Perfectionism can be a major roadblock to productivity

Posted on October 28th, 2011

I often look back at my younger years, and see all that I was able to accomplish in a small amount of time. Applications or websites I was able to create, etc. Everything seemed so easy, and I was able to just get things done. I wonder why that isn’t the case today. I tell myself it’s because I’m seasoned and what I write is simply better today– fewer bugs, fewer problems, better design, etc… And that may be true, but how much of that is holding me back from really being productive? Is it better to create it and then perfect it, or create it perfectly the first time?  There’s a balance to be found, but I think I’ve been leaning far too much towards ‘perfection the first time’…

I just read this article about Perfectionism vs. Success, and it strongly resonated with me. I often try to make things perfect the first time. Often times, I get so obsessed with doing something the ‘right way’, that it keeps me from doing it at all! This is particularly difficult when I don’t have an external force driving me to get something done– such as a client or customer request with a deadline(implicit or not). Recently, I’ve been acknowledging to myself that I have a problem, but I’ve incorrectly identified it as a lack of organization– which has led me to creating organizational tools and processes to “get organized”. While helpful, it doesn’t address my core problem of trying to be perfect.  Interestingly enough, creating my organizational tools went far quicker than expected, as I went into it with a “good is good-enough” attitude– as I know the tools won’t be customer-facing.

So, from here on out, I’m going to try to make a conscious effort to “just do it”, remembering “it doesn’t have to be perfect”– the first time, or potentially ever.

Linux Permission denied– not really

Posted on October 20th, 2011

One of the things that pisses me off with Linux, is the lack of good error messages. Today I wasted a good amount of time tracking down this error:

_WARN: config: path “/var/lib/amavis/.spamassassin/user_prefs” is inaccessible: Permission denied

Now, you’d think based on the message that the user_prefs file or the directory above it didn’t have the proper permissions for the user/executable accessing it… That’s what “permission denied” means, right?  WRONG. After hours dicking around, I eventually found that the problem was that the permissions were TOO OPEN… Instead of 700 on the .spamassassin directory, I had it set to 666(and 660 at one point)… As soon as I set the permissions on the .spamassassin directory to 700, the problem went away…

Now, I’d guess this is the amavis developers’ fault at least partly– I’ve seen other linux-based apps say “permissions are too open” regarding file permissions before(ssh key files, for one)… Possibly there’s something in the file-accessing API that you can request that permissions aren’t too open, and they just have a single fall-thru that says “permission denied”…  Either way, this type of thing causes me to waste considerable amount of time, and is the primary reason I’m very shy about adopting Linux for too many things– as much as I’ve tried over the past 13 years… In this case, I was configuring a front-end mail server using postfix+amavis+dovecot+spamassassin, as I don’t know of any good alternative for Windows(MS SMTP front-end is incredibly weak). is a SCAM!

Posted on October 11th, 2011

Today I was reading about some SEO tactics, and thinking about buying a better domain for one of my products, Overseer Network Monitor. I found parked by a cyber-squatter, so I decided to look up the whois and contact them, seeing if I could work out a deal to buy it from them… I got an auto-response sending me to, which wanted $19 to ‘connect you with the seller’…

Foolishly, I bought into the scam, and paid the $19 to make a reasonable offer for The Email I got back was demanding $9500 for the site– which is incredibly over-valued. I countered with $1000, and the seller refused to negotiate further. I then found that the cyber-squatter was actually the OWNER of, and therefore simply SCAMMED me out of $19 to Email with him…

When it became acceptable for a business to demand money to let you offer them money is beyond me. I suppose it takes a different sort of person to be a cyber-squatter– why I expected them to be anything more than scammers is beyond me…. I’ve disputed the charge with Paypal, but I highly doubt they’ll do anything… Either way, this blog post, a bad review online, and the Paypal dispute is my way of venting and getting some kind of closure. Even the smartest among us get taken by a scam(such as this one from sometimes.