F.lux twilight etc. optimal coordinates



I’m a fan of Paul Jaminet’s underrated take on circadian rhythms, boiling things down to generally having a day to day lifestyle with 12 hour days and (12 hour) nights year-round. He gives a good overview of his take in this podcast episode transcript here. Interesting what he says about a strategy with his newborn which I think makes more sense than anything I’ve heard from what I read on the subject when my daughters were < 1 year.

Tools like F.lux for computers and Twilight for Android etc. are quite popular but I think most people use the default approach of syncing to the users specific location to mimic sunrise/sunset. Alternatively in both of these that I use you can manually set the coordinates to for example for me on EST time I can use 0.00, -111.0 to use the equator’s latitude and adjust the longitude depending on the best 12 hour daytime hours around my schedule.

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Odd shut down of Scope android app



Bummed that my favorite social news feed app Scope for android seems to have been killed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen with so little reported about what has happened over the last 72 hours or so. Searching for news reveals almost nothing aside from a few users also reporting their feeds just stopped updating.

Not that I am big fan of twitter or facebook for that matter, but this app did exactly what I needed to scan a few feeds that can’t be done with RSS in a really slick way. Even better than the also killed TweakDeck.

I can’t handle the bloat of apps like hootsuite and it feels painful to have to actually open a facebook or twitter app individually. What to do?

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F.lux Updates with New Color Modes, Temperatures, Hotkeys, and More



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Getting up to speed on online shopping techniques



I thought this article from last week on finding back to school computer deals was worth checking out for more than just computer shopping. It’s a great summary of the online tools out there that have creeped in to the modern day bargain shopping toolbox. Amazing how far we’ve come from paper coupons and crappy Groupon (sorry).

Going Back To School? Save Money On A New Computer With 7 Secret Tips.

Some of these startups are amazing I wish I had thought of some of these things… Personally I have need to step my game up and try a few of these things. Recently I have been impressed even with just checking RetailMeNot before buying something online, more often than not if a website has any coupon or discount field on the checkout page that should trigger you to take a look around.

And double plug for the Chrome extension Page Monitor, which solves a huge challenge of keeping track of pages without RSS feeds. For example, I have a niche industry news site that sells an expensive insider newsletter that flags new stories, but all I really want is to get notified of the latest news headlines that they report. So this extension notifies me and takes me to the exact new headlines highlighted on the page which I can use for searching on my own to get the details. Awesome stuff. I have added hundreds of sites and it works spot on.

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Podcasting on Android



I made the plunge into Android with Motorola’s Droid Razr. (I couldn’t wait for the new Nexus). I do love it.. for all obvious reasons coming from an iPhone 3G.

It’s a bit of a time hog to get everything set up and one of the snags I hit was what to do with podcasts…

I’m huge on google reader so the idea of Google Listen with GR integration was really appealing, but looking in to it Listen seems like a big disappointment right now. BUT installing it allows me to get the “Listen Subscriptions” folder in GR.. and that’s where I started to find a good solution..

Then came Acast (the site seems to have been down for a long time now.. weird but this app works pretty good). It’s a bit heavy on confusing setup options and it’s missing a working playback speed adjustment (it’s experimental and buggy), but I like that it’s focused on awesome podcast features and leaves out any crazy music GUI. Oh, and the point is it syncs beautifully with Listen Subscriptions in GR. So now I can subscribe to any podcast, throw in that GR folder, and it syncs in to Acast. AND whenever I’m on another computer I can log in to GR and straight download / mark read whatever I want and it fits in to the workflow.

So I was a fairly happy camper, but still some awkwardness remaining a full iTunes transition. I don’t really know what to do with my music access from my phone. Motorola has a bunch of apps that I’m not to keen on. Motocast actually looks pretty cool but I started getting a weird crash error that hopefully gets addressed.. cuz that would allow me to just stream or download albums on to my phone’s native Music app, and I’d be happy to just keep that separate from podcasting. Work to be done there.

Now let me just recap a super annoying hurdle to my audio workflow for a long time.. How do you easily incorporate one(or two)-off mp3s that you find, you want to queue them to be listened to, but you don’t want to subscribe to the podcast necessarily. In iTunes I had to either:
(a) subscribe to the whole podcast, poach and listen to the episode, delete podcast when done;
(b) save mp3 file to computer where iTunes is installed, manually add file to collection, then manipulate the file type to get it to show up as a podcast;
(c) use some kind of hack like iTunes folder watch to pull them in to your collection.. good luck getting it show up as a podcast and I just never liked this option

So here’s where I got a bit excited, having found a solution to this problem. Using Dropbox and Dropsync, I synchronized a “podcast one-offs” folder locally on my phone. So from any environment (work, home, my phone).. I can save an audio file in to this folder and it will sync to my Dropbox and phone. Acast has a feature where you can create a feed out of a local folder, so everything I drop in there shows up as a feed in Acast, where I can see new files and queue them up on my podcast playlist. Friggin awesome.

I’m stoked to have this in place, and I’m thinking of just using separate folders for other content (music, lectures, audiobooks, etc.)… but I’m still on the fence about what to use for music, and a minor detail is you’d have to buy the full version of Dropsync.

Also, a potential improvement to this that I tried and failed, was to create an actual podcast feed from your Dropbox folder, which would improve things because right now the feed is appearing only on my phone and not with the rest of my podcast list on GR. If it was just a personal feed I don’t think this would violate Dropbox’s terms of use, so it’s just a matter of figuring it out technically. You could take the folder xml feeds and run it through Yahoo Pipes, or a program like Dropcaster.. but both of these options were a bit beyond me right now.. so if someone where to figure out the pipes option that would be sweet.

UPDATE: BeyondPod, if you download the beta apk, seems to be better than Acast in that it has the GR integration but also has great variable playback speed support.

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