I take in a lot of media. I listen to a lot of podcasts, I watch a few TV shows, and I’m subscribed to several YouTube channels I just don’t want to miss out on. As the number of things I subscribe to add up, staying caught up on all of those things becomes increasingly hard. That process becomes exponentially harder as I pick up more projects. Lately I’ve been getting inundated with full podcast queues and dozens of unwatched videos. All the while, I haven’t read a book in a week and a half or written anything substantial in even longer.
Coming home from work this evening meant getting to work on a few projects that have been waiting for me for the last few days. The latest episode of Bantha Fodder went live the other day and still hadn’t been properly broadcasted on all of our social networks and blogs, I had some things yet to prepare for before I head to SXSW in week or so, and this blog hadn’t been properly updated in a while.
Considering my workload for the evening, I figured there would have to be some sort of media playing concurrently to my work otherwise I’d get stacked up with stuff to watch and listen to again. With two shows in my Overcast queue, I’m actually on track with my podcasts at the moment. I was tempted to knock them out, but I can’t focus on writing when listening to the technically heavy conversations of Gruber, Moltz, Siracusa, Liss, and Arment. Not happening. Casey Neistat however, I can totally get down with while jotting some words in Byword. So there was the issue—how do I write while watching a video?
I considered iOS 9’s option for picture-in-picture, which is very handy for such things. Being able to operate one application while watching media from another in a corner is a brilliant concept—one I wanted to port to my preferred writing platform, OS X. Unfortunately, there is no native way to do this. Apple has yet to roll that functionality out. Fortunately, third party developer Jaden Geller put together an application called Helium to lift video out of the browser to sit above my workspace, allowing me to distract myself with relative ease.
You get the premise. Picture-in-picture has been around for a while on television screens. Apart from being able to drag the smaller window and set opacity levels to your liking, Helium is hardly different and is equally as convenient when you get it to work. I gave it a shot this evening with some Casey Neistat vlogs with varied success.