BECAUSE I BLOG, I unconsiously look along skirting boards, railings and windowsills for power. And when I discover them next to my seat (like in the Amtrak ride at left), I'm very happy, because I'm a hobbyist blogger. I use blogging most as a patchwork note to self. Blogging lets me claim a title of "diarist" with all the honour I felt as a "scribe" in Cub Scout Den Six more than 40 years ago. Because I can text myself on my own blog, I feel like I'm using dead time to connect with extended family, work colleagues and a young daughter who hasn't learned to read. She just might Google herself in another decade and discover what I thought about her growing up. (Mia, you must stop your go-to-bed tantrums.) More than anything else, blogging is a portable desk for me. More than half of the entries on my Typepad blog were done on a Nokia phone. I have tapped in thousands of blog entries and sent them straight up onto my blog, normally using the mail-to-blog service offered by Six Apart. It works because it appeals to my lazy side. Pocket blogging has become part of my lifestyle and it has defined me. By careful uses of the English language, I can couch criticism of elephants in the room and the people who deserve a rant get an anonymous and unlinked sideswipe. In actual experience, my blog posts can change the behaviour of several people all at once--people who think I'm talking about them, their business or their gadgets.
WHILE OUT WALKING down the dark country lane that leads to my family home in the States, I used my Nokia E90's screen as a torch to maneuver around a soybean field, then aroud the perimeter of a corn field. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, that corn from Pioneer seeds is more than eight feet tall. It's a field situated directly outside the front windows of several homes. For a laugh, I went to the Connectivity mode of my phone, discovered a few wifi nodes, including one called "Jeff's Network." Its strength suggested I could find it inside my house. While walking back towards the home I knew as a high school student, a yellow Lab tried to bark me away from my own driveway. Having none of that, I decided to walk in her driveway. The confused dog then changed tactics, jumped into my driveway and continued barking at me from there, under crescent moon at left. Moments later, a young couple turned on an outside light and I waved, "Are you Jeff?" The dog stopped barking when Jeff answered. "Do you have wifi?" I'd never met Jeff before his dog barked at me but within a few minutes, he gave me his WEP keys, I scratched his dog's belly, and now I'm latching onto his internet connectivity instead of paying for Over-the-air data roaming. I think I'm going to add another wifi node to my home, calling it "Mia's Wifi" and see if that translates into people knocking at our door. Photo from my Fujifilm S7000 camera under the Lancaster moon.
MY MOM'S HEALTH pulled me to Lancaster, Pennsylavania, where I join a rota of brothers helping her to walk again on the quiet back roads shown in the Google Maps screenshot. Major back surgery has complicated her 80s but if her walking sessions go without a hitch, she will return to form within a few months. I can see how elderly people have to walk slow because anything like a pebble on a path or an abandoned toy on a floor can cause a fall, then a broken bone. I brought several different pieces of recording equipment with me to Lancaster and hope I can start an oral history project with mom as my first subject. If successful, I'll share the snippets of my work through my blog.
Sent mail2blog using Nokia E90 AT&T EDGE Typepad service from Honeysuckle Lane 17603.
I FILL A LOT of dead time while waiting on kerbs with occasional data-driven moments. On my Nokia phone, Gravity is one click away from a lively Twitterstream. A special email address, one unmolested by spam, responds to one click and delivers new mail headers to my phone. I can snap and send an image to Flickr with Shozu by using one click of my cameraphone. Two clicks into Google Latitude and I know where I am, complete with pinpoints of places I've told my phone to remember. All these activites work without undue hassle in Ireland and they don't cost more than the flat fee of EUR 30 that I pay to O2 for a gig of data a month. But when I clicked my phone while standing at JFK Airport, the delivery of three new email headers, the sending of two emails and 10 seconds of checking Google Latitude cost me EUR 5.46. In my normal workday, I would run a casual kerbside check four or five times a day. From personal experience while roaming in New York a few months ago, that kind of a data consumption over-the-air runs up a daily bill more expensive than the cost of overnight accommodation in Manhattan. I know iPhone owners whose constant use of Twitter would run up more data roaming charges than me. For them, I offer one word of advice: Maxroam.
Sent mail2blog using Nokia E90 T-mobile Typepad service under Penn Station, New York.
ON A MUGGY SUNDAY in New York City, I dashed to the safety of a Boingo-powered Starbucks to record a five-minute summary of today's New York Times. The clip opens with the So-Kelly matte alligator bag at left and covers items of interest for several regular readers of my blog. There's an interesting story concerning Andrei Melnikov's Magtag cooker.  It turns on when his cell phone rings. The "Digital Domain" column shows "although Google's family of web sites has made it the most-visited Web player in the United States, its finance site draws a small fraction of the traffic of Yahoo's."  I think all kinds of shit will hit the fan with the pubilcation of a CIA Inspector General's report tomorrow. It details abuses that took place inside the agency's secret prisons (i.e., mock executions using guns and a power drill).  I doubt there's any substantive information in that report about rendition flights using Shannon Airport but the CIA IG is the one agency that could divulge those details.
ONE YEAR AGO, I started using Blip.fm, a social music site. I don't spend enough time with the free service offered Blip.fm because I let a paid subscription with Last.fm dominate my audio life. Blip.fm has evolved during the past year. A lot of the music I annotated as favourites has dropped off the system because it arrived as fan tracks. Blip.fm now links to YouTube videos (good music and some of the best artist videos for the tracks) and there's something to be said for that model. Where I teach online social networking, I award max marks in one continuous assessment task to people who have a Blip.fm playlist that extends beyond 100 tracks. As some people have discovered, having 100 favourite tracks marked and displayed today does not mean those 100 tracks will be in the cloud for listening in a week's time. I've culled most of my playlist and synced it to my iPod. In fact, I've bought nearly every track on my Blip.fm playlist, some both as in cassette tracks and CD collections. Here's an audio snippet of the most recent ones I've faved at the same fidelty served by Blip.fm:
WHILE TRAPPED in a waiting room or strapped into a seat, I flip through printed pages more than I realise. Today I learned that people will cut their electricity usage if told that their neighbours use less than they do. 
A photo from my brother proves honeysuckle climbs and twists clockwise while morning glories on a trellis at home wind counter-clockwise.
I make more than double the number of searches Google users make each month. ComScore says the average person seeks 55.
When I'm stressed, I use the backspace key less. 
1. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol 34, p 913.
2. Lisa Vizer explains why in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2009.07.005).
Sent mail2blog using Nokia E90 AT&T Typepad service from JFK Airport.
I TELL VISITORS that the Financial Times is an essential part of the European information diet and so I spent my last hour in Europe this month reading the FT Weekender while making a short Qik clip about some items worth sharing. There are two eco-aware items I'd like to discuss with Tom Raftery. One about consumer behaviour in Germany  and another about the hopeless goal of constructing new homes to a zero net carbon standard.  There's a culture item about Twitter  and quality writing in this week's New Scientist  to keep me riveted to the departure lounge as I prepare for an Atlantic crossing.
I REALLY NEED a checklist when packing for trips outside of Ireland because I always forget a power adapter. I don't have many US adapters and have never tried the all-in-one big brick adapter as part of my luggage. This may be the last trip I take to the USA with my Nokia E90 since the N97 is doing everything possible to make itself my preferred handset. I'll be in New York and Pennsylvania to help my elderly mother learn how to walk on her own again. I've got several audiobooks to keep me busy on Amtrak journeys and a series of screen captures saved to my phone to see if check-in desks recognise the scan codes they issued when I booked travel reservations online. I'm also carrying a terabyte of student learning materials, with a goal of finishing several Acrobat collections of college lecture notes for incoming classes. I think I'll share a few thoughts about my portable office during the next few days.Photo of an Aer Lingus bird snapped with my Nokia E90 at Shannon.
ONE REASON WE stay in the Affinia Manhattan is because we can run several devices simultaneously on its LodgeNet wireless internet access service. Lodgenet costs us $11.95 per day and its all over the hotel. At night, you can find people sitting on the carpet in the lobby with their netbooks (or European iPhones), using the connectivity to post photos or check email. I use it upstairs for video uploads, iTunes purchases, Online Meeting Rooms sessions, and sync services to Mozy, Ovi, and Dropbox. This is a robust business class wireless service, one that the hotel should consider emphasizing as a competitive advantage for returning visitors. I's stood outside the front door, running Qik on my Nokia E90 at left, tethered to the hotel's Lodgenet service. It's one of the reasons I return to Affinia Manhattan.