self.brain->reset()

our brains need the time to reset just like the gadgets and computers we use and operate. by experimentation i’ve learned that a minimum of 2-3 weeks vacation twice a year pretty much does the trick. think about it, in today’s day and age we are always on, always connected, always tapping into sources of data to keep us engaged. from the moment we wake up and check our smart phone which aggregates data from multiple social and professional networks, to email, text and voice mail – we are constantly engaging with our peers, families and consume multiple sources of data, easily streamlined for our convenience, easily shared and re-propagated. and this is just the digital disturbance :)

the human story for today is our need to focus. the need to do just one thing at a given moment and stick with it for many hours. developers know how to do so (hey nir, can you turn off the music and ask andrew to put his headphones on please?). i know that for me playing music does the trick and specifically practicing yoga. calming the mind is an art that requires constant and un interrupted practice. i cannot imagine the brain enjoying 100% capacity at any given moment, just as much as it enjoys 0% capacity. the truth is pretty much always in the middle. face it, we have learned to respond to these interruptions better than focus, and it goes back to the days where the telephone was invented.

sleeping is the best time for the brain to not consume new streams of data and process all it has been bombarded with, make new connections and archive/store the data. from a quick survey with close friends and family, i learn that sleeping patterns are very much affected and do worsen with time. how many of you out there in the internets sleep with the TV on?

this is why i take two long breaks from my work and focus on relaxing my mind and body, explore new geographical areas of our planet, meet new people, study a new language, and more often then not play/write music and expand my photography skills. this works in phases though and i find that it takes some time to re-adjust the mind and relax – slow down. the longest break i have ever taken from life was a 3 months trip to brasil. no iphone, no laptop, no internet connection. would you be surprised if i told you that it did not take long to re-adjust to the new situation and that i loved it? i took my best photos and wrote my best music while taking these breaks from life.

much like a hard reset, browser cache cleaning and the application of a new style sheet – one may immerge back with fresh energy and a newly re-wired brain. so – for the sake of your career, mental health and own happiness – plan on taking a longer time off. you deserve it.

top picks for 2010 from the appStore

top-10-iphone-apps

2010 has been an incredible year for the mobile space, and as crazy as things may appear, this is only the beginning. with the advent move of the smart TVs and slated devices, we are bound to see more innovation for both corporates and consumers alike.


here is my short list of top apps for the iphone first, at random order:

VOIP:
skype: veteran at it’s field. skype is affecting the bottom line by saving money. $3/month for unlimited calls in the US, the ability to work over 3g and soon facetime is where the industry will be, no matter how much carriers want to extort the end users. bar none, skype is keeping us all connected. with PBX integration and a future IPO this company will continue to dominate and lead the way in it’s field.

SOCIAL:
facebook: this facebook app is a fantastic example of how apps can pack zest with style. this is the top used app because it’s well done. nothing much to say, we are all on it and loving it.

foursquare: i am a big fan of the NY based company. real time, location based (and soon NFC), 4squre has started something great that is echoing throughout. mayorships, badges and a solid business plan. i hope for more goodness from these guys.

PHOTOGRAPHY:
fotomecha: probably my favorite camera app (for still photos) in the appStore, because it allows me to be creative and capture moments i.e. more than one moment, and create a flow in time.

itimelapse: for video capable iphones, this app allows timelaps video creation with some nifty features for creative control. you need to be patient and stable, or maybe you need the glif.

MUSIC:
FiRe: top recorder which integrates well with soundcloud. i use it often to record music,conversations etc. these guys are fantastic with performance and know the audio frameworks well. money well spent.

SPL meter: i use this app to know when the sound around me is affecting my hearing. hearing gone bad cannot be regained. those tiny hairs in the hearing tube will not grow back. sounds particular and you may call me old fashioned, but no concert/club in the world is worth loosing our hearing for.

READING:
goodreads: bar none, the top app to sync your pdf files for offline reading. i also sync movies to it and this is the reason i get more done. 30m on the subway is a great time to launch this app (both iphone and ipad). with the ability to sync documents from dropbox, google docs and others, this app packs a punch of useful features.

HOME:
airphones: great little app that turns the iphone into a wireless headset over wifi. you will need to install a server on your mac or windows machine.

mobile mouse: while you have airphones streaming audio from your mac mini, which is hooked up to a 50″ plasma, you will need to launch a browser and go on veetle.com. this app is the best i’ve seen and worth every penny. again, you will need a server running on your machine.

The future of our living room

worlds are shifting. seriously…

all around me i see the matrix moving all around – where ever i look…

examples? aplenty.

digital media consumption: slate devices are here to rule the world. the more i play around with my ipad the more i realize how wonderful a 12h battery can serve humanity on the go. and that is key here – on the go. consider it a platform and not a gadget. mobile devices are here to stay. desktop computers? time to turn them into art. they are out the door in terms of dominating the market. face it – we consume, and we consume a lot. in 2010 who is not HDD? seriously… having all media streamed and centralized in a long hour operating device with a crisp device and intuitive interaction will break all barriers. from kids to astronauts. it is just a matter of time.

learning: kids will benefit much from slate devices (BTW, there are over 8 competitors about to launch their products and compete head to head with apple’s ipad). i see kids carrying a huge school bag on their small backs, all these massive books – i say no more! soon enough all the material will be available as a digital book, that will fit within the pound a a half a salte device weighs. with many hours of operation it is a no brainer for schools. moreover, the content can be layered with videos AND become interactive. how about that for creating interesting course material, tests, quizzes and home work?

the kitchen: yes my friends, the kitchen. one of the most important and fun rooms in any house hold – the room where we feed our body, the room where mostly women spend time (excluding metrosexual guys who care for their bodies like myself) to prepare meals for their families. how come there is no digital help there in 2010? sure, we have DVD players etc, but that is used to consume media. how about enhancing the experience in the kitchen? from social media, videos of recipes, timers, integration and interaction with consumer products, baby monitoring and much more. times are shifting my friends, didn’t i mention that?

the living room: yes – last and definitely not least, the title of this post. the real cash cow of media and hardware companies. the area where we will notice aggressive and fierce competition. let’s start with what we have today: we have a one direction big screen and a cable company that decides what we can watch, when and at what cost. they shove commercial right where we don’t want them and make billions. all of that my friends will rapidly change. to date, youtube video uploaded in 2 months accumulate to more footage ever released by all major networks aggregated within the last 20 years. incredible isn’t it? the future is prime content mixed with user created content that will become more and more high end as we go along. check out gary vaynerchuk and winelibrary.tv for prime content centered around wine. and more people are doing their own home production while building brand equity.

so we have great content in our finger tips. what will shift is the hardware. more and more TVs will be released in the near future that will run an operating system. like android, windows and mac/iphone OS. what that means is that the TV will become interactive and essentially a new product. TV 2.0. not widgets a la samsung. but a real computer that has a huge and beautiful display, input and outputs that can allow decoding of HD video and audio signal etc. all we got to expect from a TV, but the control moves back to us – the consumer. and this will happen not a moment too soon.

how long will it take apple to create a beautiful 50″ backlit LCD that runs the iphone OS, which allows multi touch and can be turn into a table when u want a flat user interaction? there are a couple of android based TVs coming out very soon from japan. face it. the TV can and should do much more than it is doing today. screw the big networks – power to the people. consume media when u want it and how u want it. let me buy the episodes i like directly to my set top box, sync it with all my devices seamlessly and make sure i can collaborate around it with my close ones.

if so far we had seen a great and exciting new ecosystem rising – the appStores. from apple to android, blackberry and samsung. we will see apps made for the TV as well. and here is where i ask you – what kind of apps can u envision being used in the living room? how will the TV enhance the usage and integration with other devices around our living space? our phones, our slates, and in the future maybe our cloths and appliances.

worlds are shifting my friends – they are shifting…

Five Things music and photography share

great post by the strobist, creating an analogy between music and photography. both arts site in the intersection of science and creativity like no other school. where it gets interesting is when u “get” the technicality of it (or even better – master it) is when u can liberate yourself and really focus on creation.

Strobist: Five Things Music Can Teach Us About Lighting.