Getting Things Done 2.0 ⇢

The updated version of David Allen’s classic Getting Things Done is now available:

David has rewritten the book from start to finish, tweaking his classic text with important perspectives on the new workplace, and adding material that will make the book fresh and relevant for years to come. This new edition of Getting Things Done will be welcomed not only by its hundreds of thousands of existing fans but also by a whole new generation eager to adopt its proven principles.

I’m looking forward to reading this.

Conference Room Mode on AppleTV ⇢

If you are using Apple TV in a professional environment such as a classroom or office setting, you can bypass the default menu with these instructions:

There is a way, however, to have the Apple TV boot into Conference Room mode by default. Conference Room mode is a view that hides all of the extraneous features and just provides information about how to connect to the Apple TV.

How Apple Makes the Watch ⇢

This walkthrough is a detailed narration of what we see in Apple’s Watch Craftsmanship videos. Of course, we only get to see a mere fraction of the process; I’ve tried to provide plausible explanations for the likely steps taking place between the processes shown on film, but these are assumptions and are included only to provide a more satisfying and complete narration.

I love behind-the-scenes stuff like this.

Making the Leap ⇢

One of my favorite people in the Mac community is David Sparks, aka MacSparky (@macsparky). David has a great blog, co-hosts a fantastic podcast, and he produces field guides that help people become Mac ninjas.

Today he announced that he quit his day job at a legal firm and has gone solo.

This is going to result in more and better content here at the website, on the podcast, and in the books. I’ll have more time to produce things I’m proud of. Some of it will be free. Some of it will cost a few bucks. There will definitely be more Field Guides (both iBooks and video formats) on things interesting to me and—hopefully—helpful to you.

Congratulations, David, and good luck!

Podcasts as Journaling Prompts

A few months ago I was listening to a particularly good episode (#14) of the excellent Analog(ue) podcast while driving. Myke Hurley (@imyke) was talking about his thoughts and emotions on his last day of employment in his “regular job” (he now works full time on the podcast network). As he was talking, I thought back to some vivid memories that I have of leaving places for the last time. I recalled the moment that I drove away from New York City after packing up everything that I owned and watching the George Washington Bridge get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. I thought about leaving the classroom at the last school I taught in before becoming a principal. I remembered leaving the rented house that my wife and I lived in and looking back at the nursery where our oldest daughter spent the first 13 months of her life before we owned our own home.

The Analog(ue) podcast is one that deals with “feels” (emotions) and as I was listening to Myke’s story I realized that I had the urge to journal about my own experiences. Once I had parked the car I opened up Day One (iOS, Mac), my journaling app of choice, and dictated a quick entry about what it felt like to leave. I now have those memories written down for posterity.

Since then, I’ve realized that nearly all episodes of the Analog(ue) podcast cause me to think about my own life experiences. Listening regularly prompts me to journal about things that I would not otherwise have thought to write down.

If you think journaling is not your cup of tea, I’d suggest listening to Analog(ue) and seeing where it takes you. For me, it regularly brings back a flood of memories or emotions that are worth taking the time to document.

5,200 Days in Space ⇢

This article from The Atlantic has some fascinating details about life in space. There was once such romance surrounding astronauts and space travel but it’s practically nonexistent today.

Spaceflight has faded from American consciousness even as our performance in space has reached a new level of accomplishment. In the past decade, America has become a truly, permanently spacefaring nation. All day, every day, half a dozen men and women, including two Americans, are living and working in orbit, and have been since November 2000. Mission Control in Houston literally never sleeps now, and in one corner of a huge video screen there, a counter ticks the days and hours the Space Station has been continuously staffed. The number is rounding past 5,200 days.

It’s a little strange when you think about it: Just about every American ninth-grader has never lived a moment without astronauts soaring overhead, living in space. But chances are, most ninth-graders don’t know the name of a single active astronaut—many don’t even know that Americans are up there. We’ve got a permanent space colony, inaugurated a year before the setting of the iconic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a stunning achievement, and it’s completely ignored.

Technology Resolutions for 2015 ⇢

While resolutions generally deal with losing weight or finishing a project at home, our technology setups can also be part of our plan. Here is a list of things you might consider doing in the coming year.

This is some great advice for starting the new year. Checking up on social network privacy settings is particularly important. I’d also recommend enabling two factor authentication for every service that supports it.

Christmas iOS App Deals

The following apps are on sale right now and worth purchasing:

Drafts is the starting point for all text on my iPhone and iPad. I jot down tasks, classroom walkthrough notes, reminders, text messages, agenda items, and more with this app. It’s so important to me that it sits in my dock. $4.99

Day One is the premier journaling app for iOS. The Mac version is also on sale. If you don’t have this yet, now is the time to grab it. $0.99

Scanner Pro is my scanning app of choice. It does a great job of making legible PDFs of documents, even when they are shot in poor lighting conditions, and it uploads them to iCloud or Dropbox automatically. $0.99

Launch Center Pro for iPad and iPhone provides one tap access to your most commonly used iPhone functions, contacts, and workflows. $0.99

Workflow is still available at its launch price and is an incredible app that automates tasks (like this). It’s highly customizable and there is a great community developing around this app. $2.99

Tweetbot for iPhone is the best Twitter app for iOS. $2.99

Clear is a basic lists app that has a delightful interface. $2.99

Managing Stress and Expectations ⇢

Some good advice from Justin Baeder (@eduleadership) that can be applied to many other fields besides education:

As a leader, you have multiple stakeholders, all of whom have expectations of you, whether stated or implicit. Those expectations don’t cause stress unless you internalize them.

And we need to be careful about internalizing all of everyone else’s expectations for us, because there’s no natural limit. No matter how hard you try to be a superprincipal, you’ll eventually burn yourself out if other people get to decide how heavy a burden you bear.

Hear me on this: work flows to the competent. If you’re great at what you do, people will give you more to do. They’ll ask more of you. They’ll expect better, because that’s what their experience with you has conditioned them to do.

Serial and the Triumph of Tape ⇢

Robert McGinley Myers, who has quite a bit of radio and podcasting experience himself, writes about why Serial (the well-known podcast that ended its first season yesterday) has become so popular:

What makes Serial special, for me at least, is not that it’s just a good yarn, though that certainly helps. It’s that much of the yarn is made of tape, and so many different kinds of tape: journalist interviews, police interviews, court testimony, scenes in cars and parking lots, and of course those phone calls from the Maryland Correctional Facility. The story was compelling because if felt so immediate, so real. Tape was what made it real.

There’s nothing new about this kind of reporting, and there’s nothing new about using great tape to keep listeners on the edge of their seats. What’s new is that the medium of podcasting let Serial go deeper, for longer, to gather and sift and edit together so much tape so compellingly that millions of people kept coming back week after week to the same story.