Category Archives: Technology

Ducking out on bitly

When I wrote my first three posts on bitly (as “bit.ly”) nearly five years ago, they offered a serious-yet-humorous attempt to answer a simple question: Given that bitly’s shortened URLs were only 6-character strings and given the effort by 301Works (through the Internet Archive) to preserve those “mappings,” how long would it be before bitly ran out of strings? My assumption-dependent answer back then — roughly the year 2030 — is now as irrelevant as 301Works seems to be invisible, but you can find the third post here with backlinks to the first two: “Soooo big!” Counting on bit.ly, Part III.

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Randall Munroe buys a house (or not)

sheep_TRP_comm Consider this question: How can a cartoon drawn by a physicist in Massachusetts impact the housing market in the Lake District of southern Chile? If you thought, oh, that sounds like one of those T. Rowe Price commercials that proclaim, “We understand the connections of a complex global economy,” that’s exactly what I intended… when I wrote it.

In the case of those five commercials, however, the opening is a teaser, for example, “How can power consumption in China impact wool exports from New Zealand, textile production in Spain, and the use of medical technology in the US?” The economic secret behind each combination goes unstated, but presumably if you become a T. Rowe Price customer, you will get the decoder ring, or a white paper, that will make it all clear.

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The all-new MandalArt app

About four years ago, I discovered an iOS app called iMandalArt that offered a distinctive way to think about goal setting and task accomplishment. It was based on what I subsequently learned is the Lotus Blossom technique, often described as a form of brainstorming or mind mapping.

MandalArt_i_HDWhen I wrote my first blog post about the app, iMandalArt coming to an iPad near you, my perspective was largely shaped by a bunch of popular productivity apps, for example, Things. Let’s call it a seeing-the-world-through-GTD-colored-glasses outlook. I knew that iMandalArt was somehow different, but I confessed that I was pretty sure I didn’t “get it.”

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On finding the (im)perfect iPad stylus

When the iPad was released four years ago last month, my wife got one right away, while I, with uncharacteristic patience, waited until the Fall. Fast forward two years, and we both upgraded to 3rd-gen devices. Early on in that first two-year stretch, I bought the odd stylus or two. In hindsight, “odd” may be the operative word. The first one I got was a Pogo Sketch with its unique foam tip. Within a year, I threw it away. If this seems a harsh judgment, here is advice from one of the developers at Notes Plus, the handwriting app: “avoid it like the plague.” The second stylus I got was from Boxwave, a functional if unimaginative design. I gave it away with the original iPad.

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