These are Jamie Todd Rubin’s good things.
Good things to read.
Short science fiction magazines. We are in the midst of a second golden age of short science fiction. In addition to stories in the traditional print magazines, Analog, Asimov’s and F&SF, there is a slew of new online magazines including: Apex Magazine, Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, Electric Velocipede, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and Lightspeed. I love short science fiction and try to read as much of these as I can each month.
The Story of Civilization by Will Durant. Eleven volume of history covering the human saga from its beginnings through the French Revolution. The first book, Our Oriental Heritage was publishing in 1935 and the final book, The Age of Napoleon publishing in 1975. Durant writes with an engaging style that brings history to life in a way that no other books I’ve read have managed to achieve. And you get the perspective not only of kings and generals but of the common-folk. These are the books I’d want with me if I was stranded on a desert island. (And it is now also available in Kindle editions.)
Asimov’s Guide to Science. As sweeping and engaging a history of science as Durant’s history of civilization. Asimov’s book was first published in 1965 and had frequent updates through the 1980s. It is a remarkable book that adds valuable historical context for the science you learn in high school and college. It puts everything into perspective in a way that a chemistry or physical lab simply can’t.
Good things to watch.
Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary. This originally came out in 1994 and somehow, I never saw it until recently. It is absolutely stunning. Incredible. As a lifelong baseball fan, I can’t believe I missed this masterpiece. There are 9 episodes to the original, each running about 2 hours. In 2010, a “10th inning” was added to bring it up-to-date. It is probably the single best documentary I’ve ever watched.
The Big Bang Theory. Because it is funny, and I can relate to it.
M*A*S*H. The single best half-hour sit-com ever produced. The first five season are outstanding, and the writing in the first three seasons is exquisite. It is always good for a laugh and a good way to relax for half an hour after a long day’s work. Also, it reminds me of when I was a little kid and I’d watch the show with my parents.
Good things to use.
Evernote. I’ve been an Evernote user for more than two years (and I’ve been their ambassador for Paperless Living for more than half that time). It has changed the way I do things for the better, saved me countless hours, and made me more productive.
Boomerang. A wonderful plug-in for Gmail that lets me schedule messages, have messages returned to my inbox after an interval, be reminded if I haven’t received a reply to a message I sent out after a certain amount of time. Basically, it makes “inbox zero” a reality for me.
Slide rule. Specifically, my ThinkGeek slide rule. You read that correctly. Sometimes, it’s fun to set the iPhone and iPad aside and get your hands dirty with “old school” technology.