Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Web Secret #99: Giving Up the Internet

Sheesh - I don't know if it's because I am about to reach my 100th post, but I had a really hard time coming up with a topic for Web Secret #99.

I tried all my usual tricks - reading the tweets of my favorite Tweeps, clicking on my StumbleUpon button like a rat in a Skinner box, even taking the Geek Questionnaire looking for random inspiration.

And then I came upon "Back to reality: giving up the internet", an article in The Observer, a UK magazine.

Journalist Mark Hooper wondered if he could survive two weeks without checking his email, looking at the Internet or using his iPhone. Then he wrote about how difficult it was to let go, what he learned when he lived off-line, and what he discovered when he logged back on.

Mark also pointed out what we are quick to forget, which is that our current digital landscape is only about five years old. Go back to January 2005 and it's a pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-YouTube, pre-smart phone world.

Do you remember what you were doing then?

I actually don't.

I do know that in October 2005, I became a full time webmaster, and by mid 2008, I was heavily engaged in social media.

By the end of 2008, I adopted the following schedule:

During week-ends and vacations, I do not tweet, blog, write or answer e-mails. I do not write on Facebook walls. I do not go onto the Internet, except to look up the address of the latest restaurant, or book a movie ticket. I do not make business calls on my iPhone. In fact, I only use my iPhone to locate entertainment, track down the whereabouts of my teenagers, and play Scrabble.

During the average week-day, I spend at least 8 solid hours a day coding, creating presentations, writing articles on technology, and blogging and tweeting about social media. When the week-end comes around I stop. When I am on vacation, I stop.

To my readers and followers, I am still on the job , I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets in advance, and Blogger to schedule my posts.

And that my friends, is how I stay sane.

It's called taking a break. I suggest you try it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Web Secret #98: MyPhoneDesktop

MyPhoneDesktop is an iPhone/iTouch/iPad app.

Now I realize some of you don't have any of these gadgets. But who knows, maybe this amazing app will prompt you to purchase one of the aformentioned devices.

What's so great about MyPhone Desktop?

Well, when I am home, I don't use my iPhone. To me it's a mobile device and I only access it when I am... mobile.

(Come to think of it my daughter does use my iPhone at home, sucking the battery dry, to play Scrabble - but that's another story.)

Anyway, at home, I sit in front of my computer. But I constantly run across cool and important things that I would love to upload to my iPhone.

Things like:Now I could dig into my handbag for my iPhone, or track down my daughter, and then laboriously input all of the above...


I could simply open up MyPhoneDesktop program on my desktop - drag and drop, cut and paste or comfortably type my info using a full size keyboard and a mouse - and PRESTO, it syncs to the MyPhoneDesktop app on my iPhone.

How cool is that?

And all for a mere $1.99 through the App Store.

PS For those of you who like to read excruciatingly detailed reviews with lots of screen shots, check out this one or that one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Web Secret #97: Just The Facts - 2010

What are the 2010 facts about the Internet and social media?

Thank you, Jeff Bulla, for answering that very question.

Think about this:

First website - 1990
130 websites - 1993
234 Million websites - 2010

Some facts about social media:
  • Facebook has 400 Million Users
  • Facebook has grown by 100 million users in last 9 months
  • If Facebook were a country it would be the 4th largest in the world
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
  • There are over 200 Million Blogs
  • Over 30 Billion YouTube Videos are viewed every month
  • The 2nd largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  • Twitter received 74 Million unique visitors in January 2010
  • Twitter passed the 10 Billion Tweets mark in March 2010
  • 80% of companies use LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees
  • 2010 - Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers
Some facts about Gen Y (especially those born between 1985-1995):
  • Almost all have a Facebook
  • 50% have a YouTube channel (A YouTube channel is the "home page" of a user - usually displays favorite videos, comments, subscribers to the channel, and other social networking features.)
  • They are not on LinkedIn
  • They are not on Twitter
Think about this:
  • Different generations use social media differently
  • YouTube was founded in 2005 - five years later, it's the second largest search engine in the world. It is owned by Google, the world's largest search engine
  • 20 years ago there was only one website,
Everything on the Internet is changing fast. Very, very fast.

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.

Do you think anyone in the world really understands the implication of this hyper accelerated change?

I don't.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Web Secret #96: BESTCOVERY

You would think that yours truly writes her blog on the state of the art $3,000 MacBook Pro of her dreams.

Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. I bang out my posts on a five year old Dell Latitude D531 which I fear may expire soon. Thank you DropBox where I back up my stuff in case of the ultimate melt down...

So I wasn't surprised when two out of four of the Dell's USB ports finally stopped responding to jiggling motions and sweet nothings. I needed a USB hub to maximize the usability of the remaining ports. And I needed it fast.

Problem. I have been gifted, received as a freebie, and even purchased a variety of hubs over the years and all had one thing in common - they sucked - breaking down within days of acquisition. Some quick googling and I discovered this is a ubiquitous problem. But where was I going to find a competent referral to a top notch hub?

At of course! Bestcovery's tagline is "Discover the Best of Everything." They promise to answer a single question: “What is the best product or service for your specific need?” and they do this with an expert community made up of devoted industry veterans.

I typed in "USB hub" in their search window and immediately accessed a list of carefully ranked and reviewed hubs including the top rated Atomik Tech 10 Port Hub which I promptly purchased from

Bestcovery I love thee.