
- [GEEK] J.K. Rowling, Lexicon and Oz, linearpublishing.com
- Harry Potter author misuses copyright to sue related work by fan she once gave an award to.
- [GEEK] Nomophobia and The Curse of The Mobile Phone, putthingsoff.com
- What kind of mobile phone user are you?
- [IPHONE] iPhone Canada: Pay me now, or pay me later, mathewingram.com
- The iPhone is coming to Canada, but will this mean data plans open up? My guess, big no. Rogers has too much of a track record when it comes to sucking.
- [LASTFM] soundamus – new and upcoming music releases from the artists you listen to, soundamus.net
- Website that gives you an RSS feed to alert you when your favs on Last.FM release new music.
- [LIFEHACKS] The Battle for Our Minds, thegrowinglife.com
- Using our minds at work all day is making us stupid.
- [SLEEPHACKS] Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honor, 37signals.com
- From the article: ” If you encounter someone who’s acting like an ass, there’s a good chance they’re suffering from sleep deprivation.”
- [SOCIALMEDIA] Greasemonkey Scripts For the Social Media Addict, readwriteweb.com
- Scripts for Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, Delicious, Facebook, and Flickr. Several of them by yours truly.
- [TECH] Early adopter angst, scobleizer.com
- Arguments why earlier adopters do matter.
- [TECH] What’s Mainstream Technology? Ask Joe Average, The Spouse, Grandma, and Dave Letterman — Webomatica – Technology and Entertainment Digest, webomatica.com
- How to figure out if tech is mainstream.
- [TWITTER] TwitterSnooze! v0.13, twittersnooze.com
- Stop following someone for a few days.
- [WORKHACKS] Up or Out: Solving the IT Turnover Crisis, thedailywtf.com
- Embrace change, and quit your job when you start to stagnate.
The roots of clutter come from the same social forces that said collecting comic books and stamps were an “investment”. I don’t know if it comes from corporate greed or from a post-World-War-2 generation where things were so scarce that suddenly everything had value and hoarding became a way of life. But collecting for the sake of collecting is a life habit that you have to break before you find yourself retired and living as a shut-in because cardboard boxes are blocking your doors.
Why declutter? It frees up your house and it frees up your mind. Your possessions own you as anyone who has ever had to move repeatedly over the course of several years can attest. It was moving twice in one year that finally got me to get rid of CDs I no longer listened to and textbooks I hadn’t looked at since university.
Tip #1: Your material goods hold little resale value no matter what you paid for them. This is a hard lesson to come to terms with because you know how much you paid for something. It is particularly hard for electronic goods since they are so costly upfront but become obsolete so fast. Good luck re-selling your bulky CRT monitor set in the age of LCD.
The media format wars means that even if you build up a VHS, DVD, CD, vinyl or cassette tape collection then it will be obsolete in ten years and within twenty years you won’t even own a device that can play them back. Does your new computer have a 3’5″ floppy drive? Changing media formats mean that owning a media collection for the sake of collecting is a useless endeavor.
Tip #2: Digitization is your friend. Photos, music, TV shows and movies can all be stored compactly on your computer hard drive or on DVDs. Have a good backup strategy though because hard drives will eventually fail on you.
Tip #3: “Have I used this in the past year?” is the question to ask when it comes to clothes, shoes, kitchen appliances, all that stuff in the garage or the work shed. Only keep what you really have use for. Your brain plays tricks on you like telling yourself you can lose that 20 lbs in only a few months.
Tip #4: “Will I watch or read this again?” is what should go through your head when it comes to book or movie collections. Lifetime collections should consist of only the favorites you will re-watch or want to share with others, everything else is collecting dust.
Tip #5: Don’t be overly sentimental! When I was 9 years old I convinced my parents to haul a lobster trap back home with us from our summer vacation. It sat in the back of the yard falling apart for years if not decades. Did it inspire any memories of the trip? Not anymore than the easily portable and easily storable photos we had taken with it. Sentimental is keeping things that have special meaning to you — not keeping everything you’ve ever come in contact with.
Tip #6: Renting is more economical than owning. It might not be true when it comes to real estate but it’s definitely true when it comes to books, dvds and any other form of media. Libraries are free. A $6 rental fee is still much cheaper than $25 new or $11 in the bargain bin. Even if it the movie or book is worth becoming part of your lifetime collection then you are still ahead because of all the times when it wasn’t.
Tip #7: Find your downstream ecosystem. When I declutter my only concern is passing things on to someone who will make use of them. It would be nice to recoup some of the cost but the sad fact is most things lose value so fast these days that the effort to regain any of the initial value is wasted.
For small items there are sites like Amazon, Ebay and specialty sites. For large items there are local listings on Facebook and Craigslist. Clothes can go to second hand stores and the Salvation Army. Childrens books and stuffed animals are well appreciated by schools. Local libraries accept books, CDs and DVDs which they then resell to raise funds. With a little digging you can find a non-profit organization that refurbishes computers for underprivileged youth.
The secret to learning how to live a clutter-free life is to realize that items don’t hold their value, that economically renting is cheaper in the long term for single-use goods, and to know how to get rid of stuff in a way that it doesn’t go to waste.