On a personal note, three things I've started doing recently:
- Inspired by Not For The Faint Hearted (née Write Club), every day I visit Flickr, find the top left photo on the 7 Days Most Interesting page, and spend 5 minutes writing a story inspired by it. I'm interested in constraints at the moment (Mobile Mountains was exploration of them in a worky context), and rediscovering a love of language which I shelved some time in my teenage years.
- I'm using Mappiness. Got an iPhone? Go grab it - it's a research project for the London School of Economics, looking at how people's happiness is affected by their environment. As a side-effect, you get to see charts of your own behaviour, and get a peek at the data their gathering (like the meters). I did a little talk covering these kinds of services at Mobile Web Summit last June: there's something really interesting about our growing desire and willingness to track our own behaviour, whether it's with Mappiness, CureTogether, Nike+, EcoDrive, or Wi-fi bathroom scales. And in the light of some of my recent antipathy towards advertising: I think that providing branded services which help us understand ourselves better is one of the few places where the ad industry can do genuine good.
- More of a stopping than a starting: after reading No News Is Good News by Dr Bramwell, I've given up daily news. I don't find this too difficult - I haven't had a live TV feed into my home in a few years now, and don't listen to much radio. Mainly this involves avoiding newspapers and online news sites. I cheat slightly by using Flipboard to read up on stories which my friends are discussing or find interesting. Correlation isn't causation, but I've been in a rather good mood recently. I'm going to carry on with the experiment.