Why Digital Books Beat Physical Books

ilovebooks

Photo courtesy of Glen Noble at Unsplash.com

I love to read. And I still hear the debate come up as to whether digital books are better than physical books. In my case, I love to read and I absolutely love digital books. Why?

I love to highlight phrases, sentences or whole sections. When I highlight I am thinking “if I was to read just the highlights of this book as a refresher, what would I want to know… what really mattered here.”

Now comes the great part…

You never know when you might want to recall your notes or where you will be when you want that information. Every highlight I have made is available from virtually any device. I simply login to my Amazon account (or Nook/Barnes and Noble for books I purchased there or on my original Sony Reader) and I can access the original texts with the highlights. Even better… to see just my highlights, I login to Amazon at https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights and, in a matter of seconds, I can be reviewing just my highlights from any book in my Kindle library. Brilliant!

If I want to make notes about sections or pages in the book I do so in Evernote or OneNote (especially when I want to write with a digital stylus.) I often paste the Kindle highlights into these digital notebooks and add discussion notes and questions if I am reviewing a book with friends. And the power of search makes even the handwritten notes easy and quick to find. In fact, the power of searching inside of notes, pdfs and documents has made the filing and tagging system less of a requirement.

When I read off my computer display I can easily zoom in or enlarge the text. This helps tired eyes. :-)

And when I get tired of reading off a lit display and my eyes want and need a break… For this I am forever thankful for the E-Ink technology. Enter my Kindle Paperwhite (with the backlighting turned off, and in an area lit well enough to enjoy the “natural light on e-ink” view and not strain my eyes.)

Physical books are great too. I just find digital advantages outweigh them. And, speaking of outweighing them, the most dreaded boxes during our recent move were the ones labeled “Books”. Those boxes almost always outweigh the others in our move. My back was super thankful for the digital books. Our devices let us keep a massive library with us. The library and our notes are accessible on all our devices without adding an ounce to the load.

What about those of you who already have a big library of physical books and want to change them to digital? I know several who have repurchased their books in digital form. There’s a fairly new app called “Shelfie” that lets you take a picture of your physical books. If the publisher lets you have the digital version at low cost or no cost, you are then able to easily add it to your digital library. You can learn more here. You can get a free book when you sign up for Shelfie with promo code DAVJ1357.

From my first Sony Reader to my present Kindle Paperwhite plus the magazines I read on the Zinio app and everything I clip for reading in Evernote and OneNote, I am a digital guy.

Digital or Physical? What’s your preference and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter @DaveJaworski, Facebook or in the comments.

Going Green

No, this isn’t about being eco-friendly. It is about March 17. Bringing back a personal favorite post… St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. Who knew! For one day we can all be honorary Irish and “go green”.

St. Patrick wasn’t Irish?

Two By Two

If you are not a software developer, I encourage you to read this post anyways. Stick with me and I’ll do my best to make it worth your while…

Software development is better when two developers work together. Called “pair programming”, the agile software development practice literally has two developers on the same computer. Blockages get knocked down a lot faster. Code quality is generally higher. And the benefits go on and on. Here are a few articles on the topic:

Atlassian Blogs – Pair Programming Is Kryptonite!

All About Agile’s take on Pair Programming

Agile Alliance’s Guide to Pair Programming

Wikipedia on Pair Programming

There are many more articles on pair programming and almost as many of them are not favorable as are favorable to the practice. My experience is that pairing typically speeds development and increases quality. It is also my experience that it takes the right kind of developers to work in pairs. If you can get your team to have the right attitude and truly give pair programming a shot you will most likely stick with that approach going forward.

My experience is that pairing typically speeds development and increases quality. It is also my experience that it takes the right kind of developers to work in pairs. If you can get your team to have the right attitude and truly give pair programming a shot you will most likely stick with that approach going forward.

One of the premises of AGILE development is that you adapt it to work for your organization. In fact, a hybrid approach may work in which you pair in certain circumstances and not in others.

There are many types of pairing that are not “equal pairs”. In SCRUM, a SCRUM Master and a Product Owner are often “paired”. Sales teams often pair a sales person with a systems engineer, especially in the case of large technical sales situations. The examples go on and on.

To push the point beyond software development, Jesus sent out the disciples in pairs. Pairing works great on much more than just software development. If you have not tried it, I encourage you to try pairing in your work. Here in Nashville, the music industry is very much a believer in pairing… co-writing is one of the revered practices that has brought us some of the greatest songs of all time.

I also encourage you to try the concept in your personal life. The best relationships are typically those where both people get on the same page and set common goals. Not all goals need to be common… just the key ones for the relationship. And the feeling of “success” when goals are achieved is as great in personal situations as in business scenarios, if not much greater.

We live in a time where there are more “solo-preneurs” (companies of 1 person) than ever before. Even in these situations, finding ways to partner can accelerate business growth and opportunities. In fact, the most successful “solo-preneurs” that I know are also great at partnering.

I also encourage you to try it in your personal life. The best relationships are typically those where both people get on the same page and set common goals. Not all goals need to be common… just the key ones for the relationship. And the feeling of “success” when goals are achieved is as great in personal situations as in business scenarios, if not much greater.

My message to the “soloists” is simple… Soloing is great. Partnering, when done well, can be even more gratifying. Try it and let me know what you think.

 

Awesome Christmas!

This was a fantastic Christmas for our family other than my parents not being able to travel to be with us. Susan’s Mom and Amanda and Chris from Seattle joined the Nashville crew for a great celebration.

Christmas-2015

Susan Cecilia OmiCecilia Therese meeting with her namesake, Susan’s Mom, Therese “Omi”

Cecilia BaptismThis is Cecilia’s First Christmas and
she celebrated her Baptism right before Christmas!

Owen-Christmas2015Owen’s First Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! Thank you God for loving us and sending your son Jesus — fully human and fully God — to teach us and show us the way to eternal life with you! You love us as we are. We are blessed!

We hope you and yours have an amazing awesome 2016!

Apple Watch, Microsoft Band – Why would you want one?

watch-band

Apple, Microsoft, Fitbit, Garmin… everyone wants us to be connected and measured by their device. Why would you want one? Why do I love them?

For those into exercise, the measurement of our workouts and even passive movement is often reason alone. I won’t take the time to justify or debate that here. The benefits seem pretty obvious. What about use outside of working out? Is adding a watch to your productivity arsenal worthwhile?

In my opinion, yes.

Why?

Life untethered. Life more present.

Let me explain…

Sad as this “true confession” may be, I used to walk around with my phone always in my pocket. Sure enough, if I put it down, I would miss an important call and so a round of phone tag would begin. The phone was an appendage of me. And, as it traveled with me, I would find myself glancing at it for any beeps, buzzes or blips. A lot. Often. And this can accidentally be very rude to those you are with.

I was asking another Apple Watch owner how he felt about it. He said exactly the same thing. Our experience is likely shared by many others.

So why is the Watch or Band any different than the phone in this regard?

All alerts come to the phone. Yes, they can be turned off. Yet you usually don’t want to do that for a variety of reasons. Many of us spend as much time (or more) on our phones than we do on our computers, so they are primary communication tools and we want to be informed up to the minute.

Enter the wrist…

You can “filter” your alerts on your Watch or Band. Now you have two levels of filter for your digital connected life… You can have just phone calls and text messages come to your Watch or Band. And maybe those important NHL updates. (Yes, I was born in Canada. It is in my blood.) All other alerts can go to the phone. So the simple act of putting down my phone and continuing to be connected by the Watch or Band lets me get the possibly important notifications while everything else is happily waiting for me when I choose to next pick up the phone. And I can easily see and respond to a text message without getting out of the flow of the current activity from the device on my wrist. Nice.

I feel you!

Haptic feedback is awesome. Having your wrist get “tapped” is a lot less intrusive to others than having your phone on vibrate or, worse yet, give audible notifications in a meeting. I can check on the reason for the tap when it is most convenient. And, because the “filter” is being applied via the wrist notifications that I allow, I am more likely to pay attention to the tap than the constant buzzing of the phone’s notifications which make it hard to distinguish between an app’s “breaking news” versus a more important personal text message.

The benefits of a new level of filtering and becoming more attentive to the present moment are unexpected yet welcomed advantages of adding another device to my digital life. I look forward to your thoughts and experiences here in the comments or on social media. If you don’t get an immediate response from me, it probably means I put my phone down.  😉

 

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