I’ll just sit back here and let Ira do his thing. Sure, he’s talking about radio and broadcast stories, but it’s all relevant. Check out parts II, III and IV if you like this. Some quotes that I particularly like from part II to whet your appetite:
“It’s time to kill, and to enjoy the killing.”
“Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap.”
I am here today to tell you about two pieces of software that, combined, might just be saving my life right now. Hyperbole? Not even. I’m deadly serious.
The first is called Freedom and I’m afraid it’s for Mac users only, though there may be a PC equivalent. What Freedom does is block your access to the internet for the amount of time that you specify. It’s that simple. Free yourself from your internet addiction! Ditch the distractions! Write without checking your email every five minutes! Get your Freedom on! Download it here!
Wouldn’t it be great if we had the self-control to limit our own internet use, without the need for a technological intervention? Sure — but when every coffee shop in the metro area seems to have free wireless, to do that you’d need the will power of a superman. I don’t know about you, but that just ain’t me. I’ll take the help, thanks.
Freedom is also, um, free. But please consider making a donation if you use it and like it. In the immortal words of George Michael: You’ve got to give for what you take.
The second piece of software that is rocking my world right now… Continue reading
So there’s this great website called Wordle that makes wordclouds out of websites. Here’s mine:
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine “…are closing in on the exact procedures for creating false memories in individuals in a wide variety of circumstances”
Scary! But fascinating! Read more here.
Update: Of course this idea is already at play in popular culture — hello, Dollhouse! Check out this excellent blog post about why this series is and yet isn’t and yet is worth watching.
It’s true, I do. Check this talk out — she has some great wisdom to share.
I tried to embed the video and once again, failed. It’s not me, it’s WordPress…honest. Anyhoo, follow the link. It’s worth it.
Back in December ’08 I visited an exhibition staged by the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. This is when all the ITP students showcase their work. My NYS (New York Sister), Amanda Bernsohn, is a student in the program. Just for background, the ITP website describes the course as “a living community of technologists, theorists, engineers, designers, and artists uniquely dedicated to pushing the boundaries of interactivity in the real and digital worlds.”
To which I can only say: Yay! Looking at all the exhibits was like walking around inside a bunch of intelligent, creative minds. Now, I’m not an overly technical person, so much of the programming part of what these people were doing was totally beyond me, but what I found so fascinating was that they were all making interesting connections. Taking a concept from one area of thought and applying it somewhere else. Twisting ideas around to get new, more interesting ideas. And, along the way, quite possibly coming up with products that will be part of our daily lives in the near future.
Take Amanda’s project for example: Urban Windchimes. It’s so awesome. Check out the website for more info, but the basic concept is that, in our urban environments, people don’t always want to listen to other people’s windchimes. With this invention, you can place a wind sensor on your window ledge or fire escape and pay the chimes through your computer. There’s the possibility of placing sensors all over the world — ever wanted to listen to the wind on Mount Fiji? Or in the Bahamas? How cool would that be?
Then there were a few projects that were dealing, in one way or another, with memory. And this got me thinking about the connection between memory and technology, and how the digital revolution means we might well remember things differently in the future. This, in turn, has some pretty interesting consequences for future memoirists.
I have come to a realization: in order to be a successful blogger, you have to blog for the love of blog. Doing it as a professional development exercise doesn’t work. Guilting yourself into it out of loyalty to your readers (Hi Alison!) doesn’t work. You have to find rewards in the process itself. It’s like writing that way. Perhaps this is obvious to some people — it only took me, um, six months to get there. This is hard won wisdom, guys!
This realization reminds me of when I started online dating. My first profile was so obviously reluctant, making it clear that I wasn’t comfortable with the process of putting myself out there, that I got very few responses. Then I figured it out, revamped my self presentation, and met my husband. Again, basic writing lessons apply: in order to make it as a freelance writer, you have to match your content and voice to the task at hand. Ecce signum.