iPhone as Primary Computer

iPhone as Primary ComputerPhoto by tinker brad.
Shadoe Huard writes about his experience of using the iPhone as the sole general purpose computer in his daily workflow. His experience including the skepticism generally meets my own. Recently I have spent more of my work time using an iOS device than my iMac, and though all of the computers in our house have lost the lustre of being new, I feel no great urge to change them. The only exception thus far is presentations; though I have the adaptor and software I haven’t had the courage as of yet to rely upon my iPhone for this particular use. For that I still use my ancient 12″ Powerbook which I trust to just work.
His inspiration came from an article by Patrick Rhone which he quotes: “The real challenge is overcoming our comfort, convenience, limits and pre-conceived notions”.

A simple inventory of my computer use during a typical day reveals how much I already depend on my iPhone for almost everything I do. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say that almost 80% of all my tweeting, RSS-reading, email checking and web browsing is done on my iPhone, even at home. In those regards, the iPhone applications dedicated to those activities are arguably some of the best there are.
These days, about the only activities I didn’t use my iPhone for was writing and maintaining this website. And like Rhone, a keyboard and Plain Text are the only two things I needed to change that. Previously, before I bothered to learn markdown, I’d ditched the iPad as a publishing device because formatting articles for the web on iOS devices was a chore and quite often frustrating. Of course, those frustrations were of my own making. With markdown, formatting is as simple as I choose to make it. Which is to say quite simple.

Not included in the article is practical advice on what apps. to use, specific workflows or the belief that this would work for everyone. I think we all learn our own personal choices over time.
iPhone Essential
One of the many benefits to having an iPad

Found Sound Nation’s Mobile Street Studio

Found Sound Nation’s mobile street studios connected the classical musicians with everyday citizens so they can create music together.

In August and September 2011 Found Sound Nation ran a Street Studio project at the renowned Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. As part of the Spotlight program of the Lucerne Festival Academy, Found Sound Nation set up small mobile recording studios to link festival musicians with Lucerne residents and visitors, as they worked together in the creation of new works. The street studios were based at various locations surrounding the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern (KKL), and these tracks were created on the spot with material gathered from people on the streets of Lucerne. The videos, made by Temujin Doran, are quick looks at each of our four days at the Street Studio.

All of the music created at the street studios can be freely downloaded.

Wool iPad Case

 Wool iPad Case
Look ma no seams! Or buttons, snaps or other extraneous doodads that threaten to scratch your favourite device you never realized you needed. Made in Japan of wool this iPad sleeve is not only perfect for keeping your iPad dressed in style in comes in a variety of bright colours. Designed by Kazuma Yamaguchi for ABITAX.
They have a little note at the bottom stating how thick wool absorbs shock — I think I’ll take their word for it.
Wool iPad Case

Charbonize Felt Macbook Pro Sleeve

Charbonize Felt Macbook Pro Sleeve
Hong Kong based designer Keith Ting has some nice work in his Etsy catalogue. This sleeve for your Macbook Pro is made from 2.5mm wool felt and features attractive brown leather with snap fastener closure. Keith thinks it can keep you stylish and fashionable while on the move with your laptop, something I certainly need help with.
There are increasing options in accessories made from my favourite materials of canvas, wool felt and leather. I see this as wonderful sign as many of these products are made by smaller companies or individuals who really care about their craft. Tom Bihn and a few others excluded, I increasingly associate synthetic materials with large impersonal companies who outsource their manufacturing to whichever production facility in China provides the safest deal. I prefer the smaller shops, especially when you can send off an email to the company and get a reply from someone who had a hand in making the product. Try doing that with Targus.
Charbonize Felt Macbook Pro Sleeve

Poketo Striped Fleece Backpack

Poketo Striped Fleece Backpack
Poketo Striped Fleece Backpack
These are what I sometimes what I characterize as a ‘does look good on me’ bag. This coming from my first bag buying experience in Taipei 12 years ago or so when I looked in horror at the clerk when she asked if I wanted to stand in the mirror to make sure the backpack looked nice. Like this was standard practice for camping equipment — I thought she was from Mars. Now I appreciate the non-utilitarian aspects of accessories but the characterization stands.
Here’s what they have to say about the backpack:

Compact but roomy, these bags are made of durable and soft sweatshirt fleece, and excellent for work, school, travel, and everyday. The padded straps give you comfortable support, and the reinforced bottom and the hardware details give a classic touch. A front pocket and an additional pocket inside provides compact and lightweight storage. Roomy enough to fit notebook, magazines, and all your daily necessities.

Sounds perfect.
Poketo Striped Fleece Backpack

Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard = Chano y Dizzy!

Chano y Dizzy! Honors the legacy of Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie.
For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, percussionist Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straightahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences are numerous, but among the more prominent figures that inform his music are two of the primary architects of Latin jazz — conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.
Sanchez pays tribute to these two titans on his new album, Chano y Dizzy!, his 25th recording as a bandleader on Concord Picante, set for release on September 27, 2011. Joining Sanchez on the 11-song set is trumpeter Terence Blanchard, a New Orleans native who literally grew up amid the Cuban and Latin jazz scene and has been a longtime fan of the music’s multicultural underpinnings.

Something completely different in the form of a promo from Concord records. Examining bags and how people express themselves with mobile devices I sometimes forget that this whole other world of self-expression exists. In another life I played allot of music and followed Terrence Blanchard work very closely. I’m looking forward to listening to this … though likely on my iPod.

The Joy of Silence and Doing Nothing

This article speaks to the guilt I often feel if my day has been less than productive, that many of the people I know are forced to retire early due to over-work, the fact that I have spent considerable time perfecting ‘tasks’, that I have tried multitudes of task list software and that it’s seemingly impossible in Taiwan to experience silence and peace.

We love nothing more than to conflate ‘work’ with ‘calling,’ to confuse busyness with purpose. Stillness is suspicious! Work is all there is! Endless toil isn’t just a means to divinity, it is divinity! It says so in the Bible! So it must be true.”
Ain’t it a shame? Don’t ideas like microtasking speak directly to the toxic, Puritanical American work ethic that tells us if you’re not spending pretty much every waking moment in some manner of chore, well, your value as a human is more than a little bit diminished? Is it not the idea that a given month, week, day or hour is nothing more than a giant, blank To Do list in need of a some items?
Yes, we’re Americans. We are, by and large, utterly terrified of silence, stillness, spaciousness, the doing of nothing so as to feel the totality of everything. Meditation, for most, is disquieting and strange. Deep quiet feels weird and dangerous, a void aching to be filled. The Internet has us convinced that the world is a roaring fire hose of urgent information, and if you can’t swallow it all, well, something must be wrong with you.

It is no longer possible to sit quietly on the park bench without checking your Facebook feed, chatting with Siri and waving to the CCTV cameras. It is no longer possible to be astonished at the wonder of your footfalls along the forest path and not feel the urge to check email, find the nearest Starbucks, Hipstamatic the hell out of that beautiful fallen tree. You cannot just sit in your car along a quiet country road without the GPS beeping that you took a wrong turn as OnStar politely blows up your car.

From Hurry up, get more done, and die

Forestbound Men’s Bags 2011

Forestbound Men's Bags 2011
Forestbound Men's Bags 2011
I hope Forestbound doesn’t mind me sharing these photographs. It’s been awhile since I visited their collection and I wanted to introduce some of their new cotton canvas work but this series is hard to miss. Gorgeous. The bags definitely define the idea of meant for use not show — so much so that they attract instead of detract. It’s hard to put into words as I’m not a writer and I only have 90 seconds to write this post.
Forestbound Men’s Bags 2011

Power poses to win in the boardroom

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s pioneering research shows that subtle manipulations in posture can actually change our hormone levels and dramatically alter the way we feel and are perceived by the people around us. Just two minutes in one of Cuddy’s power poses lowered cortisol levels and actually changed the performance of research participants in stressful situations. She channeled these findings into empowerment training tips. Check out her PopTech presentation to find out how you can use your body language to win in the boardroom, your next job, interview or public performance.

How the iPod has changed our lives.

How the iPod has changed our lives.
In this widely linked article Daniel Levitin writes for the New York times on how the iPod, which recently celebrated it’s 10th Birthday, has changed our lives and the way we listen. Here are some choice excerpts in my order:
iPods change the way we “share” music. For one thing, we don’t listen together. So?

Music listening used to be an activity that we did with great ceremony. We’d invite friends over and sit down, pass the album cover around, study the artwork. And when the record started, we’d listen intently together and do nothing else. In short: music listening was deeply social. The iPod has turned music listening into a mostly solitary experience.

Has the iPod brought more music — more rhythm — into our lives?

Yes. The average 12-year-old can hold in her hand more songs than my great-grandfather would have heard in his entire lifetime. Also, digital music is a great democratizing force for musicians. They no longer have to go through the narrow turnstile of record companies.

iPod owners tend to download singles instead of albums. What is the effect of that?

An obvious loss: the album. For decades, artists assembled and sequenced songs to make a larger musical statement, the height of which resulted in concept albums, from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” to Green Day’s “American Idiot.” Breaking an album up into singles disrupts the artists’ original intention for the work. Also, we tend to lose the opportunity to discover songs that don’t jump out at first.

The album died long before the iPod came along. Musical artists stopped becoming artists and became a business commodity — non-popular music non-withstanding. Half of what was released on many albums wasn’t worth listening to.
The article has interesting thoughts on the lack of, or change in sociability, of listening to music today but the article has less to do with the iPod than it does with his acute understanding of the science of music and the state of popular musical artistry today.
Though far too short, I enjoy reading his ideas, the article is interesting nonetheless.
NYT: Happy Birthday iPod!

Ally Capellino Canvas Rucksack

Ally Capellino Canvas Rucksack
This rucksack, a part of Ally Cappellino’s collaboration with Apple, feels true to the brand image I have of the Girl Guides and Brownies; more so of course than the Dieter Rams infused Apple aesthetic. But like Apple, this bag is deceptively simple, modern and a perfect fit for your 13″ Apple laptop. The bag features double the buckles, front zip pocket with (i)phone pocket inside and padded laptop protection. Subtle branding — meant to be used not shown.
Many of these bags start to look the same when viewed online but when you get to compare them in person you notice the subtle differences in how each designer treats this popular style of accessory.
Ally Capellino Canvas Rucksack

Bag ‘n’ Noun Canvas Rucksack

Bag 'n' Noun Canvas Rucksack
Bag 'n' Noun Canvas Rucksack
Japanese bag maker Bag ‘n’ Noun have a gorgeous collection of work with a variety of uses, styles and materials. Their large Canvas Rucksack features a top flap with a beige buckle fastening strap for closure, two adjustable beige shoulder straps to the back, a loop at the top and a stitched on design label to the front. It’s an exceptionally clean form, beautiful; much like what you might expect from Japanese designed products. I’m not a fan of buckles as I always expect them to be slower to close but that’s about the only negative I can come up with.
Check out their (horrendous flash monstrosity) website for their full range. I’m linking to a more accessible retailer where they are currently sold-out. Worth hunting for.
Bag ‘n’ Noun Canvas Rucksack

Nathan Eagle: Global mobile workforce

Nathan Eagle is harnessing mobile phone data in emerging markets. He’s launched txteagle, a program that enables the under-employed to earn money or phone credits by performing tasks on their cell phones. Through partnerships with over 220 mobile phone operators, txteagle is active in nearly 100 countries.

Information Is Cheap, Meaning Is Expensive

Information is cheap
A wonderful interview with George Dyson who grew up around the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, built kayaks in Canada and began to think about the internet before personal computers were a household staple. He talked with Martin Eiermann about the definition of life, human progress and the importance of cognitive autarchy. Quotes from the article in The European:
“it is always easier to find answers than to ask the right questions”

Finding answers is easy. The hard part is creating the map that matches specific answers to the right question. That’s what Google did: They used the power of computing – which is cheap and really does not have any limits – to crawl the entire internet and collected and index all the answers. And then,by letting human beings spend their precious time asking the right questions, they created a map between the two. That is a clever way of approaching a problem that would otherwise be incomprehensibly difficult.

“The challenge is not to gather information, but to make sense of the information we have?”

Right. We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is. We’re extracting meaning from our minds and our own lives.

“It is hard to see how computers could emerge as creative and imaginative entities in the near future.”

We have to wait and see. But I am not sure whether computers are just tools. When you look at your iPhone to get directions, are you asking the phone where to go or is the phone telling you where to go? You cannot draw a strict line between active and passive information exchange. If some alien form of life came to earth, they might be convinced that there is a bodiless form of intelligence that is telling its constituent parts to turn left or right. So there is a symbiosis that works both ways.

“Information Is Cheap, Meaning Is Expensive” by George Dyson