Productive Shoutouts

At the turn of the century, the internet seemed to have changed from a mere informational medium to a real-time virtual hangout place. I can still remember in the mid 90’s when the most you did online, besides search for static information, was to chat on IRC. Or join newsgroups (I was big on this one in particular). And instead of a MySpace page, you probably had a Geocities homestead. Today, it seems like social networking is just “the way you do internet” now as reality TV is “the way you do TV” now. It’s a way of life to know someone from anywhere around the globe as if you grew up in the same street. Interesting, indeed. The world seems so much smaller today than it was just a decade ago. And that’s a very good thing in my book.

But much like TV, social networking could easily take up a huge chunk of your life, if you’re unaware. Unless, of course, you consider it your entire life. And perhaps, there’s a reason why it should be. On the other hand, sometimes, it slips our mind that there are other important things we could accomplish for the benefit of our future than just hanging out with, and virtual high-fiving our online buddies 24/7. Now, I’m not saying to stop doing that. I’m just thinking of alternative means of interacting in cyberspace. Especially, the ones that encourage personal productivity. The ones that can actually help lead us to a better place at some point in time; be it spiritually, emotionally, physically or financially.

The web today seems to have something for every imaginable lifestyle and demographic. Both good and bad. However, a lot of times, popularity leads to trends and unfortunately, you get sucked in one way or another. After all, don’t we all want to feel connected? Or even cool, validated and relevant? That’s life, I guess. And so, what do we do? We sign up for an account and join the crowd. Ha!

Lately though, I’ve discovered many new sites that aren’t as hip as the ones we’re normally familiar with. At least, not yet. And when I started journaling online a few of years ago, I never expected any social interaction. Yet, I appreciate that it actually enables you to make friends and/or inspire people with the words you write. Being a creative creature, writing gives me a valid reason to spend time blogging. It is being productive, much like I consider writing and recording songs a true form of productivity. Simply because that’s just who I am and that’s just what I do to make my life worth something.

Besides reading blogs, I like going to places where I actually learn something. Like Yahoo Answers, for instance. It’s cool that you can ask any question under the sun and you get responses coming from your own town all the way out on the other side of the planet. Your perspective is drastically widened that way. You’re offered several viewpoints instead of just one. I love it. And then, there is It’s my Dear Abby on living a productive life. Very cool.

Okay, I feel like I could go on forever on this topic. I simply want to share some of the places on the web I’ve been hanging out lately, actually. Maybe, you can check out some of them yourself and see if they can help enhance productivity in your life online, as well. I know it does mine.

Besides the obvious ones (and the ones I’ve already mentioned above), here are some other sites I consider regular stomping grounds:

  • – Your browser’s Favorites is a thing of the ancient past. Get on with the times and access your bookmarks on the web, already. Also, it’s cool that other people give recommendations, too. I never would’ve found out about an important link if no one bragged about it. I don’t go a day without using it.
  • digg – If you’re a news hound like me, this could get addicting. I purposely try to stay away if I know I need to get something else done.
  • Bibsonomy – A place to share publications and literature. I go here to randomly learn about something someone wants the world to learn about. I’m just an information addict, I guess.
  • 43 Things – List your goals, share your progress and cheer each other on. Very cool site. I have yet to utilize this one though… I am still afraid to make some commitments. But I try to get inspired by others who have made their goals, persevered and got cheered on.
  • LinkedIn – Want a better job, start rubbing elbows right here. Me? I really hope I get to keep my present job as it is the best one I’ve ever had in my life.
  • Twitter – This is micro-blogging at its best! I use it to keep up with (literally) up-to-the-minute news updates on just about anything from top headlines to a hospital patient’s minute-by-minute progress. I got it set up once to send updates through SMS on my cell phone until it started ringing off the hook and drove me nuts!
  • – One word… music. Now, you might not consider this productive, but as a musician, I am in constant need of inspiration. This is definitely optional, just for people who consider music the air they breath.
  • Tumblr – I’m new to this one and have yet to make full use of it. It’s a nice little area for showcasing my art without having to explain it in words, I think. It’s a tumblelog, after all. A what, you asked? A tumblelog!!!
  • Netvibes – Don’t get me wrong, I think iGoogle works fine. But Netvibes is iGoogle in designer clothes with lots of bling, cash and is fatally attracted to you. I’ve been on it for two years now and they’ve come a long way since. This cool portal helps put everything I have online all in one convenient place.

The following sites, I don’t use but still find interesting, nonetheless.

  • LibraryThing – Book lovers, unite! If the library is your regular hangout spot, here’s an online version for you.
  • GoodReads – A social cataloging site similar to LibraryThing. Unfortunately, I’m not a bookworm or I would get lost in here on a daily basis.
  • StoryMash – For fiction readers and writers. It allows members to collaborate in the writing process. This system of user-generated content pays all authors over 50% of all revenue made by the content they publish. Very cool, indeed!
  • CakeFinancial – This one’s specifically for investors. It allows members to share their real stock portfolios and performance with other members. I might use this one day, when I finally learn how to invest!
  • Care2 – Do you love the earth? I mean, like way more than your average green practicioner? Then, come on in and join your fellow radicals and activists.
  • ExperienceProject – This online community connects members who share similar life experiences. Like, if you’re suffering from depression, or being haunted by a rough childhood memory, you’ll be in good company here. I really thought it a good place to find some kind of healing.
  • Jaiku – It’s a micro-blogging site similar to Twitter. Nicer, in fact. But not as popular. And, it’s owned by Google, I think.

Anyhow, I’m sure I barely scratched the surface here. But, like I said, there’s so much interesting places out there on the web, that we now have several means to improve the quality and productivity of our lives… if only we knew where to find them. Hope this helps a bit.

Reload already!

Normally, I don’t enjoy ranting about technology. But when my patience gets affected in any way, I know it’s time to let off the steam a bit.

Okay. Reloading the browser. This technology is soooo last week! And, that’s my beef.

When you’re on a website that updates content by the minute, or second in fact, it gets annoying when you have to hit the reload button just to see what’s new. Imagine doing it when on a chat or IM…

Hmm, I wonder if I got a response yet. After all, it’s been, what… 2 seconds already! (hits reload button)

Maybe it’s just me, but I get lazy when I know I’ve already been pampered to death for years by AJAX-driven sites like, Netvibes, or the Google apps (Reader, Gmail, Gtalk, Notebook, etc.). So, why should I have to regularly hit a button on, say, Twitter, just to get the latest updates. Sites like this generate updates faster than you could switch tabs back and forth on your browser.

Also, I shouldn’t have to ask an email client whether or not I have new mail at the moment. Just let me know when friggin’ mail arrives, dagnabit! Fart, or something! I don’t know! Sheesh! How hard could it be? Can’t I just leave the window open all day and have it ring me up whenever something new arrives? Yeah, instead of having to visit every one of them every other minute… because I’m worried I might’ve missed something… already. After all, in this day and age (or at least, in Web 2.0 standards), a 10 minute-old news is called Archive! He! Care to view the microfiche?

K, I’m done.

Don’t forget to wear your goggles

Your Smart Goggles, that is.

iForgetFor those who are tired of having those annoying senior moments, this is the new Japanese invention that will make you remember where you left those little pesky things such as your keys, purse, cell phone or what have you.

However, that is, if you don’t mind looking like Doc from Back to the Future! Hmm…

“Good God, Marty, I can’t find my Flux Capacitor! Hand me the goggles before Biff gets here!”

Though, I can see this falling into the hands of Apple Corporation one day, and turning it into a more fashionable statement… say, iForget? Anyone?

Well, all I can say for now is… Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!

Now, where’ my stinkin’ glasses, dagnabit?

I didn’t know…

… did you?

If this is all true, I must’ve been living in a cave. Amazing information, ya’ll. Check it out, it should be worth your time.

You eated my cookies and hurted my feelings

Waaaaah!I swear, I heard one of the kids down the street say these words before.

Sup with the schooling system, yo? That ain’t what MC Hammer would call “Proper.” Have we finally upgraded to English 2.0 without my knowledge? Since, back in the day, we didn’t have grammar and spell checkers, we were forced to learn things the old-fashioned way. By memory. Could it be that technology have been spoiling us rotten for awhile now? I remember being able to multiply and divide by hand. I’m afraid it’s a lot more convenient to hit the calculator icon these days, than to grab the pen and piece of paper in front of me.

However, while some people still need to play catch-up on learning basic language skills, I’m afraid, in this day and age, we all have to somehow do so, as well. Though, in some other way. I don’t know about you, but the English dictionary seems to be getting thicker and thicker on a daily basis. Albeit, unofficially.

I mean, since when did the word “favorite” become a verb? (Did I just hear someone mention “Googled?”) Technorati would say… Your blog has been favorited five times. Good luck convincing your spell checker to pass that one. And, it just doesn’t roll nicely on the tongue, either. Admit it!

By the way, I found the following list from the American Dialect Society after having read the news yesterday announcing “Subprime” as official word of the year 2007. These words are just a small sample from an extensive list that goes all the way back to 1990.

Subprime – an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment.
Googlegänger – A person with your name who shows up when you google yourself.
Texter – a person who sends text messages.
Billary/Hill-Bill – Bill and Hillary Clinton
Quadriboobage – The appearance of having four breasts caused by wearing a brassiere that is too small.

Plutoed – to be demoted or devalued (This is just cruel, I think. Call me sentimental but I love and miss my Pluto!)
Brokeback – of questionable masculinity; insufficiently heteronormative.
Pornament – a Christmas ornament of the adult kind.

Truthiness – the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.
Flee-ancée – in reference to runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks.

It’s also interesting to find these out:

Word of the decade (90’s) – Web
Word of the century (20th) – Jazz
Word of the millennium (past one, I’m guessing) – She

There you go. I hope you were entertained, somehow.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what your emo boy just blurted out on the celly while wafflin’ with his G, here’s a fun place to find out. Now, that’s sick, brah.

RSS rules!

For over two years now, I have been utilizing Netvibes as my primary news portal and RSS reader. I used Yahoo before it. They have come a long way since the early days. You should check it out if you haven’t yet. The only thing about Netvibes is that it takes a while to really get acquainted with all the knobs, buttons and whatnot. Especially, today. Not that it’s bad, though. I mean, it’s bells and whistles galore now. Unless you’re a geek on vacation, there’s just so much you can use on there until you feel like you’re just in front of a stealth bomber cockpit.

For some reason, lately, I felt the need to check out Google Reader just to get a fresh perspective. So, I started using it this past couple of weeks. I like it very much. It’s a lot simpler than Netvibes but intuitive enough for the rest of us eternal noobs. But, don’t get me wrong. Any new technology you’re plunging into for the first time will require some learning curve.

The options for RSS (or Atom, etc.) are endless, it’s not even worth discussing. In this day and age, you just have to bravely dive into a seemingly bottomless pit, if you wish to learn. How much you’ll learn depends on how bad you want to learn. But take heart, a lot of it isn’t really as hard as they seem. Just have a little patience, I guess.

tech age

Times have changed, to say the least. The flood of information we’re experiencing today is not even funny. The impact of the old phrase, “Information overload,” has now been downgraded to being just everday life itself. And if you’re an information addict like me, you would want everything delivered to you. Right here. Right now. Quickly! And clicking on links just isn’t as efficient as it used to be, if you’ve got better things to do.

The thing about RSS is that, in this day and age, it’s still not as widely utilized as it should be. It’s been around forever and these days, you’d be hard pressed to find a reputable website that doesn’t offer subscription via this really simple syndication method. If only people knew what they’re missing.

But then again, what you don’t know won’t hurt you. Or would it? Hey, you decide.

There’s quite a few ways you can subscribe to other people’s blogs. Here in WordPress, most people use the blogroll to collect the URLs of the websites they’re fond of, and regularly visit. There’s also the Blog Surfer and Tag Surfer on the admin pages. Then, there’s the old fashioned browser bookmarking/favoriting way. However, if you’re still using this method, you might want to consider having your bookmarks available online by using social bookmarking sites such as They make life online easier. Once you know how it works, that is.

But for me, RSS rules! Especially for keeping track of blogs, there’s just no better way. I’m subscribed to almost a hundred blogs, as of date. And everyday, I add more. If I had to visit every single one of them, just to see if they have a new post, or if the new post interested me, I’d be homeless by now.

Information Overload

Have you ever heard someone say – I’m a slave to technology. I can’t live without my cell phone, iPod, laptop… whatever? Sure… whatever!!!

Information Technology I recently came back from a web design conference in Seattle. It was a new learning experience for me. I appreciate its real world, right here/right now kind of training experience. The problem, though, was that there was so much to chew. Too much information, not enough time. But maybe, it’s just me. An important feature of the event wasn’t as much creating and using technology in itself but more on wrapping everything that we do (as web designers/developers) around user-experience. People first, technology second. But this is a deep topic that might be better off being posted on another blog another day.

Though, one thing that became clear to me was the fact that, in this day and age, there’s just way too much information flooding our brain all at once. And a lot of times, we’re left to deal with it. Sink or swim. I remember the joke about the VCR’s clock blinking all the time. It may have been funny back then, but when you think about it now, that may have started the global shift of culture that is now in itself… our culture as we know it. The joke made it obvious that we’re unable to catch up with the times. I mean, it’s not rocket science or anything, right? Just RTFM and set the effing clock already! How hard is that? But no, it wasn’t a matter of whether or not it was difficult, people just did not want to waste their precious time with having to listen to and figure out what and how others want them to do stuff. They would rather go out and jump in the pool with the kids. More fun, less thinking. A no-brainer!!!

And yes, I totally agree! It is a no-brainer that I’d rather enjoy my life the way I want to and not how others might tell me so. If I need something, I shouldn’t have to go through a step-process to get it, or at least not through way too many steps. Technology should be a tool, a helper… not your boss, or worse… your evil master!!!

And so, back to the conference. What did I bring back home with me? Well, a sense of change, for one. A desire to infuse more of that human element into my craft. Sometimes I feel like everything I did in the past was wrong. But I realized, it is good to see the past for what it was today… that, yeah, it could’ve been better. And it could! And should! I could at least do my part, right?

That said, I better get to work already… for tomorrow might not be as forgiving.