Jun 24

Recent Antics: Pirates Tweeting for Dogs

The last few weeks or so have been all over the place!  Here are some nifty things I’ve been up to recently:

  • My Twitter follower count went over 500 for the first time! Half way to 1000, right?
  • I went up to Beltsville, MD (north of College Park) and had an epic pirate party with my new roommates and a bunch of other grad students. I was going to take video and pictures but there was never a really good time to do it.  This picture will have to console you [taken by Sergey Sulima]:
  • Pirate Jimmy

  • Following the party train…I’ve been to two clubs in Richmond so far and might wind up going to 3 before the summer is over.  Basically I’ve done more partying this summer than I did my entire time as an undergrad.
  • Twitter Dog triumphs! Since two of my future roommates were already on Twitter (@deutschbagette and @punkpostmodern), we decided to create a Twitter account for Eva the German Shepherd (now @evabrowndog) who lives there in hopes that roommate #3 might feel more pressure to tweet.  Happily, we suceeded (@jbriank)!

On top of all the awesome things above, I’ve just gotten all my new tech toys at once.  My laptop, wireless printer, and iPhone 3GS are all in my hot little hands now and I can feel the power all around me!  Suddenly page are loading at a reasonable speed and my calls are audible (my old iPhone’s speaker was dying)!  The best part about this new laptop is the built-in webcam and mic, which I plan to use in posting daily updates (or at least semi-daily) to the web.

That’s about it for me.  Hope the week goes well for you!

Jun 15

My Bookshelf: Spook Country

Spook CountryFor about a year now I’ve been a pretty big fan of William Gibson. His Neuromancer didn’t begin the cyberpunk genre (that was Stephenson’s Snow Crash), but it certainly fleshed it out a bit.  I’d been wanting to get around to Spook Country for quite a while, but other books have been getting in the way.  Also, when the book was first coming out, I had just finished a giant Gibson kick and needed a break.  I finally listened to the whole thing (yes I love my audiobooks) and was fairly impressed.

The book centers on Hollis Henry, an ex-rock star who is trying to pay the bills with a little journalism.  After beginning an article about augmented reality art for a mysterious tech magazine (so new it doesn’t have any issues yet), she discovers that she was actually recruited for something much larger and MUCH more interesting.  The book brings together some of Gibson’s former character staples (think “Blue Ant” if you’ve read Pattern Recognition or his other stuff), but there is quite a lot of new material as well.  In fact my favorite parts are his descriptions of a secretive crime family who work like Cold War operatives in the streets of New York.

blue-antAs much of a mystery as any of Gibson’s other books, this one will have you following down Hollis’s leads and wondering just what the deal is with that enigmatic shipping container.  It’s hard to say much more without giving the plot away, but I definitely suggest you read this one (and it’s not all that techy, for those of you who get overwhelmed easily).

Reading through the article on cyberpunk on Wikipedia reminded me that I haven’t read Mona Lisa Overdrive, the third book in the Sprawl trilogy.  Even though Count Zero didn’t do a hell of a lot for me, I feel like I should finish it all off.  My next project is to finish off most of Neil Stephenson’s books, though.  I’m also going to try and get into the Sword of Truth series (more on that later).

Have you ever ready any cyberpunk?  What’s your favorite novel in the genre?

[Blue Ant image]

Jun 09

My New Gig: Task.fm – The Task Blog

Task.fmAs most of you who know me are already aware, blogging is really a hobby for me.  While I make money at it, the time I spend preparing for articles is probably time I would spend doing something similar if I wasn’t being paid.  That being said, I love to take on new “gigs” and try to both broaden the breadth of my writing and enhance my abilities.

I’m glad to say that Task.fm‘s “Task Blog” has taken me on as their first freelancer.  If you’re not familiar with Task.fm (run by @feint), that’s somewhat understandable as they only launched in April.  That being said, they are a neat little web service that will help you keep track of your daily tasks with email, SMS, and voice reminders (yep, it’ll call you right up!).  You might remember a similar site I blogged about called IWantSandy, but as they were acquired (read: dismantled) by Twitter a while back, I’m making room in my heart for Task.fm.

Try Task.fm Today!

Once their service has gotten a little more “mature” (there’s a lot they have planned in the near future, including pro accounts) I’ll probably talk more about them, but for now I’m going to focus on making their product blog into…more than just a product blog.  They’ve hired me to share some “getting things done” strategies and other lifehacks.  I think this is a great ideas, because who needs another product blog that’s just a list of service updates?

Follow @taskfm if you want to hear about their latest developments. If you want to catch a glimpse of my first article on the Task Blog…you’ll find it here!

Jun 08

A Cool Way to Follow #WWDC

twfallOne of my favorite new Twitter webapps, Twitterfall, has just announced a special version of their site just for following #WWDC.

If you haven’t tried it out yet, Twitterfall lets you see the top trending Twitter topics (say that 5 times fast) and set up a live stream of all the people discussing that topic on the public timeline.  When you interact with any of the tweets in the stream (very easy as Twitterfall has API integration), Twitterfall pauses the “waterfall of tweets” and buffers any new ones.  For the powertweeter, Twitterfall is a must!


The special WWDC edition has two modes: public tweets and “live tweets.”  The first option is essentially the normal mode set to display all WWDC tweets (though it looks like they’re doing something to keep it from becoming too hardcore.  The second one will only show tweets from a short list of users that represent people tweeting live from inside the conference itself.

While the liveblogs are a pretty reliable way to keep on top of things, if you really want to get your WWDC news as fast as humanly possible, give WWDCFall a try!

Oh and if you’d like to hear my thoughts on WWDC as well, you can follow my tweets too!