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A Year Of Listening Desperately: 10 Classical Albums That Saved 2016

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Soprano Barbara Hannigan shines in let me tell you by Hans Abrahamsen.

The contentious presidential election colored the listening habits of NPR's classical producer.

(Image credit: Elmer de Haas)

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jcherfas
181 days ago
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Folk Alley's 10 Favorite Albums Of 2016

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The self-titled album from case/lang/veirs, composed of Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs, is one of Folk Alley

Folk Alley's Elena See and Linda Fahey share their takes on the best Americana, roots and folk records of the year.

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist)

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jcherfas
181 days ago
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The Physical Web: Connecting WorkFlowy Lists to Your Physical Environment

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A guest post by Frank Degenaar, author of the highly acclaimed e-book…       “Do Way, Way More in WorkFlowy”.

We’re going to be connecting WorkFlowy lists to physical objects using QR codes (Quick Response codes). So… imagine you’ve printed out the QR code below on a sticker and it’s right there, on your refrigerator door, just waiting to be scanned…

Based on a very true story

… You grab some grapes from your refrigerator, intent on polishing them off. You also think to yourself, “I need to remember to buy more grapes the next time I visit the supermarket.” And then your biggest brainwave idea of the day hits you… “Aaaah! Let me put this on my WorkFlowy grocery list!” So you whip out your phone and scan the QR code on the door of your fridge – which then magically takes you to the WorkFlowy list you had in mind. Well, I told my daughter it was magic – but I have a feeling you’ll want to reproduce this dynamic, so I guess I’ll have to walk you through this hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye thing.

First off, here’s the real-life enactment of the above scenario:

QR codes + WorkFlowy

QR codes can be generated for any URL… but WorkFlowy lists are the perfect fit for this dynamic:

  • They load incredibly fast
  • They’re editable on the go
  • They’re practically unlimited

QR code generators

How do we get QR codes for any URL? Simple: Google “QR Code generator”. I’ve tested out a handful and these are my top pics:

  1. Install a browser add-on/ extension – like this Smart QrCode Generator. Click on the extension icon when you’re in any WorkFlowy list and it will generate a QR code for you. You can then drag it to your desktop.
  2. Unitag’s online QR Code Generator will allow you to customize the color and design of your QR codes. You can even add logos to your QR codes. Save this exact URL to your bookmarks (or WorkFlowy).
  3. You can also put your WorkFlowy list URL’s through link shorteners like Bit.ly, Ow.ly or Goo.gl before creating a QR code. Did you know that Goo.gl gives us QR codes? Just hit the 3 dots (on hover over) to the right of your shortened link.

Shared or private lists?

You can generate QR codes for both your private and shared lists. Heck, you can even create QR codes for saved searches of either.

  • Shared lists open up lightning lighting fast in your mobile browser – because they’re generally very light. They’re like super minimalist web pages.
  • Private lists may take a bit longer to load – because you’re loading the whole of your WorkFlowy account in one go.
  • Use shared lists where you’ll want others to access those lists via the QR code… or in any number of discrete places at home or in your car.
  • Use private lists when it’s for your eyes only. Even if others scan the QR codes for private lists, they won’t be able to access them.

Editable or view-only?

You can choose whether any shared list is editable… or not. You can swap between the 2 without changing your actual share URL. In the video GIF you see at the beginning of the post, I’ve used a shared editable list… so that I can easily edit the grocery list when it comes up.

Printing your QR codes

Print out your QR codes on regular paper, sticker paper… or even on Post-it notes. I’ve tried all of the above. Sticker paper is inexpensive. If you don’t have a printer, you can get it done with minimal fuss at your local print shop.

  1. Set up about 20 shared lists and create individual QR codes for each
  2. Copy all of your QR code images to a document like Word and resize the images (I suggest a height of between 1 – 1,5 inches).
  3. Print… or drop by a print shop.

My QR codes on sticker paper:

Post-it notes

If you have a love affair with Post-it notes, you may just enjoy printing WorkFlowy QR codes on them (I tested it out and didn’t break my printer). I followed a tutorial I found here and used Joanne Del Balso’s Word templates to get the Post-it notes in the right position before printing:

You even have space to write on the Post-it, depending of your placement and size of the QR code. This is what they look like (optimized with Evernote’s Post-it scanner):

You’ll notice in the images above that it’s possible to customize QR codes by including icons if you want. It’s a nice touch for Post-it notes.

QR code scanners

You’re going to need to download a QR code scanner to read your QR codes and take you to where they point to. Here are 2 free (and ad-free) apps, both of which can be downloaded for iOS and Android:

  1. CamFind: I used this app in the animated GIF above. It opens your URL within the app itself. You can also hit the share arrow to open in Safari on iOS.
  2. Unitag QR Code Scanner: This app is blazing fast. It locks on to your QR code here-I-come-ready-or-not fast. You then tap “open” to load your URL in your default browser. The app also stores a list of all scanned QR codes.

There are scores of QR code scanners to choose from. The above 2 come highly recommended and are the best of the ad-free ones. Below you’ll see a quick demo of the Unitag Scanner:

Use cases

Your imagination’s the limit. Here follow but a few examples of what I believe to be some honest-to-goodness, practical places and objects to stick WorkFlowy list QR codes to:

  1. Your fridge: As pictured in the 1st animated GIF, this is quicker than opening your app itself and navigating to your grocery list. It’s also drop-dead intuitive. If your list is a shared and editable one, the whole family can add stuff to the list.
  2. Workout equipment: As pictured in the last animated GIF above, I stuck a QR code onto one of my push-up bars. That takes me gosh-darn quick to a WorkFlowy workout list. Less fuss when it comes time to get moving and grooving.
  3. Your car’s glove compartment or sun visor(s): Tuck away a QR code for a WorkFlowy list that contains pertinent data – such as your next scheduled service/ oil change, tire pressure on/ off-road… fill in the blank.
  4. Air conditioning units: Service history.
  5. Luggage: Packing checklists
  6. Tool boxes: I can’t help but think of Bob’s tool inventory, featured in this blog post. A quick scan will reveal the exact contents of each pallet.
  7. Moving boxes: Scanning a QR code on any one of scores of boxes will reveal as detailed a list of contents as you want to make.
  8. Ad/ announcement on bulletin board: Whether you’re renting or selling something, you can include contact details in a WorkFlowy list. The great thing about this is that when the offer has expired, you can delete your contact details or unshare the list. You won’t receive any unnecessary phone calls after the fact.
  9. For your house sitters: QR codes pointing to instructions in several places around the house: dog food container, quirky microwave, alarm panel, etc.
  10. Collections: DVD, vinyl, books. Tuck your code away out of sight – perhaps on the underside of a shelf. You could do some interesting things if you were a librarian…
  11. Print a QR code on a coffee mug for your spouse and he/ she can scan it for a new message every day – whether romantic… or a list of things to fix at home.
  12. Treasure hunt clues: Create a series of clues that lead from one location/ object to another. Number your lists and paste in the instructions/ riddles at the right time. That way, your plan won’t be thwarted before the time if someone had to accidentally find one of the clues.

You’re itching to share!

Share with us some of your own handy ideas for using WorkFlowy list QR codes. You can’t very well close this Pandora’s box now, can you?
















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jcherfas
242 days ago
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This does look ultra-cool. Whether I'll ever implement is another story.
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Should Agriculture Be a Required School Subject?

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Despite the grumbling of many frustrated American school kids taking math tests, the broad subjects required in public schools each have firm arguments for their respective inclusion.

But that doesn’t mean there are no other worthy subjects, as the government of Kenya proposes. A recent story in the Capital News reveals that the Kenyan government is attempting to create a whole new subject, one that makes perfect sense: agriculture. After all, what could be more important than educating a country’s youth about the economics and realities of its food production?

The Kenyan cabinets of agriculture and education are teaming up to promote the concept of making agriculture a compulsory subject in both primary and secondary schools. Representatives of these departments note Kenya’s high average farmer age, which at 63 years old is even older than the US’s (58, not much better). The theory is that with required agriculture education—along with more advanced programs for students wishing to go into that industry—Kenya would be much better suited to put forward-thinking, young agriculture professionals into a field that desperately needs them.

Kenya is not alone in its desire to see agriculture textbooks in schools; Australia has debated the subject, as has Jamaica. But in the US, such efforts tend to be very small and local, as in a recent Illinois bill to help defray some of the costs in implementing an agriculture program. But certainly the situation in this country is no less in need of such a program than in Kenya: With the average age of the farmer rising, the number of farms dropping, and an overwhelmingly white and male workforce out of proportion to the actual demographics of the country, there’s plenty of need to hook youngsters on agriculture. If nothing else, agriculture field trips promise to taste even better than science field trips’ astronaut ice cream.

The post Should Agriculture Be a Required School Subject? appeared first on Modern Farmer.

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jcherfas
303 days ago
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Should agriculture be a required school subject?

This one's for @matigo too
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Newsletters in your NewsBlur

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It’s been three years to the day that Google Reader shut down. And here’s a feature they could never build. Introducing email newsletters in your RSS reader.

You can now forward your email newsletters over to NewsBlur and then read your email newsletters right in your browser/phone/TV/tablet. A couple dozen users have been beta testing this feature for the last couple of months and everybody agrees, this feature is amazing.

Newsletters are formatted to fit all of your screens, so it looks just as good on the web as it does on your phone.

Here’s the best part. If you get a lot of newsletters, you can group them into folders and even train them to highlight the newsletters you want to read first.

Setting up newsletters on NewsBlur is easy. Just follow the personalized instructions on the web by going to Manage > Email Newsletters on either the web dashboard or the manage menu.

You might ask why not just subscribe your custom NewsBlur newsletter email address directly to the newsletter instead of forwarding copies of the newsletter. The answer is that if you want a single source of truth for where newsletters are going, you want that in your email client and not on NewsBlur. If you ever change news readers (and with new features like this, why would you want to) you’ll want to change only a single filter rule instead of dozens of newsletter emails.

And with this huge new feature, NewsBlur just became even better. NewsBlur has branched beyond RSS for a while now, fetching Twitter and YouTube stories even without RSS. With newsletters, NewsBlur becomes your single source.

If you have suggestions on what NewsBlur can help you read next, post an idea on the Get Satisfaction forums.

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jcherfas
355 days ago
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Very interesting new feature: forward newsletter to #Newsblur. Will try soon.
samuel
357 days ago
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Keep the ideas coming. What's next, reading on a big screen perhaps?
The Haight in San Francisco
jbloom
357 days ago
Weird request, Facebook/Instagram feeds. Both may be hard with Facebook's weird stances.
hansolosays
356 days ago
nested folders would be nice? especially for newsletters
samuel
353 days ago
You can move newsletters as you please, so they work fine with nested folders. New newsletters show up in the Newsletters folder, but they don't have to stay there.
chrisrosa
345 days ago
ooo...an apple tv version would be interesting.
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17 public comments
mindspillage
343 days ago
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Stuff like this makes me glad to be a paying user of NewsBlur.
Mountain View, California
claudinec
355 days ago
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Wow!
Melbourne, Australia
egoexpress
356 days ago
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Awesome feature! Have beta-tested it for a while now and love it!
49.46904200,11.11430400
pfctdayelise
356 days ago
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!!
Melbourne, Australia
synapsecracklepop
356 days ago
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I was one of those happy beta testers and am LOVING IT.

I ended up simplifying my process using a "+news" alias (so I subscribe with myemail+news@mydomain.com). I set up a matching filter to forward them to my NewsBlur email. Seamless!
Atlanta
srsly
357 days ago
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Woah, this feature is actually really sweet.
Atlanta, Georgia
gradualepiphany
357 days ago
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Really nifty feature, thanks Samuel!
Los Angeles, California, USA
jbloom
357 days ago
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OH YES!!! 100% awesome!
Columbus, Ohio
sirshannon
357 days ago
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There it is! Samuel dropped a hint yesterday, I was hoping it was something like this. I like that it is implemented in a way that doesn't just take over all responsibility for the newsletters.
economyaki
357 days ago
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whoa
nyc
lelandpaul
357 days ago
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Whaaa - truly a killer feature I didn't even know I needed
San Francisco, CA
adamcole
357 days ago
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Oy, this is awesome.
Philadelphia, PA, USA
hansolosays
357 days ago
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AWESOME!
Norfolk, Virginia
jqlive
357 days ago
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Thank you!
Beijing/Hong Kong
chrisrosa
357 days ago
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wow...this is great news.
San Francisco, CA
mlupo
357 days ago
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My inbox thanks you!
Canada
drchuck
357 days ago
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This is great for sites that offer a newsletter, but no RSS feed. Well done!
Long Island, NY
redheadedfemme
357 days ago
Cool! Thank you, Samuel. NewsBlur is the best money I ever spent.

Shifty merchants with 251 secret words for trade

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Lila Gleitman points out to me that in one of the slowly increasing number of articles passing round the pseudoscientific story about Yiddish originating in four villages in Turkey you can see that hallmark of non-serious language research, the X-people-have-Y-words-for-Z trope:

Putting together evidence from linguistic, history, and genetics, we concluded that the ancient Ashkenazic Jews were merchants who developed Yiddish as a secret language — with 251 words for "buy" and "sell" — to maintain their monopoly. They were known to trade in everything from fur to slaves.

You can see the article here, but don't take that as a recommendation; it looks to me like unsubstantiated drivel. Exactly 251 words for buying and selling? No examples cited, and no hint of how more than two basic words and a few random approximate synonyms could be the slightest bit useful? It looks like classic myth-repetition of the usual Eskimo-words-for-snow sort.

And if it's a secret language to make sure us outsiders don't listen in, why the huge lexical elaboration? It's not invented languages that have wild lexical profusion; it's languages like English that slowly evolved over millennia of wide diffusion and much contact with linguistic and ethnic diversity.

The anti-Semitic drift of all this is rather clear. If you buy this story, the Ashkenazic Jews don't come from Europe, they didn't arrive in Slavic lands till the 9th century, they have no historic connection to Israel or Jerusalem, they maintained a "monopoly" in buying and selling, they created a secret language (those shifty merchants, with their sneaky language-invention exclusionary practices); and to cap it all, they traded in slaves. We can send them all back to northern Turkey with a clear conscience.

The Wikipedia article on the Khazar hypothesis of Ashkenazi origin gives some sense of the complexity of the historical situation. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that anyone with any historical education at all would believe that you could take a people as diverse as the Jews and a millennium of history as complex as that of Eurasia and a language as lexically mixed as Yiddish and come up with any credible origin claim that ties it all down to four villages, based mainly on phonetic similarity of some village names. It's not so much that this pseudo-science has come up with the wrong answer (though genetic and mitochondrial DNA studies do seem to give it no support); it's that you'd have to be thoroughly ignorant of history, economics, anthropology, linguistics, and genetics to give any credence to the idea of working on a question as simplistic as this one, whether it had anti-Semitic overtones or not.

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jcherfas
374 days ago
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On the other hand, several words for schlemiels of different kinds, that makes sense.
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