Before I left on holiday (a blissful week in the North of France where sunshine is plenty and data coverage is poor) I set out on my little quest to gather all the stuff I wanted to read, listen to and watch during my few days away from civilisation. (Civilisation being the triple screen uber-workstation I call “my office”). It was a nice exercise picking out books I want to read, downloading Youtube video’s I want to watch and some podcasts I wanted to catch up on. Of course I will never have the time to consume all of that content (Unless we get snowed in for 3 weeks straight) but it was a fun exercise in “Curating” my own digital library.
“Curating the library of your mind”
“Curating the library of your mind” had been a topic for a show many moons ago where I talked about ways to “slipstream” the information overload a geek has to live with into something that adds to the quality of your life. Mainstream media (Both online and offline) are filled with 80% sludge and 20% valuable content. Before you know it you spend hours on Facebook, browse endlessly through 9gag or Instagram while you COULD be listening to a lecture from Harvard University or teaching yourself how to program. I try to think about these things whenever I use my computer. Am I using my time in a valuable manner or am I just watching cat video’s ?
To help me in this I’ve started to build a sort of library of content on my Linux machine that I synchronise with my mobile devices where I have divided up this library in “To Watch, To Listen, To Read”. It features download Ted talks, PDF’s of articles online, Books, Courses I found somewhere etc. Because I always have them handy I always have an excuse NOT to surf Facebook for hours because, I have alternative (and higher quality) content.
As a geek it’s important to clean out your “digital gutters” from time to time,
As a geek it’s important to clean out your “digital gutters” from time to time, taking stock of what you are spending (or waisting) your time on and, if it is getting you anywhere. My personal career as a IT professional has been fundamentally altered for the better because I spent 3 hours a day listening to podcasts instead of listening to stupid breakfast-radioshows. There is a lot of information out there that you can get into. You are responsible for the quality of the content you consume.
A couple of days ago I was cleaning out the gutters of our new house (you know, the ones so clogged up your drainpipe has nothing to do when it’s raining). I pinned on my Mike and started a recording for HPR about “Cleaning our your digital gutters”. Hope you enjoy.
We return to the podcasting routine with a show that is packed with Gadgets and clever life hacks. Its time to turn our geek bag upside down and tell you not only what is inside of it, but also HOW we use it. Tune in and learn the secret of how to become the optimal, creative, productive and entertained digital packrat without shlepping around a portable datacenter on your bag. Hone your vulcan hearing as we tell you “Whats in my Bag” (and how do we use it).
- My routine
- Whats in my bag
- Less is more.
You all know I hate sync cables and application with a passion that borders on the insane. Somehow the logic escapes me that our “mobile devices” ever need to be connected with a “Cable” to our laptops or workstations. Our phones and tablets must be free and independent devices that do not require a connection method that goes back to the PalmCe PDA.
So todays softwarepick AIRDROID makes sure I do not foam at the mouth whenever a pairing between phone and computer is required. After installing the client on your Android device you are good to go. Use the browser on any device on the same Wifi Network. After slamming in the correct URL to your mobile device (the client will tell you) you can :
- File management: transfer files between your computer and your android device ( Files on the SD card )
- SMS management: send, read, delete SMS messages (For those of you who still do that)
- Photos: preview, set as wallpaper, slideshow, import/export
- Share clipboard between desktop and your Android device (very nice for long passwords)
- Applications: install, uninstall, backup (downloads .apk files), search (for those apps you ‘didn’t buy’ in the store)
- Contacts management: create contacts, search, check call logs (See who has been spamming you )
- Ringtones: import from computer, export, preview, customize ringtones for phone calls, notifications and alarms
- Music: import from computer, export, play, etc.
Airdroid helps out a lot when it comes to the hassle of getting content to and FROM your mobile device. It might not be as fast as the Millenium Falcon on the Kessel run .. but you still have a wired alternative if you are looking for that kind of data transfer rates.
Even on your broken phone.
Remember that HTC one X you dropped on the floor last week ? The one with the broken glass but the working touchscreen ? Or the old Galaxy SII that has the funky batter ? Why not plug it into the charger, hook it up to your wifi, install Airdroid and use it as a “sms modem” for the family ? You, your wife / kids / dog can acces the phone via a webbrowser and use it to send text messages. Huzzah ! Old broken hardware rescued from oblivion once again.
Airdroid is cool because it requires nothing on the client side except for a browser and gives you the convenience of managing a small device from the big screen of your laptop.
Nothing on YOUR tube .. what about YOU-Tube.
There is nothing on TV, I hear it over and over again. Somehow mainstream tv entertainment is indeed turning into brainless putty these days. Endless reruns of sitcoms, shamelessly repeated head-to-tale make the viewer believe that he either needs a lobotomy .. or has just had one. Recent trends in commercial television include hopeless star searches like Idol, X-Factor and what have you, where we zoom in on the rise (or attempts to rise) of countless wannabee pop stars who claim their 15 minutes of fame and are upsett to find out nobody even remembers them in the next series. But somehow that is not even enough. After a hard days work we come home and try to relax in front of the television but instead of this mindless crap we get fed OTHER peoples misery in a never ending string of reality series about the most idiotic subjects. There are the Ego driven ones (Osbournes, the Pfaffs etc), The location driven ones (Airport, life at the Zoo) and the Subject driven ones ( The Nanny etc). What strikes me in all of this is that besides other peoples misery, we get to see content that is actually made by people like you and me. Of course its edited down for maximum-drama-factor (sorry , was that entertainment-value perhaps) but the core is the same.
User generated content.
The great thing about the internet though is that it is the great equaliser. If we are replacing professional actors with ordinary people anyway, if we are replacing drama-plays with real life anyway. Why the heck don't we replace cameramen, producers, and broadcasters by normal people. That is to me the next step. While the masses are slowly making the transfer from linear entertainment to time-shifted (tivo-style) couch lounging (where they watch what they want , when they want) the early adopters are already bathing in the dawn of the new day in entertainment : User generated content. Lets take a site like You-tube where people can produce their own movies ( with stuff as simple as digital photo camera ) and put it on line for everyone to watch. No money-making producer, no add-riddled schedule.. Just plain old home-brew entertainment. Ok , so 80 percent on YOU-Tube is crap (now) but the 20 percent that’s left is hilarious, addictive and just plain old FUN entertainment. Its wonderful to see how creative people can be and its fantastic to see them use a medium like this. YOU-Tube is more then just the next blog-full-of-funny-video's we've all seen before countless times. Lets call You-tube an entertainment station where you decide what to watch .. and others like you decide what they want to produce.
And finally , some parody.
The little movie below cracked me up, it shows you what people can do with the simplest equipment, time on their hands and a medium like You-tube to distribute it. Ok , I might think its great because I'm a Star Trek Fan .. but still you don't see THIS on Fox everyday.