1. Building Things That Matter

    In 15 years, services like Facebook will be as ubiquitous as the telephone, used every-day by a vast majority of people, or gone, the way of Pets.com. However, I do not think that many people will look back on their time spent on Facebook or Twitter and think that their life was made better, or that it helped them overcome a huge life-altering obstacle.

    Before I go on, I want to say that I’m not trying to bash Facebook, Twitter or any application or service that people are working hard to create. I think many of these services have a place, and many of them will prove to be useful communication tools. However, with so much money and focus on these services, I wonder if there are other ideas — ones that could provide a huge impact on people’s lives — that are going unnoticed or are abandoned because of lack of funding.

    Recently, I was watching a video interview of Chris Dixon and he mentioned that one of his favorite startups that he helped fund was Kickstarter, because they were making a real impact — something that stuck in the back of my mind as a great reason to get behind a company. Shortly after, I was involved in a campaign to fund a Kickstarter project called The Diabetic Journal. The project aims to create an easy-to-use app for diabetics to track their blood sugar levels, exercise, and food in a daily log that helps them better manage their disease. This may not seem like a huge thing to you, but as a Type 1 Diabetic, I can tell you that it’s an incredibly laborious process and the existence of apps like this can greatly benefit the lives of approximately 177 million people (mine included) in a very powerful way.

    Being a backer of The Diabetic Journal, and helping to promote it made me wonder what other apps or services are being developed that I am unaware of. What ideas are being kicked around that just need a nudge, or helping hand to get started? Maybe if we can turn our attention to the startups and individuals who are trying to develop products or services that can directly help the lives of people, we’ll see some additional funding and public attention on them — and maybe we’ll see people begin to build things that really matter.

    If you know of a startup that is trying to build a product that genuinely will help the lives of people, I’d love to hear about it. Talk to me on Twitter and even Google+.

  2. Control Multiple Devices with Logitech’s New Bluetooth Keyboard

    k810-mac-gallery-1

    Short version: Logitech has solved the problem of having multiple keyboards for your many computers and tablets with their Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard and I recommend it.

    Longer Review

    Quality (7/10) – I have always used Apple Keyboards. Sure, many people would complain that they are overpriced, but they are high-quality, dependable, and work very well with Apple devices. You can expect that if you are buying something from a non-Apple manufacturer, you’re going to see a step down in quality, but Logitech has done a decent job in producing this keyboard. It is fairly light, and doesn’t feel cheap. The keys are a little taller than Apple’s keyboard, but not by much.

    Price (6/10) – The keyboard costs $100 (pre-tax + shipping). I found that Best Buy does carry the Windows version of the keyboard, but not the Mac version (at least at my store) so I recommend that you look around before you buy. For $100, I would expect a little more solid quality to the keyboard, but you’re paying for the convenience in this situation. If Apple where to come out with a Keyboard that let me switch between 2-3 devices and it costs $100 – $120, I would buy it instantly.

    Performance (9/10) – This is where the keyboard shines. I’ve found in the past with different Bluetooth switches and similar technology that it was sluggish at best. In the case of this keyboard, I found that it performed like you’d want it to perform — very well! The switching was quick, and setup for Bluetooth was easy (if not easier than Apple’s keyboards). The key’s are responsive, and you don’t feel as if there is key-press lag even after switching from one device to another.

    Batteries (9/10) – The keyboard has no removable batteries. It has batteries contained inside of the keyboard, and you charge it via a small USB cable that they provide. It comes with wire-management clips on the USB cable so it doesn’t add mess to your desk and can be easily hidden until needed. I found that the keyboard (when fully charged) actually lasted much longer than my Apple keyboard did, which is very positive. I should note that the on/off switch on the keyboard is much easier to use and much less confusing than Apple’s wireless keyboard.

    Conclusion

    I’d give the keyboard a 7 out of 10 rating – It’s a solid keyboard, and worth the money, that will probably only be surpassed if Apple develops a keyboard with similar features. You can learn more about the product on Logitech’s website: Mac Version | Windows Version.

  3. Masterpiece Mystery: Wallander

    Wallander

    If you’re a fan of the BBC’s modern-day reboot of Sherlock Holmes, you will enjoy Wallander.

    It’s a smart, mystery series of 90 minute movies that each stand alone, but have a consistent cast. I’m a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes reboot and this show, so if you have any recommendations for this movie, I would love to hear about them.

    You can watch Wallander on Netflix.

  4. Old

    I don’t think anyone makes plans to get older. It just hits you like a cement truck one morning while you’re getting out of bed. It knocks the breath out of you and in seconds exposes the millions of lies that your bastard of a brain has been telling you for years.

  5. Best iPhone Apps for Basecamp — And What’s Missing

    Basecamp

    Update: There are significant developments related to Basecamp apps and the apps mentioned, please view notes at the end of the article. Also, please note that this article has been updated due to those changes.

    There are two front-runners when it comes to 3rd party iPhone apps for Basecamp: Rappel and Lodge. Hands down, these two apps are the most polished, and actively developed of the apps I’ve tested, beyond the new official app.

    Basecamp’s Official App

    The first version of Basecamp’s official application is nearly perfect. It comes with almost all of the features that you can get from the web-version of the application and it performs as you would expect a product from 37 Signals — beautifully.

    Basecamp is late to the game with this official app. Prior to their release, there were two front-runners: Lodge and Rappel, and let me first say that both of these apps really do pretty much the same thing as the official app. They both take full-advantage of 37signal’s API and both apps are updated as new features are made available in the API.

    LodgeLodge from Rounded

    After 37signals launched the new version of Basecamp in 2012, the Lodge was the first polished looking iPhone app that I tried with Basecamp. It was clean, well designed and over-all has been a good experience. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the skeuomorphic style of the design, but many will find it appealing. Ultimately, the app is well designed and the account sign-in / authorization process is fantastic.

    RappelRappel from Gospelware

    Rappel’s design is very polished, tight and has less white-space than Lodge. In addition, it’s easier to navigate to key Basecamp features like Activity and Progress in the app which makes my life much easier. I feel a bit biased towards Rappel because of the quality of its design — and at this time, it’s my go-to iPhone app for Basecamp.

    So What’s Missing? iPad Support!

    There are one or two apps that cater to Basecamp users looking for iPad compatible apps but they are no-where near the quality of Lodge and Rappel. With the launch of the iPad Mini, I find that I end up using the iPad Mini and Basecamp’s mobile site more than I do the iPhone apps. To me — and a growing number of users — the iPad is becoming more important to GTD and communication than the iPhone.

    At this point, both Lodge and Rappel teams has mentioned that they plan to provide either a universal version of their app (works on iPad and iPhone) or an iPad specific version of their applications — but haven’t given any details regarding timeline. 37Signals typically does not publish a road-map for their products, so we have no idea if they will make their app compatible with the iPad in the future.

    Basecamp Feature Wish List

    • iPad Support — I’ve already covered this above. 
    • Notifications — It would be fantastic if notifications could be bult into Basecamp, and in the applications so that people could cut-down on the amount of emails sent their way.
    • Better Search — While search isn’t broken or horrible in Basecamp it is greatly lacking. I cannot search within 1 project, I have to search across all projects which often returns similar results, making it harder for me to find what I’m searching for. 

    Article / Topic Updates:

    • As of February 8, 2013, 37 Signals has officially launched a iOS version of their application for the iPhone. 

    If you have an app that you think contends with these two or would like to talk about productivity, just hit me up on Twitter.