How I set up a new Customer on a Mac Workstation

I do consulting and sometimes I deal with different clients/projects. This requires a bit of compartmentalized thinking, but I still like to do it fast without having to endlessly tweak my setup. By now I have evolved a way to set up a new customer (when I get a whole new project) on my Mac. This discusses my filters, calendars, and other programs. So this is basically my cheatsheet.

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iPhone: No, we do need a real programming model

I do love my iPhone. But.. I’m writing this while commuting on an underground train, of course without a connection. And of course there’s Airplane mode. Being out of the country. There’s a million reasons to need to use the iPhone disconnected.

You just can’t tell me that, since the programming model is fully on the web, that I cannot use my apps when not connected. People’s brains just don’t work like that. It’s a major cognitive dissonance that of the 12 main menu options on the machine, 5 don’t work unless you are connected at the time.

So a “real” programming model, with a rich language and apps that get downloaded to the machine and store their data locally simply makes sense.

I mean, this machine has 8Gb of storage, for crying out loud.

At least my Blackberry was smart enough to know when it was disconnected and would save the request for when it connected again (so it could show me the pages on the message viewer). I missed that today.

The Mind Map approach to interviewing

Interviewing is difficult. Technical vetting is even more difficult. You only have an hour to determine if the person knows his/her salt.

I’ve been doing a lot of these lately, and I seem to be getting slightly better at them. In my worry to make sure we don’t hire the wrong people, I eventually settled with this as a way to break the ice and start talking difficult problems. I call it the mind map method of technical vetting, or the Mind map approach to interviewing.

The problem

Basically, you only have an hour or two to completely technically vet someone on what may be 20 years of experience. Even if you yourself are very smart, there’s simply not enough bandwidth in the world to guarantee a level of competency. And certifications are usually no help, because none of the stuff in there tends to relate to real world experience for your particular type of position.

The other problem is that the candidate is likely to be nervous at their best and sometimes plain scared out of their wits – even if they’re the perfect candidate. Not exactly conducive to your best thought processes. You don’t want to skip someone just because they’re nervous or the shy type.

So what to do? A little workshop with a mind map.

I thought about this originally when I interviewed a now-coworker. So he helped me test-drive it. Maybe part of the success is that it worked the first time I tried it? Anyway, I’ve been using it for a little while now on the technical vettings and it seems to have worked so far.

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OSX Personal Finance Software Alternatives

Is it too much to ask for a decent personal finance software package for OS X? I have used Quicken on PCs since 3.0. MS Money is also nice although I never really used it for more than trying it out.

I had heard Quicken for Mac was not as far ahead as the Windows version. But I thought, “the Windows version is so good, how bad can it be?” Boy was I wrong.

The app looks and feels like it’s put together in a rush, with no attention to detail, by people who got their first course of OSX development about a week ago. It is BAD.

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Linux to OS X Mini-Migration Guide

For Unix and Linux users, OS X is more of a lateral move, thanks to OS X’s BSD underpinnings. Unfortunately with all the market-speak it may drive some smart engineer-types away from trying it out, since all of the every day things you live with is either buried deep in the developer documentation or behaves strangely out of the box.

I haven’t found a document that covers this all together, so here it is, the basics to get comfortable if you’re a command-line type of guy:

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