I do understand your frustrations with Twitter. Have you ever tried just using it as a search engine? Just sign in and type whatever topic you're interested in, and you're pretty much guaranteed to find some up-to-date information on what others are saying about it.
As far as books go, I read a lot of them. I'm also working on my masters. I have nothing against a more traditional education. Have you looked in to getting in on a beta program that would allow you to read some of the books that are going to be published for new versions of software/hardware that aren't out yet?
I also agree about alternative schedules! I would love to do that myself. I belong to a committee at work that is currently trying to pass an optional 9/80 work week. Meaning every other week you get a day off, but you work 9 hour days. It's not always possible, but any kind of alternative schedule would be nice.
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