Kindle browsing

The Kindle Touch 3G is the only new Kindle with 3G available and you won’t be able to access anything except the Kindle Store and Wikipedia with it.

My Kindle Keyboard has 3G and I’ve used it, in the case of flat-phone-battery-syndrome, when out and about, to send emails to my family to let them know where I am, that I’m goin to be late, and more. I’ve used it to go on Facebook, and to read Hacker News (via http://ihackernews.com/). I think that yes, OK, it’s a shame that the absence of wikitravel means that this xkcd is no longer accurate, but the loss is greater than that – having such a cheap device with unfettered access to the internet is A Good Thing – I guess Amazon decided the bills just weren’t worth it.

Plus worries

So, I’m in on that whole Google+ thing, and my experiences of 2007 are coming back to haunt me. It’s like some kind of existential self-doubt: if my social network accounts are shut down, was I ever there? Did I ever have those memories? Did people reply to me in the way I remember? Are my social connections in the state I think they are?

On a more practical note, at least now all of my photos (which go to both Facebook and Flickr and now Plus depending on topic) are all backed up at an off-site location. The same can’t be said for the Facebook wall posts, although I do use the "Download your information" feature to take infrequent data dumps. Twitter is pretty much dead to me, so although I have historical backups, I’m don’t plan on taking any more.

Related to all this, I feel sad that my son will likely grow up in a world where licensing content will be more normal than owning it, which reminds me of this story.

Needing notes

Whilst I’m thinking about all these different topics that I’m interested in, can anyone help? I’m in the market for a new desktop note-taking tool. It must start up in <3 seconds and save each note as a standalone text file, using some form of text-based notation (like wiki, textile or markdown).

If that didn’t eliminate enough options straight away, it would ideally auto-save every few seconds and allow tree-based note hierarchy. A couple of tools have come close over the years, such as WikidPad, Zim and KeepNote, but none have quite hit that sweet spot.

So, any suggestions? I am willing to pay!

Keep Posting

Pete has some good advice for writing a blog that lasts: Keep Posting.

I should post more, but I’m frequently paralysed by choice. I’m a software dev manager, so I’m interested in down-in-the-mud-coding, software quality, personal and team productivity, agile techniques, web analytics, business value and return on investment.

That’s not to mention the fact that my two-year-old is finally sleeping at night and I’m starting to pick up videogaming again (did I mention I have a 3DS so that I can finally complete Ocarina of Time? The console is physically delightful and OoT:3DS is the best version Nintendo have made of possibly the best videogame ever).

Also: Kindles, tablets, portable computing, mobile apps vs. web. Someone at work described me as ‘decisive, but easily distracted’. I like to know about everything; frequently, this doesn’t leave time for writing about anything.

Change the world

I work in Higher Education in the UK.

Every day I see enterprisey systems which are awful, terrible, unfriendly, unusable, behemoths.

The market for each niche system is more or less a monopoly.

The market is prime for smaller, more agile, more user-friendly systems to come in and destroy them.

Please, somebody just kill off these dinosaurs.

What are librarians for?

Seth Godin wrote an interesting piece about libraries recently, and it rang true with me. I’m reading more than ever, but I wouldn’t even bother asking a librarian what I should read next.

Public librarians today seem to act more like sentinels of dead-tree collections. They own the data, they tidy the shelves and care for the books but when they want a recommendation, they use goodreads.com or amazon like the rest of us. Knowledge is a handwave at the encyclopedias in the corner or the ancient pcs lined against the wall. As much as bookshops are suffering from their failed attempts to get into multimedia and from publishers not understanding how people buy books, their staff are still typically enthusiastic, informed book-lovers, able to make a recommendation professionally rather than only knowing the authors they’ve read.

This is a generalisation of course, but it is at least anecdotally true. My region’s library website is librarieswest.org.uk and despite knowing which books I get out, my wife gets and what we get for our son, it makes no recommendations. Just like its meatspace equivalent.

The conversation of ‘readme’

It used to be that when I found an article that was too long to read there and then, I would add it to delicious, tag it as ‘readme’, and hope that one day I would get around to it.

These days I just click my Kindlebility bookmarklet and read the article next time I’m on the bus or train, but still get value out of the articles that other people are posting to delicious. Am I doing them a disservice by not posting things I think are interesting enough to read? What social obligation am I under to reciprocate in this loose-form network? Why does it worry me? Should I learn to let go, or should I write code to free me from this tyranny?