Archive for November, 2005

you are not a great mind

November 26th, 2005

Oh how some people like to pat themselves on the back. "You know what, we should get gas before we leave, that way we can go far without thinking about refilling." "I was just thinking the same." "Great minds think alike." Classic example of where that phrase is violently abused and insults in the gravest manner people who actually have great minds. Just because you happened to have some dumb idea and someone else did too does make that one thing: a coincidence. Perhaps in some cases even less than a coincidence. Great minds think alike? Perhaps, I'm not one to dispute that but it has nothing at all to do with you and me.

If you have to use a self gratifying phrase, try "fools seldom differ". It's a bit silly but at least it doesn't offend anyone. Dismissed.

things I would do

November 23rd, 2005

...if I wasn't so damn lazy:

  • learn French
  • learn to play the piano at a decent level
  • put in a lot of work to get decent at math
  • get in shape (like I told myself I would about 10 years ago), so that I could run for 120 minutes straight while playing soccer
  • read a wide selection of literary classics
  • practice public speaking
  • get into psychology, my supposed second choice major
  • read history books

The top ones tend to be at the top of my list, otherwise the order is arbitrary.

what's the latest bandwagon?

November 18th, 2005

Well, it's not really the latest because it's been around for at least a decade. Recall the moment you first heard about "intelligent homes"? As you come home, there are sensors in the walls which identify you and maintain a physical atmosphere just the way you want it to be, by tuning the temperature of the room, the humidity, the level of daylight (and lighting as a whole), displaying your favorite painting on the digital canvas, playing your favorite music in the background and so on and so forth. Now, in order to not be too absolute, I can imagine there is a niche market for these solutions and there may be a small group of people who've already had this for 15 years. But for the rest of us, we're nowhere near there and it's not gonna come for at least a decade.

Meanwhile, whenever a new scientific idea is announced, journalists love to jump on the bandwagon to declare that our future holds a whole new world for us. Most recently, Teknisk Ukeblad broke the news saying that the future is not in IT, it's in "instruments". Indeed the translation is unfortunate, what they meant is that we expect all kinds of instruments around us imminently, in the form of signal processors and alike, which will rule our world. This also includes the much maligned Third Generation (3G) cell phones and other consumer electronics keeping us online and up-to-date at all times. To say nothing of 3G and the fiasco that it has been so far for lack of interest on the market (except in Japan where they are way ahead of us as usual), it hardly seems plausible that there is a monumental change coming anytime soon, given how consistent these voices have been over the years, while the "electronic evolution" has in comparison been quite modest.

The point is that one new technology, one new bright idea, does not change the world by itself. It takes years of development and refinement, not to mention a market prepared to include these new products, to actually make a change. And so it annoys me that whenever someone makes an exciting technological discovery, a lot of people are ready to prophetize that the Star Trek era is imminent.

What you didn't realize you knew about blogging

November 17th, 2005

At a time like this I really should remember the source (all the better perhaps, embarassing to remember someone's name but then get the quote wrong), but it escapes me which comedian said the following (not an exact quote): "A joke exists in space and time, when playing to an audience, if you tell a joke at the precise correct moment, and you tell it exactly the way it should be told, you will make them laugh. But if you mess it up and make a mistake, you will not get a second chance."

Cometh the punchline: the same is true for blogging. A blog entry is an idea, in fact it's more like an idea for an idea if you will. If you blog while the idea is fresh, you can make it work. This implies starting with a piece of raw material and completing the idea as you go along. But if you try to develop the idea first and then blog it, you can't get it right. No, it's not exactly like comedy, but it's similar, so I stand by the opening analogy, because a blog also exists in time. If you have an idea and you don't blog it within a day is gone, it's over, you can try but it won't be any good and you won't be happy with it because the thoughts behind the idea, fuelling its evolution as you blog, are no longer with you.

This is why putting off an idea is difficult. If you have to, write it down but don't think about it. Pick it up when the time is right and then try to get up to speed with your line of thought. Don't try to remember what you were thinking, go back to square one and brainstorm. In most cases it doesn't work and it's no good, so beware.

Equilibrium

November 15th, 2005

Entirely too lazy to describe and discuss its many, many levels, strong ties to "1984" and the "Matrix", so I will only say: go and see the best movie you've seen this year!

And lots of points for the unpredictable ending!