Toby Smith

Posts for the ‘Life’ Category

New approach to Time Management – Time Pockets

9th September 2013

I’ve been trying a variety of Project/Time Management techniques over the past months to try and improve my efficiency: work breakdown structures, schedules, pomodoro etc… None of them seemed to really gel with me, personally.
In addition I’ve always had a massive list of other tasks that I wanted to get done/experiment with, and just never got round to it. Which is mildly depressing.

What’s been working so far is time pockets. At the moment I’m using the work days, and the weekend as two distinct pockets. But it might be a good idea to subdivide these further.

It works thus:

  1. Pick a project/part of project to do, and an appropriately sized pocket.
  2. Adjacent pockets should involve doing completely different work.
  3. If the work doesn’t get done in that pocket: tough. You can’t work on it again, until a lot later.

So far it’s been really working! It acts as a great “push” to get things completed, and stops work from getting stale.
I’ve completed the redesign of the site and did some experimentation with some audio stuff.

So far it’s really improving my abilities to:
estimate completion times, focus on the important work first, boil down and simplify a task/project to the essentials.

The feeling of accomplishment of meeting a set deadline (and more importantly – avoiding the punishment of failure) is better than I was expecting. It will be interesting to see how I react if/when I DO fail.

How to bodge an autocue

4th August 2013

Autocues are really quite simple things; consisting of a camera, a screen, and a piece of glass. They allow you to read off your words, whilst looking straight at the camera.

Adhoc Autocue

I cobbled mine together from a PS:Eye, piece of glass from a photo-frame, and an iPad.
The most irritating thing was getting the text to display. I didn’t check for an app that would scroll the text. In the end I just had a static image (just rememeber to flip it about the y-axis).

The construction was just from junk I had on my desk. Sometimes a little mess can be helpful (that’s my excuse).

It worked, but wasn’t great. The text I was reading was very small (no scrolling), so you can see my eyes scanning across. Having bigger, scrolling text would have been a bonus. Being further from the set up with the camera zoomed in more would probably mitigate the “scanning eyes” too.

All in all it was a lot of fun to build but it’s probably easier to just learn your lines!

Volume of a Martini Glass

18th January 2011

Question, how far up the side of a martini glass constitutes half the volume?

We can model the glass as a cone.
Volume of a cone:
v = \frac{\pi h r^2}{3}

If we add a term “\alpha” to denote the change.
The height affects the radius (r) linearly (similar triangles).
So h \rightarrow \alpha h and r  \rightarrow \alpha r.

To find effect of halving the volume on the height:
\frac{1}{2}\cdot \frac{\pi h r^2}{3} = \frac{\pi h r^2 \alpha^3}{3}

\frac{1}{2} = \alpha^3
\alpha = 2^{-\frac{1}{3}}\approx0.79

So (if my maths is correct) you need to fill the glass to approximately 0.79 of the way up the side of the glass for half the volume.

..and who said maths wasn’t useful.

Measuring Stress of Material

15th November 2010

I swear, if God hadn’t invented cakes, someone would be dead by now.
….and I’m all out of cakes.

Zorbing and Surfing

18th September 2010

Been taking the opportunity to try some new things recently: be a bit more active, and just generally be a bit more adventurous. At least before uni comes and takes over again.

Here are a few things I’ve learnt:
Bend your knees when you try and stand on anything moving.
Zorbing can hurt if you don’t follow the instructions.
Surfing is hella fun.
The ocean is powerful and beautiful…and really salty.

Hello world!

3rd August 2010

Hello everyone! This be my first post.
Actually I just wanted to change the default wordpress post. So…here it is!

Might put a different design on this at some point. You never know.">RSS Feed
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