Eric’s RepStrap 3D Printer Trainer

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
I saw my first 3D printer almost 8 years ago and I blogged about it calling it "The Ultimate PC Accessory". In the years since, I've watched with excitement as the prices for assembled machines tumbled and as the build-it-yourself self-replicating "RepRap" movement led by  Adrian Bowyer emerged.

What excites me about this, aside from the possibilities of robotics and additive manufacturing, is the grass roots nature of the 3D printing community. It reminds me of my early start with home built computers.

A few months ago, I got to play with a MakerBot at a client's office. I was hooked. So, I set out to build myself a "3D Printer Trainer" using whatever parts I had on hand; this is referred to as building a "RepStrap".
Eric's RepStrap 3D Printer In Progress 4-17-2013
I began to build my RepStrap 3D printer from scratch using as few purchased components as possible -- no specific plans or kits, just inspiration from many creative people and designs on the internet. Many of the parts are overkill or the wrong size but the RepStrap concept gives me the freedom to do that. I'm not too concerned about precision or build volume right now.  I just want it to move on my command.

Once the hardware is complete, I intend to use it to teach myself the entire 3D printing workflow and tool chain -- from concept to design to configuration to print. Then, when I have some actual experience under my belt -- and more time -- I will take it all apart and start fresh with a new and improved design. I have only had a few hours each week to invest in this project but you can see that it is already starting to take shape.

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While some know of David Allen by his book or seminars, I've had the good fortune to get to know David personally and be coached by him. I worked for David for many years and in that time, he has become a friend, mentor and colleague. I know his approach to personal productivity works and I can testify that he practices what he preaches about productivity.

At its core, his message is not a difficult one. It goes like this: 1) Get things off your mind, 2) Make a list of your outcomes and actions, 3) Organize these appropriately, 4) Review your lists, and 5) Make informed choices about what to do (or not do). Putting these things into practice and making them a habit takes some effort. (David and I even collaborated on cool software that makes this easy for users of IBM collaboration solutions.)

Like an iceberg, there's more below the surface and there's a lot of deep thinking that has gone into how to communicate the power that comes from these principles. Long before this approach became known around the world as his "Getting Things Done" (GTD) methodology David was teaching and refining the same model with clients. I've been listening to David's presentations on productivity and getting things done for 20 years (I even coproduced his first GTD cassette album which tells you how long ago that was). Yet, I never tire of hearing David speak. In fact, each time I listen I pick up something new that I can apply in my own life.

While the essence of GTD hasn't changed substantially, David's presentation continues to be refined with an emphasis on clarity, application and motivation. I'm continually amazed at the clarity that David brings to his message of what it takes to get things done and this TEDx presentation is no exception. Even if you are familiar with or practice the GTD approach, you'll be inspired by David's recent presentation at Claremont College.


FedEx delivered the new iPad today; however, it's still in the shrink wrap. I've promised myself that I would get my eProductivity inboxes processed before I played with the new tablet. (Which is why I'm blogging, right?)

The last time I was in this situation was almost 7 years ago when I was getting ready to unbox my first tablet pc. I eventually did the unboxing the next day and recorded a podcast. We had a lot of fun with that, back when Tablet PCs were 7 pounds and would run for 3 hours (maybe) on a charge.

Now, in the "Post PC era" as Apple calls it, a tablet is light and thin and dare I say "simply amaaaazing". Anyway, time to tidy up here and get ready for the unboxing with a friend who also purchased a new iPad. My focus with the iPad will be on integration with Lotus Notes and other productivity apps as tools for GTD and high performance knowledge work. I look forward to this next adventure.

GTD Meetup at The Master’s College

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
This morning I was invited to be a guest speaker at a GTD meetup at The Master's College in Santa Clarita. A group of professionals have been studying David Allen's book, Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity, for the past year and asked if I would be willing to host a GTD Q&A session.  
20120306 - GTDQandAatTMC.jpg

I shared a 5 minute overview of the GTD methodology then took questions. There were a lot of excellent questions about managing lists, what tools to use, and how to work across disparate systems.

The new Legacy Center is an impressive meeting venue. While I teach two classes on campus, I've not spent much time there. What a beautiful facility; it's hard not to feel scholarly.

I consider it a privilege to share what I have learned with a fine group of people dedicated to developing the next generation of students. I wish I had been taught the skills of high performance knowledge work when I was a young student. I'm delighted to help those who are investing in the lives of the next generation and I look forward to the next opportunity to do so.
Nick Milton does a great job answering this question:
How to build a KM strategy, in less than 50 words
Decide what knowledge is vital for the organization (A)
Find out who needs that knowledge (B)
Find out where that knowledge is now (and if it doesn’t exist, where it will come from) (C)
Work out how to get A to B from C
· Routinely
· Systematically
· Effectively
· Efficiently

As one commenter mentioned, it's important, when determining the knowledge vital to the organization, that consideration be given to where the organization wants to be.

Source: Nick Milton

Thinking about becoming a programmer?

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

As a recovering programmer who cut his teeth on mark sense cards and punched tape, I'm amused by this rap young programmers - complete the jabs at diskettes and modems. As a young programmer, we didn't have YouTube to share our joy of programming, but we had plenty of paper tape, punched cards, and modem connected BBS networks. For kicks, we used to see how many computer operators we could fit inside the mainframe chassis or drop a scarifical stack of punched cards from a stressed out student. Those were the days.

Via Lisa Duke

Take the 14 day GTD Challenge and Get More Done

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

The folks over at GTD Times recently announced a 14-day GTD Challenge, designed to help folks take their productivity to a whole new level. The event is free and will be hosted in the GTD Connect community.

The free event kicks off Thursday, September 22 with the first of two webinars by Kelly Forrister and Meg Edwards - both are senior presenters with the David Allen Company. As a side note: I've worked with Kelly for close to 20 years and Meg was one of my personal GTD coaches (Thanks, Meg!) Even if you are experienced at getting things done, this is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen your skills.

I like the idea of the 14-day challenge. I think it's a great idea and anyone that participates is sure to benefit greatly. I've decided to offer a series of free webinars in tandem with the above 14-day GTD challenge to help people that use Lotus Notes apply what they are learning in Kelly and Meg's webinar to the Lotus Notes environment. I'll share how I use these tools and I'll provide the opportunity for people to ask questions. I'll have a drawing for a few software licenses to attendees and I'll even do a drawing for two free eProductivity Jumpstart coaching sessions as a thank you for people who help spread the news about the event. (See below)

You can learn more over on the Notes On Productivity Blog.

Would you help me tell others about this opportunity?
If you have a productivity community (GTD, or eProductivity, or anything else) please consider making a post and pointing folks to my Notes On Productivity Blog. I'll be using that site to post updates and then direct people to other resources as appropriate.

Thanks!

Eric