♪ Mr. Clean Mr. Clean ♫

Mrclean_circle.jpgOne of the items that ended up in our shopping cart yesterday at the grocery store was a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Julie had a coupon for one so we decided to give it a whirl. I thought it was just another sponge, but I was wrong.
I am so thankful Julie was there to nudge me toward that buy. It’s pretty amazing. Add a little water to the sponge and a little elbow grease to whatever you’re cleaning and voila, gone.
In hindsight, I wish I had taken some before and after pictures. We’ve got one of those older countertops that stains easily. Tea stains? Gone. Juice? Gone! Even rust stains from a wok that sat in a puddle of water? Vanished!
Finds like this make me appreciate Julie’s coupon clipping skills that much more.

New rules

I have finally figured out how I want this to work. Here are the rules:

  1. This blog, Southern Athenaeum, is for writing.
  2. That blog, Stuff I read, is for the stuff that catches my eye on the Internet.
  3. No #3. That’s it.

You will probably see more traffic over at Stuff I Read, but if you want to see my (occasional, sporadic) writing you’ll find it here.
P.S. I’m not even going to attempt to split this blog in twain. These are the rules from here on out…

Seth's Blog: Random rules for ideas worth spreading

Seth Godin continues to ship out great stuff. Here is a list, and lists on blogs can sometimes suck, but this item jumped out at me in regard to my post yesterday evening:
Seth’s Blog: Random rules for ideas worth spreading:

Waiting for inspiration is another way of saying that you’re stalling. You don’t wait for inspiration, you command it to appear.

Hit the link to read the rest of Seth’s great advice.

Commitment to Creativity

Sometimes it seems that work consumes all of your creativity, and sometimes you have to admit that you’re just lying to yourself.
Loving the Apple Magic MouseThere are days when I say to myself “I just don’t have any good ideas” or “Nobody wants to read this drivel.” Those are the days my internal editor is really letting me have it. “You’re just not really good enough,” he says. “You’ll never amount to anything as a writer.”
That internal editor’s voice, he’s real nasty. And he doesn’t let up. Not ever.
I’ve got to learn to stifle the editor stomping around in my lizard brain, that chunk of my fight or flight chunk of my brain (with the emphasis on flight).
The fact is that I am good enough. I’m going to be 38 in February–pushing 40–and it’s time to bring some focus back to my personal creative work. I say personal creative work because I have a lot of leeway to be creative in my career, but I don’t want that daily grind to be my excuse for stopping when I get home. I did that for too long when I worked in journalism.
“But I’ve been writing all day. I don’t have anything left in me.”
Yep, there he was all along, the editor screaming from my lizard brain. Just shut up in there!
TimeI have a lot of priorities to get in order. The things I’m trying to juggle are family, career, getting to the gym, reading more, and finding time to be creative. Along with all of that are the typical workaday responsibilities. Housecleaning. Cooking. Ferrying kids here and there.
So many people are able to do all of that and have the time to change the world. Look at the president’s schedule. Look at everything Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have been able to accomplish. Look back to Einstein and Ghandi all of the other people now known by only one name (I guess you’ve made it when you’re known by one name). All of them, everyone, has 24 hours in a day the same as me.
I have time to change the world, too. I just have to make that commitment and I am ready.

The New York Times May Soon Begin Charging for Online Content [News]

I know that newspapers are getting desperate for revenue streams, but I think this decision for the New York Times to begin charging for content will be a nail in the paper’s coffin. They’ll make a few bucks, but lose a lot of online readership.
“The news” is too accessible online. Charging for content at this point is like trying to stop Niagara Falls with a stack of nickels.
The New York Times May Soon Begin Charging for Online Content [News]:

According to New York Magazine, the New York Times may soon announce they’ll begin charging for web site access, putting one of the most popular and venerable online news destinations behind a paywall. NY Mag speculates that they’ll be metering access so that readers can sample a set number of articles for free each day, after which they’ll be prompted to subscribe. [New York Magazine]

(Via Lifehacker.)

20 Beautiful Mac Apps | Design Reviver

Apple is known for good design and so are many of those who develop applications for the Mac. Designers for Macs know that it’s OK, even better, for an application to be powerful and beautiful at the same time.
20 Beautiful Mac Apps | Design Reviver:

20 Beautiful Mac Apps
Mac OS X is known for housing an amazing graphical user interface. Not only is the operating system beautiful in every way, but a large portion of the applications developed for Macs have great usability along with a stunning “face”. Below you will find 20 Mac Apps With Beautiful User Interface Designs for your inspiration. This is also a great reference for those that are looking to develop their own applications.

(Via Rands, on Twitter.)

Desktop ↔ 01.15.2010

Just because. Here’s my desktop these days…

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 8.44.53 PM

Still a little heavy up in the menubar, but it’s all tools I use. The desktop is completely clear now unless it’s something I’m working on RIGHT NOW. That tab at the bottom right is courtesy of DEVONthink Pro 2.x beta.

No more MobileMe

nomobileme.pngWe have paid for Apple’s MobileMe iPhone plan for two years now, but have decided to let our subscription expire in February.
MobileMe is a wonderful service. It’s dead simple to use and offers some exclusive features, but Julie and I find we mainly use e-mail and calendars. We already had free e-mail accounts I manage through Google Apps. Google Sync has come a long way, too, and we can now sync our calendars through Google Calendar (also part of Google Apps).
An iPhone app that I depend on is OmniFocus for iPhone and it’s usefulness depends on syncing with its desktop counterpart. Until today I used Apple’s iDisk for this service. Since that will expire in February as well I did some research and found Swissdisk, which is offering 50mb of free encrypted WebDAV space that is just perfect for empowering OmniFocus to work it’s syncing magic.
The one piece of functionality we are losing is the ability to track down your iPhone, which is extremely cool, but at $150 a year the 5-user MobileMe family plan wasn’t carrying its weight around here when you consider those existing free solutions.

One blog to rule them all

I recognized that my blog posts fell into several big categories—funny, productivity, family, writing & creativity, and design—and experimented with spinning them off into their own spaces. During that time I moved from posting infrequently on one blog I was posting infrequently on five blogs.
The end result of the experiment is that I am consolidating everything into this site; yep, the one you’re reading now, as your one-stop shop for infrequent blog posts by yours truly. Just forget about those other blogs. Thanks.
However, you may want to keep a bookmark for Stuff I read over on Tumblr. It’s a quick drop box for me to share some of the small things I find online.