Thursday, July 28, 2005


After returning from the Canaima I had about half a day to have a walk around Caracas.

My photos on Flickr:

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Monday, July 25, 2005

Canaima National Park

Then I went to the Canaima National Park, which is most famous for the Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world (almost 1 km high).

My photos on Flickr:

Sunday, July 24, 2005

TransVision 2005

On July 22-24 I was at the TransVision 2005 conference in Caracas, Venezuela. The conference is the main annual transhumanist event. This time it was organised by the Transhumanist Association of Venezuela and the World Future Society Venezuela. The topic was "Towards a New World: Better, Longer and Healthier Lives for Everyone." It was an amazing opportunity to socialise with people, who share transhumanist ideas and are not freaked out by them. A nice change indeed.

My presentation was entitled "Predicting mid-range global futures" and was mainly concerned with mocking futurists for their pathetic attempts at peering into the future. It was a hoot. :) Get it here: TV2005.ppt. I presented before the Closing address by Nick Bostrom, but apparantly managed to make quite an impression on the tired delegates. It wasn't particularly controversial, but it was very direct and sincere at demonstrating why some of the existing "approaches" to predicting future are worthless. It was also quite emotional. :)

The hotel sucked and we couldn't really get out into the city much, since every Venezuelan seemed bent on telling us how dangerous it is in the city. Fortunately, the conference itself was quite interesting, with the majority of the talks being rather good (only 2 or 3 were complete content-free fluff) and there wasn't much free time anyway. Kudos to organisers for pulling it off.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Getting things Done

Finally, I succumbed to the exploding meme of GtD. I downloaded the book and will definitely start to implement this system in my life. I can already, by the 20th page of the book see how this applies to me, how the problems that I am facing can be probably solved using this methodology and how this is extremely relevant for me today. Was it a mistake to ignore the gtd acronym for several months? I don't know. But right now I seem to have the tools that I need - Note Studio for Palm looks perfectly adequate, in fact, more than adequate. Let's try and see.

Cover and excerpt from "Getting Things Done"

Great, after reading Steve Pavlina's article "Overcoming Procrastination" I realised that my problem with procrastination is caused by the overwhelming scale of the projects due. However, Steve did not offer a good practical solution to that that could be actually used. Neither did many other articles and ideas - a complete and total system was missing. It seems that GtD is exactly such system.

Reading Mapping the Mind and listening to Biology And Human Behavior lectures made me better appreciate the metaphors that David Allen is using. When he talks about RAM in our brain, there are very real and tangible arrays of neurons that are firing in complex patterns, remembering something (what needs to be done) and reminding our conscious selves about it. May be they not so much use the space (after all, I doubt that all those things are stored in working memory), but they use the focus. They constantly activate the central processor area and place themselves in the working memory.

I wonder if my interest in getting OneNote, FreeMind and writing^H^H^H^H^H^H^Htyping things down was caused by the pressure from undone things, the subconscious desire to get them out of my mind... But that's only half of the story, the real deal are the actions - that's what GtD is about. This will certainly help me maintain my social life, keep up with the correspondents, etc.

This is really a great book and a great methodology. It would be an oversimplifcation to say that something is "the key" to it, but the emphasis on defining and choosing appropriate actions at appropriate times is clearly very important.

/me digs deep into "stuff", while following the magic GtD flowcharts.

OK, I spent most of the day implementing the GtD system. First, I was surprised how easily I agreed to make (or pledge to make) significant changes to the way I organise myself. The system seemed extremely logical and as easy to use as possible. Clearly, it takes into account the psychological aspects of how we deal with things and the benefits are there. I processed most of the stuff that was lying around loose, which there wasn't too much of, actually. I created appropriate categories for managing the actions on my Palm and started to populate them. I think I will need to spend some time working on this tomorrow and then on my Moscow trip as well. I hope it will help me actually start doing things.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Spread of meta-knowledge

It's amazing how much meta-knowledge about self-organisation and everything else is available online and how popular it is. 43Folders, Getting Things Done, Personal Wikis (including those running on Palms), Life Hacks, etc. All these techniques are invented, developed and popularised on the scale of a few months, thanks to blogs, wikis, social bookmarks and other social software. Good ideas flourish, get supporters, developers, evangelists, etc. Companies and FLOSS developers quickly roll out software incorporating these methods and soon these new technologies are used by millions. Obviously, such rapid dissemination of new knowledge would have been impossible just 20 years ago without Internet. And yet, we are just getting started. Wonderful times are ahead.