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The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones — at Yoga.

My husband is six years older than me. He is only 33. As we get older a mere six-year age difference seems less and less significant. Yet, he is still the first person to poke fun at me for being so interested in technology, social media and everything related to the Internet.

I don’t mind. In fact, I am somehow oddly flattered when he jokes that I have no less than 47 ways to access the Internet in my purse alone. While this is obviously an exaggeration, to be fair, it’s not that far off.

So it came as no surprise to me when my appreciation for technology became a source of bewilderment for a complete stranger one morning last week. I rarely leave the house without either my iPad or Kindle in tow. After all, you never know when you are going to be delayed in some way or otherwise end up with some time to kill. So when an employee of my gym announced that the yoga instructor was running late for class one day last week I didn’t hesitate to whip out my Kindle and jump back into my latest novel of choice.

My reading was soon interrupted by a gentleman who looked to be about 60 occupying the neighboring yoga mat in the lotus pose, “Is that one of those there electronic book thingies?”

I looked up, smiled and nodded, “Yes, but it is actually the older version of the Kindle. My husband got it for me for Christmas a few years ago.”

He smirked and shook his head while attempting to switch to a cobbler’s pose, “I just don’t get it. My nephews are into all of that stuff.” He continued stretching and waved his hand in the direction of a young woman who was also attempting to read a few mats over, “She’s reading one of those old-fashioned books. You know, the ones with paper and ink?” More smirking and head shaking followed.

“How do you even get a book on that thing? Do you plug it into a computer?”

Optimistically hoping to enlighten this gentleman on the efficient bliss an avid reader could enjoy with a Kindle I hopped up from my mat to demonstrate just how easy it is to purchase a book. Within 15 seconds he waved me away saying, “I don’t have my glasses. I can’t see anyway.”

I gave up, but still smiled and returned to my mat to continue reading while I waited for our instructor.

That didn’t happen. Every sentence I attempted to digest was punctuated by George Orwell’s quips:

“Let me ask you – have you ever even played a record?”

“Hmph. I’m retired now. My company got the email sometime before I retired. Now people always want my email address. I just don’t get it. Just call me!”

“Imagine if you could have one device that had all of your music, movies, a phone, and the Internet — all in one??”

Still discouraged from my failed attempt to gently introduce him to the simple and beautiful efficiency of the Kindle I decided I would not waste my efforts by sharing the “news” of smartphones and tablets.

Later in the day when I reflected on this bemusing exchange I felt:

  • frustrated because he expressed curiosity about technology only to immediately wave it off as an unnecessary nuisance;
  • amused because the exchange could have been a scene straight from the cutting room floor of an updated version of the movie Grumpy Old Men;
  • and fearful of the day when I become so perplexed by—and resistant to—advances in technology that are created with the intent to make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

Then I came across this article in the technology section of The Wall Street Journal and I wasn’t so bothered. In fact, this article only strengthens my resolve to enjoy advances in technology as long as possible—no matter how difficult it is to let go and appreciate the ideas and inventions of the next generation.

— Sent from my iPad

(Yes, Grumpy Old Man – I wrote this blog post on my iPad and with a wireless keyboard. So what!)

p.s. I’m considering wearing sunglasses to yoga this week. Maybe he’ll think I’m from the future.

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Must-have mobile apps for the productivity ninja.

I’m in Helen (located in the North Georgia mountains) right now for a family reunion. While there is not much to do, it is beautiful and full of gorgeous autumn scenery. It also offers a welcome break from the real world – and thus some free time to write a blog post (something I am trying to do more regularly).

I always enjoy reading other bloggers’ and tech geeks’ top app lists. So, in the spirit of celebrating free time and my escape from the hustle and bustle of the real world – this post celebrates a few of my favorite productivity apps for the iPad and iPhone.

Without further adieu – here are my top mobile resources to get you on your way to becoming a productivity ninja.

FeedlerRSS – Just a simple and straightforward way to access your RSS on the go. Always a plus when you have a free moment to quickly get through your updated feeds. (I hate when I don’t have time to check Google Reader for a few days and I have over 1,000 unread items. I tend to just deleted by the dozen and potentially miss some great items.)

Instapaper – Instapaper is a Godsend. Gone are the days of e-mailing yourself a list of interesting links to check out when you have more time. With Instapaper you can simply click a button on your browser’s toolbar and the item is saved to the web app and the app on your iPad and/or iPhone to revisit at your convenience.

One of my favorite features of Instapaper are the editor’s picks. I almost always learn something new and find at least one article that is so interesting I cannot help but read it in entirety. I’ve used entire lunch breaks doing just that.

Dropbox – I love Dropbox so much that I recently dedicated an exclusive blog post to it. You can read it here.

iAnnotate PDF – Their website says it best: “Use iAnnotate to read your PDFs, take your business paperless, and simplify your workflow. Anyone who works with PDFs will love it!”

iAnnotate PDF recently came in handy for at least one attendee (and respected productivity ninja) during our annual meeting – see his pro-tip here.

OmniFocus – Warning: This app is pricey. (Perhaps a bit too pricey, in my honest opinion) However, if you *love* to-do lists, I think you will like this app a lot. The interface is easy to navigate and allows you to quickly make very organized to-do lists. My only wish would be that there would be a way to see and/or export a list of completed tasks. (I love the satisfaction of crossing items off of a to-do list and this isn’t quite replicated with OmniFocus)

What are your favorite and/or most valuable productivity apps for the iPhone and/or iPad? We’d love to hear! Feel free to share in the comments. 🙂

There’s an app for that.

If you have an iPad, Blackberry and/or iPhone – Dropbox is a must-have app. Seamless integration among multiple devices, instant sync, and eliminating the fears associated with unpredictable USB drives are among my top reasons that I count Dropbox as one of my favorite resources.

This article highlights a myriad of other neat features of this free(mium) app. It is a worthwhile read – even if you are already familiar with Dropbox. I learned a few useful tricks myself.

The Ultimate Dropbox Toolkit & Guide

Opportunities, ASAE, and iPad — oh, my!

Happy!
What more can I say? July has shaped up to be a fantastic month and I couldn’t be more grateful. This post will be brief — but I am so excited that I just had to share!

1. At work, we have been moving full steam ahead on our social media initiatives, well, that is full steam ahead with the resources that we currently have. And although I may be biased, I feel like we are off to a promising start and I am excited to see what the future, and specifically our annual meeting, bring. The social media work has truly been fun and rewarding, and has really given me the opportunity to challenge myself. One of the most rewarding things has been the opportunity to write a couple articles on social media for one of our monthly publications. Seeing the final copy of my second submission with very few edits was the greatest feeling ever.

2. During my annual review I was asked to review the ASAE 2010 preregistration brochure and highlight any sessions of interest, and was told that I *may* have the opportunity to go across the country to attend the event. One highlighter and several weeks later — I was told that I would, in fact, get the opportunity to attend and I just booked my hotel room this afternoon. The lineup of ASAE sessions looks extremely interesting and valuable, and I couldn’t be more excited or appreciative of this opportunity!

3. Which brings us to number three. Upon hearing that I would ‘most likely’ be able to attend ASAE, my mild, but persistent, longing for an iPad transformed into a full-on need. I attribute the fuel to the fire to two things: (1) my annoyance at traveling with my laptop, e.g. lugging it through security (or anywhere outside of home for that matter), and (2) the realization that I will probably encounter many ASAE attendees proudly toting their own iPads and effortlessly pulling off multitasking feats of strength. Translation: I knew I would fly into a quiet, but undeniable, fit of envy if I didn’t have my own. So, after saving my ‘fun money’ for a bit, I picked up my very own iPad on Friday, and so far, I love it!

With that being said, I’ve got a can of soup to prepare for dinner and some App Store surfing ahead of me. Looking forward to hopefully seeing some of my #eventprofs buddies at ASAE!

Now this is a movie I may actually see on opening night.

I have read all of the Twilight books, and like most women, I loved the Sex and the City series. I have enjoyed the movie adaptations of both Twilight and Sex and the City as well. However, I would never see the movies on opening night. I was just never compelled to wait in line and purchase an absurdly expensive ticket just to hear girls applaud every time a character comes on the screen or yell out “Team Jacob!!!!” I know that I would get so annoyed I’d just walk out. I’ve always waited several months for people to lose interest or for the release of the DVD.

This movie may change this pattern. While I enjoyed Twilight and Sex and the City – they pale in comparison to my love for social media. Here is the preview for The Social Network:

I’ll let you know what happens in October. 🙂

My Favorite Tech Tool of the Moment: Google Search Stories for YouTube

My buddies over at Engage365 recently introduced me to Google Search Stories for YouTube. Search Stories is a simple to use video creator that allows you to enter up to six search queries, select a musical track and upload a pretty professional looking video to YouTube. The possibilities are endless – commercials, product promotions, blog entries, etc.

Until today I had only created one Search Story, a promotional piece to generate excitement for my work’s annual conference. Turns out that my work liked it so much that it is now embedded on our annual conference’s homepage as a featured video!

With Search Stories, you have the ability to set the Search Story to pull the queries from not only the web, but to pull specifically from images, blogs, news, books or products. This combined with the wide range of musical themes to choose from allows you to easily generate the emotion and tone you are going for – whether somber, dramatic, action-packed or silly.

Check out the Search Story I made about the game changing moments I have experienced as a result of social media and the amazing #eventprofs Twitter community. Enjoy!

To Buy or Hold Out? Unexpected Encounter with iPad Leaves me with Questions.

I almost unexpectedly scored an iPad this morning. Talk about a pump fake. 🙂

I was a hairdresser in a former life and I still occasionally do hair on the side to make some extra money. I was doing a cut and color for one of my favorite clients this morning when I found out that her husband recently (accidently) bought two iPads (credit card mistake). About 45 minutes later, I remembered back when I was just a wee little nerd-in-the-making, one of my Dad’s friends ‘sold’ me a laptop which I worked off over several months of  free babysitting. (a deal I am not so sure I’d be so eager to agree to accept in retrospect)

I mentioned this to my client and you could literally see the wheels turning in both of our heads as we realized this could be a potentially beneficial deal for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, by the time we realized this and made plans to ask her husband if he would be interested in the trade, he had already told his daughter that he had a surprise for her. So, it was too late. Oh well.

While I was a bit disappointed, I wasn’t heartbroken. As a tech geek, I’ve been interested in the iPad since the rumors started a while back, but had not planned on purchasing one anytime soon. Why?

1. I was one of the early purchasers of the first generation iPhone and got screwed like everyone else when Apple drastically dropped the price shortly after its release. (Sorry Apple, but a gift card to the Apple Store didn’t quite smooth things over with this customer.)

2. I anticipate that a better version, or several, will follow and at a lower price point in the not too distant future.

3. I’ve been much more excited about the release of the iPhone 4G as I still have the first generation phone, and it seems downright clunky and painfully slow compared with the 3G. I’ve been waiting for a long time to justify upgrading and I will be purchasing the newest iPhone sometime this summer.

I digress.

What I did score today was the unexpected opportunity to play around with the iPad as my client’s color was processing. Once I got home I did some minor Google research and asked my Twitter network for their opinions to see if I should be more serious about the iPad, and possibly consider putting fun money towards the iPad over the iPhone.

I think at this point in time, I am about 60/40, with the new iPhone winning first dibs on my fun money. Here’s why the iPad isn’t winning (yet):

Pro’s

Portable

Some people complain about the weight of the iPad (just over a pound), especially when using it as an e-reader, but I don’t foresee that being an issue for me. (I have a Kindle, which I adore, and due to the glare of the iPad’s screen, Kindle would remain my preferred e-reader either way.) Compared with my laptop, the iPad would be an awesome way to take notes at a conference, and would be so much easier to tote around in general.

Sleek and fast

From the few minutes that I played around with the iPad, I loved how sleek the interface looked and how fast it responded to prompts. (However, this is a primary reason I want the new iPhone, so this reason doesn’t hold a lot of weight with me).

New cool toy

The nerd in me REALLY wants the iPad and NOW because it is the newest geeky gadget and everyone would be envious. 🙂

Professional benefit

I have been fortunate enough to recently gain some responsiblity for my organization’s social media initiatives, which are currently mostly driven around our annual meeting. As one of my Twitter friends mentioned, the iPad would be a far better on-site tool for me to use than an iPhone or BlackBerry. It would provide for more robust monitoring of social networks, efficiency, and 3G would solve potential WiFi connectivity issues that are often a problem in convention centers.

I won’t bother to list out my con’s in as detailed of a format, because they are mostly just features that many people agree they would like to see added to the second version of the iPad.

Con’s

USB port

Screen without serious glare

Lower price

Zero issues with WiFi (saw this complaint a lot in my Google search)

Zero issues with e-mail (same note as above)

Camera/phone

Not sure that my IT department would allow me to get my work e-mail on the iPad (they’re very . . . conservative)

YouTube videos look terrible on it

I’m sure both lists could go on and on, and I’m also sure that those of you out there that already have an iPad, or have been considering getting one, have plenty to add. So, as always, please feel free to share in the comments!

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