Dying Wishes

Someone who tended to those who have gone home to die has posted a list of the [common wishes][] she encountered. The longer notes explaining each wish are worth reading, but for the condensed version to tape to that space near where your mind passes each and every day, here’s the short version:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

[common wishes]: http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html

Intel Inside

Back in 2007 a member of the press asked Steve Jobs about Apple’s participation, or lack thereof, in the Intel Inside program. Both Jobs and Phil Schiller make it clear that they want the customer’s experience to be focused on what the product delivers, not who the makers of its components are.

That’s important for a couple of reasons. First of all, it keeps producers focused on their audience’s experience and not on satisfying supplier or partner compliance requirements in order to save money. So, deliver a great product to your real audience and make money in the old-fashioned way. Second, it makes your product yours and not someone else’s. If you change suppliers, you don’t need to change anything else. Third, and most importantly, it forces you as a producer to take responsibility for your product. Its strengths, and its weaknesses, are yours and yours alone to account for.

[Listen for yourself.](http://media.macworld.com/media/legacy/2007/08/downloads/stickerquestion.mp3)

Home-Grown DropBoxes

Let me be clear: I love [DropBox][]. I depend on [DropBox][]. I use [DropBox][] everyday. [Dropbox][] makes it possible for me to be as productive as I am. (All failings in productivity are entirely my own fault — well, and I’d like to blame Apple for its continuous jinking of iTools, MobileMe, iCloud, on-line name *du jour*.) Until [DropBox][] there was no reliable syncing of files. Sometimes I would forget if I had remembered to sync to my flash drive or if I had synced a computer before I had started working on a document. Or, when I tried to rely on iDisk, I realized that I could not rely on it.

In short, before there was DropBox, there was hope and there was chaos and there was swearing.

After DropBox: certainty, calm, confidence.

As great as DropBox is, and other services like it — please note, I am not looking at you (yet) iCloud — it still requires two things: a subscription and a willingness to have your data on other people’s boxes.

I’m not really opposed to having my data live on other people’s boxes. My real problem is that I can’t afford to have as much of my data as I would like live on other people’s boxes. There is a host of data, mostly media, that I would prefer to have more ready access to, but I can’t, because I can’t afford the cost of that many gigs in the sky.

Now, DropBox or DropBox clones can’t fix all of my problem, because in part the way these services work is they sync files across machines, and so that means that you need to have room enough on all machines for the synced files to live.

No can do, Houston. This MBA only has 128GB, and I can’t afford to bump it. And even if I could afford it to 256GB or 512GB, I’m not entirely sure that would fix the problem.

And so I it’s time to explore the DropBox clones to see how well they might serve my large, complex problem.

*Please note: all the links to DropBox are to the primary home page. No affiliate links, no bonuses for me. And that’s okay, the good folks at DropBox have proven themselves.*

[DropBox]: http://dropbox.com/

## The Alternatives

* AeroFS
* Bitcasa (reports are its buggy and immature)
* Cubby
* Owncloud (buggy and limited)
* Symform
* [Tonido Sync](http://www.tonido.com/app_sync_home.html). Also has a [low-powered hardware setup](http://www.tonidoplug.com/tonido_plug.html).
* Unison (for the ambitious DIYer)

The Joy(s) of the Small Conference

There has been a growing trend of late among Americans to re-discover the joys of small things, or at least smaller things. Small, but high quality. [Jason Kottke’s recent experience at the XOXO conference][kottke] in Portland, Oregon is typical in its appreciation of how quality changes when going from big events to small ones:

* Event organizers care deeply about the event and about the participants and want everyone to have a good experience. The result of such a commitment is that the organizers themselves get so personally involved that they themselves have a very profound experience.
* Participants in small conferences are less interested in being hip or cool, in distancing themselves from others.
* Quite the opposite: they find themselves wanting to be involved. Use of devices of mass distraction (phones, tablets, computers) goes way down and listening goes way up.

The down side of such an event, it seems, is that it left Kottke with some longing for authenticity — at least, that’s what seems to be inherent in the quote he has from David Brooks. (I don’t think that Kottke quite follows the idea of *paracosm* as Brooks used it in his description of Springsteen’s imaginary at work on European audiences.)

I think he ends up in the usual spot for the bloggerati who have done well — e.g., Kottke himself, Merlin Mann, etc. — with a kind of Thoreauvian mantra of “gnaw your own bone,” which I am not here dismissing. Instead, I find myself increasingly headed that way, indifferent to the professional and institutional landscapes which I have allowed to dominate my own expressivity for too long.

[kottke]: http://kottke.org/12/09/some-thoughts-about-xoxo
[brooks]: http://nytimes.com/2012/06/26/opinion/brooks-the-power-of-the-particular.html

Google Bought Snapseed

That [Google has bought Snapseed][] comes as no surprise. What was a nice surprise was the note they wrote:

> We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. For nearly 17 years, we’ve been guided by our motto, “photography first”, as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools. We’ve always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google’s support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.

Something to remember: focus on doing one thing well.

[Google has bought Snapseed]: http://www.macrumors.com/2012/09/17/google-buys-developer-of-snapseed-apples-2011-ipad-app-of-the-year/

The Wonder of Cellulose

As a lover of old fountain pens, I knew there was a reason to be fond of cellulose: it’s [the new wonder material according to _New Scientist_](http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528786.100-why-wood-pulp-is-worlds-new-wonder-material.html).