The NY Times story on “life
hacking” is a pretty
good one, and an excellent intro for anyone who hasn’t been religiously reading
the changing transcripts of Danny O’Brien’s talk and so on.
Mann has embarked on a 12-step-like triage: he canceled his Netflix account,
trimmed his instant-messaging “buddy list” so only close friends can contact
him and set his e-mail program to bother him only once an hour.
Reminded me of something I ran into recently.
Last month, I switched from Sawfish, the venerable UNIX window manager, to
GNOME’s Metacity, which is the new(ish) GNOME standard window manager. (I was
tired of some long-standing Sawfish crashes, and didn’t want to be the
last Sawfish user on the planet, which was seeming increasingly likely.)
One interesting UI change is that application windows no longer ‘pop up’ — if
an app wants to notify you of some important change, it instead can only cause
its taskbar button to subtly pulse in the corner of your screen.
Initially, this threw me for a loop, and I rudely (albeit accidentally) ignored
my friends on IM and suchlike. But I quickly got the hang of glancing at the
taskbar once in a while when I wasn’t concentrating on a task; it’s now second
nature, and has significantly reduced the number of interruptions I find myself
experiencing in a typical day.
BTW, in passing: switching WMs is a big deal, user interface-wise. One of the
key gating factors, for me, was a feature I use to control windows without
laying hands on the dreaded rodent — namely, a ‘move window to screen corner’
keyboard shortcut. This
patch implements it for
I implemented this last year for KWin,
too, to resounding disapproval and
bitchy comments about how I’m using the mouse all wrong. Meh. I fully expect
the Metacity maintainers to throw it out, likewise, leaving me hand-patching
WMs for a while yet ;)
Update, Nov 2006: they applied it! yay.