Tipping the valet parking guy

It’s probably just me, but tipping the valet parking guy always feels like paying ransom to get my car back.

Gratitude helps shut down distractions during meditation

I had to get away from it for a while, so I forgot how good the book Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas is. I tend to be more interested in the science behind mindfulness and meditation (as opposed to specific religions and their rituals), and as a result, from my own practice I can confirm the last sentence in this paragraph from that book. (See the attached image.)

Depending on the day, and especially the time of day, the first 5-10 minutes of any meditation session are the hardest for me, because it takes a while to get my mind to settle down. Since I learned this practice, I do settle down more quickly.

There’s also a phrase I read in the book Turning The Mind Into An Ally that is very helpful. As you’re getting ready to meditate, explicitly say out loud to yourself, “And now I am placing my mind upon the breath.” This helps set your intention and your focus, and I also find it calming.

On a related note, it helps me to put a time limit on this last statement, so I say something like, “For just the next 30 minutes, I will focus my mind upon the breath,” something like that. It’s almost like my brain hears that and calms down, thinking, “Oh, okay, I can begin worrying about everything again in 31 minutes. So I’m good, go ahead and start meditating.”

When writing, keep butt in chair alvin October 29, 2014 - 9:12am

One of five tips on writing in journalism, from this article.

iTunes tip - How to create a playlist of your favorite iTunes songs alvin July 2, 2009 - 8:58am

Problem: You want to create an iTunes playlist of all your favorite songs. You've rated all your songs using the Rating field in your main iTunes Library, but you don't know how to turn all these song ratings into a great playlist.

Ant tip: How to dynamically add all your jar files to your classpath alvin August 11, 2008 - 4:32pm

Here's some sample code you can use in your Ant build scripts to add all the jar files in a directory tree (typically your lib directory) to define a classpath for your Ant build/compile task:

How to use anonymous CVS to access a CVS repository

I can never remember the command-line syntax to access a remote CVS repository via anayonymous CVS access, so just as a reminder to myself, here are the commands I used recently to access an OpenBSD CVS repository:

Show the method signature with control-space keystroke

Using Eclipse, if your cursor is positioned in between the parentheses of a method call, the [Control][Spacebar] keystroke will show you the signature of the method, i.e., the parameters that the method accepts. I just read where the documentation shows that you should use the [Control][Shift][Spacebar] keystroke to see method parameters, but I've found that [Control][Spacebar] works fine for me.

AppleScript tip: script a program that isn't scriptable

If you ever want/need to use AppleScript to drive another program that doesn't have AppleScript support, there are a few things you can do. Here's a snippet of code where I'm opening new tabs in Safari, and typing text into the location field: