Daylight Saving

Technology, Life, Infinite Series 2008-11-19 04:36

Daylight saving day apparently occurred about two weeks ago. For the first time in my life, I didn’t notice.

The reason? All of my clocks are now smart; they know their timezone and the date, so they know when to display daylight saving-shifted times. (This in addition to keeping themselves synced to atomic clocks via the internet and NTP.) I have two smart clocks: one on my computer, and one on my phone. I’m very rarely more than 5 feet away from at least one of these.

I’ve removed all dumb clocks from my life. First, I don’t have any standalone clocks. Next, I don’t set the time on my microwave clock, leaving it showing “0″ when not cooking. And finally, I put a piece of electrical tape over the digital clock in my car’s stereo, so that its time display is not visible.

For the record: daylight saving time is stupid, and should be abolished. It already has been in some places. But until it is gone worldwide, smart clocks are a good workaround.

External Brainpower

Technology, Infinite Series 2008-03-13 02:41

My iPhone ran out of batteries today, right as I was using it. As the screen spiraled away into the inky void (i.e., the power down animation), I had a sudden sinking sensation. I felt like I had suddenly gotten dumber.

I chuckled and shook it off. How silly - to think a device powering down meant that I was losing IQ! On deeper reflection, however, it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t so silly. Maybe I actually was getting dumber.

When I encounter a word, acronymn, or phrase I don’t know, I can look it up instantly. I always know exactly when the next bus is going to arrive, or whether my flight is on time. And certainly, any time I want to know where something is located - or where I am located - it’s where I look.

So if my phone turning off means I’m getting dumber, it follows that when it’s on, I’m smarter. Sweet.

Cyborg Runner

Technology, Health, Infinite Series 2008-03-09 09:29

Make Your Plants Talk

Technology 2008-02-26 02:19

I was amused by this project to make your plants twitter you when they need water. It uses the Arduino, which is a great little board that I’ve mentioned before.

Progress

Technology, Philosophy 2008-01-14 09:42

“All technological change is generational change. The full power and consequences of a new technology are unleashed only when those who have grown up with it become adults and push their outdated parents to the margins. As the older generations die, they take with them their knowledge of what was lost when the new technology arrived, and only the sense of what was gained remains. It’s in this way that progress covers its tracks, perpetually refreshing the illusion that where we are is where we were meant to be.”

From The Big Switch, as reviewed by Cote

The Long Tail

Hardly breaking news, but I came across this quote recently and was reminded of how happy I am that we now live in the world of the long tail:

“We’ve been suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare. Why? Economics. Many of our assuptions about popular taste are actually artifacts of poor supply-and-demand matching - a market response to inefficient distribution.”

From The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Rightsizing

Technology, Culture 2007-12-18 12:19

Rightsize Me explores the challenges of fitting clothing and the unsuitability of a single-axis size, particularly for females. Body scanning technology is a possible solution:

“A more promising approach is to use scanner data to match a customer’s shape with a store’s inventory, a service Bodymetrics also offers. Fit experts envision a future in which you’d carry your body scan in your cell phone or on a thumb drive, using the data to order clothes online or find them in stores.”

Wikimedica

Technology, Health 2007-11-26 12:32

Medical doctors spend a lot of their time doing pattern matching. Specifically, matching symptoms (combined with other data, like age and sex) against maladies to produce a diagnosis, and from that determining a treatment. Much of a med student’s studying is essentially memorization of long lists of this stuff: symptoms -> malady -> treatment. Much of the work of an interned doctor is trying to improve their recall of these patterns in real-world situations. And finally, much of the work of practicing doctors is applying these patterns to their patients over and over again.

This is pretty dumb.
Read more »

Heroku Blog

Technology, Entrepreneurship 2007-11-09 02:54

I’ve made my last post to my Bitscribe blog, and am now blogging at my new venture, Heroku. If you’re interested in technology or entrepreneurship and think I have anything useful to say on those topics, stop by and take a gander.

Parkinson’s Law

Technology, Life 2007-10-06 07:48

Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law? It encompasses many common phenomenon you may have come across:

  • No matter how much hard drive space you have, you always fill it up eventually.
  • No matter how much time you have for a project, you are always working up till the last minute.
  • No matter how much money you have, you always find ways to spend most or all of it.

Humans seem to always fill things to their limit, regardless of where that limit is set. That’s why it’s so important to embrace constraints.