Monday, May 28, 2012

Boston Living

In many ways I feel that the city of Boston has brought out the best in me. When I first moved here as an 18 year old college freshman in 2008, I arrived wide eyed and astonished at all the hubbub of the great Hub. For most of my life, I lived in a small, rural Connecticut town. In this town, we had one public school system, with one building for the elementary school, one for the middle school, and one for high school. The arrival of a Dunkin Donuts several years ago was met with huge fanfare. Everywhere you look is green. From the center of town's park, called the Green, to the masses of trees that surround us, my town is beautiful, but has very few things to do.

This Memorial Weekend, I made my way back home and, while I appreciate taking a short break from the excitement of Boston, I am reminded of how much of a Bostonian I have become. Still, the memories of this place will always be with me. I'm writing this post at my town's library, where I spent many hours as a child. Here, I read Harry Potter and became the champion of the Oregon Trail. I attended nursery rhyme readings when I was a toddler and went to the Christmas Tree decorating event many times over the years. However, this town is clearly in my past, and Boston is my future.

I love the excitement that comes with living in the city, that feeling that anything could happen at any moment. I might run into an old friend, be invited to a potluck at the dog park, find an amazing sale, or witness a proposal in Copley Square. All of these moments happened to me recently, but are only a slice of what it is like to live here.

One of my favorite things about Boston is a recent development, the arrival of Food Trucks! My favorites so far are Roxy's Grilled Cheese, where I once had a Duck confit and Brie grilled cheese sandwich. I haven't seen it on the menu since though, so please bring it back! Recently, I tried the Scallion Pancake with fried egg from Mei Mei's Street Kitchen. It had just the right combination of spice and salt, and the egg was cooked perfectly.

Boston also always amazes me with the sense of history that is always lingering. This past summer I worked as a Park Ranger with the Boston National Historical Park and was lucky to get the inside look on several important Boston landmarks. The Old North Church is a great place to visit, as it is the location of where the lanterns were lit to warn colonists that the British were coming. This was the night of Paul Revere's famous night ride. However, other men should also be honored. In particular, a man named William Dawes also rode that night. The fact that he is less known is likely due to the fact that Longfellow's retelling of that night focuses on Paul Revere.

There are many other things to love about Boston and I will continue to share my recommendations through this blog.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Graduation and Technology

This year I graduated from Boston University. Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, (photo courtesy of was our commencement speaker. He gave an amazing speech. One of my favorite lines is when he said, "All of these connections that you forge -- the digital ties that bind our humanity together -- that's not possible without technology. But it's also not possible without you, without a heart." 

After four years of writing papers and taking exams, I am now the proud owner of a Bachelor's degree in philosophy and history. I am very thankful for the education I received at BU. I'm perhaps just as thankful for my graduation present from my mom and dad. They got me... An iPad!

I've only had my iPad for a week, but already I am seeing what a useful and wonderful tool it is. I sincerely believe that it will help me a lot as I enter the workforce and begin my first job in the real world. My iPad keeps me organized and helps inspire me to explore my creativity. 

While I have not been updating my blog as much ask would like, my iPad is making it easier for me to blog whenever inspiration hits. I'm writing this post from my iPad on a new app that I just downloaded, called Werdsmith. Werdsmith is a great app with a beautiful user interface. It tracks the word count for any kind of writing you want to do. You can set a goal for yourself and watch the percent complete increase as you tap out your ideas. At this moment, for example, I know that I am 42% finished with this 500 word post. Make that 45% now. 

Another great writing app is DayOne. It's meant to be a journal and syncs with your iPhone and MacBook. It also automatically saves your work as you go. It can even be password protected, so you don't have to sorry about writing down all the tawdry details of your life. (just a suggestion). DayOne features a beautiful user interface with some great fonts. Right now I am find of sans poet. 

In terms of social media, my favorite way to stay connected is through Twitter. I use the Twitter app for iPad and find that it is the easiest way to scroll through all the tweets from people that I follow. I can easily see what tweets I missed from a few hours ago or even a few days ago. I know that there are a ton of Twitter clients to use, but I really think that the official one by Twitter has come a long way from its past incarnations. 

Finally, I have been using Producteev frequently on my Mac and iPhone since its new big update premiered a few months ago. A full iPad app is currently in the works and I must admit I am frequently checking their website and twitter for updates. Producteev is a great app that allows you to make a To Do list with multiple workspaces. You can add labels and notes, mark deadlines, set reminders, and it will instantly be synced through iCloud. 

I am always on the lookout for new apps that will make my life easier and more enjoyable. In fact, part of the fun of owning an iPad is the ability to discover new apps everyday. Still, I must remember Eric Schmidt's words and keep technology from ruling me. Rather, I aim to use it to enhance my life. What do you think of Eric Schmidt's advice? The full text of his speech can be found here.