"Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it."Max Frisch
I recently threw out a question to my friends on the social networks asking if there was anything I could write about that might help them. While I got several great responses, the ones that stuck out more than any others revolved around technology addiction and how to overcome it. In fact, that response — in it’s many forms — outnumbered all the others.
So, I’ve been doing some ruminating around this issue for a couple of weeks now. While I don’t pretend to have any answers, I have some ideas that have popped up. Here is one of them. I call it, The Battery Game…
What if we judged the quality of our day by how much battery was left in our devices at the end of it? What if we turned this into a game for ourselves? The more battery power left at bedtime means you are winning.
Have another friend who is also feeling a bit attached? Invite them to “compete” against you. Take a screenshot at the end of the day for a couple of weeks then meet up to compare. For each day, pick a winner by who has the most battery left. Whoever has the most losing days for that period has to buy lunch.
Of course, Airplane Mode can be your friend in this game. No reason you need to save it for the plane. Turn it on and you can still check your calendar, take some notes, quickly calculate a tip — and save a whole ton of battery and kill even more needless distractions.
And, leaving your device plugged in and at home is a sound strategy too.
Put another way, I suspect that the less we use our devices — especially our smartphones — the more engaged we are with the world around us. Often times, making a game out of something daunting or stressful can make it easier to overcome. Also, more fun to do so.
I recently recorded and released an audiobook version of *So you want to be a Mac Consultant…, my guide to everything you need to know to get started in the Apple Consulting business. In doing so, I was reminded once again of the very reason I started this site — the modern Mac has everything you need to get most jobs done out of the box, no further software needed. Here was yet another case in point…
I had never recorded an audiobook before and had no real knowledge of where to start. I thought I would need GarageBand — which would have worked I’m told but seemed daunting to learn a perhaps a bit overkill. I had a PDF copy of the eBook version of the guide and I simply wanted to record each chapter as an individual audio file first.
Then, it dawned on me that I could use Quicktime. I opened up Quicktime Player and chose “New Audio Recording” from the File menu. I opened the PDF in preview, hit record, and started reading. Then, I hit stop when I was done, listened to the recording to make sure I was happy with it, and then saved it as an audio-only file. It couldn’t have been easier.
After I finished recording all the chapters, I wanted to trim a little off the beginning and end where you could hear me keyboard switching between Preview and Quicktime and using key commands to stop and start recording. Did I need some third party editing app for this? Nope. Quicktime to the rescue again. Using the “Trim” feature under the Edit menu I was able to do the minor editing I needed.
So, I have all of these files. How then to make them into an audiobook — with proper track listing, metadata, and cover art? iTunes to the rescue! I just dragged the files into a playlist, arranged them how I wished, turned them into an album (I cut time by using an applescript for this), and added the cover artwork — all of which can be done right in iTunes via the “Get Info” panel. Once done, I exported them to a folder, zipped it up into an archive, then uploaded them to Gumroad (the service I use to sell the work). I went from nothing to something I could ship in just a few hours and no additional software.
I’m still always amazed that the Mac can do things like this — create real professional work that one can put out into the world and be proud enough to sell — and it is built right in. Even after creating this site to promote this fact and living it for years now, I still find it thrilling and empowering. And, ultimately, this is exactly what we should expect from our tools.
A clean and simple way to read Pinboard articles later.
Paperback also lets you easily archive and tag links from your Pinboard ‘unread’ queue once you’ve read them, and it keeps track of your progress, too, so you can flit from device to device while reading a lengthy piece.
Workspace with a view.
The chair makes it.
"We don’t buy things. We buy into things. What things? All things. Even the things we don’t buy but get for free."
A post on my personal site that is very topical here.
"When we make decisions, it’s not a battle of people trying to break us out of our value system. We all want to double down on these values, whose aim is to make things simpler, more focused. Those are spoken and unspoken mantras in all the discussions we have. You can call that Steve’s legacy, but it’s Apple now."
I’ve said this before… The true legacy of Steve Jobs is the culture of Apple.