I Am Joe’s Blog:

February 26, 2013 • 2:51 PM

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!

December 31, 2012 • 7:00 PM

What I Did in 2012

After breakfast today, I sat down to start writing my annual “what I did this year” blog post. (See earlier posts from 2011, 2010, and 2009.) This has become a sort of healing ritual for me, a way of mentally moving from “Wow, I feel like I set yet another record for underachievement last year” to “OK, actually I guess I did kind of all right, despite the huge number of undone things on my to-do list.” But my heart wasn’t in it, because one big accomplishment I’d hoped dearly to be able to report on hadn’t happened yet.

Then I went for a walk with Morgen and Soren, and while we were out, I got a phone call telling me that finally, after weeks of agonizing delays and bizarre snags, we’re closing on our new house in San Diego today. By the slimmest of margins, I will end 2012 as a homeowner for the first time ever! (Mad props to Jeremy and Jesse at The GreenHouse Group!) And that sort of changes my outlook and attitude as I ponder the rest of what did, and didn’t, happen in the past year.

Buying a house, especially a first house, is an enormous undertaking for just about anyone. For me, it was even more complicated—partly because I’m self-employed, and partly because I did most of the process while still living in Paris, nine time zones away. I could tell you the whole long story, but it would be boring. Suffice it to say it was a massive project that sucked up most of my time, attention, money, and (occasionally) will to live for the last couple of months. It kept me from my regular work, from my family, and from sleep. But now, as of today, it is DONE.

At midnight we’ll celebrate the start of the new year and of homeownership by drinking sparkling California white wine—a rare treat for us, because all you can find in France is Champagne ;-). We will also eat our favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream (something else you can’t find in France). And we will wake up to a gigantic pile of projects that we can now attack with renewed vigor and without the distractions that have plagued us for so long.

With that preface out of the way, I can now offer, with much less sadness, the list of things (virtuous and otherwise) I remember accomplishing in 2012:

This year featured a significant increase in speaking engagements, both in person and via video:

I also spent quite a bit of time doing non-work-related stuff:

That’s about it. Now, if you think this list is long, you should see the things I intended to do but didn’t! That is one serious list, which of course now rolls over into 2013. Oh, the places I meant to go, the things I meant to see, the books I meant to write (and read)! Well, I appear to have fewer excuses in the year ahead, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice.

Happy New Year!

April 9, 2012 • 6:41 PM


My bags are packed! My iOS devices are synced and charged! I’m leaving tomorrow morning for a couple of days in Amsterdam before departing on the MacMania 14 cruise down the Rhine river, visiting various German, French, and Swiss locations before ending in Basel a week later (and then—super excited about this—a tour of CERN and some free time in Geneva).

As I said when I first wrote about this cruise just over a year ago, I’ll be teaching classes about interesting things you can do with iOS devices and Macs, and I’ve got all kinds of cool stuff planned. Time and energy permitting—wouldn’t that be a change?—I’ll try to post some photos and impressions of the cruise over the next couple of weeks.

January 18, 2012 • 6:02 PM

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.