2006 – 2011
I designed the company holiday card, which was sent to 500 associates and clients. The design incorporated the technologies our firm was excited about at the time, and brought a familiar review interface to the offline world of holiday card openers.
When I realized I needed an iPhone charging station to de-clutter my desk, I decided to repurpose some extra garden supplies I had lying around rather than drop $40 on some white plastic. The result was a fun and functional iPhone charging station that looked great on my desk next to other houseplants. I wrote the project up on Make: Magazine’s project community.
As an online marketing professional, I get a lot of email. It’s not that I’m super-important, but that I sign up for anything that’s important, new, or useful, plus a lot of stuff that isn’t but might inform my own email marketing. Essentially, my personal Gmail account is as much as an indexed personal search engine as it is an inbox.
The result is a growing resentment of my inbox, complicated by the fact that I spend 12-18 hours a day hunched over my laptop.
Short of up and quitting like other, more accomplished technologists have been able to do, I’ve developed a better solution incorporating emerging input devices and user interfaces.
First, I purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking. I was first given this software as a gift way back in 1999, and recently re-discovered it via the free iPhone app. I wanted to improve my dictation and, especially now that I work remotely, have reason to use my vocal cords daily. This software frees me from typing, and more importantly, allows me to effectively multitask by turning email time into dictation practice.
Second, I experiment with new forms of input devices. The tyrannical duo of the mouse and keyboard have reigned for too long. I’ve found Mobile Mouse Pro, also for the iPhone, to be a great mobile solution to access my computer and trackpad from anywhere in the room.
I’ve also switched from the heavily-featured but relatively sluggish web-based Gmail interface to a minimalist desktop client, Sparrow. Sparrow’s still in active development and could use some more features, but its speed and simplicity are fantastic for marathon email sessions.
The third (and hopefully not final) piece of my enjoyable email lab arrived as a surprise when my fiance gave me a ViewSonic digital projector for my birthday. I went to take out the trash late in the evening, and when I came back in, 30 Rock was projected across our wall.
I still don’t love processing emails, but by experimenting with more advanced interfaces, input devices, and screens, I’ve been able to greatly improve the experience. I look forward to the day when improved displays, speech recognition software, and advanced input devices are natively baked into our digital lives.
Inspired by The Onion’s A.V. Club round-up of the shortest songs ever produced, I created a 2 disc compilation of 97 songs as a year-end gift to friends and family.