The Apple iPad

It doesn’t have flash, it doesn’t have a USB port (without an adapter), it doesn’t do “multiple-tasking” (yet), it doesn’t do back flips or allow you to run some customized, hacked up OS, BUT it will change the face of consumer computing fo years to come. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of comments about what the new Apple iPad doesn’t do. Similar to the complaints about the original iPhone not having 3G, copy and paste, or MMS. People said the iPhone MUST have these features to be successful and yet it changed the landscape of mobile phones. I believe the iPad will do the same for mobile computing and in a big way. Oh, and about the name, iPad. Many people seem to think was a bad choice and just plain silly. While I also prefered some of the other names floated around (like Canvas), iPad fits in better with the iPhone and iPod family. I also thought Wii was a horrible name and that seemed to work out just fine for Nintendo. The iPad is to computing what the Wii has become to gaming. It has lowered the barrier of entry, removed the mouse, keyboard, and “stuff” that has become so common with desktop computing. It takes away the clutter and does the basics so elegantly. It allows people to focus on the things they do the most: e-mail, internet, photos, movies, and document creation. For many people, this may be the only computer they need. The iPad is a revolution of the way we think of personal computing. Clearly there is room for growth and improvement, as their was with the original iPhone, but this is an incredible start. 59 days and counting…

Resolution #2: Read More

FACT: smart, wealthy, and wise people read – a lot.

There is so much knowledge stored in books.

I have never been a good reader. I have bad eyes, I am easily distracted, and I rarely have the book with me that I want to read at the time I want to read it. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

This Christmas, my wife bought me an Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is a popular ebook reader. Think of it like an iPod for books. The Kindle solves two of my biggest issues with ready. First, it allows me full control over the text size. When my eyes are a little tired, I just bump the size up a few levels and it makes things much better. Second, it gives me access to a library of material at anytime. As I said, I am easily distracted while reading and reading what I am interested in at the moment is very helpful in staying on target. If I want to read the Bible, I can, if I want to read a business book, I can, if I want to read some fiction, I can. It’s great.

The Kindle will help me resolve resolution #2 for 2010 and that is to read more. Read a lot more. Last year I couldn’t even tell you what books I read all the way through. This year, I want to read at least 2 new books per month.

I have committed to reading, now the question is, what to read.

#1 – The Bible. For years I have said I wanted to read the bible all the way through, but never have. It’s time to make that happen. Claire (my wife) and I are going to read through the bible together each night. I just downloaded the ESV Study Bible on my Kindle.

#2 – Business & Technology Books. I love business and technology. The more I can learn, the better I will be. I have built my business without a college education in part due to knowledge on the internet and books. I want to learn more from books. I am starting with Bit Literacy from the Personal MBAlist and working from there.

#3 – Parenting & Relationship Books. There is nothing more important to me than my family. I want to read books that help me be a better father and husband.

#4 – Politics & History. The direction of our country, where we have come from and where are we are going are always interesting topics to me. If you know me at all, you know I am about as conservative as they come, but I am interested in all views.

Do you have any suggestions of good books in any of these categories (or others)? I’d love to hear it – just leave a note in the comments or drop me an e-mail.

Resolution #3 coming tomorrow…

Resolution #3: Inbox Zero, Every Day.

E-mail… I love e-mail. It allows me to process many, many times the number of requests and contacts in a day that a phone call would allow. It streamlines communication and provides an instant archive and transcript of everything said. The truth is, I am addicted to my e-mail (my wife will tell you that at anytime). With the advent of the iPhone and Blackberry, many of us have 24/7/365 access to e-mail. We invent technology to help us be more productive and all we do is work more (but that’s for another post).

E-mail is great. It is also evil. It’s easy to see the message count piling up and get overwhelmed by amount of work those e-mails may involve. It’s important to have a good system in place to deal with your e-mail efficiently.

For me, that revolves around two words: “Inbox Zero”. I was first introduced to this concept by Merlin Mann, author of (a great site for ideas about time, attention and creative work).

The basic idea is that your e-mail inbox was never intended to be a storage place for every message you have received in the past 1,348 days. It is not designed to handle that kind of load and it can really mess up your productivity. The e-mail inbox should be used just as an inbox on a desk is used. It should be a place where things come in and then have one of three actions applied to them. They are either deleted, delegated, or deferred to a task list or calendar.

It sounds simple, but few people I know actually reach inbox zero on a weekly basis, if ever. In the past, I have tried to get to inbox zero once a month and felt really good when it happened once a week.

As a part of Resolution #2 (Read More), I have started reading the book Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst (it’s a part of the Personal MBA reading list). In this book, he talks about how our lives have become less about stacks of paper and more about stacks of bits. The problem with bits, is that they don’t have the same tangible effect as paper. If you had 1000 documents stacked up on your desk, it would be pretty noticeable. Those same 1000 documents are far less noticeable in your inbox. The problem is that the bits still weigh on us mentally and having to back through those e-mails can waste a lot of time.

So what’s the solution? Inbox zero. In Bit Literacy, Mark suggest e-mail users reach for inbox zero EVERY DAY, at least once a day. You might think, how is this possible? My e-mail is like a never ending faucet of questions, notes, memos, and more. The key is HOW we look at the e-mail inbox.

The e-mail inbox is NOT a to-do list, not a calendar, not an address book, and not a filing cabinet. The e-mail inbox is a place where messages come in and are deleted, delegated or deferred to one of the previous mentioned places.

Doing this will make your day happier, more productive, and less stressful.

Resolution #3 for me is to reach inbox zero EVERY DAY.

Soon I will post an article about the tools I use other than my inbox to help keep things organized that come in.

Have questions or ideas about this concept or how I do it? I’d love to hear them, drop me a comment or e-mail.

Resolution #1: Count Calories, Cut Fat!

One of my resolutions is to get in better shape in 2010. Cutting fat, increasing strength and endurance, and watching the food I put in my body. The last few months of 2009 I really let myself go. I ate whatever I wanted, had limited exercise, and paid the price in pounds… of fat.

When I want to get back in shape, I do two things: count calories coming into my body and count calories I am burning during exercise.

Most nutritionist will suggest that anyone trying to lose weight should keep a food journal of some sort. This can be done with a simple notebook or something a little more advanced. I love technology and often opt for the more advanced option.

There are three options that I highly recommend.

For computer users (Mac or Windows), it’s hard to beat the Calorie King. We have had this program for years and it still does the trick. It is EASY to use (which is very important), has a HUGE database of foot items (also important), and also allows you to track exercise, set goals, etc. If you are looking for a computer program to help you track everything, this one is a 10. This app is $45, but worth the price if you are serious about it. Their software is available online at

If you are looking for something a little more “on the go” and have an iPhone. My favoriate app for tracking calories on the iPhone is called “Lose It!”. It’s FREE, it’s easy and has a pretty good food database. It’s available in the iTunes store here.

I think the Calorie King program is a little better (I wish they had an iPhone app), but “Lose It” is free and most importantly, available via the iPhone and more available than the computer might be at times. The ease of having it available at all times is very important.

Another thing to consider are various web applications that allow you to interact with a community and track your progress. One good one I have seen is

Regardless of if you use a simple notebook, a computer program, or an iPhone app. The most important thing I have found is to record the calories BEFORE you eat them or immediately after. Do not wait until later or you will forget something. The details matter and if you want to keep that resolution of getting in better shape (as I do), keeping track of what goes into your body is crucial.

I am day one, 20 lbs and 5% body fat to go.

Best of luck and Happy New Year!