Category Archives: thinking

SO BRAVE: decision-making using anecdotes vs data

“So to avoid bravery debate framing, here is a table showing the tradeoffs.” (for decision-making using anecdotes vs data)

Leave a comment

Filed under anecdotes vs data, contrarian, thinking

3 somewhat related posts…

“As a software engineer, I’ll deal with all the technical headaches, but I won’t tolerate it as a consumer. Technology seems to be failing us faster than it’s helping us.”

Blogging (rather than writing at silos) is making a comeback.

“The best you can do is stop feeding the flames and stop paying attention.
If you’re having a rough day on social media, try taking a break. A big break. Delete the Twitter app or bury it in an obscure folder. Don’t check it for 24 hours. Go longer if you can. The difference is bigger than you might assume. It’s eye-opening.”

Leave a comment

Filed under contrarian, social media, technology, thinking

Response to: A question maybe no one has ever asked you

Dave asks a great (rhetorical?) question here that begins with << Here’s a question: At what point in your life did what you think become important? >>

My response:

Hi Dave, great question. What got you thinking about this?

For me, I don’t think it was until I could vote (18). Not good!

This question was so important to my wife and I that we moved so our kids could go to Sudbury Valley School ( where they can do what they want (all day long!) as long as they are not infringing on other people at school (other students or staff) or doing something dangerous, illegal, etc. The adult staff (no “teachers”) obviously have years of often valuable life experience and as paid employees they have have the added responsibility of taking care of the school. So no one is saying the kids are just little adults — but like you say, “what you think matters as much as what anyone else thinks.” So indeed, equal opportunity and one-person one-vote is embedded in the legal by-laws of the school. No puppet strings. 4 year-olds can vote if they want to. They know this, but are mostly happy to not vote until they are older.

UPDATE 12/4/13: Our 6-year old is serving his “every-other-year-or-so” duty as “juror” on the school’s Judicial Committee this month. He meets with the all-ages J.C. for an hour or so each day to hear the cases brought before them for that day. A powerful responsibility!

UPDATE 12/3/13: I was thinking about this today and I think I’m wrong… there are actually LOTS of times when I was a young kid that I felt important. My parents were very good at giving us responsibility and trusting us. Some examples: given freedom and responsibility very young to 1) cook and make food including lunch for school, 2) walk to and from school on my own when in 1st grade or so. 3) we kids have our own bank accounts. I remember saving up to buy “FOOTBALL II” — a hand-held video game.

Other memorable experiences of “important”:
– sports: the team is counting on you to play your part. i often pitched and played goalie, so those felt especially important
– boy scouts: I was a patrol leader for several years when I was still quite young. Kids came over to our house for weekly meetings which were totally run by me/us. No parents. The younger kids had to get MY signature to sign-off on whether they had satisfied various requirements for new badges.
– baby-sitting and lawn-mowing and dog-watching jobs
– In school: I went to traditional public school, but the times of feeling important were anytime I worked on a presentation or report where I knew I knew more about the particular subject than anyone else in the class, including the teacher.
– I will add to this list as I think of more

But still…

Leave a comment

Filed under Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, thinking

In the news…. some related links

The following are some related links. Computers are simultaneously making amazing things possible and helping make some people very rich, but also making it more difficult to make a living for many (see the income inequality video).
It’s touching everything for good or bad. Media, education, news, jobs, food, financial markets, politics. Some win (and we all hear about those people) and most lose (and news tries to not depress or mobilize us too much about that). “The limitation of the personal view” Jerry Mander calls it.


– The Rise of the Blockbuster (blockbusters are actually on the increase. the “long tail” is still there, but aren’t the real winners %-wise)


– Misconceptions about wealth Inequality in America


– “Q: If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?”
“A: I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers.”

(original at:


– University megastar professors


– Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us?
Smart machines probably won’t kill us all—but they’ll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think.


– BAY WATCHED: How San Francisco’s new entrepreneurial culture is changing the country.
OCTOBER 14, 2013
Naval Ravikant “… the cost to build and launch a product went from five million … to one million … to five hundred thousand … and it’s now to fifty thousand.”


– The Nacho Dorito
“I visited Steven A. Witherly, a food scientist who wrote an insider’s guide, “Why Humans Like Junk Food,” and we raided his lab to taste and experiment our way through the psychobiology of what makes Nacho Cheese Doritos so alluring.”



Leave a comment

Filed under computers, contrarian, person: Jerry Mander, technology, thinking

The problem with twitter (and facebook (and wordpress))

The problem with twitter is that it isn’t more like facebook.
And the problem with facebook is that it isn’t more like twitter.
And the problem with wordpress is that it isn’t more like facebook and twitter.

By which I mean:

Facebook is annoying because:
– images are big now and everyone has figured out that the clever way to advertise their website is to put a clever saying in an image which is now huge and I have to scroll like mad now to read anything. I mean, I am guilty of sharing these sometimes, but will resist now I think. I usually hide article previews too.
– It’s not open

Twitter is annoying because:
– It’s a river (vs folders like is an option in RSS reader) so you can’t easily do things like group feeds, click to read one person (or one cluster) when you want to, etc. I know you can click (TWICE!) to read more from a person, but come on!
– It’s suggesting celebs to subscribe to. Uh, no.
– I pretty much totally hate URL compressor things since I can’t tell if I am interested cause the website name is hidden
– I am sorry but I am not conversing with you there
– hashtags are ugly and painful and useless unless it is a niche.
– It’s not open

WordPress is annoying because:
– It’s slow
– It doesn’t do nice/automatic previews of articles when you paste them in
– It’s slow
– All my friends aren’t there
– I can’t easily protect posts by friendship

The future:
– Might bring some open way of doing things like all of the above but in an open “internet standards” sort of way.
– simpler but also maybe more modular/programmable
— examples of tiny evidence of hope:
—– RSS
—– Dave Winer’s (see is a sign (I hope) of things to come.
—– API and APIs in general
—– bootstrap, and responsive design / HTML5
—– some google tools (books, forms) seem hopeful, but I won’t count on them now that I see that Google just close things down (ala Google Reader)

Leave a comment

Filed under computers, freedom, future, technology, thinking

A go-to salad

MEDIUM has caught my eye recently. My go-to place for reading quick work-break articles. I haven’t read about it–medium itself–I’ll wait for the rundown in the NYer 🙂 but it seems to be going for the space between blogs and a good magazine. So, somehow a more editorially controlled platform somehow. Right now, it’s a locked-down group who can publish, but presumably at some point it will open up. And then the question will be 1) how will they possibly keep the editorial quality up. And 2) how will it make money.

I suppose it will be sorta doomed eventually (#1 wise), but Ev obviously has some ideas and it will probably succeed for a time with #2. I should read about it. But I can’t stop reading articles like this:

“You must have a go-to salad in your life”
View at

And this!

“Why Coke Exists”
View at

Maybe I like articles like these because they are sorta like NYer articles… jumping back and forth between the historical/big-picture and a personal story, right in the same article. But shorter.

OK, I figured Dave Winer was interested in MEDIUM too and sure enough…

Leave a comment

Filed under new media, platforms, thinking

Programming hours

Interesting thread w/ comments about the hours programmers keep. Differs by person of course. Night-owls, 9-to-5ers, etc.

Personally, I get ideas and fix problems:
– many during 9-to-5 but also
– running
– sleeping/putting kids to bed
– carpooling

Another ObPoint about leaving and coming back and “fixing the problem in 5 minutes”: It also often just works to shift gears and work on another problem. It’s not always just food/sleep/time needed. There is usually plenty of other work to be doing, so choose another problem for a bit and come back to the stuck one later.

But it’s true, like any difficult/creative work: it is quite pointless to code when tired.

see also: Relax! You’ll Be More Productive
– taking time to get adequate food, sleep, exercise, and vacations “boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.”

Leave a comment

Filed under exercise, programming, sleep, thinking, time, work