I recently stumbled upon several blogs that are devoted to a single topic – organizing your life. The buzzword for this in the blogosphere is “lifehacking.” It originated as a programmers’ term, but has recently broadened its scope to include all sorts of productivity areas.
Technology is supposed to make our lives more productive. But there are several problems that continue to elude the masses:
- Software applications have a learning curve, and most interfaces aren’t intuitive or discoverable enough for the average user.
- Web applications and sites suffer from this same usability issue.
- Our lives are encompassed by massive amounts of data (both digital, paper and other). Working with data requires creating workflows, and modern technology sometimes convolves the workflow process.
The following blogs have numerous tips, tricks, hints and software downloads to make our lives more productive. These are mainly useful for people who use technology (especially the Internet) every day and want to organize their data and create productive workflows. That pretty much applies to everyone I know (a few luddites excepting).
A few posts I’ve discovered through these services that are uber-useful:
7 tips of handling your Emails without feeling overwhelmed
Merlinâ€™s top 5 super-obvious, â€œno-duhâ€ ways to immediately improve your life
RSS tips (2) How not to go mad
And of course, a general tip I always recommend is to go grab a copy of Mozilla Firefox. Learn how to use the tab feature (I also understand that Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 is about to be released to the masses, and finally has tabbed browsing, but I can’t very well recommend the insecure Internet Explorer, now can I?). Can’t install it on your work computer? No problem – just use Mozilla Firefox – Portable Edition. No installation necessary.
Since I’m a designer and I have special interest in user interfaces, the lifehack topic comes naturally to me. So, I’m going to start posting more lifehacking productivity tips (most especially relating to Google and other web applications). It really fits with the tagline I set for this blog when I started it – “Where technology and real life can meet and be friendly.”
A note to my regular readers: if you subscribe to my RSS feed, please consider re-subscribing using the new FeedBurner feed. It will help me keep track of feed statistics. Thanks!
We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special information update – Google just BOUGHT OUT YouTube for $1.65 billion. This is Google’s largest acquisition, and one of the largest Web 2.0 acquistions to date. Buy your Google stock now if you hadn’t already!!
YouTube is the most popular Internet video site, with more than 100 million videos watched a day, and Google’s own Google Video couldn’t even compete with that. Now it is assumed that YouTube and Google Video will merge content and features. This is BIG news, folks!
Update: That’s $1.65 billion IN STOCK, in other words, Google traded about 1.25% of its own shares for 100% of YouTube shares. And because such a massive deal is likely to make Google’s stock go up in value, they didn’t really even pay anything for the acquisition. Amazing!
I know I’ve already mentioned this in a few emails to certain people, but the word really needs to get out – the new Google Reader is awesome! I’ve been using Bloglines since 2004, patiently waiting for Google to release an RSS feed aggregator. When they finally did, the result was horrid. The first incarnation of Google Reader was difficult to use, as it utilized the coma-inducing river-of-news reading style.
(For questioning minds – What is an RSS feed?)
Long story short, I have continued to use Bloglines, patiently and faithfully awaiting the day when the Google Reader Team would wake up and smell the fresh feed juju. On Sept. 28, they finally did! And I finally switched from Bloglines to Google Reader. Now reading through my subscriptions list is similar in function (and as easy as) reading through Gmail (which functions as my email aggregator). If you feel out of touch or disconnected with the ever-increasing, ever-growing Internet (and its blogosphere), use your Google Account and sign in to Google Reader. Then start reading!
If you’re reading this on my site (and not in a reader), you’ll see a blogroll containing blogs of some interesting people. Here are some other sites I read daily (copy and paste feed URL into the “Add Subscription” box in Google Reader):
Engadget – http://www.engadget.com/rss.xml
KDE Dot News – http://www.kde.org/dotkdeorg.rdf
NewsForge – http://www.newsforge.com/index.rss
Slashdot – http://rss.slashdot.org/Slashdot/slashdot
Wired News – http://www.wired.com/news_drop/netcenter/netcenter.rdf
Google Blog – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Lifehacker – http://www.lifehacker.com/index.xml
Planet GNOME – http://planet.gnome.org/atom.xml
Planet Ubuntu – http://planet.ubuntulinux.org/rss20.xml
TechCrunch – http://feeds.feedburner.com/TechCrunch
Boing Boing – http://boingboing.net/rss.xml
Pantano E-News (Pastors’ Blog) – http://www.pantanochristian.org/enews/rss.xml
PCC Creative Arts Blog – http://www.theworshipspotatpcc.org/TheWorshipSpotAtPCC.org/Blog/rss.xml
Arizona Daily Star – http://rss.azstarnet.com/index.php?site=metro
And don’t forget, this blog will always have an RSS feed – http://www.philipandjenny.com/feed
Randy Garsee, the top news anchor in Southern Arizona, was apparently fired on Tuesday. Rumor has it that he sent an email critical of KOLD-13 management. I tend to prefer Guy Atchley and KGUN-9, when I actually watch the news, but I feel like Randy Garsee (and Kris Pickle, who left a few months ago) is (or was) the face of Tucson news.
There are two very good things that come out of this situation:
1. Reporters should, by nature, challenge everything. Including authority. If KOLD management doesn’t understand that, then I’m not interested in watching their (boring, censored, totalitarian) newscast. Randy Garsee is now a reporter/anchor who I can cautiously trust. He challenges his authority at work, so maybe he is inclined to challenge any authority of wrongdoing…
2. Randy Garsee is a blogger. Blogs may not still be around in 20 years, but they will have evolved into some form of mass Internet communication that also replaced the need for traditional news sources. I expect to see more freelance reporting through the blog medium in the near future.
Check out his blog – http://randygarsee.blogspot.com/