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  • April 16, 2014

Vin Scully & Jon Miller intro­duce Dodgers, Giants line­ups on Jackie Robinson Day:

Before the Dodgers game with the Giants, as part of the Jackie Robinson Day cer­e­monies at AT&T Park, both teams’ line­ups were intro­duced on the field.

But what made it spe­cial was that Vin Scully and Jon Miller did the announc­ing, and much like the NCAA Final Four used to do their intro­duc­tions, each announcer alter­nated teams each player.


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  • April 12, 2014

The Empathy Vacuum:

Exposed to the entire spec­trum of human enthu­si­asms, it’s basi­cally impos­si­ble not to judge. Our empa­thy over­loads and gives up and we sit, star­ing at the screen aghast, that some­body, some­where might actu­ally believe that what they’re doing is OK, is accept­able, is even appropriate.

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  • April 11, 2014

A lot of peo­ple make a lot of assump­tions about ADHD, and most peo­ple assume that they know what it is (and how it oper­ates) by observ­ing peo­ple who have it. But seen through the eyes of some­one with­out it, the behav­ior of some­one with ADHD doesn’t tell you much. That’s because all the impor­tant stuff is hap­pen­ing in their brain.

Though it’s on a site that seems to be mostly filled with stu­pid click-mag­net garbage, I liked this arti­cle, intended to explain what it’s like to have ADHD to some­one who doesn’t under­stand it. An excerpt:

We rely heav­ily on rou­tine, and 90% of the time get by on autopi­lot. You can’t get dis­tracted from a suf­fi­ciently ingrained habit, no mat­ter what use­less crap is going on inside your head… unless some­one goes and actu­ally dis­rupts your rou­tine. I’ve actu­ally been dis­tracted out of tak­ing my lunch to work, on sev­eral occa­sions, by my wife remind­ing me to take my lunch to work. What the? Who? Oh, yeah, will do. Where was I? um… brief­case! Got it. Now keys.. okay, see you honey!

[Hat tip.]

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  • April 10, 2014

Angry about the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ finale? You should­n’t be

After nine sea­sons, like other view­ers, I felt that the pro­tag­o­nist who had expe­ri­enced so much hard­ship in his life deserved bet­ter. Yet a part of me also appre­ci­ated that what I got to see for really the first time on a tele­vi­sion pro­gram was a glimpse of what actual life hap­pi­ness is like. Some TV pro­grams geared toward younger peo­ple today demon­strate hap­pi­ness as the per­fect happy end­ing: the scream­ing bride gets her per­fect wed­ding cake or the per­fect wed­ding dress, or priv­i­leged elites find a way to solve their first world prob­lems. But this was a dif­fer­ent kind of finale that reminded us that while life is imper­fect, all of us must still find a way to find happiness.

Read the rest

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  • April 9, 2014

To Advance Education, We Must First Reimagine Society:

As Abbott sees it, the need for reflec­tion has never been greater. Spurred by tech­no­log­i­cal advances, “civ­i­liza­tion is on the cusp of a meta­mor­pho­sis,” he says, that will lead either to soci­etal col­lapse and chaos, or to a resur­gence of lib­erty, com­mu­nity, and ethics. Either way, schools are stuck in the past: The empha­sis has been on feed­ing chil­dren sta­tic infor­ma­tion and reward­ing them for doing only what they’re told, instead of help­ing them develop the trans­fer­able, higher-order skills they need to become life-long learn­ers and thrive in an uncer­tain future.

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  • January 10, 2014

Google’s deci­sion to acti­vate (and turn on by default) a “fea­ture” that allows any­one to send you email via Google Plus has sparked some con­tro­versy.

The prob­lem with the free email ser­vices most of us use is that vir­tu­ally all of them are offered pro­vided by com­pa­nies whose main inter­ests aren’t email. In other words, Google, Microsoft, and Apple all offer “free” email in order to get you into their ecosys­tems. Gmail exists so Google can sell your eye­balls to adver­tis­ers. Like all of Apple’s soft­ware, iCloud exists so Apple can con­trol every aspect of an iOS or Mac user’s expe­ri­ence. ((Steve Jobs once said, “I’ve always wanted to own and con­trol the pri­mary tech­nol­ogy in every­thing we do.” Over the years, Apple loos­ened up a lit­tle as Jobs and Co. real­ized that they could gain more by giv­ing users a lit­tle bit more con­trol. But it’s pretty clear that the brain trust in Cupertino is still pretty com­mit­ted to the idea that the only way you can guar­an­tee users a prod­uct that “just works” is to main­tain as much con­trol as pos­si­ble over every aspect of both hard­ware and soft­ware (includ­ing cloud-based soft­ware and ser­vices). And since con­sumers seem to like prod­ucts that “just work” (Lord knows I do), Apple makes a lot of money as a result of this for­mula.)) Hotmail and Outlook​.com (and what­ever other crap Microsoft is doing these days) exist so that Microsoft can keep more peo­ple reliant on Office and Windows (and what­ever other crap Microsoft is doing these days).

And that’s the thing: Their goal isn’t to cre­ate awe­some email that meets users’ needs. Sure, inso­far as cre­at­ing awe­some email helps get more peo­ple into their ecosys­tem, then I sup­pose cre­at­ing an awe­some email sys­tem is part of what they do. But don’t ever for­get that they have a big­ger goal in mind. When it comes right down to it, Google is obsessed with get­ting peo­ple into Google+, and they don’t even blink when pri­or­i­tiz­ing their needs (inte­gra­tion with their social net­work) over most users’ (the abil­ity to receive mes­sages only from those who’ve received my email address from me). ((Marco Arment says it best:

Google’s lead­er­ship, threat­ened by the atten­tion and adver­tis­ing rel­e­vance of Facebook, is bet­ting the com­pany on Google+ at all costs.

Google+ adop­tion and usage is not meet­ing their expec­ta­tions. Facebook con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate. It’s not work­ing. They’re desperate.

Google will con­tinue to sell out and poten­tially ruin its other prop­er­ties to juice Google+ usage. These efforts haven’t worked very well: they juice the num­bers just enough that Google will keep doing this, yet will keep need­ing to do more.

I don’t like Google+ very much, and I have no inter­est in being dragged into using it. Gmail belongs to Google, and if Google wants to build Gmail and Google+ into each other, then that’s Google’s pre­rog­a­tive. And find­ing a new email provider is my pre­rog­a­tive. And hon­estly: As long as Google’s behav­ior does­n’t have a notice­able effect on how many peo­ple use Gmail (and/or how much they use it), then they have no rea­son to stop.))

As long as we use email that’s pro­vided by some­one who sees email as a means to achiev­ing their own (non-email related) goals, then this is going to keep happening.

We can bitch and com­plain all we want, but here’s the thing: As long as we use email that’s pro­vided by some­one who sees email as a means to achiev­ing their own (non-email related) goals, then this is going to keep hap­pen­ing. That’s the cost of “free” email.

I want a ser­vice that pro­vides email that’s clean, ele­gant, and easy-to-use. I want it to be pri­vate, secure, and safe. I want it to be stan­dards-based, by which I mean I want it to work well with my exist­ing devices and sys­tems as well as with the ones that I don’t have or that don’t exist yet. And I want as much con­trol as pos­si­ble. I want con­trol over my pri­vacy set­tings, over the inter­face, over the imple­men­ta­tion of new fea­tures, over… everything.

And for that, I’d gladly pay a few bucks a month. Or even ten.

If you’re the type of per­son that’s inter­ested in grap­pling with some of the… um… stick­ier parts of the Hanukkah story, the past few years have seen a bumper crop of impres­sive writ­ing on the topic.

I’ll write more later about my own take on all this. But for now, check out all this good stuff.
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  • September 12, 2013

After spend­ing way too much time sit­ting in traf­fic over the past cou­ple months, today I beta-tested () a new way to con­quer the 36-mile (ish) com­mute between my home in San Mateo and my place of work in San Jose. To pass the time, I doc­u­mented the jour­ney on my iPhone (whose bat­tery is now depleted to 24% — my 5S can’t get here soon enough).


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  • July 19, 2013

Twenty years’ worth of sus­tained Internet use has left me with a head full of ran­dom trivia and a pro­found inabil­ity to con­cen­trate. Every time I sit down in front of my com­puter to write a post, I end up brows­ing the IMDb page for the movie Cool Runnings or the career stats for under­rated out­fielder Ryan Spilborghs. I’m just as dis­tractible when my com­puter isn’t con­nected to the Internet: I’ve wasted weeks of my life play­ing this stu­pid base­ball sim­u­la­tion game that I down­loaded years ago and can’t bring myself to delete.

- Justin Peters, “I Write All My Blog Posts Out Longhand, and You Should Too”

Ok, maybe Justin’s prob­lem is “[t]wenty years’ worth of sus­tained Internet use,” but that kind of inter­net dis­trac­tion sounds awful symp­to­matic of adult ADHD.

I’m not a doc­tor. I’m just saying…

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  • May 23, 2013

googlemapsnewLast night I got my invite to play with the new Google Maps (desk­top edi­tion).

Initial Reactions:

  • It’s kinda slow.
    (For the record: I’m using Safari on a dual-core i7 MacMini with dual SATAIII SSDs in a striped array and 16GB of mem­ory, and my inter­net band­width is above-average.)
  • The inter­face has a clean/simple yet beau­ti­ful design. The map itself dom­i­nates the entire screen, which I sup­pose is how it should be.
  • By min­i­miz­ing the pres­ence of the user inter­face, there are less but­tons and entry fields, which means it’s harder to use if you’re unfa­mil­iar. It makes me won­der if the Maps team has­n’t over-min­i­mal­ized to the point where it isn’t obvi­ous to users how they should inter­act with the service.
  • Thankfully, the “tour” that intro­duces you to the new prod­uct does a decent job of induct­ing users into the new inter­face par­a­digm. (I’m not sure that’s a good thing. To add a twist to a Jobs-ism: If it needs a user inter­face “tour” then it’s not intu­itive enough. Not sure if that’s the case here, but it could be.)

All-in-all, it’s a step in the right direction.

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  • May 15, 2013

ATT Free Msg: Your data usage has reached 3GB this month. Using more than 3GB in future billing cycles will result in reduced speeds. You can use Wi-Fi to help avoid reduced speeds. Visit www​.att​.com/​d​a​t​ainfo or call 866–344-7584 for more info.

(received by text mes­sage from my wire­less carrier)

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  • May 15, 2013
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  • May 15, 2013


Jews eat dairy on Shavuot because the ensu­ing dis­com­fort makes us appre­ci­ate the gifts we do have — like Torah — while we pay for those we don’t — like the enzyme that digests lactose.

Maybe that’s why Jenny’s Cuban-style flan was such an amaz­ing addi­tion to this evening’s wrestling match with text. Or maybe it’s because it was shiny and deli­cious. (But seri­ously… who cares why?)

Check out the recipe at The Cuban Reuben.

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  • April 12, 2013