Does Caffeine Really Affect Productivity?

Most of us web workers have a relationship with caffeine. Whether we use tea or coffee as creative fuel, or use coffee shops as our offices, caffeine has become an essential part of our professional lives. But how exactly does caffeine affect us?

Pay for Your Grande Latte at Starbucks With Your iPhone

starbucksCoffee lovers with overstuffed wallets rejoice: You can now pay for your Starbucks (s sbux) coffee with your Starbucks Card without actually using a physical card. There’s a catch — you’ll need an iPhone. But if you have one, you can now pay with Starbucks Card Mobile (iTunes link), a new app now available as a free download from the App Store.

Before you head out the door with your iPhone in hand to try this out, check a map and make sure you’re currently located in Cupertino, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, or San Jose in California, or Seattle in Washington. If you’re anywhere else, you’re going to be disappointed, since those are the locations of the stores participating in the pilot test program of the new payment method. Read More about Pay for Your Grande Latte at Starbucks With Your iPhone

Third Place: Free Wi-Fi at Starbucks, But Not Cafe Grumpy?

nolaptopThe coffee shop has long been an valuable digital oasis for freelancers and untethered workers, providing an essential mix of cake, connectivity and company. It has inadvertently, and sometimes deliberately, become the third place, figuratively located between home and work.
Last December we reported that the UK’s Pret a Manger chain was launching free Wi-Fi access — now it seems they’re set to be joined by Starbucks (s sbux), at just over 500 locations throughout the UK.
Though Starbucks has long offered paid Wi-Fi via T-Mobile and BT, as well as complimentary iPhone usage, this latest development is purported to open connectivity to anyone using Starbucks’ prepay cards. Read More about Third Place: Free Wi-Fi at Starbucks, But Not Cafe Grumpy?

WebOS on a Netbook Could be the NBT

LAPTOP Magazine knows netbooks. They see every single netbook that comes down the pike and quite a few that don’t even make it to the U.S. An article they’ve published looks at the possibility that we may see netbooks running Palm’s (s palm) WebOS and I have to agree with them.
Netbooks started with Linux and work quite well with that OS. It’s cheaper and generally runs better on less hardware than the Windows (s MSFT) OS and is a good fit for the little netbook. That’s why we’ve been hearing that netbooks running the Android (s GOOG) OS are going to happen Real Soon Now. Let’s face it, Android is Linux at its core and since it runs well on phones it will easily run well on low-end computers.
The same premise applies to the WebOS.  It, too, is Linux at its core and since it’s cleaner and has a very polished consumer interface it would likely be a great fit for netbooks. Palm has been careful to make sure that the upcoming Pre phone will not be the only target device for the WebOS, so netbooks may very well be in their plans.
LAPTOP Magazine gives some good reasons why WebOS would be a good fit for netbooks and the single best one in my view is how it will likely run very well on ARM processors. These processors are cheaper than Intel’s (s INTC) Atom and are powerful enough to make for good netbook processors. It is expected that a netbook with ARM inside could provide very long battery life, so if you could put a pretty face on a netbook with WebOS, Palm may be sitting on a gold mine.

Caffeine As Fuel For Web Workers

Photo by Reid Beels

Photo by Reid Beels

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is put a kettle of water on the stove to make tea. Unlike Captain Picard’s preference for Earl Grey, I stick mostly to green tea to keep me caffeinated. I suspect that most of you have a similar ritual whether you reach for your morning Mt. Dew, tea, coffee, espresso, or a tall, skinny, half-caf, no whip, caramel machiatto from the local coffee shop.

The western obsession with caffeine has some interesting roots. On the NPR Science Friday podcast this week, Steven Johnson talked about how Age of Enlightenment in England coincides with the arrival of caffeine and the growing popularity of coffee shops as places where people with different backgrounds, like Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Priestley, came together over coffee and tea to talk about issues and new ideas. The coffee houses also introduced caffeine as a daily habit in people’s lives. At the time, one of the only other safe beverages was alcohol, since the water quality was poor, so some people went from being drunk by mid-morning every day to being caffeinated and alert throughout the day. Read More about Caffeine As Fuel For Web Workers

A Meditation on the Pending Starbucks Closings

Starbucks logoHow is my life as a Web worker affected by the closing of 600 Starbucks nationwide? Let me count the ways. But seriously, I’m sure there are many a Web worker lamenting the possible closure of their corner Starbucks due to the company’s “re-organization” strategy (no store locations have been revealed at press time). Do they not know the important role each and every Starbucks plays in the day-to-day lives of Web workers all over?

I mean, having a Starbucks on practically every corner in some cities is the kind of convenience that we’re all used to getting online where if one Web site or Web app isn’t exactly what we need when we need it, another is only a few mouse clicks away. A few steps to the next street corner is only slightly more strenuous than those mouse clicks. And now, we’ll have to actually walk whole blocks to get to a Starbucks that hasn’t been ripped from our streets in the name of improved profit margins for the ubiquitous coffee haven. Well, what about our profit margins as Web workers? Without those 600 Starbucks, how will we survive? Read More about A Meditation on the Pending Starbucks Closings

Haicom’s Bluetooth GPS: perfect for a small notebook or UMPC

Hi408handSince I can’t use the GPS in my USB 727, I might look into Haicom’s itty-bitty GPS module. The HI-408BT looks small, light and runs continiously for 10-hours on a single charge. The 75x30x17mm module weighs just 48 grams and has an integrated Bluetooth radio, so it will connect with the computers and UMPCs I carry around. Haicom indicates that the GPS module has only a 38-second time to first fix from a cold start; I’m sure there are GPS modules that acquire a signal faster, but for something of this small size, I think I’m sold. Now it’s just a matter of finding one to purchase since Haicom is based in Taiwan. In Japan, the MSRP is 9,975 Yen, which works out to around $95 US. There’s no mention of any software included, so you might be on your own with that.(via Akihabara News)