This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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Mary Alice Stamper

Time for #23 in my ahnentafel. That would be my father’s mother’s mother’s mother.

Lets see, she was born in 1865 in Lewis County, Kentucky. She died in 1949 in the same place. In between she had a few adventures. For instance, her marriage:

Lewis Napoleon Rayburn, her husband to be, stole her away from her parent’s house in the middle of the right and they rode thirty miles on a horse to cross the Ohio River to get married in Ohio.

She is the ancestor that my Grandmother always mentioned was insistent that her part of the family was part Cherokee. Specifically, that Mary Alice Stamper’s father was 1/8th Cherokee. I haven’t yet found any actual evidence of that, but if true that would make me 1/256th Cherokee. (Assuming there were no other Cherokee ancestors.) Not enough for any casino money. :-)

My Grandmother also had this remembrance:

Its interesting as I e-mail the cousin in Albuquerque (younger of the two boys who were my playmates each summer in Ky at the log cabin and farm of these very same grandparents). Wilbur, my age, almost remembers Grandma saying: “Son, while your are resting(!), could you pull some weeds for the hogs? Etc, Etc!! Or whatever: WHLE YOU ARE RESTING :>) Charles (younger in Albuquerque), scientist , inventor, says he doen’t know if she was comparing their boychores to her working from dawn to dusk and just didn’t think little chores added up to her WORK.

She had eight children, the third of which was my ancestor.

Barbara Kingsolver was one of her grandchildren.

And that is most of what I have. As usual, the rest is on the Abulwiki page linked from the picture.

Save Me!!

In 26 minutes Brandy will have been gone exactly 4 days out of the 8 days, 18 hours and 3 minutes she is scheduled to be gone. Not quite half way yet. Will I survive?

The 40 Minute Plan

For a couple months now I’ve been doing a “40 Minute Thing” as a way to manage my time at home working on the various projects at home I want to work on. Basically it is a simple thing. I work in 40 minute segments. Once I start a segment, I try to work on that one thing and only that one thing for 40 minutes straight without letting myself get distracted by anything else. At the end of the 40 minutes, I take a quick break, then if there is enough time, I start another 40 minute segment. Repeat until out of time. If for whatever reason I get unavoidably interrupted in the middle of a segment, I pause the timer and then restart it once I get back on task.

More specifically, I have an order in which I do what I do. Each evening, the first 40 minute task is email. The second is doing financial stuff… paying bills, entering receipts into Quicken, etc. The third has lately been genealogy stuff, but I have recently switched this to being a random selection from a set of about six other tasks ranging from cleaning to reading to playing chess. If I finish all three of these then I repeat and start at the top again.

In reality, on most weekdays I only ever get in the first segment. Some weekdays I get two segments in. It is a very rare weekday when I get in three. But on Saturdays and Sundays I can often get in two or more cycles of three items.

I find giving myself this structure at home ends up in me being a lot more productive than leaving the time unstructured. It has helped me a lot in getting things done. I have felt much more productive since I started this, and I have a good daily gauge of how much I’ve been able to do… just could how many 40 minute blocks I managed to get done.

I haven’t yet given myself quite the same sort of structure at work. I think it might be useful though, so I am thinking about it. Just have to get an appropriate timer in there. (At home I use an OS X Dashboard Widget.) Problem is, at work the day is so punctuated by meetings and random interruptions that it is harder to do the same methodology. But certainly on days when there are long uninterrupted stretches it would help.

Without that sort of structure two things tend to happen with me… they are somewhat opposite, but they both happen depending on what else is going on.

#1) I get focused on one thing and spend too much time on it to the exclusion of other things that also need attention.

#2) My top priority task is one that for whatever reason I am mentally procrastinating, and so I bounce back and forth between that task and other random tasks of lesser priority, and the primary task gets less attention than it should.

The 40 minute method… or any length of time where you force yourself to focus on one and only one thing for a length of time… plus the rotation through types of tasks that need to be done… solve both those problems quite nicely.

So I’ll probably try it at some point. So far though it has been easier to execute at home. And I am very happy with it.

Stop Touching the Screen!!!

A wild rumor on some of what Apple might have up their sleeve sometime soon.

The Multi-Touch Screen
(David Pogue, New York Times)

After the Jobs demo, I called Jeff Han, fully expecting to hear how angry he was that Apple had stolen his idea without permission or consultation (it’s happened before).

Instead, he knew all about Apple’s project. He didn’t say that Apple bought his technology, nor that Apple stole it—only that he’d known what had happened, and that there was a lot he wasn’t allowed to say.

Anyway, he returned to TED this year for a new presentation, showing how far the multi-touch technology had progressed (hint: a lot). He also set up his eight-foot touch screens in the TED common area, so anyone could try it.

(via AppleInsider)

Anyway, it looks like Apple has hired this guy or licensed his technology or some such. (They also bought a company called FingerWorks who developed similar technology for touchpads.) They showed this technology working in the keynote where they introduced it for the iPhone. But this video shows it can be used way beyond a cellphone screen. Very cool looking stuff. It takes the original “you will want to lick it” of Apple’s Aqua a step or two further. You want to fondle it. Definitely watch the video. There is a second video linked from the Pogue post too, but at the moment it isn’t working for me.

I’m not sure exactly how it would work in, say, a new iMac. I mean, do I really want to touch my screen to move windows around and such? But if anybody can do cool things with a technology like that, it would be Apple. If it turns out this is one of the “hidden features” in Leopard and the new range of iMacs all end up having multi-touch screens and all, I will be quite jealous that Amy is the next one in the family in line for a new computer…

Slinging Treo

When I got up yesterday I found in my email inbox a note that the Slingbox client for PalmOS had entered the Public Beta phase and was available to download. So of course I did so right away, straight from my Treo, which is also where I had read the email. I had it installed and working before I got to the car. It took me a bit to figure out the controls, and I admit I did have to check the directions at one point. But it works. It is a little slower to respond than the Mac or Windows clients, and I think it may also be a little bit slower than the Windows Mobile version that Brandy has on her phone too. But it is good enough to use, and it is just a Public Beta, I’m sure it will be refined more over the next few months.

It is good to know that now, wherever I go, if I am stuck somewhere with nothing to do for awhile while I am waiting for something, I can just watch some of my home Tivo for a little while. I will need to get one of those stereo headphone adapters for it though. I feel self conscious sitting there watching TV on my phone with the audio loud enough for people walking by to hear. Headphones are a good thing.

Just the Two of Us

Amy and I got back just a few minutes ago from leaving Brandy at the airport. She is heading back to Pennsylvania to see her mother for awhile, mainly to help clean up her house in preparation for putting it on the market. And also just to see her mom for a bit, as it has been a little while.

Her plane is due to leave the ground at 05:00 UTC today (less than an hour from now). If everything stays on schedule, her plane will land here again at 23:03 UTC on April 3rd. That is 8 days, 18 hours and 3 minutes. This will be the longest Amy and I have been left alone with each other since the three of us have lived together.

We have both promised to be good, to take care of the other, and try not to destroy the house or anything with our wild partying. :-)

At the moment, Amy is cooking dinner. So I think we’re off to a good start.

Festival Thing

I haven’t posted every time there is one of them, but earlier today Amy had another performance with the Seattle Children’s Chorus. This time was part of a festival with a bunch of children’s choirs and choruses from all over the area. This picture is when they all sang together at the end. Amy is one of the ones in light blue.

Sleeping on the Couch

All Hands 4

My fourth company all hands meeting was this morning. It was fun and exciting as usual.

Comment for Greg

Back on 2006 Aug 15, Greg made this post on his blog:

Don’t think he won’t reply

Where “he” is Sam.

Back in April (I guess) I posted a blog entry suggesting that either I didn’t know anyone who works at Google or if I did, I didn’t know that I knew anyone who works at Google. Sam dropped me an email (and commented on the post) to confirm that I do, in fact, know someone who works at Google.

Today, Sam responded to my reply:

(Greg then quotes an email I sent to him)

At the time I tried to respond to Greg to explain my current email system, but his comment system was not working that well, so I ended up emailing myself the comment I wanted to post on his site at 2006 Aug 17 19:16:44 UTC. I now post it here:

I have been known to answer emails over a year after they were sent to me. My email backlog a few months ago was such that the oldest unanswered email was indeed over a year old. As of now, the oldest unanswered email I have is one my mom sent me on March 27th (of this year). I will answer that message in a couple weeks probably.

My current system has three tiers.

Each day I try to answer all the emails from the previous day (UTC) that can be answered quickly and do not require me to take any actions, or think overly hard. Any email that does not get answered the day after it was sent goes into the second bucket.

That is my main email inbox. If I finish answering the previous day’s email, I start at the top of the inbox (sorted from oldest to newest). Anything over one month old does not get looked at, but rather gets moved to an “OldMail” folder. But once I am in emails that are less than a month old, I start answering them. Now, these are all emails that for whichever of the reasons outlined above did not get answered the day after I got them, so they often require me to do things or think a bit, so they take longer to deal with.

I have one message in my inbox from myself that tells me it is time to look at “OldMail”. When I get to this message I switch over to the OldMail folder and start answering my old mail from there. These are once again usually messages that take longer to answer, although some are still left over from before I started this current system, so are shorter ones. In general my target will be to empty the OldMail folder every time I get to this task, but since I had a huge backlog earlier this year (several thousand messages) I have just been getting it to 100 less than the last time I did the task. So for instance the last time I did “OldMail” (a few days ago) I got the OldMail folder down to 500 messages. Next time I have that task, I’ll pull it down to 400. When I have gotten to my target level, I reply to the message to put the task back down in my inbox for a later date. Also, an important note, if the OldMail task gets to be over a month old it does NOT itself move to OldMail, because otherwise I would never look at OldMail again.

And that is the system.

Note: This does not account for Spam, I deal with Spam with an entirely different, yet similar, system. I currently have over 50,000 messages in my spam folder that have yet to be reviewed to confirm they are really spam and pull out the ones that were mis-identified as spam by my filters. I get about 1 in 500 false spam identifications, so there should be about 100 real messages stuck in that 50,000. When I find them, I place them in the appropriate one of the categories listed above for real mail.

Of course, I am now posting this because I have just now reached that message I sent myself as I continue to follow the method I described.