Now check out the comments. Has someone already composed a witty rejoinder more clever than the witty rejoinder you had planned to share with friends? That’s not good. Being clever is crucial to sharability, so you should reconsider sharing this video with your friends.

Insightful advice on when it is a good time to share a video you discovered with your friend. A little bit of Internet etiquette.

How To Know When To Share a Video With a Friend

During one of his answers, he shared an enlightened observation about people who are “right a lot”. He said people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds. He doesn’t think consistency of thought is a particularly positive trait. It’s perfectly healthy — encouraged, even — to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today.

He’s observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.

Some advice from Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon), visiting 37signals’ office in October 2012. 

The Beatles: Unplugged is a collection of acoustic demos of White Album songs, made in 1968. A real jewel.

Josh Jones:

Of course these were recorded as demos, and not meant for release of any kind, but even so, they’re fairly high-quality, in a lo-fi kind of way. Listening to the songs in this form makes me think of the folk/psych revivalism of the so-called New Weird America that hearkened back to so much sixties’ trippy playfulness, but mostly eschewed the major label studio sound of sixties’ records and welcomed prominent tape hiss and single-track, bedroom takes. Given the rapid pop-culture recycling that is the hallmark of the early 21st century, The Beatles: Unplugged sounds strangely modern.

Mindfulness, or why you can’t multitask

Again, this is taken from a post about Maria Konnikova’s book: Mastermind, How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes:

Holmes practices mindfulness, which sounds new-agey, but is actually quite practical. Mindfulness means focusing on only one problem or activity at a time. But mindfulness isn’t the opposite of multi-tasking, because there’s actually no such thing. “Our brain cannot do two things at once,” says Konnikova. “What we believe is multi-tasking is really the brain switching quickly from one task to the next.” And when our brains move so quickly between pursuits, it’s impossible to be truly focused on any single one. “Your attention is a finite resource,” says Konnikova. “Even when we’re walking down the street–not on the phone, not listening to music but simply thinking about what we’re having for dinner–we’re not really noticing the world around us.”

She points to a study from the National Academy of Sciences, which showed that people who described themselves as heavy media multi-taskers had much more trouble tuning out distractions than light media multi-taskers. They were also worse at switching between tasks. “So even though they were multi-tasking all the time, they were less efficient,” says Konnikova. She explains that our minds are programmed to wander, which multi-tasking exacerbates. But concentration is self-reinforcing. The more you do it, the better you get. “The more you learn to filter out irrelevant distractions, the better your brain can monitor [your] environment–both externally and internally.” This means that focusing on one activity or thought at a time will help you notice or remember details in your work, the things your read, and the people you talk to. This kind of focus will also make you better attuned to how you’re feeling, physically and emotionally.

“Momentum is an indicator of success, not speed”

One key characteristic of founders is the great urge to get things done — and this urge is a key component of success. However, there’s also a tendency to simply blast through everything on the agenda so that you can move faster, which is not always a good idea. There are lucky moments where startups stumble upon something that is suddenly loved and used, but most startups do not have the luxury to shoot from the hip to try and hit the target: they need to know where to aim.

Great advice from Philipp Moehring, a Seedcamp executive. 

We are in the final years of our internet


Over the next decade there will be a lot of children who for many years have only had access to the internet through apps on tablets.  They will not go to Google to find websites.  They won’t be the unwashed masses who can’t afford a laptop, but they will have years with a tablet before they want one.

It’s a fundamental shift away from the internet as we know it – in a browser – that will be as incredible to help kill as it was to help create and corrupt.  Kids simply won’t be downloading software, games, and porn through the internet or bulletin boards before it.  A purely curated, controlled experience through iTunes or Play is all they will have and know except for a hacker minority.

We’re going to encourage it too.  I could not count the hours I spent breaking and fixing my computer and trying to restore it to even a usable state as a kid.  That’s blowing into cartridges, I bet we remember it fondly because we don’t have to do it anymore.

It takes years to learn how to use a laptop and keyboard effectively and understand the massively more complicated interfaces.  Tablets are so intuitive to use that children immediately realize their fingers are in control, and they’re going to be an invaluable education tool even more than books were for centuries.  They’re also much safer than the internet – “bad” is scaled way back too to something sane.  Someone is watching so I don’t have to.  It’s almost like the internet done right which kind of sucks some of the fun out of it.

The killer question:  what happens when ‘the internet’ is not ‘in the browser’ anymore?  It is only half true today to call Internet Explorer by its name since apps and gaming are so much of our online experience already.

Consider what it means to grow up with a tablet instead of a computer.  tldr; everything we love on our laptops and in the browser-based internet is ripe for disruption.

Some jumbled thoughts in no order:

  • What is the ipad WordPress and how can my grandma install my blog?  What will the forum version look like?   Same for FAQ sites.  The notion of these being websites, separate websites even, might be quaint.  Especially if there was a ‘community app’ you could just create your own in as easily as you might in a browser today.  It solves RSS too.  It might be hard to hide blogs from our families, something like violentacrez on reddit may not be possible again.
  • Whatsapp has won messaging, text and instant.  What will Twitter and Skype do?
  • Children’s entertainment on tablets is going to explode and gaming will follow because this is competing with television for an entire generation.
  • How long until startups are “just an app” with no web presence?  They are already “just an app” with a token web presence sometimes
  • Our kids will consider Google the search engine as lame as Yahoo the homepage.  Same with YouTube the website.  Google is lucky they have Android.  Microsoft’s got nothing because I’m the one who has to own the device first and I still don’t want a Windows tablet.
  • We are getting to the point where people have accumulated $1000s of apps and media that can’t be transferred between devices.  Apple is going to be forced to make iTunes a public park instead of a closed garden, and there will be real compatibility between iOS and Android to avoid a monopoly.  Or will we let it slide?
  • At what age will it become a copyright issue that we buy children unique copies of our apps?  This was never a forced issue on the PC industry.  It’s the end game from a rumor (lie) Travolta was suing Apple so he could leave his mp3 collection to his children, only it’s really going to hit once the RIAA and MPAA realizes siblings are getting a free pass.  This will piss everyone off too much, especially because desktop piracy will be fading by then so if their numbers are still down it’s a declining market, not piracy.
  • It’s going to be really hard for Microsoft to break into this market because we all already have Android or iPad tablets for hand me downs.  I might never have to buy my daughter a laptop so they need to get Windows tablets into everybody’s hands asap or else they need to start thinking of themselves as an app and server developer.
  • Steam box better be part one of an amazing story and fuller experience, if kids don’t have laptops they don’t have pc gaming, and it’s hard to see why they would prefer consoles over tablets especially if I have to pay 10x as much when games are a $1 consumable like candy.  Consoles will probably become just brands, like Atari or Commodore today.  Maybe they’ll be a seal for a quality standard.
  • How will our children learn to create digitally?  In all senses, programming, art, media.  All the software we take for granted because they were “too big” for the web so few or poor efforts have been made to move them there.  And a new generation of problems that can be solved digitally.
  • It is hard to imagine the keyboard and mouse staying a superior interface and surviving all the way into an infant today’s career, especially when you’re born and raised with a tablet first.

A clever, straightforward analysis basically re-iterating what Chris Anderson said in Wired in September 2010: the Web is dead, long live the Internet. 

The weather is getting weirder

NYT from Kottke:

Britons may remember 2012 as the year the weather spun off its rails in a chaotic concoction of drought, deluge and flooding, but the unpredictability of it all turns out to have been all too predictable: Around the world, extreme has become the new commonplace.

Especially lately. China is enduring its coldest winter in nearly 30 years. Brazil is in the grip of a dreadful heat spell. Eastern Russia is so freezing – minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and counting – that the traffic lights recently stopped working in the city of Yakutsk.

Bush fires are raging across Australia, fueled by a record-shattering heat wave. Pakistan was inundated by unexpected flooding in September. A vicious storm bringing rain, snow and floods just struck the Middle East. And in the United States, scientists confirmed this week what people could have figured out simply by going outside: last year was the hottest since records began.

End of the world slated for December 2013? 

The difference between pleasure and joy, as explained by Zadie Smith and Thomas Aquinas

The difference between pleasure and joy, as explained by Zadie Smith and Thomas Aquinas

The difference between pleasure and joy, as explained by Zadie Smith and Thomas Aquinas

A fascinating, comparative study on joy and pleasure by Gary Gutting, writing for the NYT’s philosophy blog called The Stone.

Zadie Smith understands pleasure as an experience of the daily occurrences of life: eating, people-watching. These “small pleasures” satisfy a big part of her desire for pleasure. 

Joy is very different: it doesn’t, per se, provide pleasure but is rather a “strange admixture of terror, pain, and delight.” Smith’s true love for her husband and child is far more important than pleasure, for instance.

Both agree that joy is something much more than the bodily pleasures that satisfy an animal.  As Smith puts it, animals always “choose a pleasure over a joy.”  Aquinas, agrees, though with a philosophical refinement: “We do not attribute joy to brute animals”—it’s not quite that animals choose pleasure over joy; there’s no choice because they are incapable of experiencing joy in the sense that humans do.