Technology for organizing a neighborhood

[Work in Progress]

As I start to organize my block for disaster preparation, I’m wondering about good software we can use to organize ourselves. Are there any existing services that could be useful?

Some things I’d like to look at:

Learning iOS

[Work in Progress]

In this post, I will outline how I plan to learn the ins and outs of the iPhone and the iPad. I believe that these two devices, which both run iOS, are especially important devices for many of my prospective clients, including seniors.

What are the important tasks to learn? How do I keep up with the latest developments? How do I teach people systematically how to use these devices?

Photo sharing case study

[Work in progress]

Because I took a lot of photos with friends this Thanksgiving weekend, I figured that it would be a good time to take some next steps on what I wrote in Managing and sharing your photos:

One of the most emotionally resonant digital tasks that many of us, including seniors, love to do is taking, managing, and sharing photos. There is a lot to say about this topic. I have my own workflow involving my Android phones for taking photos, Flickr (and now Google Photos) for storage, and Facebook (primarily) for sharing. I’ve not been totally happy with this workflow and am working to change it. I’m looking for workflows that will work for a wide range of people using many different devices, software wanting to satisfy many different needs.

Being explicit in figuring the Next Step for projects

Besides chopping and baking cauliflower and sweet potato, much of my Thanksgiving Eve was devoted to projects that I had set aside for a sufficient stretch of time to have forgetten where I had left off. It took a non-trivial amount of energy to “warm up” my brain, to reimmerse myself in the original context to be once again productive.

It’s not surprising then that the Getting Things Done (GTD) system urges practitioners to identify explicitly the very next step to work on in projects. The best time to working out the next steps is when such steps are freshest in one’s mind. I have to be disciplined to carve out time at end of my work sessions to write down the next step (instead of working right to the end of my sesssion without bothering to identifying how I would pick up my work the next time). The payoff for such discipline that work is substantial.

Identifying next steps is also an important thing to do at meetings with other folks. I’m sure many of us have participated in meetings where no concrete action items are called out or there is a mad rush is made at the end of the meeting to define action items.

Managing and sharing your photos

One of the most emotionally resonant digital tasks that many of us, including seniors, love to do is taking, managing, and sharing photos. There is a lot to say about this topic. I have my own workflow involving my Android phones for taking photos, Flickr (and now Google Photos) for storage, and Facebook (primarily) for sharing. I’ve not been totally happy with this workflow and am working to change it. I’m looking for workflows that will work for a wide range of people using many different devices, software wanting to satisfy many different needs.

I am learning a lot from friends on Facebook about what they do with digital photos, including using Nixplay photo frames, sharing photos on iOS using iOS – Photos – Apple, broadcasting photos to a TV using Chromecast. I’m working on distilling those ideas. Just as I was about to buy a Nixplay frame, I see that from the comment section for The Best Digital Photo Frame: Wirecutter Reviews how complicated the various technical solutions can actually be. What’s new there?

Don’t be WIPed

Do you struggle with having more projects than you can productively work on simulatenously? I certainly do. That’s why I have been attracted to the Personal Kanban productivity system, which puts a lot of emphasis on visualizing, pruning, and limiting one’s “Work in Progress” (WIP). I’ve not been sufficiently serious about setting realistic limits on my WIP: witness my overflowing list of projects started but essentially zombified. How many projects survive on my list when I have neither the energy to advance them nor the will to kill them?

Face it: I’m not going to cure my deep rooted habit of being WIPed overnight. Yesterday, I took tiny steps in the right direction by forcing myself to schedule dedicated times for the next steps for some of my projects. Theoretically, a rigorously maintained and enforced calendar is a good visualization of WIP and of incipient (rampant?) overcommitment. There’s probably something to learn from articles like How To: Setting Your Personal WIP Limit | Personal Kanban. The start of the article is to the point:

There are only two rules in Personal Kanban.

Visualize Your Work

and

Limit Your Work in Progress

But I need to find the time to read the rest of the article first!

Remember the Future

Masha Gessen ends on a somewhat positive note in her Nov 2016 essay Autocracy: Rules for Survival | The New York Review of Books:

Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever. Donald Trump certainly will not, and Trumpism, to the extent that it is centered on Trump’s persona, will not either. Failure to imagine the future may have lost the Democrats this election. They offered no vision of the future to counterbalance Trump’s all-too-familiar white-populist vision of an imaginary past. They had also long ignored the strange and outdated institutions of American democracy that call out for reform—like the electoral college, which has now cost the Democratic Party two elections in which Republicans won with the minority of the popular vote. That should not be normal. But resistance—stubborn, uncompromising, outraged—should be.

Magic of Morning Moleskining

This morning, after a long break from writing journalistically in the black Moleskine I carry around in my backpack, I scrawled:

Stand back to see where my handwriting hand leads me right now. Early morning writing can sometimes be downright magical, illuminating hitherto dark spaces of the mind and heart.

What followed was a trance of fluidity that I rarely have when writing on my computer. What do we know about the difference between writing in a paper journal and on a computer?

Writing on a personal blog when there’s medium.com

Isn’t it positively quaint to hope that I will write in any meaningful way on this blog when so many of the cool writers on the web have migrated to Medium?

I’m actually inspired to get back to writing on this blog because Dreamhost, the current host for this blog, has made it free and easy for me to use HTTPS on my site (via letsencrypt.)   As silly as this may sound, I feel much more at home now on this blog, now I can write over more secure channels.   (yes,  I know: Medium also support HTTS –> so HTTPS cannot be the determinative factor in whether I write here.)

Help stop the renewal of the Copyright Term Extension Act

I just encountered (and signed) the rootstrikers.org petition to stop the renewal of the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), making me wonder what’s up with the Act. A quick Google search landed me on this Washington Post story story with the following paragraph distillation of the current state of affairs:

The copyright extension Clinton signed will expire in five years. Copyright holders like the Disney Corp. and the Gershwin estate have a strong incentive to try to extend copyright extension yet further into the future. But with the emergence of the Internet as a political organizing tool, opponents of copyright extension will be much better prepared. The question for the coming legislative battle on copyright is who will prevail: those who would profit from continuing to lock up the great works of the 20th century, or those who believe Bugs Bunny should be as freely available for reuse as Little Red Riding Hood.