Striving for greatness

The life and times of a Gentoo developer and leader

Archive for April 2008

Command popularity contest

This meme on popular commands seems pretty interesting. I’m normally not into this stuff, so here goes.

donnie@comet $ history|awk ‘{a[$2]++} END{for(i in a){printf “%5d\t%s \n”,a[i],i}}’|sort -rn|head
61    ls
36    cd
35    sudo
33    nano
28    grep
24    e
23    qlist
15    man
15    git
14    cmake

Despite what you might expect, cmake has nothing to do with the build system. I had it set up before I’d ever heard of that cmake. To make sense of the above, you’ll need to see a couple of aliases.

donnie@comet $ type cmake
cmake is aliased to `PATH=”/usr/lib/ccache/bin:${PATH}” make’
donnie@comet $ type e
e is aliased to `pquery –raw -n -v –attr=license’

You can see that cmake is for when I want to compile stuff faster using ccache, and e is for searching through packages using pkgcore. Also, nearly every time I run sudo it’s because I’m emerging (installing) a package. The qlist command is for querying installed packages. In all, I spend a whole lot of time dealing with packages, which isn’t terribly surprising since I’m a distro packager.

You can also tell that I spend a lot of time reading documentation and searching for information from my use of man and grep.

Nowadays all my projects are maintained in git with the exception of a few Gentoo repositories. People have been writing about how great it is all over the place lately, so I’m not going to talk it up any more. When I make quick changes in these projects or any other files, I generally use the nano editor. For more involved sessions, I’m gravitating more and more toward emacs since starting to use it for its amazing XML editing mode called nxml-mode.

Please let me know whether you got a bit more value out of this meme post than some other ones because of the explanations that accompany it.

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 15, 2008 at 11:35 pm

Posted in Blog

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How to win friends and influence people

Recently I mentioned Paul Graham’s essay on how to disagree, which described types of disagreement. This post will instead really tell you how to disagree without making enemies, and more generally how to get along well with people.

Here’s a summary of Dale Carnegie’s outstanding book (with the same title as this post), which has been a top-selling communications book for the past 70 years. These techniques don’t sound terribly original or mind-blowing. Instead, they are elegant and straightforward, which makes them easy to remember. I’ll also tell you which principles I think are the most important.

Fundamental techniques in handling people

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

These ideas lay the groundwork for everything else. The overall focuses of the entire book are:

  • Encourage the positive things people do, instead of disparaging the negative.
  • Talk about what other people want, instead of what you want.

6 ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important–and do it sincerely.

The most important points from this group are 1 (be interested in others) and 5 (talk in terms of their interests).

12 ways to win people to your way of thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Important points here are 3 (admit your mistakes), 4 (begin friendly), and 8 (step in their shoes).

9 ways to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to other’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

The first 5 points here are the most important, although all of these ones are important.

Conclusion

Best of luck to you in applying these principles to your own life!

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 5, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Blog

Tagged with , ,

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