Slowing down, Volume 2: Walking.

In 2014 my wife and I walked over 600 miles over one of the northern routes of the Camino de’ Santiago in northern Spain. Aside from being a life changing couple of months, I also came away with a walking a practice that I’ve stuck to ever since.

Of all the things you can pick up in a lifetime, you’d be hard pressed to find a better way of slowing down than walking from point A to point B. It requires planning. It requires patience from yourself as well as anyone else you are trying to incorporate into your life.

And yet, for me anyways, it’s become a form of meditation that I’ve yet to duplicate whilst doing anything else. The zen-like stillness I achieve while walking places has been life-changing. I am happier for it. I am more centered in my work and in my play. I am moving my body. I am inhabiting the planet in a kinder way. I am out in my community, amongst my neighbors. I am outside, the open sky above me.

Yes, you have to plan when you will be places and augment your day’s schedule accordingly. Yes, this is all in addition (or in supplement) to what you are were attempting to accomplish before.

But… having done it regularly for 3 years now – averaging 5 to 10 miles a day – I wouldn’t change this practice for the world.

About the only bad thing I can think of is the amount of sneakers I’ve been going through (if you know of a good sneaker recycling option, leave it in the comments below). Everything else has been utter improvement.

Why am I writing this series?

2018 and the art of slowing down.

This year I’ve decided to deliberately slow certain tasks in my life down a bit.

All too often I’ve sought the quickest way to accomplish a task and I think after I turned 40 (I’m turning 42 this month), I’ve really started to question why.

Before, it was simply efficiency. So that I could find the quickest route to consume a result. This year I’d like to do things differently. I aim to be more present during this intentional slowness – more reflective – with the genuine hope that I become more in tune with myself. All of this is aimed at introducing more stillness into my life, with the hope that that could be a conduit to more of the same within myself.

Most of these changes will inevitably cause me to take more of a low tech approach to things, and I look forward to that. I’ve already got a couple pieces outlined that I hope to post on here. They are things I have been already doing in my day-to-day that are giving me more clarity, focus, and happiness.

I hope they do the same for you!

Stay tuned…

Interesting Ideas: AirType

AirType concept image.

I have a hard time shooting these concepts down because I actually do think this where the future of interface is going.

When the soft keyboard debuted with the iPhone in 2007, it was met with extreme skepticism. But over time we all got used to it. There’s an entire generation now that looks at a phone with a physical keyboard much like my generation would look at a 14.4k modem.

How long before our kids’ kids look at a any physical interface at all and laugh?

I’m just about to leap into my 40’s and I imagine the days of buttons are going to be replaced by our fingers dancing through the air long before I head to a nursing home.

Still, while I love the portability and the idea of concepts like AirType, I do wonder how long it would take for my keystroke accuracy to catch up to how fast I can type on a physical keyboard.

We shall see! Probably sooner than we think too! I look forward to finding out.

Interesting Ideas: “Knock to Unlock” software…

I’ve been using this for a little over a week now and while it does have some issues with the LE Bluetooth connection to my phone (iPhone5), periodically causing me to quit and relaunch both apps (on the Mac and iPhone)… I gotta admit, it’s pretty awesome when it works.

There is about a 10 second lag from when I open up my rMBP in sleep mode to when I am able to knock on my phone (yes, I timed it), but it actually seems much shorter than that. I imagine this would be quite handy for folks out there with iMacs that are always on, locked, with a screen saver. When my computer is sitting there, locked and at the ready? It works like a charm with no wait whatsoever.

Other things I noticed:

  1. People out there flipping out about knocking on an iPhone clearly don’t own one. You’d think they were hitting it with a damn baseball bat instead of the knuckles on your hand! Please calm down. You don’t have to knock that hard at all for it to work.
  2. The initial setup is a breeze once your computer recognizes and pairs with your phone.
  3. True to their site description, your phone’s battery life doesn’t take a hit at all. It is one of the first interesting (and awesome) uses of Bluetooth LE that I’ve seen to date.
  4. Check out their site:, there’s some fun stuff going on in there.
  5. Before you buy, make sure your computer and phone are compatible!
  6. If, for whatever reason, your computer doesn’t find your phone via BT, don’t worry, you can still type your password in. Though that admittedly will make you snicker and doubt your purchase.
  7. If this app doesn’t make you hunger for the day that NFC (near field communication) proliferates our lives and devices a bit more, I don’t know what will.

I really hope they continue development for this fun idea! As I said, when it works it’s a lot of fun to watch (not to mention it’s a legit time-saver)!

Sold!! Where do I get it?

  • For your Mac, it’s free here.
  • For iOS, you can find it here, for $3.99 USD.

Interesting Ideas: “Automatic – Your Smart Driving Assistant”


“Your Car and Smartphone, Connected

Just plug the Automatic Link into your car’s data port. Your car and smart phone
will automatically connect whenever you drive, wirelessly.”

This one has been making the rounds today and for good reason: there are so many awesome ideas at play here! Basically, “Automatic” is a hardware and iOS/Android software solution that connects to your smart phone to your car in a really ingenious way. Once connected, it gives you quite a bit of functionality! The complete list can be found here (just scroll down).

The top ones for me though are easily:

  • The way it connects to your car. It “…plugs into the same port your mechanic uses when you take your car in for service.” and it’s use of the low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 connection to conserve your phone’s battery life is really well thought out.
  • The geolocation of your car is always recorded in real-time. So no need to take a picture of the spot you parked in. The location can also be shared.
  • Accident/crash support. Contacting 911 with your location all the while texting loved ones once help has responded and is on the way, is pretty great.
  • Real-time reporting on engine lights (listing their cause) AND the ability to reset them. To me, this alone is totally worth the price of the service/hardware! $69.95 (!?!)

Check out the video below! It covers everything above and more.

As you can probably tell, I am smitten with this. Just a very, very interesting idea for a service. And it’s the implementation of it, that makes it so intriguing to me.

I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure there isn’t anything like it out there!
All video and pictures were taken from Automatic’s own press material.