Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

iPad Keyboard Dock: Thoughts

Monday, December 27th, 2010

I’ve been the proud owner of an iPad for a good eight months, but have never paired it to a keyboard. It’s been more of a device for when I’m traveling or in awkward situations, such as in bed. My desktop and laptop have been my main powerhouses, and as attractive as blogging in bed sounds, it never really took off.

For Christmas, I got some really nice iPad accessories, including a keyboard dock. I’m interested to see how this will affect my current working habits – hopefully I’ll be a good bit more productive instead of compulsively playing Angry Birds.

Hardware Lust

I never fail to be amazed by the simplistic zen of Apple packaging. #notafanboy

Every time I open an Apple product, it’s always somewhat of a religious experience. Maybe I’m just a sucker for marketing, but I love the way everything cleanly fits together.

As I took the keyboard out of the box, I was surprised at its sturdiness. I’ve been using a standard Apple Wireless Keyboard for a good year; I imagine I’m just used to it being heavily-used with some wear and tear. It’s great to have the feeling of a new keyboard, although I’m sure the keys on this one will also be falling off in due time.

The Good

I wrote this post using the dock and WordPress app.

It’s nice to have a keyboard to remind you that you’re working, while staying isolated from the distractions of chronic multitasking. It’s new, it’s fresh, and quite frankly, the change of workspace is inspiring. It’s a different experience to be immersed in typing, get the feeling that you’re on a computer, but be able to reach out and touch the screen.

The ability to charge and run audio out is also a handy addition; I’ll probably be using this as a standard charging dock across the room when it’s not in use.

The Bad

Deeper integration with iOS is a must; one of the first things I tried to do was to try to cycle through home screens with the arrow keys. Unless there’s some setting somewhere that I don’t know about, this is a pretty big drawback. When I’m using the keyboard, I don’t want to have to keep touching the screen for basic navigation. A Control + Arrow sequence, much like in Spaces on OS X, would be great. It’d also be nice to be able to scroll through tweets in a Twitter app using the arrow keys.

And although I’m aware it’s not a design flaw of the keyboard itself, I’d like to see landscape docking in a future iteration of the iPad.

“Key” Takeaways

This piece of hardware shifts the iPad from a content consumption device to a content creation device (apologies for the profuse buzzwords). Between the WordPress app and a newly-discovered code editor, Gusto, I can now see myself cranking out a lot more work on my iPad.

If you have $70 laying around, go for it. You’ll see the iPad in a whole new perspective.

Why Inbox Zero?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

As touched on in a previous post, I use my inbox as a larger part of a task management system; most of the emails I receive are directly related to things that need to be done.

Because I’m running Google Apps, every message is archived; deleting an email doesn’t mean that it’s not accessible if I ever need to look back for reference. Of course, at times, a certain email may contain pertinent information to an ongoing project. I’m not recommending deleting emails like that – have a folder system set up where you can move the message, then flag or color-code according to the task it relates to. But don’t leave it in the inbox.

Upon completion, deleting the email equates to checking off on a to-do list. Maintaining a clean inbox doesn’t waste time, it ensures prioritization and proper use of the time you have. And if you take care of messages as they come in, worries of a pileup are nonexistent. When you’re faced with a massive heap of emails, not only does a sense of desperation set in, but it’s difficult to know where to start – especially if there’s notifications from Twitter and Facebook all over the place.

I’ve had nothing but positive results from inbox zero.  What works for you?

LessConf 3010

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Last weekend, LessConf, a two-day conference about technology, startups, and business, was held at Georgia Tech Research Institute in Midtown Atlanta. This was the second iteration of the event; last year’s was in Jacksonville. Organized by Steve Bristol and Allan Branch, this was without a doubt the best tech event I’ve ever been to. Both Steve and Allan were incredibly chill and, more than anything else, just wanted everyone to have a good time. And that I did.

Day 1

Flickr: jay_tennier

Upon registration, attendees were able to pick up a copy of Seth Godin’s Linchpin, as well as various other stickers and giveaways. After a hilarious intro, the talks kicked off around 10:30. The lineup for the first day consisted of the following amazing speakers:

I especially enjoyed Cameron’s talk about finding inspiration in design. The difference between influence and inspiration was an interesting concept: influence is actively sought, while inspiration is not. Valuable insight was also given on how to capture inspiration when it surfaces; Cameron mentioned setting up a wall of paper next to a workspace, as well as keeping a dive slate in the shower. As someone primarily focused on front-end web development, I was able to gain new perspective on how to approach a project by taking a step back and becoming passively engaged. The revelation also hit me that good design shouldn’t always be focused on logic, but on how you feel.

Lunch was a great networking opportunity; my associate Adam and I had the chance to sit down with the Grooveshark team and exchange ideas. Shane’s Rib Shack catering provided by Balsamiq was also much appreciated.

The afterparty was held at Whiskey Park, inside the W on 14th Street. It was a prime location to talk with Shane Reustle, Geoff Hamrick, Chris Wanstrath, Julia Roy, and many more awesome people. Like everything else associated with the conference, it was about as off-the-hook as it gets. Loud music, dim lighting, flash photography, and free drinks (sponsored by MailChimp) made a perfect close to a day full of intelligent geekiness. It’s just how New Dorks roll.

Day 2

The second day of the conference started with bacon-infused pancakes, sponsored by Storenvy. After a good half-hour of catching up from the last night, the second round of speakers kicked off with:

Clay’s talk about becoming a linchpin was extremely inspiring; the value of resumes was discussed, with him outlining that a traditional PDF leaves little room for creative expression. A great example was shown through a Foursquare mockup resume, in which badges represented positions and achievements. In short, be so good they can’t ignore you.

The education portion of the talk also spoke to me; Clay expanded on how the current educational system trains the factory workers of tomorrow, primarily instilling the ability to follow instructions in graduates. From my personal experiences, I can unilaterally vouch for these observations. Question the status quo. Break rules. Be a leader.

At 11 that night, the final afterparty kicked off at Noni’s Bar and Deli, where Regator’s Kimberly Turner was DJing. I was interviewed by BZD Films about both Rank ‘em and the conference in general, and also had great conversations with Jessica Barnett, Janette Crawford, Chris Turner, and everyone else who made it out. I really didn’t want the two days to be over, but had an outstanding time and look forward to next year.

Final Thoughts

LessConf rocked. The end.