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Finding hope outside your inbox

Seven ways to break the habit of compulsive e-mail and Twitter check-ins


I was picking my daughter up from her first day of school, and I was so excited to hear how it went that got there a few minutes early. I could go in and spend a few extra minutes observing her class....or I could sneak one last peek at the day's e-mail. Sure enough, I pulled out my iPhone, only to experience that little ping of disappointment when the hoped-for e-mail from a prospective client had yet to arrive. I headed into my daughter's classroom, my excitement about the first day of school now dulled, ever so slightly, by the disappointment of that missing e-mail.

Why they call it the God Phone

Why they call it the God Phone(father to daughter, as they look up at the star-filled nighttime sky) You'll never feel a greater sense of awe at the enormity of the unknown, and the vastness of the universe's infinite possibilities, than on the eve of a new iPhone release.
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12 kid-friendly iPhone apps for toddlers and young kids

Lil Sweetie's message to Steve Jobs

Update & Saliva Warning: I took my iPhone in for a repair this week and was told my warranty was void because a small paper tab Apple implants in each iPhone showed the phone had been exposed to liquid. Since this phone has never gotten wet, we suspect that the moisture detector (which is just inside the dock port) was triggered by excess saliva from the kids playing Ocarina and Balloonimals, both of which involve blowing into the phone.

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Take note of Evernote (especially if you're an iPhone user)

Since upgrading to a 3G iPhone, I've gone on periodic app binges in which I download every app that looks remotely interesting and take it for a whirl. So far, the best discover I've made is a free app called Evernote -- and it's changed my computer use even more dramatically than it's affected the way I use my iPhone.

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Customers throwing themselves at you? Might be nice to get their names.

Well, that took long enough.

But at last, the Rogers Wireless home page is updated to at least hint at the biggest news they've had all year:

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This iPhone weighs four pounds

How the iPhone can have a big impact on busy lives

Today is the 8-day anniversary of my iPhone, and in those eight days a whole bunch of people have asked if I've lost weight. At first I thought it was just that the iPhone made me look thinner -- you know, like a good pair of jeans. But this morning I stepped on the scale and sure enough, I've lost four pounds.

I've done a retrospective analysis of the past 8 days of my life, and I think all four pounds can be directly attributable to significant iPhone-related lifestyle changes:

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Bedtime with Rob and Alex ep. 7: the gearhead episode

Podcast: Online tools and gadgets that keep you current at work and at home

Break out the propeller beanies: it's a gear-heavy episode this time. It starts with Rob talking about the swishy new voice recorder that will soon be replacing the combination of a 4th-generation iPod and Griffin iTalk. That'll mean much nicer sound... and the end of that hard-drive-spinning-up whine that we're guessing you won't miss at all.

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Bedtime with Rob and Alex ep. 5: the vintage episode

We actually recorded episode 5 last week, just as various colds, flus and what appeared to be the Phage descended on our humble household.

But our household was also invaded by a more benevolent intruder: Alex's new iPhone, which works in Canada thanks to some startlingly well-written instructions she found online. (Link coming soon! Thanks, Hack that Phone!)

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Google docs: now in Safari

I just discovered that Google Docs finally work in the Safari web browser. (Up until now, Mac users had to access their Google Docs via Safari.) I think we may have the iPhone to thank for this; all those iPhone users wanted mobile access to their documents! I wonder what else the iPhone will finally bring to the Mac platform.

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The kid inside you may be Apple's secret weapon

Kelly Goto has a post suggesting the iPhone may be the breakthrough product in a category where promise has been tantalizing but success has been elusive: the ultra-mobile personal computer.

The success of the gesture-based touch screen interface is almost so fluid and easy to use it goes unnoticed. Even a 1-year old baby can use it. Since its release, many individuals formerly tethered to their laptops have admitted being able to switch to the iPhone for email and browsing when traveling. In many ways, the iPhone is the first ‘ultra mobile’ consumer device to give us a taste of tomorrow we can use today.

Go check out that video she links to. It's exactly as billed: a baby (okay... at 20 months, maybe a toddler) successfully navigating an iPhone app. It ain't exactly pivot tables in Excel, but this is still amazing to watch.

I left a comment on Kelly's blog. Here's the gist of it:

I don’t think that attractiveness of Mac technology to kids is an accident. The iPhone in particular has a vividness to it that’s only the latest in a line of recent design advances from the folks at Apple (remember OS X’s “lickable” interface?). From the little animation touches to the gorgeous, saturated, high-contrast graphics, Apple’s appealing not just to our inner efficiency expert, but also our inner child.

Maybe that’s part of the appeal of iPods, OS X and even the original Mac. Apple’s design aesthetic doesn’t just say “let’s work”, “let’s connect” or “let’s create” - it also says “let’s play.” That may be part of the reason some folks still find it hard to take Macs seriously in the workplace… but it’s also a big part of what makes using them so compelling...

Most projects don't have nearly the number of dollars available that Apple can throw at user experience, of course. But it's worth looking at your site, software, product or service, and asking if a little injection of playfulness wouldn't make a big difference.

By the way, we're going to see the latest iteration of Apple's come-out-and-play approach to interface design later this month when OS X 10.5, Leopard, is unleashed. We'll try to contain our sense of panting anticipation in our blog posts between now and then... but no promises.

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.