March 2008 Archives

Work-Life Balance

Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with the whole work-life-balance thing. I throw myself into projects, running at full speed until I collapse in a heap and then get up and do it all over again. The whole not sleeping thing just compounds that all. Even with hobbies, I go weeks with no crafting and then spend a whole weekend knitting everything in sight. (It's not mania per se, it's just a pattern of manic-like behavior I learned at a young age.)

In any case, I am always looking at ways to be more in balance. The past three weeks of downtime I've had between projects has been wonderful. I feel more centered than I have in a long time. Of course, better is not the same as good.

My dear friend Janice recently sent around a link to a post about just this thing. It's from the blog Feld Thoughts.

In the post Janice sent around, he talks about 5 types of vacation:

  1. Spend Time Away
  2. Go Dark Weekend
  3. Excursion
  4. Downshift
  5. Visit

I realized that I only ever take Excursions or Visits. Looking at the definitions Feld gives, it's not surprising that I never return from them as rested and refreshed as I hoped. I'm not sure that I can swing the Spend Time Away soon, but I'm seriously considering incorporating the Go Dark Weekend into my life.

In the vacation post, he refers to another post of his on how he discovered work life balance. I actually found this post more helpful and it's what inspired me to write this post. Again, he has 5 habits for keeping himself in balance:

  1. Spend Time Away (this one seems to be key)
  2. Life Dinner
  3. Segment Space
  4. Be Present
  5. Meditate

I can't wait to start doing these. I love the idea of the Life Dinner. I do a good job at the segmenting space (I tend not to work at home and rarely work at home after being in the office all day). But I certainly need improvement on the being present and meditating.

Turn Out Your Lights for Earth Hour

Tonight starting at 8 PM your local time, turn off your lights. Be a part of the World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour. All over the world people are turning off from 8-9 PM to raise awareness of global warming. Hey, it's a step!

It seems my father and grandfather would be proud. They were always going around the house, turning off lights, yelling about illuminating rooms no one was in. I find myself doing the same thing.

Problem with Comments

Hrm... I still seem to be having problems with comments on this site. We recently upgraded to MoveableType 4, and comments were turned on again with the upgrade. Before that the spambots were taking down the server with all the comment spam. So E turned it off.

If you click on an individual entry you can make a comment that way. But I just realized that clicking on the comments link from the main page throws an error. Sorry about that folks. I'll see if E can fix that this weekend.

Though that would explain why I haven't gotten that much spam on this site since the comments were technically turned back on.

Google Analytics; More than Numbers

Metrics is a big part of user experience. We are always making tweaks and changes to sites in the hopes of making things better. But what does "better" actually mean? Well, that's where metrics come in. The idea of measuring what is going on so you can see how your change is effecting things.

There's the whole debate over the ROI of user experience and can you really measure it, and is the number of clicks an accurate metric. It's hard work figuring out which numbers are the ones that are meaningful for you and which ones you want to see change.

This week I finally got around to installing Google Analytics on this site. has been mothballed for a long time. It was off my radar so I had somehow assumed it was off everyone else's too. Lo and behold, folks are coming here. I had no idea. But it's a big kick in the butt for me to make this site more active.

So, I am resolving to post more often here. It's not that I don't have thoughts of IA and UX and other letters. It's that I fall into the trap of thinking that my thoughts aren't original enough to put out in to the world. It's a dangerous spiral to be on. The past three weeks of downtime between projects has allowed me to do some much needed introspection and rejuvenation. I've felt the creative juices flowing again. And I'm planning on guiding them to this site.

Partytime, AP Style

Tonight is Adaptive Path's 7th Anniversary party!

Come join us at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street in San Francisco. We'll have beer, wine and -- of course -- the Taco Truck. This year we're moving the party to 111 Minna, instead of having it at the office. All are welcome to come, but you'll need to RSVP on Upcoming for a wrist tag if you want to drink and eat those delicious tacos on our dime.

The taco truck opens at 7 PM sharp. Hope to see you there!

Fan. Or Stalker?

I'll confess, I love social software. Really, I do. I'm on Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Geni, Crowdvine, Ryse, and I can't even think of what else, though I know there are more. I think it's that they all play into the obsessive-compulsive side of my personality; I want to collect you all. What I'll do then, I have no idea. But collect and add and gather I will happily do. And curse under my breath all my friends who are not networked (you know who you are).

Which has gotten me thinking. That's just rather creepy, isn't it? Usually I refrain from "friending" someone that I don't know. (So if I haven't accepted your LinkedIn request, it's probably because I don't remember talking to you at whatever conference we both happened to attend, no offense). I reserve "friend" status to folks that I have a personal connection. Some day I hope there is a site that let's me keep track of that person I chatted with over the appetizer tray at a conference. But at this point, that person just isn't on the same level as the guy I went to elementary school with that I still send Christmas cards to.

There are folks out there that I call "the collectors." These are the folks on Flickr or Twitter that have 5,347 friends. You can see the path by which they have picked you up, cause all your friends (and then some) are also on their list. But they live in some far off locale. What is it that makes these folks collect so many strangers? Is it that they have just activated their OCD centers too much and are out of control?

Which makes me question my own behavior when it comes to these sites. I spend way too much time wandering through Twitter lists of who follows who, looking for people that I know. There are lots of folks that I have heard of, and I think have met, but I wouldn't say that I know them. They are friends of friends, and are on the fringes of my circle. But I doubt they could point me out in a line-up. So, I don't usually add those folks. I don't want to be seen as A Collector.

But there are a few strangers that I have friended. Heather and Jon Armstrong come to mind first. I have met Heather in person, a few times. But it was always in a crowd. I doubt she knows who I am. But I read her's and Jon's blog everyday. I follow them both on Flickr and Twitter. E and I talk about what is going on in their lives, like we do with other friends who live down the street.

I know I always get a little weirded out when I see total strangers are following my Twitters, or someone comes up to me at a conference and says they love my blog and have been reading me for years. *waves to blog readers I don't know* I mean, it's really cool. Wow, someone thinks I'm interesting enough to follow me. Who knew? I'm guess I'm sort of "internet famous." But it's also weird to think that folks I have never met are thinking and talking about what's going on with me and E and the cats.

Of course, it's not weird enough for me to stop. It's kinda a badge of honor to know that people are friending and following you. If you all want to know about the cats, and knitting, and what's going on at Adaptive Path, I'm happy to oblige. Just weird enough for me to stop, and pause, and think "Hey. That would be a good blog post." :)

Holy cow, do we have events!

Okay, I know I don't post here enough. And when I do it's often event announcements. But that's because I'm so busy with these events and they are so freakin' cool!

Upcoming we have:

Adaptive Path's MX: Managing Experience. MX is going to be in San Francisco again this year, on April 20-22. Brandon and Henning have put together an amazing line up of speakers. There are folks from IDEO, Virgin USA, Google, Stanford University, Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Cisco and more. The early bird pricing is in effect until March 31. Use the code FOCF to save an extra 15% off that price!

August may sound a long ways off, but sign up now and save. Our annual UX Week Conference also has early bird pricing until March 31. The same code, FOCF will save you 15% off that price too. It's a whole week of user experience goodness right here in San Francisco. August 12-15.

Last, but certainly not least, is UX Intensive. We'll be in Minneapolis June 16-19. This is our four day long workshop series. We focus on design strategy, design research, information architecture and interaction design. Dan Saffer redid his whole day on interaction design for the IX Intensive in San Francisco last month and it was a big hit! We all do lots of hands-on exercises and group activities and discussions. Using FOCF will save you 15% off the early bird price here too, if you sign up by March 31.

In the fall we'll be taking UX Intensive on the road to Europe and Australia. Stay tuned!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2007 is the previous archive.

April 2008 is the next archive.

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