I am referring of course to New Year Resolutions which, for the purposes of this post, I shall refer to as YPs (Yearly Procrastinations) because that's all they are really - things that we ought to have done this year but which it makes us feel a little better to say that we will start "tomorrow". As with any job that you put off until later you get a short burst of pleasure from not having to start today (think back to school homework).
Like all planning aims and targets, YPs should be achievable, realistic, challenging and have clear deliverables. As with any project, YPs need to be managed; you need to keep an eye on the work and be prepared to make slight adjustments according to the success you are having. Initial targets might quickly prove to be over-optimistic. The most common YP is to lose weight such as 'I aim to lose (x) lbs/kgs a week/month/quarter'. After the end of week 1 the target could well be adjusted in the light of one's inability to reach the desired weight. At some stage you will be tempted to procrastinate and say 'Oh. It's not realistic this month so I'll start next month.' How long before it becomes next New Year's Resolution?
So, sticking my neck out, here is my YP. I wrote recently about the number of books that pile up without being read. In my case I have no problem reading fiction since I can use my iPad Kindle app easily and downloads are not too expensive. My great love, however, is for non-fiction books covering a wide range of my interests such as Computers, IT, History, WW1 & WW2, Humour, Lists, Ancestry, Language and Grammar, and Travel. Unlike a fiction novel or thriller, it is rare for me to read right through a non-fiction book. I prefer to dip into a book at random and see what I can find. The trouble is that it is all too easy to dip into Facebook or Twitter instead and spend far too long on trivial nonsense. Therefore I am going to try to pick up a different one of my books from my shelves each week and see what interesting facts I can find. I'll make a record of these facts and aim to produce a list of 52 gems of information by the end of the year. If I achieve it, I will let you know and might even share my list with you. If I don't achieve it...well, there's always next year!
We've all watched movies and dramas on TV and at the cinema. My favourites are spy thrillers and similar nail-biters - especially where computers and technology feature in the plot.
Picture the scene. Spy breaks into office/home/workplace to steal some secret information. Convenient laptop/computer lies waiting on the desk. A quick lift of the lid and it bursts into life. Spy inserts a memory stick into the usb slot. Scene shifts to picture of memory stick downloading files at breakneck speed. Ten seconds later said spy grabs memory stick, pulls it out and slams down the lid leaving no trace of the intrusion.
Let's replay that scene how it would really happen:
Spy tries to break into office/home/workplace to steal some secret information. Door gets stuck and alarm goes off. Must hurry. Looks around but can't find the laptop anywhere because the owner has kept it locked away. When finally the spy discovers it (alarm still ringing) and lifts the lid it immediately requires a password which defies logic to remember. Assuming success, laptop fires up and says "Windows is updating your system. Please do not switch off your computer." Five minutes later the screen still reads 30% but then finally restarts. The simple act of inserting a memory stick somehow miraculously recognises a new external drive and there is the required file sitting as an icon on the desktop screen just waiting to be copied. No it's not. You've got to hunt through a chaotic file directory in the hopes of finding what you want. Having found the file you attempt to copy it to the memory stick. Computer screen suddenly flashes up with "Target drive does not have sufficient space." Hunt round for a bigger memory stick. Eventually the file starts to download but gets three quarters of the way along the process and halts. Computer flashes up "Copy failed. Try again." Having corrected this you complete the file transfer and whip out the memory stick, whereupon the computer throws a hissy fit and says you didn't eject the drive properly. You slam down the lid without, of course, closing down the machine or removing any trace of your presence and go out the door into the arms of the law who have responded to the alarm because it is now 30 minutes later. Somehow you manage to escape and return to base. You plug in the memory stick and it fails. Computer says "Disk unreadable. Did not close files properly."
Ah! If only computers worked like they do in the movies.......