Over 4th of July weekend, my friend Jimelle and I took off on a bit of an adventure. Or maybe it was more of anti-adventure. We hopped in her car and drove 10 hours up to the tippy top of Maine on a mission: to detox our internet/phone addictions. A real vacation.
We had 3 criteria for our vacation and set 2 rules for once we got there:
- It had to be a cabin
- It had to be on a lake
- It had to be in Maine (we still don’t know how we ended up making Maine a requirement, but it worked out!)
- No computers, phones, or any electronic devices that would connect us to the outside world
- Hide any forms of time-keeping (clocks, watches, iPad clocks, etc)
For anyone who knows me, the idea of going for any period of time without my phone within arm’s reach and without any sort of internet connection is basically laughable. But I was determined. I knew I needed a bit of a detox. And detox I did.
I know that Jake will make fun of me for this one because I claimed I wasn’t enough of a Tumblr Hipster to use pummelvision, but I sneakily queued it up a day or so ago and the results are in. For some reason the photos only start around 2007 even though my Flickr stream starts long before then. Despite that, though, it’s pretty cool to see it the last few years fly by. Enjoy:
Today 101in365 reached its 10,000th completed goal, which I think is a pretty big deal. The site that I kind of pieced together with my limited PHP skills and some help from friends has helped people complete 10,000 of the goals they set out to accomplish this year. There are just about 35,000 locked goals on the entire site which means that the average user is about 1/3 of the way through with their list. Pretty amazing.
Getting to 10,000 was not easy. It’s been a lot of trial and error and thankfully our ever-patient users have stuck with me as I used them as my guinea pigs for experiments in motivation, community, and social design. I thought I’d take a step back to really think about what I’ve learned getting to goal #10,000 and perhaps ponder some possible changes to the site to hopefully get that next 10,000. Or even better: 100,000. Here goes:
I love Instapaper. It’s basically replaced Google Reader as my content-consumption medium of choice. I have the “Read Later” bookmarklet installed in my browser so whenever I find something interesting on the interwebs during the work day I just flag it for later and (hopefully) get to it that evening.
I’m trying to make it a point to clear my queue at the end of every day either by ditching or reading the articles I’ve thrown in there, but personally, I like to have an idea of the number of articles I have ahead of me (mostly to decide if I should plop on the couch and dive in or if it’s something I can finish off on my phone on the bus). No where on Instapaper does it tell you how many articles you’ve saved! Definitely an interesting design choice!
For those of you who couldn’t keep up with the webby happenings this week, here’s a quick digest! Since it’s the first week it’s a little light, but look for something more comprehensive next week!
As 2008 was coming to a close I was searching around for some good new year’s resolutions. I’ve never really been good at resolutions. They’re too intangible. “Be a better person.” “Keep my apartment neater.” “Drink more water.” How could I measure whether I was able to accomplish these things at year’s end?
It was out of this that I wrote my first 101in365. A simple list that I put on my old blog. It’s still there and I still update it, but now that 2009 is coming to a close and it’s time for me to start working on my 101in365. I wanted something better for 2010. I wanted a way to automate it so I didn’t have to go through and add strikethroughs to each item and so I didn’t have to go into a blog post and scroll down to find my item. I wanted a way to keep track of the number of items I’ve marked as done, as in progress, and just as empty. I wanted to be able to manage my list more easily with a quick “heads up” view of my status. So I tried to automate it.
I’ve been having a tough time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. True, it’s only the first week of December, but I think a large part of it is the lack of seasons here in San Francisco. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas. I haven’t even seen snow yet this year! In an attempt to try to force myself to be cheery, here’s a little round-up of cool Christmas/Holiday things I find around the web. I’ll probably keep updating this post as I find more but I wanted to share these two right away since they’re more time sensitive. Enjoy!
I’ve been toying around with Google Wave for a month or so now and I have to say that while it’s not exactly the answer to all of my troubles, it’s definitely an interesting attempt at re-inventing the way we communicate within a group. With the Notifier for Firefox installed, I’ve found that it’s become a pretty good way to keep up with a group of friends all at once. While Facebook allows for one-off catch-up sessions, Wave allows for less linear chatter which I think is well-suited for informal communication.
Have you gotten your Google Wave invite yet? What do you think of it? What are you using it for?
And if you haven’t gotten your Wave invite yet, I have 17 invites left. Leave a comment here with your email address and I’ll add you to the invite list. They sometimes take a few days to go through. Once you’ve taken it out for a spin, I’d love to hear your impressions!
Of my many peeves with Google Wave so far, the absence of a notifier is high on the list. If I need to keep a site running in a browser window just to keep on top of what’s going on, I’m probably going to close the window and forget about it for a few weeks. Google Wave has fallen victim to that habit and many a Wave has come and gone before I even remembered to check it. I’ve missed out on entire conversations between friends because I closed the browser window accidentally and didn’t realize it for 5 days.
Browsing through Lifehacker today I found the Google Wave Notifier for Firefox. If you use Google Wave at all I think you’ll really appreciate this add-on. Believe me, once you get a critical mass of friends using Google Wave (which I do thanks to the all of the invites Google gave us to send out and the general nerdiness of my friends!) it’s definitely a must-have.
That said, there’s still a LOT that needs to be fixed with Google Wave before I consider it a service-I-can’t-imagine-the-world-without (see Google Docs, Twitter), but for now I think baby steps in the right direction are helpful. Now if only Google itself would develop a notifier (perhaps connected to my existing Google Notifier) and release some sort of instruction manual for how to use the darned Wave thing…
But like I said – baby steps.
Every once in a while I poke around Kickstarter looking for cool projects. It’s inspiring and an interesting model for supporting a project or cause. Not to mention, pretty much anything that Andy Baio gets behind is going to be cool.
I’ve seen a few cool projects go here or there that I was intrigued by, but I haven’t necessarily felt compelled to contribute – until today. There is a really good batch of project proposals vying for support and I finally gave in to one of them: Designing Obama.
The proposal is this:
…The Design Director of the Obama campaign, Scott Thomas, has collaborated with artists and designers to create Designing Obama, a chronicle of the art and design from the historic campaign. Get the inside story on how design was used by the campaign, and scope out the pieces, created unofficially, by grassroots supporters.
The 360-page book is full-color and hardbound, highly crafted with an embossed sleeve…
I’m a bit of a design geek and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! Fellow design geeks and Obama supporters alike should definitely help Scott Thomas reach his goal. He’s 3/4 of the way there! And while you’re at it check out the other Kickstarter projects – there’s something for everyone!