Tools for Planning and Visualizing Your Home Office Build

You might have seen in my post last week (5 Inspirational Workspaces) that I’m planning on building a new home office when I move later in the year. One of the things that struck me about the workspaces that I admire is that most of them required detailed planning.

What tools can you use for planning a home office build?

Graph paper and pencil

I used this technique while planning furniture purchases for our rather small living room. You decide on a suitable scale, measure the room and then plot it on the paper: the walls, doors, any immovable objects and useful things like power outlets:

My living room plotted on graph paper

My living room plotted on graph paper

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Tweet Business: 3 Apps to Help with Twitter Analytics

It can be hard convincing anyone that Twitter is a worthwhile business tool, even yourself. This is especially true if you’re business-minded and like to attach numbers to something in order to ascertain its value. It’s hard to get solid figures on the value that Twitter provides, as it’s about hard-to-measure concepts like connections, reach and influence. There are some tools out there, though, that aim to provide figures to help you with some Twitter metrics.


Knowing who to follow, and when to communicate with them can be instrumental in making your Twitter interactions more effective and meaningful. Effective management of these two things can massively increase the likelihood that you’ll generate professional opportunities with your tweeting.

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Improved Startup Delayer App is Still a Gem

I’m always on the hunt for freeware and open source applications and utilities, and one of my favorite finds from last year, which I wrote about here, was Startup Delayer. I’ve been steadily using this utility, and recommend it highly to Windows users frustrated with slow boot times. It’s also been recently updated.

Here are some ways to get the most out of it, and what’s new.

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Microsoft SideSight: Should Apple Really Worry?

Keen not to be left behind by Apple’s increasing repertoire of multi-touch interface control gestures, Microsoft recently previewed a new technology called “SideSight.” SideSight is not just Redmond’s version of Apple’s tech, though. In fact, Microsoft’s new offering is not touch tech at all. More like proximity tech.

Gearlog provides an overview of SideSight, based on a paper presented by Microsoft U.K. at the User Interface Software and Technology conference. The paper describes the new input tech in the context of touchscreen interaction, which it claims is unsuitable for small devices which, naturally, have smaller screens. It’s a good point. Even on the iPhone, my meaty digits occasionally obscure some important piece of information.
How does SideSight, ahem, sidestep the problem? By allowing users to interact not only with the device directly, but also with the surrounding space. Using outward facing optical sensors lining the device, movements made by a user on a surface beneath or in the air around it are detected and translated into control actions. Gearlog provided these examples of how this might work in practice:

Pages could be panned and scrolled by moving a hand up and down, and Microsoft also proved that text could be entered and edited on the main screen through a stylus while the other hand scrolled the page — a movement that would be akin to the motions a user’s hands would make if he or she were writing on a sheet of paper.

So should Apple be wary of Microsoft’s latest foray into hand-waving? A lot will depend on third-party support, and integration with Redmond’s own future products. While cell phones are clearly a target market for the tech, the report also cites PMPs and watches as candidates. While I can see the appeal of SideSight in things like eBook readers, I have a hard time picturing a lot of consumer interest in watches with gesture control. What do you need to do with your watch that would require you to flail your hands around like a magician about to pull a rabbit out of a hat? And does Apple even care about those markets? Probably not, since Steve Jobs doesn’t even seem interested in the netbook market, which is much closer to their core business.
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Rhett and Link, Large Hadron Rap: NTV Station Today

We’re all about the mashing up of music and technology today on NewTeeVee Station. First, Rhett and Link craft a Weird Al-esque lament for these perhaps-too-exciting Web 2.0 days…

And tonight might be Planet Earth’s last hurrah, that is if anything goes wrong with the launch of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. But what’s the purpose of the particle accelerator? Large Hadron Rap explains it all — and offers some small comfort that maybe the world will hold together, just a little longer. Why is that? Find out at NewTeeVee Station!

NewTeeVee Interview With Ashton Kutcher

I had a chance to sit down with Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg this morning, partners at Katalyst Media. The two launched their first web show, Blah Girls, an animated celebrity gossip series, at noon today following a presentation at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco where Kutcher tried to combine, much as his TV program does, both the beauty and the geek.

Embedded below is the premiere episode of the show, along with a video of our interview, which covered topics like these:

Blah Girls will come out twice a week, most likely Monday and Thursday on, Yahoo, YouTube, and other partners
– Kutcher has never seen Arrested Development (he likes lower-brow humor)
– The challenge of making an animated (in other words, slow to produce) show about the fast-paced world of celebrity news
– What Kutcher watches online: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (though he didn’t quite get the name right), Funny or Die, YouTube, fantasy football stuff
– Kutcher’s impressions of paparazzi journalism and fair use

For me, the first episode didn’t kill, but at least it’s got a sense of humor. Besides, I absolutely love Arrested Development, though I have followed Beauty and the Geek too. Kutcher, of course, has an audience of his own, and said he’ll be promoting the site to his hundreds of thousands of MySpace friends…so that’s a start.

National Lambda Rail, Internet2 to merge

It is one of those things that make you ask the question: what took you so long. Internet2 and National Lambda Rail – two next generation networks that are trying to redefine the nature of natures are finally coming together as an organization called, Internet2-National Lambda Rail (“Internet2-NLR”.)

The two organizations have a bit of a history, and have had failed discussions about the merger before. Read More about National Lambda Rail, Internet2 to merge

Is ‘Social News’ the New Trend?

TREND SPOTTING: As a child I remember sitting around with the grown-ups at the neighborhood tea stall – grizzly old blokes, friends of my grandfather and listening to them discuss political developments of the day, reading from the newspapers, and putting their spin on it. It was my first experience with social news. Of course the world has changed a lot since then, and so has the news business.

Despite its obvious problems, the news business is getting back to its roots and is getting social again. Mashable points to a story from Terry Heaton’s PoMo blog that talks about MySpace launching a social news site, based (I am guessing) on Newroo, a company they acquired in April 2006. The preview of Newroo had features that are showing up in the MySpace News offering that is scheduled to go live sometime in the second quarter of 2007.

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Real time traffic on your mobile phone

3rd Dimension, a New York-based company has introduced a new (free) application that allows drivers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to see live traffic videos on their compatible data-enabled cell phones. The service also works on BlackBerry, Palm Treo and Windows Mobile smart phones. Users can choose from more than 450 real-time traffic cameras along major crossings in the tri-state area, stretching from New Haven, Connecticut to Southern New Jersey and including New York City’s five boroughs. It was test launched back in November 2006. You can download it here.