Tag Archives: ebook

Is Your iPad Keeping You Awake?

J.D. Moyer is a sleep-deprived native of California. He had read somewhere that strong light – including that coming from an electronic device screen – can reset your internal sleep clock. He decided to conduct an experiment based on that information, and was surprised at the results. For an entire month, he turned off every light in his home at sunset… even his laptop and the bulb inside of his fridge. Instead of falling asleep close to midnight every night, he started crashing out before 9 PM. He felt extremely well-rested during the day and had a lot more energy.

Consumer electronics are being used right up until bedtime these days… and even while we’re already tucked IN bed. I know many people who take their iPads to bed with them. They may be reading a book or catching up on their favorite television shows. However, this could be interfering with their ability to fall asleep and become fully rested and recharged.

“Potentially, yes, if you’re using [the iPad or a laptop] close to bedtime … that light can be sufficiently stimulating to the brain to make it more awake and delay your ability to sleep,” said Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology. “And I think more importantly, it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up.”

Light from a laptop, iPad or other device is usually held close to the body and the light is shining directly into your eyes. This doesn’t happen as much with the soft glow from a reading lamp or a television broadcasting from the other side of your room. You would likely fall asleep much easier if you were to curl up with an actual book than you do when you download something to do on your iPad.

When receptors in our eyes are hit with bright light for an extended period of time, they send a message to the brain saying it’s time to be awake. The brain, in turn, stops secreting a hormone called melatonin, which makes people sleepy and helps regulate the internal sleep clock. Normally, our brains start giving us that hormonal sleep aid at about 9 or 10 p.m. But if bright lights are shining in our eyes, that may not happen as planned.

You may think that six or seven hours of sleep is sufficient. After all, we have a lot to get done. There aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything as it is. However, research proves that if you are well-rested (think 8-9 hours of sleep), you’ll have more energy and be more productive. This can translate into getting more accomplished in a fewer number of hours. I don’t know about you, but if I’m tired and draggy I spend a lot of my “working” time staring into space or messing around on time-wasting tasks. When I feel awake and energized, I focus on what needs to be done and crank out the tasks.

How do you fall asleep? Do you take a laptop, iPad or other device to bed with you? Are you on the computer right up until it’s time to roll into the sack? Most importantly – do you feel rested in the mornings?

Do You Miss Windows 98?

I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read the title of this forum post on Geeks. At first, I thought the original poster had lost their mind. With all of the advances in operating systems over the years, why on Earth would we miss Windows 98? However, the chuckles faded away as I read one of the follow-up comments in the thread, which stated “I miss the simplicity, but not the lack of reliability”. How true that statement is.

Back then, things were much simpler. Sure, we couldn’t DO as much as we can now, but is that always a bad thing? We are much more stressed out these days, more overworked. We try to do too much at once, and leave other aspects of our life untended. All of this is accomplished with the help of our powerful computers and uber-awesome operating systems that run on those pieces of hardware.

I can completely understand the sentiment about missing the simplicity. It makes me remember that I need to slow down a bit at times, and appreciate the world around me more. No one will pass out if I don’t reply to their email the instant it hits my inbox. The World isn’t going to come to a screeching halt if I don’t get this blog post written in the next five minutes. I might, however, break out in hives if I don’t take a break for a few minutes right NOW.

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Should School be Taught in the Cloud?

On March 5th, the U.S. Department of Education released its National Educational Technology Plan, which they named Transforming Education: Learning Powered by Technology. Some of the recommendations made in the report include things like having a computing device for every teacher – and student – so that they can access the Internet from both school and home, as well as wanting schools to embrace cloud computing, Creative Commons and open-source technologies.

The report focuses on what they are calling “21st Century Computing”. As a way to transform education, the department states that the plan is to “engage and empower learning experiences for all learners… by leveraging the power of technology to provide personalized learning instead of a one-size-fits all curriculum.” Overall, the plan calls for a challenge to the normal model of having an isolated teacher in every class. Instead, they want to promote the ideas of “always on” learning tools, with online communities for the teachers and students.

I know that this plan cannot possibly be enacted in schools across the country overnight. However, I’m excited to see things moving in this direction finally. What do you think? Is this a massive step forward for education in the United States?

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Twitter eBook


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As promised, I have compiled and released a set of 140 Twitter tips and tricks. It’s in a PDF format, and there is no DRM. That means you can take it with you wherever you go. It works out to one penny per tip! The eBook is Creative Commons licensed, so you can feel free to use the tips any way you see fit, as long as you give proper attribution! This eBook will help you, whether your business is talking to customers on Twitter already… or even if you are brand-new to the tweeting game.

Instead of you wasting your breath trying to teach others all about social media, tell them where to get this eBook for only $1.40. I know – you expect free things. SO – if you tweet out that link: http://go.tagjag.com/twittertips saying that you’re going to buy the eBook… and send me an email to show me the link to it… I will give you a copy of it. You can teach an old tweeter new tricks!

There are some excellent tips in this eBook, and not all of them were written by me. I put out a call to the community, and you all delivered. The artwork was all done by my friend Kristin, and I must say it turned out beautifully!

I do plan on a future revision(s) of this eBook, so keep sending in those tips! If you have an excellent one, be sure to email it to me – along with your Twitter handle – and you’ll receive credit when revision time rolls around!

You never know what the future will hold. Perhaps it will become larger. Maybe it will turn into a version that will work on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

I want to hear your thoughts. What do you think of the book? Was it helpful to you? If the community enjoys this eBook, perhaps there will be more. Maybe you’d like one full of Facebook tips… all in 140 characters or less? It’s easy to read, and may just teach you a thing or twelve.

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Twitter Tips and Tricks for Beginners and Business

It seems as though everyone in the world is on Twitter now. Sadly, not all of them know how to utilize this fabulous tool to maximize their outreach. The reach you can have by using social media can be staggering. However, you have to know how to use the service correctly to get your message across in a way that people will want to read.

I am by no means an expert on anything. Over the years, though, I’ve learned what works through trial and error – and what doesn’t! I’ve made some amazing connections online, and I’ve soaked up every bit of information that I could from them. After receiving a lot of questions and emails from many of you who are struggling to “master” Twitter, I decided to put together an eBook full of Twitter tips and tricks to help you get started.

To help keep you in the tweet spirit, the eBook contains 140 tips, all written in 140 characters or less. Best of all… it only will cost you $1.40! So why should you shell out a buck and a half of your hard-earned money for yet another eBook? I’ve come up with several reasons, actually!

If you’re new to Twitter, or still unsure how to use it effectively, this eBook will guide you in all of the right directions. Navigating your way through the maze that is Twitter can be daunting. Who should you follow? How do you get followers? What should you say? How do you say it?!

Twitter is a great tool for getting out information about your organization. However, doing so properly is crucial to people taking notice. When you have a startup that you’ve poured your heart, soul and money into, you may not have much of a marketing budget left at the end of the day. Why not make use of social media to get that word spreading like wildfire?

Your customers are on Twitter, and they’re talking about you. Do you know how to best take advantage of that? I have one word for you here: ComcastCares. Frank and his team are listening, and they’re using what you are saying on Twitter to help make your experience better. Isn’t that the kind of service you want to provide?

Are you launching a new product or service? What are people going to think about it? Use Twitter to effectively gauge consumer reaction, and to promote what you have to sell.

If you have something important to tell the World, using Twitter can be one of your best friends. Just take a look at what people such as Drew Olanoff and Mark Horvath have done. Our guide can help you communicate with the rest of the World effectively via Twitter.

Do you not have as many followers as you would like? Let our tips help you to become someone that everyone will want to follow! Your name doesn’t have to be Ashton Kutcher in order to get a zillion followers, honestly!

Are you shy? Using social media services such as Twitter can help you to break out of your shell, 140 characters at a time. The tips we’ve gathered together in this eBook can help you get started, and will provide you with a lot of insight as to how it all works.

When looking for a career change, networking with others is the name of the game. Even if you’re happy in your current position, it doesn’t hurt to learn how to network to your possible future benefit on Twitter.

Posting about your breakfast or your trip to the restroom doesn’t make for interesting reading… so what DOES? Do you even have a clue as to what people want to read? Think for a moment about what you enjoy learning from others on Twitter. Now take a look at your own tweet stream – and our tips – and figure out if you’re saying something worthwhile.

Everyone who is ANYONE is on Twitter, including me! Isn’t that reason enough for you to be there, as well?

Many of the tips in this eBook were submitted by people just like you, from right here in our community. I’ve given credit where credit is due in the guide, and would like to thank them again here. If you have ideas for tips or tricks we forgot to include, go ahead and email them to me! They may just be included in a future revision. Be sure to give me your Twitter account along with your submission, so that I can credit what you write back to you.

Build Your Dream Computer

I noticed a post on Lockergnome earlier that made me chuckle a little. The poster asks everyone whether they would buy a Windows machine or a Mac if they had up to one thousand dollars to spend. I can already picture the responses to that question: fanboys on both sides of the coin arguing with each other! However, I have a feeling that some of our more hard-core Geeks will want to just build a machine and slap some flavor of Linux on it!

What would you do if someone handed you a grand and told you to buy any computer you wanted? What would you look at first… and why?

There have been many excellent articles posted in our community today. I hope you didn’t miss out on anything!

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Are Apple's iPad Shortcomings Real or Perceived?


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I’m not an Apple apologist, honestly. I don’t like everything they’ve created, I swear. I don’t own iEverything (no Apple TV, no iPod, no MacBook Air, etc.). However, in light of the flurry of initial iPad complaints, I just had to counterbalance perceived shortcomings with a modicum of reason.

EMPHASIS: Perceived shortcomings, not actual shortcomings. The damn thing hasn’t even shipped yet!

If you fell victim to the hype surrounding the iPad, you deserve to be disappointed. Don’t hold Apple accountable for it not living up to some truly insane expectations.

Mind you, I find the lack of a camera a glaring omission from the first generation iPad. The aspect ratio (4:3) and stunted video output (not even 720p) are also shockers. We might find these limitations addressed in future hardware revisions, iHope.

  1. Still no support for Flash. Adobe needs to get on their shit, yo. It’s not Apple’s fault that Flash is one of the worst-written, unstable, unoptimized pieces of software on the planet. Blame Adobe, not Apple. The #1 reason to use either Safari on Snow Leopard or Google Chrome on either Windows or OS X is to sandbox that POS Flash plugin. If HTML 5 takes off, say good-bye to Flash and its proprietary madness that we’ve been made to deal with. No support for Flash is an absolute blessing, folks.
  2. No USB Ports. I’ve read that this was a “must.” A “must” for what, I ask? A laptop, sure. The iPad isn’t a notebook computer. It’s like complaining that the iPad doesn’t have a CD tray.
  3. Apple is still using AT&T for 3G. So, don’t buy the 3G service? Even in a pinch, you could get it for a month and drop it the next – with NO CONTRACT, I’m not sure what else there is to complain about?
  4. It’s an oversized iPod Touch. This argument has some degree of merit, but here’s what the iPod Touch doesn’t have: a fast processor (by today’s standards), wireless 802.11 N, an LED screen that supports IPS, support for an external keyboard, customizable SpringBoard background, allegedly-longer battery life, and… of course, a screen that’s much more accomodating for sharing and viewing content.
  5. $499 is too much to spend on it. Really? I dare you to find another touch-controlled device that’s EQUALLY powered and just as usable today. Compare the starter-level iPad to Amazon’s Kindle DX (which is currently selling for $425); it makes the iPad look like a bargain. If you put it in the eBook Reader category – ALONE – it’s a clear leader.
  6. It’s not a Tablet PC. Duh. Do I really need to explain why this isn’t a valid complaint? Jesus Diaz did a great job explaining this on Gizmodo last week.
  7. Still no multitasking. Here’s a suggestion: focus on the task at hand instead of juggling? More to the point, research is now suggesting that multitasking actually slows us down! I’m not going to hold a device responsible for what neuroscientists say is a shortcoming in human wiring – and neither should you. Pay attention to that which needs it – and nothing more. There are certainly cases for needing more than one app open at a time, but not at the peril of a good (single) app experience. Knowwhatimean?
  8. Still no background apps. I do believe the workflow of app switching could be better, but in my experience, background apps zap power – and one of the biggest issues with mobile devices today is battery life. I’m more concerned about my “percentage left” than I am knowing I can’t have a Web page and email message open simultaneously. Moreover, I’ve used devices that support background apps… and… I really don’t miss ’em all that much.
  9. There’s too much bezel. That’s what I thought, too – at first. Then I thought: “What if I touch something I didn’t want to touch, when I was just trying to hold on to the gosh darn thing?” Point also addressed by the must-read John Gruber.
  10. “iPad” is a stupid name. Yeah, I’m still cringing over their choice – but in all my 36 years on Earth, I’ve never avoided a product due to its name. Its color and design, yes – but its name? Who cares what it’s called if it works? And that’s still the question which remains: will the iPad WORK? I can make fun of a million names, too.

For as much as you might not want one, the iPhone OS experience is the most usable mobile (and touch) platform out there today; I’ve yet to experience anything like it. I got my Mom an engraved iPod for her birthday last year, and she’s been eyeing the Kindle. I told her to wait – and I’m glad I did. It may not be the end-all, be-all gadget for geeks, but for people like my Mom? More than adequate.

The iPad is an all-encompassing content consumption device that belongs more in the traditional “media reader” camp than it does the traditional “tablet computer” camp. When you place it in that category, the reasons Apple made its decisions with the iPad become largely clear. Would you mock an eBook reader that didn’t have a camera?! I’d hope not. And what about admonishing a digital photo frame that didn’t run Flash apps? Not likely. The iPad might compare to an Archos 5 Internet Tablet, but even that isn’t a very fair comparison.

Seems to me that most initial iPad complaints are largely due to the problems WE are having in classifying this device in our existing taxonomy of gadgetry. From Wikipedia on perception:

The processes of perception routinely alter what humans see. When people view something with a preconceived concept about it, they tend to take those concepts and see them whether or not they are there. This problem stems from the fact that humans are unable to understand new information, without the inherent bias of their previous knowledge. A person’s knowledge creates his or her reality as much as the truth, because the human mind can only contemplate that to which it has been exposed. When objects are viewed without understanding, the mind will try to reach for something that it already recognizes, in order to process what it is viewing. That which most closely relates to the unfamiliar from our past experiences, makes up what we see when we look at things that we don’t comprehend.

Food for thought.

Oh, and I’m also looking to get a new PC (with Windows 7) at some point in the near future – so stick THAT in your fanboy-pipe and smoke it. 😉 That, and if you have any recommendations, I’m all ears – but not because I’m looking to replace something in my life, but augment it.

Virtual Machines Love Windows 7


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Josh called in last week during live calls to talk with me about Windows 7. His general opinion at first was just that Windows 7 is a “great operating system”. I had to chuckle at that, because I of course agree. As we talked more, we got into a bit of a discussion about how much better Windows 7 runs on our Macs inside of Boot Camp. In my opinion, anyway, Vista never did run well on any type of virtual machine. It just plain stunk.

In a virtual machine environment, such as with VMWare Fusion, Windows 7 just – works. It runs clean, and it runs fast. When I used to try and run Vista in the same environment, with the same hardware and same configuration… it never worked. It was buggy. It would crash. It was slow. Things wouldn’t – work!

Don’t forget that I have an awesome Windows 7 eBook available for only $7.00! It’s filled with 70 excellent tips and tricks, to help you make the transition to Windows 7 even easier.

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My eBooks

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You wanna learn? Cool. I wanna teach. Each one of my eBooks is available in PDF – no DRM!

By the way, I’m using these guys to host my eBooks shopping cart. I’ll be writing more in the near future, depending largely on demand – and given the amount of questions I get asked on a daily basis, I’d say the demand is pretty darn high. So, why would you wanna buy one of my eBooks?

  • Each one of them will be quick and easy to read
  • You’ll save yourself time, energy, and money
  • The PDF files can be viewed just about anywhere
  • There are no DRM restrictions involved
  • You’re doing your part to support the community
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  • Refunds actually become donations to charity
  • If just one tip helps you, isn’t it worth doing?

Let me know what other knowledge I might be able to impart?

Diet eBook


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If you’re anything like me, you’ve struggled with your weight at some point in your life. I’m intent on being on the slimmer side of life. A few years ago when I lost about 40 pounds, I posted my weight loss tips on my blog. I keep an eye on my calorie counts, and do my best to maintain a healthy weight for my age and height. Maybe you, too, are struggling with losing weight. A friend of mine and I just released a diet eBook to share our tips and tricks with you!

Are you taking advantage of your metabolism to lose weight? With all of the hype and often dangerous advice out there we’re committed to giving you the straight truth, the hidden tricks, and the most effective fat burning methods to trim your waistline and tighten your abs.

Right now, we’re throwing in a few free gifts, including two more excellent books: The Mental Truth Behind Dieting and Metabolism Boosting Workouts. You’ll also have a chance to win $1000.00 to the best weight-loss story that comes in! The price for all of this is only $39.00.

I’m not just endorsing this, guys – I’m living it every day.

You know my email address. Drop me a line if you are afraid to start, or unsure. I’d be happy to talk with you about it. I’ve had the struggle all my life, and I’m happy to say I’ve found the ways to overcome it.

Download the video to stay inspired as you read through the advice in this diet ebook. And if you want additional weight loss advice, be sure to download my top 50 weight loss tips.