The Uptake

by Brad McCarty

Lessons learned, words written

Page 3


14 Hours at the Computer and How I Fixed My Eye Strain

On a typical day, I’m awake by 6:30 am and sitting at my computer. I spend around 14 hours looking at a screen and sometimes I move away from my computer to sit on the couch with my iPad. To say that I’ve experienced eye strain would be putting it very lightly.

I’m a big fan of League of Legends (psst, that’s a referral link), and I noticed Dyrus (one of my favorite top-lane players) wearing some funky yellow glasses about a year ago.

I know that these guys spend countless hours in front of a monitor, but I also know that they do a lot of sponsorship deals so I wasn’t fully convinced of the validity of what Gunnar Optiks was doing.

Then I met the people from the company.

They’ve put tireless research into the design and fabrication of their lenses. There’s a lot of thought behind why they are the specific colors that they are, how they work...

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Reader, Keep and a Dissection of Google’s Madness

I’m on a bit of a vacation this week from the world of tech, spending my time instead being Mr. Husband and Mr. Homeowner. I can’t help but chirp up, however, on the subject of Google’s newly-launched Evernote competitor, Keep.

In case you’re not keeping up with the Angry Nerds crowd, people are pretty mad that Google decided to rather abruptly shut down its RSS service named Reader. The backlash of that is still ringing strong, with smart people like Om Malik telling Google that he won’t be using Keep because he can’t trust that it won’t meet the same fate.

I can’t speak to Google’s long-term plans, but I do think that Keep will stick around. In the grand scheme of things, where Google makes more money by understanding user behavior, a service such as Keep makes perfect sense.

In case you’ve missed the news, Google’s...

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Because Screw the Readers. That’s Why.

Blogs typically run on ads.

Box and rectangle ad rates suck.

To overcome bad ad rates, blogs are trying to do advertising differently.

Some of it is good.

Some of it is blatantly anti-reader.

According to the company, the native unit will allow brands to embed social updates on the Mashable homepage that look and feel like Mashable posts.

Tell me this – Do you want to go to a site, click on something that looks like a story and instead have an ad fed to you? Because that’s what Mashable just “invented.”

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My Review of the iPad Mini

It’s like an iPad. But smaller. And I can hold it in one hand.

Compared to my iPad 3, it’s impossibly light.

I’m mildly annoyed by the lack of Retina, but I’m getting over it quickly.

If I were going to work on it all day, I’d still want a 10-inch iPad.

The battery life is still shockingly good. The amount of money I’d pay for a phone that could manage this is…well…a lot.

People said that this was the real iPad. They’re right. It almost seems like Apple needed a couple of iterations with bigger devices to get the ideas right. Once they did that, they could move the size down.

I like it a lot. I think you will too.

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I Can’t Get No Sleep

I don’t really remember when it started, but for quite a few years now I’ve been unable to sleep more than about five hours. It doesn’t necessarily matter how tired I am, at the five hour mark my body decides that it’s been long enough and I have to wake up. Now.

I hear people joke about insomnia, or narcolepsy or any of the other few sleep-related issues and I’m pretty certain that they can’t possibly have experienced any of them. In the realm of first-world problems, there’s really not much that screws up your day worse than being exhausted, going to bed, then waking up feeling as if you’ve not even slept.

There are a few factors that contribute to my sleep deprivation that I can adjust or fix. Here’s what I know for sure:

I’m overweight – Though in fairness, even when I was in athletic condition I didn’t...

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The Invisible Fish

On Wednesday, I’m scheduled to speak to a Meetup group here in Nashville. The talk will focus on how you can make yourself and your message heard, in a time when we’re seeing more noise than ever before.

It’s the idea of being a big fish in a little ocean.

But funny enough, when I do these things in Nashville, I find myself to be the invisible fish. Most of the people who attend have perhaps heard my name or read something that I wrote on TNW, but there’s a near 100 percent chance that I’ve never met them.

It’s that interesting conundrum of being slightly anti-social, combined with working from home. The buzz around my office is created by my wife, our dog and four pet rats. There’s also Tully, the fish. But he’s pretty silent.

Nashville’s technology scene, as it were, is somewhat sparse. There’s a huge social media...

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Truth Tellers and the Reality of Life

Over on TechCrunch, Mike Arrington wrote something that I endorse wholeheartedly. He says that Cnet staffers should be leaving in droves over the fiasco surrounding the Hopper and now another product that they’ve been instructed that they can’t review.

We can soapbox all we want about this, and those of us who do have editorial independence might somehow look down our noses at those who don’t. But the harsh reality is the people who aren’t walking out are real people, with real responsibilities that depend on having a real paycheck in order to meet them.

Would I leave TNW if I were ever instructed to do something that I felt was morally wrong? I’d like to think that I would. But I also have mouths to feed and a roof to keep over our heads. The moral high ground is a great place to stand when life is sunny.

So I’ll urge you this – Don’t...

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Quora Blogs, Branch and Other Things I Won’t be Using

It started with a question from my dear friend Jana. She was asking for thoughts on Quora Blogs, the company’s newly-released feature. My answer was this:

That’s the nutshell version. I’m highly against almost every single thing out there that wants you to contribute without giving you definitive, self-managed ownership of the content that you’ve added.

But I’m also a hypocrite, because I’m writing this on Svbtle, I’m a frequent user of Twitter and I’m sure there are other reasons as well.

Interestingly, for me, it comes down to feelings that Jason Baptiste of OnSwipe managed to put into perspective quite well:

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Women in Combat: About Time, but There’s a Catch

I’m a veteran of the United States Army. I’d have chosen many of my female friends to be in combat beside me ahead of their male counterparts. Today that becomes a reality.

But there’s a problem. As odd as it may sound, watch Demi Moore’s GI Jane for a rather parallel depiction to what I think will happen in these next few years.

The society of the United States, as progressive as some of us might like to believe that we are, will have serious issues with women on the front lines. Expect pushback and manipulation from Governors, Senators and other elected officials who are in turn being weighed upon heavily by their electors.

Though the bigger problem is the society within the armed forces. The opinions of a...

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The Inherent Value of Niche

There’s a lot to be said for being incredibly good at one thing. When someone fits that description, the results are stunning.

From the standpoint of being a competitor, I love it when our competition decides to attempt a thousand different verticals because I know (from experience) that they will ultimately fail.

From the standpoint of a potential user I loathe that behavior because I know (from experience) that they will ultimately fail.

It’s perfectly fine to locate that one thing at which you excel above all others and then capitalize upon it.

But the adage remains true – More does not always equal better.

What are you good at? Is that what you’re doing? If not, then stop it. You’re going to fail. You can challenge yourself to become better at something that’s not your strong suit, but throwing all of your time and money into it is a...

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