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Me in a Dash

Posted on Monday, December 24th, 2007 under Life | No comments

Me in a Dash (uploaded by DRA Studio)

( listening to The Polyphonic Spree )

While enjoying an amazingly relaxing and fun-filled day with visiting family today (love you guys!), I realized it has been a while since I used my sketch blog to write about anything in-depth. About life … about tech … really, about anything at all. Hopefully, you have been enjoying the more frequent sketches I have been posting (how about those 365, eh?), as well as those few del.icio.us links I try to add daily.

In addition to all that wonderfulness, why not add some good-intentioned thoughts about life? For now, why not start slow with my world as it currently stands in terms of the “meta”. Because of the vast amount of things I am currently trying to accomplish/do/intake/etc, I have been experimenting with different methods and mediums for staying current on news, art, learning, and all those other things I see on my pretty 1280px by 800px screen. Not too long ago, I had come to the point where it all just felt like overload and time mis-spent … and just opening my computer was such a chore and neglecting it felt like 20 missed deadlines. I am guessing that many of you (with the absolute bloom of Web 2 o’s out there) have been feeling the same way.

Here’s the happy compromise I have come to with my news feeds, emails, blogs, photos, articles, artists, music, dates and so much more … listed via an ordered list … well, because I am an XHTML designer and it just makes sense, right? Here we go:

h2. RSS is a Thing of Beauty

My biggest point of neglect and media overflow has always been my RSS feeds. Ever since I learned those three pretty letters could be put together to equal so much internet magic and freshness, I have been unable to stop adding more feeds to my life. Practically every time I visit a site like Drawn, I end up adding 10 new sites to my list. Once I outgrew the simplicity of Safari's Bookmarks (it didn't take long), I stumbled through several weak solutions, until I finally found Bloglines. Accessible in many different ways and super-easy on the usability side of things, I haven't looked back since.

Mail+RSS = Life Saver

Even with an amazing web aggregator like Bloglines, things were still getting hairy (I mean, I currently have over 200 active feeds I read). Even with its excellent categories and quick-scan-ability, I was still overwhelmed. To ease the pain (with the help of Leopard), I moved the ever-important (but always-updating) Drawn blog feed to my Mail Inbox. That way, I wouldn't lose its posts among the other semi-less important feeds. I also use this technique to temporary add in any site that has a seasonal/time-based feed going on and needs my immediate attention.

How Deep is your Digg?

Besides my Art feeds, the other biggest draw on my time in Bloglines was the digg.com feed. I decide to slice it thin for this one and rely on the fact that so much Digg news is replicated on like 20 other sites/avenues online. So, after pulling it from my feeds, I added a nice little Top 10 Digg Stories widget to my Dashboard (via Leopard's slick Web Clip feature). Succinct and simple.

More Jump in your Pownce

When I first started using Pownce, I would find myself spending nearly two hours playing catch-up for every 12 hours that I didn't read the posts. It was getting to the point where it was really ridiculously monopolizing my time. Now, leaving the pretty Adobe Air app constantly open on my desktop, and just replying to the posts I happen to catch and learning to forgive time (and myself) for missing the rest ... I have really found a happy place of no regret and just enjoyment with the only social network I really spend time on.

Was just Twitter-patted ... again.

Keeping my Twitter (and Facebook) status current was an easy solution. I am always trying to write relevant or witty lines for my AIM away messages ... so I just put that effort to a better place ... using Icon Factory's excellent Twitterrific app (though, I don't mind the ads enough to purchase it?). Now my custom Away messages resolve to all three places. Handy.

Fishing and Podcastting ... All in the Wrist

Video podcasts are another meta sore spot for me. Basically what I have come up with is a complex (and yet simple) collection of both iTunes and Miro subscriptions that keeps me covered on everything news, Mac, gaming, design instruction and otherwise. iTunes, of course, keeps wraps on all my essentials pod and vodcasts, while I allocate all the secondary feeds to Miro to handle. Both players offer some nice features and such ... and it actually does help having the two completely separate ... surprising as that may be.

Using your Ears like Eyes

What was really the best time-saver/stress reliever solution, you may ask? My ears. That's right. Those slightly bigger than average things that hold my head among the clouds ... they are the answer to so many of my meta troubles. Here's what it comes down to. As I spend a good portion of each day either driving for work, sketching up a storm, practicing bass or some other visually distracting task, I have found myself able to enjoy more than a few audiobooks, new albums, podcasts and the like ... while still maintaining a good handle on whatever it is that is distracting my eyes. I know it is probably something everyone else figured out the third minute they learned what podcasts were ... but it just took me a bit longer, kay? :D

Unless you say otherwise in the comments, I'll assume that was all really really helpful information and that I should continue to throw out my myriad of thoughts and life suggestions. Sounds like fun, eh? Good.

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