“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” — Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain
“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” — Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” —Anaïs Nin
“Life is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn’t take it.” ―Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
“There’s a world of difference between insisting on someone’s doing something and establishing an atmosphere in which that person can grow into wanting to do it.” ―Fred Rogers, You Are Special
“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” —Pema Chodron
“The master is content to serve as an example and not to impose her will.” —Tao Te Ching
“As one approaches the end, one begins to see life as it truly is.” —Hercule Poirot
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. —C.S. Lewis
You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. —Fred Rogers
If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret. —Jim Carrey
Even though the new workflow was working well, I decided to move the repository for Indigo Spot to GitLab from GitHub. Why? Because GitLab provides unlimited private repositories free of charge, so rather than pay $7 USD per month for private repositories, I decided to move to the service that provides that free of charge for developers. I am not sure how sustainable GitLab’s business model is at the moment, but I am going to see how things pan out.
It seems that casting about for a CMS solution to this site has thrown me for a huge loop lately. In wanting to clear up extraneous subscription fees, I decided to cancel the Wordpress.com hosting for Indigo Spot. I also did not want to go back to self-hosted WordPress (or any CMS) on AWS or Google Cloud. Since GitHub finally added HTTPS for custom domains to their GitHub Pages hosting, I thought that might be a good landing spot.
“The virtue of a person is measured not by his outstanding efforts, but by his everyday behavior.” —Blaise Pascal
Sometime when you’re feeling important; Sometime when your ego’s in bloom; Sometime when you take it for granted, You’re the best qualified in the room: Sometime when you feel that your going, Would leave an unfillable hole, Just follow these simple instructions, And see how they humble your soul. Take a bucket and fill it with water, Put your hand in it up to the wrist, Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit is persistence in practice.” — Octavia Butler
“We are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not Ill-supplied but wasteful of it.” — Seneca
There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question. —Carl Sagan
“If you want to be a clever person, you have to learn how to ask cleverly, how to listen attentively, how to respond quietly, and how to stop talking when there is nothing more to say.” —Leo Tolstoy
“But what a fool believes he sees no wise man has the power to reason away.” —Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins, What a Fool Believes
Stay for all of the credits. A classic adventure game that is fun and has just the right amount of challenge and absurdity. The cast is well-written and provided plenty of laughs. I would award you bonus points if you can spot all of the adventure game references. There are many. Some players have complained about the ending; however, I think the designers did a good job with wrangling the loose ends as the adventure game conceit is that there is a ridiculous denouement.
This was more of a gaming experience or interactive novel than a strict game, but it does not disappoint. This game falls squarely on my list of top games for this year. It is a well told story of a family tree that has a solid ending with feeling. The progression is guided without being obtrusive, and the in-game hints for controls on certain segments is equally subtle and easy to parse.
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.” —Ray Bradbury
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” —Michelangelo
After researching and testing multiple VPN services for my iPhone and home computer, I have settled on Mullvad for their dead simple account creation, extreme privacy, use of OpenVPN, and the ability to pay with Bitcoin. And yes, they are fast as well.
Engaging creatively requires hitting the reset button, which means carving space in your day for lying around, meditating, or staring off into nothing. [via: http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/creativity-and-distraction]
If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment.
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” —Stephen Hawking
I have decided to use Wordpress.com to host Indigo Spot. Please pardon the mess while I clean up some old mark-up and mistakes. The decision was prompted by the need to focus on writing and get away from screwing around with self-hosting tools and other backend tools. Time to return to content creation.
Go read it and absorb it. Beautiful, simple, profound. [via: The Oatmeal]
Aeon has a good short post about money and debt and the impact on our happiness or perceived levels of happiness. The summary is that it is best not to assume more debt than you can manage (obvious), but that incurring debt is not necessarily a reason to be sad. I have a hard time reconciling that as debt stresses me out whether it is manageable or not, but this may be good news for those with a stronger stomach for owing money to others.
The internet and social media have provided platforms where “everybody’s unintelligent ideas are flying in circles like mosquitoes around the digital campfire,” he wrote. “So now, in the world of online commenting, it’s all stupidity, all the time.” —John DeSanto, 65, of Warwick, N.Y. I prefer to keep my unintelligent ideas right here around my own campfire where others can choose to come read them. [via The New York Times: How to Log Off of Facebook Forever, With All Its Perks and Pitfalls]
The stoic says the universe Is leagued to try the sage’s virtue. If evil smites you, look for worse, And if it hurts you, let it hurt you. Let Nature, with its crowd of woes, In vain endeavor to defeat us; Impassive, let us bear its blows Like Seneca and Epictetus. I met a stoic in a bar Who argued much for resignation. He pushed the stoic faith so far
“To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. —Marcus Aurelius
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” —John Muir
“There is no human being who may say that he has not failed, that he does not suffer, and that he will not die.” —Viktor Frankl
“It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion from his own and accused her of “betrayal.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor Frankl
Winter, for me, is a period of reflection and regeneration, of withdrawal, reminiscent of a time when humans were forced to be more malleable and responsive to the seasons. Each year, I long to see the landscape around my home in Germany transformed by the cold: frost-limned trees, crisp air, and snow shrouding everything, muffling every sound, as if covering over the acoustic evidence of humanity. —Bernd Brunner, Aeon
“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.” —George Dyson, Darwin Among the Machines
“You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.” —Marcus Aurelius
“If you find something very difficult to achieve yourself, don’t imagine it impossible—for anything possible and proper for another person can be achieved as easily by you.” —Marcus Aurelius
“If you understand each other, you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.” —John Steinbeck
“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, ‘What else could this mean?'” —Shannon L. Alder
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” —Chinese proverb
“Knowing comes from learning, finding from seeking.” —Vaddey Ratner
“I know only that I don’t know anything.” —Socrates
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
As the end of the year approaches, I am also approaching my goal of reading 52 books this year. The tally is 51 as of today. I have several in progress. However, a few of the books could be classified as novellas. I shouldn’t nitpick, but I may still try to read a few more full-length books anyhow.
Piper is a short from Disney Pixar. Go buy it. It’s six minutes of wonderment.
Were I to live my life over again, I should live it just as I have lived it; I neither complain of the past, nor do I fear the future; and if I am not much deceived, I am the same within that I am without … I have seen the grass, the blossom, and the fruit, and now see the withering; happily, however, because naturally. —Michel de Montaigne
“He does not lose anything, for with the loss of himself he loses the knowledge of loss.” —Jack London, The Sea-Wolf
Despite my distaste for all things Google, I’ve decided to give Google Compute Engine a try to see if there is a cost savings to be had over Amazon AWS offerings. The site has been completely migrated and is running on what I consider to be underpowered hardware. I will scale it up if necessary, but I want to see how much I can push this configuration before it locks up.
The home office moves toward entropy without fail; however, I managed to restore some order today in preparation for a new computer monitor and in the hopes of tracking down my lost Mont Blanc. Alas, the writing instrument remains missing.
The more work I do with web applications and complex backend architectures, the more I like NGINX. It has come a long way and is mighty powerful. I hope it remains lightweight as it matures.
It seems that my domain registrar, and thus my DNS provider, was under a DDoS attack making my site unresolvable for a short while. It looks like the issue has been resolved. I’m hoping there’ll be no more outages today.
Dare I say that I am going to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year? I find my inner procrastinator does not like grand plans.
The iPhone 7 gets quite hot (not Note 7 hot, but still) when I’m actively working on it for over 15 minutes. It is reminiscent of my old 17" PowerBook leg-warmer. Better out than in, I suppose.
“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.” —Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory
Typora is a slick, minimal, multi-platform, Markdown editor. Quite nice.
“Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.” —Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
It looks like you could win a pair of Marty’s Nike MAGs from Back to the Future Part II. Enter to win for $10. All proceeds go to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
I love watches. Consequently, I really like this subscription service – only $29 monthly – for a new watch each month from Wrist Society.
Open Whisper Systems' Signal protocol and its implementation in their Signal app is exactly how an encrypted messaging platform should work if you truly want privacy and security. When a subpoena is issued, there’s not much to share.
Dave Winer continues to pump out slick, little apps like screen2.io. He is having a debate party on there tonight for the vice presidential debate. Check it out.
The reason Microsoft’s attempts in the hardware space fail is their constant discontinuation of products. Consumers are not going to buy hardware from a company when they know the products won’t last more than a year or two. Ergo, new hardware products will not be purchased dooming them to the cycle of failure.
“When you do something you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” —Shunryu Suzuki
The sad fact of these random attacks is that they are becoming more and more random and senseless. “This is jihadism as impulse, as excuse. It hardly matters, because the result is always the same: a pile of bodies, a world of pain and grief.” [via The New Yorker]
You are the star of your life story. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat among others provide a place for you to share that story with the world. Let’s face it, not everyone is a bestselling author. You can read this site for proof; however, the bar for interesting material has fallen quite low thanks to these social media platforms. While the inanity of everyday life may provide the occasional chortle, the inflated tragedies of first world problems are decidedly boring at best.
After much casting about and grumbling over speed and security and various other issues, it looks like WordPress is still holding strong as the CMS of choice. Whether it is due to familiarity with customization or the ease of sticking with it despite some of my recent irritations with it, I don’t know. I do know that I usually don’t like meta talk on the site, but here it is anyhow.
It’s well known that I am a proponent of Apple products. However, I am typing this post on a Kindle Fire tablet. The non-HD, 7" model, no less. Why, you ask? One reason is to test the WordPress and Ghost editors on a small screen tablet, but another reason is that it is growing on me and has been quite a pleasure to use, screen pixel density aside. Even though I prefer Apple products, I am heavily invested in the Kindle ecosystem with Amazon.
I have been moving sites around and changing back-end services for hosting and testing out new CMS systems along with flat file servicing of web sites, so for the next little while, this site may be in flux and may look odd at times. Enjoy the variety and thank you for your understanding.
Crisp air and the scent of decaying leaves mark the season colloquially known as fall. I revel in the thought of piling leaves high and jumping into them with my son. The season harkens the upcoming winter, but despite wishes for snow and sled riding, I am in no rush for this to pass. Time moves swiftly enough. When autumn leaves, so ends another harvest of delicious fruits, fun experiences, and fond memories in a year of laughter, love, and growth.
We, as American citizens, have an opportunity to put an end to mass surveillance. It requires some action on your part, however. Pick up the phone and call your congressional representatives now. More information can be found at Fight 215.
Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Write down this quote and place it on your mirror, in your wallet, and at your desk.
Jonathan Gourlay wrote an article on Bygone Bureau, Being and Nothingness and “Minecraft”, wherein he captures the essence of the Minecraft experience: No video game before Minecraft has presented the player with a world as simple, beautiful, and engaging as a box of random Legos or wooden blocks or loose change or sticks or shells… toys whose only purpose is to soak up human consciousness and light into being upon a human whim.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about deactivating my Facebook account, as well as Instagram, to reclaim some time and cut distraction from “social” networks that were not adding any enhancement to my life. I kept a Twitter account active and also kept the LinkedIn app installed on my iPhone. Then I installed the Tumblr app so I could use it as a link blog and catch-all since I did not want to relegate my web site to that task.
I want to buy the new Wolfenstein game. That’s want, not need. However, I don’t want to spend the money on it right now, because there are better things to spend my money on, and I know what would happen if I purchased it. It would not run well at maximum graphics settings on my current computer, so I would feel the need to upgrade components and thereby spend more money.
Over on Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow posted about the Adobe Creative Cloud outage: “As Adobe Creative Suite struggles with its license-server outage, stranding creative professionals around the world without a way of earning their living, a timely reminder: a cloud computer is a computer you’re only allowed to use if the phone company and a DRM-peddling giant like Adobe gives you permission, and they can withdraw that permission at any time.
I deactivated my Facebook account at the beginning of April with the intent of taking only the month off as a sort of social media break. I also deactivated my Instagram account (it may as well be Facebook Photos). The only account that I kept active was Twitter, but I did my best to ignore it as often as possible. It’s ironic that I feel so loathe to delete the Twitter account altogether, but I also do not want to keep it active.
When the arctic air sets in for a week at a stretch, the body decides that staying indoors and curling up in the warmth of a blanket is the best course of action to survive the onslaught of the disagreeable elements. However, as a normal human being, the mind begins to wander as being trapped within the confines of brick and mortar, there is precious little to slow the onset of the the dreaded “cabin fever”.
Dave Winer on the next evolution of “sharing”: It’s pretty obvious what comes next, via extrapolation—from past turns of the wheel in software. What comes next is an easy way for the generation of people who grew up on Facebook to create their own social networks, accessible only by the people they want to share it with. A somewhat easier to use version of what AWS is today will be the platform.
The beauty of the Internet is that it can open doors to content that in years past would have been inaccessible and perhaps permanently unavailable to large segments of the world’s population. The TED conference is one of the many doors that has been opened to the world at large. What began as an exclusive conference for thought leaders in many fields of study has grown in to a multi-faceted organization with numerous events that attract everyone from industry moguls to tech hobbyists and expert scientists to cabaret musicians Thanks to the TED Talks videos being made available online, we can share in the profound insights and genius of an engaged culture of humanity that continues to think inside and outside the box in a forum where we share because we want to make a difference in the world.
Back in the data center, the Linux operating system runs on a majority of my servers, but as Miguel de Icaza puts it, Linux just never managed to cross the desktop chasm. Even with others like myself attempting to adopt Linux full-time on the desktop, there are so many pain points that a normaluser would be hard pressed to last 15 minutes on the platform before giving up. Miguel’s is yet another switcher story (YASS?
One of the more notable Apple, Inc. marketing slogans is “It just works.” While the slogan was used to market Mac OS X, many users have found that it is apropos to most Apple products and services. A contributing factor for the “just works” trait of Apple’s technology is the focus on user experience first. I previously wrote about user experience and removing user annoyances, and this really gets to the heart of the matter for me.
Kevin Ashton published a breakdown of the manufacturing of a can of Coca-Cola and in the process manages to wax poetic about globalization. The number of individuals who know how to make a can of Coke is zero. The number of individual nations that could produce a can of Coke is zero. This famously American product is not American at all. Invention and creation is something we are all in together.
John Siracusa has a Hypercritical post about Annoyance-Driven Development in which he discusses why users are still subjected to seemingly trivial annoyances, and points out that simply addressing those minor issues can reap benefits for your business. This may sound comically selfish, but true innovation comes from embracing this sentiment, not fighting it. For companies looking to get the best bang for their buck out of technology, this is the way forward.
I read eighteen books in 2011 and twenty-five in 2012. This is a good increase year over year, but I want a much higher total in 2013. I am shooting for fifty-two books by the end of the year. For a slow reader like myself, that is quite a challenge, but I believe that of I stick to reading one fiction and one non-fiction book simultaneously and aim for approximately 50 pages per book per day, then based on average book length, I should be able to come close to the goal, especially if I supplement with audio books.
As I relax and watch re-runs of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Netflix while entertaining my seven month old son, I can’t help but wonder at how spoiled we are by all of these modern conveniences—pre-made plastic toys, televisions, Internet access, streaming video, central heat, dishwashers, and disposable diapers, to name a handful. First world problems abound, but I wonder how many of these “problems” are caused by our attachment to modern conveniences.
As a systems administrator, I frequently like to tinker with operating systems, software, configurations, firmware, hardware, and anything else that might make me more proficient in using technology to make life easier. In the past, I would use any home computing device at hand to test out a new upgrade or to beta test an application or even to load up the latest pre-release operating system, all in the name of bleeding edge features and getting the most out of technology.
I’ve always felt that kids should be immersed in nature regularly; let them play in the dirt, run in the forest, splash in the stream. In addition to the apparent benefits of reduced incidence of allergies, I believe that getting a little bit of the outdoors on a regular basis helps maintain a healthy life equilibrium. Though individuals with allergies lived throughout the study area, the authors found that allergies were tied to the amount of biodiversity around the teenagers’ homes; the more forest and agricultural land, the lower the prevalence of allergies.
Though he understood children deeply, Mr. Sendak by no means valorized them unconditionally. “Dear Mr. Sun Deck …” he could drone with affected boredom, imitating the semiliterate forced-march school letter-writing projects of which he was the frequent, if dubious, beneficiary. But he cherished the letters that individual children sent him unbidden, which burst with the sparks that his work had ignited. “Dear Mr. Sendak,” read one, from an 8-year-old boy.
As March Madness and the month of betting pools roll along in the background of my life, I once more find myself engrossed in the Tournament of Books hosted by The Morning News. This year, the first book I read was The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Partly because it was a shorter length and would allow me to get a jump start on reading as many of the books as I possibly can before the tournament final, but also because it came so highly regarded by the first round review and subsequent win in the tournament.
John Gruber writes about his private briefing for the upcoming ‘Mountain Lion’ release of OS X. Mac OS X — sorry, OS X — is going on an iOS-esque one-major-update-per-year development schedule. This year’s update is scheduled for release in the summer, and is ready now for a developer preview release. Its name is Mountain Lion.
Moshe Kai Cavalin enrolled in college at age 8. He is now 14 and is about to graduate from UCLA. In addition, he has written a book, We Can Do, which he translated himself from Mandarin to English. Why is this notable? Aren’t there other “geniuses” who go to college early all the time? Yes, but when asked if he is a genius, Cavalin states, “That’s always the question that bothers me,” Cavalin, who turned 14 on Tuesday, says when the G-word is raised.
After watching an episode of “Downton Abbey” the other day, I tried to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes the show so enticing and riveting for me. Then I realized, it’s a period-piece soap opera. I never gained any interest in American soap operas when I’ve seen random episodes, and I don’t like to clump “Downton Abbey” into that category, because it is a far better series than any day-time soap opera I’ve seen.
Arun Thampi recently caused quite a stir when he found out that an iOS application, Path, was uploading his entire Address Book to their servers. Upon inspecting closer, I noticed that my entire address book (including full names, emails and phone numbers) was being sent as a plist to Path. Now I don’t remember having given permission to Path to access my address book and send its contents to its servers, so I created a completely new “Path” and repeated the experiment and I got the same result – my address book was in Path’s hands.
Exploiting Bethesda’s freshly released Skyrim Creation Kit, the team at Valve has put together a Space Core mod, which literally drops a Portal 2 personality core out of the sky and into the realm of Tamriel. You can pick up the hardy little orb and tote it around with you — it’s pretty much indestructible and its major purpose is to babble uncontrollably using the vocal talents of Nolan North.
Leo Babauta writes about a program to get fit even if you find yourself pressed for time. I’ve trained for marathons, triathlons, 10Ks, a 13.5-hour challenge, Ubanathlons, and more. But my favorite fitness program isn’t one where you train for a major event. It’s where you get fit by a thousand little actions. When the actions are tiny, they are easy. You have no excuse. You can do them anywhere, all day long.
If the world overwhelms you with its constant production of useless crap which you filter more and more to things that only interest you can I calmly suggest that you just create things that you like and cut out the rest of the world as a middle-man to your happiness? David has some good ideas about sparking the creation habit. This post hit home because I find myself consuming more than creating.
Design team BRC Imagination Arts has proposed a roller coaster that would travel up a steep track at speeds of 100 miles an hour before beginning a controlled drop that would essentially put its passengers into zero gravity for eight seconds. Unlike normal roller coasters, the ride would be completely enclosed, giving loosely-buckled passengers the feeling of floating in a room rather than speeding through space. I love roller coasters.
This might make a nice little birthday gift and will be out just in time for mine.
In the Motherlode Blog on the New York Times, KJ DellAntonia writes about the spectacle of Penn State University students rioting in the streets: Wednesday night I was watching ESPN’s coverage of the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno (an event whose magnitude one announcer just compared indirectly to the Kennedy assassination), and wondering how I’d feel if my child was standing on Paterno’s lawn, or on the streets of State College, supporting a man who could hear a graphic description of a sexual assault on a young boy and then choose to walk away.
The DeLorean DMC-12, one of the world’s most iconic cars, is making waves again, re-emerging as an all-electric vehicle. The DeLorean Motor Company, now based in Texas, rolled out the proof-of-concept version of the eDeLorean to customers at its biannual DMC headquarters gathering in Houston over the weekend. I want one.
Adam Gopnik wrote a piece in The New Yorker about The Phantom Tollbooth after 50 years. We’re quickly introduced to the almost anonymous, and not very actively parented, Milo, a large-eyed boy in a dark shirt—a boy too bored to look up from the pavement as he walks home from school. Within paragraphs, a strange package has arrived in his room. It turns out to be a cardboard tollbooth, waiting to be assembled.
Me, I choose to use Apple products. Some of the time. When I’m not using other products, some of which might be more to Stallman and Raymond’s liking. I’m familiar with the pros and cons of my various options. I understand my needs. I think I’m as good a position as anyone to know what products will serve me well, or at least a better one than Stallman and Raymond.
Bravo, Pittsburgh on securing a spot as the number 3 most mustache-friendly city. However, I believe that coming in third place was skewed by the methodology that the American Mustache Institute used for the research. After all, the white paper states, Previous AMI research actually demonstrates that Pittsburgh has the highest number of Mustached Americans per capita outside of only Graz, Styria in Austria and Tijuana, Mexico. Maybe I should grow a mustache…
A fascinating look at cultures around the world via photographs by James Mollison. [via kottke.org]
The drama is noticeable for its obsessive attention to detail. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and the production team had a long debate about whether aristocrats of the period – the second series takes us from 1916 to 1918 and the Christmas special takes place on New Year’s Eve 1919 –would eat asparagus with their hands or a fork. In the end producers cut the asparagus up and pretended they were green beans, which they knew were eaten with a fork, so keen were they not to put a foot wrong.
A kind fellow, Joshua Goodwin, has informed me that my link-post items did not include a permalink back to my site when viewed in an RSS reader. The titles of the link-post items will continue to link to the external sites referenced; however, I have added a permalink to the end of link-post items in the RSS feed so you can now click the infinity glyph (∞), and it will link you back to the post on Indigo Spot.
Tim Brownson on the “I don’t have time” excuse: We all adopt the ‘lack of time’ approach on a regular basis, because the easiest out in the world is to blame the clock when we want to avoid doing something. But it’s nearly always untrue and it’s seldom helpful. … I challenge you to join me and go a week without telling people you don’t have time to do something.
Jonah Weiner writes a superb article about the developers of Dwarf Fortress. At bottom, Dwarf Fortress mounts an argument about play. Many video games mimic the look and structure of films: there’s a story line, more or less fixed, that progresses only when you complete required tasks. This can make for gripping fun, but also the constrictive sense that you are a mouse in a tricked-out maze, chasing chunks of cheese.
BBC News posts 50 examples of “Americanisms” that were submitted by readers. My favorite? “I could care less” instead of “I couldn’t care less” has to be the worst. Opposite meaning of what they’re trying to say. Jonathan, Birmingham
Leo Babauta on advertising and consumerism: I could go on all day, and in fact, we all go on all day with this game. Or instead, we could simply say, “I’m not playing that game.” Because honestly, there’s no way we can win. Spot on, as always.
The title says it all.
A very good question posed by Philip Greenspun.
One of the observations from the studies conducted so far is that the effect of light on the prevention of the development of myopia may have a threshold effect, that is both the level of light required and the duration of light exposure may need to reach critical amounts before light has its preventive effect. In the latter case, the epidemiological studies that have examined children’s exposure to outdoors have consistently found a preventative effect for between 10-14 hours outside per week in addition to any hours spent outside during school time, while 3-6 hours per week has not been associated with any effect.
Marco Arment wrote an excellent review of the new Nook Simple Touch and while he loves the Nook and its new touch screen, he still came to the following conclusion. The Nook Simple Touch isn’t going to convert a lot of Kindle fans. Amazon’s ecosystem is going to keep a lot of people in. My ideal e-reader would be the Nook hardware and interface, but backed by the Kindle’s ecosystem and services.
Kyle Baxter compares Windows 8 to Mac OS X Lion, but here’s the salient point: Lion borrows heavily from iOS both in concept (App Store, Launchpad, gestures, full-screen applications) and in appearance (user interface elements that resemble popovers introduced on the iPad). Apple could merely be adopting good ideas that iOS introduced to improve Mac OS, but I think there’s something more going on. I think Apple’s attempting to converge Mac OS and iOS.
I do. Back in August of 2009, I wrote about my Zumba experiment in which I decided to try my hand (and feet) at Zumba. My wife began teaching Zumba in September of 2009. I decided to attend all of her classes and have since grown quite fond of Zumba for a variety of reasons. First of all, the experiment was a success. I am now licensed to teach Zumba, AquaZumba, and ZumbAtomic.
Dan Ariely on marketing and advertising: Consider for a moment a world without marketing hype. One in which there’s nothing you really desire beyond what you need to live. There’s nothing your kids want; they don’t bug you every time you’re in the supermarket. How hard would you work in such a world? What would motivate you to work harder? Now consider our current consumer environment: Multiply the desire for Respirer by thousands of products of varying levels of utility: iPads, leather couches, crystal martini glasses, cars, garden gnomes.
Leo Babauta on the negative impact of marketing and advertising on human interaction: We’ve lost sight of the simple truth that we need none of these products being pushed on us by marketers and advertisers. We’ve forgotten that we need very little, and so we buy so much. And we are oblivious to the fact that corporations use us as advertisements and marketing tools.
Mesmerizing video of a series of pendulums moving in an out of sync with each other until at the end…
Dave Pell, of Davenetics, Tweetage Wasteland, and The Skeptical Hypochondriac, offers a delightful service for Kindle owners called Delivereads. The service is simple. Subscribe to Delivereads with your Kindle e-mail, and every week or so, Dave will send you a neatly formatted digest of interesting articles that he finds on the web. The content is curated, the articles are high quality, and the digest is clean and easy to navigate. If you own a Kindle, you should subscribe to Delivereads.
Derek K. Miller died on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. On May 4, his last post was published on the Internet. His words are simple and true. Go read them, and then go enjoy this beautiful world. Life is fleeting.
If you read one book this month, make it Patrick Rhone’s new book, Keeping It Straight. I read it on my Kindle, and I just ripped through it. The book may contain a lot of things you already know, but Patrick’s personal essays give insight and at times, a swift kick that will propel you into action.
Chuck Wendig reviews Portal 2, but also addresses an important storytelling mechanic in video games. Sometimes there need to be some unanswered questions and gaps to fill during the adventure, and perhaps even afterward.
Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, wrote a well researched article on the possible toxicity of sugar in The New York Times Magazine a couple of weeks ago. While it may be a long read, the article is worth your time, and once the studies in progress are complete, we’ll know a little more about the hazards of refined sugar, fructose in particular.
I love the game, Tiny Wings, but I have to say, Garrett Murray accurately describes how I feel when I play it, too.
Merlin Mann has become an adept writer, and this piece illustrates that. It is my hope that Merlin’s eventual book is more memoir and less “how-to” because damned if he doesn’t drop wisdom in a most unique and effective way when he simply tells us the story of his life.
Using the analogy of a single family income, Greenspun illustrates how much (or little) Congress' proposed spending cut will save. We have a family that is spending $38,200 per year. The family’s income is $21,700 per year. The family adds $16,500 in credit card debt every year in order to pay its bills. After a long and difficult debate among family members, keeping in mind that it was not going to be possible to borrow $16,500 every year forever, the parents and children agreed that a $380/year premium cable subscription could be terminated.
In 1874 the QWERTY keyboard was invented. In 1963, the world was introduced to the mouse. Some 50 years later, we’ve seen the advent of microprocessors, high resolution webcams, and spatial tracking technology. But all the while we’ve continued to use outdated technology to interact with devices. Why? This is a question that we’ve been thinking about a lot at Google, and we’re excited to introduce our first attempts at next generation human computer interaction: Gmail Motion.
If you don’t already have a backup solution in place for your home computers, then it is time to rectify that problem. I went for some time without a proper backup solution and was nearly bitten by data loss, but I lucked out and was able to recover the data. From that point on, I backed up to an external drive weekly. However, on-site external backups are not enough. If that external drive were to fail coincidentally with a computer hard drive failure, I would lose all of my data.
The Brooks Review elaborates on this conclusion: The only free things I like and trust are free things that are trials, or labeled as beta. Everything else should be charging from day one — I don’t mean to get all 37Signals on people here, but they have a good point. What good will Twitter be next month when 20% of the average user’s stream is advertising? Will I even want to use it?
There are some cats who are affectionate, some who are aloof, some who play fetch, and some who don’t goof, but you, dear Hayden, loved. You entertained us with your feats of skill when you would attempt to catch the nemesis that was your tail. A lap was never empty for long when you entered room. You snuggled up with me for weekend afternoon naps when Lesa was out and about, but you would always run to meet her when she arrived home.
8-bit gaming meets the modern MMOG: NEStalgia is an original MMORPG inspired by the glory days of traditional console RPGs. Essentially “Dragon Warrior 3 meets World of Warcraft”, NEStalgia is an amalgam of the best generations of RPG gaming. Wage classic turn based battles using a multiplayer party system, and enjoy modern trappings such as a full-featured quest system and hordes of epic loot to find. We even have a WoW-style Auction House for item trading!
Chris Bowler wrote about his schedule, and the need to carve out some more time. His idea? Steal an hour and a half from his sleep time each week day. The experiment: I’m going to take two weeks and see how I operate on 5 hours of sleep per night. That probably sounds a little crazy, but there are a few caveats. 1) This will only be for nights before a weekday, Sunday to Thursday.
James Shelley poses an excellent question: If everyone has everyone’s attention the value of attention is nullified. Thus to avoid mental bankruptcy, navigating an “attention economy” means saving, investing and being cunningly conscientious of your own attention. If you treated your attention as a monetary value, would you be considered broke, middle class or well-invested? In regard to the Internet, services like Instapaper, Readability, and sites like Read & Trust will become more valuable as information continues to proliferate.
Aperture is always “improving” but never becomes great. I often felt that I was fighting it to get my work done. Lightroom is consistently good and very stable. I’ve never felt that I was fighting it. I try to avoid Adobe products where possible due to the (often) poor interface design; however, Marco’s statement is exactly why I settled on Lightroom. Aperture felt like slogging through mud most of the time.
Kurt Vonnegut gave some wise advice in this article back in 2008. Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead — or, worse, they will stop reading you.
After considering for months on end, reading reviews, testing out the software version on the PC, Mac, and iPhone, and actually testing one out at a store, I finally purchased an Amazon Kindle 3G. Here are some “unboxing” pictures. I am very happy with my Kindle. Thanks to Frank Chimero for answering some of my questions about it earlier this week. As it turns out, I only tried to tap the screen once.
Go figure. I just ordered my copy of HTML5 for Web Designers from A Book Apart, and Ian Hickson announces this change. I wonder if A Book Apart will change the name of the book for the next print run. In any case, it is excellent news that the HTML specification is no longer a draft.
As time passes , the more I realize it’s all that really matters. All this, just about everything I write here, it’s all about time. Time is the one thing we can never get back once it’s gone.
Noah Stokes reflects on 34 years of life.
Not the game. Stop typing as though you are still using a typewriter.
Randall Stross: At my house, the Internet connection is flaky at times, so I really shouldn’t demand that my favorite Web sites have Five-9s availability. Perceived reliability is determined by the least reliable service in the chain. A home user’s Internet connection, with a laptop using Wi-Fi, would be available about 99.8 percent of the time, estimates Mr. Hölzle at Google, which equates to about 18 hours of cumulative downtime a year.
The game, Minecraft, is quite possibly the only graphical multiplayer game that captures the text-based MUD experience of years past. By that, I mean that not only can you login and play on a server with other people, but you can also download the server software and host your own game server allowing others to connect and play. Additionally, with some mods or some coding, you can add your own features and functions to the game.
Every day I encounter some new social network, a new iPhone application, a new Web 2.0 application. For most of them, I take a pass. After all, do we really need yet another social network? How many social networking aggregation tools can one person use? Is there a need for multiple flashlight applications on the iPhone while I still cannot get a decent terminal application? Are we at Web 2.1 yet?
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1440.0"]<a href="http://www.patrickmoberg.com/november-4-2008.jpg"><img src="https://Ian W. Parker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/november-4-2008.jpg" alt="November 4, 2008" /></a> November 4, 2008[/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="373.0"]<a href="http://thisisindexed.com/2008/11/get-to-it/"><img src="https://Ian W. Parker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/card1890-373x231.jpg" alt="How to Waste Your Life" /></a> How to Waste Your Life[/caption]
It’s a simple question that built the Twitterempire 140 characters at a time. What are you doing? And yet, I feel that although I use Twitter fairly often, I do not actually ask myself that question enough throughout the work day. How many times have you found yourself wasting what would be otherwise productive time doing something… well, unproductive? If you’re a regular reader here, then you’ve heard of Merlin Mannby now.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="458.0"]<a href="https://Ian W. Parker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/medal_front.gif"><img src="https://iwparker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/medal_front.gif" alt="Medals - Beijing 2008 (front)" /></a> Medals - Beijing 2008 (front)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="10.0"]<img src="https://Ian W. Parker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/10px-8px-gold.gif" alt="10px-8px-gold" /> 10px-8px-gold[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="10.0"]<img src="https://Ian W. Parker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/10px-8px-silver.gif" alt="10px-8px-silver" /> 10px-8px-silver[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="10.0"]<img src="https://Ian W. Parker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/10px-8px-bronze.gif" alt="10px-8px-bronze" /> 10px-8px-bronze[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="458.0"]<a href="https://Ian W. Parker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/medal_back.gif"><img src="https://iwparker.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/medal_back.gif" alt="Medals - Beijing 2008 (back)" /></a> Medals - Beijing 2008 (back)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="10.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="458.0"]<a href="http://cb.vu"><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/563a878fe4b086fc81d2f766/564350bee4b01a5e913fefaf/564350c4e4b01a5e913ff03a/1447252632252/cbvu.jpg" alt="cb.vu" /></a> cb.vu[/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="458.0"]<img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/563a878fe4b086fc81d2f766/564350bee4b01a5e913fefaf/564350c3e4b01a5e913ff014/1447252640932/walden_pond.jpg" alt="Walden Pond" /> Walden Pond[/caption]
Last week, I wrote about Google’s newest online product, Knol. Since it is a Googleproperty, the world took notice and immediately began examining it. It seems that Aaron Wallhas uncovered not so much a flaw as a bias in the way Google handles Knol articles. In his testing, he found that even though his original content was on a Google PageRank5 page hosted on an authoritative site (Business.com) that has been around for years, the Knol article with the same content ranks first on a search.
No, that is not a typographical error in the article title. A knol is defined by Googleas “a unit of knowledge”. At least, that’s the subtitle of their newest released product, Knol.
I can’t recall exactly how I first came across Jo Beaufoix’s blog, but ever since I landed on it, it has been on my site list here. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she is a writer, or perhaps it is her ability to portray life through her writing, but Jo has a knack for making her audience laugh. Jo Beaufoix’s blog is the most popular outbound link here at Indigo Spot.
The military has long adopted technology and pushed the limits of technology through research and development. The use of these technologies, whether newly developed or existing, is not always the intended use. From a cultural standpoint, it would be desirable to think that the military always uses technology in an ethical and good manner, but what is good for some is not for others, and what is good during the stress of battle and confrontation is the preservation of self.
It is astonishing to think that there are pharmaceuticals that can not only extend our lives, but that can eradicate diseases that were once plagues, and even still are in some areas of the world. The technology of drugs and medicine has reached a fever pitch, and with greater understanding of the human genome, we are developing cures by the dozen on a yearly basis, each one more effective than the next.
David Allenhad a smash hit on his hands when he created and shared his GTD (Getting Things Done) system with the world. What he may not have counted on is that the system would be so popular that the GTD “industry” that sprang up around it has made it so complex as to defeat the purpose. So what are we to do? It’s a fantastic system and has been proven to work for even the most busy of people.
Today, I thought I would look at another on of the items from Sagmeister’s list. It reads, Over time I get used to everything and start taking it for granted. How true this is of may people in the world today. In particular, I fall prey to this habit. It is so easy to forget the beauty and majesty of the world around us. It is far too easy to neglect those we love and to ignore the simple pleasures in life.
When designing web sites, creators must take several criteria into account: navigation, consistency, performance, appearance, quality, interactivity, security, and scalability. This is especially true for e-commerce sites. Customers and companies alike access e-commerce web sites to accomplish a number of differing tasks from account setup to repeat purchases to content management. Content management is one task which companies must address when developing and maintaining their e-commerce sites. When implementing a content management system, not only do the needs of employees need to be met, but the system must meet all of the aforementioned criteria with respect to the customers which will be accessing it, scalability being arguably one of the most important.
Content availability is one of the major concerns of companies. Marketing a product or providing consumer resources requires a constant stream of information to be disseminated through every available media outlet. One of the fastest growing and most leveraged is the Internet. The benefit of the Internet is the tremendous global reach that it has in the world’s marketplace. The difficulty with the Internet is fierce competition. During the early years of growth, some companies sought to control the Internet marketplace through software market share, but now telecommunications companies and Internet service providers are attempting to monopolize control of the bandwidth and access in the United States.
Modern information driven societies require constant access to their information. In the United States, the proliferation of devices that allow users to access content on the Internet, intranets and every network between has raised the bar for acceptable levels of performance from computing systems. Service level agreements have risen to a demand of over 99% uptime on critical systems and often even non-critical systems. Not only must the information be available, but it must also be reliable.