Smile Software’s TextExpander is the productivity app I use the most. It allows one to define and expand abbreviations for frequently used content (text and images). For example, suppose you frequently need to refer to me in text. You might create a snippet whose abbreviation is “@luc” (without the quotes) and whose target content is “Luc P. Beaudoin“. (See the section on name abbreviations.) That’s particularly handy for long or foreign names. (Mine is a French name).
TextExpander provides statistics that quantify its benefits. From the screenshot below you can see that I’ve expanded nearly 212,000 snippets, saving me 2.8M characters. Continue reading The Value of TextExpander Snippet Conventions: Web Addresses, Citations, Bibliographical References, Markdown and More
A quick note about the speed and some characteristics of mental change in adults, using an example from Ron Burnett. Accommodation can happen quickly when the right conditions are in place. Accommodation is the crown jewels of mental development, including many important forms of learning and knowledge building. It is what happens to your mind as it grasps a new concept, theory or set of concepts and can now see the world in a new way, in its terms. In Cognitive Productivity, I likened this to acquiring a new perceptual modality.
Most previous thinkers on the subject emphasized the purely “cognitive” aspects of accommodation. What strikes me however are the affective dimensions of many forms of accommodation. I.e., in accommodation one doesn’t simply perceive and think differently, but one’s value system changes. Information is now pertinent that didn’t use to be pertinent. Information gets internally connected in a valenced fashion in one’s mind/brain. One of my most important theoretical and practical concerns is to understand accommodation.
Continue reading On the Speed of Accommodating to Potent Ideas: Using one of Ron Burnett’s Knowledge Gems as an Example
Sexual selection is the professional, at sifting between genes.
Geoffrey Miller, The Mating Mind
Have you ever had this awkward experience at a conference cocktail party: a rosy new acquaintance asks you about the morning’s keynote, which you attended with no capture device but yourself? So you couldn’t recall anything about the lecture to convey to your interested, appealing conversant.
This post discusses the problem of taking mental notes. As more than an example, I will use a lecture on Zen and Creativity that my date and I recently attended on July 30. Continue reading Tea, Zen, Creativity and Taking Mental Notes with the Method of Loci
The Globe & Mail published an article yesterday morning by Lawrence Martin called “We need Jon Stewart to set Canada straight“. He wrote “Too bad [Stewart didn’t cover Harper]. Imagine the fun he could have lampooning this place?”
As it happens, on June 3, 2015 I sent Comedy Central an email urging them to cover Mr. Harper and to invite Mr. Mulcair or Mr. J. Trudeau to The Daily Show.
Well, it can be said that Jon Stewart did cover the Conservative Government of Canada —in his own way.
Continue reading Jon Stewart Skewered Stephen Harper on the Daily Show: Illustrating Cognitive Productivity with Twisted Canadian Politics
In my previous blog post, I talked about the 2-second file access rule in relation to an excellent reference management app, Papers 3 for Mac. This rule (which I explained in Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective) states that you need to be able, 8 times out of 10, to access a knowledge resource (typically a PDF or a meta-doc) within 2 seconds. That normally means without using your mouse. I noted in that post that if you enable Papers 3 syncing, it’s hard to satisfy that constraint.
I encourage researchers to consider using Papers 3. So this blog post briefly explains the file name issue and proposes a solution.
Continue reading More on Accessing PDFs Managed by Papers 3 for Mac
Update. I’ve written a post that follows up on this one.
I want to make it clear that although I am documenting some glitches here, I highly recommend Papers for Mac.
In Cognitive Productivity I described and advocated for a 2s rule: You need to be able to access 80% of the files you work with on any given day within 2s. So, if there are a 10 PDFs that are critical to your project, and you need access to some random file in that lot, 8 times out of 8 you should be able to get to such a file in 2s. Obviously, if you want to access the same file twice that day, then it the probability of quickly accessing it should increase.
This is a very important rule, because when you are doing cognitive work, time is of the essence. For example:
Continue reading Papers 3 Wi-Fi syncing, Virtual Disk, File Naming and the 2-Second File Access Rule