Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A great repost of '50 tricks to get things done'

50 Tricks to Get Things Done Faster, Better, and More Easily

We all want to get stuff done, whether it’s the work we have to do so we can get on with what we want to do, or indeed, the projects we feel are our purpose in life. To that end, here’s a collection of 50 hacks, tips, tricks, and mnemonic devices I’ve collected that can help you work better.

1. Most Important Tasks (MITs): At the start of each day (or the night before) highlight the three or four most important things you have to do in the coming day. Do them first. If you get nothing else accomplished aside from your MITs, you’ve still had a pretty productive day.

2. Big Rocks: The big projects you’re working on at any given moment. Set aside time every day or week to move your big rocks forward.

3. Inbox Zero: Decide what to do with every email you get, the moment you read it. If there’s something you need to do, either do it or add it to your todo list and delete or file the email. If it’s something you need for reference, file it. Empty your email inbox every day.

4. Wake up earlier: Add a productive hour to your day by getting up an hour earlier — before everyone else starts imposing on your time.

5. One In, One Out: Avoid clutter by adopting a replacement-only standard. Every time you but something new, you throw out or donate something old. For example, you buy a new shirt, you get rid of an old one. (Variation: One in, Two Out — useful when you begin to feel overwhelmed by your possessions.)

6. Brainstorming: The act of generating dozens of ideas without editing or censoring yourself. Lots of people use mindmaps for this: stick the thing you want to think about in the middle (a problem you need to solve, a theme you want to write about, etc.) and start writing whatever you think of. Build off of each of the sub-topics, and each of their sub-topics. Don’t worry about whether the ideas are any good or not — you don’t have to follow through on them, just get them out of your head. After a while, you’ll start surprising yourself with some really creative concepts.

7. Ubiquitous Capture: Always carry something to take notes with — a pen and paper, a PDA, a stack of index cards. Capture every thought that comes into your mind, whether it’s an idea for a project you’d like to do, an appointment you need to make, something you need to pick up next time you’re at the store, whatever. Review it regularly and transfer everything to where it belongs: a todo list, a filing system, a journal, etc.

8. Get more sleep: Sleep is essential to health, learning, and awareness. Research shows the body goes through a complete sleep cycle in about 90 minutes, so napping for less than that doesn’t have the same effect that real sleep does (although it does make you feel better). Get 8 hours a night, at least. Learn to see sleep as a pleasure, not a necessary evil or a luxury.

9. 10+2*5: Work in short spurts of 10 minutes, interrupted by 2 minute breaks. Use a timer. Do this 5 times an hour to stay on target without over-taxing your physical and mental resources. Spend those 2 minutes getting a drink, going to the bathroom, or staring out a window.

10. SMART goals: A rubric for creating and pursuing your goals, helping to avoid setting goals that are simply unattainable. Stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

11. SUCCES: From Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Made to Stick, SUCCES is a set of characteristics that make ideas memorable (”sticky”): sticky ideas are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional Stories.

12. Eat the Frog: Do your most unpleasant task first. Based on the saying that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a frog, the day can only get better from then on.

13. 80/20 Rule/Pareto Principle: Generally speaking, the 80/20 Principle says that most of our results come from a small portion of our actual work, and conversely, that we spend most of our energy doing things that aren’t ultimately all that important. Figure out which part of your work has the greatest results and focus as much of your energy as you can on that part.

14. What’s the Next Action?: Don’t plan out everything you need to do to finish a project, just focus on the very next thing you need to do to move it forward. Usually doing the next, little thing will lead to another, and another, until we’re either done or we run into a block: we need more information, we need someone else to catch up, etc. Be as concrete and discrete as possible: you can’t “install cable”, all you can do is “call the cable company to request cable installation”.

15. The Secret: There is no secret.

16. Slow Down: Make time for yourself. Eat slowly. Enjoy a lazy weekend day. Take the time to do things right, and keep a balance between the rush-rush world of work and the rest of your life.

17. Time Boxing: Assign a set amount of time per day to work on a task or project. Focus entirely on that one thing during that time. Don’t worry about finishing it, just worry about giving that amount of undivided attention to the project. (Variation: fixed goals. For example, you don’t get up until you’ve written 1,000 words, or processed 10 orders, or whatever.)

18. Batch Process: Do all your similar tasks together. For example, don’t deal with emails sporadically throughout the day; instead, set aside an hour to go through your email inbox and respond to emails. Do the same with voice mail, phone calls, responding to letters, filing, and so on — any routine, repetitive tasks.

19. Covey Quadrants: A system for assigning priorities. Two axes, one for importance, the other for urgency, intersect. Tasks are assigned to one of the four quadrants: not important, not urgent; not important, urgent; important, not urgent; and important and urgent. Purge the tasks that are neither important nor urgent, defer the unimportant but urgent ones, try to avoid letting the important ones become urgent, and as much as possible work on the tasks in the important but not urgent quadrant.

20. Handle Everything Once: Don’t set things aside hoping you’ll have time to deal with them later. Ask yourself “What do I need to do with this” every time you pick up something from your email list, and either do it, schedule it for later, defer it to someone else, or file it.

21. Don’t Break the Chain: Use a calendar to track your daily goals. Every day you do something, like working out or writing 1,000 words, make a big red “X”. Every day the chain will grow longer. Don’t break the chain! That is, don’t let any non-X days interrupt your chain of successful days.

22. Review: Schedule a time with yourself every week to look over what you’ve done that week and what you want to do the next week. Ask yourself if there are any new projects you should be starting, and if what you’re working on is moving you closer to your goals for your life.

23. Roles: Everyone fills several different roles in their life. For instance, I’m a teacher, a student, a writer, a step-father, a partner, a brother, a son, an uncle, an anthropologist, and so on. Understanding your different roles and learning to keep them distinct when necessary can help you keep some sense of balance between them. Make goals around the various roles you fill, and make sure that your goals fit with your goals in other roles.

24. Flow: The flow state happens when you’re so absorbed in whatever you’re doing that you have no awareness of the passing of time and the work just happens automatically. It’s hard to trigger consciously, but you can create the conditions for it by allowing yourself a block of uninterrupted time, minimizing distractions, and calming yourself.

25. Do It Now: Fight procrastination by adopting “do it now!” as your mantra. Limit yourself to 60 seconds when making a decision, decide what you’re going to do with every input in your life as soon as you encounter it, learn to make bold decisions even when you’re not really sure. Keep moving forward.

26. Time Log: Lawyers have to track everything they do in the day and how long they do it so they can bill their clients and remain accountable. You need to be accountable to yourself, so keep track of how much time you really spend on the things that are important to you by tracking your time.

27. Structured Procrastination: A strategy of recognizing and using one’s procrastinating tendencies to get stuff done. Items at the top of top of the list are avoided by doing seemingly less difficult and less important tasks further down the list — making the procrastinator highly productive. The trick is to make sure the items at the top are apparently urgent — with pressing deadlines and apparently large consequences. But, of course, they aren’t really all that urgent. Structured procrastination requires a masterful skill at self-deception, which fortunately bigtime procrastinators excel at.

28. Personal Mission Statement: Write a personal mission statement, and use it as a guide to set goals. Ask if each goal or activity moves you closer to achieving your mission. If it doesn’t, eliminate it. Periodically review and revise your mission statement.

29. Backwards Planning: A planning strategy that works from the goal back to your next action. Start with the end goal in mind. What do you have to have in place to accomplish it? OK, now what do you have to have in place to accomplish what you have to have in place to accomplish your end goal? And what do you have to have in place to accomplish that? And so on, back to something you already have in place and/or can put in place immediately. That’s your next action.

30. Tune Out: Create a personal privacy zone by wearing headphones. People are much more hesitant to interrupt someone wearing headphones. Note: actually listening to music through your headphones is optional — nobody knows but you.

31. Write It Down: Don’t rely on your memory as your system. Write down the things you need to do, your schedule, anything you might need to refer to, and every passing thought so you can relax, knowing you won’t forget. Use your brain for thinking, use paper or your computer for keeping track of stuff.

32. Gap Time: The little blocks of time we have during the day while waiting for the bus, standing in line, waiting for a meeting to start, etc. Have a list of small, 5-minute tasks that you can do in these moments, or carry something to read or work on to make the most of these spare minutes.

33. Monotasking: We like to think of ourselves as great multitaskers, but we aren’t. What we do when we multitask is devote tiny slices of time to several tasks in rapid succession. Since it takes more than a few minutes (research suggests as long as 20) to really get into a task, we end up working worse and more slowly than if we devoted longer blocks of time to each task, worked until it was done, and moved on to the next one.

34. Habits: Habits are as much about the way we see and respond to the world as about the actions we routinely take. Examine your own habits and ask what they say about your relation to the world — and what would have to change to create a worldview in which your goals were attainable.

35. Triggers: Place meaningful reminders around you to help you remember, as well as to help create better habits. For example, put the books you need to take back to the library in front of the door, so you can’t leave the house without seeing them and remembering they need to go back.

36. Unclutter: Clutter is anything that’s out of place and in the way. IT’s not necessarily neatness — someone can have a rigorously neat workspace and not be able to get anything done. It’s being able to access what you need, when you need it, without breaking the flow of your work to find it. Figure out what is “clutter” in your working and living spaces, and fix that.

37. Visualize: Imagine yourself having accomplished your goals. What is your life like? Are you who you want to be? If not, rethink your goals. If so, then visualize yourself taking the steps you need to take to get there. You’ve got yourself a plan; write it down and do it.

38. Tickler File: A set of 43 folders, labeled 1 - 31 and January - December, used to remind us of tasks we need to do on a specific day. For instance, if you have a trip on March 23rd, you’d put your itinerary, tickets, and other material in the “March” folder. At the start of each month, you move the previous month’s folder to the back. On March 1st, you’d transfer your travel information into the “23″ folder. Each day, you move the previous day’s folder to the back. On the 23rd, the “23″ folder will be at the front, and everything you need that day will be there for you.

39. ToDon’t List: A list of things not to do — useful for keeping track of habits that lead you to be unproductive, like playing online flash games.

40. Templates: Create templates for repetitive tasks, like letters, customer reply emails, blog posts, etc.

41. Checklists: When planning any big task, make a checklist so you don’t forget the steps while in the busy middle part of doing it. Keep your checklists so you can use them next time you have to do the same task.

42. No: Learning to say “no” — to new commitments, to interruptions, to anything — is one of the most valuable skills you can develop to keep you focused on your own commitments and give you time to work on them.

43. Unschedule: Schedule all your fun activities and personal life stuff (the stuff you want to do) first. Fill in whatever time’s left over with uninterrupted blocks of work. Write those into your schedule after you’ve completed them. Reward yourself after every block of quality, focused work.

44. Purge: Regularly go through your existing commitments and get rid of anything that is either not helping you advance your own goals or is a regular “sink” of time or energy.

45. One Bucket: Minimize the places you collect new inputs in your life, your “buckets”. Ideally have one “bucket” where everything goes. Lots of people experience an incredible sense of relief when everything they need to think about is collected in one place in front of them, no matter how big the pile.

46. 50-30-20: Spend 50% of your working day on tasks that advance your long-term, life goals, spend 30% on tasks that advance your middle-term (2-years or so) goals, and the remaining 20% on things that affect only the next 90 days or so.

47. Timer: Tell yourself you will work on a project or task, and only that project or task, for a set amount of time. Set a timer (use a kitchen timer, or use a countdown timer on your computer), and plug away at your work. When the timer goes off, you’re done — move on to the next project or task.

48. Do Your Worst: Give yourself permission to suck. Relieve the pressure of needing to achieve perfection in every task on the first run. Promise yourself you’ll go back and fix any problems later, but for now, just run wild.

49. Make an Appointment with Yourself: Schedule time every week or so just for you. Consider the state of your life: what’s working? What isn’t working? what mistakes are you making? what could you change? Give yourself a chance to get to know you.

50. [This space left intentionally blank]: This is a big list, sure, but it’s not an exhaustive one. The last space is left for you to fill in. What works for you? Let us know in the comments — or write your own list and link back to us!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Great Read

Seth Godin has a new free ebook. I'm not finished reading it but it's well worth the read.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Google Chrome Extensions: Blog This! (by Google)

Google Chrome Extensions: Blog This! (by Google)

I've been using Chrome for a while and this is a great extension. Maybe it'll get me to spend more time on blogger and less on twitter.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What PC users can do that Mac users can't

Thanks to PGuy for this one, for the record I use both but am not fruity enough to be seen in public with a Mac. iShit in it's own fisher price kind of way is for ladies, kids and kitten lovers and I'm really happy that Google isn't afraid to say so.

If this was white it'd be a mac.

Going mobile - wishlist for a mobile device from a mobile dude

I've been on the road pretty much non stop for a couple of months now and have had a pretty great time with my tiny Sony Vaio, Blackberry Bold and Zune HD. It got me thinking though, what would be my ideal travel device.

Here it is in case you're an Android product manager or the hardware guy at Nokia;

- I need a phone with a great rendering processor and runs something like RDP to connect to my computer in the office or in the cloud (ie. Gotomypc on my phone)

- Love the Motorola Droid but it needs to be about half as thin and OLED (2012?).

- Stick a projector on it with quadruple the resolution that projects onto any white surface so I don't need a monitor

- Get all hotels, airports, planes, cars to have bluetooth keyboards and displays or display surfaces that let me use my phone like a laptop without lugging the keyboard and monitor

- Gimme my 7.2Mbps mobile network already

- Gimme skype native on my phone (prolly already on the droid)

- Make it so that you can control the media player without taking it out of your pocket or taking your gloves off.

Thats it, thanks!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saw this one coming

I've been predicting a Google/Apple/anti-trust showdown for years now. Actually I don't feel especially smart about it because it seems obvious. Here it comes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Brody is back with Spinnerette, shades of Siouxie. Especially digging Brody's Joy Division T;

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I agree with Jimmy

To quote Jimmy Carter on CNN, Jimmy says;

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told NBC News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans."

"That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people -- not just in the South but around the country -- that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply," Carter said.

Without coming across as a left leaning socialist, I totally agree with Jimmy maybe for he first time in my life. Seems like there's an undercurrent of racism that can't be legitimately expressed outright so it's been re-channeled into this gun toting lunacy.

For the record, I'm a right leaning fiscally conservative type minus the guns and bibles so the thing that really freaks me out is that these wingnuts didn't get their panties in a bunch when George Bush gave the banks 700B and ran up monster deficits for the past 8 years like a drunken schoolgirl with her first credit card.

I guess the difference is that GWB spent most of the money on rich people and wars.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

These teabaggers are nuts

What the fuck is wrong with these crazy Americans? It's really hard to believe that these people are real. How did such a loony group get taken seriously? Being a Canadian it's really hard to understand how the US mainstream media takes this group seriously and it's equally shocking to see how indifferent most middle of the road Americans are to these teabag quacks. You've got people protesting with AK47s, claiming their president is a socialist Nazi who's going to set up death camps to round up old people and finance abortions by seizing rich rural peoples assets. What the fuck???? They're serious too and even worse they really believe that pres Obama is going to put an end to freedom as they know it.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wise words

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Cove

Enola Gay

In 1945 on this day, a B29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the world hasn't been the same since and probably never will be.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Digging this these days

I really like Ellen Allien, skip this if you don't like minimal techno.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009


Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This is heartbreaking

I eat meat and wear leather and don't really have a problem fishing or raising and killing livestock as long as its done in a humane way. I have many friends who are hunters and I consider them environmentalists - sometimes fanatically so. I realize that animals in the wild aren't especially kind to each other and have seen some pretty gory animal on animal brutality first hand. I am pretty much the last person to promote vegetarian diets or anti-fur/vegan lifestyles but I have to say that the industrial and institutional levels of brutality that are routine in the delivery of consumer staples and products makes me fucking sick. I'll still wear leather and eat meat but this (below) is something we shouldn't cover up or pretend doesn't exist when we buy our fur lined parkas;

Monday, July 13, 2009

Burning Spear

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

A more competent monopoly

I think that the best news that Microsoft has heard in the past decade is that Google is pursuing office productivity apps and operating systems. At the same time, Googs are getting kneecapped by privacy concerns at every turn and starting to raise the ire of the anti-trust thugs - takes the spotlight off MS. This is great because it forces MS to start actually putting out wicked products instead of the third rate crap it had been until 2008. What wicked prods you ask? Well, XBox 360, Natal, Bing image & video search, Sharepoint (no shit), Server 2008 (same core as W7), Silverlight & IIS smooth streaming are awesome products and getting better. I wish they'd fix some old crap though like IE, Outlook and some of the enterprise tools.

Disclaimer: MS makes me money, Google, Apple and Oracle do not, can not and will not ever make me a living.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What they're not telling you

Google announced an operating system yesterday. No big deal because even the fantastic Chrome browser has a tiny tiny market share that nobody cares about. What Google, Microsoft, Apple and Oracle aren't telling you is that they are all developing systems where your computer and storage will be virtualized and all you need is a dumb-ish front end. Mark my words, MS will probably be the first to have something significant to market where most of your apps run on a VM in the cloud. You'll probably be able to use your Windows machine from a Mac through something like Silverlight or RDP. Pay as you go for your apps and storage, coming soon...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Maslow and the peak experience

A long time ago, like around 1990 - I read an essay in a book of cyberpunk short stories called Semiotext(e) SF from the subversive publisher of the same name. It stuck with me this whole time and really shaped the way I view things. I lost the book many moves ago and it's out of print so it wasn't easy to find but I recently re-ordered on Amazon from a used book vendor.

The subject matter is peak experiences which in my mind are essential for balanced living and something I've written about a few times. Here's the story OCR'ed for your benefit in all it's original splendor - enjoy!

Colin Wilson, a literatus or homme des lettres who has accomplished great things in nearly every print genre from philosophy to encyclopedias, has exercised tremendous influence on anti-authoritarian circles, thanks to his work in libratory psychology. But he is also idolized in SF circles for his Lovecraftian pastiches. Legend has it that Wilson once criticized HPL's atrocious style and was challenged by August Derleth to do better. SPACE VAMPIRES and LIFE FORCE were the result, by far the most orignial contributions to the Mythos since the master's death. HPL's genius owed much to sexual repression. Wilson's inspira- tion was to uncover the sexually "buried"in pulp and horror and free it from its bonds, transforming its energy from neurosis to self-realization. He has recently published a major SF far-future trilogy, SPIDER WORLD, with a similar philo- sophical agenda.

Bob Banner, who edits CRITIQUE: A JOURNAL OF METAPHYSICS AND CON‑SPIRACY (the best periodical on conspiracy theory), asked Colin Wilson for a brief resume of his central philosophical idea. We found the result valuable enough to warrant its inclusion as one of our three non-fiction pieces. Some doubt has recently been cast on Sheldrake's interpretation of the "100th monkey" mate­rial—but this doubt cannot rule out the possibility of some other "vitalist" de­velopment in biology with the same implications. Morphogenetic field research looks particularly promising in this respect. Aside from this one point, we find Wilson's essay a powerful manifesto of self-evident importance.

Maslow, Sheldrake, and the Peak Experience

By Colin Wilson

The other day in our local pub, a stranger asked me how many books I had written. When I said 55, he looked startled, and asked me whether there was any constant theme that ran through them. Lying awake in the middle of the night, I decided to treat this as a challenge, and try to summarize the basic theme of all my work. The result—which follows—comes as close to it as I can manage in a couple of thousand words.

About twenty-five years ago, I received a letter from an Ameri­can professor of psychology called Abraham Maslow. What he had to say struck me as breathtakingly original. Maslow said that, as a psy­chologist, he had got tired of studying sick people, because they never talked about anything but their sickness. It struck him that nobody had ever bothered to study healthy people. So he asked around among his friends: "Who is the healthiest person you know?" And he then got all the healthy people together and asked them questions. He immediately discovered something that no one else had ever found out: that all ex­tremely healthy people have, with a fair degree of frequency, what Mas­low called "peak experiences," experiences of bubbling, overwhelming happiness.

A typical one was as follows. A young mother was watching her husband and children eating breakfast. Suddenly, a beam of sunlight came in through the window. She thought: "My God, aren't I lucky?", and went into the peak experience.

When Maslow talked about peak experiences to his students, he made another important discovery. They began recalling peak experi­ences which they'd had in the past, which they'd now half-forgotten. He realized that this is the problem: that we all have peak experiences, but we take them for granted and quickly forget them. But as soon as his students began recalling their peak experiences, and talking about them to one another, they all began having more peak experiences. Talking and thinking about them somehow put them in the right frame of mind for further peak experiences.

All this excited me tremendously. For obviously if science could discover how to induce peak experiences, most of our worst social prob­lems would vanish. Even then, in the early 1960s, it was obvious that most of our problems are due to boredom and frustration, and that alco­holism, drug abuse, football hooliganism, vandalism and sex crime are really a muddled search for the peak experience. If we could learn the secret of the peak experience, we would be well on our way towards H. G. Wells's "modern Utopia."

But when I put this question to Maslow, his answer disappointed me. He said he didn't think it was possible to have peak experiences "at will." They came when they wanted to, and there was nothing much we could do about it. Yet it seemed to me that this comment ran counter to his basic optimism. And I settled down to try and answer the question of how to induce peak experiences.

The first clue was that Maslow's students had started having more peak experiences as soon as they began thinking and talking about them. The reason is obvious. Thinking and talking about happiness puts you into an optimistic frame of mind. You get the feeling that man was intended to be happy. The philosopher Epictetus made the interesting observation: "Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems." That is to say, we tend to get stuck in a thoroughly negative frame of mind. That is why healthy people have more peak experiences; they don't waste so much time worrying about things that will never happen.

In the past twenty-five years, I have learned a great deal about the various tricks for inducing the peak experience, and have proved to my own satisfaction that Maslow was mistaken. (Un‑ fortunately, he died before I had time to tell him so.) There are a great many simple mental techniques for inducing the peak experience, and the basic method is always the same: to deliberately generate "inner tension," followed immediately by relaxation. Graham Greene discov­ered the basic method when, as a teenager, he played Russian roulette with his brother's revolver. When the hammer clicked on an empty cham­ber, he experienced an overwhelming sense of delight. This method is obviously not to be recommended, but anyone who thinks about it care­fully will see that it contains all the important clues.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent four days in Amsterdam, trying to teach a roomful of "mature students" how to induce peak experiences. The experiment was successful beyond my expectations. During the final session, two students became convinced that they could see a golden light, while another said she had apparently floated clear off the floor.

But does all this bring us any nearer to "a modern Utopia?" Five years ago, I would have said no. But in the meantime, there has been a new and fascinating development. This is largely due to the work of one single man, the biologist Rupert Sheldrake. It was She!drake who, in a book called A New Science of Life, came up with a theory of evolution that outraged most of his older colleagues. According to modern biology, evolution occurs through changes in the genes. According to Sheldrake, there is a simpler and much quicker method, which he calls "morphic resonance." The simplest way of explaining this is to cite the famous story about the monkeys on the island of Koshima, off the coast of Japan. Scientists fed the monkeys unwashed sweet potatoes, and one exceptionally bright female named Imo discovered that if she washed her potatoes in the sea, they were not only less gritty, but tasted better. Soon all the monkeys on Koshima had learned the trick. But so had other monkeys on the mainland—monkeys who had had no kind of contact with those on Koshima.

Was it some form of telepathy? Apparently not, for it not only works for animals, but for crystals. Some substances are extremely diffi­cult to crystallize in the laboratory. But as soon as one laboratory has succeeded in doing it, the substance begins to crystallize much easier all over the world. At first it was thought that visiting scientists had carried tiny fragments of the new crystals on their clothes or beards. But this possibility was finally eliminated. Apparently the crystals were some­how "learning" from one another... Sheldrake set out to prove his theory with a number of experiments. One of these involved sending out thou­sands of those trick "pictures" in which a face is concealed in a mass of lines. He reasoned that once a certain number of people had learned to "see" the face, increasing numbers of people would be able to see it immediately. And that is precisely what happened.

If Sheldrake is right—and the biologists are fighting him tooth and nail every inch of the way—the consequences would obviously be momentous. To begin with, we would have to recognize that our writers and artists are largely to blame for the chaotic state of society. The chief qualification for a Nobel Prize is apparently to believe that life is futile and meaningless, and to say this in books and plays that end in the defeat of the hero. We stuff this poisonous rubbish down the throats of our children at school and university, and apparently believe that we are equipping them to face life. If there is anything to the theory of morphic resonance, then this is the equivalent of pouring plague germs into a city's water supply.

On the other hand, if a fairly large group of human beings could learn to have peak experiences at will—or simply learn to put themselves into the state of mind in which peak experiences are likely—then, ac­cording to Sheldrake, it should continue to spread naturally to increasing numbers of people. And perhaps a century hence—perhaps far less— everybody would be born with the ability to induce peak experiences. And the face of our civilization would be totally changed.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wow, I made it five years

Fuck, I didn't even notice that I've been posting here for five years. That's a really long time, never figured that I'd last that long.

Here's what my first post looked like ;
(so much for relevance and depth huh?)

Facebook S/N ratio

Seems like a lot of blogs have gone really quiet while activity has moved to twitter and facebook. I've actually now decided to go in the exact opposite direction. The reason for this is twofold.

First off;

I dislike FB because it pushes other people's updates to me without having subscribed explicitly. This was fine for a few months but rapidly became a mundane pattern of vanity updates and game invitations. FB also only lets you view updates from people who you know who are your friend which limits the availability of relevant information/updates to those in your network. That in itself turns out to be a torrent of utter crap with the odd shard of anything useful floating by. FB for me is now a useful spam free social email replacement tool if you only use the messaging and block noisy friends.


I dislike Twitter because for the most part there isn't very much thought put into tweets as they are more or less designed to be sent by phone. Twitter streams are interesting but not captivating (speaking for myself of course).


I got off of blogging because I found that too many blogs were fucking crapego masturbating vanity monuments to the church of how cool am I. I was and still am afraid that this one is the same although a while ago I stopped posting about what I was doing and more what I was thinking. Now I have returned and will try to make my posts more relevant and hope to emit more revelations with some depth and links to stuff that I find particularly cool.

Speaking of cool, I love these two new-ish tracks;


Seeing that it's been a long time since I posted anything meaningful, I thought I'd start again. Don't get me wrong, lots of people are pretty happy with the Excel post from January but it wasn't very deep. Depth is something severely lacking from Facebook and to some degree Twitter so I find myself back here at blogspot re-pondering my social interaction with the intertubes.

So here goes... I think that I posted this already but it's worth reposting. Here's Bruce Mau's manifesto;

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ——————————. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

21. Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

22. Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

23. Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

24. Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.

25. Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

26. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

27. Read only left-hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our “noodle.”

28. Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between “creatives” and “suits” is what Leonard Cohen calls a 'charming artifact of the past.'

31. Don’t borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

32. Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

33. Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

34. Make mistakes faster. This isn’t my idea — I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

35. Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

36. Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else … but not words.

37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

38. Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces — what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference — the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals — but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

40. Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

41. Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

42. Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

43. Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A triple violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights in Keswick Ontario

Somewhere in the backwoods town of Keswick Ontario, a police department and school are making a mockery of our charter of rights. It seems an Asian youth was being bullied by a 'white' youth. The 'white' kid threw a punch and the Asian kid being a black belt, quickly gave his foe a broken nose.

Both were suspended even though one was clearly defending himself. Here's where it gets sick, the Asian kid is being charged with assault by the police and will be expelled from the school. The other kid gets off scott free even though he's the bully and started the fight.

Our Charter of Rights grants us security, freedom from punishment and freedom from discrimination based on race.

I paraphrase our Charter word for word here;

Legal Rights


7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice


12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Equality Rights

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

I'm pissed off, really really pissed. I urge you to write a polite email to these authorities who clearly don't get it and don't understand our Constitution and Charter of Rights.

Keswick high school

York Regional Police Department
Armand P. La Barge
Chief of Police

Here's the Globe and Mail story

Follow up;

The kids uprising also made Keith Olbermans #1 best person in the world last night.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Here come the Tegras

I've been anxiously waiting for Tegra based mobile devices for a while. I'm pretty sure that Microsoft will be the first out of the gate with the new Zune and Winmo 7. Although Apple has a pretty good relationship with nVidia, I think it's unlikely that they can revamp their whole core platform just to support this core.

It's about time we see some cool shit like this;

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The smartest thing

This is clearly the smartest thing I've seen this year. It's 18 minutes long so if you have ADD or couldn't give a crap about macroeconomics and evolution then don't bother.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Something better

I feel guilty for posting such a boring post on Excel, here's the Crystal Castles from Toronto to cheer you up. Alice Glass has some wicked eyes. (edit: Video moved to post above)

Excel 2007 'Cannot empty the Clipboard'

This might save somebody some time and headaches if google picks it up. I was getting a 'Cannot empty the Clipboard' error every time I moved cells around in Excel - eventually I mucked around with the settings and made it go away. Here's how; In the excel main menu (glass globe w/logo), click Excel options, then Advanced, then turn off 'Show paste options buttons'

How exciting was this as my first post of the year?

Update: I still haven't found a permanent solution but I found another thing that seems to help. In Excel 2007, from the "home" tab, the first thing on the left is the clipboard tool panel. Expand the panel to view the clipboard and in the clipboard you might find "cannot empty clipboard" as an entry. Empty the clipboard, keep the panel open for a second or two while you do a few cut and pastes/drags etc. and then the bogey seems to go away.

I call this the cable dance because back in the day I had a printer that only worked if you unplugged the cable, shook it out and plugged it back in.