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Tech (58 posts)
The sun eking through the curtains, the perfectly night-smushed pillow, the promise of a shower and breakfast: Morning can be a very good time. Nothing’s gone wrong yet. Unless, that is, you’re my husband and I’ve just tried to convince you that it’s the middle of the night and to put our child back to bed even though she’s trying to prove to us that it’s 6:30 am and time to get up and ready, which it is. Oh well. For the most part, as long as they're far away from me, people wake up happy.
That’s right, scientists have performed yet another study in order to prove something we kind of already knew: people all over the world wake up in a good mood, which fades throughout the day, and returns in the evening. According to The Atlantic, researchers used Twitter to gauge the moods of 2.4 million people in 84 countries over two years. Positive tweets peak early in the morning and around midnight; in other words, before people get to work and after they’ve gotten home. There are also more happy tweets on the weekend. What’s really interesting about this study is that the patterns were consistent across cultures and countries. Apparently, work bums people out.
Is it futile to try to hold on to that happy feeling throughout the workday? Or can we perhaps convince the midday mood-dip that it’s not the right time, and to just go away? Since we're told happiness is contagious, maybe a grassroots happy-tweet program is order...
While it's easy to blame your junior colleague and her emoticon riddled meeting reminders or your boss whose nickname might as well be "Looping in an innocent bystander," we might have more control over the problem than we think. That's because, as entrepreneur and TED curator Chris Anderson argues in this insightful Washington Post op ed, "to fix a communal problem, a community needs to come together and agree to new rules." So he, along with his colleague Jane Wulf, opened the question up to the commons and created this amazing email charter with their help.
Full of gems like "respect recipients' time" and "ending a note with 'No need to respond' or NNTR is a wonderful act of generosity,'" their 10 commandments of email are actionable steps anyone can take to make her inbox—and the inbox of anyone else around her—more manageable.
"How to stop email overload? Think before you hit send" (Washington Post)
To: Oprah.com readers, Subject: Email etiquette
How to send a smarter message
The 30 day email detox
So I was surprised to find myself giggling at my desk this morning as I sketched "Sleep with the fishes johnny," a prompt from a complete stranger on the site Teledraw. Like Pictionary—or Telephone, from which it borrows part of its name—the game starts with a phrase provided by one player that is then drawn by another. But here's the twist: instead of an angry mob relying on my ability to accurately sketch a Godfather quote, my doodle was turned over to a third player who described what he saw ("man on flotation device while goldfish wait to devour him") that then became the clue for another player to interpret. And so on. Once you've submitted your work, you can trace the chain back to its source or forward until people are stumped by it.
Twenty-nine years ago, a man named Scott Fahlman introduced an invention that changed the world. The smiley emoticon.
Fahlman had noticed "lengthy diatribes" on message boards from people taking offense at misunderstood posts, so he proposed the use of a smiley— :-) —to indicate a joke or sarcasm, and the smiley's fraternal twin— :-( —to indicate something to be taken seriously. MSNBC has a fascimile of the (very funny) original smiley-introducing exchange in context.
As we now all know, Fahlman's innovation spawned a whole complex universe of emoticons (how does my mother-in-law know how to text me a heart? It really looks like a heart!). Fahlman's smiley has probably clarified millions of the uninflected jokes that boing around the Internet every day. But what I love most about this is the "of course!" of it all, how Fahlman created something so brilliantly simple that it seems inevitable, as if it must never have been invented at all. Which is what makes it such a smart innovation. There must be a word for that phenomenon. Or perhaps an emoticon.
Other brilliantly simple innovations:
A simple idea, inspired by her kids' shoes, turned this mom into a millionaire.
The evolution of an everyday object.
Walker told the Associated Press that her reason to go digital was due to "a sense, lacking often in publishing, of connectedness with the author, of all of us being in this adventure together, wanting it to be the best."
For those of you who need a Walker fix immediately, check out this GalleyCat video of Walker talking about her life's work or just go hug all your old tear-stained paperback versions—and read them one last, wonderful time (cry, sniffle).
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we've got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #27: Exercise your brain along with your thumbs.
A frustrating yet addictive puzzle game in which you manipulate rectangles to free one from its blockade. iTunes, free; full version 99₡. Android, free.
7 Little Words
Each puzzle consists of seven clues that lead to seven mystery words made from 20-letter groups—let the brain racking begin! iTunes; free.
Design sturdy structures—a skyscraper buffeted by hurricanes, a roof bearing a mountain of snow—without breaking your project budget. iTunes; 99₡.
You have a limited number of moves to navigate this visual puzzle, flipping tiles to match a set pattern. iTunes; 99₡.
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we've got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #26: Impress your guest list with personalized invitations.
Online invitations don't have to be so cheesy—or cluttered by ads.
Punchbowl.com: Customized invites and add-on perks like potluck checklists and a polling tool to help pick the date.
Cocodot.com: Thousands of contemporary invitations to satisfy design snobs and typography geeks.
Pingg.com: Artists upload images, creating a bank of more than four million themes you can personalize with photos or video.
Paperlesspost.com: The virtual version of high-end stationery, these pack the luxe look of letterpress.
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we've got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #24: Bargain shop in a whole new way.
Quit clipping coupons! Thanks to the popularity of sites like Groupon, flash sales (limited edition deals) are oh so of-the-moment. Four sites to suit any shopping style:
At MYHABIT, the new designer sale site from Amazon, shopaholics enjoy up to 60 percent off—and free shipping—from high-end and boutique brands like Alberta Ferretti and Dogeared jewelry.
Get an Android smartphone, iPod nano, or LCD monitor on the cheap with the daily deals at CowBoom, a Best Buy offshoot that offers new, used, and refurbished electronics.
Daily Gourmet dishes discounts on high-quality eats from around the world (think: cask-aged premium wine vinegar, small-batch gluten-free granola, and hand-crafted coffees).
LivingSocial secures savings of 50 percent or more on local products and getaways. Convince three of your friends to purchase the offer as well and you get the deal for free.
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we’ve got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #23: Yes, your iPad can be in the kitchen while you're cooking your messiest recipes.
Tired of gunking up your iPad screen with tomato sauce while trying to follow a recipe for spaghetti Bolognese? The Chef Sleeve is the splatterproof, smearproof, and smudgeproof answer: The thin, food-safe film encases your tablet but doesn't interfere with touchscreen functions. Reusable (but also recyclable when they get too gross), the sleeves are sold in packaging that doubles as a convenient countertop iPad stand. (chefsleeve.com)
30 days of makeovers
Bolognese sauce recipe
Get the O magazine iPad app
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we’ve got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #17: If you never want to hear the words "Please enter your password then press pound" again, we have a solution.
30 days of makeovers
O's shortcuts to simplify your life
How to get 7 more hours into your day