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Showing posts from August, 2013

#110 - Media Expansion, Life Tracking Correlations, Security, and Linux

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Motto: A Bird in the Hand is Worth Several Hundred in the Bush. Birds are in Bushes All the Time, in Hands much less Often.

Now we turn to this week in media expansion.

Right now I'm watching "This Week in Google" as it's being recorded. I listen to the podcast every week per the suggestion of my sister, Alissa. It's one of the several new ways I find myself killing time. Also on this list: This American Life, audiobooks, and TV On-Demand via Netflix or Hulu. 

That's the future. That's the way things will be. TV is slowly dying with it. Olivia Wilde wrote an article championing Video On Demand on Buzzfeed. Kevin Spacey talked about the future of media at the Edinburgh TV Festival. If you're killing time, both of those links are worth clicking on (IMHO).
Now we turn to this week in Life Tracking.
One of the implicit goals of tracking which of a set of 25 daily tasks I complete was to see how doing one thing effected doing other things. Does completing a wor…

#109 - Ecosystems Revisited

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Motto: The Horse is Never Dead

I love technology. People who know me know this. I get asked about different tech-related things fairly often (which I love, please never stop asking) and my advice always changes with the current technological landscape. This column is about one of my oldest and most consistently-given pieces of advice:
If at all possible, don't mix technological ecosystems.
Here's what I mean by that:
Don't try to sync your Android phone with iTunes running on your Windows 7 computer, don't try to make your Chromebook play well with Microsoft Word, and please God don't try to run Google Docs on Internet Explorer with your Macbook.

In general, each of the three biggest software competitors offers its own solution for just about everything you need. Here's what I'm talking about -


So, who should you choose? I've already written about this in Column #44, but it was crazy long.
Apple Pros: Apple provides a unique opportunity to stay within an ecosys…

#108 - Vehicular History, Dietary Tracking, Smartphone Superpowers, and a Lame Joke

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Motto: a Day Late and Still Free

Today is Wednesday. Most of this column was written yesterday, but I wasn't able to post it yesterday. I'm still going to try to do the whole Sunday/Wednesday thing, but I guess this may happen from time to time. No big deal.
I wanted to show pictures I've taken of every car I've owned - that was my plan. When I set off to find pictures of these cars on my computer I thought to myself "I might not have any pictures of my oldest car." If my plan was going to fail, that's where it would have gone wrong. 

Turns out I didn't have pictures of any of my three previous vehicles. That's how much I car about cars.
So, utilizing Google, here's a brief visual tour of my automotive history:
2002-2003: The "Weezer Wagon". A hand-me-down from my sisters. Had a big Weezer logo in the back windshield.
2003-2007: The "Man Car". My dad had a policy of buying each of his kids one car. If you messed it up, it was on…

#107 - New Car Smell

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Motto: Yaaaaaaay Debt!

It's Sunday night. This is the second of the scheduled updates. It's a going to be a nice, short post.
For the past 10 years of my life I have been a member of the car driving community, but not of the car owning community. I've been issued hand-me-downs and even a car of my own by my ridiculously supportive parents... but I've never really owned one.
Or, I hadn't, until yesterday when I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. 
The specs I cared about: I can fit in itIt has four tiresIt has an engineIt gets >30 miles per gallonIt was in my price rangeBonus: it has another engineBonus: it has Bluetooth (which I love)Bonus: it's push-button startBonus: it looks alright (IMHO)
Without further ado (I say that pretending you hadn't already noticed this picture)...
I struggled coming up with a subtitle for that photo because it was to be the name of the vehicle. I was going to do an anagram for "Sonata Hybrid", but the list of acronyms I…

#106 - Experimental Phase

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Motto: The Regularity
Life gets boring if you let it. You can preclude boringness in millions of ways, some healthier than others. I like to make changes to things. Change systems. Change setups. Change routines. Change sometimes for the sake of change. 

A change I wanted to try out, at least for a while, was making the Column a regular thing. As I mentioned in my post two days ago, I am going to change the update frequency on the Column from "whenever I feel like it" to every Thursday and Sunday.
Seems like a good change. I'm going to try this for a month or so, just to see how it feels.
And now, for something entirely different.
A good friend of mine has an birthday fast approaching. She took some time to reflect on her previous year and decided she wanted to make what she called a "bucket list" for the upcoming year of her life. I decided I like the idea, so I decided to do what I do best: blatantly and unashamedly copy the idea I like.

Here's a sampling of m…

#105 - Nothing in Particular

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Motto: You're Not Special

The motto is both a reoccurring theme from Fight Club and a reference to the fact that I am starting this column without hoping to fulfill or achieve some grand purpose. I am writing to write, and that's alright.
List of things I'm not doing in this update: > Specially made media > Unveiling of massive projects > Lists of words or any other sort of feature > Addressing some sort of massive backlog
I recently read an article titled "The Smartphone is Dead". It's essentially one guy pointing out that phones have plateaued. No recently new phone has really been much better than what was already out there. 1080p screens are an unnecessary bump from the 720p standard from last year. 8 cores perform only marginally better than 4, which only perform marginally better than 2. My Nexus 4 came out 10 months ago, and it hasn't yet been definitively dethroned as a top-tier device*. A couple years back, 10 months would have been an etern…

#104 - Creating Multimedia/XKCD Volume 0

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Motto: Putting the "Multi" in "Multimedia"
This column is an exploration of all the different forms of multimedia I can create; it's also an experiment to do so in such a way that I tell all the stories I wanted to tell in this post. Everything in this post is completely original content created by yours truly (if you couldn't already tell by the terrible production value).

First off, I want to start with the podcast I made for this column:

[Podcast w/ homemade motiff]



I got Randall Munroe's book "XKCD Volume 0" for my birthday. It looks like this:

[Drawing (MS paint)]
[Text (computer)]
In this book, there is a selection of the first 600 comics. Rather unexpectedly (for those people that don't read the description of the book, namely, people like me) there are doodles, notes, and puzzles in the margins.

Randall Munroe is clever, smart, and, worst of all, educated. With these puzzles, I feel as though I have been issued a challenge. You could say,…