another happy birthday post

Apparently it takes a lot for me to post on this blog of mine. Not only must I have a strong feelings about a particular subject, but I also need the patience to write, and I need extra time to justify posting vs. the many other things I should, could, or would be doing right now. Most importantly, I should feel that the subject is worthwhile and may have some type of impact for good (many subjects I feel strongly about but don’t necessarily translate to useful information or motivation blog posts). Today is a lucky day because the stars are aligning and all three of the above criteria are met.

Another thing you might have noticed if you are actually a consistent reader on this blog, is that I love talking about other people. Today is no exception. I dedicate this post to one of my newest greatest friends: Jarilyn Cox. I say newest because I didn’t know Jar pre-MPA program and it still kind of shocks me that really great friends can be developed past the 7th grade. Is not the phrase ‘BFF’ only reserved for those who you grew up with? Thank goodness it’s not because I sometimes surprise myself at the number of people I call my best friend. I think we’re up to at least 37 now. Roughly.

No really though, Jarilyn is definitely one of my best friends. Let me list (who doesn’t like a good list?) a few reasons why:

1. Jar is up for anything anytime. She makes things happen. You want to go to London, England or Vernal, UT? She’ll have it organized in a day and a 1/2. You want to go hiking or to disneyland for the weekend? She’ll have the sandwich’s ready and plans made within 20 minutes. She decided to go to Paraguay for the whole summer, made the decision within a day or two, and never looked back once. It’s quite amazing to watch for indecisive people like myself. This girl is a mover and a shaker.

2. Jarilyn loves sports. Oh man. I don’t know very many females that play Volleyball, Tennis, Racquetball and Ultimate Frisbee all in one day. Nothing can come in the way of her playing time. She loves byu sports and we’ve been regular attenders over the last year. She has also been the best racquetball partner I’ve ever had. So much fun.

3. Jarilyn is so much fun to be around. She uses hyperboles almost every other sentence. It makes things REALLY exciting. Everything is all of a sudden 7 billion hours long, or 6 million people were there. Her facial expressions add to the excitement. You can’t help but laugh and smile when Jarilyn is around.

4. She is SOOO easy to make fun of. From technology to dating, Jarilyn is an easy target. Unfortunately, I totally took advantage of this throughout the year. What ever you do Jar will NEVER switch to gmail (and she probably won’t even read this blog). We had a gazillion great laughs about it though, right Jar?

5. Finally, Jar is incredibly consistent. When it comes to friendship, this is the best attribute. Jar is so willing to help, to listen, and to just share your burden. She likes what she likes and is not at all swayed by the whims of trends or others opinions. When Jarilyn commits – she’s 110% committed.

If you can’t tell, I really love this girl and already miss spending 15 hours a day together. Happy Birthday Jar!

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a digital nation

Watch this PBS documentary: a digital nation. It changed the way I viewed technology. They discuss how the internet has hurt (and helped) relationships, how multitasking is destroying our culture, how we create second lives through the internet, and how pretty soon we’ll be sending our kids to internet addiction camps like they already do in Korea. You really should watch it, I found it fascinating.

As a result, in the last few weeks I’ve began multiple conversations about the value of media in our life: twitter, facebook, google buzz… what is the point of it all? Does it add more value or only distract?

The short conclusion is that I think it adds a lot a value IF properly used. Proper Netiquette (defined: short for network etiquette, the code of conduct regarding acceptable online behavior) must be displayed as well as moderation in all things, including email use. Which is why I felt the need to go on a google chat hiatus for the last two weeks– I was feeling addicted ‘being online’, I felt the compulsion to have some sort of web presence, as weird as that may sound. Some of you may have felt the same way with a different web program.

Feel addicted to youtube videos? Do you constantly think of your actions in terms of something to blog about or update your facebook status with? Can you handle being signed out of your email for a few hours? a few minutes?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then I venture to say that it is time to step back. Let’s look at how the web is helping and hurting us, then refine how we use it.

One final thought from Thomas Jefferson: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” I think in some small way, the internet is a powerful form of tyranny over the mind of man. Although I haven’t developed this thought thoroughly. Elder Bednar also had a lot to say on this subject.

I’d appreciate your thoughts.

my favorite web tool: evernote

I decided I’m going to start posting informative instructional posts about things that I like and enjoy. Currently that will include many things web-related. So here goes on the first one…

Evernote is an archival, web-based program that meets all my note-taking needs. I downloaded it a year ago and was convinced of it’s validity once I found out Aaron Miller used it (he is the source of all Mac wisdom and also a personal idol). I use it mainly to write in my journal, take notes for school, and clip articles/recipes/ideas from the web. On the Evernote blog, there are many other ideas of how to use Evernote. Somethings I’ve been impressed with is using evernote to plan a wedding, buy a house/car, file recipes, categorize business cards, organize your job search, etc.

Best features
Webclipping. Anytime I see an article/picture/recipe/blog that I want to look at again, I just click my evernote button and it automatically adds it to my evernote library with the source url.
Searchability. I love searching a whole database of notes with a single stroke (my journal, school notes, articles, etc)
Email/text yourself notes. Evernote generates an email address that feeds into your Evernote account.
Online accessibility and backup. All my notes are online and on my laptop. I can access them wherever I am.
These are just a few of my favorite features, but you can also tag your notes, share notebooks, add documents and files to your notes, take pictures of documents you want to save, etc. Such possibility!
Do you know of any other awesome note-taking software?