Last updated 2 months ago
The Bullet Journal
Last updated 2 months ago

The Analog Method for the Digital Age...

This year, started on a Monday, and coincidentally, I started a new experiment to stay organised and keep track of my day-to-day happenings. It's called a Bullet Journal, and it's a method of keeping a concise, goal/task-driven journal of daily happenings. It's very free-form in nature, meaning that you don't need a dedicated diary format to adhere to, or some specially printed book; any old exercise book can fit your needs!

My goals and desired outcomes were simple - I wanted a way to record my day to day events, whilst not losing focus of tasks and things that needed to be done, be it professionally, or personally. I also wanted to be able to do this, no matter where I am, as long as I had sufficient visibility, the journal, and a pen. I didn't want to be beholden to battery power, or other nasty limitations.

And as a plus, I really enjoy the tactile feeling of just, writing something. For any seriously longer-form journal entries, there is of course, this very blog that you're reading.

Before I go into my rant about Bullet Journals, and how I do them, and such - here's the original site that I learnt about it from: -- It's kind of turned into some sort of online store/sales point - but the concepts are still visible and solid. There's also about a hundred thousand people who've made videos about Bullet Journaling on YouTube and various other social media.

A rapid way of Journaling

The cornerstone of being able to use a bullet journal is based on a concept called Rapid Logging. It's essentially a way to capture information, and notes as bulleted lists (with a small range of bullet types/symbols). It kind of looks like this (sorry about the huge gaps, these source images come with quite a bit of padding, and really, I thought it looked quite good!):


On the left, you see how someone might have a journal entry that's somewhat longer form, but quite typical of a diary. On the right - you have something a little more 'lean'. This is rapid blogging. You'll notice that there's different symbols for everything; and every bullet journal has their own symbols and guide (I'll go through mine later) - but for now, the default ones you see in the tutorial image above are split into several types.

Has bullet journalling helped?

Yes. Emphatically, and simply, yes. It's a focused, habitual and easy way to keep track of things, remind yourself of your goals and ideas, and really take a breather in your busy day.

My Personal BuJo Experience

Since this is my first bujo, and as reach the end of 2018 (and coincidentally, near the end of the book I use for it) - I thought I'd do a bit of a retrospective on the way I've used it, and things I've learnt.

My first BuJo involved a fair number of mistakes; initially so bad that I ripped out the first 20 or so pages of the book! (yikes!) But after some planning, and with (not quite) enough forethought, I managed to eke out a usable solution. I tried a variety of different symbols, and worked on how detailed I should make my daily log entries (everything from weather, to BSL and daily spends) and by the final quarter of 2018, I finally came up with a simple box and circle bullet point system, with simple daily labelling to help.

And in actual fact - by happy coincidence, I realise I can even type the method I use out:

[ ] = task
[x] = task done
[>] = rescheduled task
[-] = cancelled task

( ) = event/appointment
(x) = event done
(>) = rescheduled event
(-) = cancelled event

- thought/note
! important thought/note/reminder
? question/investigation

This absolutely doesn't mean I'm going to use a typed version of my bullet journal however; the key point of the bujo is that it's a physical, tactile experience that gets the brain some exercise! Being freeform also allows me to quickly customise pages or scribble out extra notes and so forth. However this DOES give me some ideas on how to do something of a bujo for devs ;)

Anyway, moving on - as we go into 2019 - the new BuJo I've worked on setting up today is going to include a couple of features I've seen around that I'd like to try out - such as a year in pixels, based on the mood of the day, I can colour in a square in a grid, with a corresponding colour to mood - and at the end of the year I should have a fairly pragmatic overview of just how well things went that year.

Last updated 2 months ago
Ol' faithful. Those penguin blues!
Last updated 2 months ago

After my trip to Taiwan, I noticed that I personally started to up the usage time my laptop got. In a sense, I missed the full blown functionality of a PC; which was limited on the iPad.

The iPad is fantastic, as an extra TV screen, or a digital scribblepad. But that's it; I haven't the heart to use it for more. I could use it for more in a pinch, but I'd rather not. I bought my laptop at a weird time in my life; a lot of things were uncertain, and to top it off, I bought it with a broken 'Up' arrow key. It's irked me using it ever since. The key still works fine and the keycap kind of still stays on. But it's broken, and I'll always be wary of it when I'm using this laptop.

Regardless, this little machine has grown on me. And continues to grow on me. The Gigabyte Aero 14 isn't a bad device; it's quite fantastic for my personal needs, and with it becoming my main work device; Ubuntu 18.04 needs to be installed on it.

And that's why I'm here today, blogging.

So far, it's been a pretty good experience - Ubuntu managed to install smoothly; and the only gripe is the need to reboot my laptop anytime I do a switch between my GeForce graphics card and my Intel graphics processor. The battery life is more than double when I'm using the Intel GPU, but in order to use two external screens, I need to use my Geforce GPU. It's a small compromise though, given how quickly Ubuntu can reboot on the laptop.

There's something beautiful about being able to carry a single device where all my work is focused; and with the power of the cloud™ I'm able to comfortably back up my stuff, too!

Ubuntu 18.04 and going into 2019 - I may well become a full blown Linux user.

Last updated 3 months ago
Post Taiwan: Full Cloud Citizenship
Last updated 3 months ago

So, it's been about a week since I've been back from Taiwan, and I've finally had a moment to catch my breath with work and all the things that happened while I was away from the office, life and such.

To basically sum everything up - Project Cloud Citizen works. It meets my needs with my work and media requirements. Between the Nintendo Switch, mobile and iPad itself, my gaming needs are met too. There's a few caveats however...

Caveats for why Cloud Citizen is a 'success'

I'm no longer a hardcore gamer

This is probably the biggest caveat I can think of. Gone are the needs of 100% minimal input lag gaming; I'm not cruising around in some competitive FPS, and most of my gaming needs can be very casually met. I was satisfied mostly gaming on the Nintendo Switch, and the occasional odd iPad game.

I'm not as media creative focused anymore

I still tinker around every now and then in Photoshop and with some graphics; I don't think this'd be possible with full blown video editing suites. Rudimentary graphic design is still very much possible, as long as you're willing to compromise with colour reproduction and image quality while editing your work. The finished product will very much still be to spec, but due to the nature of streaming, you might not see your work with perfect clarity.

Cloud Citizen works for me


I was able to upload and retrieve just about every photo I took within a few seconds, on-demand during the trip. Taiwan has cheap, unlimited 4G for tourists (Alice and I picked up a 10-day SIM) with extremely consistent coverage everywhere in Taipei and Hualien. Whilst this is mostly a success due to the availability of mobile internet; the usability is a success from my phone/iPad with Cloud Citizen.

Remote Work

Whilst I was overseas, my team deployed a new project that had been in the works for about half a year. Thanks to Cloud Citizen, I was able to remote into my server, and via a remote setup on my iPad with a mouse -- I was able to contribute meaningfully to the processes.

I could indeed use my iPad as my main computing device, as long as it's backed up by the power of a full fledged desktop environment back at HQ...

If it's a success, does that mean...?

That I'll be using my iPad as my main device? After this whole experience, I feel that yes, I could indeed use my iPad as my main computing device, as long as it's backed up by the power of a full fledged desktop environment back at HQ. It has made me reassess my needs (and wants) for mobile computing; and I come to the conclusion that I need something a little more robust.

My work, and often whatever I'm doing digitally, tends to be code based. And my workflows currently involve a lot of Docker container usage for my work. The #1 issue that I have with the iPad is that I have no way for testing my PHP code locally. Sure, this could be overcome by remoting into a PC and doing everything from there, and whilst it's not terrible, it's also not ideal (for example, if I'm overseas I might not have access to the internet, or be on a very data-restricted plan).

This, in essence, makes my choice for me going forward into 2019... I'm going to need to return to using my laptop. It's no slouch, and it's comfortably going to run all the Docker stuff I need; combined with some other applications - I think I should be quite comfortable with development on the go with it.

It's unfortunate that yes, while I consider Cloud Citizen a success; it's only a partial success with the particular ecosystem I brought with me to Taiwan.