Examining my mobile use

After my last post about Providing my life I took a look at what my actual usage patterns on the phone actually are. I realized that it isn’t so Mich a question of whether or not I’m usually.g the smartphone or not, its more a question of the kinds of things I’m actually using it for.

In the past few days I have:
– Finished reading Ken Collect’s novel Deadly Fortune via the Kindle app for Droid, even though I don’t have a Kindle. Then I downloaded Machiavelli’s The Prince and Sun Tzu’s Art of War to have on hand in the office.

– I downloaded Florence + The Machine and have played it until I’ve got the music stuck in my dreams.

– If you count my last post and this one I’ve blogged from the phone (trying to ramp up thumb typing proficiency and seed the Droid auto-replace library with my own language patterns.

– I’ve had sms conversations wih lots of folks.

– took pictures of my workday scenery for later editing and sharing on Flickr.

– counted calories

I suppose given all of that I’ve been getting along well, and I’m already Droidifying nicely. I’m convinced that there’s more I can be doing or getting out of this phone.

One thing I’m planning on doing next is working more on setting up the various user spaces to organize
my apps a bit more logically to me. From there we’ll see about adding photos to the flogging. And learning more about the PhotoShop express app and what it can do.

Some days

by Fakelvis on Flickr, CC: attribution, share alike

by Fakelvis on Flickr, CC: attribution, share alike

I’m hard up against an internal wall today. As someone who suffers from rapid-cycling bipolar disorder on the lighter end of the mood disorder scale (read that, ‘highly functioning’), I find myself stuck. Inertia has me and has me but good right now. I’m so unhappy with a 9 to 5, but there’s no option which is survivable outside of it.  It’s usually easier to be slightly manic in this kind of a job than to be slightly depressed.  The job seems to insist on mania.

I’m looking forward to moving to Canada. I’m looking forward to getting the books I’m writing done. Ideally, I’m looking forward to becoming a full time author and moving to Canada. I’d rather spend the entire day locked away in a give and take with my computer where there were no clients calling, no teammates to motivate, no projects to move through, just me and the page and when the page isn’t enough, iTunes and the Net to get the creative juices flowing.

Give me a lifestyle where I am bound by deadlines but not by schedules. Where I am beholden to my own efforts. Let me Create. It’s what I’ve been chasing forever, apparently. The ability to somehow have a studio or workshop of my own, where I write or make pottery or do digital design work, and just get left alone for weeks and months at a time. Up at whenever feels right, put in a full day at the book, at the wheel, at the easel, at photoshop, or whatever the medium happens to be. Make the work, hand it to someone else to worry about selling it, and then get back to work making more. Make enough money to keep a lifestyle similar to the one I’ve got now, but with much more time and far less stress.

That’s my dream. I don’t want to continue climbing the corporate ladder. I don’t want to take on more responsibility. I want a routine which allows me to punch a clock and get through it while I continue my personal efforts to get to my dream. Hell, I’ll even teach a class here and there for side income at local colleges or universities that need me to pick up a class now and then.

It’s time to stop spending so much energy on maintenance. I just keep getting depressed over and over again at having to get up and go to work every day like clockwork. I’m not opposed to the effort, I’m opposed to the senseless futility of it all. The lack of growth or real change. The lack of progress. The overall concern with greed.

It just weighs heavily on me sometimes. And today is one of those sometimes. Today, I keep looking at all of the minutiae which needs to get done and I keep wondering, why can’t I make myself care today? Why can’t I make all of these emails and all of these people make sense today? Inertia and despair, paralyzing me from the inside out. It’s tough to push through. Tougher still to know that this is just one cycle of these feelings, the latest, and that until I get myself into that position, I’m going to be absolutely miserable on a certain level, just in different phases of denial about it.

But the money’s got to come from somewhere. Connecticut is far too expensive, and the economy is far too shaky, to question the hand that feeds. So with agony I keep going, trying to be grateful for the job and all the positive I have, while still struggling to bring about a completely different lifestyle entirely.

And so it goes.

Blog whoring, y/n?

Netkerfluffle isn’t where I’d like it to be. I keep telling myself that I’m going to do some research, that I’m going to start surfing for blogs to add to my blogroll, to jump into blogversation with. It’s not happening.

Work with a 2 hour daily commute takes the life right out of me. And while my job is engaging, challenging, and interesting professionally in the extreme, most of what I do I’m unwilling to write about and just post out here for anyone to take a gander at. There’s a certain level of work I can write about, but in most cases the thing that makes being a project manager interesting is seeing what each individual client is up to. The really cool stuff tends to be the projects where the client is really pushing boundaries (their own or in rare cases, the industry’s). And those kinds of sites and work are the sort where any kind of discussion tends to be highly frowned upon.

Site stats

So I looked back at my dashboard this morning and sighed. One or two hits here and there for the majority of my posts. With good reasons:  sporradic posting habits, weird angles on iffy topics, no anchors to currently ongoing discussions, walls of text writing styles. I wouldn’t read me either.

But there was one glorious spike in my readership. One week when I had 160 views here, most in a single day. It was the week where I discussed immediately the season cliffhanger for ABC’s LOST. It got me thinking… is it time to whore out Netkerfluffle? Or retool the concept here in an attempt to garner an audience?

A question of identity, but also of time.

Pandering to the masses by utilizing a topic shift is tempting, but why would anyone go to a blog entitled ‘Internet Kerfluffle’ unless they were interested in the internet? (Or a friend/family member of my own. Though if anyone other than my brother is savvy enough to surf the blogosphere I’ll be surprised. My sister maybe, but just maybe.) And really, even if I did chase the audience instead of carve out a niche, would it be any more or less forgiving? Would I bring anything to the table which differentiated myself or added anything positive to the new arena (be it discussing selected tv shows or reviewing movies, or… )?

And really, would the time issue go away? The same hurdles still exist with time and effort for starting and maintaining a blog in the first place. I’ve got projects piling up in my mind, efforts I would like to take on a variety of fronts with little to no time to do them all.

It’s something to think about. I suppose that I can begin to look at good blogging techniques and write about them as a launch point for Netkerfluffle. Because while this is ambling along, I’d like to get to the point where I’m doing at least one major, topical, blogosphere-relevant post a week here.  Researched, cross linked, edited, revised, and with relevant photos linked to from Flickr or the CCommons. I’d also like to pursue at least one topic of research mentioned already, but the reality of that is dimmer than the reality of blogging regularly.

We’ll have to see. I’ll make it my goal this week to start writing a draft about good blogging practices. While a blog about blogging is the ultimate in self indulgence, when we’re talking about a blog which is supposed to look at various things Internet-related, it kind of relates.

Eureka?

Or perhaps the way to handle this is to look at my job a couple of steps backwards. Maybe the value I can add to the blogosphere is by providing a higher-level discussion about the “pain points” (new bizspeak currently in vogue for ‘problems’) that I encounter on a day to day basis as someone ‘in the trenches’, so to speak.  Look for things that are in common to several of my clients, and talk about the trends that I’m encountering now, vs. the theoretical and emerging potentials within the job market. Find a way to turn the lessons I’m learning into resources that other businesses can use.

It’s definitely doable. It’s something which will allow me to simultaneously vent some steam in some cases while hopefully adding to the general knowledge pool.

Hrm… too simple. Too elegant. Too few excuses for not doing it. Damn, I guess I’ve got a blogging plan.

*sigh*

Iranian Protests, Net Neutrality, and the Politics of the Future

Over the past week the results of the elections in Iran have sparked wave after wave of protests and violence within Iran. Twitter has emerged as means by which the state-controlled suppression of information has been circumvented.

Suddenly, the microblogging service finds itself as an auxiliary to a revolution. When I had to try Twitter for a while for one of my classes, friends of my age and generation were skeptical to the point of being dismissive of the service. Even I had to admit I agreed with them. I didn’t see what good microblogging would be. After all, if something is worth writing about… -write- about it. Again I’m forcibly reminded that it’s all about the communication patterns of groups, not individuals. (I’m also reminded that Twitter makes more sense with a true mobile media device vs. the old fashioned non-net flip cell phone I carry).

You can bet that China is watching the shakedown in Iran very closely. The information which is slipping out through non-state controlled means over the internet just serves to highlight once again how the internet remains a democratizing force which seeps in to to the hands of the people.

When will we begin to pay just as much attention to the security and safety of the pipeline of information and communication as we do to the pipelines of oil? We’re not immune to this debate in the United States, either. Who owns the internet? Or more properly, access and usage rights to the internet?

Net neutrality is going to become a more and more increasingly important issue globally. We already have the Great Firewall of China happening, but with the results from Iranian elections spilling over into the web… this is going to be extremely important to keep an eye on the government about. Our own first, and the governments of other nations second.

And the internet is continuing with its insistent force for social change. Pay attention, now… things are going to get interesting.

A different sort of place

Week 1 of the new job is done. The reverse commute is wonderful. It’s such a different kind of energy being up in the midstate region of Connecticut.

I’m replacing someone who is moving away here, and in a stark contrast to working at my last job in Darien, I’m being slowly and gently trained and transitioned. My first day at my last place saw me in a client meeting on site before the end of the day. Not only that, but the person I replaced had left the company the Friday before I started, so I was just sort of thrown to the dogs.

Here, there’s a lot of infrastructure and philosophical alignment that runs throughout the entire agency. Everyone knows the interactive process here. Everyone lives by it. And as a result, there’s none of that jarring clash between the offline promotional agency world and the online interactive agency world. Everyone, from the owner down to the new hires, are all on the same page.

What a relief such a simple change makes. How lovely too that I had an entire week of being coddled, really, as I was brought up to speed on projects. I’m looking forward to the fact that next week I’ve got the full week to take the lead on my projects while my predecessor is still nearby to answer questions and provide insight. It makes coming on board a much more pleasant process.

The inner paranoid part of me is slowly relaxing. Slowly. Not quite willing to believe that it’s going to stay this nice, but I’m no fool — I’ll enjoy what I’ve got while I’ve got it.

Hired!

Today I accepted an offer from an interactive company to come on board with them as a Project Manager. I’m quite thrilled, although the reality of it still hasn’t hit yet. Intellectually I know I’ve got the job, but the economic climate is such that it’s going to take a while before I fully relax and accept the reality of this new development. I’ve crossed the finish line of the qualifying race, and I just can’t let myself stop running yet. Like someone is going to take it away before it manifests. There is a whole heap of gratitude I need to process through before I can begin to approach relief. And I’m suddenly oddly aware of the sheer stress I’ve been carrying, as I contemplate dropping it.

Harnessing the power of the internet

Bang! 12:01pm on January 20, 2009, our 44th president is sworn in. Minutes later, there is a shift in policy and the communications begin. With a new website.

And not just any website. The Obama administration has revamped and revised the website for the White House, demonstrating a level of understanding and mastery of this new communications medium once again years ahead of anyone else in Washington. I spent an hour last night flipping through the new website. An hour. True, I’m an internet professional and this is right up my alley, but I have to say that it was an hour spent ingesting information, not fruitlessly looking for relevant sources of the same.

More so than the state of the union, www.whitehouse.gov now shows me exactly what Obama’s policies are toward a number of items and arenas. And I found myself actually tearing up at one point, when I realized that this wasn’t campaign promises, this was a set of policy declarations issued from the office of the President of the United States of America. Transparency is coming to the political process in a major way.

Relevant Quote

Taken directly from the Technology section of “The Agenda“, I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the overall sentiment.

President Obama and Vice President Biden understand the immense transformative power of technology and innovation and how they can improve the lives of Americans. They will work to ensure the full and free exchange of information through an open Internet and use technology to create a more transparent and connected democracy. They will encourage the deployment of modern communications infrastructure to improve America’s competitiveness and employ technology to solve our nation’s most pressing problems — including improving clean energy, healthcare costs, and public safety. – Technology section, Agenda, White House website.

A commitment to net neutrality, a clause requiring legislation be posted on the web for public access and no bills pushed through without 5 day waiting periods to allow the US citizens to post their thoughts on legislation or suggest revisions for their lawmakers to take under advisement… this isn’t my grandfather’s President. This is mine. My generation, or damned near to it. Talking about issues in a way that indicates awareness of what the modern issues happen to be. Speaking with language that is reasoned and measured, but not overly formal. And at heart, having good ideas. Some meh ideas, but on the whole some really good ideas.

I’m amazed to see the first start to transparency with this website. For the first time -ever- I know what my public servants are thinking and planning for the entire breadth of the Agenda ahead. I know where this administration stands on several key issues, and I have yet to find anything which I strenuously object to.

The other shoe

When you can’t find the hard-to-swallow compromises, you have to start wondering whether or not this president’s going to be able to reach as many people as he likes. Could it be that the country doesn’t all disagree with me and my personal politics after all? Could it really be that I am part of a reasoning majority who just hasn’t stood up to be counted until now? Or will the other shoe drop and resistance to these progressive, modern, and well-thought-out policies be met with a bitter uphill struggle, undermined by even Barack’s own party members on the hill?

Only time will tell. But I must say, this president has already managed to turn the role of the web in politics on its head, and he’s only been on the job for less than 24 hours. I really do believe that we can make a change. And I’m ready to do my part to support it, Mr. Obama, though my skills are not in a position to provide financial assistance right now. Let’s get our hands dirty and guide this old republic into the 21st century, with all the challenges and opportunities that presents.

President Obama has set an agenda item to improve our broadband internet access until it becomes number one in the world, in terms of numbers of connected citizens. I am astounded and well and truly pleased first that my presidential candidate actually understands that a) we’re not currently leading the charge in that area, and b) actually understands the political, social, and economic ramifications that access carries with it, enough that c) it’s a plank in his administration’s agenda.

Lead on, sir. We’ve been waiting for you for a long time.