Evolution on the web

ev·o·lu·tion – A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

Things must change, things must differ over time. In the 8 years and 135 days that I’ve been posting to this blog. I’ve written a lot. I’ve written very little too. Posts of pictures, quotes, links to sites that some of you don’t really care about are all things that I think have cluttered up this site at times. When I mo-blog from my phone it adds length to the site that really isn’t needed, when I post links to sites, I’m sure many of you just pass over the post without any regard for what content might be there.

Over the past few months I’ve thought about changing what I do here, how I do it and what kinds of other content I might like to do. I registered and hosted a new domain but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. I played with new equipment, tools, and software. I looked at old and new technologies as well as ideas of things still in the pipeline.

I don’t want to get rid of this site. I definitely don’t want to delete it and start over. I want to expand it. I want to make it something on its own with supporting sites coming and going adding content and value. I started with the idea of another WordPress Blog, too much effort to keep up and post to, I went to a podcast, I even recorded one episode that has since go by the way side, way too much to record and post a show when I’m in a hurry. I wanted something quick to post from, like from my phone via SMS, MMS, or even a quick post from a website. I wanted multimedia capabilities, an attractive interface, and a simple design. I wanted light-weight blogging with little effort basically.

I’ve started a Tumblelog. I’m using the Tumblr service and software to basically create more of a stream of consciousness. I Tweet, I blog, now I’m going to put the things that are too long to tweet and too short or just not right for blogging there. Some call this a lifestream, a microblog, a nanoblog, lifelogging and who knows what else, it’s what I want to post at that moment. It’s quick, easy and not written over a long period of time. That’s what this site will remain for, long posts with true content. Not quick photos and quips and quotes.

What is the site you ask? Apartment721.com, there’s even a mobile version for those of you with iPhones, Blackberries and the like, Apartment721.com/mobile.

I’ll post semi-regularly (hopefully) and there will be links back to my tweets and blogs there. You might think of it as more of a central site for me, if you look there you’ll see my tumbl’s (?), tweets, and blog posts as they are all posted. Then you can click the posts to dig further. All in all I hope that this helps me put out more content in a way that everyone wants to see it and keeps the clutter off of this site.

Drop a comment, let me know what you think, although remember that design tweeks are still being made to the new site, be gentle. Things are changing, and I think its a good thing.

Vacation Days 2 and 3

I didn’t forget to blog last night, I was just busy and today was more of the same. Christmas with my family and friends is more than just a few hours on the morning of the 25th, it’s an extravaganza lasting a few days before and maybe the day after too.

Yesterday was glorious. I did absolutely nothing and I loved it! I watched the Colts beat the Texans in basically one half. I finally got dressed around 7 and headed out to meet up with Kyle for our traditional Sunday night tea and talking. Good times.

Today I started bright and early at 8 although I wish it could have been 10 because I really didn’t sleep much the night before. Seriously do that trash trucks have to come at 330 on a Monday morning? We headed to my grandparents for a little Christmas Eve lunch and to open some presents. I got some good stuff really and it’s only just begun.

In the afternoon we headed out to Erin’s for Christmas with her family. An amazing roast beef was waiting as well. I got some really great presents again. A blender (you might not understand but I really wanted one, one with a knob especially), some money to put towards some new glasses which I desperately need, and a pair of leather Chucks are some of the highlights. Erin got me tools, Craftsman, the only kind I want ever, and some nice sweaters and I’m sure there is tons more that I’m forgetting. I love it all and know that I am truly blessed to receive so much.

Tomorrow is Christmas proper and I’m ready. The holidays are hard for me to get in the mood for lately, I just can’t find the spirit. I found it tonight, on the drive home I jammed to some Christmas music and it hit me. The holidays are about giving though, I still have to give something, I don’t know what or how yet but there’s still one thing missing that I do year after year. Just being that lifeline for someone that needs something a bit more than I do, I’ll find the opportunity soon enough I’m sure, though time is ticking.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and that your time with family and friends can be as rewarding to you as it has been for me.

Only one post for tomorrow, my traditional post, I’ll update late in the evening or the day after.

OneWebDay 2007

Today is OneWebDay a celebration of the community that exists on the web. It’s a day to celebrate this great huge thing that exists all around the world. In my opinion it’s the one thing that we can all share in. There are no borders, no real class systems that block people from coming on board, there is just this space that we can all share, create and explore together. This isn’t something that can be necessarily controlled, what is taboo in one place may be perfectly fine in another. A space exists for all, whether it be large corporate sites that are entirely commercial to user generated content sites that make money for the creators as well as the owners of the site to totally informational sites about every subject under the sun and beyond and even blogs and other personal sites that are merely there as an outlet to express themselves to others around the world.

I’m proud to be a part of that community, I not only contribute here with my personal thoughts, links and stories but I have also built several websites of varying success for commercial enterprises. The tools that we use to build this community are not just tools; they are works of art. We can use simple tools like notepad and other text editors, complex HTML and WYSIWYG tools and even drag and drop tools that don’t require any knowledge of design or code. Anyone can create a page or site in just a few minutes.

Of course the real gift to community is not the design, layout, and technology of the web, but the content that can be delivered on it. Sites like Wikipedia are not particularly well designed, simple text, images and links are all it takes to get the correct information to you. Other sites like sports sites, news sites, and most social networking sites are enormous arrays of code, images, text, video and community modules that function as a huge organism in and of itself. The content makes the site however. How do you want your information? Do you want simply information in its simplest form, which in my opinion is simple hyperlinked text or do you want to watch a sports event clear across the world with live video? You can have both or something entirely different, look around, if you want it, you can find it and if not, build it, someone else might be looking for it too!

We all contribute here on basically level ground. A large corporation and purveyor of information like CNN must compete with a simple young blogger for readers. Perhaps CNN offers the most complete analysis of the particular story of interest but if the blogger is eyewitness to the event they may have insight that CNN could never hope to have. We are a community and as such must interact with all around us, big, little, corporate and personal.

The community on the web has changed for me in the last year greatly. I’ve changed the way I work on the web and on a computer in general. With my recent acquisition of a Mac I have been thinking of getting a Windows virtual machine software solution to install my software on. I realized quickly though that there is really nothing that I need Windows software for. I use the web for nearly everything I do, I use Quicken, iTunes, and MS Office all of which can be used on the Mac and everything else can be found on the web. We don’t need smart computers anymore, we need a smart network that we can always be connected to.

Since the last OneWebDay I have changed my social networking approach. I’m on Facebook but greatly reduced my friends after a long hiatus from the site altogether. I didn’t want to be involved in the community in the aspect that it was being used. I like using sites like Facebook to stay in touch with friends, but pushing all of their information to me all the time got annoying. I don’t need to know every little thing that people do. I see social networks as a solution to email, a simple way to keep in touch with select people about select things without the need to remember everyone in particular all the time. Sites like Twitter make it possible to send out quick updates on your stream of consciousness quickly but low adoption by the masses have hurt them into being a true way of communication. In the future I think that these sites will catch on with the generation yet to come but being connected in general will continue to grow in ways that we can’t even begin to think of yet.

Tools like the iPhone, Blackberries and smaller and smaller laptops have made keeping up on the happenings of your friends, business contacts, and even news stories all over the world nearly entirely ubiquitous. This is the future, always connected to each other. The way that it’s implemented will be crucial to the future though. There has to be a happy medium between pull and push information. I want to know what my friends are up to, but I don’t need to know exactly what they are doing all the time. I want to know about important news topics during the day, but I don’t need it right now all the time. I want to be able to contact anyone I need at the drop of a hat though in various ways including SMS, email, and voice. Connecting the infrastructure of the old media, phone, television and radio with the infrastructure of the new media like SMS, podcasting, and the web in general will be the next step. How can I get one device to connect me to the world anytime all the time without being cumbersome or bothersome?

I encourage you to participate in this community, in whatever way you can, a blog, a photosite, a podcast, reporting news important to you (firsthand or not), even just adding comments to forums, blogs, and other chances at be social in this space is important. We have built this community and must continue to help it grow.

OneWebDay

My car tried to run away yesterday

What a weekend! Out with the gang (Erin, Ali, and Kyle) Friday and Saturday nights. Friday was dinner, driving and swimming followed by a movie. Saturday was TV, talking and swimming/hot tubbing. The gang is building again it seems. That always makes me happy, alone time and “us” time is great, but I need group time too now and then. The summer holds promise for some interesting times.

Yesterday was a day though, one that I was glad to be done with. I woke up in a bad mood from being out late the night before and it went down hill from there. Thankfully and regrettably I had the house to myself in the afternoon, I planned to clean up my room, the car, and just chill for a while. It quickly turned ugly. I let the battery on my car run down completely while cleaning it out and getting distracted with laundry. Dead, not even enough to make the engine turn over slightly. Crap.

Normally we have all kinds of odd tools and stuff around the house, not a battery charger though. Since no one else was home I had no one there to jump start my car either. I called and found that I had access to my uncle’s car but I had one small problem since my car was in my garage and no one was there to help guide it out. I got his car in my driveway and then thought about how I would get my car out. It’s a straight shot out of the garage into the driveway and the driveway isn’t that slanted, a quick push out the door and then jump in to stop it and then a quick jump and I’d be on my way. Of course it sounded all too easy.

I lined my car up to push it out, just a little turn to the steering wheel to square it up. A small push got me to the edge of the driveway/garage then another push would take the back wheels over the small bump that separates the two structures. One more push from the front wheels and I’d be set. I lined up on the front of the car, I couldn’t push with the door open or I’d risk ripping off the door of the car or screwing up the side of the garage door opening. I pushed just enough to get over the bump, the car took off down the driveway. I mean it went a lot faster that I thought it would. I quickly ran around to the side of the car, jumped into it while it was increasing in speed, slammed on the non-power brakes and threw it into gear. The car lurched to a stop nearly at the sidewalk by the edge of the driveway. I was 5 feet from the busiest road in my neighborhood. Terrific.

I hooked up the jumper cables and proceeded to jump the car, of course that didn’t go that well either. My battery was so dead that I couldn’t just hook up the cables and go, no I had to wait 10 minutes to get the thing charged up. Geez, not my day. Knowing what I know about cars (not that much probably) I knew that I had to let it run for a while so the alternator could charge up the battery again. I moved my uncle’s car back to his house and locked it up again.

A quick trip to Peru would help charge it up I thought. I took it to AutoZone to see if they’d test it out to make sure that I just ran it down and there really wasn’t a bigger problem with the car. The battery hadn’t fully charged during the 15 minute ride to the store and the guy said that I could have a problem with the battery. I had the cables in my trunk still and thought instead of buying a new $60-80 battery I would chance it for the evening and see how it would work out.

Back home to shower and get ready to go to Kokomo. The car started like a champ on my way out to hang out. I had the cables I was ready. We did our thing at Kyle’s house and headed home a little earlier than I thought we would, but late enough I suppose. No problems.

Today I headed back to AutoZone and received a clean bill of health for my battery. All is well again.

For a moment yesterday I imagined my car rolling down the driveway and crashing into a slow moving Chevy, that would kill my insurance payments for sure. Luckily all is well and the guy said I really have nothing to worry about. I’m still buying a battery charger this week, just in case.