30 day trial: no alcohol, no sweets

IStock_000008800699XSmall For the next 30 days I am abstaining from alcohol and sweets.

Why am I telling you this?

I'm telling all of you about it because I realized that I didn't really
think I'd do it. But if I tell the world, I know I'll do it. (Or at
least I'll try much harder. 🙂

What am I really giving up?

By sweets I mean things like cookies, candy bars and chocolate chips.

I think the alcohol part is self explanatory but I mean beer and wine. (I don't really drink anything else although that Amarula stuff that Frank picked up before Christmas is pretty yummy …)

I know you should only give up one thing at a time, but for a multitude of reasons (including a lack of patience), I'm not doing that.

Will you have to listen to this for the next 30 days?

No, I won't be blogging about this again during the month unless something unexpected happens. (Like I have an amazing amount of energy or need 3 hours less of sleep a night or start losing 2 pounds a week. Not that I expect any of that.) I probably will be twittering about it so you might see updates on identica, twitter and Facebook.

Why 30 days?

I want to see how I feel without alcohol and sweets. 30 days is enough time to figure out if I feel different. It's also enough time to establish new habits but a short enough time it doesn't seem too daunting. A 30 day trial allows for success where as "giving up sweets forever" probably doesn't. (And I am not giving up sweets forever. No way!)

So I encourage you to do your own 30 day trials. They don't have to be about food. 30 day trials are a good way to start any new habit or break any old habit.

Stormy’s update: Week of January 3rd

This is my update for work done for the GNOME Foundation, reprinted from the GNOME Foundation blog. For a higher level overview for what I do as the Executive Director, see What do I do as Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation? or my earlier updates.

  • Worked a bit on CiviCRM. Could really use some more volunteers. (A big thanks to Jeff Schroeder, Dave Greenberg and Donald Lobo.) Put in sponsoring companies, adboard members, (Dave Neary also added some contacts), put in tasks, added Rosanna and we can track things including sent invoices, added the board so we can all track todo items. (Although todo items may sound like a simple thing it's really nice to be able to see who owns it, who's involved and what artifacts are associated with it. So if I'm curious if we've invoiced a company for an event, I can open that company's record, the event record or Rosanna's and I can see a copy of the invoice attached if she's invoiced them. So now we have a shared record of paperwork too.) Next big step is to import all data from Paypal and set it to track all of our donors.
  • Had a meeting with Project:possibility to talk about the option of them including GNOME projects in one of their weekend code contests for university students. It would require us to find the right size projects (for teams of 4-6 people for a weekend) and provide mentors. The goal is to introduce university students to free software projects for people with disabilities.
  • Zonker is now leading the GNOME press team! Zonker has a lot of experience working with the press (and being the press :). He's also already been doing the role of press team lead – he coordinated and wrote the GUADEC 2010 press release and is working on another one as we speak. He's interested in re-establishing our regional press contacts, getting more people involved and planning for GNOME 3.0!
  • Worked on goals and vision. The next advisory board meeting will also discuss GNOME Foundation 2010 goals and we should be starting a discussion on the Foundation list soon to discuss the Foundation's goals and my own goals.
  • Sent some thank you's for both donations and help.
  • Pinged people about things. 
  • Answered a whole bunch of email and got myself back down to my normal Inbox. (And then went offline this weekend and I now have twice as many as I did last week …)
  • Accepted an invitation to attend the 2010 Workshop on the Future of Research on Free/Open Source Software (FOSS). Booked travel.
  • Scott Reeves joined the GNOME Advisory Board, replacing JP Rosevear. Scott and Zonker will now be representing Novell. Scott works on openSUSE desktop
    related areas such as the gnome-main-menu and PackageKit. We're happy to have Scott on the board! (Although we'll miss JP!)
  • Met with a GNOME Foundation partner to discuss how we could work more closely together.
  • Sent out call for Q4 Quarterly Report.

GNOME got an Amazing Christmas Present!

Just in time for the holidays, GNOME received an awesome surprise!

While many people probably listed computers in their letter to Santa, I bet not many of them got one like this.

GNOME got a new fully loaded Dell PowerEdge R610 with 6 500GB hard drives, 32GB of memory and a couple of Xeon Processors! It is a substantial and badly needed upgrade for machines like the one that has been used to host the GNOME Foundation file server, container.gnome.org, last replaced in 2003.

This new system will help the GNOME infrastructure team keep everything up and running. As the machine is a vast improvement over the old machine, it should make many people's lives easier.

So who was GNOME's Secret Santa? Jeff Schroeder!

A big thank you goes to Jeff Schroeder for purchasing the machine for the GNOME Foundation.

Thank you, Jeff! Jeff-face-full

Jeff also works on the GNOME system administration team where he's taken on several projects like setting up CiviCRM. You'll also see him at SCALE if you go check out the GNOME booth as he puts together the booth for GNOME every year.

This is really a huge donation! Thanks Jeff!

What’s your vision of GNOME?

The GNOME Foundation's mission is to provide a free desktop accessible to everyone. Accessible regardless of their ability to pay, their physical ability or the language they speak.

But I bet if you polled all 400 members of the GNOME Foundation and a few 1000 GNOME fans, you'd get a lot of different visions of what that means. And while I think that's normal and I think that's good, I thought it might be an interesting conversation to have.

What's your vision for GNOME?

In your ideal world, does:

  • Everyone have a computer?
  • Everyone have a computer running GNOME?
  • Everyone have a computer running free software?
  • Everyone that has a computer is using free software? GNOME? (And not everyone has a computer.)
  • All personal technology, laptops, phones, handhelds, use free software? Use GNOME?
  • GNOME desktops are equivalent to Windows ones? Better?
  • GNOME desktops all look alike? GNOME desktops are "customized" like Moblin, Maemo, etc.
  • Where ever there's proprietary software, there's a free software equivalent?
  • New technologies only have free software options?
  • The free software options are better technically or easier to use than the proprietary options?
  • Everyone understands what free software means?
  • Everyone thinks that free software is important? Or is it enough that they use it?
  • Everyone uses desktops? (As opposed to only using phones or mobile devices.)
  • Governments use free software exclusively?
  • No more third world countries because everyone has access to technology which has raised their standard of living?

What's your ideal future world with GNOME look like? Share your vision, leave a comment!

(Bonus question: how does the GNOME Foundation fit into your vision?)

Why you should only pick one New Year’s Resolution

 I “multitask” all the time. But every time I’m on a conference call and I have to say “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear that,” I know I can’t really multitask.

Nobody can really multitask. When you try to do more than one thing at once, you are actually switching between the tasks continuously. You lose a lot of time context switching. If the tasks are ones that are familiar to you, like talking on the phone and running after a naked 3 year old with clothes in your hand, it might feel like multitasking, but really your brain is furiously keeping track of both tasks (the conversation with your friend and the route your 3 year old is taking) and switching back and forth between them.

WheIStock_000007901234XSmalln the tasks are harder, you actually are slower (or poorer) at both of them together than if you did them separately. When I answer an email during a conference call, the email takes me longer and my conference call performance suffers and so the whole meeting probably takes longer.

You know the feeling of being “in the zone”, deep in a task and everything is going well, and someone interrupts you. When you go back to the task, it takes a while to get back to where you were. When you are multitasking you are doing this at a smaller level every few seconds.

Keeping a new resolution in mind (like dieting or exercising or a new way of managing tasks) can also count as multitasking. Your performance at your every day tasks can suffer as your brain switches between your commitment to your resolution (don’t eat that cookie!) and your task (pay attention to the meeting.)

So as you pick New Year’s Resolutions, you might want to think about sticking to one to minimize your multitasking and maximize your success. (And you might want to give a break to your distracted coworker – they are probably just focusing on not eating the cookie!)

Credit for this idea goes to Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
as I’m sure I read it there last night but I can’t find the passage that talks about it. I’ve skimmed the whole book several times and used Amazon’s Search Inside to try to find the passage with no luck.