Choosing where you spend your time …

Living above the line ...Over the last number of years, since some time in 2000, I have been learning more and more about what “commitment” really is. It’s funny … we hear the word, but do we really understand the meaning? We often talk about what we are committed to, but does that truly align with our actions?

In a seminar that I took with Landmark Education, one of the leaders mentioned something that really struck me as powerful. He asked the question “How can you tell what someone is truly committed to?” The key is that you could listen to what they say they are committed to, however those are just words … not the actions. Commitment is demonstrated in action.

The easiest way for any of us to look at what we are truly committed to, is to look at our lives! What we have, what we are doing, where we are in life … what IS … is what we are committed to! We can always say otherwise … but actions speak louder than words. So if our words, and the life that we have, do not align … then what is going on? A good part of this is where we spend our time. Are we spending our time on the things that we say we are committed to?

Bob Kaylor is the pastor at a church that I attend in Park City, and he gave a really good sermon a few weeks back about this exact subject. He did a rough drawing of the image that I have here in this post … and he talked about these four quadrants that our lives are spent in. These can be thought of as where we spend our time.

First, on the horizontal axis, there is “urgent” and “not urgent”. Anything the comes up during the course of the day can be placed into either of these quadrants. Is it something that has to be dealt with right now, this instant? Or can it wait? I know that I operate on this basis all day long. I have my “things to do” list … and then the constant stream of things that just come up out of no where. I either place them on my to do list, or they are urgent and I deal with them then.

Second, on the vertical axis, there are the things that are important and not important. These can be thought of as “related to our commitments” and “not related to our commitments”. This is the real difference, in my opinion, of getting things done … or not. Throughout the day there are so many interruptions and issues that can come up … and the critical skill is determining if they are important (keeping me in alignment with my commitments) or they are not important (not directly aligned with my commitments). Looking at the chart above, the key is “living above the line” … taking on the actions that are important in my life, and aligned with my commitments.

What is powerful about this, is that this technique and analysis can not only provide a good mechanism to stay on track pursuing what I say I am committed to, but it can also be used to be honest with myself and realize what I truly am committed to. Sometimes I look at what I am doing, and realize that I am down below the line working on things that are not important … and this gives me a place to start looking at what I am avoiding, and why I am not doing what I say I’m committed to. I always learn something about myself when I do that.

Are you living above the line? Are you living your life doing the things that you say you are committed to? If not … maybe looking at this chart will assist you in exploring why you aren’t living into your commitments … and maybe make a difference in your day, and have you consider what you spend your time doing each day!

P.S. The chart was my first experiment with the Google Chart API … it’s pretty cool!

The true dangers of the Internet, Google and Wikipedia

I was pleased to read this recent article – Wikipedia black helicopters circle Utah’s Traverse Mountain -  in the Register about Judd Bagley and his recent encounters with the powers at Wikipedia.  It is yet another reminder of the growing misuse of power on the Internet … and in my opinion the increasing danger that the public at large seems to see the Internet, Google, and Wikipedia (and many other websites) as the TRUTH.

The Internet has become an invaluable resource – if not an integral part of society – over the last two+ decades.  As the public has become educated about the Internet, it seems that few have really looked at, or understand, the inner-working of the technology, but more importantly the sociology, politics, and business behind the Internet.  It is amusing to me that so many people will cast a wareful eye towards so many things in the physical world … but then believe what they read on-line as unbiased “truth”.  The scarey part to me is that we are now two-generations+ into the Internet, and the amount of “error in judgement” is being multiplied as the millennials and younger generations are not being taught to “consider the source”.

We all hear about the people in chat rooms masquerading as younger people to pick-up on children, and even recently to psychological harassment on MySpace that led to the suicide of a 13-year old girl.  These are the overt misuses of the Internet that obviously can harm people … and lead to deaths.  Are children being taught to thoroughly question these virtual contacts?

Next come the slightly less manipulative uses of the Internet, that can be caused by acts of omission.  Google is a prime example off this … as it seems to me that younger and older generations are now becoming convinced that Google – and it’s first page of results – are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Google’s first page of results are very useful … but a very small subset of “reality” … of the total amount of human knowledge in the world.  Google’s software and algorithms are constantly being tweaked by humans, however they are only able to include information that they can find and interpret.  In addition, as proven by the acts of Google-bombing, the information and links on Google can be easily manipulated to cause erratic, if not inaccurate results.  Even Google’s own blog acknowledges the power and ability of determined users to Google bomb.  Are children being taught that Google is only one – completely commercially and business biased – source of information?

Unlike Google Bombing, which is manipulating the computer algorithms of software running in systems, the above article about Wikipedia discusses – to me – one of the most disgusting and perverse misuses of the Internet, and a threat to the reality of human society.  In the case of Wikipedia – which people actually believe is an attempt to create a useful and accurate resource for information about all subjects – if you read carefully, you will find it is actually a very tightly controlled organization that can alter and censor any information at any time.  The Wikipedia inner circle can create, or omit, anything that they wish in order to re-write history any way they want to.  Although Wikipedia is believed to be the “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” this is a complete lie!

The truth is that Wikipedia is “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit if Jimmy Wales and his closest friends say so.”  It is a controlled source of information that is now using its ability to manipulate public perspectives for unknown purposes.  It is really now making choices about which “reality” the public are allowed to see … what they are allowed to learn about … and how they are supposed to think about subjects.  Wikipedia is nowhere close to being on par with the printed encyclopedias of the past.  Are our children being taught to question these people and this information?  Or to just passively accept this perspective of reality as the truth?

As history has proven over and over again … any time a group of so few people are entrusted with so much power – and the public willingly hands over their freedoms to them – there will eventually be severe consequences to humanity.  I believe that we are watching a time where society is slowly being lulled into believing everything we are told … and the efficiency of the Internet enhances this … and not question the motives of the people behind the technology.

From the Register article about Wikipedia:

If you ask Judd Bagley and Patrick Byrne what’s going on, they’ll tell you the ban is part of much larger attempt to discredit their views on naked shorting. They believe that a small group of people is using Wikipedia as means of controlling public opinion.

“When you think of how the public consciousness of an issue can develop, one of the first things that’s going to happen in today’s age is people are going to Google the issue and then read the Wikipedia article that comes up,” Byrne says. “So if you can control that article, you can really deflect the discourse.”

Whatever the motives behind it, there’s no doubt that the Wikipedia inner circle rules those four articles with an iron fist. And as Charles Ainsworth points out, this puts a cloud over the entire encyclopedia.

“Wikipedia, in its way, is of great benefit to the web community,” he says. “But I’ve also been greatly dismayed that Wikipedia has apparently attracted some intelligent but problematic personalities with ambition, secret personal agendas, and cold, ruthless behavior towards other editors and ideas that they perceive as threatening their power, position, or agendas. What’s disheartening is that Jimbo and the rest of the Wikimedia Foundation not only don’t do anything about it, but they appear to support these charlatans to some degree.”

“When Bagley attempted to level the playing field, he was banished immediately,” Ainsworth continues. “Obviously, there’s something seriously wrong with the way Wikipedia is being managed and administered. I don’t know if it threatens the long-term viability of the project or not, but it is cause for concern among those of us who spend a lot of hours actually trying to write quality articles.”

I know that I will be teaching my children to always question what they read … to always question the motives of the writers and creators of information.  I’ll teach them to be very wary of everything that read on Wikipedia, and the results of every Google search.  The rules will be to “consider the source” … and “beware of strangers.”

Installing Subclipse in Eclipse and Flex Builder 3

I’ve recently been doing a lot of development of Flex and AIR applications, using Adobe’s Flex Builder IDE. For right now, I’ve been downloading the beta builds of Flex Builder 3, and we’re using it for several development projects.

Flex Builder 3 is based on the Eclipse IDE, and the beta comes as a complete bundle of Eclipse and the Flex Builder plug-ins. One of the things that has bothered me recently is that, although Eclipse includes Concurrent Versions System (CVS) support in the base package, there is no included support for Subversion (SVN). Both CVS and SVN are popular systems for groups of developers to keep track of source code of their projects. CVS has been around for decades, SVN is a newer solution with a lot of valuable enhancements. Luckily, there is an Eclipse module to add SVN capabilities … it’s called Subclipse.

If you visit the Subclipse website, you’ll see they have a great page that walks through the steps for installing Subclipse … except that in many cases – and ALL of mine – it simply does not work. The installation they outline makes a huge, gross assumption … that you have installed the Java development libraries and tools. I haven’t.

I ended up searching around on Google, and found the answer! And it works great! It turns out that Adobe has had this reported to them as a bug … and I have to agree that they ought to be bundling SVN support in Flex Builder 3! In the mean time, you can read through the Flex Builder 3 / SVN bug report … and the specific comment that outlines the solution … or you can follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to the menu: Help -> Software updates -> Find and install.
  2. Select search for new features to install.
  3. Check the Europa discovery site and the SubEclipse update site.
  4. NOTE:  add the Subclipse site via ‘New Remote Site’ if it isn’t present
  5. Click Finish.
  6. Check Subclipse.
  7. Under the Europa discovery site open “Java Development” and check “Eclipse Java Development Tools”.  This is the key component that you need!
  8. Click Next and complete the wizard.

The wizard should download the necessary components and install everything correctly.  If you then look at the Perspectives in the upper right of the Flex Builder window, you can now open the “SVN Repository Exploring” perspective and begin using Subclipse!