Archive for the 'News' Category

April 7th, 2015

Introducing Joe On Tech

I’m delighted to announce a New Thing: a site (and soon to be ebook series) called Joe On Tech.

It’s probably not what you think.

The world already has enough sites that deliver tech news, tips, rumors, and industry analysis. I even write for some of them. But these sites tend to focus on the technology itself (especially new and future gadgets) and not so much on the people that technology is supposed to serve. Joe On Tech is about how people can improve their relationship with technology, with the emphasis on humans rather than on gadgets.

My brother-in-law Tim is a carpenter. I’ve heard him talk about his work, but never about his tools. I’m sure he has the very best hammers and saws, but his main focus isn’t on the tools, it’s on what he can create with them. I can say the same thing about friends who are chefs, musicians, and scientists. They’d tell me about their knives, guitars, and centrifuges if I asked, but they don’t spend their days obsessing over the tools. They obsess over the work they can do with the tools.

I think that’s the right way to look at technology. We create techniques and tools to help us get stuff done, to make our lives easier and better. Instead of asking, “What could I do with this cool new device I want to own, because it’s…you know…cool and new?” we should be asking, “How could I make my work more effective, my play more fun, my problems less annoying?”

The answer might be to buy the new device. But it also might be to learn new skills, adapt existing technology to meet your needs, modify your goals to match what your tools can accomplish, or create entirely new technology yourself.

At Joe On Tech you’ll find articles exploring a wide range of topics about the ways people use technology. I know “technology” is often a code word for consumer electronics (especially computers, smartphones, and tablets). I’ll talk about those things, but also about technology in its broadest sense of the way we do things, which might include anything from martial arts to space travel.

You don’t have to be a tech geek to enjoy Joe On Tech. Just like Take Control books, it’s written for a general audience that may or may not have technical expertise. Everyone is welcome, regardless of your platform preferences or where you fall on the technophobe-to-technophile scale.

If you’ve read any of my books or articles, you may have noticed that I like to explain the why and the how of technology—not just “do this,” but “understand why you’re doing this.” I want to make you smarter, so you can solve the next problem or answer the next question without my help. If your immediate reaction to explanations is “Eek! TL;DR! Don’t tell my why, just tell me what to do!” then I invite you, for your own happiness, to stay far away from my site.

Another group who should avoid Joe On Tech is people who love ads. Sorry, but I can’t stand them, so I’m not going to show you any. Well, OK, I might show you ads for my own stuff, but I’m all about not annoying my readers—that doesn’t seem like a very good way to turn them into customers.

Speaking of which…starting in June, I’ll also begin offering Joe On Tech ebooks for sale, very much in the spirit of my many Take Control titles (which, by the way, I will continue to write). The first several Joe On Tech ebooks I release will be just for Mac users. But later titles will cover increasingly diverse topics, in keeping with the overall theme of the site.

Please click on over and check out Joe On Tech. While you’re at it, consider signing up for joeMail, which I’ll use (sparingly!) to update you about the site, my ebooks, and other things I think you’ll enjoy.

Thank you for your kind attention!

August 30th, 2013

An Online Privacy Primer

An acquaintance sent me an email message today remarking about how prolific I’ve been—he said it seems as though every time he turns around there’s another book out by Joe Kissell. It’s true that I have a new book, and it’s also true that “I have a new book” is as rare a statement as “I just got a haircut.” (Which reminds me, it’s been about a month…and…scheduled.)

What’s my secret? I’ll tell you: I don’t waste time blogging. Life is too short, and there are too many books to be written. In fact, I’m supposed to be writing two (or five, depending on how you count) at this very moment.

But this particular new book is, I think, especially noteworthy. It’s called Take Control of Your Online Privacy, and I think it’s one of the best and most important things I’ve written. Here, let me tell you a bit about it personally:

If you’ve ever wondered whether the information you send and receive over the Internet is really private—or what to do if it isn’t—this book is for you. It’s written for the intelligent layperson, not for propellerheads. I hope you find it useful!

The Internet is a scary place. Stay safe out there.

February 26th, 2013

The Joe of Tech: Take Control of Your Passwords

I’d like to tell you about my new book, Take Control of Your Passwords. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let Nitrozac and Snaggy show you instead:

The Joe of Tech - Passwords

Interested? Click on over to the Take Control site and buy your copy today!

P.S. There could be cookies in it for you!

January 18th, 2012

Speaking at Macworld | iWorld 2012

The conference formerly known as “Macworld Expo”—and then, very briefly, simply as “Macworld”—is back this year as Macworld | iWorld 2012, running from January 26–28 in San Francisco. I am honored to have been selected as a speaker, and I’m looking forward to the show immensely. If you’re planning to attend, I hope you’ll consider dropping in on my talks. I’ve been working very hard to put together presentations that are both interesting and entertaining—a good time will be had by all.

Here’s what’s on my docket:

  • Getting to Know Siri (TT902)—Thursday, January 26, 10:00 a.m.
    In this session, I won’t be doing all the talking—I’ll be joined on stage by my virtual assistant, Siri! The voice-controlled intelligent assistant capability in Apple’s iPhone 4S has made my own life quite a bit easier, and even though it’s still officially in beta, it has become an indispensable tool for a great many people. Together we’ll show you what Siri can do out of the box; explore tips, tricks, and hacks to extend Siri’s capabilities; and have some fun with Siri’s lighter side. I’ll also talk about my expectations, hopes, and dreams for Siri’s future.

  • Unitasking in the Apple Ecosystem (TT937)—Thursday, January 26, 2:00 p.m.
    
We all know what multitasking is—doing (or trying to do) several things at once. Computers are great at multitasking, but humans turn out to be a lot less efficient (not to mention unhappier) when they multitask. What’s the solution? Why, unitasking, of course! In this talk, I’ll explain how you can increase your productivity and reduce stress by concentrating on just one task at a time. But wait…exactly what is a “task,” anyway? Although you may think that’s self-evident, programmers tend to have a very different idea about what a task is than the rest of us. The result has been products that, paradoxically, make it harder to accomplish one task at a time, even while appearing to make it easier! I’ll untangle this curious mess and show you some of the ways your Mac and iOS devices can help you become a better unitasker. Bonus: In a feat never before seen at Macworld, I will personally attempt to perform as many as six tasks at the same time. Wish me luck!

    I did a video interview about the above two sessions with Chuck Joiner for MacVoices TV, which I think should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. (Update: link added)

  • Umpteenth Annual Netters’ Dinner—Thursday, January 26, 6:30 p.m.
    Back in the day, this was a get-together for networking geeks—you know, like people who were actually on the internet (or one of its predecessors). I remember when hundreds of people would walk across the city in a truly impressive crowd, cram into the big upstairs banquet room at the Hunan on Broadway at Sansome, and enjoy extremely average Chinese food (they always claim it’s going to be hot and spicy, but it never is) along with excellent conversation. Last time I checked, only ten people had registered for this year, all of us old-timers who seem bent on keeping the event alive for purely nostalgic reasons. But, you know, we’d love to have more company, and anyone—geek or not—would be entirely welcome. Food, drink, and conversation with smart people—what more do you need? Be sure to read the instructions for where to go and when.

  • Ebook Publishing Panel with Chris Breen (Macworld Live Stage)—Saturday, January 28, 11:00 a.m.
    
In this panel discussion, I’ll join Adam Engst, Tonya Engst, Jeff Carlson, Glenn Fleishman, Michael Cohen, and moderator Chris Breen (Macworld Senior Editor) to discuss the past, present, and future of ebook publishing.

Even if you don’t make it to any of these events, if you happen to be at the show, please keep an eye out for me and say hello. I’ll be the guy with the iPhone.

Morgen, Soren, and I are all making the transatlantic trek to San Francisco, and we’ve arranged to spend some extra time in town both before and after the conference to hang out with friends and family, eat plenty of spicy food, and enjoy some R&R. Then it’s back to Paris, where my February calendar is already overbooked with the usual array of projects.