The Successful Failure

That’s me, that is. Official. I’ve been interviewed for the US podcast series The Successful Failure: it’s about how one’s biggest, most calamitous bad times are what teach you the skills to get great days.

I’ve known the series producer and presenter, Gigi Peterkin, for years so she knew to steer me away from my haircut errors but she also got more out of me than I expected. Possibly more than I intended, but let’s not go there.

Instead, let’s go here: this is my episode on The Successful Failure website. Do take a listen to the other episodes and subscribe to it on iTunes.

You could also take a read of Self Distract, my personal blog when I mused about how much detail one can unintentionally give up in interviews.

How do you even pronounce ‘productivity’?

There’s a new podcast from the productivity site Asian Efficiency which I had a listen to on my morning walk. (This is a new thing. A morning walk at 5am. This is a new stupid thing.) And the podcast is fine, I’ll listen to more before I know whether I want to urge you to try it, but the very first sentence made me stop in my tracks.

Frankly, anything can stop me in my tracks when I’m walking at that time of day.

But it was how they introduced the topic of productivity and pronounced the word as if it were pro-ductivity. And I realised then that I always say it as prod-uctivity.

Maybe that means they’re more professional about it and I’m the type who needs a good shove to get going. I’m okay with that.

MacSparky Email book updated

I’d have said Email: A MacSparky Field Guide by David Sparks was the last word on email but I’d have been wrong. Maybe there can never be such a thing but an already very good go has just been improved. An updated version of the iBook is now available on the iBooks Store. Take a look at David Sparks’ official page about it for more details.

But while you’re at it, have a listen to him and colleague Katie Floyd on the latest MacPowerUsers podcast because that’s about the same thing. I’ve already read the original version of his book, my iPad is downloading the update as weak speak, but still I learnt some things from that.

Dip into the original Getting Things Done

David Allen’s book Getting Things Done spawned an industry which has taken to doing podcasts. Allen’s own site hasn’t quite got in on the act yet, perhaps it’s on his Someday/Maybe list, but it has collated some audio interviews.

They’re all Allen talking on various radio and podcast shows so there tends to be a lot of overlap of topics as GTD is introduced each time. And I’ve had some problems getting the audio to play reliably so that’s two things against it but have a go with one and see what you think.

David Allen podcast interviews on Getting Things Done

Ex-WiFi engineer fixes your problems

Er, with wifi. Alf Watt, ex-Apple engineer, has been speaking specifically about wifi issues, he’s not left the company to become an agony aunt. Mind you, if you’ve ever hung out of a hotel window trying to get a signal, you’d take anything.

He spoke with The Mac Observer and really spoke: they’ve done a podcast interview that goes into a lot of detail. But the MO site also includes a breakout description of the most useful points, including screenshots for those of us who don’t spend a lot of time deep in Wifi dialog boxes.

Have a mug of tea and a read.

MacPowerUsers podcasts hits 200th edition

This is now a weekly fix for me: every Monday there is a 90-minute audio podcast on a single Mac topic such as Evernote or handling email. There’s the odd edition that has just no interest for me or, whisper it, when it’s focused on a guest who is a bit dull, but otherwise, MacPowerUsers is now an automatic thing on a Monday morning.

It started for me when I wanted to know about the Hazel application and a Google search came up with one episode of MacPowerUsers. Listened to that, bought Hazel, barely use it.

But instead I kept coming back to look up more episodes and after a while I realised I must’ve listened to eighty. That was a year or more ago now so the odds are that I’ve listened to forty more since.

The 200th episode, now available, is look back at the series so far which is probably therefore more interesting for existing listeners. It’s fun for existing listeners. If you’re new to it and fancy a dabble, try the recent Evernote episode, Calendars and Contacts and just keep on going.

War is heel

High heels make you stand up straighter, they push your shoulders back and you look more confident, they somehow do nice things to how your calves look. What’s not to like? Apart from the way they destroy your feet, hurt like the devil and if men like them so much, let them bloody well wear ’em for a bit and see what it’s like.

Men did wear high heels. We wore them first. We came back to our senses. This is one of myriad tiny moments of information I relished in this week’s edition of the 99% Invisible podcast. It’s a really well-made series about design and it appeals to the part of me that thinks of the details in how we do things, why we do them, and whether they help us or not.

Usually, I just have a good time listening to this show but this week’s one about the engineering and the history of high heels is particularly fascinating. There is something just riveting to me about its detail on how engineering and design solved certain problems in making heels and how that contrasts with how they are the devils’ torture tools.

You’ll wince a lot but you’ll also laugh. There’s a moment when the regular presenter Roman Mars recommends Googling a particular topic but deeply strongly advises that you don’t use the image search. “There are some things you just can’t un-see.”

Do have a listen to this episode of 99% Invisible.

Recommended: Holistic Productivity

This is really two recommendations as this holistic productivity is just the latest edition of the very good Mac Power Users podcast. I’m not sure that this is a fair summary of the topic but the thing I took away first was that you can say productivity is how you make something happen or something be that wasn’t there before. And that this can include relaxation.

Relaxation can be a task.

It can be a job.

I need to get healthier and I need to avoid becoming as exhausted as I have lately. I no longer see those as luxuries to do later but I haven’t yet seen them as specific tasks I need to do. Work has always come first so what this idea lets me do is make relaxation be work.

Relaxation is bloody hard, so that helps.

Seriously, though, that’s just the Damascus moment I took away from this latest episode of Mac Power Users. It’s an episode chiefly interviewing Tim Stringer, a productivity kind of guy – and an OmniFocus fan so he must be alright – where he touches so briefly on this issue. And then they go into details and specifics of how he does certain jobs and what software or services he relies on.

Mac Power Users is usually a good listen and I’ve learnt a lot from it, I’ve spent a lot of money after hearing recommendations on it, but I’ve particularly enjoyed this week’s edition. Have a listen and read the show notes.