Habits and habit forming can be an interesting aspect of human behavior: they seem to fall in to two broad categories in my mind.  Habits are either hard to start and maintain until critical mass is achieved and after that can still require conscious maintenance to maintain. Or habits are easy to start but risk becoming all consuming: absorbing more and more time and energy.

An example of a hard to start habit for me is writing blog posts: it took a force of will to start me writing initially and it requires constant energy to keep me writing new posts.  Interruptions over even a week to my writing can be enough to disrupt my writing habit sufficiently to halt it.  At which point Inertia comes into play with devastating effect, to make the restarting of the habit hard.  It seems that a lot of virtuous habits like regular exercise and eating healthily also fall into this category.

A habit that is easy to start and yet easily becomes all consuming for me is playing computer games, usually this doesn’t get too out of hand as most games have a finite length and amount of content which limits the duration of the disruption.  Yet some games, especially MMOs like World of Warcraft (WoW) have a seemingly endless stream of content which means that it is possible to spend an almost infinite amount of time playing the game and still not complete it.

These ‘time sink’ games can be a real challenge to getting anything else done, my usual solution to this situation is to stop playing the game by unsubscribing…

UML Distilled

The Unified Modeling Language (UML) has become one of the standard general purpose modeling languages used by software engineers and designers.  There are many books on UML out there but so far this small book has been the best I have encountered for covering the key concepts and diagram types in an easy to read, digest and compact format.

All the key UML diagram types are covered as well as the basics of UML analysis and design without having to resort to wading through any of the large tomes on UML.  I’d recommend this book to anyone that needs a decent (compact) reference to the common UML diagram types.