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Welcome to Thought Asylum a place for me to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences with the rest of the world.  I try to post reasonably regularly and if you like the content consider subscribing to the site feeds.  If you're trying to find something specific try the search, otherwise just have a browse.


Thursday
Jul312014

The Lazy Mind-set for Productive People

When you think of productivity I'm guessing that for most people the first word that springs to mind probably isn't "lazy", but for me it's been like that from the start. It's my mind-set.

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Wednesday
Jul302014

Blank All of Your Screens with an AutoHotKey Script

If you work with computer aided presentations on Windows, then you probably know PowerPoint has options to show blank screens. Pressing "B" will give you a black screen and "W" will give you a white screen. These are useful options when you want to focus people's attention on what you're saying and away from any slides you might have up. For example if you need to discuss a point for which you don't have a slide or if you want to tease something.

But have you ever considered situations where you are doing something other than a presentation application aided presentation? For example an application demonstration, working though a document, etc. Wouldn't it be great if you could blank your screen on these occasions too? Or maybe you want to blank the screen with a different colour. Well that's what I wanted to be able to do so I put together something to do it.

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Sunday
Jun292014

Extracting Excel File Path Information Using Excel Formulas

In several of the template Excel spreadsheets I use in my work there are references to clients and version numbers that are included. This is for reference purposes, particularly if the spreadsheet might be printed or exported as a soft copy (e.g. PDF). Whilst it is possible to maintain this information manually I decided that this should be something that could be improved by virtue of the file name containing such information (as these are the very basis of file management on projects). I'd referenced the file path and elements of it in the past and I thought that this would be something that should be relatively straight forward to achieve; and here's how I got on ....

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Friday
Jun202014

3 Things you have that others want

We all have things that we want from people and of course there are things they want from us. Recently I was thinking about what this actually meant and I think I managed to boil it down to just three things - things that I think we all look for from each other.

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Sunday
Jun012014

The Awesome Power of Mistakes

Outside of my work I spend several hours each week volunteering as a teacher. I have some modest skills and experiences that people seem to be interested in learning about and developing themselves and that's something that gives me great pride to be able to do. One of the most important lessons I try and teach my students is about the awesome power of mistakes.

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Saturday
May312014

A wise Sensei once asked me a question...

When I'm not working, sat at a computer creating things or spending time with my family I can usually be found helping people with their studies of the martial art of Jiu Jitsu. I've been doing this for well over a decade and like to think I have developed at least some modicum of aptitude in helping people develop the a range of physical, mental and emotional skills to allow them to advance in their studies. But no matter how much teaching I do and how many techniques, approaches and lessons I develop myself it is the lessons of my first instructors that I come back to time and again as being some of the simplest and most useful.

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Friday
May302014

Adding Multiple Sets of Looping Slides to PowerPoint

For some time now there have been techniques around for having a set of slides that loop at the start of your PowerPoint presentation. These generally involve hiding your main presentation slides, adding an invisible button to each of the visible slides (that allows you to jump to your first hidden slide), setting those slides to auto advance and then setting your presentation to loop continuously. But what if you want to add more loops and/or want to control everything from a presentation remote?

Last year I was working on a webinar where we wanted to have a couple of looped sets of slides and I needed an alternative - ideally one that didn't involve having to break out and run a separate presentation. Fortunately it wasn't too hard to come up with a solution.

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Thursday
May012014

5 Tactics to Use When You Are Really Stuck

We all get stuck from time to time. A mental block, a change in plans or the proverbial brick wall. Dealing with such impasses is challenging and can create periods of stress and low productivity. They are nothing to be ashamed of and in fact we often find that when we overcome these sorts of issues we are rewarded with valuable skills and experience that benefit us from that point on.

In this post I'd like to share a few methods I use that can help you deal with these sorts of scenarios. Not all are applicable on every occasion, but hopefully there are at least a couple that can be applied to a particular situation.

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Wednesday
Apr302014

Export all Canvases in OmniGraffle

Over the last few years I've created a number of useful diagrams in Omnigraffle that describe some technical architectures and requirements for some of the software that I work with. Whenever there is a new release I update the diagrams and then export each in turn as an image file. Because of the number of diagrams involved this became a rather laborious process ... so as usual I decided to make things a bit more automated.

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Tuesday
Apr292014

Making HR Smarter

Change. It's happening all the time, everywhere we look. In order to survive we need to adapt to the changes. In order to prosper we need to drive the changes. We need to constantly strive to improve and be smarter about what we do and how we do it.

In terms of technology the pace is particularly rapid. The use of cloud computing is pervasive and allows you to move your processing into amorphous collections of servers housed in data centres located around the globe. Big data is out there and when analysed properly can give you incredible insights into what's really happening in the world. Mobile access is the norm and everyone now expects to be productive anywhere, at any time using whatever device they have to hand. So how can HR professionals get smarter about this?

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