True Detective

TD1

I am not normally a fan of TV crime dramas as they tend to be formulaic or pretty predictable so I was hesitant in buying HBO’s 8-part series, True Detective, however when I heard someone say it was ‘deep and dark’ I thought I would take a chance.
And what a choice! This is by and far one of the best things I have seen on the small screen in a long time. I watch my TV series by buying the box sets rather than as they are broadcast and I was torn between racing through this and drawing it out as I knew this was a self-contained 8-part story. This was the first time I got to the end and immediately wanted to watch it again from the start.
So why is this so great? Well, firstly Matthew McConaughey. The character of Rusty Cohle and McConaughey’s portrayal of it is mesmerising. You cannot take your eyes off him and in particular, McConaughey’s 1995 Cohle and his monologues are particularly beak, monotone but absolutely hypnotising. All the performances in the series are very good without any resorting to stereotype (except maybe the police captain) and we are left with an unpredictable and nuanced cast of characters.
While McConaughey soaks up your watching, the cinematography comes a close second to stealing the show. Every wide shot is worthy of being a painting with wonderful washed out colours that also taints all the closer shots. This really is an absolute feast for the eyes and the quality of the cast is reflected in the story and script. It is so well constructed that the characters and underlying themes are just as important as the whodunit element.
If you have not seen this yet, you will not be disappointed so get out and watch it.

How I work – Scott Kuperus

How I work

A long time ago on a blog far, far away (and now long gone), I wrote a post how I used my Moleskine notebooks to track my notes and to-dos all religiously following the edicts of Getting Things Done. This all achieved with some marker pens and sticky tabs. While that worked reasonably well, it has not been until now that I have become truly happy and productive with my kit set-up, apps and methods for working. In the spirit of sharing (no yawning at the back), I am going to try and put together a couple of posts that you may find interesting and even useful on various apps, tips and what I think can improve my productivity. To this end, and by way of an introduction, this post is an overview in a similar format to the Way I Work series over on Lifehacker. So, without further ado…

How I work – Scott Kuperus

The Royal Mint is the world’s leading export mint, making coins and medals for an average of 60 countries every year. However, its first responsibility is to make and distribute the UK’s coins.

Location: Cardiff, United Kingdom
Current Gig: Technical Manager, Royal Mint
One word that best describes how you work: Techie
Current mobile device: iPhone 5S
Current computer: MacBook Pro Retina, 15″ and iMac 27”

First of all, can you tell us a little about your role at the Royal Mint?
My responsibilities as Technical Manager have borne out of my time as leading the New Product Introduction department. I am currently part of the project team developing and introducing the new £1 coin in the UK, heading up the technical design and introduction of the new coin.
My other main responsibility is for technical advice and analysis of coin counterfeiting. This is mainly the preparation of expert witness statements and court testimony but also the intelligence gathering and assistance to law enforcement against counterfeiting.

What apps, software, and tools can’t you live without?
Evernote – I am a Premium subscriber and I use it as my digital filing cabinet so I have all my reference material to hand wherever I am and more importantly, with whatever device. Hotel bookings and flight details are all stored off-line so I am guaranteed access, through to meeting reference material, linked to a meeting note.
Pocket – I could use Evernote to store what I want to read but I prefer to dump everthing to read into Pocket and if I want to keep it, file it into Evernote.
Google Drive – The main reason that I think USB thumb drives are obsolete. Google Drive is integrated with my devices and I can use it online and off and is no longer an ‘invisible thumb drive’ but the main storage on my devices.

What’s your workspace setup like?
I’ve recently moved offices but I’ve adopted a similar workspace, loosely following GTD’s principles. I have a single in-tray on my desk that everything goes into and that I try to keep empty with no papers kept on my desk. I have and a-z of hanging files in a drawer under my desk for the quick reference and miscellaneous type papers. All other documents are filed in large folders for each project/area.
I have a labeller and cardboard files (thanks, Mr Allen) that keep it all uniform and tidy. oh, and I still have my trusty Moleskine.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
I tend not to use subject dividers in files. File it all chronologically rather than subdividing a project into subjects. It is a more natural system that is easier to retrieve from and file everything; make it more diary or logbook like.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Oh, I have tried them all. I am currently, and happily now, using Todoist. It is slick and has just the right amount of functionality without being too simplistic or, on the other hand, bloated. It also looks very modern and appealing which I do think is important for an app you use heavily.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadgets can’t you live without and why?
My Kindle paperwhite. I put off and put off getting a Kindle because I loved real books so much but I eventually relented and haven’t looked back. I think you even end up reading more/faster with a Kindle.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
Movie knowledge! That’s it though.

What do you listen to while you work?
Classical or rock or anything in between. I am pretty eclectic in my tastes.

What are you currently reading?
I always have some fiction on the go. At the moment I have just started Stephen King’s, Revival.
On the non-fiction side, I am reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of highly Effective People. I know, I am a bit behind the times there. I am also reading, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I am an introvert in the sense I am perfectly happy with my own company but in company, I don’t tend to be the quiet one at the back.

What’s your sleep routine like?
I used to go to bed very late and read, getting about 5 or 6 hours sleep a night, but recently I have been trying to change that and get to bed earlier as I feel much better for it in the morning. The only problem is that there is so much to do and it feels like I am missing out on that time.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Alistair Campbell

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
If an email or letter upsets you, do not respond straight away. Put it in your desk drawer and wait 24hours. Guarateed you will respond differently. Mike Davies, the director of the first company I worked for.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?
I put together a short guide on my tips for email at work that I have edited and posted on here a while back. You may want to check it out here.

Undress me

tatia

Following on from my earlier post by Tatia Pilieva showing the charm and awkwardness of a first kiss, here is a follow-up called, Undress Me. I know all the stories about the subjects being actors but just take this on face value and enjoy more awkwardness.

Starting a journal

dayone_image

It’s well known that keeping a journal can improve your emotional well-being and even personal success. Despite many influential people keeping diaries and numerous articles saying why you should keep a journal, I’ve had a few false starts and never managed to stay the course. I’m going to give it another go but from a different angle and with new tools.

I’m regularly frustrated at work but people who can say, “Well, on the 13th of January there was a phone call…..”. I’ve never had a good memory for such time markers and more of a detail and concept type. To this end I will focus my journal as a professional effort to try and compensate this weakness. Secondly, I will use the Day One app. This is now on my computers but more importantly, on my phone so I can make additions as they happen. The Day One app is also very elegant and hopefully will be a pleasure to write in.

All this needs discipline and similar to what Katie Floyd says, I will be applying this journalling into my GTD practices. I will report back my findings on journalling and if well, the Day One app. Any thoughts or tips, let me know in the comments.

Work in progress

Work in ProgressAs you can see (if you’ve been here before!) that the appearance is somewhat different. Well, I am in process of redesigning the who feel of this site. Now I know that good practice should be to complete the redesign before going live but I am going to make this a work in progress otherwise it would never happen as I get overly critical.

I had hoped to complete this rather discreetly over a couple of days but it will be longer than that due to other commitments, hence this post asking for a little patience. This site will always be a work in progress but I hope that this major upgrade will be a new start and have lots of shiny new bells and whistles. So, in the meantime there will be a few visual and structural changes as we go and the usual functionality will come back – with improvements.

Keep coming back to this page where the posts (hopefully more regular) will still appear in some format and I will post once the major changes are complete and you can make comment.

See you on the other side!