The Middle Path

I gave a brief review of Path when it first arrived on the scene back in 2010. At the time I just started to use it and was pleasantly surprised by it’s approach. They not only seemed generally interested in a well designed social experience but also a well restricted one. They positioned themselves around the idea that this was a digital journal of sorts that was shared with only your closest family and friends. And, to further reinforce this idea, they actually limited the number of people one could count as a “friend” on the network to 150. This number was not arbitrarily made up. It was based on Dunbar’s Number, the suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.

Now, Path has had it’s growing pains. They made a stupid choice at one point to access and upload people’s contacts to their service. Unfortunately, this caused many users to write them off completely (and even for Apple to make some changes to an apps ability to do such a thing in the first place). The CEO apologized for it but for some it was either not enough or came off to them as not sincere. But, as one who stuck with the service, I really believe they have been actively working to change this perception. The iPhone and iPad apps (the only way to use the service, mind you) are some of the most beautifully designed and thought through ones I use. The company puts it’s values and story front and center on it’s website. In short, they have worked very hard to win back and deserve the trust of those that use it.

I still use Path pretty actively. I post something there at least once a day. Given it’s purpose and what I use it for, I’m pretty picky about who I connect with there. I really have to consider you a friend or someone I’m at least comfortable sharing more personal details with than I would otherwise share on the more open social networks. I share plenty of pics of my little girl, my day-to-day activities, my runs (it connects with Nike+), my current location, and the occasional selfie. It is the primary way I interact with some other social networks including Foursquare.

Here is how Path fits in for me. I keep the stuff I just want for my eyes only in Day One, the stuff I wish to share with a wide and indiscriminate audience I do on or Twitter. Path sits in the middle of this sharing graph. It is for the stuff I wish to share but only with a selected few. I like to think of it as the “friendship” chair of Thoreau’s home.

The thing is though that I fear for Path’s health and future. Today, they had to lay off 20% of the staff. And though they recently rolled out a premium subscription model, I still am not sure if there are enough people using it and willing to pay for that to sustain them. I hope it sticks around.

But, most importantly, I would like to see and interact more of my friends there. I like it and I think most of them will too. So, if you are so inclined, I think you should give it a shot. And, feel free to look me up and reach out to me if you do.


Tonight, I had an experience that I’m sure is common. Someone wrote me an email. I read it but did not take the time right then to reply. Later, I was out and about and happened to run into the sender. Before I even said hello, I gave him the answer I would have sent him in reply to his email. Thus, the matter is settled and now I can safely archive it without replying.

I related this to my friends on and mentioned that there should be a name for this (as I’m sure it happens often). Johannes Valouch was the first to return what I feel is the best suggestion : Realply.

Therefore, consider it coined.

So, if your boss asks you if you replied to your co-workers email and, what happened was you did so in person, you can let them know that you took care of it with a realply.

Or, if someone sends you an email and you know the matter would be better discussed in person, you can say, "Hey, let me realply to that."

We could be onto something here.

Everyday Software (Mac)

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 9.12.46 AM

For no particular reason, other than the fact the people like to know these things sometimes and full disclosure, here are the apps I use every single day on my Mac. This does not account for everything installed and used. This is just the stuff I use every day without fail. I’ll likely do one of these in the future for iPhone and iPad as well.

  • Safari — I believe in using the built-in tools whenever possible. It helps when the built-in tools are pretty darn good. I find Safari pretty darn good most of the time.

  • Mail — The one email client I have used long enough and learned deeply enough to be maximally efficient with it.

  • BusyCal — Way better than the built in Calendar app (formerly iCal) and has easy sharing of calendars which my wife and I depend on.

  • nvALT — I’ve been a Notational Velocity user for over 8 years. I use it for all sorts of things. Currently contains 867 notes. nvALT is Brett Terpstra’s fork of this open sourse project that adds a ton of useful features which make it that much better.

  • Byword — What I use for most writing when on my Mac.

  • Twitter — Yes, Twitter. The official client. I still check in here daily despite having mostly moved to

  • Reeder (awaiting update) — My RSS reader of choice. Only worked with Google Reeder so I have not used it since that shut down on the first of this month. Once it updates to support FeedWrangler I’ll gladly fire it up once again.

So, those are all the “app” apps I use. But, what about the menubar and “just runs in the background” sorts of things? Here are those:

  • Droplr — For sharing files, screenshots, and quick one off notes easily.

  • Dropbox — If it is a file of any sort it is likely in here.

  • Day One — Which I use more as a daily log than a journal.

  • Jumpcut — Clipboard buffering. Keyboard driven. Full on awesomesauce.

  • Shortcat — Use your keyboard to find and click on buttons and links. The less I have to touch my trackpad/mouse, the faster I am.

  • FastScripts — Execute scripts with keyboard commands.

  • QuickCal — Enter calendar events quickly using your keyboard and natural language processing.

  • Quicksilver — Launch apps and do all sorts of other cool things using your keyboard (Are you sensing a theme here?).

  • DragonDrop — Provides a “shelf” with the shake of your mouse to drag stuff temporarily before dropping it.

I might have missed a few things but that’s what I use every single day on my Mac.

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