Smashing schedules in the mobile age


Truth? Myth? The 8-hour sleep cycle. The 8-hour work day. The 40-hour work week. Most of us have probably seen the recurring tweets, blogs, and articles about the truths and myths behind these industrial traditions. In fact, when I first decided to write about this topic, I was planning to focus on the 8-hour sleep cycle. Until I realized that the 8-hour work day was strongly connected.

So I decided to perform another one of my experiments. In my previous post about spicy rotations, I argued that to keep my projects fresh and to avoid burning out, the key is to “rotate my product-specific Agile teams, just like I rotate my favorite restaurants”. Why not extend that idea beyond my work hours? Why not apply it to my sleep cycle or my entire day? What is my natural work cycle?

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. For two full weeks in April, I relaxed my working, playing, eating, and sleeping schedules to their most “natural” cycles. Even if I felt like playing the Assassin’s Creed IV video game or watching Japanese touge racing videos at night until 3am in the morning, when did I experience my most productive work hours?
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Swinging weapons with Windows 8.1


Snow! When I say the word “snow”, what do you feel? Fun? Frozen? Frustration?  A child might smile. An adult might curse. Fifty different people might feel fifty different emotions. Next, what comes to mind when I say “Windows 8.1”? Fast? Furious? Fascination? Again, the same fifty people might experience fifty different reactions. It just depends on your attitude, doesn’t it?

In a previous post, I noted that my 2011 Windows 7 gaming notebook met its untimely demise in the final days of 2013. So I was forced to order my new 2014 Windows 8.1 gaming desktop much sooner than planned. Thankfully, my sexy gaming PC arrived three weeks later. And I must say, wow, it rocks! Especially when running a next-generation game like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

Windows 8.1 Start screen

Windows 8.1 Start screen

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. Now that I have a working Windows 8.1 system in my possession, I can finally decide for myself whether all of the negative reviews about Windows 8 and 8.1 over the past year is based on a knee-jerk reflex to unwelcome change or a logical reaction to unfriendly design. Or maybe it’s a mixture of both.
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Customizing my monster gaming PC


Hello World and Happy New Year! Believe it or not, during the final days of the year, both my home-based DSL modem and personal Windows 7 notebook breathed their final breaths as well. Although my modem has been consistent for nearly 4 years, it was inevitable and understandable that an upgraded network would render my modem obsolete. Luckily, a new free modem resolved the connection issue.

Meanwhile, whether it was the outdated modem or the series of related reboots that caused its untimely demise, my 2011 Windows 7 notebook turned into a flat brick after an unexpected 2 years. Since the safe mode and system repair options failed to revive the operating system, I dusted off my 2006 Windows XP laptop to reconnect to the internet and I restored a few files from a 3-month-old external backup to resume my household tasks.

Corsair Carbide AIR 540 (Corsair.com)

Corsair Carbide AIR 540 (Corsair.com)

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. Unfortunately, after being accustomed to my 2011 Windows 7 CyberPowerPC Xplorer notebook at home, the performance of my 2006 Windows XP Dell Inspiron laptop naturally felt sluggish. So I was forced to order my new 2014 Windows 8.1 CyberPowerPC Gigabyte X79 gaming desktop much sooner than planned. With these PCs in mind, let’s take a fresh peek at how far gaming PCs have evolved.
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Killing XML and IA with social media


Back in October 2013, the IBM editor for my writing team forwarded her enlightening observation about the meteoric rise of mobile media and the potential fall of topic-based authoring. I hadn’t created this blog yet, but I knew that her thoughts might be the seed for an intriguing post someday. Over a month after creating my blog, I still didn’t know how to frame the subject. This is, until now.

With over 20 years of IBM experience, my editor wrote: “Highly technical information that’s delivered on YouTube is widely accepted by technical users… More and more, users will be accessing our products from mobile devices. To learn something new, would you rather watch a YouTube video on your mobile phone or read several topics in an information center?”

TRIRIGAPEDIA: Hosted by the MediaWiki-powered Wikia.com

TRIRIGAPEDIA: Hosted by the MediaWiki-powered Wikia.com

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. After publishing a dozen entries, I realized that my editor’s compact yet powerful observation overlaps my blog posts about dissecting DITA, breathing Oxygen XML, plugging into WordPress, searching Big Blue, and probably a few more. Do they collectively predict the downfall of topic-based XML authoring and topic-based information architecture? Let’s find out.
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Gambling on gamification gimmicks


Now that the holiday season is upon us, it’s natural to think about giving gifts, playing games, and having fun. In terms of on-screen entertainment, some of the most imaginative and exhilarating adventures can be found in video games. Back in December 2011, my favorite video game was the laser-blasting Star Wars: The Old Republic. But this year, in December 2013, I’m addicted to the swashbuckling Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. For myself and many others, the most-meaningful power of playing video games is not simply to earn artificial points, badges, or levels, but to escape from our uncontrollable reality, forget the limited control over our real lives, and instead enjoy a satisfying storytelling sense of command over our virtual lives or characters.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Having said that, does it make sense to mix reality and fantasy by gamifying office applications or social media platforms? Does gamification fit better as a short-term training tactic or a long-term community strategy? Does it satisfy all levels of users from the less-competitive players to the more-sophisticated gamers? After all, what might be compelling or captivating to me might be completely distracting to you, right?
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