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Now this is good for thought!




Steven Bertoni Steven Bertoni, Forbes Staff

I cover technology, entrepreneurs and billionaires.

12/23/2013 @ 7:30AM |110,497 views

14 Bad Tech Habits To Break In 2014

Break these bad tech habits in 2014

Break these bad tech habits in 2014

Thanks to smartphones, cloud technology and social networks, we can take the Internet with us everywhere these days. The down side–we can take the Internet with us everywhere these days.

We are a society tethered to our devices. Apple played on this recently with a tear-jerker of a holiday commercial. But as clever as Apple marketing is–very few teenagers (or any of us for that matter) with faces glued to iPhones use the smartphone to create touching family moments. Most are only texting or surfing the Web.

So as we reflect on the life changes we hope to make in 2014, I asked my digitally astute colleagues at FORBES to share their technology New Years Resolutions. Below are bad technology habits we want (both ourselves, and others) to break in 2014–Good luck.

1) I will stop checking email before bed, right when I wake up and in bed in general.

Has this ever happened to you? Just before turning in, you check your iPhone one final time, only to have a (stressful, annoying, distressing—insert any adjective here) email keep you tossing all night. Or have you checked your phone first thing in the morning, and an email or text fills you with anxiety before you’ve even fully woken up? It happens to us too.

Tip: Keep all screens out of the bedroom. If like me, you use your iPhone as your alarm clock, swap it out for a clock radio to remove the temptation.

2) I will turn-off all email notifications.

The Microsoft Exchange email alert, the Gmail inbox counter and G-Chat indicator—few things are more distracting than these attention stealers.

Tip: Dig into your settings to switch off the distraction-inducing blips and chimes from detracting from the task at hand. Create a disciplined schedule to check your email once every hour or so–you’ll gain an incredible amount of control over your work day.

3) I will not use my iPhone or Android as a social crutch.

When did if become a requirement to bury your face in a smartphone during every minute you find yourself waiting for a friend at a bar or restaurant? Keep your phone in your pocket, take in the scene and maybe even talk to the person next to you at the bar.

4) I will talk more and text less.

No more refusing to answer calls from friends so you can text them back asking “what’s up?” Same goes for texting happy birthday, happy anniversary, happy new year. While texting is great for logistics, for big, emotional moments and milestones—reach out and touch someone. But there’s a caveat to this rule, see resolution #5.

5) If a person does not answer my call, I will not leave a voicemail—that’s what texts are for.

Pass codes, dialing “1″ for new messages, quickly scribbling down the phone numbers and addresses left in those messages–no one has the patience for that these days. As a result, now no one checks voicemail any more–at least not right away. Send a text, your friend will appreciate it, and it will actually be received.

6) I will not use my smartphone in the following places:

– in the gym

– in an elevator

– in a crosswalk

– in the checkout line

– in the drivers seat

– in the restroom

7) I will not use hashtags outside of Twitter, and when I do, it will be solely for trending topics (say no to #stopwritingstupidhashtags)

8) I will limit my Instagram posts to one photo per event/setting.

Tip: Want to post a series of pics—create a Facebook photo album. Another good tool is the InstaFrame app that lets you make a photo collage to share as a single Instagram image. A final option for not spamming your Instagram feed—use Instagram Direct to send photos to folks you know will appreciate seeing same sunset, 7 different ways–with 7 different filters.

9) I will not check Facebook more than 3 times a day.

Tip: Download Anti-Social–the program will block social networks like Facebook and Twitter but still let you access the rest of the Web.

10) I will not Google facts, dates, actors’ names, or anything else in the presence of other people.

11) I will not show people Memes in public

Memes, funny videos, cat photos should be shared via text message and email only–not by pushing smartphones under our friends’ noses.

12) I will unsynch my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts because people don’t need to see the same post on three different platforms.

13) I will delete enough email to keep my pile of unread Gmail messages below five-figures–because seeing you have 10,000 unread emails is just plain overwhelming.

14) I will stop writing click-bait, listicle-style Web stories. (But hey, it’s not 2014 yet, so I better get them in while I still can. Happy New Year everyone.

Follow me on Twitter: @Stevenbertoni

So, not only did my monitor die and have to be replaced, the OS then shortly started tanking.  It all started by the stupidest of things….an external USB HDD.

See, I’ve been needing to back things up for a while on a few of my devices (My wife’s laptop, my netbook and my main machine).  So I am finally in a position to get the added devices required(external USB DVD burner for the netbook, USB HDD for everything).  First issue was the DVD burner was missing a cable.  Had to go back and get that.  Annoying but it seems to be working now.

Now, when I got the USB HDD, I plugged it into my machine and backed some stuff up.  Knowing that simply copy/pasting LARGE amounts of files is generally a bad thing (because you never know exactly where it stops and when you are copying 70,000 files, you certainly don’t have time to figure out where it stopped/retry a whack of bad files.  So I did a short test and it worked fine.  I moved over to test out the windows backup program that these drives came with, on my wife’s laptop, worked fine.  When I went back to my system and plugged it in a few days later (actually, I had plugged it in, left it for about 5 days and got back to backing up again) my whole system froze.  I didn’t immediately suspect the drive because, why would I?  It had been working just fine earlier.  After about an hour I unplugged it and lo-and-behold, everything started working fine again.  WTH?!  I plug it in, freezes.  Unplug, unfreezes.  That ain’t right.

I plug it into my wife’s windows laptop, works fine.  Oh this sucks.  Why the hell is Debian freezing solid when windows just hums along?  Well I did what I could and let windows scan/repair any bad sectors.  That took a few hours on a 1TB drive.  When done, plugged it back in to my Linux machine and all was good.  Stupid.

So I backed everything up (well, only missed a few things….ugh, nothing critical, but mildly annoying) then my system went screwy again.  Not related to the USB HDD this time….but my video.  After some attempts and a reboot, things were still not better.  Well screw it, I was thinking of reinstalling as I could find no help anywhere with this.  So, I downloaded Unbuntu 13.04 (because I wanted to test out Steam and games) and installed that.

Ubuntu installed fine and updates took quite a while (must remember not to allow updates during install….would save me an hour or two waiting! Updates can be done later.).  Everything went fine.  Got Steam installed and then Steam had some issues with me buying a game.  Figures. Still waiting to hear from them.  So while I was waiting, I grabbed a freebie game and played with that for a while.  Worked fine and having a bit of fun.

Now, Ubuntu uses a new ‘fancy’ desktop called Unity.  Unity up and crashed on me.  Oh great.  I was able to fix it without much difficulty.  Ok, so that happens.  But when it happens a 3rd time and I could not even get to my desktop at all, well screw that.  I switched over to Linux Mint (which uses a fork of Gnome2 for a desktop, no fancy graphics here now) and so far it’s been awesome.  I’m working on customizing my desktop to look pretty without being/needing fancy graphics to do so.  that’s all I really wanted any ways.


What I love about the Internet is the community that happens at times.  I posted my game code up for all to see and review and I received a lot of good feedback.  One guy, Bob, event went out of his way to help me understand classes and wrote up a basic structure for my style of game.

from collections import OrderedDict # for storing menus.

# adjust for Python 2 or 3
import sys
if sys.version[0] >= ‘3’:
getUserInput = input
getUserInput = raw_input

def main():
place = ‘road’ # starting place
while place:
place = places[place].enter()
if not place:
ans = getUserInput(‘enter yes if you want to play another round.’)
if ans == ‘yes’:
place = ‘road’

class Choice:
def __init__(self, prompt, next, description=None):
self.prompt = prompt
self.key = prompt.partition(‘ ‘)[0].lower() # get 1st word of prompt
self.description = description = next

class Place:
defaultChoice = Choice(”, ‘cycle’, “I don’t understand that!”)
def __init__(self, name, description): = name
self.description = description
self.choices = OrderedDict() = ”

def addChoice(self, choice):
key = choice.key
self.choices[key] = choice += choice.prompt + ‘\n’

def enter(self):
while True:
userChoice = getUserInput([:-1]).l

choice = self.choices.get(userChoice, self.defaultChoice)
if choice.description:
if != ‘cycle’:
return create the kingdom
places = {}place = Place(‘road’, ‘You are standing on a road. Nearby is a small house’)
place.addChoice(Choice(‘Enter the house’, ‘house’))
place.addChoice(Choice(‘South’, ‘road2’))
places[] = placeplace = Place(‘road2’, ‘You are standing on a road, surrounded by howling wolves.’)
place.addChoice(Choice(‘Run for your life’, ”, ‘outrun a wolf? ha!’))
places[] = placeplace = Place(‘house’, ‘You are in a small house. There are keys here. A stairway ascends.’)
place.addChoice(Choice(‘Climb the stairs’, ”, ‘your foot breaks a weak riser and you fall to your death’))
place.addChoice(Choice(‘Exit’, ‘road’, ‘you leave the house’))
places[] = place

main() # start the game

I tried running it and get an immediate error.
ImportError: cannot import name OrderedDict

Well, let me do some research into this and see if it’s just a Python version issue because in the code there is something about checking version and using different routines.

Python 2.6.6 (r266:84292, Dec 26 2010, 22:31:48)
[GCC 4.4.5] on linux2

Ah ha, the Docs on OrderedDict say new for version 2.7 whereas I seem to have version 2.6.  How odd though, I thought I was running 2.7 all this time.  Off to Google to find a link/how-to on this.

I found this link, which does include an automated script to do the update for you (this one compiles from source) but experience has shown that such things never turn out exact and I really can’t be bothered to spend hours and hours trying to figure out what went wrong.

Then I found this link, which suggests using a mix of Debian versions, which I know causes bad things to happen.  Besides, Debian Wheezy is now stable and as soon as I get an external HD, I’ll be backing everything up and upgrading my OS, which includes v2.7 of Python.  So, time to wait then I can try this code out.

I will say this though.  From what I read in the above code, I’m not convinced that it will be any easier to program.  It just doesn’t look/feel intuitive enough when trying to debug an error message that might come up.  That and it seems to scream ‘complication’ when the following is to be adhered to.

      The Zen of Python

    Beautiful is better than ugly.
    Explicit is better than implicit.
    Simple is better than complex.
    Complex is better than complicated.
    Flat is better than nested.
    Sparse is better than dense.
    Readability counts.
    Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules.
    Although practicality beats purity.
    Errors should never pass silently.
    Unless explicitly silenced.
    In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
    There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.
    Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch.
    Now is better than never.
    Although never is often better than *right* now.
    If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.
    If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
    Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!

Side Note: Why the hell is WordPress suggesting “Pink(singer)” for this post?!?! Also, they suggest ‘transportation’ for just about every, single post I have written for any of my blogs here after the publish phase.  What gives WordPress??  You desperate for some Transportation posts??

I’ve added a new page today(the other one was added last week in case you missed it).

Python Resources : Here I plan to continue adding resources as I find them.  I’ll do my best to make sure they are up to date and still around.  If you know of any others that aren’t listed, please feel free to let me know so I can add them.

Learning Python Reviews: This page is a mini-survey to help people evaluate the quality of courses offered for first time Python learners.  The total results of the survey are posted at the end of the survey but I’ll try to get them online on the Resource page as well to make use of them pro-actively.  For now, please consider taking the survey so the information can be used for the betterment of all.


While I have been playing with technology longer than more kiddies have been around, there are things I still don’t know/never got into.  This includes programming.  Sure, HTML is a type of programming but not in the sense that most current people think when they hear the word.  To this end, I have decided to take up programming.  One of the biggest questions that people like us have is ‘where do I start?’.  Do I start with C++, Python, Java or how about LegoScript(yes, there is such a thing)??

I recall reading somewhere that it really doesn’t matter where you start, so as you start.  I did a cursory search and decided upon Python.   It seemed a reasonable language to learn, nothing to hectic or exotic as far as terms and phrases that are used to both describe and utilized it.

I am currently on my 3rd attempt to learn it.  Why do I say 3rd, well because besides on deciding what to learn, how is just as important.  After a few failed attempts, I am currently following Learn Python The Hard Way website.  Sure has some tutorials, I even found some free PDF’s from O’Reilly Books but so far, this current website is working for me.  Heck, as far as I’m concerned, I have already learned more and better in the last 4 hours than I did in two days with the free books.  Here is a simply program that I wrote, my first 🙂

# Let's calculate how long it would take for me to get to 10,000 of programming

# represents total # of hours needed
master = 10000

# represents # of hours in a day of study
day = 24
awake = 12
forced = 4
personal = 2

# calculate # of days
mastery = master/day
practical_mastery = master/awake
forced_study = master/forced
interested = master/personal# print results
print "They say that to become a master it takes",master,"hours."
print "Mastery with no sleep would take",mastery,"days with no sleep."
print "Hard Practical Mastery would take",practical_mastery,"days at",awake,"hrs of study per day."
print "Real world, forced study Mastery would take",forced_study,"days at",forced,"hrs of study per day."
print "Personal interest study Mastery would take",interested,"days at",personal,"hrs of study per day."