Category Archives: Unpigeonholed

How to Read Tech News

News should be read with global context and broad perspective. When you blend Techmeme headlines with Voice Of America it’s hard to get so excited about rounded corners and iPads. Try it:

Techmeme & Voice Of America

Too often we configure our news experience to focus on the safe and the comfortable. Blinders are fine until you forget that you put them on yourself. Remember to take them off sometimes and look around.

Help for distracted thinkers

Let’s limit our attention to one application—any application—at any time. Let’s make it easy to change focus when we have to. Let’s allow ourselves to bring other apps up quickly if we need them, but put them out of sight again just as quickly.

Let’s rediscover how to focus, and get back to thinking.

Think helps you concentrate on a subset of your visible applications in Mac OS X. Think is a contrast knob for your brain. Think is free.

Vanish distraction
Vanish distraction.

When you “illuminate” an app, everything else pops behind a full-screen mask consisting of any solid or transparent color you like. It could be prettier, smoother, more capable, and more configurable, but I love it. Its three hot keys are easy to learn and it works well with Quicksilver. And unlike “Hide Others” (command+option+H) Think also hides my desktop icons and wallpaper.

status: waiting

I like to travel and I like to blog. I don’t do either as much as I might like. Microblogging gets done even less despite supposedly being easier, faster, more convenient. Am I doing it wrong?

It is common among my San Francisco friends to sling tweets in a bar or restaurant or shopping mall while friends look on. It gets less annoying over time but in a social situation the snub sticks because the act is essentially parasocial. The elitism faded after the rise of microblogging via SMS but the snub still sticks.

During a cross-country motorcycle trip I twittered my gas stops. This was a comfort for friends and family and I might find it useful if I decide to retrace my path and need a reference. That kind of usefulness doesn’t come around often.

I am waiting for a plane, typing on a sub-qwerty BlackBerry Pearl keypad into the standard WordPress post box, even though it is crippled by my primitive mobile browser. It seems I think of mobile blogging not when engaging in exciting outdoor activities, or seeing amazing things, or talking with interesting people, but when I have nothing better to do. (If you wonder, I press 18 keys to add emphasis each time.)

Usually I am happy to spend waiting time immersed in an audiobook or music. Today I posted a few words of status on Facebook when I sat down for a wait. I remembered that just a few minutes ago while driving I turned off the radio to develop some thoughts by expessing them out loud. Had I thought to buy speech recognition software and a voice recorder I could be editing those forgotten words on my laptop right now.

I don’t think I will ever get the hang of microblogging until I have a device that makes it so easy that it outweighs the lack of usefulness. And now they are closing the aircraft door and my thumbs hurt. Bye.