Next installment in the “How I use my technology” series, let’s talk about managing links and reading.
Between my professional RSS feeds and my personal ones, I read a sort of scary (no, edit that, it’s not ‘sort of’) number of blogs, accounts, and other resources online. To be precise, that’s currently 98 feeds in my professional account, 153 in the personal account, and somewhere north of 250 accounts between Dreamwidth and LiveJournal (there’s overlap there, and I’m not going to bother to count exactly how much)
Now many of those don’t necessarily update all that regularly (at least half of the above update somewhere between once every couple of days and every couple of weeks, and very few update multiple times a day.) But that’s still a lot of stuff to sort through.
I read very fast, which is handy. And I skim even faster.
Anyway, as you might guess, there’s a lot of interesting stuff that comes my way, and I use a couple of different tools to manage it. It took me a good while to figure out, though, once I moved from using one computer most of the time to using at least 3 different devices regularly, and sometimes four (my work computer, my home computer, the iPad, and the iPhone. I mostly don’t read webpages/etc. from the phone, but every so often…)
Continue reading Managing links + reading
I’m spending a lot more time on instant messenger chat than I used to. And I have to admit, I really enjoy it.
Continue reading IM chat
Picking this up again. (Hi. Life. Other projects. Yeah.)
So. I have a bunch of email addresses. And a bunch of email. To be precise, I currently have:
- 2 emails I use for personal stuff
- 3 emails on various professional stuff that is not my actual work email
- a small handful of ‘utility’ email addresses that I use for site signins, etc.
In practice, all of these dump into a single Gmail account, because in practice, I may be accessing my email from four different devices or so, and Gmail is the best solution to that. However, I would like to have a backup, and I would, ideally, like to have my email better cleaned out from all the random stuff that I really do not need to archive. I’m slowly working on that, courtesy some new tools from Gmail that make it easier to find unlabelled emails (or large files, or emails from more than X years or months ago…) However, since there’s 23,000 emails in my Gmail, give or take a few, this might take me a while.
Continue reading Email
Next round in “how I use my computer”, how I read things. Much of what I do on my computer is fundamentally text based (I watch movies, and I do play with graphic design, but at least 80% of my daily use is basically words.)
- Things I read on my computer: Lots of web-based things. A couple of online web-based forums. A lot of blogs. Webcomics.
- Things I mostly don’t read on my computer: ebooks (I generally read those on the iPhone, and sometimes on the iPad). Newspapers/magazines/etc.
Tools I use:
These days, I do most of my web stuff in Chrome, for stability, and because I’m using a number of other Google products, and there are places where the stability/response/etc. is a bit better in Chrome. (It is not uncommon for me to have 15ish GDocs tabs open at once, for example.)
Tabs I usually have open at home include:
- Gmail (I’ll discuss email more in its own post)
- My Dreamwidth circle page
- My LiveJournal reading page
- The reading page for the online project
- And then usually a couple to a couple of dozen other tabs, depending on what I’m doing at the moment.
I do still use Firefox, but mostly for Netflix (which only supports Chrome on PC, not Mac). I do find there’s some benefit in having a separate browser for streaming video – if the browser hangs, or gets cranky if I reload the page after a long idle (pretty common for me: I go through seasons of TV shows, and often leave it paused overnight part way through an episode) it’s easier to quit without worrying about the rest of my tabs/open comments/etc.
I use a small handful of extensions to make my life easier.
- minimalist which removes various elements from Gmail and Google Reader.
- Do Not Track Me - a privacy extension. (I’ve been reasonably happy with it, but I should probably do another round of checking in to see what’s new in that area)
- LJ new comments which makes it easy to browse new comments in threads at both LiveJournal and Dreamwidth. (There’s a good explanation over on the dw_nifty community.) Installing it is a little fiddly: I have the best luck in Chrome installing it in Tampermonkey.
I’m going to talk more about how I manage things in my RSS feeds in its own post, but I’ll note here that I use Instapaper as my first step to keeping links that I want later. My toolbar bookmarks inclue the “Read Later” bookmark for it, plus the “popup with tags” bookmark for Pinboard. For actually managing my RSS feeds, I use Google Reader.
I spent the last two days watching my computer be a 45 minute drive away according to FedEx, but it turned up this morning!
So, the first thing that I do with a new machine is set up all those small things that make life manageable. Plus all the individual little touches. Then setting up the basics of the dock, and the apps I use most frequently, and then the bookmarks for the browsers. (You can click through for larger versions, and I’ve got closeups of the dock and menu bar below.
new computer – after
Continue reading Background tools and basics