It Depends? On what?

phone-table-manner-technology


Source: NY Times Magazine, Sunday, January 31, 2016

2015: Top 15 Blogger Tools.

blog-keyboard

It’s that time again for year end awards for blogging and productivity tools:

  1. Best App in Supporting Role: Evernote (for clipping, storing and syncing across devices. My new e-junk drawer.)
  2. Best News / Site Content Aggregator: Feedly. (Indispensable. Every day)
  3. Best Search Engine: Google.  (Bing is too busy. Yahoo? Wow, time for a make-over.)
  4. Best Browser: Safari for Mac/IOS – for its Reader View, for Reading List, for full article emailing and for syncing across devices. Google Chrome can be faster – has much better tabbing framework – but is a battery hog and is missing Reading list integration and full article emailing/storage.
  5. Best Writing Aid: Microsoft OneNote.  Clean interface. Slick syncing across devices. Intuitive. Easy on-the-go writing app on the desktop and the smartphone.
  6. Best Utility Apps: 1password (for passwords), TextExpander (for shortcuts) and Snagit (for photo clipping)
  7. Best Reader App on PC/Phone: Reading List (for Mac/IOS) has replaced Pocket and Instapaper, both excellent apps.
  8. Best e-reader / best reading app: Kindle.
  9. Best Notes App: Google Keep. (Simple. Intuitive. Great syncing across devices.)
  10. Best Photos App: Google Photos.  (Wow! Free. Clean interface. Exceptional syncing across devices.  Cool image identification. You have to try it. Read The Mossberg Review for more.)
  11. Cloud Storage / Back-up: Dropbox is more universal and easier but I’m on iCloud for Apple device integration.
  12. Surprise app of the Year: Apple Music.  A bargain for the family under the monthly subscription.  Downside: Complex! Holy moly!
  13. Favorite Social Media (excluding #1 WordPress): Tumblr.
  14. Biggest Disappointment: WordPress.com for its new update in posting functionality.  There is so much to love about WordPress including the new notifications and response tools but I find the new posting interface to be a step backwards.  (What was wrong with the old format?)
  15. Biggest YOY change: Fewer (many) apps. I’m further embedded into Apple’s ecosystem. While it can be more expensive (especially for Apple crack addicts like me), it’s simpler, easier, more stable and offers better integration.

Am I missing any apps / tools that you find are indispensable?


Notes:

 

For the deepest moments in life—for love, for prayer—we close our eyes. I wanted to see that way

howard_axelrod

(Two years in the woods.) I brought no computer, no television, no cellphone. There was a land line, which rang maybe twice a month, so a wrong number was an event…

Five years earlier, during my junior year at Harvard, a freak accident had blinded me in my right eye. During a pick-up game of basketball, as we scuffled for a rebound, a boy’s finger hooked behind my eyeball and severed its attachment to my optic nerve, the cable that connects the eye to the brain. The pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. There was nothing the doctors could do. The loss of vision to my right eye was permanent. With vision in only one eye, there’s no stereopsis, no depth perception. And without depth perception, the world looked simultaneously flat and permeable, like I’d crossed the threshold into a fantasy land, where nothing was solid, including my sense of myself…

To compound my disorientation, after the blood dissipated, my eye looked as it always had. The gap between how I presented myself and how people saw me widened into a gulf. And the track I’d been on, which headed toward law school, and the old track of my thinking, which often allowed the comfort of achievement to substitute for meaning, and which had kept me from entering into the passing landscape to forge my own values, became impossible to live by… [Read more…]

Trick or Treat?

The New Yorker cover


Source: The New Yorker (See other Halloween covers at this isn’t happiness)

 

A black hole of fleeting intentions

read,reading,book,technology

The pile of unread books we have on our bedside tables is often referred to as a graveyard of good intentions. The list of unread books on our Kindles is more of a black hole of fleeting intentions. […]

In the past two years, something unexpected happened: I lost the faith. Gradually at first and then undeniably, I stopped buying digital books. I realised this only a few months ago, when taking stock of my library, both digital and physical. Physical books – most of all, works of literary fiction – I continue to acquire voraciously. […]

The great irony, of course, is that I’ve never read more digitally in my life. Each day, I spend hours reading on my iPhone – news articles, blog posts and essays. […] But what of digital books? What accounts for my unconscious migration back to print?

Once bought by a reader, a book moves through a routine. It is read and underlined, dog-eared and scuffed and, most importantly, reread. To read a book once is to know it in passing. To read it over and over is to become confidants. The relationship between a reader and a book is measured not in hours or minutes but, ideally, in months and years. […]

Containers matter. They shape stories and the experience of stories. Choose the right binding, cloth, trim size, texture of paper, margins and ink, and you will strengthen the bond between reader and text. Choose badly and the object becomes a wedge between reader and text.

~ Craig Mod, Will Digital Books Ever Replace Print


Notes:

Growing more itchy and agitated by the day

Sven Birkerts

“Sven Birkerts is an anxious man. By turns he is frightened, terrified, alarmed, filled with dread. On one occasion he shudders in his core; mostly he is just plain worried. What concerns him, a concern he is eager to transmit to us, is the rapid spread of computer, Internet and telephone technologies and more specifically what those technologies are doing to our minds. Forever glued to screens of one kind or another, clicking compulsively on the links others provide for us, we are losing the ability to concentrate, growing more itchy and agitated by the day, allowing our consciousness to be fragmented and dispersed.”

~ Tim Parks. Read his full NY Times review of Sven Birkerts new book here: “Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age.”


Amazon’s Book Summary: “After two decades of rampant change, Birkerts has allowed a degree of everyday digital technology into his life. He refuses to use a smartphone, but communicates via e-mail and spends some time reading online. In Changing the Subject, he examines the changes that he observes in himself and others–the distraction when reading on the screen; the loss of personal agency through reliance on GPS and one-stop information resources; an increasing acceptance of “hive” behaviors. “An unprecedented shift is underway,” he argues, and “this transformation is dramatically accelerated and more psychologically formative than any previous technological innovation.” He finds solace in engagement with art, particularly literature, and he brilliantly describes the countering energy available to us through acts of sustained attention, even as he worries that our increasingly mediated existences are not conducive to creativity. It is impossible to read Changing the Subject without coming away with a renewed sense of what is lost by our wholesale acceptance of digital innovation and what is regained when we immerse ourselves in a good book.”

Stop the World

twitter-addiction-social-media

The truth is, I feel like yelling Stop quite a bit these days. Every time I hear about Twitter I want to yell Stop. The notion of sending and getting brief updates to and from dozens or thousands of people every few minutes is an image from information hell. I’m told that Twitter is a river into which I can dip my cup whenever I want. But that supposes we’re all kneeling on the banks. In fact, if you’re at all like me, you’re trying to keep your footing out in midstream, with the water level always dangerously close to your nostrils. Twitter sounds less like sipping than drowning.

The most frightening picture of the future that I’ve read thus far in the new decade has nothing to do with terrorism or banking or the world’s water reserves—it’s an article by David Carr, the Timess media critic, published on the decade’s first day, called “Why Twitter Will Endure.” “I’m in narrative on more things in a given moment than I ever thought possible,” Carr wrote. And: “Twitter becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people.” And: “The real value of the service is listening to a wired collective voice … the throbbing networked intelligence.” And: “On Twitter, you are your avatar and your avatar is you.” And finally: “There is always something more interesting on Twitter than whatever you happen to be working on.”

This last is what really worries me. Who doesn’t want to be taken out of the boredom or sameness or pain of the present at any given moment? That’s what drugs are for, and that’s why people become addicted to them. Carr himself was once a crack addict. Twitter is crack for media addicts. It scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I could handle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my son go hungry.

~ George Packer, Stop the World


Notes:

Truth in That

pluto

What really blows my mind is that NASA is able to receive data from a 4.67 billion miles far away spacecraft, while i lose wifi signal once i move to the kitchen.

~ Showerthoughts, RBN


Notes:

  • Don’t miss reader comments on this quote here: Showerthoughts, RBN
  • Space.com – Photo of Pluto taken in July, 2014 by NASA’s New Horizon’s featuring Pluto’s “heart”.

 

Saturday Afternoons. In Memorata.

baseball-glove

Eric, our 21 year old Son, joins Zeke and me on the bed. He’s texting. I’m reading. Zeke’s napping, his paw twitches. The TV buzzes in the background.

Kanigan Men, never have much to say to each other. Yet, he did come in, and sit with his Dad and his Dog. As Heithaus would say in ‘Insides’: …Between words – white space and breath, the air moving without sound…all the fecund stuff inside us that finds thought and voice and sound.’

Eric continues texting.

New York Times: Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children: “Texting looms as the next national epidemic, with half of teenagers sending 50 or more text messages a day and those aged 13 through 17 averaging 3,364 texts a month.”

Eric pauses from texting to look out the second floor window and down the street. Three houses down, a neighbor is playing catch with his five year old son. 15 years ago, that would have been Eric and me. On the street, in the hot mid-day sun in Miami. I can hear the ‘clop’ of the ball hitting his mitt. His cheeks are flushed. His hair matted and wet. Wonder if this scene is taking him back? [Read more…]

Wired

ajit johnson


Source: See others in this series by Ajit Johnson

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