Archive for the ‘Lifehacker’ tag
Look closely, and you’ll notice I’m holding only half a kayak paddle. Which could be a metaphor for how I feel writing about my own year in review. Yup. (Photo by Jennifer Phillips)
Man, this week was slow. This last week, the one between Christmas and New Year’s? Really slow. I never liked it when, as a reporter, sources would answer questions with, “Slow news week, eh?” But I’ll say it to myself. Nobody wanted to read much of what I get paid to write about this week. So I did what everybody else does and just ran out the annual clock with a year-end review. Of myself.
“What’s your Twitter handle? Are you looking for VC money? On Foursquare? HELLOOOO?!?” (image via Wikimedia Commons).
Over a long weekend in September 2007, and right before I sent an overly earnest pitch letter to the editors at Lifehacker, I created this web site so that I might appear impressive, experienced, and engaged in the wider world of tech.
Once I’d made the jump to being actually engaged as a full-time, at-home, independent editor and freelancer, I made updates to the site so as to appear busy and important. Once I was busy, and at least self-important, I wanted to appear responsive, involved, and all kinds of quirky.
These days, I have no time to appear anything at all. Or appear most anywhere, unless it’s tangentially work-related or deductible from taxes. Free food, sure, but otherwise, no dice. Read the rest of this entry »
Not my real income/spending, but, damn, Mint.com makes self-reflection look sexy.
I’m really enjoying my guest stint on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, public radio for New York City. When someone, be it a host or caller, forces you to actually talk about something you write about every morning in short bursts, it brings a new kind focus to it. You’re forced to think about the most commonly applicable aspects of technology and productivity thinking–what I like to call the “Brother-in-Law Test” (more on that some other time).
Since I know you’re crushed to have missed the segments when they originally aired, they’re embedded below: Aug. 13, talking about web applications and universal capture tools, and the Aug. 20 segment, focused on email.
Of course, this serious-looking piece of hardware is made in Germany.
I’ve been on two different WNYC morning radio shows in the last month or so, talking up Lifehacker-type topics and describing how I watch TV (without cable) and get things done (when I can).
First up, an appearance on The Takeaway with John Hockenberry to talk about living “Life After Television,” i.e. switching away from cable to streaming net content (and over-the-air DTV). Click the play icon below to listen:
Next up, I was asked to take part in a month-long series of segments dealing with productivity on The Brian Lehrer Show. The first segment was this morning, and I should be on again every Thursday in August, around 10:40 a.m. Here’s the embedded clip–hit “More” in the upper-right corner for a download link, if needed:
I’m glad I was able to score another invite with my elite plugging skills near the end. But, seriously, I do listen to On The Media nearly every week. Because I was popular in high school.
Wrote notes to organize thoughts on blogging. Proceeded to talk about cats, iPhone cameras, magnets.
I was lucky enough to be interviewed at Rochester’s local NPR affiliate, WXXI, for its weekly Mixed Media segment. You can hear my 13:48 of audio fame in a full, streaming podcast; the version that plays on actual air waves (July 1 at about 3:44pm, methinks?) will be much shorter. It’s mostly a soft, slightly rambling introduction to Lifehacker, as well as some honest answers about what it’s like to blog for a living.
I tend to do two things when I’m talking on the spot: use many more “um” verbal placeholders than I would in casual conversation, and, to put it nicely, venture off the path with my answers to straightforward questions. The latter is somewhat inherent to how I think, but the former is something I could use some help and training on. If I find great resources online, I’ll share ‘em; if you’ve got any tips for a neophyte interviewee, let me know with a comment.
Maybe the vegetarian meal on Ajira Airlways is some kind of curry dish? That’d be sweet.
Personal blogging is hard when you’re updating another blog at least five times per day, and often more. As I put it to my editor recently, it feels like my Who Cares Filter is completely closed up by the time I find myself with time to write in this space. I don’t have to write about software, productivity, gadgets, or time management here, of course; it’s just a vague feeling that I’ve linked and updated everything I need to on the net each day.
But! Now it’s way too early on a Sunday, and I’ve got a few things that need sharin’.
- The headline: Yep. Less than six months after moving to Rochester, the wife and I are moving back to our home of more nine years. I defer my feelings on this to an upcoming Roc/Buff open comparison chart I’ll be posting (seriously) later this month.
- Food Week at Lifehacker: That was seriously fun. I earned some experience doing solo video shoots, interviewing Art Rogers of Lento restaurant about slicing and dicing onions and fileting a fish.
What did I learn? Per @jordanconway, I might find a bolt that fits in the tripod mount of my Zi6 and attach it to a lanyard for steadier shots. When shots go wrong (“Macro Mode” my butt), I’ll politely ask my subject to back up and re-explain, and I’ll keep the camera on the subject (food!) more often.
- Rockin’ the G1: Finally joined the realm of folks who can complain about two different kinds of cellular reception. I dig the open nature, the browser is pretty snappy when the bandwidth’s there, and certain apps are total killers (Locale, for one). Many reviewers and iPhone purists have knocked on the hardware, but I see a clear trade-off for the “bulk” and “design choices.” Namely, having 3.2 megapixels in your pocket at all times, to shoot ridiculously clear photos and video:
- Firefox add-ons for journalists: Titled Journalist Picks for now, and it’s a work in progress. Got an extension that would help with research, note-taking, or tracking beat subjects online? Drop them in the comments or hit me up on email.
I’d intended to run through three areas early-morning bloggers can use to sprint through material and write faster, but ended up focusing on one app I could easily keep in the 10-minute time frame. Intrigued? Check out the full list of tools and tricks referenced at the end of the vid.
Since the last time I dropped some HTML here (2008!), quite a bit has changed for the Purdman. Here’s the traffic-friendly listicle version:
- Moved to Rochester: I started at the University at Buffalo in 1999, and have lived in Buffalo—minus a 1.3-year hiatus in Sandusky, OH—ever since. Rochester’s only an hour and a half by car from my old town, and, to the vast majority of those who even acknowledge its existence, upstate New York is all one big exurb of NYC anyways. But it’s no small thing to leave a place where you’ve got a really good handle on the local media happenings and gossip, the menus of approximately 70% of the regional eateries, the non-abridged lexicon of local legend and lore, and all the other stuff of small-city life behind.
How to adapt to Rochester, then? Reverse every future-of-news-business article at once and get the actual print newspaper delivered every day. Sign up for things you’d normally shrug off (BarCamp Rochester, anyone?). Be randomly friendly to people. Working from home makes it tough to find a clear path to local enlightenment, but, then again, it’s the dead of winter. Sunshine, I hope, is not only the best disinfectant, but a powerful energy source for social generators (Sorry, I’m still recovering from a wind energy piece).
- Senior Editor at Lifehacker: Mostly because the site’s originator, motivator, and, uh, editor gracefully said goodbye to pursue a truly freelance life. There’s an old Gawker Media trope about how one year of full service does, actually, constitute being “Senior,” but I’ll leave that to the MediaBistro/TechCrunch types to parse. It’s a bigger step up than it might seem to those on the other side of the PHP, but I’m really enjoying having an active role in asking questions, planning features, and making changes that shape the day-to-day success of my favorite site.
- I turned 28:
- Canceled cable, switched to streaming: Nor have I looked back once. I’m using Boxee and Apple TV to cut the cable, so I can stream The Office, 30 Rock, and (very soon) Lost whenever I want in HD. For everything else, there’s free, over the air digital television. Seriously, it took a lot of mental re-programming to get used to the idea that there’s actually free television out there.
- Reminded what real reporting is like: Nothing I did approached the completeness of the intense, strongly-felt coverage by the Buffalo News. But I covered the crash of flight 3407 in Clarence, NY for the NY Post, and it struck me, for the first time in a long time, just how intense deadline journalism involving real humans can be. It was overwhelming, terribly sad, and an experience I’ll keep with me for a long time.
A ThinkPad, a cat that doesn’t understand personal space, coffee, and water–vital parts of my morning routine.
My social-media-savvy (and skilled) fellow Lifehacker Tamar Weinberg did the yeoman’s job of getting the whole editorial team to spill what we use in discussing, planning, researching, and writing the site. My own picks and preferences are about halfway down the page–they’ll stand out for all the Linux gear (plus the open admission to using Vista without a pistol to my frontal lobe).
It was really weird, in a great way, talking one-on-one with a voice I’ve been hearing for years–on car trips, during dish-washing sessions, over the occasional jog, and in other spots. But he’s very candid, very honest, and didn’t mind when one of my questions went for more than a minute (which got axed in editing, by the way.