Category Archives: philosophy

My Top 5 Freeware Tools

It has been more a year of a long online silence since I wrote the last blog post. Pursuing MBA degree while working full-time in consulting turned out to be a lot more challenging and time-consuming than I originally expected. Nonetheless, the school courses are behind now and I am finally back to the world of blogosphere. To celebrate my comeback I wanted to share some of my favorite freeware software companions that were helping me for years automating my daily tasks, while asking nothing in return:

  • TrueCrypt – in the light of the latest spying revelations and increasing malware activities this utility allows you to encrypt your confidential data and mount them as drives in your computer (this product replaces now defunct PGPDisk, which back in the 90’s paved the encryption revolution)
  • 7-Zip or WinRAR – great archivers, which trump the compression quality and offer a decent AES-based archive encryption.
  • Far Manager – my all-time favorite file and ftp manager, which allows quick selective copying of vast amount of files with the powerful built-in editor. The manager is similar to Midnight Commander on Linux, but optimized for Windows and comes in 32 and 64 bit native flavours.
  • Flexible Renamer – amazing file renamer, which can help rename your countless music or image files, using their tags or rules based on regular expressions.
  • ID3 Renamer – coupled with the Flexible Renamer, this utility allows you easily create or change ID3 tags based on the file names while using regular expressions. Perfect addition for iTunes and other music players, which heavily rely on the media tags.

And the last outside addition to that list – WinAmp – which deserves one last shout out as my all-time favorite music player. An amazingly light and versatile player, which unfortunately AOL team decided to discontinue despite its popularity and loyal customer base.

Village School

Structured Procrastination and Perfectionism

Yes, I’m a procrastinator. Thing that I would never admit about myself just a couple of years ago, but as you grow older and more self aware, you start accepting certain aspects of your life and own behavior, regardless of how imperfect they are. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that there is absolutely nothing should be done about this, and acceptance is the only form of dealing with reality.

Almost ten years ago, when I was still fresh out of the university, sitting at work on a surprisingly sunny afternoon for Belgium, aimlessly browsing internet trying to get distracted from loads of not finished work, a colleague and a friend of mine, Solodon, stopped by my desk and told me that I absolutely must read one essay. I finished it in a couple of minutes, re-reading it over and over again after, catching more details each time. Just a couple of pages long, a truly amazing masterpiece, very humorous and easy reading essay was written by Stanford professor of philosophy, John Perry “Structured Procrastination”. The essay, which in a very playful entertaining way, suddenly opened my eyes and revealed hidden pattern of my own behavior, which my stubborn and lazy mind was trying to hide away.

And here I am, many years later, on another sunny afternoon only this time in Toronto, just like the author in his original work writing this blog post instead of doing other probably more important things, subconsciously trying to escape other tasks piling up on my desk and in my inbox. And for the same main reason – striving for perfection and postponing execution of other tasks, just so they can be done later, with desired level of attention and feeling of self accomplishment. Topic, which John Perry greatly outlined in his later essay “Procrastination and Perfectionism”.

…Why am I finally doing it? Because I finally found some uncommitted time? Wrong. I have papers to grade, textbook orders to fill out, an NSF proposal to referee, dissertation drafts to read. I am working on this essay as a way of not doing all of those things. This is the essence of what I call structured procrastination, an amazing strategy I have discovered that converts procrastinators into effective human beings…