Balloon Classic 2009 by Jerry Bolton c/o Aunty Monkey

I’m often asked by readers about reading. “How do you find the time to read?” “You must read a lot?” “What’s your secret to good reading?” Truth is I am a slow reader. If I don’t concentrate fully on my reading I find other ideas will creep into my mind and whole paragraphs go by before I realize I was off somewhere else and not comprehending the words in front of me. I then re-read those paragraphs once again. But the point is I read.

Those of you who have read to this point must like reading or you might be stuck in a jail cell or a hot air balloon and this is the only written word you have in your possession. For the latter group, welcome to Techlife. I don’t welcome the people who like to read, as they need very little motivation.  This column is aimed squarely  at the prisoners and balloonists of the world. You see prisoners and balloonists share the confines of a small space and limited contact with the outside world. In addition these two groups have niche interests so while they might read a general consumer publication they also might enjoy something written just for them.

Where do you find your niche?

Techlife reads c/o Google Reader

Techlife reads c/o Google Reader

Here’s where it gets interesting, in the past 30 days I have read more than 1000 articles.  (In reality the reading occurred on 22 days during the past 30, as I do take days off.) Diving deeper into the stats, I have only gotten to read 10% of the content from across 115 subscriptions. You likely imagine my postal worker cringing as he gets my mail each day. Lest you forget prisoners and balloonists, this is Techlife  and these subscriptions are all digital,  portable and free. Try Google Reader to see your own stats, and enjoy the in-sync mobile web browser version too. It’s my first bookmark on my smartphone.

Let’s assume our incarcerated readers are trying to better themselves. Finding a new interest and pursuing it with a passion might help a parole board see how you are a changed person ready to re-enter society. Construction would give you a chance to get hired and learn a skill in a trade. Start reading anything and everything on construction. Using a site like Technoorati you might find a site like “Green Building Elements” or  “A Daily Dose of Architecture.” Each site added to your list of subscriptions means more writers, more content and varied view points on the niche areas you are targeting.

115 subscriptions might seem like a lot, even if I am only reading 10% or less of each one. But finding unique sources on your own niche topics is how you become an expert? Use the sites you uncover to lead you further jumping off points. On “A Daily Dose of Architecture”, you will see on the left sidebar 10 entries under bookmarks leading toward new publications. A bit further down the sidebar offers the “66 Most Popular A/D Websites” and then below that “33 Favorites (not in the above list of 66)”.

Where do you go next? Balloonists your turn to reply.


Do you want to know a secret? Online cartography is evolving.  Why do you have to be so fancy? Can’t you just say maps have gotten better? Big changes deserve big words. While Techlife has shared hidden map gameshow to make your own maps and why street level details are so valuable; we now want to share the value of immersive photographic cartography.

Cartography is the study and practice of making maps (also can be called mapping). Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.  -Wikipedia

Using Google Maps and Bing Maps advanced features I focused on exploring a single famous monument; The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Both offer top down satellite views of this famous location.

Google has clearer images than Bing for satellite maps, which comes from a combination of time of day, season and hardware used to take these shots.  Google also has continuous street views for many places around the world, including the Lincoln Memorial. Finally Google has a nice ability to integrate their own street view with user generated photos from all angles of the Lincoln Memorial, with the photo set locations mapped as shown.

Bing’s satellite maps are good enough to get you to move past them quickly to what I think is the best feature of these new digital maps, a bird’s eye multi-rotational view. As you can see the ability to rotate around a building at multiple angles gives a much clearer understanding of the structure than satellite only.  Bird’s eye view, like Street View isn’t available everywhere yet but try out your home or favorite museum and see how amazing it feels to be immersed.

Bing Maps adds one more feature that Techlife drooled over in 2007, PhotoSynth. A Photosynth is a group of photos of a specific object or place that get stitched together to create highly detailed and visually stunning photographic experiences in 3D space. By geotagging user’s Photosynth’s into the Bing maps,  you don’t just see some random snapshots of the outside and inside of the Lincoln Memorial but can take a journey from the outside into the inside and look up and down with amazing detail and spatial understanding.

While I have used Google Maps to get me places and build collaborative maps (something I love). I have used Bing Maps to investigate rental property, research vacations collaboratively, and see quite a few friend’s new home purchases. Knowing how each tool can be used is the key to your own immersive photographic cartography. Share your story with me.

Techlife covers Hulu

Techlife was called into the principal’s office.  One of the Publisher’s of a paper that carries my syndicated column Techlife, called me to complain.  Now before you get all high-falutin’ as the superfans of  Techlife are often apt to do, and organize a FlashMob at the offices of the Publisher.  Let’s talk about the facts.

FACT: I have written Techlife since 2005.

FACT: I have written more than 230 columns to date.

FACT: I have had more than 5000 readers interact with the column.

FACT: I am stopped at least once a month for my good looks as the writer of a famous syndicated technology and life column.

FACT: We welcome opinions of all types, especially those that support the above fact.

“Not to shabby,” I can hear you thinking.  And of course you the readers have made this possible.  The phone call in question was a bit of a principle issue. (Notice how we used both versions of the word, who says we can’t turn a phrase.)  It seems that allegedly a reader or too contacted the Publisher thinking my column was more advertorial than witty, high brow, useful, well written, drivel that I intend it to be.  Let’s examine the recent evidence shall we, here are some recent columns in reverse order…

Now I submit to you a jury of my loyal readers, biased in all ways they should be, who have lined their birdcages read the columns does it sound advertorial to you?  Sure I throw in a bit about my life, my company, my family like all good writers do.  It makes me seem authentic and smart, a thinly veiled ploy to connect with the reader.  And if one of you were to contact me for cup of a coffee to discuss your own business ideas, would I not pretend to listen?  So if a few of these advertorial accusers would like to step forward, we can comment back and forth as so many others do here at Techlife. We welcome all feedback.  Special thanks to our Publisher and our Editors on this one.  Did I do Dave Barry proud?

In speaking with a client, I was told I often remind them of Michael Bluth, Jason Bateman‘s character on the show Arrested Development.  I had never seen an episode, but this client mentioned it was on Hulu.  So I proceeded to watch all of Arrested Development on Hulu, you might detect that a bit in this month’s column or else, I’ve made a huge mistake.

Hulu, a partnership between some of the major networks, has old and new movies and television shows that play in full screen on your computer.  Everything is on-demand, loading in a few seconds in HD.  It is well thought out and easy to use.  I don’t love the control factor, for example they recently cut out Season 2 and 3 of Arrested Development with no reason given, though message boards guess to sell DVDs.  I can already see the complaints by employers to my Publisher for introducing this time sucker.  And for that I know Dave Barry would be proud.

Today is the day you take the next step with that idea brewing in your head.  Contact use and we can make the idea a reality.  We can help your company or organization today so why wait? Hit me via email at: techlife [ at ] dkworldwide [dot] com. Do you subscribe to the RSS feed for Techlife? Visit the TechLife weblog where all you need to do is point and click.

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

I admit it. I am struggling. Right now on my desk I have a laptop that is a brand new Core 2 Duo and it is basically a glorified jukebox. It does a great job streaming my tunes off the server where I store them, but this machine is built for more. I just can’t seem to transition.

Most of Techlife is about you, the reader. But this time I need your help. How do I make a clean break and transition to a new PC?

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Reading by Christine RondeauLeft Brain = Logic. Right Brain = not so much. Today we are going to challenge both sides of your brain in various ways. First Samorost, a visually stunning game from the Czech Republic will dazzle your right cerebral hemisphere with mind blowing artwork, and it continues with completely non-verbal storyline. (see Link 1)

The left side of your brain will enjoy playing with ZipSkinny, a romp through the data that is the US Census. Allowing you to break it up and slice and dice it based on the US Zip Code system. (see Link 2) What better way to enjoy the holidays?
(the lead-in for the December column)

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

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Business Notepad 2 by Steve WoodsWhile we cover various interesting things like zip code research, flash games, and rock and roll quizes you might ask, what can they do for my company?  Techlife can do a lot.   Just ask us.   Hit me via email at: techlife [ at ] dkworldwide [dot] com. Do you subscribe to the RSS feed for Techlife? Visit the TechLife weblog where all you need to do is point and click.(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

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Reading by Christine RondeauOn a cold November day, the Yeti sits patiently at his computer, the Skye darkens as he Googles and his results return — 60 seconds later he has an answer.  Ok, you didn’t just land in the middle of a new Hollywood movie pitch.  Techlife had an exciting month.

First we got some great attention from Google.  Then we played Yeti Baseball.  We also learned how to take some great photos in just 60 seconds.   Finally we had an Interview with Skye Boyes.

(the lead-in for the November column)

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

Reading by Christine RondeauIt’s October and that comes with all the fun tricks and exciting treats. Techlife has a treat for all our readers, a little more on that later. Our first trick this month was our readers, they came out in force on the website for a few different articles. We decided to highlight our readers excitement for Fantasy Football and Multi-Player Desktop Tower Defense.

We encourage you to visit the site, as we also had our first video double feature this past month. Both videos will hit you, just in slightly different ways. We covered a really great letter we got about improving a website. We are also asking for your “Everyday Websites”.

(the lead-in for the October column)

So a trick and a treat. Who is said we didn’t have fun at Techlife? How many invites will we hand out?

(the closer for the October column)

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

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books, books by Sanja GjeneroTechlife always welcomes letters from our readers. As most readers know we run a consulting business, DK Worldwide, so we get lots of questions from business owners. Recently a potential client had this to say {excerpt}.

Dear Techlife,
I have a business where I publish writing and activities for professionals. I have been writing eBooks, and selling them with great success.

I have built up a mailing list and started to really see the future of my business. I have built my own website and self-publish my own books. I am not sure if I am doing everything the “best I can.” But I really am encouraged by the recent success and would like to see my business reach $XX,XXX by Christmas this year and $XXX,XXX by next year.

Do you think you can help me?
Writing for Pleasure (and now profit)

Dear Writing for Pleasure (and now profit),

Congratulations! Your success certainly has you excited. We got excited just reading about it. We really like working with clients who have goals. We often help them write them, so we are certainly thinking from the same place. I also read your email a few times and think that we can help you grow your business.

DK Worldwide provides clients business consulting focusing on marketing and technology. We leverage experience from Fortune 50 clients and apply it to smaller companies. Some of my comments stray away from the web, such as setting goals, making a plan, focusing on your “art direction” etc.


Need to get email on your cell phone?  Frustrated with your current web host’s customer service?  Paying to much for your employees email?   Time to get professional email and hosting. Sit down with the marketing and technology vision of a proven “venture strategist”. Dave Kaufman wants to meet your business and organization, all it takes is an invitation. Did you know that Dave provides email and web hosting to customers of all sizes? Ask him about it. Contact Dave, it’s easy: techlife [at] dkworldwide [dot] com.

Joost is hot.

Techlife recently posted about our invite to Joost, the free online video network currently in beta testing. We offered up an invite to people who commented in that thread. Then I ran into a snag installing and each person who requested an invite instead got a personal email from me. Basically stating, thanks for your interest but we couldn’t hand out anything until we got it working as the invites were in the software itself.

We got it working!

I plan on posting a review next week of by far one of the coolest applications I have seen in quite a long time. We also plan on providing a lucky winner the chance to try it out and tell us their thoughts. Watch for our review and our contest post.

Note: As of right now the contest has NOT started, so if you want to enter, check back or sign up for our feed. Comments in this thread will NOT enter you in the contest.

Note 2: We have never locked a thread before on Techlife, but the original Joost thread is going to be locked to avoid confusion. For our Techlife superfans who commented on the original post, an added bonus, one of those select few will ALSO get an invite to Joost from us.

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Cali live and on the monitor.
Techlife is a big fan of Geekbrief.TV. We have been watching since nearly the beginning and have really enjoyed seeing on-screen personality Cali Lewis blossom.

Well today we were contacted by Atsushi Kikuchi, a Japanese reader of Techlife and a fan of GeekBrief.TV. Atsushi writes a blog about Democracy Player in Japanese. (Democracy is a platform for watching Internet TV.) He kindly asked for permission to translate our first article on GeekBrief.TV to Japanese for his site. Go for it Atsushi, translate us! Comment here when you’re done.

Our first article is still heavily visited. We sat down with both producer/director Neal Campbell and on-screen bundle-of-laughs Cali Lewis to talk about their show on technology. Gee, any wonder Techlife liked it from the start? Check out that show. Already watch GeekBrief.TV? What’s your favorite episode?

Note 1: GB#150 is about Grand Theft Auto IV. I think the progression of GTA games has gotten better and better as Cali notes. I would love to see Rockstar’s engine be used for some other type of game too.

Note 2: If you have a need to contact Techlife, it’s easy. Interesting use for the site? Article idea? Software, gadget or hardware we missed? Email techlife [at] dkworldwide [dot] com.

Meet the all knowing Techlife-a-tronGraduate student Mark Zeman from Massey University, New Zealand recently presented his social search engine, for his Masters in Design class. He reached out to Techlife, as part of our “Review Me” program.

We always encourage educators, as we recently featured Dr. Wesch’s Digital Ethnography, we thought “Social Search” with a personality sounds fun. Upon arriving we were right. The site lets you build a custom robot. Who wouldn’t want to do that? The visuals are stimulating and fun, while still easy to use. I would have liked a few more choices for robot parts, but as you can see my bot is still pretty cool looking. Nice Job Mark.


Reading by Christine RondeauA million views and counting, Digital Ethnography will really make you think about the history of the recent change from print to digital creation. Billions of images indexed by Google makes Guess-the-Google challenging and addictive. Got less than a $1000 to spend, then look how to take an inexpensive television and make it into a flat panel LCD in 1 step. This is Techlife.

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