Hats off: a whole week with only one tab open at a time

Love it. Some people at Fast Company had a go at using only one browser tab at a time – for a whole week.

The premise behind this challenge is that multitasking rarely works–yes, we can walk and talk at the same time, but when we’re quickly shifting between email, filling out spreadsheets, and checking our Twitter, all we’re actually doing is juggling tasks, and this just kills our focus and makes work take longer.

The outcome?

Sometimes it makes more sense to focus on one task (and however many tabs you need open to do that one task) rather than rigidly sticking to the one-tab rule. Because this:

Open Twitter.  Think "crap, I need the story link."  Close Twitter, open article page.  Copy link.  Close article, open Twitter.

But all in all, single-tasking can be very productive and rewarding:

“It was SO refreshing to have just one thing to do…I was actually having creative ideas (something that usually doesn’t happen in the middle of the work day). It made me realize I need to take more opportunities to single-task.”

In my experience, single-tasking and actually getting something done before the end of the day gave me this exhilarating feeling of accomplishment.

The post is worth a read.

It includes this video of Gina Trapani explaining why multi-tasking doesn’t work for work.


The ‘evils of multi-tasking’ is something of a theme for New Zealand agile coach Sandy Mamoli who has been tackling some new ways of working with TradeMe’s Tech department. She is a fan of using Personal KanBan and Portfolio Kanban to help people focus on the task at hand and finish it before moving on to the next.

When we introduced Scrum and Kanban to our teams the most loved addition to our way of working were visual workspaces.

We found it tremendously helpful to make our tasks visible though post-it notes, to visualise our workflow and to make sure that we didn’t do too many things at the same time. With the visual task wall, the so-called team Kanban board, everyone knew how close we were to our goals, what still needed to be done and who was working on which task.

But as not everyone works on only one project – some people work across several project teams, others work predominantly by themselves – we started to think about how we could transfer the benefits of the shared visual board to our individual todo lists and people’s personal workflows.

This, in combination with our newfound love for the agile idea to finish one task before starting a new one, led us to create personal Kanban boards.

Note: I multi-tasked while writing this post. It just sort of happened. Must try harder.

Bookmarks for October 8, 2014

NZ statistics due for release in October 2014

You can expect to see the following statistics released by StatsNZ in the month of October 2014. You can find this table on the Release Calendar.


Kudos to nzherald for embedding source documents in stories

I’ve been pleasantly surprised to notice nzherald.co.nz increasingly embedding source documents within stories.

Perhaps this good practice has just finally made it into everyday workflows or perhaps the impetus is coming from the Herald’s newish data editor Harkanwal Singh, who is a highly motivated champion of data journalism and digital users. Either way, well done and thank you.

There was an example this morning in the Bennett rolls out ‘investment approach’ story, which references an issues paper put out by the Productivity Commission asking for public input on how to improve public sector services.

The Herald used DocumentCloud to embed the Productivity Commission issues paper in the story so you could check details or read it through right there and then. It looks like this in the story:


Points also awarded for providing a link to the Productivity Commission website, which is where the public can make submissions on the issues paper. It’s nice to see news orgs finally linking out to other sites in service of their readers.

I’m withholding bonus points, however, since the story didn’t link to the relevant page on the Productivity Commission website. It would have been great too if it had mentioned the deadline for public submissions and linked to the page where you can subscribe to updates. You know, in a ‘news you can use’ kind of way.

Issues Paper | Press Release | How to Make a Submission | Subscribe to Updates on Process

18 November 2014:  Due date for submissions on Issues paper |  Add to iCal
March 2015:  Draft report released for submissions
30 June 2015:  Final report due to Government

Another recent example of embedding source documents was in the Kiwis want more action on child poverty but not higher taxes story by Simon Collins. The MMResearch Report referred to was embedded. Extra points for describing in the story how the research was conducted and its margin of error.

There have been many more examples lately, and increasingly in business stories too. Long may it continue.

How to add macrons to Māori words


Macrons are the little lines on top of a vowel that indicate it should be pronounced LONG rather than short.  If you’re not sure where to use macrons when typing Māori, try the Māori Dictionary (there’s also an app).

Below are a few ways of adding macrons to Māori words on your keyboard.

  1. Newer Macs
  2. Windows 7 or later
  3. Older PCs
  4. Older Macs

1. Newer Macs

Hold down the letter on your keyboard and a little menu will appear with all possible accents/macron. It looks like this:

Accents & Macron

Type in the number of (or click on) the accent/macron you want.

If you would prefer to use OPTION-letter as a shortcut instead, see the instructions for Older Macs further down in the post.

2. Windows 7 or later

The Māori keyboard is built in but, as I understand it, you need to enable the keyboard:

Control Panel>Clock, Language, and Region> Keyboards and Languages>Change Keyboard>Add Input Language> Maori (New Zealand)>Add>Apply. Check bottom right of screen to see if the keyboard has been enabled. It will show as MR (see below).

Once you’ve enabled the keyboard, type a backtick ` before the vowel that needs a macron. So `a will give you ā.

The keyboard should stay enabled until and unless you select another.

1. Control Panel>Clock, Language, and Region>Change Keyboards


2. Change keyboards


3. Select Māori (New Zealand)>Keyboard>Māori>Click OK


4. Select MR Māori (New Zealand) and click on Apply


5. Check keyboard is enabled


6. Type a backtick ` before the vowel that needs a macron. So `a will give you ā.

3. Older PCs

Check out the advice on kupu.maori.nz.

4. Older Macs

I went about setting up the Māori keyboard on my Macbook in an old-school kind of way which lets me use OPTION-letter to add a macron. This shortcut seems to work best for me – perhaps because it’s the first I tried or because it’s close to shortcuts I use in other programs.

  1. Add the Māori keyboard in Systems Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources
  2. Select Māori keyboard in Menu Bar
  3. Hold down Option when you type the letter you want a macron on, or type ` before the letter

Screenshots taken when running OS X 10.9.4

1. Go to Systems Preferences


2. Click on Keyboard


3. Choose Input Sources and click on + at bottom left of screen


4. Select Māori from dropdown menu and click on Add


5. Click on little flag icon in Menu Bar and select Māori.



6. Type OPTION-vowel to put a macron over a vowel. So OPTION-a gives you ā.

If you see anything I’ve got wrong here, please let me know in the comments. I’ll be eternally grateful.

You might also want to check out:



Bookmarks for September 14, 2014

Bookmarks for September 3, 2014


Say hello to Ugly River, our newest official name

Browsing the NZ Gazette, the government’s official newspaper, last week I came across a parcel of new official geographic names being approved and one or two discontinued.

This happens fairly often as it turns out and this Land Information New Zealand page is a good place to get a heads-up.  There’s plenty of detail too on the naming process, including a checklist for proposing a name and a flowchart describing the process.

All the names of all the New Zealand places (as in mountains and lakes but not as in street names) are held in the:

New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names

Official names are approved, discontinued or altered by the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB).

Among the 66 freshly approved geographic names announced in the gazette last week were:

Burial Point                                      Point
Ligar Bay                                           Bay
Limestone Bay                                 Bay
Takapou                                            Locality
Tata Islands                                     Island
Deception Creek                             River


Blue Shirt Creek                              Stream
Bluffy Creek                                     Stream
Caldervale                                         Locality
Deception Creek                              Stream
Gunner River                                   Stream
Heaphy Bluff                                    Cliff
Horrible Creek                               Stream


Last but not least was Ugly River, a Stream. Welcome, Ugly River!


The board has opened another 18 name change proposals – some of which relate to the area around Miranda Hot Springs – for consultation:




Assign a new name:

  • Pūkorokoro Hot Springs – to an unnamed feature known as ‘Miranda Hot Springs';

Alter existing official or recorded names:

  • Pūkorokoro Hill – from ‘Pukorokoro’ (recorded);
  • Pūkorokoro / Miranda (locality) – from ‘Miranda’ (recorded);
  • Pūkorokoro Stream – from ‘Pukorokoro Stream’ (recorded);
  • Waiotahe (locality) – from ‘Waiotahi’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Beach – from ‘Waiotahi Beach’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Beach (locality) – from ‘Waiotahi Beach’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Estuary Scenic Reserve – from ‘Waiotahi Estuary Scenic Reserve’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Forest – from ‘Waiotahi Forest’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Knoll – from ‘Waiotahi Knoll’ (undersea recorded);
  • Waiotahe River – from ‘Waiotahi River’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Rock – from ‘Waiotahi Rock’ (undersea recorded);
  • Waiotahe Scenic Reserve – from ‘Waiotahi Scenic Reserve’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Spit Historic Reserve – from ‘Waiotahi Spit Historic Reserve’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Spit Scenic Reserve – from ‘Waiotahi Spit Scenic Reserve’ (official);
  • Waiotahe Valley (locality) – from ‘Waiotahi Valley’ (official);
  • Te Ramaroa / Mackays Crossing (locality) – from ‘Mackays Crossing’ (recorded).

Discontinue names:

  • Miranda Hot Springs (locality) – for a locality that does not exist.

Any member of the public can make a submission either in support of, or objecting to, these proposals.

Submissions can be made in writing to the Secretary for the New Zealand Geographic Board, via the online forms, or to nzgbsubmissions@linz.govt.nz.

The deadline for submissions is 28 November 2014. Add to GCal or iCal from here.