Posts Tagged ‘Medium’

Apple iPhone 10X

A Brief History of Technology

It’s funny how succeeding generations take technology for granted. My Nana’s first electric refrigerator must have seemed to her to be a miracle. Nowadays the only time I consciously think about it is when I’m looking in it to make my grocery list.

And even that is more about food and shopping than it is about the refrigerator itself.

June 29, 2007

Not exactly a Day of Infamy.

I sat at the Apple iPhone help desk on the evening of its release. Even though we had just completed 2 weeks of intensive training on the operation and capabilities of the device, that evening was the first time any of us had actually seen one, much less had an opportunity to work with it.

One iPhone between 8 techs. No wonder callers were frustrated.

Now my grandchildren all carry iPhones. And while I still look at mine with an occasional sense of wonder, to them it ain’t no big thang.

During those weeks of training, I had an epiphany: this was no mere mobile phone! No. What Apple had done was figure out how to fit an entire computer in the palm of your hand!

It’s 11 and a half years later as I write this. Cell phone (or if you’re British, mobile) usage has exploded. The phones themselves have evolved into various flavors of smartphone, and whereas they were once considered a luxury, they have become for many of us an essential part of life.

Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people I know don’t even go into their own bathrooms without it!

But Here’s the Thing…

I love my iPhone X, which I once swore I would never own. My next upgrade was to be to the 8S or Plus or Z or whatever was the top of the line 8 at the time.

But my carrier had a special offer: buy one iPhone X and get a second one free! And so I decided on the X, not realizing that it was about to be replaced by a few newer, more improved models.

But that’s on me. My iPhone X still runs circles around my old 6S Plus.

Writing and Publishing

I’ve written before on how I love writing on my iPhone. How it’s become my main writing tool for whatever site I’m writing: Medium, letters to the editor, blog posts—you name it, I’ve written to it on my iPhone!

And on Medium and WordPress, at least, published as well.

That’s About to Change

Ever have an improvement that really wasn’t? When I bought my new laptop 3 years ago, a Windows 10 machine, it booted blindingly fast. Now, after a long series of updates, upgrades, and “improvements,” I can turn it on and almost have time to get dressed, go downstairs, eat breakfast, and wash the dishes before heading back upstairs in time to see the damn machine is ready—finally—for use.

With the release of iOS 12.1.1, my iPhone is still blindingly fast—compared to my original Motorola flip-phone.

And there are far more things that are easier and faster to do on my laptop than on my iPhone. Things specifically related to publishing what I write.

Even Medium’s own mobile app isn’t designed to publish straight to Medium; more and more often I find I need my laptop to prepare my stories for final publication.

The Solution

So here’s what I’ve decided.

(What? Did you seriously think I was going to invest all this time bitching about things without offering a solution? You obviously don’t know me very well.)

I’m still doing the bulk of my writing on my iPhone, with an occasional detour to the iPad.

But rather than publishing (in Medium’s case, posting) what I write directly to the web or wherever, I’ll save my drafts. Then I’ll move to the laptop to massage them, add images and links, make them pretty, and then publish them.

And Apple? I’m sorry, my old friend, but I was wrong: you still haven’t managed to put a computer in the palm of my hand.

And as we techies like to say in our own inimical, technobabbly way, “Close, but no cigar.”

Plasencia Cigars

 

Recently on Pinterest there’s been a flurry of pins aimed at first-time or beginning bloggers. They all follow a theme: “You don’t know what you’re doing, so you’d better listen to me unless you want to be a failure.”

I get it. There are a lot of things I wish I knew when I first sat down to set pen to paper. (Well, actually, pixels to screen, but whatever.) But those things all had to do with the mechanics of creating a blog: finding the right host, picking a theme, figuring out the editor, and so on.

But far too many of the pins I mentioned have nothing to do with the logistics of running your blog and everything to do with your content.

And, of course, they all offer to sell you their book that promises instant fame, a successful blog, and to cure cancer all in one nifty little package. Just give us your money.

When I first looked into e-book publishing, I found a number of people selling books that promised to make you a successful self-published writer. But upon deeper examination, they all turned out to be a kit containing one e-book covering how to become a self-published writer. All you had to do was insert your own name as the author, and turn around and resell the kit to other people.

It said nothing about the process of writing, editing, re-writing, re-editing, and finally submitting your work to either an agent or a publisher.

And that’s exactly what the Pinterest pins seem to be doing: telling you how to spend your money on a kit, then reselling it under your own name.

Advice vs. Advertising

Please don’t misunderstand me: advice is often warranted. I look for it myself when I’m stumped by a particular problem. But useful advice is different than advertising. You have to have an actual product before you start selling it.

In a way, it reminds me of the early days of micro-computing and the concept of vaporware; software that was advertised heavily in computer magazines and advance orders taken. If the ads generated enough interest to make the product viable, then—and only then—was work begun on actually creating the software. If not, any advance orders were refunded with a technobabble line of bull-crap meant to explain the failure of the program.

A Guaranteed Formula For Success

The best formula for guaranteeing your success as a blogger is realizing that there isn’t any guaranteed formula for success as a blogger.

As was once famously said of Shoeless Joe Jackson,

If you build it, he will come.

So start your blog. Check out the tools available to help you. Find the best platform for your specific needs. For example, I chose WordPress. And then write. Write every day. Write even when you have nothing to say. Even if you don’t publish it, you should still write every day until it becomes a habit. Write for a specific audience, if that’s what you want to do.

Or be like me: I just write about whatever comes to mind when I sit down at my laptop. (Well, okay—it’s usually my mobile phone.) Once I’m done, that’s when I decide my target audience and publish it to the appropriate blog. Yes, I have several blogs, depending on my mood and my intended audience.

Writing For Medium

Medium is different. There, I have only one audience I aim for: other writers. People who are serious about their own writing. Or at least serious enough to share it with a critical audience. (In this context, I define “critical” as:

Expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art.
"she never won the critical acclaim she sought"
synonyms: evaluative, analytical, interpretative, expository, explanatory

"a critical essay"
(of a published literary or musical text) incorporating a detailed and scholarly analysis and commentary.

"a critical edition of a Bach sonata"
involving the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

"professors often find it difficult to encourage critical thinking in their students"

When I publish on Medium, I know I’m opening myself up to criticism. But that’s what I’m looking for, what I’m hoping for. What do other writers—many of them professionals, and many of them far better writers than I am—think of what I have to say” of how I say it? How can I improve?

Because ultimately, that’s what it comes to in the end for me: I want to improve. I want to get better. Not for any possible fame or fortune, but simply to become the very best me I can become.

A little under two weeks ago, having gotten tired by (among other things) the saturation-bombing of (mostly) irrelevant garbage on my Facebook account, I decided to cancel it. This was not a decision I made lightly, and I wanted to share some of my reasons:

My experience had become a brain-sucking, mind-killing psychic vampire-like waste of time. For every one article I was interested in, there were a dozen more I had no interest in. And the ones I did want were–far too often–little more than click-bait, forcing me to wade through a ton of advertisements. Oh, sure–I could avoid them by using Facebook on my laptop browser with ad blocking software, but I preferred the freedom of my iPhone and iPad.

Over the years, Facebook has deteriorated from a social network to a system for spreading lies, innuendo, hatred, and vitriol. No longer is it a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences; rather it is now little more than a convenient way to launch personal attacks against both individuals as well as groups.

Each minute I spent on Facebook, I could almost feel my blood pressure climbing into the stratosphere.

For these (and a few other) reasons, I decided it was time for me to leave.

I jumped through all of the hoops I needed to in order to permanently delete my account–only to be informed that it would take 2 weeks for it to take effect. At first, I was angry at Facebook’s arrogant assumption that I would change my mind, but ultimately, it worked out for the better.

Family Ties Rule!

I grew up in a military family, so for the first part of my life, I was unable to put down roots. (As an aside, numerous studies have demonstrated just how harmful the military life is to families in general and to children in particular. As John Donne said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” [Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent]). It isn’t easy to develop lasting friendships when you know they’re only going to last 2 or 3 years; think of it as growing up in an atmosphere of breakups and dislocations.

As a result of the constant reassignments and relocations, I had very little opportunity to get to know my extended family. From California to Japan to New Jersey to New York to Texas and Alaska, I might have seen my cousins on less than a dozen occasions.

But then I discovered Facebook. And while it wasn’t face-to-face contact, I was able to reunite with many of my cousins and much of my extended family. I’m living in Rochester, New York as I write this, and contrary to much belief, it is nowhere near New York City, where at least two of my cousins live. In fact, Rochester is closer to Toronto than it is to NYC.

Other cousins are in California, Mississippi, and Oregon. One brother in in Texas and the other is in New Mexico. My daughters and grandchildren live in the Seattle area, as does my nephew and beloved niece and her children.

Between Facebook and Instagram, it is the only contact I have with most of them. So you see why I had to come back. And that is why Facebook, in its wisdom, made me wait 2 weeks before they deactivated my account: they wanted to be certain that I was certain. I reactivated my account 4 days before it would have been permanently deleted.

A New Approach

No longer do I log in to Facebook at all hours of the day and night; I limit myself to twice a day. I’m also leaving a number of groups that once were relevant to me, but no longer are important.

Instead, I’m spending more time on Medium, where the level of discussion is both more relevant to my interests, as well as more eloquent and literate. At least no one here sends me messages like “I lk yr post. How R U?”

Is it possible that Medium is the last bastion of genuine intellect in the world of social media?

My tea is getting cool, and so I shall close now. Thank you for taking the time to read this; I know your time is valuable, and as always I appreciate the time we have spent together.

A little under two weeks ago, having gotten tired by (among other things) the saturation-bombing of (mostly) irrelevant garbage on my Facebook account, I decided to cancel it. This was not a decision I made lightly, and I wanted to share some of my reasons:

My experience had become a brain-sucking, mind-killing psychic vampire-like waste of time. For every one article I was interested in, there were a dozen more I had no interest in. And the ones I did want were?—?far too often?—?little more than click-bait, forcing me to wade through a ton of advertisements. Oh, sure?—?I could avoid them by using Facebook on my laptop browser with ad blocking software, but I preferred the freedom of my iPhone and iPad.

Over the years, Facebook has deteriorated from a social network to a system for spreading lies, innuendo, hatred, and vitriol. No longer is it a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences; rather it is now little more than a convenient way to launch personal attacks against both individuals as well as groups.

Each minute I spent on Facebook, I could almost feel my blood pressure climbing into the stratosphere.

For these (and a few other) reasons, I decided it was time for me to leave.

I jumped through all of the hoops I needed to in order to permanently delete my account?—?only to be informed that it would take 2 weeks for it to take effect. At first, I was angry at Facebook’s arrogant assumption that I would change my mind, but ultimately, it worked out for the better.

Family Ties Rule!

I grew up in a military family, so for the first part of my life, I was unable to put down roots. (As an aside, numerous studies have demonstrated just how harmful the military life is to families in general and to children in particular. As John Donne said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” [Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent]). It isn’t easy to develop lasting friendships when you know they’re only going to last 2 or 3 years; think of it as growing up in an atmosphere of breakups and dislocations.

As a result of the constant reassignments and relocations, I had very little opportunity to get to know my extended family. From California to Japan to New Jersey to New York to Texas and Alaska, I might have seen my cousins on less than a dozen occasions.

But then I discovered Facebook. And while it wasn’t face-to-face contact, I was able to reunite with many of my cousins and much of my extended family. I’m living in Rochester, New York as I write this, and contrary to much belief, it is nowhere near New York City, where at least two of my cousins live. In fact, Rochester is closer to Toronto than it is to NYC.

Other cousins are in California, Mississippi, and Oregon. One brother in in Texas and the other is in New Mexico. My daughters and grandchildren live in the Seattle area, as does my nephew and beloved niece and her children.

Between Facebook and Instagram, it is the only contact I have with most of them. So you see why I had to come back. And that is why Facebook, in its wisdom, made me wait 2 weeks before they deactivated my account: they wanted to be certain that I was certain. I reactivated my account 4 days before it would have been permanently deleted.

A New Approach

No longer do I log in to Facebook at all hours of the day and night; I limit myself to twice a day. I’m also leaving a number of groups that once were relevant to me, but no longer are important.

Instead, I’m spending more time on Medium, where the level of discussion is both more relevant to my interests, as well as more eloquent and literate. At least no one here sends me messages like “I lk yr post. How R U?”

Is it possible that Medium is the last bastion of genuine intellect in the world of social media?

My tea is getting cool, and so I shall close now. Thank you for taking the time to read this; I know your time is valuable, and as always I appreciate the time we have spent together.