Ian Hines interviews Chris Bowler:

On the topic of attention and consumption, it’s becoming pretty clear to most people that the internet is changing us and our habits. It’s pervasiveness into everywhere is having a cumulative affect. This I have felt (keenly) in my life, but is also coming into focus for much of our culture. So I know I’m not just pushing this onto others.

As I’ve come to a time in my life where I desire to create more than anything else, many of the habits formed in the past five years are a detriment to that. I struggle greatly to focus on one task for any length. Even if I achieve that focus, I still find myself switching spaces, letting my thoughts drift to other subjects, my fingers seeking that source of new input.

Twitter is the best example of this tension in my life. I love it, I hate it. My career would not be where it is without it, yet I know I could have created more, done more over the past three years if I removed all the time I spent on the service. It brings me useful information and in contact with amazing people, but also can daily cause me to miss important events in the life of my children.

Where then is the balance?

Chris Bowler’s Intrvw

My thanks to Lithium for sponsoring the RSS feed this week to promote their SNMP monitoring software. Lithium is built for Mac and iOS users in need of professional-grade monitoring of their server, network, and storage. It is feature rich, highly customizable, keeps tabs on your devices and applications, offers alert notifications, and more. Not to mention Lithium has well-designed and native apps for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus an attractive web interface.


Using the iPhone As My Only Camera

Though I love to snap photos I don’t pretend to be a photographer. I own two cameras: an older digital Kodak point and shoot with a dead battery and my iPhone 4.

I don’t know if this is a new trend or if I’m just one of a kind, but my photographs and snapshots seem to have a shorter lifespan than they used to. I don’t print out my photos anymore. Instead I text message them or email them to my friends and family. I upload them to Flickr and I share them on Twitter. It used to be a big deal to print out all your photos and archive them into an album. People do that digitally now using iPhoto I guess, but I don’t even use that.

They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and I always have my iPhone with me. In fact, I haven’t used the digital Kodak since June of 2007. This is fine by me because, like I mentioned above, I am at most just a snapshot enthusiast.

However, there is a huge shortcoming to using my iPhone as my best camera: some of the most memorable moments are also the ones where you do not want your iPhone anywhere near you.1

Anna and I are currently on vacation in Hawaii. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Hapuna Beach which has been called one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. Hapuna Beach is gorgeous. The water is all shades of blues and greens, and to the south side there is a gorgeous volcanic rock wall with several coves.

But our camera (my iPhone) was locked up in the rental car. There was no way I was going to bring my $400 iPhone down to the beach to get sand in it and risk it getting stolen while Anna and I were out bogie boarding.

If the best camera is the one you have with you then the worst camera is the one you refuse to take. Funny how that can simultaneously refer to the same device.

In many ways the iPhone punched massive holes into the inexpensive digital camera market. But there are some instances when the iPhone is the worst option for a camera. Because there is something to be said about the fact that there are some places where you really want a camera yet you are not going to take your iPhone into that situation.

This is why I think the Flip video recorder still had a good market and why digital point and shoots also have a place: they are inexpensive, easy to replace, and they don’t carry all your personal information on them.

  1. Not counting the fact that the iPhone doesn’t come close to using a high-end Nikon or Canon DSLR.
Using the iPhone As My Only Camera

Same idea as Greg Reinacker’s aforelinked plugin, except Tyler Hall’s will notify you based on certain domains showing up in your referral’s list (such as Digg, Slashdot, and Daring Fireball):

Why the name Holy Crap!? Because that’s generally the first thing you say when your website hits the front page of Slashdot.

And coincidentally, today is the 3rd birthday of Tyler’s plugin.

Holy Crap! Mint Plugin

This is a great idea for a plugin from Greg Reinacker. You set a minimum threshold for how many pageviews per minute would be “big” for you, and then if your site exceeds that threshold you get an email. It’s a clever way to wean yourself from that awful habit of checking your Mint stats every 15 minutes to see if you’re getting a spike of unusually high traffic or not.

And, if you don’t want to start checking your email every 15 minutes instead of your Mint stats, set the “send alerts to” email address to your cell phone provider’s text message address. This way you’ll get an SMS if you’re site starts getting lots of traffic, and so in the downtime you can stop thinking about it.

Traffic Threshold Pepper

Many thanks to The Escapers for sponsoring the RSS feed this week to promote Flux, their Mac web-design app. Flux is both a text editor and WYSIWYG editor for building and designing web sites.

A few other apps by The Escapers include Stor, a MySQL editor, and Stuf, a clipboard manager which syncs your clipboard history across different Macs on the same network.

For a limited time you can use the discount code “SHAWNBLANC” and get 20% off any of their apps.