October, 2007

Oct 07


sometimes i don’t really know where the week goes. it’s getting close to 7p friday night, and i’m working on closing down some things that have been open all week — then home to my family and a fun weekend. we’re getting into the part of the year that is, for me, more reflective than most — when it starts to get chilly and thanksgiving is on the way, it’s a time that i start to think more about where we are, what i want to do more of, that type of thing. 2007 has been a full year so far — 3 months left that i’m excited about. but for now home. 🙂

Oct 07


i’m not sure what’s happened these last few weeks….i’m generally a high media-rate guy — i consume a ton of books, a ton of television, a ton of news feeds, and i generally get my e-mail inbox to something under 10 messages before i go to bed each night.

but something’s happened over just the last few weeks, and i’m drowning now. i literally have 30 books on my nightstand that are all interesting & that i want to read (both novels & non-fiction). i have probably 30 hours on my tivo at home (including all 14 of The War, which i’ve got to get psyched up to watch eventually — maybe over the holidays).

e-mail load & face-to-face meeting load are both super-high now. i’m probably tracking 500 news posts a day, and i’m keeping an eye on by facebook feed (mostly with my iphone using their very very good iphone implementation when i’m waiting to meet friends for lunch), and my new friendfeed stream, which is getting increasingly fun to watch.

but i don’t know. i think there may be too much, and i’m starting to feel like i need new tools to watch streams of things go by. (article-oriented newsreaders don’t seem right; web pages with lists don’t seem right; IMs don’t seem right.)

i’m not 100% sure what to do about it, other than ride it out and see if it gets better or i get better at triaging & managing. i don’t really think that i want to do what some other folks have done (like declaring e-mail bankruptcy or anything like that) — but i don’t quite know how to think about the problem anymore. maybe it’s the normal end-of-summer mania?

i’ll try to write more this weekend about it — try to capture all the ways information is coming in & out, and the rhythms of each.

anyone else feeling like this?

Oct 07

iWork 08

I’ve been trying to use iWork 08 for the past month or so — and here’s what I think so far… Keynote is the absolute best presentation building tool around. Nothing better right now. It’s nearly impossible to make a deck that looks anything but fantastic. Playing around with wide screen views now, not to mention voice overs, saving to YouTube, etc. Great evolution on an already very good application (as soon as you change your brain to think in a particular way).

Pages, the word processor/page layout application sucks less than it did before, and is mostly usable now, even in track changes mode. I mostly don’t need to open up Word anymore (painful on Rosetta) at all. There are a few things that don’t work quite right, but mostly it’s acceptable.

Numbers is basically a toy. Math performance is very very slow; interoperability with Excel is crappy. No pivot tables, only 150 numerical functions, and basically the quirkiest spreadsheet you’ve ever seen. On the other hand, like the other 2 apps in the suite, it creates documents that look beautiful. I think it’s basically a presentation tool for calculations.

For $79, Keynote is worth it by itself. If you’re not doing complicated spreadsheets or lots of contract work, I think it’s getting to the point that with iWork and googleApps, there’s really no reason to buy Office. It’ll be a close decision when Office 2008 comes out for the Mac. I’m honestly not sure I’ll get it. From time to time I need to do complicated contract work (lots and lots of revisions — I’m unsure that I trust Pages for this at present), and sometimes I need to throw a few tens of thousands of rows into a spreadsheet to do some analysis (and I don’t think there’s any way to do that right now that isn’t Excel).

But for 95% of everything I do, I’ll not use Office again to create new documents or share them with others. I think that train has left the station.

[a slight aside: I actually really like the ribbon UI in Office 2007 on Vista — I think that’s a good innovation (and one that will look completely out of place on the Mac). i also think that the newest version of Excel is fantastic. but not fantastic enough to really want it, and not fantastic enough to justify 4x the price of iWork or an infinite pricing markup on google spreadsheets.]