Tech Choice: Real people discuss the choices they make to stay productive

Posted By on Aug 2, 2013

Artoo Swimsuit, BlackMilk

Baydin intern and Cal Poly CS senior Kelly Daniels talks open source technology, online shopping addictions, and how Boomerang saves her from her own laziness.

“It started when I was a kid. My dad’s profession isn’t technology but it was a really huge hobby for him, so he took programming classes back in college back when he programmed on punch cards. My first memory of having a computer was when I was about seven. It was before computers had a graphical interface, an MS-DOS kind of computer. I would watch my dad fix our computer when it broke, so I learned from a really young age the “ways of computers.” I got my first personal computer when I was about thirteen. My sister and I shared a computer, but it was kind of a rite of passage in my family like, “Oh, you turned thirteen, you get your own computer.” So, I hadn’t ever really programmed or anything before college. I took AutoCad in high school and just decided computer science would be interesting and jumped right in.

Obviously the most apparent thing I use is my Pebble–I love it so much. I think a lot of people hate the idea of constantly being bombarded with calls, texts, emails and always having it shoved in their face, but I like it because I can keep on top of things. I’m kind of a lazy person, so before I had it there would be days when I wouldn’t check my phone for the whole day and miss out on something really important. People would get angry at me because I’d never call them back, but Pebble fixes this and I stay in touch with things.

I have several email addresses–my school email, my junk mail email–but they all route to the same address. When I give people my phone number I’ll use a Google voice number which also routes to my phone. So I guess I use Google to route everything! I also use Boomerang’s “Send Later” feature all the time. As I said earlier, I get really lazy sometimes, so Boomerang’s a really nice way to send myself reminders. Like, if I’m at work and I know, oh, when I get home I have to remember to water the plants, I can send myself an email so it’ll arrive right when I get home from work like, “Hey Kelly, don’t be an idiot, water the plants or they will die.”

I’m to the point where I don’t really use my computers that much anymore. I always told myself a smartphone is not enough, there’s always going to be a need for a computer, but unless I’m programming or doing something really serious, I found recently that my phone can manage it.  I know the iPhone is a really popular phone, but I love my Android phone–I’m one of a few of my friends who has one. I use the Droid 4. Out of all of my friends I’m also the only one who uses a physical keyboard on my phone. The nerd in me just loves it.

One thing that’s really important for me is open source technology. When computer science first became a field, there wasn’t all this emphasis on patents or hiding ideas. People were more like, “I discovered this new thing, let me tell everyone I know!” So the field flourished because open information sharing was such a prominent thing. I feel like technology’s now gotten to the point where people will find this ground breaking idea and they’ll do years of research, but they’ll hide it from everyone else. Someone else two towns away could have been doing the same research for five years–they both could have saved themselves so much time! All this new technology could have developed but people care more about making money than sharing. So companies like Google are really important to me. For instance, I’m doing the Android testing for the project that I’m working on right now and Android’s UI Automater/ API is really new, it was introduced six months ago. So there’s not a lot of documentation out there, but it is open source and they put all of the code online. I can just go into the code and read it and realize that this is available to do that and that is what this actually does. So it’s really cool that I have this phone that helps my life so much and it’s entirely open source.

One of the coolest things I’ve been introduced to recently is Google Shopping Express. They’re doing their Beta testing right now, so if you live on the Peninsula or in San Francisco, you can sign up to be a Beta tester. So basically, it’s free same day shipping. You can order from stores like Target or Office Max or different grocery stores in the area and you schedule a time later in the day and Google will go pick the stuff up at the store and bring it to you. I used to only do only shopping for clothes and that kind of stuff but now I can do online shopping for groceries, or if I’m doing like, home improvement and I need a different screwdriver I can literally just have someone bring it to me. My life has become entirely online.

My favorite speciality site is BlackMilk. They recently got featured in a Paypal ad because they’re big on shipping worldwide. There are a lot of other companies that say they ship worldwide but actually are like, “No, we don’t ship to anywhere in the Middle East or Northern Africa,” or, “We don’t ship to China.” BlackMilk has a cult following because they make themselves so available on the internet. It’s interesting because if they wanted to sell their stuff in stores, they could and they’d make a lot of money, but they’ve found that the internet is the way to go for that kind of thing. It’s cool that not only does the internet bring their clothes to people around the world, but because they have such a huge following they also have such a big community. It’s crazy that the internet is able to bring all these people together over clothes.

My entertainment is entirely technological. I spend so much time on Reddit it’s disgusting. But even outside of that, all of my entertainment is integrated. I first bought an Xbox 360 to play videogames, but I have Netflix on there, I have YouTube on there, I have Hulu on there, I have HBO GO on there, so it literally has brought all of my entertainment together. I’m watching Orange is the New Black–I’m on episode eleven maybe? I binged yesterday. A really solid binge.

When I was in high school I was that kid who was always downloading music like, oh you should listen to this song I just downloaded, or something. But since I’ve come to college, really over the past two years, I haven’t downloaded a single bit of music because of Pandora. Pandora has changed my life.  It’s crazy that I used to do all this downloading, and I used to buy CDs and all these other things, but now technology has brought music to me. I can tell it what I like and it just gives me that stuff.

I do get all of my news from the internet. It’s interesting because my family has a really long standing history of newspapers. Like, my dad gets The New York Times delivered every single day. He goes to work at six o’clock in the morning but reads before work and will come home and finish it. He gets the Sunday edition and our local newspaper too and my grandparents, same thing. They’re all about newspapers, you know? I’m kind of with them, I like reading the news, but the concept of reading a newspaper seems so antiquated. My parents are so blown away like, “You can’t get the same news”…no, but I do! I think Reddit is such a phenomenal thing because there are so many people in our generation who otherwise would never go out of their way to read the newspaper, they would never go out of their way to try to find a news source to get reliable news information, but Reddit brings that to them. They might not go to Reddit for news, maybe for pop culture stuff or funny stuff, but the news is integrated there. They’ve created this whole generation of people who didn’t ever care about what was going on outside of their sphere, but now suddenly care and are now suddenly informed. It’s a really interesting thing and it’s not just Reddit; the internet in general has made a lot of people more socially aware.

I always thought that working out was having to go to the gym and run on the treadmill monotonously for an hour or go outside and run, even when it’s snowing. When I got to college I definitely got a lot healthier, but I started working out because I discovered P90X. It’s really cool because I can get a workout in my living room, and I put it on my laptop so when I go on vacation it’s easy to exercise. I don’t need a treadmill, I don’t need to go outside, all I need is like, 6’x6′ of space. Maybe less. I tried using a health tracker, but as I said I’m really lazy. There was one that I found on my phone, a calorie tracker, which I used to make sure I wasn’t over-eating. But after like, three days I stopped keeping track.

My keyboard is called Dvorak: D-V-O-R-A-K. The keys that you use the most frequently are in the middle and then the second most used are at the top, and after that is the bottom with the other ones you don’t use as often. It’s a little hard to get used to, it took me two months to be able to get up to my old typing speed, but I can type faster and my fingers don’t hurt as much. Added bonus, people don’t use my computer. ‘Cause I’m one of those people that like, if you don’t know anything about technology, don’t touch my computer. I use the Asus Zenbook, one of the new ultrabooks that came out recently. It’s my baby. People try to use it and they’re like, “Oh I can’t type, I just won’t use your computer,” and I’m like, Yes! Nice.”

Disclaimer: Neither Kelly Daniels nor Baydin, Inc received compensation from any brands mentioned in this post. 

If you’d be willing to talk technology–especially if you’re a Baydin products user–online or in person, please contact I’m very Caltrain-friendly.

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