Declaring Computer Bankruptcy
Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010

You're probably familiar with the term 'email bankruptcy', the throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air deleting/archiving/foldering of your entire inbox in order to start fresh, secure in the knowledge that anything important enough to require a response will surely be sent again, especially if your hand-up-throwing is performed in conjunction with a tweet, a status update, and a blog post.

The theory is that a clean inbox will clear out the pipes (err, tubes (too soon?)), abandoning triage and freeing you up to be proactively productive. The communicative equivalent of an extra life.

I haven't had the need for email bankruptcy because my inbox has always been a sieve rather than a bucket. Never archiving means that my inbox has thousands of items but some things fall through the holes. Think of a hundred tiny defaults rather than a massive bankruptcy.

But that's not today's topic. Today's topic is the infection of my computer. Not a virus, spyware, a trojan horse or even bloatware. Rather the cut of a thousand wounds of distraction. The multitudinous bookmarks that I check in order until, upon reaching the end, I start back at the beginning to see what new stuff has come along. the Tweetie client that nudges me gently with things that I' wouldn't miss but wouldn't miss. The popup from the Adobe Updater letting me know that it needs to be updated, ditto for Growl. A file hierarchy so muddled over time that search has become the de-facto file manager (perhaps a habit I picked up while at Google).

So I'm starting fresh. In a few minutes I'm turning off my computer, taking out its hard drive, replacing it with a new one and installing the OS from the DVD, then spending an hour or so running Software Update again and again until all the software updates, then installing the core applications that I need to create rather than consume: Coda, Photoshop, Chrome, Transmit, Dropbox, BBEdit, Lightroom and MarsEdit.

I'm sure I'll have to plug in the old drive a few times to transfer some essential files (Lightroom library, iTunes library and current projects) but sometimes there's nothing better to make a fresh start than moving in to a new house, even if it's just a virtual one.

In a few hours I'll be picking out new wallpaper!

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Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox