Monday, April 11, 2011


patience == active waiting

impatience is a symptom of selfishness


One thing I've noticed is that most of the behaviors people exhibit either stem from or respond to training.  That training takes two forms.  First, we get better at stuff by practicing.  Secondly, we pick behaviors up by seeing/hearing them.

Regarding practice, it goes without saying that athletes train rigorously to be the best.  Muscle memory facilitates accuracy and consistency.  The same goes for behavior in general, and extends to thoughts.  The more we do something the better we get.  The more we think something the more we believe it.

That leads into the second form of training, observation.  We are social creatures.  The more we see others do something, the more prone we are to acquire that behavior.  We take advantage of this in education.  However, we tend to not realize the effect that television and movies have on us.  By watching shows we are practicing the behaviors we see there.

In both forms we must consider all the influences in our lives.  Being in charge of oneself includes being aware of the training we are taking in just by being somewhere.  It includes knowing that saying or even just thinking something makes you better at saying or thinking it.  If you don't want to get good at saying mean things to people, avoid even thinking mean things.

[idea] Data Bubble

This is an idea I had a year or two ago.  Basically take a powerful-enough computer and shrink it down to about the size of a cell phone.  Make it really power-efficient.  Only put a tiny battery in it (using external battery back for power).  Don't put a display on it.  Really it would be like a high-end cell phone without a display.  People would simply keep it close (belt or whatever) just like they do their phone.

Have IO be wireless and go over a low-power, high-bandwidth signal that only extends out 3-6 feet (hence the bubble).  This should be low enough power that it would not need to be regulated by the FCC.  All peripheral functionality would be provided by external devices that communicate via the wireless.  This includes touchscreens (ala phones), earpieces, keyboard, mouse.  You could even have your watch tie in, or your car, or whatever.

The point is that you take your computer with you everywhere.  The IO spec is open, so anyone can build any kind of peripheral they like.

Some neat things could happen result from this.  For instance, you walk into the range of someone else's data bubble and suddenly you are able to be involved in certain transactions with that person.  You sit down at your desk and suddenly your monitor comes to life with the output from your computer that is now in range.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Good or bad?

In order of priority
1. Do the minimum to make sure your needs are met.
2. Minimize your needs.
3. Get enough understanding of the world around you to make good decisions about your goals.
4. Ensure that your goals are ideal relative to your understanding.
5. Work toward your goals with all your effort.

needs == requirements
goals == deliverables

At some point your understanding is good enough (at #3) and you have to act.  If you aren't happy with your goals then perhaps your understanding is not good enough and your goal should be to improve your understanding enough to make good enough goals.  But as soon as you can make concrete goals that are good enough then move on to #4 and #5.

For any of the activities, the preceding activities will be happening continually.  For instance, as you work on your goals you will still be taking the time to meet your needs.  Even more important to recognize, as you work on your goals (and really as you simply live your life) you will be increasing your understanding (#3).

So as you live your understanding will be increasing and you have to take the time to use that understanding in all your other activities.  However, taking care of your needs takes precedence over any active pursuit of understanding.  The nice thing is that the more you understand, the more effective you will be at acting within the context of that understanding.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There is great value in understanding the world around us, including how our bodies (and particularly our brains) work.  However, the reality of life is that you have to act.

We live in a dynamic world.  We do the best we can to understand it enough to improve our lives, at least most people do.  We have to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, avoid injury, and keep out of the elements.  We have to take care of dependents, particularly children.  We communicate and interact with others (a major component of our reality, if only a small part of the world we live in).  These actions are often driven by impulses in our brains and bodies, and are subject to manipulation by ourselves, others, and our environment.

Yet, regardless of why we act, reality dictates that we do so.  So if we spend all our time growing in understanding, but never finish anything, it seems like we are just throwing away our lives.  I suppose there is much to be said for the influence we have on others that then go on to finish things, but I don't have a feel for that idea.

So is it better to finish something poorly than to not finish it at all?  The short term would dictate yes.  And business in general struggles to justify focusing on anything but the short term.  I understand that.  Businesses have to cover their expenses now.  I suppose businesses that can accommodate the short term with "good enough", while working toward a [more than abstract] long term (where uncertainty compounds across time into higher risks) are going to find more success.  However, I expect that is a hard problem.

Business drives a lot of what happens in our communities, so the focus on the short term propagates to all of us in communities that are ultimately driven by business or people who live in business.  But perhaps we need to work harder on developing strategies for progressing toward concrete long-term targets, while not sacrificing our short-term status.

Building understanding is great, but periodically you need something to show for it.  Hopefully it is something that improves the lives of everyone.