Morning Cup O' Joe

Time you enjoy wasting isn't wasted time.

It’s All Relative

Remember to keep a good perspective.

via XKCD

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Humor, Philosophy | , | Comments Off on It’s All Relative

The Real Life Social Network

The Real Life Social Network

The picture above sums up one of the issues of online social networks today: We have multiple social circles in our offline (read: real) lives, yet when we join a large social networking platform like Facebook, all those circles become one large circle. As wonderfully cute and adorable as my kids are, I know that only a small subset of my Facebook friends really care to see the photos and videos I post.

In the case study above, Debbie had no idea that the comments she posted on photos posted by her college friends who own a gay bar were viewable by the 10-year-old kids in her swimming class.

Another great analogy is the wedding reception. For any of you who’ve gone through the pain of coming up with a seating arrangement for a wedding reception, you’ll understand. Why is it painful? All of your disparate social circles will be in the same room. How do you group them? That situation, to a degree, is what a large social networking platform is: all of your friends from all circles in your life in a large room milling about with you on a pedestal using a bullhorn to make announcements about what is going on in your life.

If you have a moment, I highly suggest checking out this study that was done by the fine folks at Google on social networking. It approaches social networking from a user experience design perspective, but I think the points that are brought to light are beneficial to any user of an online social networking platform.

Nice find, Emilio!

via The Real Life Social Network v2

July 13, 2010 Posted by | General, Philosophy, Science and Technology | , , , , | Comments Off on The Real Life Social Network

Vigilante Justice

Thousands shall die once Mel thinks the issue is "personal"

I was reading a book (Night Watch by Terry Pratchett) Which contained the quote, “But personal isn’t the same thing as important.” Which got me wondering, should importance be impacted by how personal the issue is? Perhaps you’re wondering how this relates to our good friend Mel.

Almost every movie with Mel Gibson contains some sort of “It’s personal” rational¹. in his movies this line of thought is portrayed as heroic and almost morally required. Now the Pratchett quote in context is rejecting vigilante justice. In the quoted context personal justice against an individual who murdered a man’s lover, whereas William Wallace was slightly different he went against an army, that is to say, a lot of individuals (who weren’t the ones who executed his wife) versus a single individual in Night Watch. I’m wondering if this is an issue of scale or something more… fundamental.

The purpose of government/religious arbitration was to proclaim consequences instead of personal justice because, and this is important, some people have a tendency to weight what personally affects them too heavily² or follow the I don’t get even, I get ahead³ mantra. If appropriately limited and viewed properly (two substantially big if’s depending) vigilante justice should be no more or less just than government issued judiciary justice under the same constraints.

Though after my recent “didn’t turn right in a right hand turn only lane” ticket of $240 +an additional $85 and a day in traffic school if I don’t want insurance costs to increase or my coworker’s recent seat-belt ticked of $140, I’m thinking the government might have lost sight of the limitations originally put into place to prevent excessive punishment for the wrongdoing committed things like, you shouldn’t harm others more than you were actually harmed a.k.a. “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”.

Notes (examples):
¹ William Wallace kicks it into high gear after the some solders attempted to rape his wife and her subsequent execution due to his intervention of said rape.
² My eye is worth two of yours, because I use mine to see.Your eyes are of less value because I don’t use yours at all.
³ Example: Fool me out of $20 and I shall fool you out of $100.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Philosophy, Rants | Comments Off on Vigilante Justice

The Political Compass

With the complexity of today’s economic and social issues, I agree with website The Political Compass that a simple one-dimensional scale (i.e. left vs. right) is an inadequate descriptor of my socio-economic philosophy. To me, it’s not as simple as declaring myself as a “Democrat” or a “Republican”. Like college laundry, there’s not just “clean” and “dirty”, but rather, many fine levels and classifications in-between.

The Political Compass attempts to tackle this complexity by adding a 2nd dimension: Authoritarian (Facism) vs. Libertarian (Anarchism). I’d love to post where famous leaders fall on the above graphic, but it’s more fun if you take the (short) quiz on their website to find out where you stand first. There’s no spin here. They won’t ask you for any personal information.

After you complete the quiz, the site will show where you fall on the scale and also where other world figures fall. I found it completely enlightening and reaffirming of my personal beliefs and convictions. I also found myself in respectable company. 🙂

Enough babble. Take the quiz and share your thoughts on this scale! No need to post your results.

Thanks for the link, Brian!

UPDATE: When you finish the test, check out where the U.S. Senate (as of 2008) lands on this scale. 🙂

via The Political Compass

May 5, 2010 Posted by | General, How-To, Philosophy | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How Gaming can Save the World

The cynics out there might chuckle at the title of this post, but there’s truth behind it.  Don’t take my word for it: (via Powered by the Tubes)

A TED talk I found truly amazing.

The speaker Jane McGonigal is a game designer who recently spoke on TED. Her big idea is that the average person is going to spend about the same time playing video games by the age of 21 as they will spend in every hour of school from 5th grade to high school graduation. That means that people are spending a second education’s worth of time getting good at something. Harnessing that something could be the key to saving the world.

She goes on to lists games that she has piloted to achieve this goal and all in all it is a very inspiring talk. Everyone knows making things a game works to make them a lot less tedious and bearable. Many of us are also driven by a competitive nature. If that could be channeled into doing good for the world or even your local area that would be awesome.

My parents were anti-gaming, so I had to sneak my gaming time at friends’ houses. My wife is anti-gaming, so I have to get my gaming time in during off hours. Despite the different vectors of negative connotation for gaming in my life, I still strongly believe that gaming teaches and reinforces useful and applicable skills in real life including problem-solving (think Zelda), group collaboration (think about taking a boss down in World of Warcraft), project management (that boss in World of Warcraft might take upwards of 30+ people to work together), hand-eye coordination (there’s a correlation that surgeons who gamed more had fewer errors) and hard work (sometimes you need to grind levels to make a character more powerful, think Final Fantasy).

As Jane McGonigal mentioned in her talk, gaming avatars can represent the most ideal person we can possibly be. I think that putting hours into practicing that will benefit the entire world.

Thanks for the link Brian!

via Powered by the Tubes via Kotaku via TED: Ideas worth spreading

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Games and Gaming, Geeks and Gadgetry, Philosophy, Video | , , | Comments Off on How Gaming can Save the World

No Google Love for Designers

If you are passionate about good (aesthetic) design, Google is probably not the place for you.

The only company that readily comes to mind that has a true design philosophy from the top all the way down is Apple. Imagine if more companies integrated that level of commitment. What I find most interesting is how commonplace it is for engineers to make design decisions. I’m not knocking on the utility and soundness of solid feature implementation–I’m just saying that design aesthetics are very subjective and most likely not very intuitive for analytically minded people.

Nice find, Emilio!

March 23, 2009 Posted by | General, Philosophy, Rants, Software | 2 Comments

Living vs. Recording "The Moment"

put_the_camera_down

With the ubiquity of technology, especially cameraphone technology, do you find that you are recording moments more often than simply living moments? Do you live your life “vicariously through yourself”?

Technology is Great, but Are We Forgetting to Live?

Thanks @reggiewirjadi and @marilee for the link!

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Geeks and Gadgetry, Philosophy, Science and Technology | Comments Off on Living vs. Recording "The Moment"

Are you a jerk, a slacker, a depressive pessimist, a diplomat?


This American Life on NPR has a good podcast about one bad apple spoiling groups, contrary to common thought that group dynamics are more powerful than an individual.  The first ten minutes or so lays out the findings of a single study.  While it may not be conclusive, it does beg the question of where you fit in your organization? 

December 23, 2008 Posted by | General, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Twitter and Ambient Awareness

 Images X 2008 Omgmetatwitta
Being a Twitter user myself (mikesol007), I’ve often wondered what purpose it truly serves in the context of my life. This New York Times article sums it up pretty succinctly. In a nutshell, each individual twitter by itself is meaningless, but in true gestalt fashion, as a whole, Twitter feeds give you an “ambient awareness” of what’s going on in your friends’ lives, a sort of “distant telepathy.”

One step closer to a singularity-spawned hive mind, eh?

via BoingBoing via NYT

September 8, 2008 Posted by | News, Philosophy, Science and Technology, Software | Comments Off on Twitter and Ambient Awareness

Hacking an Interview


Though this is presented as a how-to for technical interviews, I believe that the content of this 5-minute presentation can be applied to all interviews (and social situations!).

It’s plainly obvious that technical merit alone will not land you a job. For all of you interviewers/managers out there: What’s the percentage breakdown of merit vs. personality for your ideal candidate?

via Lifehacker

August 15, 2008 Posted by | How-To, Philosophy, Video | 1 Comment