LOI: Novel iPad Keyboard, Ergonomic Chair and More

After a hiatus, my regular Thursday Links of Interest column returns. This edition features a smorgasboard of links I’ve bookmarked in recent weeks:

The “Off” Switch App

This week I’ve re-discovered one of my favorite “iDevice” apps: the “off” switch.

Key Features

  • Intuitive user interface.
  • Simple, un-cluttered design.
  • Facilitaties clear thinking.

Last Sunday morning, I realized I’d fallen into a rut. I’d head into the kitchen to make breakfast, and while I was waiting for the tea to brew or the toaster to “pop”, I’d grab my iPad and sneak a peek at the news, my email, my feed reader or whatever else caught my fancy. On the surface, this didn’t seem to intrude on anything. However, having done this for a couple of weeks, I realized it was making my thoughts scattered. All of the various reading, entertainment and app options were adding useless clutter to my mind. This led to mental fatigue and made it hard for me to focus on the present. So, rather than reflexively indulging myself, I choose to forgo the vast majority of my iPad use for that day.

It was a refreshing change of pace. Life proceeded as normal. It was okay that I wasn’t up on the latest news and blog posts, my social networks would be waiting for me whenever I got back to them, and I noticed a shift in my mindset. I was less focused on entertaining myself and more focused on other things.

My success on Sunday encouraged me to continue limiting my iPad use throughout this week. One thing I have realized about my periods of non-fettered iPad use is my tendency to constantly search for and consume interesting or entertaining information. I love using my iPad to read all sorts of news, magazines, books and blogs. However, if I’m not careful, this pursuit prevents me from thinking deeply about any one thing. Instead, my thoughts get consumed by my consumption, jumping from one interesting thing to the next.

This week I’ve found time for more focused reading. I’ve been reading my Bible more regularly, and my mind hasn’t wandered as I do. I’ve also returned to reading a lengthy Civil War history that I started a month or so ago. Given a spare moment, rather than wasting it browsing aimlessly on my iPad, I’ve been reminded of the value of chipping away at something longer with the reward of finishing farther away.

Finally, this isn’t about me “quitting” my iPad. Rather this week has been about finding balance. As I’ve used my iPad judiciously, my days have seemed much simpler. My attention has been divided among fewer things. This has been a time of adjusting amidst a world of ever growing distractions. I suspect I may even need to learn this lesson again some day (probably sooner than I think). Therefore, I’ll let this serve as my own personal reminder, a “note-to-self” for the next time I get lost in my digital distractions.

Wunderlist – Helps the Wife and Me Get Things Done

My wife and I love making lists and checking things off. We make grocery lists, Christmas gift lists, weekly chores lists; whatever the task, if it has multiple steps or components, we love using lists to motivate us and track our progress. That’s why I was intrigued when I heard about Wunderlist, a wonderfully simple and efficient to-do app for iOS. [Read more...]

My iPad – A Transparent Device

One of the things I appreciate most about my iPad is how transparent its user experience can be. When it’s combined with a well designed app, the app itself transforms the iPad from a tablet computer into whatever utility the app provides.

A perfect example of this is the app I’m using to write this post. Writer by iA is designed to do one thing and one thing only, help you focus on your writing. The beauty of Writer is best captured by the following screencast: [Read more...]