Jurassic World - spared no expense?

The first trailer for Jurassic World was released yesterday, and I hadn't realised I was going to be excited about the film until I saw it and gasped. A lot. The music! Chris Pratt! The gates! The shark!

When I first heard about another Jurassic Park sequel, my heart sank because, let's face it, they already ruined it enough with the second one. But then watching this trailer - which is both brilliant but with all the cheese of the first one that makes it a classic - I realised that it already being ruined wipes the slate clean. They can't do any worse, so why not try?

And oh gosh, that music really does get me.

I saw a couple of tweets wondering why, if people actually lived in the world where Jurassic Park happened, they would actually go to the park. What could go wrong? Also, these scientists creating their own breed of dinosaur are so ridiculously arrogant about it. Really, what could go wrong?

Something tells me we're going to spend a fun 90 minutes finding out.

Connecting the dots

The connected life. Wearable tech. Automated homes. The internet of things. All these names cover the next wave of technological interest and advancement, and whilst they may all be less than desirable monikers, the actual concepts and gadgets that are being created are absolutely fascinating. I've been a keen gadget hunter for a long time, particularly over the last few years, and having barely scratched the surface of research regarding wearable technology and digital home products, I think the next few will be particularly expensive!

Wear it well

I'm keen to test out as much of this stuff as I can but where do you start? There are two main branches of technology that interest me at the moment. The watch/wearable with fitness tracking and notifications. I've talked about dipping my toe into the waters of this world, and my interest in the Apple Watch, but I've got a lot more to say about this over the next few weeks.

So far, the devices have all been interesting but then cumbersome after the initial novelty has worn off. The latest gadgets, and those still to come, look far more interesting and useful. Microsoft going cross-platform with their wristband, Jawbone releasing a family of fitness tracking products, and the apparent battery-constraints on the upcoming Apple watch are all key details to this genre.

Home pride

The other half is home automation, and here I am really only just starting to get a feel for the subject. It's been around for a while and I have long since coveted the fridge that can tell you when it needs restocking, or the oven you can turn on from your phone, but there's so much more to it than that. From tracking the air quality in your environment, to making the kitchen a lot more fun to be in, as well as better security and safety in the home, there's a lot still to be done in this area and that makes it a great one to keep an eye on.

It's not just about what life is like inside, either. Phones can tell where you are, and where you're going, and the iPhone manages to piece it all together to work out your recent routes and thus advises how long it might take to get there. Driving home one day, Mr C and I were pondering whether the future involves the next step - your technology knowing you are heading home, advising you on any traffic issues to be avoided. At a certain distance, it puts on the oven because it knows you'll want dinner when you get home. It could also know what time of year it is, and maybe even the temperature, so can know whether to put on the heating or not.

Stuff like this sounds frivolous and luxurious, but streamlining daily processes can make life a little bit more pleasant and can save wasted time and energy. If everything is ready for you when you get home, you'll have time to later go for that walk that will then get your step count up so your wristband doesn't tell you off for missing targets!

Some people are nervous of the way this automated movement is going, and I can understand some of the reservations. But for me, it's a genre that is unfailingly interesting, and something I absolutely want to get involved with and explore.

Even better than the real thing

U2 were due to perform a week-long guest slot on Jimmy Fallon's nightly chat show but of course Bono went and fell off a bike and broke himself. (BTW, why do people keep cycling when all I ever here from cyclists is tales of woe?) So, rather than drafting in someone less good, last minute, Jimmy upped the stakes and decided to become Bono himself.

It's so good, he's really amazing. After hearing him do some of the loop videos with singing greats, I knew Fallon had something of a voice, but this is a full on production. Tour next, please!

Data collection

I’ve found the exams I’ve taken this year to be really quite intense and it turns out that the closer it gets to the day itself, and the more intense the revision is, the less room I have in my head for anything else. Whether that is writing on my own blog, connecting with people on Twitter, keeping up with news online, or listening to podcasts, everything comes to a grinding halt.

The world around me doesn't stop turning though, inconsiderate as it is, and so I've been searching for ways to put everything in a holding pattern until I'm ready to deal with it. As of this latest exam period, I think I've found the right combination of tools to keep tabs on everything I need to know.


Things

The first step is getting things out of my head. My initial point of extraction still involves a pen and paper but I've recently managed to get my digital to do list in order. For the longest time, I've been using Things but in a wonky way that I cobbled together myself.

Their recent integration with the notifications/widgets sidebar on Yosemite for Mac has meant going back to the drawing board. I actually went back and found out what the Today view (the one showing up in said sidebar) actually does and it turns out, it's very useful!

You throw all your to-dos into the inbox, as soon as you have access to the app (desktop, mobile, you know the kind of thing). Then you assign them a time, a category and move them to a project or into a timely folder. Things will then scan your folders and projects each day and present you with a list in the Today view. You go through and accept items you intend to do that day, or put off ones you know aren't going to get done.

Let's be fair, at the moment, my list is very much full of items I intended to do that day and haven't, but it all seems a bit more manageable now I'm using the app how it was intended. Whodathunkit?


Safari reading list

Although there wasn't a lot of time for tweeting over the past few weeks, I did peruse my Twitter accounts. I used to get bogged down in reading everything I found interesting straight away, lest it be lost in the sea of information that Twitter floods you with. Not any more. Now it's a simple case of scanning through the list, and sending all the interesting links to the reading list for viewing later.

That latter step hasn't really managed to come around that often for me, and I think it's a problem not just for brief periods of insanity like when studying but in general for all busy people. I saw one person commenting that they were adding links to their "read-it-never" list, and I can see how that would happen.

Hopefully I can get it under control, though, because filtering down information into this list is like creating your own RSS feed reader of content you actually care about. That can only be a good thing.


Evernote

This tool for keeping notes, pictures, links, lists, everything, has been around for a long time but I've never really thought I had a use for it. In the end, you just have to dive in and start using it, so I did the Lynda course and got on with it. The brilliance of the app doesn't start to shine through until you use it and then just keep using it.

Now, I'll stumble across something and think about Evernote, where I previously never would have thought it could be used for such a thing - for example, those travel leaflets you inevitably pick up when visiting a tourist attraction, and hold onto because you might want to go there someday? I just snapped a picture and filed away in Evernote, thus avoiding the inevitable desk clutter!

Evernote can also play a part in the reading list process above, because whilst reading all the links I've put into the list, any that I want to keep around for a long time can go into Evernote (for ideas, for creativity, for further use in the future), rather than bloating the reading list. Everything is starting to play its part!


I can see the workflow as it begins to take shape but I'm not quite there yet. It still needs polishing and I've got quite a lot of catching up to do at this point, but technology seems to be working for me at last. You just have to embrace it!

Crushed it

Pitch Perfect 2! A trailer! So much awesome!

Fat Amy continues to steal the show, but I can't wait to see the group back together. And bonus Hailee Steinfield who appears to be in every film ever these days.

Tales from the script

One of our favourite things to do on Sidepodcast is look back at the stupid things we said a year, two years or more ago. Because you can't search an mp3, that often means scrabbling for what is in the show notes, or better yet, looking back at the transcript for our word for word conversation.

Transcribing is a lengthy process, however, and when it comes down to it, we don't have time to record podcasts at the moment let alone sit down and write them out in prose.

Step in one of the best tools for transcribing I've ever seen. In beta at the moment, oTranscribe does one thing but does it BRILLIANTLY. If you've ever tried to transcribe anything longer than a minute, there's only two things you need to know about this tool.

  1. You don't need to flip between windows, like media player and text document.
  2. It auto-magically goes back a second or two when you unpause, just so you can recap where you were.

It's all kinds of genius, and I look forward to both a) making podcasts in the future and then b) transcribing them with greater ease.