Farewell Google Reader

Google just announced that they will be closing the doors on their Google Reader service as of July 1st. This has left myself, and many others, scrambling for a replacement for our beloved RSS service.

My short-list of alternatives includes:

I haven’t yet settled on which one I will use, though I’m actually leaning towards the pay-for option, as a revenue generating service is less-likely to be shut down in the future.

The other issue, which may actually be a blessing in disguise, is that all of my starred items probably won’t get imported to the new service. I know that workarounds for this are being developed, but I’d rather port the saved articles into more useful formats. When I first started with Google Reader, things like Pinterest didn’t exist. A lot of the items I’ve saved, are much more usefully saved in the visual bulletin board style of Pinterest. Some of the other things I’ve saved, I was saving for a particular purpose: inspiration for a blog post, project, or just a neat idea.

My own solution to the issue is to go through each starred item, and move it to a more useful/permanent location. For some this will simply be a pin on a pinboard. For others, it might become a blog topic. Still others might just get put up in a link-roundup here, more for my own reference than anything else. Hopefully you’ll at least find a few things entertaining, and I’ll still try to be posting updates about other areas of geekness during the project.

Anyone else out there mourning the loss of Google Reader? Got an alternative to add to my shortlist of products to try out? 

What I’m Listening To

One of the many things on my to-do list for my blog, is to have a little extra field that I can optionally pop onto the bottom or top of each post that would show what I’m listening to right now. Except instead of music, it would show you which podcast I’m currently listening to. Because I listen to way more podcasts than I do music.

Until I get the time and tech know how to be able to implement this, I thought I’d do a post every once in a while that lists the podcasts I’m listening to. Here’s the list, in no particular order . . .

  • The Gamma Quadrant - a podcast about all things Deep Space Nine. I just finished listening to the last episode and am a little sad that it’s over. But, the next time I go to rewatch Deep Space Nine from beginning to end, I can always relisten to the podcast episodes too. Plus, the Facebook page is still a fun place to hang out when I need some distraction too.
  • Will Write for Wine - They don’t have new episodes out, but due to some technical hiccups, we started a Facebook group and collectively started to relisten to all of those episodes on a weekly basis. I learned so much about writing from this podcast and made some truly awesome (drink!) friends there as well.
  • GeeksOn – Lots of general geeky stuff. It’s like hanging out with our regular group of geeks at home.
  • Raising Playful Tots - Lots of great parenting ideas for playing with kids!
  • The Survival Podcast - I can only handle it if I listen on 2x regular speed and skip forward by 2 minute intervals for some of his more controversial rants. And, I also review the show notes beforehand and will skip entire episodes if the topic doesn’t interest me or is too technical for where I am right now. But, lots of good tips and ideas for getting prepared for surviving in case of an emergency.
  • Parental Geekery - Like my current group of friends if they also all had kids and talked about parenting stuff too.
  • Star Trek Podcast - More general Star Trek stuff, in case the Deep Space Nine episodes weren’t enough.
  • Trekosophy – I’ve only listened to a few, but it combines philosophy and Star Trek in an interesting, if heady, discussion.
  • Stuff Mom Never Told You - a podcast that discusses gender issues.
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class - a podcast covering various topics about history.
  • WNYC’s Radiolab - This one has great production value and covers very interesting topics.
  • Zencast – I don’t listen to this one regularly, because it isn’t something that can be appreciated in the background. Also, Gil Fronsdal’s voice is wonderful and helps me fall asleep. I’m getting enlightenment while I sleep.

I love listening to well done podcasts, especially if there are multiple hosts that have great on-air chemistry. It makes me want to do my own podcast one day too. Anyone else out there have some podcasting ambitions?

Go Back to the Beginning

I haven’t been blogging lately. Even the thought of doing my annual navel gazing year in review posts haven’t been inspiring me to write. So I decided to follow one of the many pieces of wisdom that can be gleaned from the classic movie “The Princess Bride.” I’m taking things back to the beginning.

Since the theme I had chosen is no longer supported (ie. under active development for new features) I decided it was time for something new. Haven’t had a chance to play with it much yet, but so far I like it. I may just leave it like this indefinitely.

I’m not going to be deleting all my posts or anything drastic like that. But I may try to see if some applications of beginner’s mind might help with my blogging mojo again. Since it’s coming up to a brand new year (or possibly the end of the world) this is a great time to start a project like this.

A blog is really intended to be a conversation with an audience. So now is a great time to let me know what you want to see more or less of by leaving a comment or sending me an email.

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Social Media Guide for my Friends and Family

I was going to do this as a whole long series about trying to help my friends and family make the most out of their social media tools. Benevolance’s passionate disinterest about that idea convinced me otherwise. So I thought I’d just do up a quick post to tell people where I’m at, in case you want to find me there. But here’s the thing about social media … you build it and make it what it is. So don’t join up and then start complaining. If you join and hate it, you’re doing it wrong and you should go delete your account. You need to go into these things mindfully to create the experience you want. That includes deciding which tools you want to use and how well you want to master them.

So here’s where you can find me (all the links go to my profile page):

  • Facebook – I’m here mostly just to keep up with extended family news and events
  • Twitter – lots of random chatter and discussion
  • Google+ – I’d love to use this more to share interesting articles from google reader. Sadly, the mobile integration just isn’t there yet.
  • Flickr – this is the place to go if you want Locutus pictures. Or any other pictures of stuff we do or make.
  • LinkedIn – this is my professional networking area. Expect to see me share business related news here. Get a goddamn picture of yourself up there or delete your account.
  • Goodreads – keeping track of what I’m reading, what I’ve read, and what I want to read.
  • Fitocracy – keeps track of my workouts and connects with other fit people
  • Pinterest – curate pin boards of thematically related images. Great for group planning for parties, gifts, etc.

Re-establishing Good Habits

This year I’ve decided to try and re-establish a bunch of the good habits that I had when I was at my healthiest. These are simple habits, which aren’t difficult to do, but can actually make a fairly substantial difference in how healthy you feel.

Changing habits takes time and will power to stick with it, but the end result will be worth it. Each time I exercise my will power will strengthen it and make it easier for future me!

And there’s even an app for that! I found Healthy Habits Premium Plus and find it has a good balance of rewards and nagging reminders. Plus it’s easy to use and comes pre-loaded with a bunch of habits in case I run out of ideas.

I’m going to use the kaizen method and go very slowly. I’m only going to tackle 10 or 11 changes this year and will add them 1 at a time. Currently I’m working on flossing daily. Here’s my list of habits to tackle as I successively master each one:

  • drink more water
  • eat breakfast every day
  • take my vitamins & supplements every day
  • stretch every evening
  • keep a food journal
  • eat vegetables
  • track my weight
  • exercise my back posture muscles

What healthy habits do you want to try and incorporate into your daily life?

Slowing Down

Things are going to be slowing down here for a while. You see, I did a lot of blogging from my iPod. And my iPod sacrificed itself to the porcelain goddess (fell in the toilet) and is pretty dead. I’m going to have to switch to using computers, but I only have access during the daytime and I’m a slow one-handed typist.

On being an ebook convert

Before I became a mother I had read very few ebooks. But they have several distinct advantages (most of which relate to reading during the wee hours of the night) for new moms which quickly overcame my reluctance to read in that format.

  • Because I use my iPod to read them, I don’t need to turn on a light.
  • So long as I have my ereading device handy, the books are there. When I finish one I can start on the next without having to physically get up to get the book.
  • It’s impossible to randomly misplace the digital version of a book somewhere in your house.
  • You can download ebooks free from the library without having to leave your house.
  • Even the lengthiest book weighs the same and can easily be held in one hand.
  • Turning pages only requires the tap of a thumb.
  • Most ereader programs automatically start you where you stopped. So even if you fall asleep reading, you’ll still know exactly how far you got.
  • They tend to be at least a little cheaper than their traditional counterparts.

All that being said, I’m still not quite ready to buy an actual ereader device yet. For now my iPod is more than adequate. I’ve enjoyed the ebook experience so much these past few months that I think I’m more likely to purchase and read ebooks than I am paperbacks or hardcovers.

What are your thoughts, opinions, or counterpoints on ebooks? Do you still prefer physical media?