Useful stuff

Updates about “Stuff to Teach Our Kids”

I have a little news about my little project, “Stuff to Teach Our Kids“, which I just shared on the site. Briefly, I have added audio clips to the articles and I also created a companion Facebook Page. You can read the updates post here:

Social Web

Why do you use Twitter?

I just responded to a question on Inbound which I thought I’d share. I’ve been thinking about why I use Twitter for about as long as I’ve been using Twitter and I don’t have any real answers yet. That said, it’s a conversation worth having.

I use Twitter primarily for news and updates. I’ve done that pretty much since I joined Twitter in early 2007. It is still the best service for that. Facebook and other services seem to be a little too “heavy” when it comes to checking in for updates or developments I’m tracking. That Twitter is still relatively unfiltered, algorithmically speaking, means I can rely on it more than Facebook to give me a fairly uninterrupted perspective on what is going on in the world. Being close to a newsticker makes it pretty helpful for this stuff.

I don’t agree with using Twitter as a personal social network. It has always seemed like the digital equivalent of trying to have a private conversation in a crowded room. You just wind up shouting at each other while anyone and everyone listens in. I suppose DMs make this possible but none of my friends use DMs for personal chat. Twitter just doesn’t have that “personal chat thing” like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have. It also isn’t a particularly effective engagement tool either.

If Facebook could figure out how to give us chronological and unfiltered streams in a lightweight app interface, it could really give Twitter a run for its money. Facebook is heading in the opposite direction so that isn’t going to happen. I also think there is something to Joshua Topolsky’s article “The End of Twitter” but I don’t know what could replace it at this stage.

Useful stuff

Mystified by all the interested in Feedspot

I started noticing a number of emails from people inviting me to use Feedspot. I was curious and took a look at the site. It turns out, this is what Feedspot offers:

Receive daily updates from all your favorite websites in your email inbox
Multiple Newsletters clutter your email inbox. Feedspot combines all in just one digest email.

(Source: Feedspot – A fast, free, modern Rss Reader)

I don’t understand the appeal. I already receive way too much email. The prospect of adding another huge digest email with updates from websites I follow to my crowded inbox makes me feel queasy.

Source: feedly press kit

I’d rather just use a good RSS reader (I use feedly to subscribe to feeds and catch up either using Reeder or feedly’s reader). Why would you want digest emails with website updates when you can just open an RSS reader and catch up with everything there?

Images sourced from Feedspot’s and feedly’s press kits.


Devices Mindsets

A couple thoughts before you update to Mac OS Yosemite

If you, like me, are one of the few people who haven’t been running the development versions of Apple’s latest Mac OS X version, Yosemite, you are probably wondering when you should update your Mac? I started the update as soon as I saw it was available in the Mac App Store and the update process has reminded me about a couple things I tend to forget around new release time which I thought might be helpful to you.

Download the update at night

Firstly, start the 5GB+ download at night. It is going to take a while unless you have a really fast line. You may as well let it do its thing while you are sleeping. My download took about three and a half hours with a roughly 4.5 Mbps download rate.

Just be patient and wait

Secondly, the installation process may seem like it is going to be pretty quick but don’t believe the time estimates at all. My MacBook Air started off at a sprint and then seemed to stall at “1 minute remaining” for about an hour to an hour and a half. I Googled this and the advice people gave on various fora is to “just wait”. It eventually finishes and boots up into your new look OS.

All those updates and performance tweaks

A number of updates only become available once you have installed the new OS. I have iWork and iLife apps installed on my Mac and those need to be updated too. Some of those updates are hundreds of MB and that takes time too.

Your Mac will also do some sort of performance tweaking in the background so the cumulative effect of the app updates and the performance tweaks may mean that your Mac just won’t be too interested in doing what you want it to do for a few more hours. Best thing to do may be to assume you won’t be using your Mac just yet and either do what you need to do on your other devices or go do something else.

Good times to update

A good time to update is when you won’t need to use your Mac for about half a day or so. You may want to wait till the weekend to update (that starts tonight). Start the download when you head off to bed (and after your precautionary backup), start the installation just before breakfast and then start the updates before you head out with your family or friends for your late morning recreation.

You may still need to update a couple apps here and there but that should take you to a point where most of the bigger updates are done and, hopefully, your Mac will have completed its performance tweaks so your Mac is usable again.

Another piece of advice to bear in mind is to consider waiting for bug fixes before updating. I never do that and always update as soon as the update is available but the experience does tend to improve with those smaller releases.

So far I like the update. I like the design and what I’ve played around with so far. I’m just waiting for everything to finish updating so I can get back to work …

Miscellany Photography

A few updates from my side

I updated this post on 2014-10-28. I since merged my blog and my portfolio site and moved the combined site to this domain. It works out better that way, I think.

The last few months have been pretty crazy. We have some big changes ahead of us but, for now, I thought I’d share a couple updates. One big piece of new (for me at least) is my new photography project which I have called “Creative Opportunities“. It has its own website and I’ve been sharing some of the work I am excited about there.

You may have noticed that I published a portfolio site a while ago which I unimaginatively called “Paul Jacobson Info”. There are so many 3rd party services you can use to publish a profile or portfolio website and, rather than using yet another service I don’t really have all that much control over, I’d create a site of my own. I just updatedintegrated that site into this one with a better theme and more information about my three main work focus areas, namely law and digital risk; writing and thinking as well as my photography.

I’ve also been thinking more about my plan for 2014, to simplify my life as much as I can. Well, my life is anything but simple at the moment but one aspect I’m thinking about again is the plethora of services and apps I use.

My OCD tendencies don’t gel too well with too many overlapping services that require more effort to maintain them than to use meaningfully. I love using so many of these services but I wonder if my life wouldn’t be that much less stressful if I just picked and committed to a couple essential options. This isn’t exactly a major issue in real terms but anything to cut back on stupid stresses is a good thing.