Last week I spoke to 70 members of local women’s group about how they could potentially use iPhone’s and iPad’s in useful ways in their lives as retirees. As I made a list of apps and use cases for my presentation I thought about how much I’d miss my iPhone if I were forced to give it up, and remembered a story that my father used to tell about a Yankee Clock Peddler. The story goes like this…
The Yankee Clock Peddler and his travelling companion start out on a sales tip in a rural area, and they stop for the night at a farmer’s house. In the morning before leaving to make sales call in neighbouring communities, the clock peddler asks the farmer if he’d store a clock for him for a couple of weeks, and that he’ll pick the clock up on his way back home. The farmer agreed to this, so the Peddler wound up the clock and placed it on the farmer’s wall before leaving (the farmer does not yet own a clock). When out of ear shot, the traveling companion asks the clock peddler why he left the clock at the house. Didn’t he want to sell the clock on the trip? To this the Yankee Clock Peddler replied, “don’t worry, by the time I come back in a couple of weeks, the clock will be sold… the farmer will happily buy it from me.”
The moral of the story is: “We can do without any article of luxury we have never had, but when once obtained, it is not in human nature to surrender it voluntarily.”
This past Friday while I playing in goal for the first time for my men’s O40 soccer team I realized how profound and long lasting muscle memory is. Early in the game when it came time for me to make my first drop kick, I did a high arching, and not very long kick that reminded me very much of the “up and under” hospital kicks that I used to do as a full back for my Jr. High rugby team. When I tried to lower the elevation of my next drop kick, my timing was off and did a relatively short line drive to a member of the opposing team (one of the worst things a goalie can do when drop kicking the ball). I went back and for the rest of the evening executing beautiful up and under rugby kick, and failing miserably when trying to get more distance out of my kicks. Looks like I need to spend some time on the field with one or more of my kids practicing my “long” drop kicks.
The other aspect of goal keeping that felt very familiar to me was the diving after shots on net. I didn’t expect that to be something that would come easily to me, but once I was between the posts, and people started shooting at me, It reminded me an awful lot like defending against someone spiking a ball at you in a volleyball game. There are obvious differences, by much of the basic technique is similar. fortunately grabbing the ball or pushing it clear of the net is easier than trying to pop the ball up in the air for a volleyball setter.
In any case I’ll be happy to play in net as long as our regular goalie is out recuperating from an injury. Playing is net is less scary and a lot more fun than I thought it would be!
I’m often asked by people who have just purchased a new iPhone or iPad what apps they should get for their new device. Right now this is what I’m recommending:
- Kindle & iBooks – The Kindle and iBooks readers are the only apps you’ll probably need for reading books, and PDF files that people email to you. Both Do are excellent eBook readers, but books typically cost less in the Kindle store. On the other hand, I’ve found it much easier to get PDF files into the iBooks reader, so you’ll want to have both installed on your device. Don’t waste your time on the Kobo reader.
- Zite & Flipboard - Zite is a free personalized magazine for your iPad that automatically learns what you like and gets smarter every time you use it. Flipboard on the other hand had a little bit slicker interface than Zite, but it does not learn your likes and dislikes as you read over time, but stick with the sites and categories you’ve chosen to read. I’d try both out to see which you like better.
- Facebook & Path - Almost everyone is on Facebook now, and if you are, you should install the Facebook app. The user experience using the app is much more responsive and polished than the mobile web browser interface. You might also want to try out Path. Path allows you to post through to Facebook if you choose, or limit your posts to other Path users. If you try it, I suspect you’ll like it.
- Evernote - An excellent tool for capturing, syncing data between your desktop and cell phone. I love the ability it gives me to take a picture of a white board, and then later do a key word search on the text that Evernote has OCR’ed for me. I like to call it my “external brain”.
The short answer is no… unless you earn less than $50,000 per year, a pay raise won’t make you happier. Once your basic needs are met, earning more money will not make you any happier.
Will becoming more attractive make you happier? Nope… plastic surgery or weight loss will give you an initial boost, but you get used to your new looks pretty quickly, and in the long run you won’t be any happier.
Will better health make you happier? Counter intuitively, no. Unless you’re at death’s door, you get used to your state of health, and being less or more healthy doen’t change your happiness level in the long run.
Will moving to a sunny warm city make you happer? Again, no. After the new car smell wears off, your level of happiness will move back to where it was when you were living in a cold northern city.
So, what are some things that make us happier?
- Connect… with family, friend and neighbours is the most important thing you can do to contribute to your overall happiness. The good news is that this will cost you little or no money to do!
- Be Active. Walk, run, bike, play games, play sports, dance yoga… these are all things that will improve your mood, especially if you’re in a bad one.
- Take Notice of the beauty in nature and in life.
- Keep Learning. Whether it’s new hobbies or a new skill at work. Be challenged and remember that most happiness comes in striving for goals, not in reaching them.
- Give. Do something nice. Join a community. Be selfless.
If you’d like to read more on this topic, I highly recommend reading Jonathan Haidt book, The Happiness Hypothesis, or if you’d like to read great eight page summary, you can read my brother Bob McCue’s book review and auto insurance guide,
Finally, here is Dan Gilbert’s entertaining TED Talk with his take on happiness. Enjoy!
No matter what you think of Al Gore’s politics, his latest book, “Our Choice” points toward the direction that authors and publishers should be heading. Text combined with images, video and interactive graphics, make this e-Book a much more compelling product than a the equivalent physical book. I personally enjoy reading on my iPad, but all of the books I read in my Kindle reader are identical to the print copy (except that I can change the font size, and have a built in dictionary). The price is also right: $5 for the e-Book compared to $17 for the a physical copy.
My first reaction to the Our Choice app (for iPad and iPhone only at the moment) was that it reminded me a lot of CD Rom products from the 1990′s. Call me crazy, but I loved the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia because it not only included text and pictures, but added videos and interactive charts. I enjoyed the media rich CD Rom products that came of of the mid 1990 confluence of CD Roms, color monitors and speakers all shipping standard with PC’s.
So what is different this time around? For starters the form factor of the iPad make for a much more pleasant reading experience than sitting in front of a computer screen. In addition, the navigation interface that the iPad’s touch screen makes possible is intuitive and natural. Push Pop Press is the company that wrote the software for the book, and from what they’ve said, they hope to make their tools available so that others can publish media rich tools. Watch the video below to see how the “book” works
It was a wonderful experience reading Our Choice. Not all books, especially novels, need videos and interactive charts, but for some books (like school text books in particular) these bells and whistles make a huge positive difference. I hope to see more book in a similar format in the near future.
Wordle is an interesting way to visualize a body of text like a blog. Students are research appear to be my two most favourite topics on my blog; at least by word count. If I had guessed before hand I would have thought that “collaboration” would have figured prominently as well.
It is unclear how many iPads were harmed in the making of this video
A couple of days ago, I ran across an insightful iPad review by Anne Kirschner, a dean at City University of NY. Her iPad experience closely matches mine. Here are some of my thoughts:
- The move from the morning paper to reviewing the news on the iPad, make breakfast a much more pleasant experience, because of the smaller and more easily managed iPad form factor. I actually do a lot of my “newspaper” reading in bed now.
- When used in meetings, it gives you the ability to take electronic notes and consult the web for meeting related material, with out “barricading yourself behind a screen.” For me this has made a huge difference, especially now that the novelty of the iPad is wearing off and more people have them in meetings.
- When traveling, it’s 10 hour battery life makes long flights more endurable as I can watch movies I really want to watch, or play games while in the air.
- The 10 hour battery life means that I don’t need to recharge it during the day, and often I go 3 or 4 days between charging.
- Reading using the Kindle reader is a joy. I especially appreciate being able to go back and forth between my iPad and iPod and the Kindle app knowing where I left off on the other device (this work across all Kindle apps and devices).
What I’m hoping gets fixed in version 4 of the iPad OS:
- One of the main drawbacks is it’s limited ability to multi-task that we’ve become accustomed to on laptops. Copy and pasting text or an image from a web page just takes a lot longer.
- One other drawback is the iPad’s current inability to sync files from your desktop computer, or from some cloud based system. If I could have 2 way syncing of some of my DropBox floders I would be a very happy man.
- This is not a big issue, but I’d love to be able to output the contents of the screen via the Apple VGA dongle, from every application, not just Keynote.
That’s it for know… You should really read Anne’s article for all the interesting details she includes.