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Archive for the ‘Kaizen’ Category

7 ways to connect to yourself using screensavers that generate collages with your very own images

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The reason: we have personally relevant pictures that we’d like to be reminded of by default, instead of desiring what others lure our attention and imagination to (publicity).

So if you have pictures with things dear to your heart, don’t let them rust in some too easily forgotten folders.

First, in case you need to know:
How to change your screensaver in Windows XP
How to change your screensaver in Windows 7

1. Picasa screensaver

Pros: Has a Collage option. Also, you can select several folders and check/uncheck them. Useful when you want to see only some of the folders previously selected.
Con: Can be installed only along with Picasa.

If you need a bit of technical help: How-To: Create Custom Screensaver with Picasa

Downloadable from picasa.google.com

2. Cozi screensaver

Pro: very design conscious, very good-looking, very elegant. It shows 3 up to 8 pictures at a time (7+/-2 anyone? :) all from the same folder – which makes it unique in a surprisingly great way. I personally love it.

Downloadable from http://www.cozi.com/Download-Photo-Screensaver.htm

3. Album Art Screensaver

Particularity: Displays the pictures in a customizable rectangular grid.

Con: It squeezes the pictures a bit in order to make them square (like the album covers).

Downloadable from http://www.crayonroom.com/screensaver.php

4. Media Collage

Pro: Displays videos, not just static images. Big plus.
Uses a grid somehow similar to the one in Album Art Screensaver, but without stretching the pictures.
Con: Lacks randomness. Big minus.

Available at http://www.softpedia.com/get/Desktop-Enhancements/Screensavers/Media-Collage-Screen-Saver-Slideshow.shtml

5. Photo Slideshow Screensaver

Con: Trial
Pro: If you play a bit with the many options you may find really nice feeling effects. Video available here.

Downloadable from photo-slideshow-screensaver.com

6. Picturoid

Pros: Spectacular.
Cons: $5, the demo shows just the obnoxious “Buy or bye-bye” message. Despite the video, the trial version is so impaired that it’s not worth the time.

Site: http://www.jsr-productions.com/products.php?id=16

7. Photojoy

Pros: Eyecandy bonanza
Cons: Too eye candish for some.

Downloadable from photojoy.com

Written by flowingly

December 25, 2011 at 16:45


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Written by flowingly

April 4, 2010 at 04:29

Bill Gates – how do you make education better?

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Bill Gates, philantropist :)

“A goal I had there was to draw more people in to work on those problems, because I think there are some very important problems that don’t get worked on naturally. That is, the market does not drive the scientists, the communicators, the thinkers, the governments to do the right things. And only by paying attention to these things and having brilliant people who care and draw other people in can we make as much progress as we need to.
So, how do you make education better?

A top quartile (top 25%) teacher will increase the performance of their class — based on test scores — by over 10 percent in a single year. What does that mean? That means that if the entire U.S., for two years, had top quartile teachers, the entire difference between us and Asia would go away. Within four years we would be blowing everyone in the world away.

What are the characteristics of this top quartile? What do they look like?”

They’re not old and they donn’t have masters, which is what the educational system rewards.
They simply have students with good test results, and the teacher’s syndicates made the records of this tests unavailable. By law.

“You might say, “Do the good teachers stay and the bad teacher’s leave?” The answer is, on average, the slightly better teachers leave the system. And it’s a system with very high turnover.

Now, there are a few places — very few — where great teachers are being made. A good example of one is a set of charter schools called KIPP. They take the poorest kids, and over 96 percent of their high school graduates go to four-year colleges. And the whole spirit and attitude in those schools is very different than in the normal public schools. They’re team teaching. They’re constantly improving their teachers. They’re taking data, the test scores, and saying to a teacher, “Hey, you caused this amount of increase.” They’re deeply engaged in making teaching better.

When you actually go and sit in one of these classrooms, at first it’s very bizarre. I sat down and I thought, “What is going on?” The teacher was running around, and the energy level was high. I thought, “I’m in the sports rally or something. What’s going on?” And the teacher was constantly scanning to see which kids weren’t paying attention, which kids were bored, and calling kids rapidly, putting things up on the board. It was a very dynamic environment, because particularly in those middle school years — fifth through eighth grade — keeping people engaged and setting the tone that everybody in the classroom needs to pay attention, nobody gets to make fun of it or have the position of the kid who doesn’t want to be there. Everybody needs to be involved. And so KIPP is doing it.

How does that compare to a normal school? Well, in a normal school teachers aren’t told how good they are. The data isn’t gathered. In the teacher’s contract, it will limit the number of times the principal can come into the classroom — sometimes to once per year. And they need advanced notice to do that. So imagine running a factory where you’ve got these workers, some of them just making crap and the management is told, “Hey, you can only come down here once a year, but you need to let us know, because we might actually fool you, and try and do a good job in that one brief moment.”
Even a teacher who wants to improve doesn’t have the tools to do it. They don’t have the test scores, and there’s a whole thing of trying to block the data. For example, New York passed a law that said that the teacher improvement data could not be made available and used in the tenure decision for the teachers. And so that’s sort of working in the opposite direction. But I’m optimistic about this, I think there are some clear things we can do.
First of all, there’s a lot more testing going on, and that’s given us the picture of where we are. And that allows us to understand who’s doing it well, and call them out, and find out what those techniques are. Of course, digital video is cheap now. Putting a few cameras in the classroom and saying that things are being recorded on an ongoing basis is very practical in all public schools. And so every few weeks teachers could sit down and say, “OK, here’s a little clip of something I thought I did well. Here’s a little clip of something I think I did poorly. Advise me — when this kid acted up, how should I have dealt with that?” And they could all sit and work together on those problems. You can take the very best teachers and kind of annotate it, have it so everyone sees who is the very best at teaching this stuff.

Now there’s a book actually, about KIPP — the place that this is going on — that Jay Matthews, a news reporter, wrote — called, “Work Hard, Be Nice.” And I thought it was so fantastic. It gave you a sense of what a good teacher does.”

Written by flowingly

September 19, 2009 at 05:05

How to be happier

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I ask myself, “What are 10 things in my life from the last hour that I can be grateful for?” I ask myself “What are 10 doable things that I can do in the next hour that I’ll be happy I did?”

Lots of amendmends to make, but you get the spirit. I was at about no. 7 when I surprised myself smiling. :) (The mind was getting on a roll.) And at 8 I just remebered the most important thing that I did in the last hour, and that didn’t came to my my mind until then. Well, yes, retarded :) But happier, mind you. :)

Writing it down might help. Alot. I keep post-its handy, within arm-reach, that is.

Repeating is good. Dooh. :)

“But how about the IMPORTANT stuff?” I think it can only profit from the created momentum.

Written by flowingly

July 16, 2007 at 04:50

How to read “non-fiction” fast & efficiently

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MBA or PhD ~ 40 speciality books, World class ~ 200 speciality books.

Read, duh – instead of TV, gaming, web browsing (yea, guilty:) – a good book is more rounded – most web content is enticement to go from link to link to a buy page, so select & buy/rent directly – you save time, energy & sanity

Read in waves, cycles:

1. covers, table of contents, titles, illustrations, tables.

a.) get the overall idea of the book – flip through the table of contents, headings, bold, italics, tables, illustrations, index – they say in max. 10 minutes – well, if you can

b.) decide if it’s

I.) worth it

II.) relevant to you

2. 1st phrase of each paragraph, introductions, summaries, indexes (if provided)

mark the appealing portions – don’t plunge in – yet

3. Explore

a.) explore the appealing portions and, if they’re relevant, read-and-reread them until they’re clear

(IMO speed reading works only for very familiar topics, where you have already achieved a critical mass of knowledge and knowledge activation);

b.) take notes, underline, colorize, circle, draw, esp ON the book, yeah, vandalism rules (on your own books, of course);

c.) for each chapter (or big section) write your own summaries, mind-maps – on:

I.) the book itself

II.) pages that you’ll file

III.) pages you attach to the book itself

– they’re called love marks, and they’ll take you DIRECTLY to the books sweetest posts spots :) (two old men, one is crying. “why?” “just got married with a young beautiful chick” “so what’s to cry about?!” “I forgot where I live!”)

d.) read ACTIVELY

what’s the point of this idea – word – phrase – paragraph – chapter – book – series – author – line of thinking?

(sometimes it can be just fluff, printed spam, sometimes a hidden gem, a hidden agenda, sometimes a door, a pathway or a trap)

ask questions, play along, challenge assumptions, anticipate, be critical, connect with what you already (thought you) know

4. Mark, Note & Reread. You may want to mark in different manners:

a.) what seems relevant but not clear

b.) what’s already known, but important

c.) completly new relevant things

d.) known things, but told with a new and/or inspiring tweak

e.) on the front/back inner cover – write the page number & the interesting thing to come back to – it’s MUCH EASIER to find it later this way

f.) fold the corners of the pages containing important stuff

g.) note taking X rereading X applying = combinatorial explosion

5. Rescan the entire article/chapter/book and/or the passages you marked out – it becomes YOUR book

If it’s a valuable/reference book, it may be worth rereading (up to seven times) it entirely because:

– it’s much faster, easier and enjoyable than the first time

– you’ll discover new connections & things you’ve just read, but didn’t notice

– you’ll see, (re)understand and, more importantly, integrate things in new perspectives

– you’ll master the subject.

If you thoroughly understand a reference book you’ll understand the connected ones much more easily, rapidly and deeply.

Written by flowingly

March 14, 2007 at 08:38

Grit predicted success better than I.Q., SAT scores and past grades

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“the secret of grit is ‘tenaciously pursuing something over the long term’. Sure you know that, but since the typical American watches TV up to five hours daily, who has time for grit and/or passion?

[..] “Persistence and determination is the secret because we learn by our ‘mistakes’. Working on a skill daily produces Kaizen, small improvements that add up to massive reactions. We get better, little by little, until we own the skill or knowledge through practice.”

[..] The grit research on 1,223 West Point entering freshmen predicted success better than I.Q., SAT scores and past grades. This grit thing was a better predictor of winning than anything else for contestants in a National Spelling Bee, and kids in an elite prep school. It applies to them, and to all of us.

Until you get mad, excite your brain’s amygdala, you and I will seek out distractions and refuse to put in the time to win the marbles. If you aint passionate about something in a negative way, it is a pipedream not a reality.”

Got Grit? by H. Bernard Wechsler

Written by flowingly

February 4, 2007 at 01:46

21,000 days of self-improvement :)

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The average man shaves approx. 20.000 times during his lifetime

60 years = 21900+15 days

– that’s what a shaving products marketer says. Marketing “facts” notwithstanding, if you do a good thing often, it’s worth continuing learning and doing it better :)

So many days to live, to enjoy, to get better… :)

A small, non threatening (see kaizen), habit takes say 21 to 36 consecutive days to become automatic and integrated in your life. That’s 10 to 17 such intervals per year. And after that, the investment effortlessly pays for itself for the rest of your life.

So it better be a good investment :))

We usually overestimate what we think we can accomplish in one year – but we grossly underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.- Anthony Robbins

You cannot not do anything. If you stop doing a new thing, you get back to the old habits, which is nothing new, but not nothing:) Duh:)

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. (Carlos Castaneda)


Written by flowingly

February 1, 2007 at 09:18