I've written before about the importance of playing a computer like an instrument. Employing many small efficiency tips on a laptop will add up to copious amounts of time over the span of a year (let alone the span of your working life in front of a computer!) I've calculated that playing a computer as an instrument can literally create one week (about 40 hours) each year in efficiency gains. So learn these tricks and then take an extra week of vacation!
Now, to quantify a standard against which we can benchmark people's skill at playing a computer like an instrument, I'm challenging anyone to beat me in the F1 GeekSpeed Challenge.
Here's how it works:
Here's the leaderboard so far:
Other non-qualifying submissions:
Here are the instructions
(you might want to print these out so you can follow them more easily):
1. Start recording your desktop (you can use iShowu on the Mac or a similar screencast program on the PC)
2. Open any browser
3. Open the following websites in 3 separate tabs:
4. Open the following website in a new window:
5. Go back to the tab that has www.google.com. Close it.
6. Open any text editor. Create a file called "findme" (.txt or .doc etc - anything is fine). Write the following text:
"Let's see if I can win this awesome challenge."
Then edit the text to say:
"I'm sure I can win this awesome challenge. My video will be the shortest of them all."
7. Save it in your documents folder.
8. Quit all your open applications
9. Find the document you just made in the your finder (or explorer if you're using Windows). Click on it once to highlight it. (you don't need to open it.)
10. Open a mail client (or gmail, etc.). Compose an email to "[email protected]"
11. Attach the file you made. Write the text:
Here is the file I made. Did I win?"
Attach the file you made to the email.
12. Send the email.
13. Stop the screencast (this is still part of the competition!)
Then, post it to Vimeo or YouTube. The length of the video will be your official time. Send me the URL to the video along with your full name. I'll put you on the leaderboard based on your time.
Congrats to Austin Wood for absolutely destroying the previous record! He just came in with a time of 0:31. I'm not sure that's even beatable!
Oh it's definitely beatable :) I'll explain why. I applied two tactics that anyone else could reapply to improve upon my time.
First, I studied each video that was posted. I was mainly looking for a) what tricks did they use that I don't already implement and 2) what were their biggest weaknesses that I can improve on. By compounding all these small things in each video you can get pretty far. The main weakness I found was the first step of opening the three tabs, hence why I thought of saving the three tabs as a folder of bookmarks.
Secondly, if we're going to play a computer like a musical instrument we should practice a computer like a musical instrument. I therefore practiced this sequence just like I used to practice the viola back in high school. Measure by measure, starting with the last step and adding one step before that after the segment felt second nature. I know 0:31 is beatable, but I don't think anyone can beat it without investing at least 30-60 minutes of practice.
My time is definitely beatable because if you watch my video there is one gaping flaw: Gmail took forever to load! (relatively, that is, to the rest of the tasks being performed). I think that someone could beat this time by doing everything I did plus using a native mail app.
Thanks for this fun challenge, @DROdio!
Yeah I noticed too that Gmail took a bit. But then again, it always seems to.
Very impressive, man. Tell me more about yourself -- what do you do, where do you work, etc. How can I help you be more successful in any of your goals?
I used to be a research physicist, now I'm a freelance English teacher in Moscow. You already helped me out quite a bit with the SETT invite, I really appreciate that, thanks! My latest big goal is releasing my first digital product - an online course for native Russian speakers to improve their English pronunciation. I'll let you know if there's anyway I can take advantage of your offer, but as for now, I'd just ask you to keep putting out great and inspirational content on your blog. I only recently found you but you can bet I'll be sticking around.
Awesome, man. Hope things go well for you. You'd probably love Tynan's blog as well, if you haven't already seen it. He's an intrepid traveler.
WOW. I was going to have a go at this because I thought I was fast and then saw Austin's youtube video... guess I got a long ways to go! ;-)
Nice work, all! (and Drodio... great idea!)
Brad, you should definitely give it a try!
You can only improve what you can measure, so getting a baseline time down is worthwhile, no matter what that time ends up being.
Thanks, Daniel. Twisted my arm ;-)
I went for it... and realized my 2009 MacBook simply isnt up to par, which is coming from an angle different than the keyboard point above, because despite a bit of loss in speed, I still make art on this ol' beast ;-).
Pushing 1:30, and the improvements I could rock would be 'textexpander', a bit more practice, and of couse shaving 50% off loading times (browser/applications) with a 2013 MacBook... hmm... tempting ;-)
Send me the YouTube video and I'll post it as an official time (if you'd like).
At the very least, knowing that your hardware is holding you back is a nice side benefit of running through the exercise!
whaaaat? that's like saying that your ability to think faster depends on the kind of hat you're wearing!
a lot of it depends on the keyboard the person uses
Yuriy rocks the GeekSpeed Challenge, nabbing #1 spot at 44 seconds!
Yuriy wrote, "My first attempt without any preparation was 1:56. After adding the texts to the ClipMenu I've managed to get it down to 43 seconds. I think there is room to improve though."
I'm going to attempt it again to see if I can reclaim the #1 spot -- for now, Yuriy, it's yours, congrats!
Email from someone who tried his had at the GeekSpeed Challenge:
Keep working at it!!!
First off- my apologies for not attaching the file.
Secondarily- You win hands down:
Daniel Odio, AppMakr - 0:45 - 3/7/11 (previously 2:06 - 11/2/10 and 0:50 - 11/6/10)
I completed the F1 Geek Challenge with a very poor performance time of 4min and 46 sec..
Kudos to Jouhan for showing me http://www.clipmenu.com/ , a very cool multiple copy & paste freeware app.
Most everyone uses a computer. But a few of us, well, we play a computer like an instrument.
If you're on a computer for 10+ hours per day, this blog is for you.
By "instrument" I mean we know the in's & out's of the device. We know how to eek out maximum performance from it. We're the people who others just look at in wonder when our keys fly across the keyboard.
If you've ever found it excruciatingly painful watching others use a computer because of how slow the person is, then you know what I'm talking about.
These are just my tips, but really, I'm writing this because I want to know about your tips. I want to know what saves you time and makes you more productive. So please post comments below.
"What gets measured, gets managed." - Peter Drucker
There is so much power in this quote. If you've never tracked yourself, you don't even know how much power there is in tracking. I couldn't even explain it adequately. You wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was exaggerating. The simple act of paying attention to something will cause you to make connections you never did before, and you'll improve the those areas - almost without any extra effort.
I'm not a believer in "free lunch" and I don't think the universe vibrates things to you just by thinking about them. But the closest thing to a free lunch getting vibrated to you by the universe is writing things down as they happen.
Before I go any further, I need to give you one piece of advice - start small and build up, so you don't overwhelm yourself. This is just being pragmatic. You want to scale up gradually, as I wrote up in "The Evolution of My Time/Habit/Life Tracking." You want to build small wins, lock them so they become automatic, and then expand.
I'd have a hard time convincing you of the power of tracking, so I'll just show you. I fill this out every single day.