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How do I schedule my schedule?

During induction, we did the “4 personality types” exercise. I hadn’t performed this exercise in a formalised manner before, but it turned out to be very helpful. Below is an example of the grid:

Here’s another one:

I fall firmly within the Analytical square. Taken from Think2By2:

The Analytical personality falls in the quadrant formed by the boundaries of Introvert/Thinker. Individuals in this quadrant are generally described as being logical, thorough, serious, systematic, prudent, cautious, and compliant. This personality type emphasizes working conscientiously to ensure quality and accuracy. Analytical personalities tend to focus on tasks, seek details and facts, and need structure. Positive descriptors include perfectionist, questioning, idealistic, sensitive, self-disciplined, and precise. Negative descriptors or weaknesses include moody, negative, critical, rigid, legalistic, touchy, self-centered, unsociable, and impractical. Examples of the Analytical personality type include Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.

I’ve suffered a long time from what I now know is called “analysis paralysis”. It occurs when an Analytical gets caught up in gathering facts, making lists, and analysing pros and cons to the point where nothing actually gets done or the deadline passes.

It’s why I took so long to build my home server, and why my home network config is still not complete, and I actually have to redo everything because of some stuff that’s happening.

I’m currently suffering through it now with my scheduling/note-taking/tracking tools. I have no idea how to keep track of everything anymore. Before I would just do OneNote, and that was all I needed. However, my tracking needs have grown quite a bit over the last year, so I added Wunderlist to my toolset.

It doesn’t still quite do what I want to do though, so I spent a bit of time testing out all the task management tools, how they integrate with my current environment etc. Basically, I ended up wasting more time deciding on what tools I needed to use so that I wouldn’t waste time. There’s a reason why this blog is called Overthinking.

I have 3 accounts to manage: personal, school, and work. My personal account is imploding slowly into a mess of personal emails, newsletters, notifications, bills and appointments. My school account is about to get busy now that my registration was approved. My work account will descend into madness (even though it’s only been 3 weeks) because I am involved in a bunch of projects already.

I’v been sticking it out with Wunderlist, because since Microsoft acquired them, I have been looking forward to OneNote integration. That’s the dream.

In the meantime, I’ve got a disgusting combination of:

  • Wunderlist tasks, which show up in my personal calendar (regardless of whether it’s a work, personal or school task)
  • Office desktop apps for my work account (I no longer use the task tracking in Outlook to link with OneNote)
  • Outlook.com web interface for personal account
  • Mobile apps for everything

I’m feeling quite irritated with the general state of things. I even thought about coding something to help me, at which point I knew I had to just stop.

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My Epic Revamp: Health Edition (Q1 Update)

Since I’m already late with these quarterly reports, let me jump right in.

  1. Take better care of HSK: I have been more rigorous about taking my supplements, which consists of a general multivitamin 4 days, a HSK pill 3 days, and selenium complex everyday. Results: my hair is shinier, has been growing faster and is more manageable. My nails are harder and smoother, and my skin seems better (by that, I mean I seem to be getting breakouts for reasons other than physical issues).
  2. Increase water intake: While I’m not carrying a water bottle around with me like I did at university, I have been actively upping my water intake. As soon as I finish a cup, I’m walking back to the pause area to grab some more. I also just found out that MyFitnessPal will show reports on all of your data over time, except for water consumption.
  3. Increase micro- and macronutrient intake: The fruit thing is still an issue. It’s not that I don’t want to eat the fruit, I honestly just forget. Fortunately, the SO has been supplying me with smoothies on the weekend, and I’ve been randomly eating fruits where I can. I’ve also increased my veg intake.
  4. Take better care of teeth: I can proudly say that it has been 5 months since my last jelly sweet. I had a bit of a setback when I realised that I was trying to replace it with Astros, but that’s over now. The only thing left to do is find a proper dentist (and by that I mean one who is based in the Northern suburbs).

One of the best decisions I made this year was to add Lifehacker’s Vitals blog to my Feedly. Virtually every article they post has helped me over the last few months.

I’ve been following their recommendation of increasing protein while decreasing carbs. It’s been a bit rough trying to drastically increase my protein intake, especially considering I ate very little protein before.

Protein consumed

Can you guess which day I started this madness?

Also, the first week with reduced carbs was ok. The second week was a nightmare – my body realised what I was trying to do, and it responded by sending “Go buy some hot chips” signals to my brain every 30 seconds.

Overall, it has been going very well – I made it through the low-carb flu without backsliding. I’ve turned down fast food, taken extra vegetables to make up for the lack of rice/potatoes/pasta, and have outright ignored cravings. After almost a month, it’s now a habit – I don’t feel like those other foods anymore.

I think going this route has helped me progress in my missions outlined above – and I’ve already lost almost 4kg, taking me down to my lowest weight in 4 years. That’s a total of 13kg lost over the last year or so.

I still have quite a bit to go, but it feels good to be getting my health in order.

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Security in Cape Town: Work

(This is part of my series of posts on Security in Cape Town. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here).

I have found that security at workplaces in Cape Town all seem to have one thing in common: the book of truth. Security/reception will let anyone into the building, as long as they have signed that book. It is ridiculous of course, as Trevor Noah notes – you can put any information you want there, it doesn’t matter.

The problem with that is if that is the only line of defence before entering the building. The first building I worked at in the CBD was like that. Sometimes my sister would come up to my floor with me, so we would walk straight in past the security to the lift. There was no second barrier, such as a card swipe or something. Sure, the security would have recognised me, but just because I had someone with me, it did not mean that the person was legit. In theory, if someone looked like they knew where they were going, anyone could gain access to the upper floors.

In fact, someone did just that the year before I started working there. It was the World Cup year, so there were alot of strange faces round and about during event organisation and planning sessions. A few laptops went missing, containing valuable info for the planning. Of course, no one had backups.

My current building is fairly secure – cars can only enter by the booms, and there are security cameras there. There are definitely areas of security which can be improved upon, but I am not going to air those breaches here just in case 🙂

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Issues installing and running SimCity 4

The only reason I’m installing it is because I have spent literally 3 years looking for ideal terrains for my Sims 2 neighbourhoods. I’ve played with a bunch of them, but none of them are quite suitable for my gameplay method, which is a little bit on the loony side. I’ve tried to avoid making custom content myself, as I know that I would somehow find a way to make it feel like work, when it should just remain a hobby.

What I’ve finally realised is that I want a terrain which has a neighbourhood founders’ area in the middle consisting of 6 bigger lots, with the other lots being of uniform size with some variation for class gaps (probably 2×1 and 2×2). Each class would have their own area of town, with the terrain modelled and decorated accordingly. Having attended a training course on CityEngine has made me a bit more interested in this side of simming.

I installed the game and tried to run it. First error was “Could not initialise Direct Draw”. A Google search indicates that as the game becomes more outdated and the graphics cards get better, more errors are going to pop up over time. Solution is to force it to run using OpenGL instead of DirectX by affixing “-d:opengl” to the target shortcut. Didn’t work.

I then used my beloved Splashtop to load it, but it still didn’t work. After enabling custom resolution by adding “-CustomResolution:enabled r1366x768x32” and adding ‘-w’ to make it run in windowed mode (something I knew from running TS2 like that), it would boot into the game for about 10 seconds before CTD (Crashing To Desktop). Yes, it is such a common problem that there is an initialism for it. Similar to how we all try to stop our TS2 games from becoming a BFBVFS.

I then returned to Google (the beginning and the end of the internet these days) and after reading several forum threads about what to add to your shortcut target, I saw someone mentioned that the game might be looking for accelerated audio and not finding it, so maybe disable the audio. I never play games with audio – I always turn it off, especially with TS2. The stupid voices become grating after a while, and the random background audio is annoying.

So I added “-audio:off”.

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Security in Cape Town: During a blackout

So I’ve pre-empted the rest of my security in Cape Town series with this post, based on a thread that’s been going around on MyBB.

I have been avoiding thinking about this. I’ve always idly wondered what we would do if we had to get out of our area quickly. I started becoming more concerned about it during the xenophobia riots of 2008, then during every election period and all the ‘service delivery’ protests.

Truth be told, I don’t know how we would get out. We live on the edge of the neighbourhood near the train station, and the one main road exiting the place. I would not trust the trains to work, and the road could be easily blocked. On the other side of the neighbourhood, there are multiple roads leading out into another biggish road (roads are in the grid pattern).

That road has a low-income housing area on the opposite side. The neighbourhood watch regularly finds laaities from that area breaking in, or loitering in our area. So yes, I’ve thought about this a bit, and it is a concern.

With a blackout though, it seems even more chilling. At least with riots etc, the police/army pitch up and even if they don’t do anything, they are still visible there. In a blackout, I believe that SA would descend into a post-apocalyptic scenario immediately.

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Security in Cape Town: Home

I have always been very security conscious. That would be because of my dad, who ingrained it into us from a young age (“stranger danger” and what not). I know that many who have known us over the years have viewed it as paranoia, and sure, maybe there were some times when things were taken too far.

I stand by it though. We have always had an alarm system in our house, even in the 90s. When my parents moved into the house, the property was totally open. There was a vibracrete fence in front, with an open driveway, a flimsy garage door and a huge front yard with another (slightly higher) vibracrete fence separating the back yard from the front.

My parents renovated in the mid-90s by joining the old garage to the kitchen as a den area, building on a new garage which took up most of the front yard, and adding a carport. They soon added manual gates to the front of the carport after one too many incidents of opening the front door to find random people standing there.

At the turn of the millennium, someone stole our exposed copper tap on the outside of the house. A few years later, someone fell asleep at the wheel, and drove their van through our vibracrete across the open driveway and hit the big tree there. By the mid-2000’s, that fence was replaced by a high wall all around with palisade fencing and an electric gate. An electric fence was added a few years later after someone scaled the palisade, broke the window of our old car and stole the speakers.

We live in a safe suburb, relatively speaking. There are very few incidents, and many more have been prevented due to an active Neighbourhood Watch. We are on the “main road”, so there are always many people/cars going by on the way to and from work. In the daytime it is very quiet, but there a lot of older people in the area, so there are always people at home in the day.

People are only catching on now that you can’t sleep with the windows open, you have to lock the doors, you need to have an alarm installed (and actually arm it everytime you leave the house), and you have to have multiple levels of security gates/burglar bars. Yes, that does make it a pain to get out of the house everyday, but at least when we leave, we know that we have done literally everything in our power to make sure the house is secure.

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Streaming The Sims 2 remotely: Part 1

I’ve played The Sims 2 for almost 6 years now. After losing Sweetiepie, I was without my Sims for quite a while before installing it on my dual-boot config. I then got tired of that, because I never got around to actually playing the game, and before I knew it, more than 6 months had passed since I loaded it up.

After having discarded the idea of playing in a VM, I then tried a different tactic. I installed the game on Tangytop, connected to it via Remote Desktop and tried launching the game. I know, that was a terrible decision and I really should know better, despite my severe lack of networking knowledge, but I thought hey, why not. Even though I knew the answer. The game launched, but showed a blue screen (windowed mode) instead of the graphics.

I googled around a bit before I remembered I have this device that I rarely use. On a whim, I installed Chrome, added the Cast extension and cast the entire screen to the flatscreen in the entertainment room.

Imagine my surprise when it worked. The resolution of the screen was completely off, but the games graphics showed. As I panned around the neighbourhood, there was about a 1 second lag between the server and the TV. I found that amazing. However, since the Chromecast serves the rest of the household, I would need to get another one for my TV in my room.

Cue round 2 of googling. I forgot that the reason I bought the Chromecast (besides it being a Takealot daily deal @ R399 sometime last year) was because I had been watching the wireless adapter market for sometime.

Even though Windows Phone has supported Miracast since the 8.1 Developer Preview (which I had since April last year), I had yet to find a good Miracast adapter locally.

Cue round 2 of surprise. I found 1 or 2 or 3 Miracast dongles on Takealot, although I would actually like to be able to have official hardware for once. I considered ordering one of them, especially since the price was good.

It would also make sense then to put the Chromecast in my room, so that my KitKatted Note could make use of it, and everyone else’s Windows Phones/laptops/tablets could make use of the Miracast in the ER. I first had to check if my laptop had the right driver for wireless display.

Cue Round 3 of googling. After trying to figure out why I didn’t have Project as a display option, I discovered that my wifi adapter does not have the correct NDIS version. I wasn’t sure how to upgrade this, or if it’s even possible to upgrade it. I considered ordering a wireless card for Tangytop which has the correct version, but I couldn’t find those kind of specs on the cards I was looking at. Also, due to my severe lack of networking knowledge, I had no idea what to look for.

I then took a nap.