Archive for March, 2012

Linky Goodness – 3/28/2012

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Top 10 Lessons of the Iraq War
I hope our fearless leaders (and would-be leaders) review these lessons before embroiling us in another one.

How emacs changed my life
This is pretty geeky, but it combines two of my passions. It’s a slideshow from Matz — the creator of Ruby, the primary language I program in — talking about what he learned from Emacs, the editor in which I do all my writing, including this blog post.

The Cadbury Egg as a measure of sugar content
Did you know how many Cadbury eggs you’re drinking with that can of Coke?

Savvy consumers are taking it to retailers
“The customer knows the right price,” said the chief executive of J. C. Penney, Ron Johnson. “We can raise the price all we want; she’s only going to pay the right price. And why is that? Because she’s an expert.”

Google’s failed invitation to Google IO
You’d think the most powerful company on the internet would be able to get direct marketing together. You’d be wrong. Entertaining read.

How people are spamming Pinterest
Any social network is going to get spammed. Here’s an inside look at how people are taking advantage of Pinterest.

The next version of Serendeputy takes social signals into account far more heavily and will, definitionally, be more susceptible to this type of attack. I’m spending a decent amount of time planning for evil.

Linky Goodness – 3/26/2012

Monday, March 26th, 2012

This is 10,000 pounds of awesome: 23 1/2 hours a day.

This is great, not only on the message layer, but on the medium. Watching this type of presentation is insanely addicting.

Tesla bricks
My family truckster is due for replacement in 2015. I’m hoping that the fully-electric cars are serving the early majority by then. If they brick like this, though, I’m staying miles and miles away. We had a bad enough time when the Prius battery emptied because Sadie left a door ajar.

Of course, you can also seize up your gasoline engine if you’re not paying attention, so maybe it’s incumbent on us to learn a little bit about our tools. I’m guessing that most Americans are post knowing how to care for their cars, though.

Why Angry Birds is so successful
A look at Angry Birds from an interactive design standpoint. It’s good to analyze why it’s so successful.

Inception explained
Here is another innovative use of design. Click through to this and scroll down to watch how it explains the movie Inception. Spoilers, obviously.

Don’t resent the current moment.

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

I have a new piece up on 39 Essays: Don’t resent the current moment.

Here’s the lede:

Early 2008. Sadie was a toddler. Lucy was a month away from entering the world. My employer was cratering and my wife was planning her father’s funeral. I was getting on a plane headed to Tampa to be best man in my brother’s wedding. My head was in a weird place.

As I was getting out of my car at Logan, I turned on an audio book to keep me company through the trip. That book was The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And, over the course of that very strange weekend, that book changed my life. Here’s what I’ve learned, and what I’ve tried to live by ever since.

Go read the whole thing.

The heartbreaking story of Trayvon Martin

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I’ve been following this story for days, but I haven’t been able to write about it because it’s so heartbreaking. Fred Clark has an excellent roundup of coverage.

Here’s the short version: It appears that a self-appointed “neighborhood watchman” in Central Florida saw a 140-pound black boy named Trayvon Martin walking back to his father’s house. Trayvon was openly armed with the can of iced tea and bag of Skittles he just bought at the store. The “watchman” called the police, who told him not to follow. The “watchman” then followed the boy, and minutes later, the boy had been shot dead. The “watchman” has not been charged. According to the state of Florida, he was “standing his ground.”

As a citizen, I’m generally in favor of strong second-amendment rights (a position that’s pretty rare here in Massachusetts), but the second amendment doesn’t give you the right to stalk, confront and murder strangers in the street.

Sad echoes of Hattie Carroll.

Linky Goodness – 3/20/2012

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve put up some linky goodness. I’ve been sharing links on my Twitter account but not here on the site, so I have quite the backlog. Let’s rock.

Netflix’s culture
This is a couple of years old, but still worth reviewing for anyone working for or leading fast-paced companies.

“Personhood” screws up birthdays
“[T]he legal drinking age here in Pennsylvania is 21. That age is calculated from one’s birthday, of course. So are all the other legal milestone ages, such as 16 (learner’s permit), 17 (driver’s license), 18 (voting and draft registration), 25 (renting a car) and 30 (running for the U.S. Senate). You reach each of those milestone ages on your birthday — the annual anniversary of the day of your birth, which is how we measure a person’s age. But with several states now considering “personhood” amendments to their constitutions, these laws will need to be changed. And so will the cultural significance of birthdays.”

Too bad this wasn’t in effect a couple of years ago. I would have gotten a tax deduction for Lucy a year earlier.

I’ve been watching the Patriots’ free agents moves closely over the past week. PFT is one of the best places on the web for following the minute-by-minute moves. The PFT page on Serendeputy is my highest ranking tag.

Kidpocalyse Now
Life inside a blogger junket.

The life and times of Comfortably Numb
A very interesting exploration of the history of Pink Floyd’s greatest song.

What happens at Davos
The New Yorker takes a trip to Davos and tells us what really happens there.

I was a warehouse wage slave
Life inside an Internet retailer’s warehouse operations.

The story is a sad one, told many times

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

I guess this is the inevitable path of any well-respected company, as described by a former executive.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

A love letter to a great album

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

My latest essay is up over at 39Essays. This week’s exercise was to write about music, something which is a little harder than I expected it to be.

I wrote about Alabama 3’s excellent Exile on Coldharbour Lane album. Check it out, and let me know what you think.