Max and I had a great time at Geekend, and I had a blast presenting some thoughts on building reputation systems. It was fun partly because I don’t have all the answers yet and there’s a lot way to go before I actually have a system I’m happy with. But, it was great to hear good questions from the audience and consider new stuff.
A lot of people think it’s the “death of art” or “homogenizing the music industry”, what we do. I think that’s silly. There’s so much music out there, and the labels do a horrible job of picking the good stuff. We’re trying to fix the system, not replace the whole thing or remove “art”. We’re trying to bring the music that the labels will never showcase out from the “masses” of mediocre stuff out there. Ours is just one approach, but I think it scales and is less prone to gaming than crowdsourcing or the current label approach of blind hit or miss picks by a very small group of kingmakers. If you really look at how “hits” get made today, it’s pretty disgusting. Art in popular radio is already dead. We’re trying to bring the art back by showcasing the things that should be played, not regurgitating the same old stuff the labels will to be hits with their gigantic marketing budgets.
I took the end of last week off to hang out with the kids and relax a little. We had a great time going to the beach, playing video games, grilling things, going to the playground(s) and taking the boys to their first minor league baseball game.\
The Savannah Sand Gnats put on a pretty darn good fireworks show. We let the boys stay up impossibly late, filled them up with cherry lime-ade, sprite, french fries and hot dogs and tried to explain the finer points of the national past time (they know the ins and outs of the Star Wars story, but not the art of the sacrifice fly. It’s all my fault).\
There are ~~two~~ three sets over on flickr – at the playground, us at the game, and the fireworks show.\
It’s very minimalist right now, and I still need to pick a date that will work and a venue, but it’s a start. And a start is good enough for now.\
If you’re a web person (developer, designer, project manager, whatever), you live in or near Savannah and you’re looking for peers to hang out with and learn from… please get involved. It’ll be very informal and should be a lot of fun (and only happens once a month).
If you’ve never heard of it, Evernote is a note-taking app that is accessible from anywhere. They have desktop applications for OS X, Windows and the iPhone and a really nice web interface too. I clip things I’m reading to it all the time to either save for later or because I know I’m going to want to send it to people and might not be able to find it again. I put quotes in it I want to save, put URLs to things, and even jot notes down on the iPhone if I come up with an idea while I’m out. It’s fine for that, but I didn’t become a heavy user of it until I started keeping track of my to-do list. I’d tried implementing GTD (Getting Things Done) several times before, but it never stuck, until now.
Evernote has the idea of notebooks and notes. I have notebooks called Stuff – for everything not work-related that’s not a to-do list, Journal – for all my daily to-do lists, and Work – for work stuff I want to remember.
Here’s how I use it for keeping track of my daily to-do list:
- I have the desktop application open all the time. It’s never closed unless I’m rebooting, so my to-do list is only ever a couple keystrokes away.
- Either at night before I leave work, or first thing in the morning, I create a new note in my Journal notebook with the date as the title.
- Then, I just start creating a list of to-do items I want to get done that day. They’re usually always work-related, but sometimes they’re not (lthis week, one was: “Call doctor about the whole not-being-able-to-breathe thing” – and I did… check!).
- Then, as I go through the day, I’ll either just check them off if they’re simple, or add details about exactly what I did and approximately how long it took. The details are the important thing, since I can now remember the steps I went through to do something and have much better recall when I need them again.
This sounds really anal, I know, but it’s really helped me concentrate on my productivity, and how much time I spend doing things other than the stuff I really need to get done that day. I also remember more of what I do during the day just by writing it down.\
The to-do items in Evernote are still a little buggy. For example, until recently, you could only add them in the desktop application and you couldn’t mark them complete in the web if iPhone apps. I just checked and you can’t mark them done in the web interface… oh well, nothing’s perfect (and it’s still in beta).
There are some great web apps out there that are all about to-do lists, and I’ve tried most of them (I got the farthest with Remember The Milk). I think Evernote is sticking because I use it for more than just the to-do list, and I can get to it wherever I am.
Today is Max’s 9th birthday. To celebrate, I took the boys to the Oatland Wildlife Center to see some alligators and other wildlife. Little did I realize that it was a two mile hike around the center to see everything. And we did the whole thing. I, of course, took pictures which are up on flickr if you want to go see the rest of them.\
And just because it’s maybe my all-time favorite of Brian, here’s a bonus pic!
Friday: Picked Babba up at the airport. Her plane was delayed so we truncated our plans. We were still able to take a quickie tour of downtown, the cute squares and historic buildings; stop at Leopold’s for ice cream; and took the boys to the beach. Babba and the boys had a blast playing in the water. Every time I tried to take a pic though, Babba would throw sand at me! So, no pics of her from that event. Sad. We came home to the hot lasagna I made earlier. YAY for great timing.\
Saturday: Dolphin tour and dinner at a seafood place that had a great view of the water. I had crab, two types of shrimp, and scallops. YUM! (Erm, Kevin had an allergic reaction to the fresh scallops. Not so fun.)\
Sunday: Church and fabulous homemade enchiladas and tortilla soup. Wooo. Babba sat next to an outgoing woman that I’ve decided should become my new BFF.\
Monday: Drove up to Va. Long day. Babba drove since I have a notorious light foot and we wanted the drive to only take one day. She asked me to stay awake for the entire drive and entertain her while she was driving, which was the least I could do. But, staying awake the whole trip??? Waaah.\
Tuesday: Babba treated us to lunch at a Japanese Steakhouse, the boys’ favorite type of restaurant. Then I did a bit of shopping- both at stores, the internet, and Babba’s closet- yay! I scored the most beautiful pink flats from Babba. And some white flats, and (faux) snake skin flats, and black flats, and beige flats, and another pair of pink shoes, and…\
Wednesday: Took the boys to the LDS Temple’s Visitor Center, a greasy diner for lunch, this amazing park (we had an awesome train ride there too!), and a butterfly house.\
At some point in the week I exclaimed, “Don’t make me go back!” Babba had been treating us really well- turkey dinners, fresh peach muffins, trips to new playgrounds. And I’d been sleeping on some magical, pillow-topped bed that allowed me to wake without pains in my legs and back.\
Thursday: I don’t remember much of Thursday. Oops. I know Grandpa played frisbee golf with the boys in the yard after dinner. It’s now Brian’s favorite game. ETA- I think the boys decorated t-shirts with Aunt Heather. Oh, we also went to the library to score some cheap books for sale (I found The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide for \$1!!) and then let the boys play at an indoor playground. (No sunscreen means no outside play.)\
Friday: The boys played with our old neighbors, Daisy and Mico, and then checked out a new playground with Babba, while I did laundry and took a nap. It was like everyone’s-favorite-activity day!!\
Saturday: Drove back home. Babba made excellent time, woot. Kevin made an excellent dinner. Woot, woot.\
Sunday: Babba flew home. Brian cried.
My mom came down this weekend and we went on a dolphin tour (Captain Mike’s Dolphin Tour to be exact)! I don’t have time to tell the whole story now, but it was great. It was the perfect length – the boys were just starting to get antsy at the end of it and we saw lots of dolphins. The rest of the photos are here. I haven’t gone through all of them (we took a ton – I took 235 with the big camera, Max took almost fifty and Brian took a dozen or so), so I’ll probably add some more to the set this week.
Before I get to the list, I have to say, I love iTunesU. It’s such a great resource for interesting stuff from public broadcasting and universities all over the country, and all for free.\
So, here are a few of the things in the queue for the iPod to listen to for the drive:
- The Bugle – Hilarious “audio newspaper for a visual world” podcast from John Oliver (from The Daily Show) and Andy Zaltzman. I look forward to this every week.
- Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams – I’ve heard about this from all corners of the web, so it’s in the queue, and free from iTunesU.
- Funny People: George Carlin – I just found this one while wandering around… it’s on the list.
- This American Life
- TED Talks – TED is amazing, and they’re putting all the talks online for free.\
Seriously, spend some time wandering around iTunesU and see the amazing amount of content. It’s a ton of fun to wander around and see what’s there and grab stuff.\
Obviously, now I need a longer commute.