What’s in your bag?

This Q&A with James Altucher might be the best thing I’ve come across about “minimalism” although he quickly disavows that label. I couldn’t live as he does but he’s not suggesting I should. A few snippets:

I have one bag of clothes, one backpack with a computer, iPad, and phone. I have zero other possessions.

For me, having little means I don’t have to think about things that I own.

I have 238,795 unread emails in my inbox. Emails are a suggestion but not an obligation.

I understand real books are beautiful. So I go to bookstores for hours and read them. But I won’t own them because they won’t fit in my one bag.

I never read random articles on the Internet unless they are by people I know.

I like this guy’s style. No idea what others should do… just some thoughts on what he should do. Today. Tomorrow? Who knows?

Adobe Voice

Adobe Voice is an iPad app that promises to “Turn your story into a stunning animated video. In Minutes.” I don’t know about the stunning part, but it was pretty easy (and fast) to make the little video below. Not entirely sure when I would use the app but it was fun. I picked a quote from a novel by P. J. Tracey.

Steve Jobs Schools

Boy (4-5) and Girl (1) play with iPad and iPhone

“Some 1,000 children aged four to 12 will attend the schools, without notebooks, books or backpacks. Each of them, however, will have his or her own iPad. There will be no blackboards, chalk or classrooms, homeroom teachers, formal classes, lesson plans, seating charts, pens, teachers teaching from the front of the room, schedules, parent-teacher meetings, grades, recess bells, fixed school days and school vacations. If a child would rather play on his or her iPad instead of learning, it’ll be okay. And the children will choose what they wish to learn based on what they happen to be curious about.”

More at Spiegel Online

Flying by iPad


Barb had a meeting in Kansas City today and the client sent the company plane to fetch her (and save a few billable hours, I assume). She snapped this photo of the pilot’s iPad. I shared this on Google+ where Bisbo (a pilot for Southwest) posted the following comment:

“The major airlines are starting to go to this, and slowly moving away from paper charts.  With it tied into GPS, you can see your position along the route, and you can also overlay weather radar information from the NWS.  In fact, I often get much better weather information form my First Officer’s iPhone than I do from dispatch.”

How Apple accidentally revolutionized health care


“A study by Manhattan Research in 2011 found that 75% of physicians owned at least one Apple product. Vitera Healthcare’s 2012 survey of health-care professionals backed up this high number. The company’s study found that 60% of respondents used an iPhone and 45% owned an iPad.”

“Yale University’s School of Medicine even did away with paper materials for training upcoming physicians. The school provided iPads and wireless keyboards to all of its medical students. Other schools followed suit.”

“By April 2012, the (Apple) App Store included more than 13,600 health-related applications.

Motley Fool

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

present-shock“We tend to exist in a distracted present, where forces on the periphery are magnified and those immediately before us are ignored.”

“The minute the ‘now’ is apprehended it has already passed. […] The more forcefully we attempt to stop the passage of time the less available we are to the very moment we seek to preserve.”

“Which ‘now’ is important: the now I just lived or the now I’m in right now?”

“Digiphrenida – the way our media and technologies encourage us to be in more than one place at the same time.”

“Not only have our devices outpaced us, they don’t even reflect a here and now that may constitute any legitimate sort of present tense. They are reports from the periphery, of things that happened moments ago. […] By dividing our attention between our digital extensions, we sacrifice our connection to the truer present in which we are living.”

“Humans once lived without any concept of time at all. In this early, hunter-gatherer existence, information was exchanged physically, either orally or with gestures, in person. People lived in an eternal present, without any notion of before or after, much less history or progress. Things just were. […] While they had to worry about where their next meal was coming from, they felt no pressure to succeed or to progress, to achieve or to improve. They had nowhere to go, since the very notion of a future hadn’t yet been invented. This stasis lasted several thousand years.”

“Like a digital file, a spelled word is the same everywhere it goes and does not decay.”

“Where calendars led people to think in terms of history, clocks led people to think in terms of productivity. Only after the proliferation of the clock did the word ‘speed’ (spelled spede) enter the English vocabulary.”

“Digital technology is more like a still-life picture. A sample. It is frozen in time. Sound, on the other hand, is audible only over time. We hear sound as it decays. […] The digital universe is a visual one: people staring silently at screens, where the only sounds in the room are the keys and mouse clicks.”

“While there is tremendous value in group thinking, shared platforms, and networked collaboration, there is also value in a single mind contemplating a problem.”

“We must retrain ourselves to see the reward in the amount of time we get to spend in the reverie of solo contemplation or live engagement with another human being. Whatever is vibrating on the iPhone just isn’t as valuable as the eye contact you are making right now.”

“In the space of one childhood, we can learn what it took humanity many centuries to figure out.”

“Catching up with Twitter is like staying up all night to catch up on live streaming stock quotes from yesterday. The value was in the now — which at this point is really just a then.”

“When everything is rendered instantly accessible via Google and iTunes, the entirety of culture becomes a single layer deep. The journey disappears, and all knowledge is brought into the present tense.”

“Our recorded past competes with our experienced present for dominance over the moment. […] What isn’t coming at us from the past is crashing in at us from the future.”

“Big data companies collect seemingly innocuous data on everyone, such as the frequency of our text messages, the books we’ve bought, the number of rings it takes us co pick up the phone, the number of doors on our cars, the terms we use in our Web searches, in order to create a giant profile. They then compare this profile against those of everyone else. For reasons no one understands, the data may show that people who have two-door cars, answer the phone in three or more rings, and own cats are extremely likely to respond favorably to ads for soup. So these people will Ье shown lots of soup advertisements. The market researchers don’t care about the data points themselves or the logic connecting one behavior to another. They only care care about predicting what a person is statistically likely to do.”

“For the first time, people engaged with products completely divorced from the people who actually made them. Technologies masked not just the labor, but also the time that went into an item’s production. […] This new way of interacting with things defined a new human identity for the very first time — that of the consumer.”

“Consumption makes up about half of all economic activity in America.”

“In a digitally enhanced consumer reality, we not only work to keep up with the latest products and service options, we purchase products and services that serve no purpose other than to help us better keep up. Our iPads and Adroids are nothing like the productivity-computing tools on which they may once have been based but are instead purchasing platforms designed to increase the ease and speed with which we consume.”

“We are so good at making stuff and providing services that we no longer require all of us to do it.”

“It is now usually cheaper to just try something than to sit around and try to figure out whether to try something.” — Joichi Ito

“The individual is flow, and the community is storage. Only the individual can take actions. Only the community can absorb their impact over time.”

“Fractalnoia – Relating on thing to another, even when the relationship is forced or imagined.”

“Ideas don’t generally emerge from individuals, but from groups (liquid networks).” – Social critic Steven Johnson

“In a networked ideascape, the ownership of an idea becomes as quaint and indefensible a notion as copyright or patents. Since ideas are built on the logic of others, there is no way to trace their independent origins. It’s all just access to shared consciousness. Everything is everything.”

“Consumers don’t want to speak with companies through social media; we want to speak with one another. We don’t even think of ourselves as consumers anymore, but as people.”

“As long as people didn’t engage with one another and were instead kept happily competing with one another, their actions, votes, and emotions remained fairly predictable.”

“The human body is a space suit for something that could be stored quite differently.”

“I find myself unable to let go of the sense that human beings are somehow special, and that moment-to-moment human experience contains a certain unquantifiable essence. I still suspect there is something to quirky, too paradoxical, or too interpersonal to be imitated or re-created by machine life.”


My most-watched videos

YouTube recently (?) introduced some new layout and design options to increasing branding on your YouTube channel. I’ve mostly neglected my YouTube channel and have started the tidying up a bit. After activating the new “One Channel” option I noticed a section called Most Popular. The number of views for each of these is a testament to the level of engagement on YouTube (something I’ve never cultivated)

  • Dave’s Commerce Secretary (from movie with Kevin Kline) – 43,071
  • Henry and Bernard Build a Tree House – 26,485
  • Cutting the Budget (again, from movie Dave) – 25,813
  • Sena iPad Case/Keyboard – 21,675
  • JotNot Scanner Pro – 11,884
  • Returning Marines – 8,598
  • Dropbox to GoodReader – 7,808
  • Icy Road of Death (me driving down my hill) – 5,542
  • Old Radio Commercials – 5,522
  • Old Camp Meetin’ Time – 4,897


Your Next Doctor Might Be Your Car

“Since 2010, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and BMW have been working on Nigel, a Mini Cooper outfitted with 230 sensors that creates a log of everything that happens in the vehicle, letting users see it all via an iPhone and iPad app. Now USC’s Center for Body Computing is getting in on the Nigel project, looking at how the car could be used to monitor driver health as well as vehicle health.”

“One day, she imagines, a car’s pollution sensors, heart-rate sensors (maybe integrated into the steering wheel), GPS, and oxygen content sensors could all work together to tell drivers if, say, a certain polluted area of the highway affects their health–or if their heart rate goes up every time they arrive home or at the office.”

Full article on Fast Company

What does mobile explosion mean for news?

Some nuggets from new Pew Research Center report based on a survey of 9,513 U.S. adults conducted from June-August 2012 (including 4,638 mobile device owners)

  • Half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile connection to the web through either a smartphone or tablet
  • Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults, 22%, now own a tablet device-double the number from a year earlier
  • 64% of tablet owners and 62% of smartphone owners say they use the devices for news at least weekly
  • As many as 43% say the news they get on their tablets is adding to their overall news consumption. And almost a third, 31%, said they get news from new sources on their tablet
  • Fully 60% of tablet news users mainly use the browser to get news on their tablet, just 23% get news mostly through apps and 16% use both equally

Haiku Deck

I am no fan of Powerpoint. Keynote (Mac) is better but still too much work. Haiku Deck is an iPad app that addresses a lot of the things I don’t like about presentation software. To try out the app I created a deck of quotes from a book by Lawrence Block (Random Walk).

I’m not presentation expert but you don’t have to be to know you don’t load up every slide with text. One idea per slide (says Seth Godin). And the right image can bring that one idea home. And typography is important.

While I think I can do the “one idea per slide” thing, I know squat about typography and finding high quality images (even if you’re willing to steal them) take a LOT of time. Haiku Deck solves those problems in a clever way. Let’s take images first.

Let’s say the text for the first slide is: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Haiku Deck starts the image search with those words. You pick one, let’s say “deed” and HD give you a bunch of images to browse and choose from. If none of the words work, you can put in your own word or phrase: Punishment, Helping Others, etc. I guarantee HD will find the right image(s) faster than you can on your own. And they’re licensed.

The app does a great job of sizing the text and then provides several layout options to match the image you choose.

Haiku Deck is the first app I’ve seen that actually makes it possible to create a presentation on the iPad in just 15 or 20 minutes. Watching my little demo really doesn’t give you a feel for how well (and simply) the app is designed.

The app is free but you can buy additional themes for $2.00 (or the whole theme pack for $15).

If the embed above doesn’t behave, you can see the deck here.