Friday, January 23, 2009

It's a very big playground

I just read How not to be a Key Online Influencer a story that resonates with me. Today, between Twitter and Facebook, blogs and forums, and the ability to google answers on everything, we have the ability to share, find, and regurgitate information at a rate our parents viewed as impossible only a few decades ago. Many, who grew up with this, understand the responsibility we have been given and the risks. Many, who came in later, don't.

When I started this blog it was to do two things; force me to write more and to make sure I qualified for the PokerStars blogger game. It's done both (although I missed this years tournament due to qualifiers conflicting with my schedule *sigh*), and it's made me realize how easy it is to step over virtual lines we wouldn't cross in real life.

Simple example; Would you walk into an auditorium filled with many people you knew, and people they knew, and yell out "I'm going on vacation to Canada the week of [pick a date]!"? Probably not. Why? Because you don't know all the people listening and the potential risk to your property, or person, are too high.

Okay, now how many of you would post that to Facebook? Twitter? Your own personal blog? I'm willing to bet a few. We view these areas as "safe" - as a limited forum to our friends and family only. Which is true, if you've set up the security, none of your friends has been hacked, and you're diligent in checking this.

I know I'm not. It's a reason my Facebook account is locked down, and I only share what I would share here. No names, pictures, or stories without permission. Honestly, it limits what I can write. However, I've stuck to my values and I've not once insulted a friend or family member -- unless they knew it was coming.

It's worth giving your values the once over in the Social media space. Odds are Mom was right, if you don't want it published on the front page NY Times, your friends probably don't want it on the front page of Facebook.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wires crossed?

While shoveling out the 13" of snow this past weekend we saw a half dozen Robins, a few Blue Jays, and even a cardinal. Normally, when I see a Robin, it's Spring. This doesn't look like Spring. The heft was more like Winter, even if the temps did peak around 40 yesterday.

The pic is from a shot I took with my iPhone out the "Cat's TV" in my bedroom. There were so many birds that all 3 of our cats had taken to staring out the window. The kitten was trying to puzzle out how she could sit on the 2" sill, mewl at the birds, and not fall down. I don't think she ever puzzled it out.

The birds let me take pics, the cats were more enigmatic.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On tweaking GMail...

I've been getting more use out of my Gmail account lately (mostly due to creating more Google Groups, but that's another post). With the help of some friends at work, I've been making use of some of the information that my company, and friends, store on the web.

Here's a few things that I had to chase down that may help you out:
  • In Google Labs (via settings or the beaker) turn on NavBar drag and drop. This will let you reorder the left (or right) set of gadgets.
  • While your in there:
    If you use Google Calendar, pick up the Google Calendar gadget
    Same for Google Docs
You'll want to learn about filters and tagging if you haven't used them. Filters let you automatically place things into 'folders' in GMail, similar to your standard email client. Things get interesting as you start tagging things. For example, you could set it up such that email from your family gets tagged as 'family'. Not only can you now search for these posts, but your inbox will show the label 'family' when you receive messages from them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Impressive Machinma...

Yes, I know, I like this stuff. Watching the creativity and artistry people use taking a video game that you know is fake, and stiff, and then converting it into pieces of animation where you get interested, curious, even saddened by the story -- damn impressive.

This is one of the best I have seen.

Gone are the clunky movements, funny breathing, etc. of the normal WoW characters and enter in some serious bad ass Rogues, and spell casters. (Damn it! Who keep's rezzing Onyxia!?)

Mac vs. PC... the next stage...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Neat interview with some cool folks...

Leo Babauta (of Zen Habits) interviews Merlin Mann (of 43 Folders). These are two blogs I read 95% of their posts. I'd recommend them both for fans of productivity with a mix of Zen and ways to come at things differently.

It's neat to hear them both chatting it up about different ideas, creativity, and various topics. I'm a big fan of Merlin's Inbox Zero (Delete/Archive, Delegate {and follow up}, Respond, Defer or DO NOW) concept and use it at work and at home in dealing with the emails and projects I take on.

There's a lot of information, take a look if your looking for new (or old, heh) ways of taking on "priorities". It's worth the time to read.

iPhone apps...

Over the holidays a few friends got an iPhone or iTouch and asked me what apps I use the most. Looking at my iPhone now I have four main pages (three full) of apps and links. Unsurprisingly to folks in the audience, they are mostly games. I've grouped them up so you can skip around. All links to apps will open up in iTunes so you can get more info.

Utilities ~
Sportacular - Sports scores. Set your fave teams, etc. one screen. Very nice.
Things - ToDo list manager. I use this on the Mac. Can sync, I don't

Games ~
Quordy - Boggle for the iPhone.
Tris (no longer available)
Sol Free Solitaire - Exactly what it says. A few free Solitaire games.
Texas Hold'Em (Apple version) - Fun, with some flaws.
Enigmo - This is a puzzle game requiring you to solve fluid puzzles. Fun!
Chopper - My first game on the iPhone; Choplifter remake.
Crazy Tanks - Drive around, blow up tanks.
Fieldrunners - Played any of the build-a-maze-with-turret games? Here ya go.
Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes - Call of Duty-esque on the iPhone FPS.
Galcon - A fun RTS, including multiplayer!

Weather ~
WeatherBug - Nice weather app, allows for bookmarking of favorite cities.
Who is Hot - Shows the weather at your Contact's location. Can click on their location for more info.

Game Related ~
Warcraft Characters - Play WoW? Keep your characters (or your friends) on your iPhone
Score - Board gaming scoring app. Helps!

Social ~
Geocaching - Yes that.'s app. Bring your GPS anyway.
Facebook - Not my fault!

Streaming Music ~
Pandora - Streaming music. I've blogged this one to death.

Utility ~
TideApp - Good for when your going to the beach
SoLuna - I had tides, must have Lunar phases too!
Missing Calculator - Programmers calculator; shifts, binary, hex, etc.

Misc ~
myLite Flashlight - Amazingly useful. Lights up a hallway nicely during power outages.
Lightsaber - *cough* For the kids
Easy Wi-Fi - Helps to log in to the AT&T free wi-fi zones.
Google Earth - Not as much fun as I thought, but still there.

Documents ~
Constitution - US Constitution
Declaration - US Declaration of Independence

I'd also check out Meebo for a multi-client web-based IM. Haven't seen an Adium/Trillian clone on the iPhone yet (and not sure I'd want to!). This does well enough if you need access to IM.

Happy New Year!

Broken all your New Years Resolutions yet? No, I don't do resolutions. I found that I have enough projects between work and home that adding a few more that were spur of the moment didn't gain me anything. Instead, I borrowed an idea from one of my wife's older brothers (and some echo's online) and I look for a few guidelines that I'd like to follow.

Give you an example; instead of "lose 10 pounds" I would rework it to "focus on eating healthier". Instead of "Work sucks, find a new job" I have "Destress by finding the source of the stress" and "Continue professional learning".

They lack the conviction of "GO TO THE GYM MORE" but which of them is easier to achieve and allows the greatest flexibility for growth? I'm unlikely to meet the lose 10lbs goal by going to the gym, it isn't me, I do know that if I cut out snacks and soda I can start dropping weight at a decent clip.

The challenge I put before myself this year is an old Zen adage; Focus on the journey, not the destination. Specifically, I'm going to try doing this with work where there are always deadlines and deliverables, but not much enjoyment on the way there (at least lately for me, thus the other goal about working on destressing). There is so much "Microsoft Project" focus that we lose sight of the things we enjoy doing along the way - I know I have lately.

And you folks? What ya aiming at this year?