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Saturday, April 25, 2009

'Getting Stuff Done', new Ubuntu 9.04, OS X

I was an early Mac enthusiast (I wrote a successful Mac application in 1984) and long before that I bought a very early Apple II (serial number 71) and I wrote the simple little chess program that Apple gave away on the demo cassette tape for the Apple II. Anyway, I am pretty much into Apple products. During the later "dark ages" before Apple released OS X, I did use Windows NT (and later Windows 2000) and Linux for work and play. During this time, I developed a great 'getting stuff done' strategy: I booted NT for a few customer projects that needed Windows and when I wanted to play - otherwise I booted into a very stripped Linux install that only had what I need installed for work spurts.

After I finish work on my new book for Apress (soon!, probably in the next 2 weeks :-) except for ongoing work for two customers, I want to concentrate on a new business venture that only requires a development setup for Ruby, Rails, and Java. I work almost exclusively on my Mac laptop, using my desktop Mac only video editing (huge amount of disk space and memory) and a local Linux box when I need to test networked applications. BTW, I am writing this on a new Ubuntu 9.04 installation - a nice 6 month upgrade from the last release.

This experiment may not last more than a few months, but I want to have a only small OS X partition on my laptop with fun stuff, and a larger Ubuntu partition with Java, Ruby, IntelliJ, RubyMine, and a minimal set of tools that I need. I tend to work in 2 to 3 hour spurts on both customer projects and my own stuff. I don't like to check email and I have my wife screen my telephone calls during the work spurts. You can quote me on this: multitasking is overrated!

My Mac laptop is a great do-everything system, but I think that having different "fun" and "work" environments helps get more productive work done in less time. As long as I am sharing some personal philosophy on work and life, I find that minimizing the time watching TV also helps make more time for friends and family, sports, enjoying nature, gardening, cooking, reading, etc. As a computer scientist, I am into performance analysis, and as a person, the same kind of performance analysis is good to evaluate the benefit of time spent on various activities.