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.
When 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.”
My wife’s wake-up ritual includes reading non-work email, news feeds, and tweets on her iPhone. The silence is occasionally punctuated by her telling me that one of my favorite teams had won or lost, or that a famous person had died, or that a major hurricane or snowstorm would be arriving in two days. This morning it was “Richard Nixon resigned 40 years ago today!”
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.
Five years ago (February 2009), I took a photo of two geese on a frozen pond, standing in identical poses. They were both balanced on only one leg, with their heads turned back over their left shoulders. The one-leg thing was presumably to keep the other, uplifted foot off the ice. Their heads may also have been turned in a heat-conserving tuck, but I suspect that it was synchronized preening. After all, the Vancouver Winter Olympics were only a year away, and the Geese were Canadian.