excited for my new book to arrive

October 27th, 2011 by Laura

Just ordered A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity by William Coperthwaite and it’s in. So now I get to go to the bookstore to pick it up tomorrow, which I also like (roaming around Barnes and Nobles). The book came recommended by a co-worker (Lance) as I was talking to another co-worker (Jamie) about how much I love when things are homemade.

Here’s the quick write-up: “A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite’s ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life.”

Yay!  I know what I’m doing this weekend.

living life

October 3rd, 2011 by Laura

People talk about change, but the changing part is wicked tough (the talking is easy).  Today I stumbled onto this guy who explained it so well, what it takes to change. And he’s so cool about it. And he has a cat roaming in the background (haha): http://www.sensophy.com/how-to-take-action-and-avoid-living-an-unfulfilled-life/

so true.

September 15th, 2011 by Laura

“It is best to learn as we go, not as we have learned.” ― Anonymous

hitting inbox 0

December 6th, 2010 by Rachel

A messy inbox drives me nuts, each morning I work down to inbox 0 and most nights before leaving work (unless it was a crazy day) i try and hit it again. I recently talked about hitting inbox 0 in presently (our internal microblog) and was asked how do i do it? Heres how:

  • I take it seriously and recognize that its a task that takes time
  • When I sit down to process my email I’m ready to focus on it, I close everything else but my browser running gmail  and my tasks.txt file
  • I start at the top and read each email. At the end of each I decided, does this require an action? If so, will that action take less than 2 minutes , if so I do the action (pulled from David Allens 2 min rule) and then file the email. If it will take greater than 2 minutes, I star the email, file it in my client folder/label and jot in down in my tasks.txt file. If the email requires no action I either trash it or file it
  • Once I’ve hit inbox 0, I go in and review my starred emails, making sure any completed / followed up on emails are removed and the right stuff is on my tasks list.
  • To fly threw this process, I find the gmail web interface with keyboard shortcuts enabled works best. s, v, label, j, enter, #, gi, gs, learn it, love it. Gmail keyboard shortcuts explained

use best judgment in all situations

October 27th, 2010 by Rachel

 For years Nordstrom’s Employee Handbook was just 75 words containing one rule.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

I love the freedom, simplicity, and responsibility it conveys.

Stumbled upon via 37signals.

part 2: odd void filled. joyful about present.ly

October 1st, 2010 by Laura

presently.jpgRemember back in July (the 26th to be exact) I wrote about an odd void at work that couldn’t be explained? Well back then, we started testing an internal twitter app called present.ly and now 2 months later we are finding it joyful. It’s become a cross between a “living corporate newsletter”, a “daily task tracker”, an “elearning” tool for tiny aha! moments at your desk, an “I need help alert” and an “HR I’ll be in at 1pm?” announcer. :)

We can post to it from anywhere —- via text, email, IM or the old fashioned way…just going to the site. It took me seconds to set up all my posting options.

read more about this project»

an easy way to support multiple laugages on your site

August 26th, 2010 by Rachel

I came across the Google Translate Element today which, with a few lines of JavaScript, easily adds multilingual support to your website.  I realize that the translations might not be perfect, cultural issues may not be address, and some styles may need tweaking, but its a great simple way to start reaching out to a greater audience.

pay as you go broadband

August 10th, 2010 by Rachel

A few years ago we purchased a batch of wireless broadband cards for a project, we loved the flexibility and ease of jumping online anywhere so we kept the contracts running long after the project ended. In taking a look back at our expenses we realized just how expensive this convenience was. We were shelling out around $60/month and only really using it every few months. After a bit of discussion we decided to back out of the service. I went on a few trips without it and felt the difference; paying for hotel / airport wireless, searching for SSID passwords, being at the mercy of other IT departments to get access. Basically my broadband card had made me feel slick, and now that was gone.

It wasn’t until my most recent trip, in which the paid hotel internet was only available in 50% of the rooms I needed it in (lack of good / affordable hotel wireless is another rant for another day), that I re-looked into this issue. I did a little research and found exactly what I was look for: pay as you go wireless broadband! Virgin Mobile Broadband2go allows you to purchase a device (~$80) and then data (starting at $10) as you need it.  It was an easy sell to the team, later that afternoon I was off to my local Radio Shack, and that night I was up and running.

I got back from my trip a few days ago, the service worked great (a little slow at times, but that is expected), it delivered, I delivered for our clients, I felt slick, and we aren’t strapped with lots of reoccurring costs. A big win!

present.ly twittering privately and not overthinking it

July 26th, 2010 by Laura

Recently, we felt an odd void at work. Just a feeling really. Something missing. Something more that ‘could be’. But nothing we could explain.

Production was running smoother than ever, the team was happier than ever, customers were excited at their creations, the work environment was smart and simple and wonderful things were happening (like the MA Governor came to visit us and hold a press conference at our offices).  And yet…there was a whole, a gap, an emptiness that popped in for a second here and there and then vanished.

Easy enough to ignore? Perhaps.

But how can we be a user experience company if we’re insensitive to our own user experiences? Even the best UX experts will tell you that it’s often the simplest changes to the most minuet insights that bring about the most brilliant discoveries. So without any answers, we simply kept this odd feeling hanging around…occasionally dropping it in at team meetings with a “hey, any thoughts on that strange void?”

read more about this project»

a new perspective when you stop and listen

March 25th, 2010 by Laura

Recently I read a great quote: “no problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” Of course that’s the reason someone else should always check your work — a different set of eyes — a different viewpoint.

But I think the author was making a bigger point. What if our perspective could change? What if, we stayed open-minded and listened more and read more and asked more . Then the things we created could be re-invented by our own new consciousness.  So the next time you go to do the same thing, the same way or push your own viewpoint….stop and  imagine that you might be wrong and try out a new perspective. It not only creates new brain synapsis to do a ‘not me’ move, but it also creates a new conscious to look at your world in a new way.

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