Neil deGrasse Tyson and I’m thinking about the laptop bag

I became a Neil deGrasse Tyson fan when I watched the series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” which I loved. deGrasse Tyson has a really interesting YouTube channel called “StarTalk Radio” which I just subscribed to and which you may also want to watch if you are into astrophysics. Here is his introduction:

Small confession: as much as I was paying attention to what he was saying, I couldn’t help but notice his laptop bag in the background. I just kept thinking: “Hey, I have the same laptop bag!”.

Back to what I was writing about, you can also follow deGrasse Tyson on Twitter and Facebook:

Image credit: Hubble Sees a “Mess of Stars” from the NASA Goddard Space Center, licensed CC BY 2.0

Sarah @TuttleSinger on making the choice to be Israeli

I really enjoyed this Voice of Israel interview with Sarah Tuttle-Singer in which she talks about her move to Israel with two small children, her choice to be Israeli and some of the challenges that shaped her emerging identity as an Israeli.

We’ve been in Israel for about 9 and a half months and it hasn’t been easy to make the transition. At the same time, I can’t imagine anywhere else being my home. There is a lot going on here lately, a violent surge that concerns me and a lot of history repeating itself. Even with all of that, Israel remains a miracle in progress, at least for me.

Twitter’s path to self-destruction?

If this actually happens, it could well be the point at which Twitter becomes even less relevant alongside that other social network with more than a billion users and that happens to be streamlining its posting experience to emulate Twitter. According to Marketing Land’s article “Report: Twitter Plans To Allow Tweets Longer Than 140 Characters” –

The Recode report, citing “multiple people familiar with the company’s plans,” said the new product would allow people to post long-form content, but the sources didn’t say what that would look like. Multiple sources have told Recode that the character limit has been a point of discussion in recent months under interim CEO Jack Dorsey, who is apparently supportive of the proposed change. The company, which is searching for a permanent CEO, has been struggling to find ways to increase its user base.

Is this Twitter’s path to self-destruction?

Data analysis in Google Sheets

For someone who isn’t a big data-oriented person, every little bit of help I can get to interpret data I work with every day is welcome. I use Google Drive – particularly Docs and Sheets – as my primary work productivity platform.

You can see automatic charts and analysis based on the data in your spreadsheet using the Explore feature. Find patterns in your data and add the charts directly to your spreadsheet.

I just noticed a feature in Google Sheets called “Explore” which is awesome. It is basically data analysis in Google Sheets:

I’ve been secretly hoping for something like this to make its way into Sheets for a while and although it won’t replace any spreadsheet ninja analysts any time soon, it makes my life a lot easier. Now I just have to work out how to use it effectively.

On a related note did you see that you can do voice typing in Google Docs too?

A promise of a more focused Evernote

Evernote has been the focus of even more criticism lately with Josh Dickson’s article titled “Evernote, the First Dead Unicorn” being shared fairly widely (also read his follow-up post).

I have had my frustrations with Evernote in the past and I’ve shared many on this blog. It works really well, when it works but, when it doesn’t, it is incredibly frustrating. Just the same, I haven’t found a replacement for Evernote that does what I do with Evernote without adding a lot more administrative overhead to my workflows (the closest I’ve come is probably a combination of Google Drive/Keep – especially with the new iOS apps – Instapaper and Pinboard).

It is encouraging to see news coming out of Evernote in the last few days; first about planned updates to the apps to improve the notes and writing experience and, just yesterday, a post by the new CEO, Chris O’Neill, who wrote about a little restructuring, Evernote’s strong paid subscriptions business and this nugget:

Evernote’s strength is in its core: notes, sync, and search

This may just be me but I am hoping this signals a return to the fundamentals and Evernote removing unpopular features like Evernote’s Work Chat feature. I don’t think that feature proved to be quite as popular as Evernote hoped. There are so many other great alternatives and Work Chat would only really be compelling if you and your colleagues did absolutely everything in Evernote.

I’d like to see Work Chat removed and those core features improved. I have been using Evernote for over 5 years and I have a lot of stuff (almost 23 000 mixed media notes) in Evernote which I reference and add to daily. Hopefully, rumours of Evernote’s slow death are greatly exaggerated and this promise of a more focused Evernote will be realised.

Image credit: Evernote HQ Office by Yusuke Kawasaki, licensed CC BY 2.0


Skype isn’t really down

You probably noticed that Skype seemed to be offline today. It turns out that the service is only partially down. The central issue seems to be that status indicators aren’t working properly so your contacts seem to be offline even though you can still message them. According to Skype’s blog post titled “Skype presence issues“:

Affected users will not be able to change their status, their contacts will all show as offline and they will be unable to start Skype calls to them.

Instant messages are still being delivered as usual. The status issue also doesn’t affect Skype for Web, which can be used to make calls and send instant messages.

It looks like messaging works.

Update (2015-09-21): Not everyone is convinced by Skype’s explanation:

This is certainly the only time Skype has been down that I can remember.

Update (2015-09-22): The issue seems to have been resolved.

Image credit: touch-tone by vistavision, licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Marvel’s kickass women superheroes

I shared a link to an awesome infographic documenting superheroes’ and villains’ weaknesses in a previous post. The MorphSuits blog also has a cool infographic featuring Marvel’s kickass women superheroes!


Image credit: Sexy Miss America, Loki, Thor, and Black Widow by Heather Paul, licensed CC BY ND 2.0

All the superheroes’ and villains’ weaknesses in a handy infographic

I am a huge comic superhero fan and I came across this awesome infographic that documents all the superheroes’ and villains’ weaknesses on MorphSuits site:

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive – Superman is almost indestructible. However, the Man of Steel has the most famous Achilles heel in comic history. Confront him with Kryptonite, and he immediately loses his powers.

Superman isn’t the only comic book character with a significant weakness. Heroes and villains alike can be defeated with adamantium, and many characters depend on their suit to survive.

We’ve charted the Achilles Heel of famous superheroes and villains, from Wolverine to the Green Lantern. Explore these weaknesses in our infographic below!