Category: English

What I learned from TechTalk 2011, London

I guess it’s my time again for #idevblogaday. I’ll keep this post short, as I’m still struggling with a bug that prevents me from submitting Clean Writer Pro.

At the beginning of this week I was at Apple’s iOS5 TechTalk in London. It was great. Apart from the rare opportunity of meeting great iOS developers from around the world(I met awesome guys from UK, Vietnam, Germany, Canada, Romania and more), the talks day also brought me a (hopefully long-lasting) inspiration and motivation. In particular, there are three most important things I came back with


Free will vs Freedom

People tend to overthink the meaning of free will. I believe that free will should be taken more literally. To have free will means exactly what it says: to have the liberty of will/wish/desire/dream. Free will is not freedom. Freedom comes from free do – liberty of doing stuff, liberty of action. Free will, on the other hand, only refers to the liberty of will, of the thought and/or heart. 


From laptop to the tablet/phone: 5 FREE key tools to keep you in sync

Desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone.. – more often then not you feel like you might have too many gadgets. You are constantly searching for a website you glimpsed at only 2 days ago, and unable to find it in the browser history – so you wonder – Was I on my laptop when I found that article? Or was I on the iPad? Or maybe it was a Twitter link that I clicked on my iPhone.. ? Also, that quick note I had.. where on earth did I save it.. and on which device?

To get you sorted in this digital mess, we present to you the 5 most important tools you can use to de-clutter your digital existence Evernote, Simplenote, Dropbox, Push the Page and Instapaper:

Secure your Mac – Password protected screen lock

When your nosey coworkers enjoy peeking on other people’s desktops when they are gone, or you simply don’t want your kids to accidentally erase your soon-to-be-complete Pulitzer story while you were in the kitchen, your mac has the quick and simple solution, one that few people know exists: the screen lock

Enabling screen locking is pretty easy, although hidden where you’d least expected it. Here’s how it’s done:

You’ll need to open up Keychain Access, a utility app that comes preinstalled on your Mac and can be found inside the /Applications/Utilities/ folder. Once there, you’ll open up the Preferences menu (press ⌘, or as the submenu of Keychain Access menu). In the General tab, make sure the checkbox ‘Show Status in Menu Bar’ is checked. A tiny lock icon will appear in the menu, somewhere on the right. Clicking on it will reveal the long awaited option: Lock Screen.

PS. Make sure you know your mac password before clicking on it, because only those who know it will be able to unlock the computer.

Live longer (and fuller)

We don’t usually remember mundane things. Repetitive tasks somehow tend to blend together as we remember only general, global ideas. Need proof? Just ask yourself what you did in a given day in the past. Let’s say… April 27, 2001. Most people(me included) will fail remembering anything from that particular date, so they’ll just use the general information about that period, as well as their common-sense, to extrapolate what they might have been doing on that particular date. Me, I was in the last semester of my second year of college, so I probably studied, or worked on the numerous homeworks and projects. I was also, probably, spending time with my girlfriend from college. Nothing more comes to mind, though. On the other hand, what about February 17, 2000? Well, that’s a lot easier – it was my birthday, I visited my grandfather in the hospital, and it was the last time I saw him alive(he died one week later, may he rest in peace). I even remember a few of the things we talked about, and how one of the hospital roommates did a magic trick with a cigarette. What about December 31, 2007? That’s even easier – it was the date I proposed to my lovely current wife, and I can remember a lot more things from the date, including moments from the New Year’s party afterwards.


Sean Connery, Stephen King and the Most Important Advice on Conquering the Writer’s Block


Forrester: What are you doing?
Jamal: I’m writing.[…]
Forrester: Is there a problem?
Jamal: No. I’m just thinking.
Forrester: No thinking. That comes later. You write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is to write. Not to think.
Forrester: Start typing that. Sometimes the simple rhythm of typing gets us from page one to page two. When you begin to feel your own words, start typing them.
Forrester: Punch the keys for God’s sake! Yes! You’re the man now, dog.

Sean Connery as William Forrester, a character inspired by J. D. Salinger – Finding Forrester

“When asked ‘How do you write?‘ I inevitably answer ‘one word at a time‘”

Stephen King

I could write this blog post in over 1000 characters, going on and on about the importance of starting something – anything as opposed to just sitting on your ass, thinking about how to start. How the simple act of typing – whatever random first words – unclogs that area in your brain responsible for inspiration. How, when you want to write something(a blog post, a short story or even an essay) but you don’t know exactly what, you could start by simply copying a random passage from a random book, and leave your mind flow from there to your own next sentence, own next scene. In the end, you might want to rewrite that initial first passage. Whatever. Don’t think about that end part, just think about the NOW.
But I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll just let the magic words of Stephen King and Sean Connery’s character from Finding Forrester sync in.

It’s easier than it looks

The year was 2005. I was having my lunch on a bench in the Trocadero Park, at the shadow of the Tour Eiffel. Hordes of tourists were bustling on the esplanade, photographing the breathtaking view. Me, on the other hand, was quite unimpressed by the view for which tens of millions fly to France each year. I had seen it hundreds of times. I was working at less than half a mile from the glorious symbol of Paris, in a software company providing the trading floor software for most of the banks in the top 50 world. Living and working there, in the 16eme Arrondissement, the poshest quarter of Paris, showed me that everything is possible; even for a Romanian geek born in the last decade of the communism regime and whose parents’ salaries were less than $200 per month. Me, on the other hand, had gotten my raise and, at age 24, was earning monthly more than both did in 1 year.


Essential tips to make your Mac the king of USER FRIENDLINESS

It’s a common symptom among new Mac users to be really ecstatic about their new MacBook, praise the speed and functionality, then after a month or so start seeing some flaws; much like in any relationship, where your passionate blind love from the first weeks starts to fade, giving way to more realistic assessments.
Some hard-core Linux geeks will probably miss their configuration files, kernel hacking and source code install. Windows users might miss their favorite software(Picasa, Winamp or Total Commander). I didn’t miss my Windows machine one bit, partly because I got used to other essential Mac software, partly because I use my Windows software from within Windows virtual machines, and mostly because I realized the Mac offers me all the productivity tools I ever wished for, out of the box or for free.

This article lists several essential but frequently forgotten configuration tips that make the most of your Mac. A future article will cover some vitally important FREE (or really inexpensive) Mac OSX software for your daily chores.

Regular readers might have already read these tips here, on HackTheDay, but I hope they’ll learn a few new things as well.