Inbox Theory

What is your relationship with your email inbox? Do you start to twitch when the unread messages start piling up? Or can you live comfortably with hundreds or even thousands of unread emails?

Check out this fun article in The Atlantic in which the author theorizes that there are two types of people in the world — Inbox Zero and Inbox 5,000 — and explores the psychology behind email response.

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(It probably comes as no surprise that I am most definitely an “Inbox Zero” personality type.)

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Early Impressions Of My MacBook Air

A few weeks ago, I got a new MacBook Air. I got the 13″ model with the base 1.3GHz processor, 128GB internal solid-state drive, and an upgrade to 8GB of RAM. I went with this configuration because I only used about 75GB of hard drive space on my previous computer (mostly documents, very few graphics-heavy files), and the additional RAM provides a noticeable improvement in performance when running multiple applications. (I often switch quickly between Mail, Safari, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Evernote, Dropbox, and Calendar.)

My impressions so far? First, the positives:

  1. It’s light. My new MBA weighs in at less than 3 lbs., which is 1.7 lbs. lighter than my MacBook Pro.
  2. It’s thin. At its thickest point, the Air is .68 inches thick. At the thinnest, it’s .11 inches. A tenth of an inch! I feel like I am carrying around little more than a standard file folder.
  3. It runs forever. I routinely get more than 12 hours of battery life — up to 14 hours — without a charge. That’s even more battery life than an iPad.
  4. It’s fast. Thanks to the solid-state memory, my computer cold boots in less than 15 seconds. And while my mid-2010 MacBook Pro was still a pretty fast horse, the Air provides a slight but noticeable bump in performance.
  5. It’s sexy. Thanks to #1 and #2, the now-standard aluminum case, and the backlit black keyboard, the MacBook Air is one great-looking machine.
  6. It was easy to switch. I backed up my MacBook Pro using my standard Time Machine system, then started up the new Air from the backup. Total transfer time for all data was about 45 minutes.
  7. It’s a Mac. Yes, I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. We are an all-Mac family, with about a dozen Apple computers and devices in our family at last count. They’re familiar, they’re user-friendly, and they work.

The first three features are why I wanted the Air (although #7 was also non-negotiable). I can’t wait to take it with me on my next work trip in a few days.

Now, a few (and very few) drawbacks:

  1. I think the display on my Pro was better. The resolution is the same, but the built-in color profile on my Air made the display look very washed out. It took me awhile to find and download a good replacement color profile, but I still don’t like the results as much as what I had on the Pro.
  2. Obviously something gets sacrificed for the light weight, so the Air does not have a CD/DVD drive. That’s generally not a limitation for my everyday use, but if I want to show a DVD during one of my classes, I need to pack an external SuperDrive.

Overall, I love my new computer and look forward to many years of use.

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National Day Of Unplugging

When was the last time you unplugged and took a break? Do you need one? If you could unplug for 24 hrs, what would you do?

This is the question for this year’s National Day of Unplugging, March 1 and 2, 2013 (sundown to sundown). The NDU is an outgrowth of The Sabbath Manifesto. Participants are encouraged to unplug from consumer electronics such as phones, computers, iPads and television for 24 hours in order to recharge by reading, napping, spending time with family, friends and neighbors, etc.

I am going to take the pledge and plan to enjoy a dinner with friends and focused time with family during those 24 hours. Will you join me?

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App-Y New Year

A lot of my friends got iPhones over Christmas, so a lot of friends have been asking me about my favorite apps. Here is my list:

  • ToDo. Hands down, my favorite app. My entire life, home and work, in one collection of lists, projects, sub-projects, deadlines and reminders, organized into categories.
  • Evernote. Syncs with Evernote on my MacBook. I use it to jot blog ideas, book outlines, Christmas wish lists, movie lists, notes from phone conversations, etc.
  • YouVersion. A great Bible app that’s constantly being updated with new translations.
  • WeatherBug. I just discovered this over Christmas but I already like it much better than the standard iPhone Weather or the Weather Channel app.
  • FeeddlerPro. Aggregates my RSS feeds (mostly blogs) so I can scan headlines and read new posts in just a few minutes each day.
  • Grocery iQ. I’m not sure this is the best grocery-list app out there but it was the best I found at the time. It allows me to keep lists for several stores (Target, Kroger, Meijer) and remembers previous entries and categories.
  • Facebook. The new version of iOS integrates Facebook much better than in the past and makes it easy to use.
  • Amazon. Easy to purchase items or add to my Wish List.
  • Sudoku. I am too competitive to play Words With Friends and I’ve never gotten into Angry Birds, but I am hooked on Sudoku and really like this version.

I have other apps on my phone but use them infrequently because I prefer the desktop version (online banking, Kindle, WordPress, Twitter, DropBox), but these are my mobile essentials.

What are your favorite apps?

2013 Goals

Time to announce my goals/commitments for the new year. In 2013 I will:

  • Read 50 nonfiction books.
  • Complete the Chicago Marathon.
  • Learn basic American Sign Language.
  • Read through the Bible, and encourage my sons and the group of women who have all accepted the challenge/invitation to do it with me.
  • Be able to do 50 consecutive, unassisted pushups.
  • Lose an additional 5-10 pounds. (Muscle gain may counter some weight loss.)
  • Pay down an additional $5,000 of my school loans.
  • Work out five days a week for at least 30 high-intensity minutes.
  • Complete local Red Cross Disaster Volunteer Training and register as a local volunteer.
  • Submit a proposal and complete the manuscript for a book on church organizational culture.
  • Publish a book about tips on success for students in online/distance educational programs.
  • Develop the outline for a book on identifying “fit” for ministry leaders.
  • Develop the outline for a book on The Art & Practice of Leadership.
  • Other goals may develop as a result of the upcoming local ministry leaders’ gathering and other prospective partnerships.

What are your goals for 2013?