Category Archives: work


ALQUIST: It was a crime to make robots.
HARRY DOMIN: No, Alquist, I don’t regret that even today.
ALQUIST: Not even today?
HARRY DOMIN: Not even today – the last day of civilization. Was it a crime to shatter the servitude of labor, the dreadful and humiliating labor that man had to undergo? Work was too hard. Life was too hard. And to overcome that -
ALQUIST: Was not what the two Rossums had in mind?
HARRY DOMIN: It’s what I had in mind.
ALQUIST: How well you succeeded! How well we all succeeded. For profit, for progress, we have destroyed mankind.


As heard here:

Transcript here:

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Trello Hacks

These are not so much hacks as methods of stretching the usefulness of Trello as a means of todo or issue or bug tracking. Personally I use whatever bug-tracking system a client is using (Fogbugz, JIRA, Flyspray, etc, etc.) and they all work well for what I need, but sometimes it’s nice to use Trello at a “front end” to manage todos or collection in fast moving projects.

Some current flaws w/

1. Can’t search on specific ranges of due-dates. Only filters for overdue, next week, next month, etc.

2. Can’t mark a card as completed. or deferred, closed, or other status: “ready for testing”, “back to dev”, “not a bug”, etc.

3. Can’t assign an item in a checklist a due date or assign a status.

Some possible solutions:

1. Use a traditional bug tracking system IN ADDITION to logging item in trello. One can connect the 2 using at some level, but this is awkward.

2. Set the dates (use YYYY-MM-DD pattern) and or priorities in the card subject. (Not comments because those aren’t searchable)

3. Use (and name) the colored “LABELS” for priorities. Labels can be used to filter cards (Filter == advanced search, found under the MENU)

4. ARCHIVE completed items. Awkward at best.

5. Create a separate list named “Done” or “Nov 2013 completed” etc. Drop items in there when complete. Not ideal because one loses track of where the item came from. It’s logged in the activity, but again… not searchable.


Trello is great for checklists of daily to-dos or small projects, but don’t expect it to work in the context of true project management / issue tracking / big tracking. For that you want one the the apps mentioned above.

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links: happiness and work

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
Cal Newport


“We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. “

some suggestions
– exercise
– meditation
– 3 gratitudes
– 1 journal item about something positive
– random acts of kindness


“If what you love to do cannot keep you alive and pay your rent, it’s doomed to be temporary. That doesn’t mean temporary things in life are not worthy, it just means you should keep this piece of information in mind. Except for really rare cases (and you shouldn’t think you are one), doing what makes you happy is unsustainable. There’s always someone paying the bills. So if you’re happy doing what you love, probably there’s someone paying your bills by doing something profitable that they don’t love to do.”

View story at


Several useful articles at Harvard Business Review blog on this topic:”Do+what+you+love”


So, to summarize! :-) The basic points one reads regularly:

- “do what you love!” — what if I don’t have a passion or true-calling? that’s ok. it’s generally bad advice anyway. And people don’t have ONE thing. It’s what We make of our choices.
– cycle: “happiness” (flow/play/lightheartedness) leads to good work leads to happiness
– make an avocation a vocation means (obviously) you need to make substantial money
– some things just can’t realistically make money (easily, or often)
– we see examples of people “doing what they love” in the media, but this is like thinking we can make it as a pro athlete — Yes it’s possible and some people do it, but it’s not likely (depending on the field)
– doing it (whatever it is) for money might kill the joy or alter it
– doing it (whatever it is) for so many hours might kill the joy or alter it
– there are aspects of all work that we don’t like 100%
– work satisfaction: – not “passion”. good at it, responsbility/autonomy, impact (Daniel Pink DRIVE)
– grass is not greener
– people often study kinda useless things in college
– hard work/talent/skills (leading to accomplishments and happiness) is the way to go

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Filed under contrarian, happiness, person: Cal Newport, work

Work/Skills/Useful Happiness

Some links discussing the idea that “do what you love” CAN be getting the cart before the horse sometimes. It can happen that way, but not always. Or it can be a bit of both.

1. With proficiency can bring happiness. Instead of the other way around.
2. things that one loves doing can’t always pay the bills.
3. doing something one loves to pay the bills can suck the joy from it.


– “If not passion for the job, at least warm feelings”

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Filed under happiness, person: Ran Prieur, work

The Case for Working With Your Hands

“A good job requires a field of action where you can put your best capacities to work and see an effect in the world. Academic credentials do not guarantee this.”

General comments about this issue…

1. can’t outsource trades and people-oriented professions (dentists, lawyers, doctors, etc)

2. grounded in real world and communities

3. some people working in the trades I talk with wish they had taken the “college” route.  but it is a bit of the grass is always greener I think.  And it’s never too late if there was something in particular they wanted to study.

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80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey

“WASHINGTON — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.”

Related: somewhere recently I was reading an article about how one scenario of a “good society” would be that as technology is taking away opportunities for paid work (electronic , perhaps a huge percentage of people would have to essentially be on welfare, but that would be ok, and people would pursue hobbies, artistic, creative endeavors, but not with the expectation that it would lead to enough money to live on.**

I guess this is not that different than all the “future studies” books from the past that expected ever-shortening work weeks and increased leisure due to technology/efficiency increases.

I assume the reality is that a lot of these gains have gone towards the 1%.  But I wonder how much.  Perhaps a lot has probably also gone to us wasting our money on stupid consumer junk too.

See also: Seth Godin



** here it is:

“In simple terms, if owners of capital are capturing an increasing fraction of national income, then that capital needs to be shared more widely if we want to maintain a middle-class society. Somehow—and I’m afraid a bit of vagueness is inevitable here—an increasing share of corporate equity will need to be divvied up among the entire population as workers are slowly but surely stripped of their human capital. Perhaps everyone will be guaranteed ownership of a few robots, or some share of robot production of goods and services.”

Apparently, this is called a “universal basic income” and people really do think about this…
FRIDAY, OCT 11, 2013 07:44 AM EDT
Rather than savage cuts, Switzerland considers “Star Trek” economics
Switzerland will vote on giving every adult in the country a $2,800 check every month. How would that work?

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Filed under middle class, welfare, work

video games vs real life

Some collected quotes on video games and real life. By Ran Prieur and maybe some others…

– “I think the reason people like difficulty in games more than in real life, is that games are more densely and consistently rewarding. ” — Ran Prieur 8/7/2013 Blog

– Future w/ Virtual Reality and Augmented Intelligence, etc: “The key question is: Can you have the experience of going into a computer and coming back?” — Ran Prieur,

– “Although we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony.” — Alan Watts

– Escaping vs Expanding: “Fifty years ago, how many kids emerged from books with tools that they used to change the world or their place in it? And how many do so now with video games?”
— “In a good society, usefulness and pleasure are one: every necessary activity is something that people find intrinsically meaningful and enjoyable, and everything people feel like doing feeds the whole system. When a society begins to depend on tasks that nobody feels like doing, it needs to fill the work motivation gap with extrinsic motivators: usually social pressure, physical threats, and rewards of money and status.”
— Rain Prieur

– “… what we need is Sim Fall, a game with honest simulations of the ecological costs of technologies, the inefficiency of central control, human malaise, and other reasons that every empire falls. Most important, we need something that no strategy game has ever had: all increase must be reversible. Buildings, roads, and military units decay over time, and have to be maintained or rebuilt at great expense.” March 17-19 2007

– “…humans have two contradictory desires. We want to feel like we’re valuable people living good lives, which itself is a massive and difficult subject. A good place to start is the famous video, The surprising truth about what motivates us. The other thing we want is for life to be easy, but there is a trade-off between a good life and an easy life.
This conflict comes into clearer focus as more work is automated. Do you want a machine where you push a button and food comes out, or do you want the challenge and personal empowerment of growing and preparing food with your own hands? This was not an issue in preindustrial civilization, when work was done by slaves and peasants. The lower classes suffered, but not from existential angst, and the elite felt important because they were ruling actual humans. Now there is a growing class of people who have no political power but are served by machines.
If the tech system can adapt to resource exhaustion, we might emerge into a high-tech utopia/dystopia, in which it’s easy to be comfortable but difficult to be happy. Social class will no longer be about power or even standard of living, but valuable activity. The upper class will hold the few important jobs that still require humans. The middle class will be hobbyists, practicing difficult skills that are not necessary for society. And the lower class will be content to consume entertainment.” — Ran Prieur, 11/28/2012

– Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life
“Reality is broken, says Jane McGonigal, and we need to make it work more like a game.”

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Filed under essential, happiness, meaning of life, motivation, person: Ran Prieur, video games, work

on the bottom of things…

“Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration. I try to learn certain areas of computer science exhaustively; then I try to digest that knowledge into a form that is accessible to people who don’t have time for such study.” — Donald Knuth

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Not News: The Most (And Least) Lucrative College Majors, In 1 Graph

Old news, right? And perhaps mostly useless because it’s not going to convince someone to study or work in engineering (for example) if they aren’t interested.

1. Data should be adjusted for things like stress and hours worked per week/year as some majors/careers are going to be much better in this respect.

2. Unemployment is also higher in many of the lowing paying majors/careers. Also, how about avg years worked and ageism by career sector? 50 years old software engineers vs 50 year old teachers.

3. Info should also be adjusted for pensions. Working for 20-30 years and retiring (or working at a new job) with a pension is rather nice.


1 in 2 new college graduates are jobless or underemployed (2013)

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Filed under ageism, contrarian, education, work

Dear OpenOffice 4

Dear OpenOffice 4,

Your Calc (like Excel) application is almost perfect. I can get used to using ; instead of , in my calculations. But… can you PLEASE put at the top of the list that when someone copies and pastes (copy-and-pastes?) a column (or columns) from the app into something else — a web form, a text-editor, a word-processor — that you DO NOT copy the entire 100,000 cells that are blank! Excel does this right (just pasting the rows with content — say 1 thru 100 — and has done this right since the beginning of time (or since I recall) so please put it at the top of your bugzilla todo list! (is it in there?)


An otherwise very happy and very grateful user

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