The open spaces kill creativity

Written on 3 January 2017, 11:16am

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Two Medium posts sharing the view about the workplace productivity: the open spaces are only good for paying less rent.
They both refer mainly to IT jobs.

Most startups nowadays are obsessed with the open office environment, and it’s nearly impossible to find companies that do not implement this type of layout. They’ll claim it’s because they want an “open and transparent culture”, but if you know anything about the subject, you’ll know this is the worst possible setup for actual work, and doesn’t improve communication or culture.
Why I only work remotely

Did you know the average developer only get two hours of uninterrupted work done a day? They spend the other 6 hours in varying states of distraction.
But here’s what happens during the two hours they have to themselves. They warm up. They check logs, issues, and wrap their heads around what needs to be done.
They dive into the code. Their pupils dilate. They enter what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a “flow state.”
If you’ve ever been “in the groove” or “in the zone,” that’s what this is. A happy state of energized focus. Flow.

But employers, for the most part, don’t listen.
They continue to cram their teams together into noisy open plan offices.
They continue to pepper their teams’ days with meetings.
They expect their teams to be responsive to emails or Slack, further dashing hopes of ever reaching a flow state and getting some real work done.
Do you think Tolstoy could have written War and Peace in an open plan office?

Live asynchronously

The tools that I’m using #3

Written on 14 July 2016, 01:30pm

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It’s time for a new post about the tools that I’m using. See previous posts:

Naturally, most of the applications are still there, but there are some changes:


  1. Chrome
  2. Dropbox
  3. f.lux
  4. Logitech SetPoint
  5. MalwareBytes
  6. Avast
  7. WebShots
  8. KeyTweak

I removed from the list Skype, CrashPlan, WinRar, Avira.


  1. Sublime Text
  2. Total Commander
  3. OneNote
  4. Beyond Compare

I removed from the list Wamp, Putty, Win Merge


  1. VLC
  2. Neflix
  3. FastStone Editor
  4. FastPictureViewer

Image resizer, GomPlayer and µTorrent are gone.

Microsoft Outlook for iOS – pros and cons

Written on 26 January 2016, 03:20pm

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After one month and a half with GMail Inbox, I decided to try another iOS email app: Microsoft Outlook. Below the impressions.


1. Sometimes there is a mismatch between the real GMail inbox and what Outlook shows in its Inbox. It’s probably caused by the snoozed emails mechanism not working properly. I’ll explain: as the other GMail clients (Mailbox, Inbox gy GMail), Outlook snoozed the emails by moving them to a folder called ‘Scheduled’ (btw – ‘snoozed’ sounds much more intuitive than ‘scheduled’ and I’ll use this name below). But sometimes, when I schedule an email, Outlook only applies the label ‘Scheduled’ to the email, but it does not move it away from the inbox. Moreover, the email can no longer be found in Outlook: not in inbox, not in All mail, not in Scheduled; it can only be found if I run a search.
A glitch that will be probably be solved, but an annoying one.

2. Just like in Inbox by GMail, the snooze options are quite poor (few hours, this evening, tomorrow morning, manual choice); I cannot change the hour of the evening/morning, I cannot snooze to location (got used to this feature from Inbox by GMail)

3. The snoozed emails (in the Scheduled folder) are sorted in a way that I don’t understand and worse, I cannot change. I would like to see them sorted by the time they are supposed to come back in the inbox.

4. The interface is too cluttered for my taste. There is a lot of redundant/useless information:
I don’t need to see my email address on top of every interface, I don’t need the filters option to take up a whole line, I don’t need the number of conversations, I don’t need the ‘files’ and ‘people’ tabs. There should be toggles to show/hide these options, but apparently they don’t aim for a minimalist interface.

5. The system messages are shown in the bottom part, which is particularly annoying when you pull to refresh or when you are looking for the ‘Undo’ button.

6. Mismatch between number of emails shown in the folders count and in the actual folder view. See screenshot below, where Outlook reports 8 scheduled emails, but in fact there are only 5 scheduled conversations containing 11 emails.


1. Customizable swipes
2. Good calendar functionality (which is important, knowing that Sunrise will be sunset)
3. Dropbox integration
4. Nice looking font and folders menu
5. Easy to select emails (long press)
6. Undo functionality




Scheduled emails – different numbers:

Overall, Microsoft Outlook has a few nice features, it looks slightly better than GMail Inbox, but it still has a few bugs to squash and it does not seem to be designed for the minimalist people aiming for Inbox zero 🙂

Update, 2/2/2016: After more than two weeks of struggling with Outlook, I ultimately decided that it’s time to move on. I was annoyed with the way it handles the scheduled emails (leading to constant mismatch between Outlook and GMail inbox), the lack of customization and the slow pace.
So, time to move on to Spark. First impression is awesome 🙂