iPhone Configuration Ideas

I found the best post I’ve ever seen on how to best setup your iPhone to minimize distractions and promote mindfulness and productivity on the device instead of time wasting. I thought I was fairly good at this but this article suggested a lot of ideas I had not considered and just working through the recommendations was a powerful reminder of how to better use my iPhone instead of it using me. If you’ve not done a cleanup on your iPhone for a long time or if you need help with this, I suggest you work through these recommendations at How to Configure Your iPhone to Work for You, Not Against You.

New iPhone Camera

I bought the new iPhone. I generally skip versions so i jumped from the 7 to the Xs skipping the 8 and X generations. I will freely acknowledge that I didn’t NEED a new phone; I just wanted the new phone. I really wanted the new camera.

You can read several better reviews of the new cameras on other sites like this and this.

I’m not a photographer, but I take a lot of pictures, if that makes any sense at all. I took the following picture at a table in the 116 Farmstead Market & Table a few days ago.

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And here is a ‘Portrait’ model picture of the flower and vase.

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Wow. The detail, color and clarity are stunning and this is a camera phone.  Portrait mode blurs the background and the difference in the two pictures is obvious.

I’ve been amazed with the quality of the pictures and I’m just getting started with it.

I’ve read that we are going to be disappointed in our early camera phone pictures in a few years and I know exactly what that means. Those early flip phone pictures saved are nearly useless now. Even pictures from just a few years back are not very good. Here is one from 1996 when we used to live in Singapore.singapore

I wonder how these current pictures will age? If you are using your camera phone to capture moments with the kids or using it for business reasons, I can recommend this generation of Phones and their cameras and the iPhone Xs in particular.

Note that the camera system on the Xs and the Xs Max are identical which is a change from the X generation. Read Apple’s version of the new cameras here.

I don’t really want to write such an endorsement, but I’ve been stunned by the quality of the pictures on this camera.

A Few Interesting Items

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A really great article about connecting with others can be found at How to Become Insanely Well-Connected. Consider:

  • Being a good listener is about two things: 1) Demonstrating that you’ve heard exactly what was said by the other person, and 2) encouraging them to continue.

  • I’ll often start that conversation saying, ‘I’m wrong all the time and I very well may be here.’ Acknowledging your own fallibility and human imperfection can go a long way toward making yourself relatable.

  • End every meeting or conversation with the feeling and optimism you’d like to have at the start of your next conversation with the person. “Assume you’re going to run into everyone again — it usually happens either by plan or happenstance,” says Fralic. “There are no closed connections. The world is too small.” When you do meet again, you want the person to think, ‘Oh great, it’s so-and-so!’

The Brightest People Do 9 Things That Really Stand Out, Says a Harvard Prof has a few brilliant, summarized things to consider. I love these points from the list:

  • When confronted with a new situation they ask questions that efficiently get to the heart of the unaddressed issues.

  • It is not uncommon for a very smart person to see deeply into a problem and say things that indicate such depth, even when they are not widely understood, and their insight only becomes apparent long after the fact.

  • Smart people are a constant source of surprises — in their ideas, in their wordplay, in their questions, or in some other way. Whatever fuels their smarts cannot be corralled, and leads to unpredictable moments (at least to mere mortals).

  • There is always something about an intelligent person that you cannot quite put your finger on. It is just out of reach, and it makes them inscrutable.

An interesting article about averages and how we are always comparing ourselves to others. Read “What Are You Hiding?” which has this wonderful line which we’d be good to embrace,

If you are lucky, you figure out you are not average, love that part of yourself and find people who will also love you for it.

I’ve read three other posts this past week that have caused me to really pause and think, but I’m not ready to post them yet. Perhaps sometime later. Maybe. One was about intolerance and anti-intellectual thinking and two were about male dominance over females in society and the effects and issues. Both need further processing by me.

Please share back with me if you find a thought-provoking article that meant something to you.

The Workplace and Simplification

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A friend shared a great TEDx Talk with me recently about the workplace and simplification and about asking the right questions.

I quit my job as CIO over a year for several reasons that I won’t go into here. Since then, I’ve thought about lessons learned and perhaps, things I might have done differently at different times in the role.

I think this talk gets to the heart of it. An organization must prioritize simplification, removing bureaucracy, be nimble and fast and create a culture where asking and answering hard questions is the way things are done. Seems like more could have been done on this front.

I really did love the people I worked with there and recently had a chance to see some of my colleagues for a visit. It was a great time.

 

A Suggestion for Purchase?

Monday I told a friend that I should get some chocolate chip cookie dough to cook at home. My wife is gone, I just ran a marathon, I deserve some freshly baked, hot chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday when using the Walmart Grocery app to order a few things for pickup, the top suggested item for me was Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I have never ordered such from Walmart and never searched for such. What an amazing coincidence? How is this possible? Options:

1) Using big data analytics, Walmart decided they should suggest cookies to me based on subtle hints and data gathered over time from web browsing, purchase history, zip code, time of day and what car I drive.

2) My mobile phone was with me when I made the comment about cookies on Monday. The microphone was being monitored by some cloud engine tied to Walmart and the request was turned into a suggestion next time I used the Walmart app.

3) Random chance suggested cookies out of the millions of options in the Walmart catalog.

4) Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie is one of the most shopped for items that Walmart fulfills so they suggested it to me.

Disturbing at the least.  Thoughts?

Change Coming Faster and Sooner

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I found this article a few days ago entitled This is How Big Oil Will Die which somehow I had not seen before. I read a lot about autonomous vehicles and have written several times about them elsewhere. My daughter and son-in-law have a Tesla.

There are big changes coming with electric vehicles and with autonomous vehicles. The disruptions to many incumbents are going to be huge and this will likely be starting sooner than expected. I know a friend who just sold his auto-related business over just these concerns.

The article above approaches it from an economics point of view and after sharing it with an advisor, he shared another think tank report that says the same thing only much deeper and with data to back up the points.

Really, the only question is how fast will this get here and will governments, in the interests of the incumbents, slow it down. Personally, I think governments should help accelerate this as much as possible. States and countries would be wise to make it happen sooner.

 

Mindsets and Focus

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There is a wonderful article to read and think about regarding our mindsets and how we think about our own limitations. Everything is not rosy all the time and for many life is hard, but for all of us, there are limitations that are self-imposed. It is probably important for us to be aware of this way of thinking and that for some of the things we think about ourselves, we are limiting ourselves and nothing else is limiting us.

I wrote a few week ago about my recent experiences in note taking on an iPad and Pencel. I’ve continued using this toolset and have not drifted back to pen and paper as of yet.

I’ve been fascinated with Sketchnotes and have purchased his book and worked through it. I wrote back in 2015 about my struggles and ideas with notetaking. I’m trying to get more visual and sketch in notes and I’m definitely capturing pictures and dropping them into my notes. The key to making this work with these tools is to be able to fast and relatively effortlessly (little friction) so you can capture the information on the fly while the talk/event is underway in real time. Related I read an interesting note about Da Vinci and how he took notes.

I find that I take the notes, but then rarely go back to them. I think the process of taking the notes is what keeps me focused while listing and helps me organize the thoughts I’m hearing. Very rarely do I go back and look at the notes. But sometimes I do…

How do you take notes? Do you take a lot of notes? Do you sketch as you take notes? Are you using any electronic tools to do this?  What have you learned about how to do this?

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Intergenerational and Diversity in Connections and Conversations

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Virgin published a wonderful piece that reminded me of something I’ve thought about a few times in the past few years. The piece is about intergenerational learning.  You can read it here. There is much to be gained by connecting with people from other generations.

Years ago we participated in a small group gathering at church and for a while, it was cross-generational where people from different age groups met together to get to know each other, to eat together, and to share life together. Those were wonderful gatherings and through that process, I met people I simply otherwise would not have met. Our church discontinued that practice quite a while ago and now most such gatherings are with your same age group or class. That has been disappointing to my wife and me.

I think there are huge benefits in getting to know people from other generations and places. I’ve written before about diversity winning and in life, diversity wins in general. Learning from other, hearing their stories, helping them, spending time with others is a great benefit for all of us. This is true across generations as well as across other political views, across faiths, across nationalities, and across educational backgrounds.

I have dear friends in Singapore, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, China, Thailand, Malaysia, France and across the US and other places and I treasure the conversations we’ve had, the times we’ve spent together and our common experiences. I remember arguing with a friend in Paris, France about the behavior of Bill Clinton and his need to be held to a higher standard due to his office.

All the #metoo messages of the past months have been earth-shattering to me.  I’ve noticed since these conversations began that movies I’ve watched for years are frankly speaking, horrible in their messages about relationships between men and women, particularly in the workplace. That which was funny to me before is not funny now. This was not clear to me before but because of these conversations, I now see some things differently.

The US political landscape is a mess with people screaming at each other and not listening. Let’s try instead to listen, make some new friends, engage in thoughtful discussion and try to be better people and citizens.

Inverted Tile Tracking

I’ve used Tile trackers while traveling to track my luggage through airports and hotels. I’m not sure if airlines approve, but if you put one on your luggage, you can then tell if the luggage is near your plane, or near baggage claim, or on our bus, etc. It is rather fun to know that your luggage is onboard your plane when flying somewhere.

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 2.41.52 PMA few months ago, I was traveling and had one in an outer pocket on my duffel bag. It arrived at the airport just fine and reported in as being there, but then it seemed to disappear and it has not been seen since. When I got the duffel, it was not there. The app still shows its last location as being at the airport.

One of the features of Tile is that if it goes missing, you can declare it missing and then if anyone running the Tile app passes near it, you will be notified that it has been seen with an approximate location. I reported this Tile missing, but it was never seen or reported on by anyone. I’m guessing it fell out of the pocket and was swept away in the trash at some point.

 

Two weeks ago I was at a conference and somehow the Tile that I had on my messenger bag came off my bag.  That night, I realized it was gone so I reported it missing on the Tile app.

The next morning, the app reported that it was seen in the hotel and a map was shown, but it was too complicated to figure out what this was telling me. Someone running the Tile app had been near my missing Tile.

An hour later, it was reported nearby again.  This time, I decided to go find it using the map and with some guesses, I managed to zero in on his approximate location. I entered a huge ballroom that was being cleaned out and re-set for whatever was happening net in that room. Men were all around taking down tables and chairs.

The app on my phone turned a light green indicating that my phone was sensing it. This time I activated the find function on the Tile and all the way across the banquet room, I could hear it playing its song. I walked through that huge hall around all the obstacles and found it sitting on a table singing away.

I have to say it was fun to track it down and find it. Just a dumb tracking device of limited value, but I found it using all this technology. I found a missing tracking device, not a missing bag.  Not your usual search.

These are interesting to try out and play with and you might give them a try.

 

Tablet and Pencil

I’m a note taker.

I’ve used various size notebooks and pens over the years to take notes in meetings, church, school and anywhere. I’m usually found with a small notebook and pen with almost all the time.IMG_3333

I take notes for two main reasons. The first reason is to capture whatever information is being presented. The second, and the one I think is most meaningful to me is that I stay better focused. When taking notes, and even sketchnoting, the material being presented, I’m much more focused and dialed into what is being shared.

The problem with written notes and notebooks is searching for content later in a notebook or even searching for which notebook contains notes you might remember. I’ve found myself numerous times trying to find something I’ve written down in one of these notebooks and I have to search through book after book. And I don’t always find whatever I’m looking to see.

 

There is a certain joy in writing things down, but the problem is finding things later and even years later having the document with you as you’ve changed books or notepads. Searching is a huge problem. A huge problem.

Over the years, I’ve tried several alternative tools or technologies to capture notes. I think I’ve bought and tried special electronic pens and paper twice but couldn’t get them to work well. And, at times, I’ve tried really hard to just type notes on a keyboard, but that has drawbacks like noise, lack of fast editing and the inability to sketch something quickly. I’ve just not found anything that works.

Two weeks ago I purchased an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil and based on the recommendation of my dentist daughter, Noteshelf 2. This week I attended a conference where for 2 1/2 days I took handwritten notes on the Ipad in session after session. I ended up with 46 pages of electronic paper notes.

 

 

  • I took pictures of screens that were shown up front, they didn’t handout files in advance, and then dropped them into the document.
  • I took pictures of handouts in one session and pasted that entirely into the document.
  • I rearranged text as speakers went along so if they started talking about a point before they titled it, I would drag their points down the page later so I could put a proper title on it where I wanted it.
  • I drew pictures and diagrams.
  • I underlined and highlighted.
  • I did lots of erasing.
  • I boxed in key points.

In the two days, I found myself editing on the fly quickly and smoothly without derailing my focus or distracting anyone around me (I think). And as I became more comfortable with the tool, I tried new things like sketching and adding pictures. I found the whole process to be rather easy, fluid and fast.

I think this technology has arrived. The one thing this app(Noteshelf 2) doesn’t seem to have is a writing-to-text feature and a search capability on that text. There may be other application that can do this. This eco-system, as it stands today, seems to have mostly solved the writing capture process. Loved it. Recommended.