Hello world!

First post…

I’ve been looking around at lots of different options for website creation and hosting. I’m very curmudgeonly about putting all my content on places that I don’t pay for under the “if you aren’t paying for it, you are the product” concept, as well as being paranoid about not being able to extract the content later for future transitions.

Anyway, after creating family websites with handcoded HTML, Gallery 1 and  2 and iWeb, I’m giving WordPress a shot. The real key is being able to very quickly get content up on the web with a minimal amount of effort and long-term overhead.

Inventing on Principle

Inventing on Principle – Bret Victor
Video: http://vimeo.com/36579366
Victor’s website: http://worrydream.com

Inventors need an immediate connection to what they are creating. They need a feedback loop. Agile guys know this really well. Very clever visulization tools.

Makes me think about how abstract and latency heavily our work currently is and how we really could use better feedback…

His example on binary search is interesting, but I prefer TDD for the ‘instant feedback’ because it creates useful artifacts that can be kept. I’m also concerned that any problem of magnitude might not have a reasonable visual representation.

To some degree active annotation in debussy has some of these kind of capacity, but not much. And the problems of magnitude require simulations that are too extensive to simulate in realtime.

It seems really good, but for only for things that are well understood and easily modelable at high speeds.

Visulization: Show data, show comparisons.

Larry Tesler – remove modes from software – "no person shoudl be traped in a mode" (xerox park in 1970s) he created click and drag, cut and paste, etc.
Doug Engelbart – interactive computer usage
Alan Kay – amplify human reach – Graphical UI, OOP
Richard Stallman – software must be free as in freedom – GNU

You need a specific insight to use as a principle. Make SW simpler isn’t enough. "get rid of modes" is enough. "Can you immedately see the effects of what you did" is enough.

Driving Technical Change

Chapter 5:
I agree that cynics are trying to make themselves look good and that they are rewarded for that behavior. But the solution space doesn’t seem terribly helpful. Maybe I need a better example of how to position a solution as "the smart solution" in a way that makes it a non-target for the cynic.

Page 39 in the sidebar:
"But be aware that the Crazies are out there, and out there." – an interesting play on words, but unnecessairly hard to read.

Page 43 second paragraph:
I’m not so sure that custom solutions really "have success built into them". I’ve seen plenty of custom solutions fail miserably and be replaced with off-the-shelf "good enough" solutions. And it it should be clear that "premium product" equals high costs.

Tony Robbins 2006 TED presentation

Tony Robbins

How do you turn vision into reality

Art of fulfillment (appreication and contribution)

Emotion is the most powerful resource and determines the rest of your resources
* what are you going to focus on
* what does it mean, what are you feeling about it.
* what are you going to do about it

6 Human Needs:
* Certantity/security
* Uncertanity/Variety
* Significance
* Connection and Love
* Grow
* Contribute beyond ourselves

We all need all 6, but some people value some more than others, and people do whatever they need to to satisfy those needs.

Tribal Leadership TED presentation

Tribes are at 5 levels:
# "Life Sucks" – prisons and gangs, no hope of progress. 2% of people are here
# "My Life Sucks" – people in a DMV line. it’s bad, but my life could be better if… 25% of people here
# "I’m Great" – interpersonal competition (48% of working people are here)
# "We’re Great" – oriented by values 22%
# "Life is Great" – 2%

Leaders are fluent in all 5 tribal stages.
Tribes can only hear one stage above and below where they are.
Leaders nudge people in the tribe toward the next level.
The best tribal leaders connect people who don’t know each other to each other directly (stage 3-4 conversion). The goal isn’t to network people to you, but to each other.
Listen carefully to the phrasing that your tribe uses to understand where they are at.

War of Art

The War of Art: Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles by Steven Pressfield, copyright 2002.

This book has been getting a lot of good "buzz" on the net recently, one review even likened it to be akin to David Allen’s GTD for the artistic set. Unfortunately, after reading the book, I really wasn’t that impressed and disagree with a number of his underlying beliefs about creativity, philosophy and theology.

The first section of the book he spends on resistance. In which he builds up this construct and even goes so far as to basically state that if you aren’t experiencing resistance, then you aren’t heading in the right direction towards important goals.

He then proceeds to delve into ways to address and overcome resistance. Largely his main thrust seems to be – keep doing it consistently every day and the good stuff will come. Kindof a "suck it up and deal" approach. Which isn’t anything new or innovative to serious or successful artists.

In the third section of the book he spends this basically postulating his main theological view, which is that there are extraplanar beings/forces for good and that our purpose in life is to create earthly representations of eternal truths or beauties through the help of these external influences. He appears to be of the belief that nothing outside of this goal is of significant value.

Once I had a clear (or so I believe) understanding of his core theology, the rest of his book and behavior generally falls into place very neatly, with the exception of his derogitory chapter on what he refers to as "fundamentalism". And while some of his advice seems valid outside of his core belief system, much of it does not. He very literally and seriously prays to the muses and believes that they will aid his creative efforts. Due to this fairly major gap between his core beliefs and mine, there are disagreements in other areas. I certainly do not wish to discard all of his insights (for some are clearly valuable) but it requires more careful analysis of his claims and understanding their underlying principles before I agree to accept them for my own life.

Merlin’s Time and attention talk


Five Patterns

Identify Leaks:
* What is sucking time and attention on a regular basis?
* Who’s stealing your time?
* Repeat meetings
* Poorly run meetings, respect people with agendas.
* What are you repeatly doing over and over again?
* Batch requests to people for meetings (hey, don’t bug Joe with lots of little things)
* "is this still a good time for you to talk" (I respect your time and I expect you to pay attention)
* Program rescuetime – track all apps/docs to see where time goes.
Govern Access:
Minimize notifications
* Don’t let pings come in all the time
* Get off of unnecessary email lists
Work in dashes
* If it’s important, firewall off time to do it.
* Know when you are done with an activity. Don’t let it leak on forever.

To be a good knowledge worker
* Can you be tolerent of ambguitiy and go make things.
* Information, sure you need _enough_ information. Do you know when you’ve got enough
* Have the courage to take the information to go make something with what you’ve got

Daniel Pink on rewards systems

From a TED talk:

External rewards narrow focus, which is bad for rudimentary cognative skills for "creativity". The Candle problem versus the candle problem for dummies.
Automony, mastery, and purpose are creativity motivators.
Rewarding results only in the work environment may help as people can choose their path.
Does Lean standardization go counter to engaging people?

The paradox of choice – Barry Schwartz

Too many choices results in 2 primary problems:
1. Paralisis in choice – too many choices makes it difficult/impossible to choose
2. Less satsified in the choices is that is’t too easy to imagine all the alternatives (opportunity costs) that could have potentially be better.

Why choice makes people miserable:
1. Regret and anticipated regret
2. Opportunity costs
3. Escalation of expectations
4. Self blame – leads to depression

Seems like this is that similar to wealth, some choice is good at improving happiness and welfare. But too much choice doesn’t increase happiness at all, and actually decreases.

Thus, the conclusion is that wealth redistribution would actually be helpful for both the top and bottom classes. See the 50s where we did have a larger middle class – did we have something going there?