Monthly Archives: October 2008

The iPod (and other voices) in my head

I am now working on a large university campus and am amazed by the students with iPod buds hanging from their heads.  There’s nothing like carrying your soundtrack along with you! I have to admit that now I feel a bit more comfortable wearing my (non-iPod) mp3 player.  My little secret however is that I am not listening to tunes, but instead another wonderful outcrop of the iPod phenomenon – the podcast.  I can download podcasts from a myriad of places and listen to them at my leisure.

These devices have made me come to realize that there is almost always a tune in my head.  Quite frankly, an mp3 player gets in the way of my internal soundtrack if for no other reason, the shear capacity and fast shuttling that occurs in my inner-iPod.  I wonder if an external device like the iPod will reduce my internal song inventory.  I’ve posted before about how online maps (and autoflush toilets) may be inhibiting our abilities.  (the Luddite inside me?).



Ohh, Gmail, Save us from our Sends!

E-mail is a wonderful technology which allows for the rapid transmission of messages across the Internet.  The car is also a fantastic technological device for transferring us from one place to another.  Neither should be operated while under the influence of alcohol.  Granted, you may not be endangering the lives of others in a drunken e-mail, but you could certainly be endangering or simply embarrassing yourself.  Don’t fret, Gmail has a solution.

Eric Raymond, in his definitive work on open source software, stated that “Every good work of software starts by scratching
a developer’s personal itch.” So it is with a new Gmail feature called Mail Goggles. recently posted about his own personal need for a way to prevent him from sending messages like the “late night email to my ex-girlfriend that we should get back together.” So, he created Mail Goggles.

The Mail Goggles feature offers a math challenge for e-mails before an email can be sent between 10pm and 4 am on weekends.

To enable the feature in Gmail, just click on “Settings” and then “Labs” and scroll down to Mail Goggles and click “Enable”.  After it is enabled, adjustments to the schedule can be made in the “General” settings page. Enabling this feature gives Gmail the ability to take away your keys when you’ve had a bit too much to drink.

Of course this won’t save you from sending that emotional flame mail in the heat of the moment.  There you may want to try my 24 hour test.  Write the email and get those emotions out, but save it to your drafts and let it cool off a bit.  No better place to cool of that someplace with a draft.  Revisit the email in a day and see if writing it out wasn’t sufficient for yourself.  Otherwise revise and click send.  The revisions alone are worth the wait.  Perhaps Gmail can help here as well.  Some external device takes your blood pressure and won’t let you send until it is low enough.