Google Calendar shortcuts and tricks

Since I started managing people, I spend a lot of time looking at my calendar!

Here’s some shortcuts I use a lot:

  • view:
    • m: month view
    • w: week view
    • d: day view
  • navigation:
    • n: next (if you’re in month view, it jumps to next month, if you’re in week view, it jumps to next week, etc)
    • p: previous
    • t: jump to today

I have the calendar pinned on the first tab, so ⌘+1 always brings me to it (I think it’s CTRL+1 in Windows and Linux).

The first thing I do in the morning is to look at what’s in for today–this way I make sure I don’t forget to attend important meetings because I get deep down into something else and then I forget. So I will press “d” and “t” to get the calendar to ‘day view’ plus ‘today’.

I use the other shortcuts to quickly flip between dates when I’m booking new events or to find what is upcoming.

There are also shortcuts to create and edit events but I found them not very useful as you still have to modify the time and date of event anyway-I find it easier to use the mouse to schedule this.

Organising files in Google drive

We use Google Drive at work and for a particular project we ended up in a situation where there were multiple documents related to it, but not an easy way to have “links” to all of them on the same place.

One solution would be to create yet another document and link to the documents. Another one is to bookmark documents in your own browser—but the issue is that if someone wants to collect all the links together in their computer, then they have to bookmark the stuff individually as well.

But there’s an easier way: you can make a folder in Google Drive and add any file to it (whether it’s owned by you or not). Then you can share the folder, and voilà! everyone has access to the collection of documents.

To make a folder in your drive, first go to your google drive. Click NEW… folder. Give it a name, for example: Magnificent folder.

Then go to the document you want to add to the folder, click on the File… menu, select Add to my drive. A little pop up will show up, click on the Organize link… Choose Move to folder, and choose the Magnificent folder you created before.

If you refresh the folder in your drive, the document should be present there.

To share the folder, click on the down-facing arrow on the right hand side of the name of the folder. This opens a drop down menu and you can select “Share…” to open the usual Google docs interface to share stuff with people.

Done!

I’d also suggest that changing the folder view from grid to list, showing the document titles, might be useful in many cases, as the document titles tend to get truncated way too easily.

Eclipse tricks

Shortcuts

These are the ones I use more often and that immediately come to my mind right now. I have ignored the usual CTRL+C, CTRL+V ones 😉

CTRL + Space
code sense: a little dropdown will show up, with available functions/variables depending on what you have already written
Alt + /
They call it autocomplete, I would call it suggest. It’s not exactly the same than code sense. Try it out.
CTRL + F
Search in the currently edited file
CTRL + H
Global search (in the project, workspace, etc)
CTRL + D
Delete the current line

Searching and replacing

To my surprise, most Eclipse users I have spoken to don’t use the more advanced options from the Find/Replace dialog, when it can save you some precious time.

  • I always enable the Wrap search check box, so that I don’t have to worry whether I’m above or after the word I’m looking for.
  • The Incremental check box might be useful sometimes. If you enable it, when you begin typing in the text you’re looking for, it will begin searching at the same time (it won’t wait for you to press the Find button). It’s similar to Firefox’s Search as you type feature.

But the crown jewel is the Regular expressions check box. Regexp’s can save you literally hours of agonising and boring manual replacements. I’ll demonstrate you why with a simple example:

Imagine we have a php file where we’re accessing the members of an associative array. Something along the lines of this:

<?php
$user['name'] = $user['first_name'] . ' ' . $user['last_name'];
echo $user['name'];
?>

Then one day you need to replace those associative arrays with objects. The above code will no longer be valid and you’ll need to update it manually.

It won’t matter too much if you’re just updating a few lines, but imagine the code was longer and you had to perform the same action in several places. Suddenly having to replace $user[‘name’] with $user->name everywhere, manually, doesn’t seem that simple or easy…

But if you enable the Regular expressions check box and enter this in the Find field:

\$user\['(\w+)'\]

and this in the Replace With field…

\$user->$1

… and then press Replace All, your code is quickly updated to the new working version:

<?php
$user->name = $user->first_name . ' ' . $user->last_name;
echo $user->name;
?>

Isn’t that super great? And that’s just a small example, but I hope it serves to show you how awesome that forgotten and ignored feature is.

Something great too is that neither regular expressions nor support for them are new or unique to Eclipse. Once you learn how to use them, you can use those abilities in lots of places. If you’re interested in regular expressions, there are literally TONS of tutorials and resources about them, but here‘s a good starting point. However, the best way to learn is to practise as much as you can, and then a little bit more 🙂

The tasks list

Leave short comments in the code like the following ones:

// TODO change to use config settings
// FIXME this never returns a value
// XXX refactor

… and Eclipse will show them all in a nice tasks list, which you can access in the bottom area of the IDE, clicking on the Tasks tab.

Eclipse's tasks list

You can also check them off as you complete them. In that case they would show up after the non-completed ones, but I personally prefer to delete them from the source code when they are done. It’s up to you 🙂

So that’s for now. Hope you enjoyed the tricks, and they help you make more with less 😉 If you have any other trick that I overlooked, please post it in the comments, I would love to hear about it!

If the problem is not the party, what is it then?

Trace just wrote a post about the lack of productions in the spanish scene and the main reason for it (in his opinion): the absence of competitiveness. I can agree partially on this. But not in all.

Yes, part of the reasons of why do we produce is competition. Take a look at Astharoth/TLOTB or RGBA. They may look arrogant (as some people say), but they keep releasing stuff just because they want to demonstrate they can do it and they can improve with each new production. (I am afraid this reason is the most typical in the case of coders.)

There are more reasons for producing. There’s the desire to create, to express yourself using a computer (call it your digital canvas, or your virtual musical instrument… whatever metaphor you prefer more). These are reasons which can be listened from the musicians and graphic artists, I think. I personally am more inclined to say that’s the cause of my demoscene works, and not the competition. Call it the art of demoscene, if you want.

Finally there’s also the will to have fun. The desire of enjoying the demoscene as a pure humourous hobby and have a very good time with it, even if you produce something which is a see-once-delete-immediately production that only you can understand (and laugh at).

A quick look at any spanish party results will reinforce my home-made theory: most of the sceners in Spain are coders which love to fuss around their favourite compiler during the year without any time or resource constraints and occasionally release some party coded entry because they feel that stress as part of the game. Otherwise they simply don’t get compelled to finish whatever they are doing during months and it never gets released.
(On the other hand, the few non-coders usually tend to release at least something on every party they attend, even if it’s not the most astonishing work they have ever produced)
I presume trace’s idea for the charts may encourage those happy coders to produce… until a certain degree, of course. Because there’s also another problem which affects every kind of scener and it is the lack of time, as Merlucin points quite accurately in the first comment to trace’s post. Let’s face it, the scene is getting adult. While some years ago we could spend a whole day doing stuff with Impulse Tracker, or leaving the homework for tomorrow, today we can’t do it anymore. SiN already wrote about this on one Becanne issue. You can’t simply ignore your employer for a day because you need to finish a demo for the upcoming party, and you also want to sleep and do what human nature asks you for…

So what is left? Is there any solution? YES! If there are a certain number of people which can’t produce more, but you want more productions, then just add more people to the mix! The scene needs fresh blood.

And it’s about where to recruit new people when trace and me disagree sometimes. We both have the same feeling of lack of support by big media, like for example when famous computer magazines in Spain used to publish demoscene specials which came accompanied by a CD containing all the releases from the party (back to the time when Internet was absolutely unknown to the general public). Then, while I think maybe it’s better to show the demoscene to more specialized audiences, like part of more projects like for example xplsv‘s or plexiq‘s ones, he thinks the best is to recruit new people in parties. Hence his support for this past ifparty.

I must recognize he’s right, but if the organizers don’t manage to get people into their party and show them the beauty of scene, they have lost the whole point. And I am afraid that’s happening terribly often here. Maybe the tomorrow’s generation of sceners can be today’s generation of gamers, if you want to call it like that. But you need to catch their attention, however it is needed.

It’s not enough with advertising your party in your favourite scene portal. Because if someone reads it they are already on the scene. It’s not new people! I strongly believe we need to get out of our shell and show the demoscene to more people. Get it published in printed media, generalist newspapers, even TV. Yes, humble yourselves, you are not the only ones which use computers in this world. You are not a privileged species de per se.

Of course, when showing demoscene to new people, you will find lots of detestable people which you will regret once and once again to yourself of having got in touch with them and even introduced them to your scene world. They are some of the most feared elements in the scene: the lamers. You will also find lots of ignorance and people which is not interested in your ideas at all. Luckily these ones disappear as quickly as they arrived.
But at the end, thanks to not being so egoistic and sharing the knowledge that for some reason you hold in your head, you maybe will be able to catch some new people which will enrich [y]our scene with their own points of view.

And I think that’s what really matters at the end.

Oh and the charts? We were talking about them I think… weren’t we? 8-| Yes please. I would love to be on top of some categories! It looks as if it will be funny. Let’s get the competition started!

Mail notifiers fever

Some days ago, trace was asking me if I had seen the new google’s thingie: a gmail notifier for mac os X. I answered him, ok, I had not seen it but I don’t think I’ll install it.

– Why?? It’s so useful!
– Because it disturbs me…

and yes, windows which open suddenly and notify me of messages make me lose concentration, as I want to read instantly the messages and see what do they say, and that means stopping completely what I was doing until that very moment, so that’s why I don’t like mail notifiers to be on.

E-mail is supposed to be used asyncronously. You send me the message and whenever I can, I’ll read it and maybe I’ll answer you. I don’t think we need to constantly check if we have new e-mail messages as it is another technique to get stressed and lose productivity. I definitely say NO to e-mail notifiers. In fact, I even try to work with the e-mail program completely closed. I don’t want to listen any ding if a new e-mail has arrived. I’ll see all when I have spare time to read them carefully, not in a rush

Let technology make your life easier, not more complicated!