Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Pen Strikes Back

Since I attached my iPad to a keyboard I have found a subtle need to work differently with the touch screen. Being at an upright angle makes the interaction with my hand different, less natural and often less comfortable.

Coincidentally I got for Christmas a set of biros with a soft nobby bulge on the top which would act as a stylus on a touch screen. At the time I smiled but thought 'not going to use these'.

I was wrong.

They have proved to be a constant companion. Reading on the iPad, which I do a lot, is easier when I can scroll and highlight with the stylus. Who'd have thought! Also I found that taking an actual pen to meetings helps with those awkward moments when people expect you to have a pen to sign into the meeting or they hand out a last minute paper and you need to make some notes.

The pen has become a dual use, modern workhorse. Bring on your paper or your tablet, the pen is up to it. When I went to a meeting and the give away biros also acted as a stylus it was official. The pen plus stylus is now a thing.

The pen is dead, long live the pen.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Drinking from the bird bath

I am following over 400 twitter accounts.

Many are people I know, some are well known people I don't know and some are news channels and the like. If a real person follows me then I will follow them back. Seems like a common courtesy. 400 is probably at the low end in the number other people follow. When I see accounts that follow tens of thousands I suspect they are not reading all of their incoming tweets. In anycase my 400 produce enough tweets to keep me occupied.

Increasingly I will follow a tweet to the longer read and that takes more time. I've never managed a 'read later' strategy. If I can't read it now it doesn't get read. I can do this on my phone for mobile friendly sites, such as @ConversationEDU and am finding right-sized longer pieces really useful. I can get all my news and a lot of professional reading this way.

I think on a normal working day I might be able to 'read' about 500 tweets, including the occasional longer read. This includes the time I spend on the train going to and from work. On a less than normal day I might get to 150 tweets and and on some days, like today when I am not at work and not particularly occupied, I might 'read' all of the tweets in my twitter stream.

I have a few strategies to help me manage my stream of incoming tweets.

1) I maintain a private list of those people whose tweets I don't ever want to miss. This includes immediate family. This would be less than 100 tweets a day. I can manage that on any day.

2) Some people I follow are heavy tweeters and from time to time I will mute them. I don't want to unfollow them as I see conversations that involve them in the interconnected flock of mutual friends, but I can't cope with their volume. Also they follow me and I just don't unfollow people who have the done the courtesy of following me.

3) I will mute hashtags even if I am interested in the conversation but just don't have the time. A recent library conference was a good example. Tweets with well formed hashtags are my friend. Tweetbot lets me mute a hashtag and remove already loaded tweets from my current stream. Nice.

4) Sometimes I just have to let it go. I'm the sort of person who has no unread email in their email - I don't just mean in my inbox, I mean in my mailbox (I have seen people with a thousand unread emails in their inbox but that is topic for another post) - and I'd prefer to read all my incoming tweets. But sometimes you just have to let it go.

5) Lastly I do some housekeeping from time to time. This means unfollowing some accounts but not people I know or who follow me. Unfortunately I also tend to add accounts from time to time. Lots of interesting people and things.