My Courses for Winter Quarter 2008

I’m taking 3 awesome classes. Music and the WWW, Marketing, and Accessibility.

For Music and the WWW, I’ll be researching Music Discovery on the Internet. Things like and Pandora. For the final project, I’ll develop an interactive website, but I have to use original content so I’ll be making some music myself.

My Marketing professor is the craziest and most intense I’ve ever had. He’ll start each lecture with “storytime,” where he tells us about doing business in one of the supposed 178 countries he’s been. Yesterday he talked about dancing with a Chinese drug lord on the top of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, in the Police Chief’s Mansion with 7 Rolls Royces in the driveway. And he’s promised to take us to the “Promised Land.”

I just had my first Accessibility lecture, where we’ll be learning about disabilities and technologies to overcome them. My professor does research in guidance systems for the visually impaired among other things, but this General Education class is more focused on the social impact of disabilities than the technological. My interest here is Web Accessibility, and how I can take that into consideration when I’m developing websites.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about the course content.

Found Hacks Media Mobile Personal Web

Blogging from the iPhone

I’ve been looking for a way to blog from my iPhone, especially because I wasn’t having much luck with the WP-mail plugin that allows you to post by email.

Anyway, I’m writing right now on my iPhone using a plugin called WPhone, which you can find here:

You can now expect a lot more posts from me here!

Ideas Organization Personal

New Obsession: Tracking Personal Metrics

Listen to me read this: [display_podcast]

I have recently become obsessed with keeping track of things… like, what music I listen to, where I go, and what I do. The main reason is to create an archive, because as much as I would love to have a journal (diary) to look back on, there’s no way I’m going to do it. And so I can piece together an implicit journal by tracking my various activities. One looming project is to come up with a way to collect and browse this data.

For music, I’ve recently started using again. Here’s my profile. is a social network built around discovering music. It integrates with iTunes to track what songs you listen to, and posts that online for your friends to see. There’s even an application for hacked iPhones that tracks what you listen to on the go. There’s a direct benefit from using this service, and that is music recommendations, which you can play like a radio stream… and rate to improve the suggestions.

To keep track of where I go, I carry a very small GPS datalogger. This device just tracks its location coordinates every few seconds, and I download these files to my Mac frequently. You can view the tracks in Google Earth, which I’m using at the moment as a library for this data. This is cool not only for traveling, but also excercise (biking, running, even skiing).

You can also geotag photos with this GPS device… which will a fun part of browsing this ‘digital diary’. Imagine a globe, maybe in Google Earth, that you could spin around, and zoom in on, that showed every photo you’ve ever taken, right where you took it.

As far as keeping track of what I do, I’m relying on Twitter at the moment. (My page there). The website’s built around answering the question “What are you doing right now?,” as frequently as you wish. It has evolved into more than that, a new global communication platform… but most users still post the interesting things they do each day.

So, imagine all of these things, (location, music, photos, activities), recorded automatically for you, and put into a calendar. Something you can review and browse. Or have it email you a personal, ‘what you did in previous years on this day’ type email. And everything’s on a map. Because you carried your GPS around with you.

Another thing about this ‘digital diary’ is that all the automatic data might be enough to encourage you to add your own additional data… like your weight. Or more exercise details. Or private diary entries.

Would you use something like this?


My Resolutions for 2008

  1. Lose 20 pounds. (Don’t we all? I want to be fit enough to enjoy parkour)
  2. Get organized. (GTD, and variants)
  3. Blog consistently. (Here, at Rex.FM)
  4. Take more photos. (And geotag them… Look out Flickr!)

I’ll probably be covering my progress with all these things here. Even the fitness stuff. It’s the only way I’ll do it.


What I did on 2007-11-07

  • New Google Reader iPhone interface!! #
  • @t0fu … buy a 3M privacy screen. #
  • Soupet load high pitched alarm at Oakes at UCSC… This isn’t related to today’s LRDP protest is it? #
  • i was poorly prepared for covering today’s protest at UC Santa Cruz. camera battery died, didn’t think to bring my video camera. crazy event #

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Personal Productivity Web

Google Reader unread count zero for once

I know this isn’t really something worth blogging about, but I’m pretty excited to have finally gotten my Google Reader unread items count down to zero. I don’t think this has ever happened since I first started using it… I originally signed up for just too many feeds. Anyway, here’s a picture of my achievement…

Mobile Personal

My iPhone Won’t Turn On

So my battery got low yesterday afternoon. I was away from home and didn’t get to charge it until after dinner. It wouldn’t turn on, so I plugged it in. It still wouldn’t turn on, even after 10 minutes. I tried doing a reset unplugged, plugged into my MacBook Pro, and plugged into the wall adapter… all to no avail. I left it plugged into my Mac all night and it’s still dead. I googled “iphone won’t charge”, “iphone won’t turn on”, but it looks like no one else is having this problem.

I decided to call Apple iPhone support (1-800-MY-IPHONE) this morning, and talked with a nice woman named Christina. She had me try a couple resets again, and was surprised that didn’t work. I’m back at school in Santa Cruz without my car now, and it would take a bus and a train to get to the nearest Apple store, so I opted for repair by mail. She offered a temporary service phone for a $29 fee which I agreed to because it “may take up to 10 days” to get my phone shipped back. Oh, and the ’service phone’ is an 8GB iPhone… =D

Anyway, although I’m not too excited to not have a phone for a day or two, this repair service so far sounds pretty convenient.

Update: Apparently they couldn’t fix my phone (?!) so I got a brand new one. Maybe they couldn’t tell that I had installed AppTapp and a bunch of other apps and messed around a bit (I didnt ever unlock it though). Anyway, they send me a brand new phone, and it was all very easy. What other phone makes you want to plug it in to your computer all the time so you have a complete backup? Seriously… All I had to do was swap out the SIM and it was like I had my phone back again! Thanks Apple!

Fitness Mobile

Run: Boulder Scramble on Live Oak Beaches

That's pretty much where I was running.

So my friend Dana Stocking invited all his Facebook friends to a Nike+ Competition: Who can run the most miles in 30 days. I’ve done these competitions before, but only with my girlfriend. Anyway, I couldn’t sleep because I was setting up my new GPS toy so I could map out my runs… and I went out once it got light outside. I get bored just running for distance, so I try leap from boulder to boulder the whole way.

Route: Live Oak Beaches (on the boulders)
Distance: 5.07 mi
Time: 01:10:10
kCal: 659
Temp: 54° F

Slick huh? I’m trying this amazing application: TrailRunner. It combines the data from your Nike+ Sport Kit and your GPS data logger.

Personal Productivity Web

The Worst Thing About the Social Web

For me, the worst thing (at least in regard to productivity) about the Social Web, Web 2.0, is not just having way too many articles to read, but also that I am compelled to read all the comments too.

Especially on posts that I’m interested in… for example, I was just reading a piece on Rich HTML signatures in Gmail over at Amit Agarwal’s Digital Inspiration (He does India). The comments are right there at the bottom of the post and it’s very interesting to see all the different ways people respond to his article:


Intriguing isn’t it? …And I just want to keep reading all of them, but I can’t… we can’t. I mean, for awhile, when I was just getting familiar with Web 2.0, I spent a lot of time reading comments on Digg (et al.). But now I use Google Reader keep up with everything (even Facebook now), which spares me from the temptation by not showing comments (of course, if I really want to say something, I can go to the original post on the blog’s website).

Do you suffer from this temptation to read comments too? How do you handle it?

Ideas Personal

The Best Computer Monitors for Your Parents

My mother wears reading glasses, and prints out her email to read it; she says it’s “easier on her eyes.”

I’m wondering if a bigger monitor, at a lower DPI resolution, could be a solution to aging eyes and computer use.

Would it be possible for my mom to really browse the web?

[She’s asleep right now, I’m emailing her.
In the meantime, have you tried this?
Can you browse the web normally, and without glasses?
…What are the best display resolutions for older people?
What is the optimal screen size for poor eyes?]

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