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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

Tepar Remove Notifications (312 comments)

The subject says it all, but let me give you specifics. My tools may not be the same as yours, but the same principles apply.

1. Mobile Device

I have a recent Android device. I have turned off all audible notifications in all applications except for phone calls and SMS messages. That brings the notifications down to the '90s dumb phone level. With notifications off, I choose when I'm going to pull my phone out and check things, and my device only interrupts me for important communications (text messages and phone calls).

Delete the Facebook and Twitter apps. You can use Facebook from the browser, and it's more secure that way anyway. Replace Twitter with Twidere, which by default must be launched and the feed updated manually, though it will notify you of direct messages and mentions. Sign out of Google Hangouts. This ensures it only bothers you for text messages, and when you're off your computer, you're signed out of instant messaging and people know they either have to call you or text you if they want you.

2. Computer

I use a KDE-based Linux desktop (currently Manjaro), so you may have to adapt this. KDE has this thing called Activities, which let you group apps by function. Currently, I have only two: Desktop and Social. These are two separate screens that I have to Meta-Tab to switch back and forth to see. I know there are virtual desktop utilities for Windows, and I think the Mac lets you put apps on various screens now, but you're probably guessing where I'm going with this. On the Social activity, I have my email client (KMail) and my Twitter client (Choqok). My email client is set not to show a notification or play a sound when a new message comes in: that would be a distraction. Same with the twitter client (you have to set the system tray icon to Hidden to accomplish this).

Using an email client is important: if you use a browser tab, guess what? You'll see that little number in parentheses telling you how many emails have come in, and you'll then be tempted to check it. Don't use your browser. Use a client.

And while I'm on the subject of browsers, you should have two plugins installed: an ad blocker and a flash blocker. For those sites (like Slashdot) that you want to support, let the ad blocker show ads, but keep the flash blocker active so the ads don't become intrusive. It's easier then to read articles and such without the ads getting in the way. For most sites, block it all. And for heaven's sake, don't keep a Facebook tab open. Visit the site when you want to visit it, and then close the tab.

With this system, when I'm supposed to be focusing on work, I'm on my Desktop activity. I never receive a notification for email or any social network. If I have to use a browser in the course of my work, which is a frequent happenstance, ads and flash are blocked by default, and I don't mix it with my email.

Does this mean I miss stuff? Never. Like you, I realized I have an attention span problem that I didn't have in the past. That attention span problem induces me to check things on a regular basis. What I've removed is the interruptions: I'm probably going to check all those things anyway. That increases the amount of time I'm able to focus, and if I feel the need to check something, my email and twitter feed are a Meta-Tab click away.

What I have found is that I've been able to find that focus and "lose myself" in my tasks again. I am no longer interrupted all the time by things that have a lower priority than what I'm currently doing, and I'm much happier with what I'm able to accomplish as a result.

I hope this helps!

about 2 months ago

Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

Tepar Use 100% width please (1191 comments)

This layout does not auto-adjust to the width of the browser. It is responsive for smaller screens, but for large ones, it wastes space. I hope you're also working on the comment filtering, because I don't see those controls anywhere.

about a year ago

Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

Tepar Re:Crunchbang (627 comments)

For a good proportional font, try Lato.

about a year and a half ago

Critic Cites Revenge of the Sith As "Generation's Greatest Work of Art"

Tepar Philly water (376 comments)

She's been drinking too much of that water out of the Schuylkill river.

more than 2 years ago

New Study Links Caffeinated Coffee To Vision Loss

Tepar Not statistically significant? (203 comments)

From the abstract:
Compared with participants whose cumulatively updated total caffeine consumption was <125 mg/day, participants who consumed 500 mg/day had a trend toward increased risk of EG/EGS that was not statistically significant (RR = 1.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98–2.08); P trend = 0.06).

If it's not statistically significant, then how can we take this seriously?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Distros Have You Used, In What Order?

Tepar Depends on which machine (867 comments)

My desktop/laptop:
Slackware -> RedHat -> Mandrake -> Mandriva -> Kubuntu -> OpenSUSE -> Ubuntu -> Kubuntu

My server:
Mandrake -> Mandriva -> OpenSUSE

Family Machine (limited, with 1GB RAM):
Mandrake -> Kubuntu -> Ubuntu -> Debian Stable with Trinity Desktop

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce Someone To Star Trek?

Tepar Depends on which Trek (634 comments)

Since much of the joy of Star Trek is about the characters, pick the characters you like the best. If you're going with the originals (a good bet since the 2009 reboot, since they're now the new "current" Star Trek), pick a couple character-driven episodes like Amok Time and Space Seed, and then go right to The Wrath of Khan and watch the TOS movies in order. By then, there should be enough interest in those characters to go back and watch more old episodes, and maybe TMP.

If you want to go with TNG, for your own sake, skip the first season. I might start, again, with something really well-written and character driven: season 2's "The Measure of a Man," and then maybe just continue with the episodes from there. There's not much of the series before that is must-watch anyway.

I'd stick to one of those two paths. DS9 is my favorite series, but I think it's better to start with TNG or TOS since they're the most well known.

more than 2 years ago

Conservatives' Trust In Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s

Tepar "Science" mis-identified (1128 comments)

As a conservative, I would say that this study itself is an example of what conservatives object to, because the word "science" isn't clarified at all. What do they mean by "science?" Do they mean the scientific method? If so, I'm betting conservatives have as much trust in science as anybody else. Do they mean practical science, that results in things like technology, new inventions, and space travel? Again, conservatives would confidently place their trust here.

The issue here is the defining of "science" as the majority scientific establishment, rather than science as a discipline. The lack of trust comes with regard to the scientific establishment, which, like every other group in existence, is made up of flawed human beings who have their own agendas. This is where you have a majority that produces ad hominem arguments to bully the minority, rather than responding honestly to the minority's objections.

One example is global warming. Regardless of what you believe about global warming, I get uncomfortable when I see a group of people with much to gain politically and financially responding to global warming objections by seeking to discredit the scientists, i.e., the people on the other side of the argument, rather than responding to the argument itself. That smacks to me of corruption in the same way our politics are corrupt. The same argument applies to Intelligent Design, whether a fetus is just tissue or life, or any number of other issues.

So when you see a study like this, I think it would be better to say that conservatives have a lack of trust in the scientific establishment, because it's a group of people with their own agenda just like any other. Conservatives don't have a lack of trust in science itself. Science is a method for determining facts. That method is applied by people. And people--even scientists--, once they get power and influence, seek to hold on to it. When you see responses in the form of personal attacks and censorship, rather than dealing with arguments, then yes, that tends to reduce trust.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Give IT Presentations That Aren't Boring?

Tepar Top Ten list (291 comments)

I once was assigned a performance tuning presentation to do at a conference. The subject matter was really, really boring. To spice it up, I turned it into a David Letterman top 10 list of things to do. Each item on the list was preceded by a "joke" item that had something to do with the item I was going to talk about. It went over very well.

more than 2 years ago

Facebook Confirms New Cookie-Tracking Issue

Tepar Third Party Cookies (85 comments)

Isn't this defeated by simply disabling third party cookies in your browser?

more than 3 years ago

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

Tepar Thanks for creating something great! (1521 comments)

Hey Rob,

I don't know you and never met you, but I've been reading Slashdot for over a decade (as my user # will tell you). It's been my home page for forever. I just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated what you created, and how useful it is. Though I don't always agree with the majority opinion here, I can't tell you how many times Slashdot has been the source of one interesting story after another. I've found it so helpful that I've actually featured it in my book, which should be out in a month (Liferay in Action), as one of the first, if not the first, community blog on the Internet.

So thank you. Thank you for starting Slashdot, for building it into something that could be sustained, and for keeping it going all these years. I wish you much success in the future, both personally and professionally, and am hoping that you find whatever it is that will enable to continue fulfilling your dreams.

Rich Sezov

more than 3 years ago

Apple eBook Rules Changing For Sellers

Tepar Assuming there's no competition? (584 comments)

This is just weird. It's almost like Apple's operating as though they have no competition. Example: if an ebook from Amazon or B&N is 30% more expensive on the iPad than it is on, say a Nook or Android tablet (because book sellers will *have* to pass on that extra 30% to the customer), then another tablet is a better option, no? Eventually, it'll squeeze all the other publishers out, and only Apple will be able to sell ebooks on the iPad, which is probably their ultimate goal. I mean, if I were a 3rd party bookseller, I'd rather take my business elsewhere, because Apple's store will always be less expensive on their device. On other devices, however, I'd be able to compete--which increases the value of other devices, and ultimately, hurts Apple.

more than 3 years ago

Open Source-Friendly Smartphones For the Small Office?

Tepar Palm Pre (222 comments)

Easiest solution: get a Palm Pre. There's a palm emulator called Classic for it. Run your old apps.

more than 4 years ago

Convincing Your Employer To Go With FOSS?

Tepar Liferay (369 comments)

Might I suggest Liferay (http://www.liferay.com)? Open source, but also commercial, and more featureful than both Plone and Confluence.

more than 4 years ago

Barnes and Noble Bookstore Chain Put In Play

Tepar Re:Let me tell you... (414 comments)

I was going to post exactly the same thing. I still think Nook is a better choice than a Kindle, Kobo, or Sony Reader, though. I was almost expecting this to happen to Border's, but not B&N.

more than 4 years ago

What SciFi Should Get the Reboot Treatment Next?

Tepar Re:Star Blazers (922 comments)

The effects look good. Will definitely have to check this out!

about 5 years ago


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