Toaster vs Toaster Oven, Applied To Reading

I’m a fan of paper.

There. I said it.

I’ve got notebooks. I write in them, lots. I’ve also got several thousand notes (and counting) in Evernote. I’ve also discovered that for flexibility and convenience, sometimes you just have to go digital.

The Kindle Paperwhite is one device that definitely removes the pain of going digital for reading. The high-resolution display (300-ppi!), the battery life (I’m on 3 weeks and counting), and the ability to sync to Audible audiobooks are all big wins.

Someone once told me the story of the toaster oven vs the toaster. One day, a man decided that he needed to be able to make toast. So he went to the store, and was given the option of buying a toaster oven, or a toaster. He decided that all he wanted to do was make toast, so he bought the toaster, leaving the toaster oven at the store. The next day, another man decided that they wanted to make toast, bagels, and bake little pizzas. So when they went to the store, they bought the toaster oven.

This is an important story – I’m a toaster kinda guy. I appreciate the flexibility of the toaster oven. I also appreciate the simplicity of the Kindle platform. It does one thing (let me read ebooks), and it does it well. I don’t ask for much more.

I originally owned a entry-level Kindle of some variety. The simplicity of the device (e-ink display and no push notifications) was strangely attractive in our ever connected society.

Single purpose devices are rare these days – as early as 2010, it’s been said that your cell phone is used primarily for things that aren’t talking. Your tablet will turn into something that is used for email, and YouTube and everything but reading if you try to do that.

I believe that the Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best products on the market for the discerning technology fan.

Highlights:

  • It’s simple. It lets you read books, and gets out-of-the-way.
  • It doesn’t just sync with The Cloud(tm), it also syncs your bookmarks with the Audible audiobook service (thanks “WhisperSync”).
  • It’s small (a tad smaller than a iPad Mini)

Downsides:

  • Yet Another Device
  • Requires WiFi to add books form the kindle estore.

I think that the highlights and the simplicity of this device (and similar devices) make this a net win for someone who enjoys reading.

*If you’ve gotten this far, why don’t you add me on GoodReads, the social network for readers?

The Importance of the First Hour Of The Day

Like many of you, I work in a fast-paced environment, with a small team, that demands your attention each and every hour of the workday (And sometimes outside of the workday as well).

Over my career, I noticed that I am most productive at 2 times of day – before 8AM, and after 9PM. Hint: One of these is helpful to a social life and your health, the other is not. I wondered why I wasn’t being more productive, until I read Time Management for System Administrators (Affiliate link) by Thomas Limoncelli.

The First Hour Of The Day

So I tried that. Simply by coming in as early as I could, after three weeks I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the simplest things one can do to improve the amount of work that they can do, interruption free.

I also recommend turning your phone off, or sending all but your boss to voicemail. While some members of your organization might be upset that you are not answering, most will be understanding, because you are actually doing your job. As long as you continue to provide high-quality work and service to your colleagues and clients, most will be perfectly fine with you ignoring them for the first hour or two of the day.

Just ensure that after you’ve accomplished your work, you get back to them promptly – an ignored customer (or colleague) is a very unhappy one, and can ruin the entire flow of work. Try it! Be as productive as you can be, without any of the drag. Your brain and your workload will thank you.

Now, I mentioned small teams specifically in the first paragraph. With larger organizations, it can sometimes be easier to deflect things that can wait – have them open a helpdesk ticket, have them talk to another developer, etc. For smaller teams (particularly teams of one!), this can be difficult. However, do not lose all hope! The solution is to train your users. I’ll be covering that topic more over the next few weeks, including some tactics that have worked, as well as the ones that haven’t.

Until next time,
James

Featured Image is by Kalyan Chakravarthy, available on Flickr under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.