So Vizify has been acquired by Yahoo!, and guess what. It’s shutting down.
As part of trying out this digital cleanse I needed to know what exactly I don’t need, if that makes sense.
So breaking out my handy moleskine I’ve started to split the day into spaces/modes to match up with the settings in Cover and Aviate.
I also wanted to see when, and where, I wanted to have the ringer/alert silent.
I used the hashtag #DigitalCleanse on Twitter as I started listing the steps I’ve been taking:
- Leaving LinkedIn groups – I’ve never got into using LinkedIn as a social network to discuss topics and “share”. The few groups I did join seemed to spend as much time getting rid of overzealous recruiters as it did posting about the topics. I cut the email down to digests, but even that just clogged up my inbox. So I’ve left them all.
- Closing “alternate” accounts – Over the years I’ve opened a lot of accounts on (then) new services. Sometimes multiple accounts for businesses, groups, or just for a laugh. Time to shut these down, or pass them on to others. This also enables me to consolidate and focus my content.
- Turn off notifications – Now with multiple devices, every time an email or social network updates they’d both ping and chirp, demanding my attention during the day. To what end? Most of the time it wasn’t something that needed a reply, but my focus had been broken and shifted. So the only things that make noise or display an alert are phone calls & text messages.
So Christmas and my birthday have now passed and we’re fully into 2014. But what felt like a fairly stable life online , now has the exciting tremors of instability once again.
So far this year quite a few services/site I use(d) are closing or switching business models. I don’t think I’ve ever downloaded so much of ‘my’ content in one month.
- Viddler - an excellent video platform, has decided to move away from its free community model and concentrate more on its paying business side. I can’t argue with that and wish them every success, but it does mean I have to pull down all my uploads in .FLV format.
- Zootool – This was the online bookmarking service I opted for when Delicious had all those issues. Now I’m exporting them all again. Reminds me off when Ma.gnolia disappeared.
- ClaimID – For over 7½ years ClaimID served as my online reputation repository. Every profile, site, or post that was to do with me had a link here. Then it suddenly disappeared. I reached out to them and Fred Stutzman was nice enough to reply, as they had “experienced a catastrophic systems failure which left us unable to bring the service back online”. Shame.
- MyOpenID – Created by Janrain to make “registration and login easier on the web for people” it worked great, but never really saw wide adoption. Then Facebook & Twitter started offering using them as login credentials, and I guess it’s time came. But having authentication that isn’t reliant on one of the big boys is still appealing, so I’m happy Aaron Parecki reached out and is offering it as part of #IndieWeb (maybe more soon on this).
- Editorially – An online tool that I tried out. Didn’t use it too much, but a good idea well executed.
- Qik – Video messaging service. Features being incorporated into Skype.
These were things I had running in the background of my life. Things I’d visit and update every so often, but not pay them too much mind. With them gone it’s made me look again at my content, my choice of channels, my digital footprint.
The next few posts I’ll jot down some ideas from my own #DigitalCleanse, the decisions I’m looking at and the apps & services I’m using to sort it out.
Also, I’m turning off comments and pingbacks etc. for this blog. Probably going to start looking implementing WebMentions very soon.
Origami announces itself as a “permanent, living monument to your family.” I signed up a few months ago and got the beta invite about a week ago. It’s an interesting alternative to spreading your family updates, photos etc. through disparate social networks or building a “family blog”. They pitch it as “Family sharing made easy”. I really like the idea of a central family hub (that I don’t have to host & maintain) that isn’t reliant on having an a Facebook or Twitter account.
The set up was really easy – Fill in some basic personal details, choose a sub-domain for your family, then invite family members by email. As my Mum (in her 60′s) responded and joined a couple of days after sending the invite I’d say it passes the ‘easy-to-use’ test.
Once in you can add your birthday, phone number, and home address. You can also add a profile image. As the main account I can edit each member profile too.
The design is nice and clean and carries through from the website to the app. The ‘moments’ you post are presented in a timeline, with the options to ‘love’ it or add a note to it. You can also create ‘albums’ to store collective memories in, which in turn can be shared by email, Facebook or Twitter.
It also has a nice option (website) of showing a slide-show of photos from your albums if the site is open, but you haven’t clicked on it for a while.
The app (I’m using the Android version on a Nexus 4) has all the same options for posting, but the album creation isn’t live yet. Photo’s and videos can be taken right within the app, or you can choose them from the gallery.
When a family member joins or adds/comments on a moment, you get a notification on the phone. You can also get a daily or weekly digest emailed to you, which is great for my Mum who doesn’t have a smart phone. She also won’t be logging into the site a whole lot either.
Still a beta
There are still things to work out, but that’s why I love playing around in the beta sandbox.
I quickly learned that you can’t make an album after the fact. Meaning, once I posted photo’s of Josh & I building a tin can robot I couldn’t then add them into an album from the timeline. I have to create the album first and pull in photos and videos from the desktop or one of the many online photo services it supports. And you can only create albums on the website presently.
When you create a ‘moment’ in the app you have the options to share on Twitter and Facebook, checking these does nothing and there was nowhere I could find to link your social accounts presently.
I would also like to see the ability to denote the relationship of the family members, maybe using XFN, or add the hCard microformat to profiles. The addition of important dates such as anniversaries would be nice too.
Also, I know this is being presented as a “permanent” place, but I’d still like to see the option of exporting the information ala Google Takeout. That kind of option builds a lot of trust.
I like Origami
Overall, for the past week, using Origami has been a nice experience. My wife has already added a couple of moments and I’m looking forwarding to hearing what my Mum back in England thinks of it.
I really like the idea behind Origami. I’m definitely going to keep using it and see what the coming months bring.
You can see more screen shots in my Flickr stream #origami.
I’ve been lucky enough to write another guest post for the Smitten By Britain blog. This time it’s my Top 10 British films.
Hop over there and let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks. I also tracked down most of the original trailers for them.
Working on the web, especially on large projects, there’s always an expectancy of comprise during the project. Most of the time it’s a feature that either the back-end can’t handle, or that the design didn’t foresee. Maybe the company’s objectives change, or the product evolves.
It happens. And as an experienced Architect/Developer/Designer you can usually reach back into your past and find a solution that’ll suffice, or at the very least, make that particular deliverable suck less.
Compromise is a happy-ish place where neither party gets exactly what it wanted, but the goals of the project are still met.
The worst-case scenario for me is when the project becomes the deliverable. What do I mean by this? Well, it’s:
- When decisions are being made on the feedback of people outside of the project
- When designs and features are argued over until you reach a point of capitulation, not compromise, and deliverables are scrapped
- When budget & time become high concerns, before anything has really been started
- When the project stops being a collection of deliverables to the stated goal
And the earlier these little knives start to appear in the project, the earlier the despondency sets in.
One way to counter this is to make sure the project has set out its goals in plain English.
Our newsletter sign-up will increase after implementing this.
Customer complaints will decrease after elevating this.
Users will be able to share our content easier than before.
Especially if this is what you based your initial research and design on solving. Re-iterating this can, sometimes, push past these little knives and get you to a place where comprise can be found.
With the amount of content that is now engulfing our every online nook-and-cranny, I feel the time seems ripe to take another look at ”lifestreams‘. Remember them? It was a way of trying to make sense of all the “content” you were producing/consuming. Only thing was, I don’t think there was really that much when they rose to prominence. I could still comfortably clear my Bloglines feed, hit F5 on Twitter to see if anyone had posted anything, and still declare ‘Inbox Zero’ at the end of the day.
Now I can never get under 1000 unread blog posts sitting in Google Reader, Twitter has exploded, and so has Tumblr. Add to that mix, services like Dropbox or iCloud, Google+ and Facebook and you have no hope of “catching up”.
Merlin Mann, the voice behind ‘Inbox Zero‘, mentioned something on the ever excellent Back To Work podcast that got me thinking. I can’t remember the exact quote, but he mentioned having an ‘Inbox One’. A place where everything comes in (I think this was in a GTD episode) and can be handled.
But can that be another purely online service? I think not.
Both Twitter and Instagram have shown recently that they can pull the rug from under one another and, ultimately, they’re in it for the money. Now this isn’t a bad thing. They are businesses after all, and if I worked for one of them I’d sure like to know I’m getting a paycheck. I just don’t think we can rely on the services they supply to be there all the time, at least in the same way they are now for a 3rd party (such as IFTTT).
So what does that leave us? Well I think this is where hardware comes to play. Maybe its a version of Berg’s Little Printer. I’ve been looking at my smartphone as this Inbox One – Selecting and pruning the services I pull in and confining the consumption onto that device.
We’ll see how that goes.
On Friday December 14th a 20 year old male went to an Elementary School and killed 20 children and 6 adults. This isn’t the first time there’s been a mass shooting at a school, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
As a father this hit me hard. I have actively been avoiding its coverage as there has been a lot of, in my mind, morbid sensationalism in the press to serve & fill the 27/7 news cycle about this incident. There’s also a lot of public outcry, here in America, about gun control as well as the treatment of mental health. Facebook and Twitter are flooded with opinions.
Growing up in a country without an inherent “gun culture” has given me a certain view of the world. Now, don’t get me wrong. Britain has never been a wholly “safe” place – We have gangs, serial killers, rapists, armed robbery, and as I child/young adult I had to navigate the continual threat of being blown-up by the IRA.
Over the past few days I’ve had some thoughts running through my head and needed to get them down somewhere:
- The sole purpose of a gun is to kill something – Nothing else
- There is absolutely no need for anyone to own a semi or fully automatic gun
- There is absolutely no need for anyone to own more than one “live” gun (I don’t count replica’s or decommissioned historical guns)
- There is absolutely no need for anyone to own hollow-point, armor-piercing, or any other kind of specialized ordnance
- We are a mess of emotions & chemicals that constantly effect our thinking and behavior
- Some just have a hard time coping with life
- Some are intolerant and self-serving, and we’re all pretty crap at empathy
- No one has the right to take another’s life
Adding taxes, increasing the age of ownership, or tightening existing laws aren’t going to change anything. If this type of carnage is to stop you have to get rid of these types gun, and stop the media glorifying the reporting of instances where it happens. Period.
And that won’t happen until a certain section of the American population can stop acting like spoiled children and come to terms with the fact that they don’t live in the rural 1700′s, under threat of a Redcoat invasion (believe me, we don’t care about re-capturing “The Colonies”) , and join the rest of us in the 21st Century.
FYI – I’ve closed comments on this post, and I’m not looking to engage in conversation about this here, on any other platform.