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May 2nd, 2008

Friday firework squid blogging

San Francisco Harbour Fireworks

It may be a little blurred, but egads, it's in the sky, and it's coming for me!

San Francisco, California
April 2008

More back up brains

Recently I blogged about Evernote, part of a suite of tools I'm using to try and improve my notoriously faulty memory. I've also mentioned Dopplr, and I'm connected to quite a few of you out there on there too.

Since then I've found a handful of extra sites and services that help me organise myself.

First there's Tripit. At first glance it's something of a competitor to Dopplr, but in practice it's quite different. I'm using it as a place to organise all my travel itineraries - flights, car hire, hotels, whatever. You just forward the site any confirmation emails and it builds a complete itinerary for you, with access to additional information about your destination. It's an excellent personal companion to the more public Dopplr trip sharing tool, though I can give people access to the actual details of a trip on a trip-by-trip basis.

Next there's ReQall, which is a simple reminder service. All I (or anyone I've let connect to me) need to do is IM, email or phone the service to give it a task I need reminding about. I can send it notes too. The phone side of it is especially useful - there's a UK number - and it uses voice recognition to take my message and stick it on the service, and when it gets to my deadline it'll email, text or IM me with the reminder I've left. of course there's a web option, and there's also a dedicated Firefox toolbar...

Another tool I've been looking at, but haven't used in anger, is Presdo. It's a scheduling tool that aims to try and find appropriate places to meet. I have a lot of meetings where I need to find "somewhere in the West End" or "somewhere near San Mateo", and I often have no idea what's good, quiet coffee shop, or a place to eat breakfast, or... Well, you get the picture. Anything that helps with that's got to be a winner...

Then there's Microsoft's Live Mesh which mixes device-to-device synchronisation and an online store. I'm currently using it to keep my working set of files in sync between desktop and laptop, but as Mesh adds features (and I've seen some of the internal stuff that MS will be rolling out as the beta gets larger), it becomes a framework which starts to be an implementation of David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined, where application endpoints share information over the net.

So what are you folks out there using? Is there something I'm missing that'll make my life easier?

Somewhere in here is my wife...

Drive-Through Tree

marypcb at the Chandelier Tree in Leggett, California.

And yes, I did drive a car through it. And through another tree further up the Avenue of Giants. Yet more trips to Roadside Americana so you don't have to. Actually driving through a tree is pretty cool, and remember, P.J O'Rourke applies*.

*"There's lots of argument about what kind of car drives best. Some say a front-wheel drive car. Some say a rear-wheel drive. I say it's a rental car. There are things you can do with a rental car that are just impossible with any other kind of vehicle."