Refreshing my apps

I got the new iPhone 6 and took the opportunity to not restore it from a back-up (of course I backed it up that morning anyway). I’m down to  about 70 apps from 170+. Feels great to get rid of hoarding tendencies in real life and digitally.

EDIT: For you, Vy and Mickael — my current home screen:


I’ve been meaning to write a longer post about the apps I use and the processes I’ve set up to go between them, but that’s a separate and longer post for later.

I’m currently trying out CloudMagic (over Mailbox; hat tip to Mia for the rec) for their cards connecting apps like ToDoist, Asana, Evernote, Pocket and others. It also has a reminder feature to boomerang back emails to you, similar to Mailbox’s “later” feature. Mailbox’s “later” feature was becoming another blackhole for me (see my Instapaper) and I never liked the override of labels in Gmail. The current version for iOS 8 crashes multiple times a day, but I like the design, fonts, and features so I’m being lenient and hoping they fix this soon.

I’ll explain Captio next because it integrates with why I like CloudMagic. Captio lets you email yourself a note with just one click so I use that frequently with random to-do notes/thoughts. It’s simply just the fastest in terms of one-off notes for me. Though I’ve used Captio before CloudMagic, CloudMagic lets me send the note from Captio to ToDoist, which has a Gmail extension** (which is more or less my dashboard for work). This is important because I’ve tried many, many, many to-do lists and none work that well because they become stuck in the app and not integrated with my normal workflow. Google Tasks is ok, but I wish there were an official app. Google Calendar tasks are the ideal for me, but there’s no good app for that (Calendar + Tasks). For now, I use Sunrise as my calendar app. I have no really good reason besides that I like its design best.

My favorite app right now is Nuzzel. I don’t need to delete them, but I have been trying to limit my use of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on my phone. They feel like wasted time. Here’s Om Malik with more on Nuzzel — he nicely captures how it’s drastically changed my Twitter habits:

It is uncomplicated, it is simple and did I say, it is useful. Damn useful, to be precise … Nuzzel is doing one thing and one thing only — giving me a quick and easy way to surface the stories that are being shared by my social networks. The stories that are most popular with my network quickly rise to the top, and I can sort them based on time elapsed — two hours, four hours or eight hours. There is option to find the latest, most recent stories that are popular with my peeps. And then there is the best option — what friends of friends are reading. It is like Techmeme and Twitter had a baby.


Nuzzel, in many ways allows me to derive maximum value from my Twitter graph, minus the noisy chatter.

I’m also trying out Headspace for 10 minute meditation (h/t to Elizabeth Spiers). Another health one that makes it to the home screen for me is Sleep Cycle. I’ve used it for a couple years now and love the light alarm to wake you up at the most optimal time within a designated time frame. I use 30 minutes. I also wake up between 5-5:30 a.m. so anything to make that less unpleasant is welcome. Speaking of waking up, if you don’t use f.lux, which is a Mac app, I highly recommend it if you’re working at odd times of the day and don’t want your eyes to fall victim to the ~blue glow~.

Ok, your turn — what does your home screen look like and what are some of your favorite apps?

** Reminding myself to write another post on Gmail extensions, but for now: Must haves for me are Streak and Boomerang. Streak is one of the best kept secrets, I think. Don’t tell anyone else about it.

Here’s a polite person’s trick

When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.”

via Paul Ford on Medium
writing a profile essay

My first trip to Politics & Prose

On most days, I live by my (Google) calendar. If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist to me. And if it on my calendar, however incorrect, I will take it as fact. Today was one of those days.

I hurried to Politics & Prose — which I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get to, btw — for what I thought would be a talk by Chris Cillizza on his latest book, which is naturally about politics. I arrived about 9 minutes late because of the swarm of Zoo goers who confusingly exit and board the L2. Because of my hurried arrival, I thought the gentleman giving the talk vaguely looked like Chris sans glasses maybe? I actually don’t remember now. The part I walked in on was about epicurean something or another and I thought, well, food and politics is interesting.

I checked the calendar on my phone — yep, it is tonight. Now skeptical of my own shoddy data entry, I go to the P&P website and pull up their calendar. (Sidenote: they really should do something about their web calendar not being fitted to a mobile device — might I suggest responsive design?) The talk is scheduled for next Saturday. Of course. I can’t tell you why it took me so long to realize that this was not, in fact, the talk I came to see.

The talk I did stumble upon was Jefferson Morley’s on his newest book, Snow-storm in August, which was actually very interesting, as the fates would have it. The book is a history of the race riots that erupted in DC in 1835 following an attempted murder of a socialite by her slave. I’m not going to attempt to summarize the book beyond that, but I will mention that Jefferson made a really interesting point during the Q&A — that the Civil War is being taught incorrectly and that it should be taught with a longer historical arc. The Civil War wasn’t just a moment in time, but a 30 year history of slavery that culminated with the Civil War. Anyway, the talk was lovely and I’m glad I stumbled upon it.

After I finished paying for my books and magazines (they sell Monocole!), I walked by Chris Cillizza’s book — the one I was here to listen to him speak about — so I picked it up and went back to pay for it. On my walk home, I looked at the receipt for no reason aside than in passing to throw it away and realized that the clerk gave me the 20% discount for members. I am not sure whether he was amused that this girl who just spent a bunch of money wanted to spend even more, or whether he just assumed I was a member.

Either way, calendar mistakes are all right.

What’s on your mind?

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.* —Eleanor Roosevelt

What ideas are you thinking of right now? What are you reading?

Imagine if someone asked you these questions and genuinely wanted to know and engage you on your answers. How delightful and interesting conversations would be. Perhaps this is why I’m obsessed with Atlantic Wire’s Media Diet series. Take me out for a coffee and I’m sure we can talk for hours.

Anyway, I was listening to this piece on NPR earlier this afternoon about whether we should go on an ‘information diet.’ While I agreed with most of the speaker’s points, especially that we tend to read things that reinforce our own ideas, I would hesitate to suggest people to, for example, read the text of the ‘Stop Online Privacy Act’ to understand SOPA. I think an information diet should not only consist of straight up reading less crap, but that it should also consist of conscious consumption from credible (unintentional alliteration; I blame a lot of Maureen Dowd in my formative years) sources/editors/curators/whatever. Anyway, in the spirit of pithy bits, here is Clay Johnson’s Michael Pollan-style advice: “Seek. Not too much. Mostly facts. Eat low on the sort of ‘information food chain,’ and stick close to sources.”

In other, but related, news, I had a fantastic lunch with Derek as we made fun of ourselves for starting 80% of our conversations with “Have you read that article…?” and “I just read this article…”

*While on the food/consumption metaphor, I’d like to think of this quote as the outline for a conversation pyramid, as opposed to a hard and fast rule for being a great mind. We all need that piece of chocolate every now and then okay? Maybe some bread too. Plus, we’d all be boring philosophers (sorry, philosopher friends! Do I even have any of you?) if all we did were talk about ideas all day.