Tac Anderson

The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.
― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

With $30M in New Funding, IFTTT Looks to Automate the Internet of Things
Great news about about a great company. I’m a huge fan of IFTTT, can’t wait to see what they do next. 

With $30M in New Funding, IFTTT Looks to Automate the Internet of Things

Great news about about a great company. I’m a huge fan of IFTTT, can’t wait to see what they do next. 

This New Moleskine Is Like An iPad Made Of Paper
It’s no secret that I love Moleskine. For me, nothing beats the tactile note taking experience for planning. (You can see my GTD Moleskine Hack here.) 
I’ve also long admired the Livescribe “smart pens” but they’re so bulky I’m not sure how I’d like it. Also $150 pen and $30 notebooks is not cheap. How badly do I need to keep those notes? 
Still, it’s really cool.

This New Moleskine Is Like An iPad Made Of Paper

It’s no secret that I love Moleskine. For me, nothing beats the tactile note taking experience for planning. (You can see my GTD Moleskine Hack here.) 

I’ve also long admired the Livescribe “smart pens” but they’re so bulky I’m not sure how I’d like it. Also $150 pen and $30 notebooks is not cheap. How badly do I need to keep those notes? 

Still, it’s really cool.

3D Art Meets Prosthetics: Student Creates Beautiful 3D Printed Prosthetic Arm for Friend
An architecture design student decides to make some awesome prosthetics for his friend. I love seeing this.
Most people missing limbs are, understandably, very self conscious about it. I remember a war buddy of my dad’s that had one of those hooks that also worked like pinchers. Scared the crap out of me as a kid. (It didn’t help that he once threatened to grab my nose with it. I think he was just trying to make a joke, I didn’t laugh.)
But as people create something customized and beautiful it allows them to not feel like they have to hide it. And in another 5-10 years, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see people with commercially viable, artificial limbs that are superior in many ways to the real thing. 

3D Art Meets Prosthetics: Student Creates Beautiful 3D Printed Prosthetic Arm for Friend

An architecture design student decides to make some awesome prosthetics for his friend. I love seeing this.

Most people missing limbs are, understandably, very self conscious about it. I remember a war buddy of my dad’s that had one of those hooks that also worked like pinchers. Scared the crap out of me as a kid. (It didn’t help that he once threatened to grab my nose with it. I think he was just trying to make a joke, I didn’t laugh.)

But as people create something customized and beautiful it allows them to not feel like they have to hide it. And in another 5-10 years, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see people with commercially viable, artificial limbs that are superior in many ways to the real thing. 

For those of us with ADHD, being distracted is not a choice, it’s not something you *let yourself* do. We just call it being awake. 

Sometimes a good diversion is exactly what you need to get back on track.
“In some ways distractions are a form of mindfulness—being mindful of your environment and noticing more new things. Being open to them allows for the ability to take bits of information and combine them in novel ways that are useful or adaptive.”
Read More>

For those of us with ADHD, being distracted is not a choice, it’s not something you *let yourself* do. We just call it being awake. 

Sometimes a good diversion is exactly what you need to get back on track.

“In some ways distractions are a form of mindfulness—being mindful of your environment and noticing more new things. Being open to them allows for the ability to take bits of information and combine them in novel ways that are useful or adaptive.”

Read More>

(via fastcompany)

How an 80s Book for Kids Predicted Today’s Spy Satellites and Cyberwars

In 2012, a U.S. spy agency gave NASA two spy satellites that were more powerful than the Hubble telescope. NASA was a bit dumbfounded. The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (the agency charged with operating our spy satellites) just had these things sitting in storage.
As we explored in a post about the 2013 PBS documentary “Rise of the Drones” yesterday, the ability of U.S. spy agencies and private companies to monitor entire cities in real time is now a reality. 

I had missed that news about the two satellites given to NASA. Wow. 
The rest of the article about the children’s book is really interesting. And if you’re wondering why Gen X is a little messed up, it’s because we had children’s books like this. I found a Flickr set of the book here. 

How an 80s Book for Kids Predicted Today’s Spy Satellites and Cyberwars

In 2012, a U.S. spy agency gave NASA two spy satellites that were more powerful than the Hubble telescope. NASA was a bit dumbfounded. The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (the agency charged with operating our spy satellites) just had these things sitting in storage.

As we explored in a post about the 2013 PBS documentary “Rise of the Drones” yesterday, the ability of U.S. spy agencies and private companies to monitor entire cities in real time is now a reality. 

I had missed that news about the two satellites given to NASA. Wow. 

The rest of the article about the children’s book is really interesting. And if you’re wondering why Gen X is a little messed up, it’s because we had children’s books like this. I found a Flickr set of the book here

Being a middle-aged, straight man, my fandom isn’t dependent on crushes. I like the new Doctor Who! Peter Capaldi has the potential to become my favorite Doctor yet.

Being a middle-aged, straight man, my fandom isn’t dependent on crushes. I like the new Doctor Who! Peter Capaldi has the potential to become my favorite Doctor yet.

10 Random Songs

You can tell a lot about a person from their music. Hit shuffle on your iPod, MP3 Player, etc. and put the first 10 songs! One rule, no skipping! Tag 10 people and pass it on!

I was tagged by amypop

Here’s my list. Actually turned out better than I expected as there is still a lot of stuff from when I was briefly a college radio DJ with my brother. I was grad student and he was an undergrad. We’d just sit there and rip the free sample CDs onto a hard drive. I’m still deleting a bunch of crap over a decade later. 

  1. Kasabian - Thick as Thieves
  2. David Bowie - This is Not America
  3. L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra - Chopin: Concerto #2 Allegro Vivace
  4. Onesidezero - Instead Laugh
  5. Sleigh Bells - Road to Hell
  6. Smashing Pumpkins - Astral Planes
  7. The Toy Dolls - Taken For A Mug
  8. Built by Snow - Implode Alright 
  9. Coldplay - Green Eyes
  10. Beastie Boys - Rhymin & Stealn

Tagging: mikewhitmore, un, gigidowns, shoutsandmumbles, brett msmissadventures, lamikilithothug halfbrown, & zadokthepriest

Four people is the optimum sized team for collaborating on a project.
This is far from scientific and it’s only one example but it’s interesting. In this case it seems to imply that for work that relies on generating activity (e.g. generating ideas, editing existing content) 2 or 3 collaborators on a project are better than 1, and 4 are better than 1, 2, or 3, but 4 are also better than 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9. Not until you get to 10 or more collaborators do you see an increase in activity per person. This makes some sense as collaborating on a project sparks more ideas, if you’re accountable to a group of people then you’re more likely to hit deadlines, but once you get above 4 people the extra communication needed to coordinate works against individual productivity.
Once you hit 10 or more people a different communication protocol emerges. One of two things is probably happening. This is probably closer to crowdsourcing than collaboration. You probably have a few owners of the project with multiple inputing only occasionally. 
There’s probably other research out there on optimal team size, I should find some. 

Four people is the optimum sized team for collaborating on a project.

This is far from scientific and it’s only one example but it’s interesting. In this case it seems to imply that for work that relies on generating activity (e.g. generating ideas, editing existing content) 2 or 3 collaborators on a project are better than 1, and 4 are better than 1, 2, or 3, but 4 are also better than 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9. Not until you get to 10 or more collaborators do you see an increase in activity per person. This makes some sense as collaborating on a project sparks more ideas, if you’re accountable to a group of people then you’re more likely to hit deadlines, but once you get above 4 people the extra communication needed to coordinate works against individual productivity.

Once you hit 10 or more people a different communication protocol emerges. One of two things is probably happening. This is probably closer to crowdsourcing than collaboration. You probably have a few owners of the project with multiple inputing only occasionally. 

There’s probably other research out there on optimal team size, I should find some. 

Majority of Americans download zero smartphone apps every month
The case is made in the article that most of a users app downloads probably come in the first few months. This will start pushing large companies to pay to get their apps preinstalled on phones. This will lead to the same problem  for Android phones as PCs have with all of the crapwear.
From what I’ve seen already carriers and manufacturers are already perpetuating this. From all the phones I’ve had, my Google Play store has over 20 apps in it from device manufactures and carriers, many of which are duplicative to apps that come from Google. The iPhone, like their Mac counter parts, don’t have this problem, but does have their own useless apps you can’t remove.
This will be a big problem for Android phones. 

Majority of Americans download zero smartphone apps every month

The case is made in the article that most of a users app downloads probably come in the first few months. This will start pushing large companies to pay to get their apps preinstalled on phones. This will lead to the same problem  for Android phones as PCs have with all of the crapwear.

From what I’ve seen already carriers and manufacturers are already perpetuating this. From all the phones I’ve had, my Google Play store has over 20 apps in it from device manufactures and carriers, many of which are duplicative to apps that come from Google. The iPhone, like their Mac counter parts, don’t have this problem, but does have their own useless apps you can’t remove.

This will be a big problem for Android phones. 

Late night scribbles.

Late night scribbles.

15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies
A very good and very diverse list of sci-fi.
I once read that China, which used to ban sci-fi, approved it solely because it was proven to make scientists more creative. 

15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies

A very good and very diverse list of sci-fi.

I once read that China, which used to ban sci-fi, approved it solely because it was proven to make scientists more creative. 

I Have A Confession: I Don’t Get Emoji
As someone who has passionately studied every new communications trend that has been influenced by technology, I have a confession: I don’t get emoji. Beyond a winking emoticon to tell people my rude comment was a joke, I don’t see the point in the million variations of these things and I have no clue what they mean.
Maybe I’ve finally just finally reached the crusty old cynic stage of life, but I have no interested in understanding it and I suspect it will go the way of l33t (or 1337 if you prefer).
Again, I’m willing to admit that my age could leave me disconnected from this trend, but even my teenage kids don’t use it. Someone please explain it to me. 

I Have A Confession: I Don’t Get Emoji

As someone who has passionately studied every new communications trend that has been influenced by technology, I have a confession: I don’t get emoji. Beyond a winking emoticon to tell people my rude comment was a joke, I don’t see the point in the million variations of these things and I have no clue what they mean.

Maybe I’ve finally just finally reached the crusty old cynic stage of life, but I have no interested in understanding it and I suspect it will go the way of l33t (or 1337 if you prefer).

Again, I’m willing to admit that my age could leave me disconnected from this trend, but even my teenage kids don’t use it. Someone please explain it to me. 

Reddit, Twitch, and Imgur have created a research partnership called DERP

DERP will help researchers study the sites by setting them up with access to publicly available data. It’s not stated whether DERP might allow researchers to access more than that on request, but the idea is more that DERP can serve as a single, simple source for researchers to start working with these sites. Rather than having go through one or more of these sites individually, DERP will handle all requests and should be able to get researchers the information they need.

What would be really powerful is if they not just provided the data but also somehow sponsored or organized crowdsourced research work. Reddit has already proven hugely powerful for these kind of activities. 

Reddit, Twitch, and Imgur have created a research partnership called DERP

DERP will help researchers study the sites by setting them up with access to publicly available data. It’s not stated whether DERP might allow researchers to access more than that on request, but the idea is more that DERP can serve as a single, simple source for researchers to start working with these sites. Rather than having go through one or more of these sites individually, DERP will handle all requests and should be able to get researchers the information they need.

What would be really powerful is if they not just provided the data but also somehow sponsored or organized crowdsourced research work. Reddit has already proven hugely powerful for these kind of activities. 

No, Dystopian Sci-Fi Isn’t Bad for Society. We Need It More Than Ever

As for the dramatic explosion of young adult, predominantly female dystopian fiction—there was a time when kids didn’t want to read 1984, when that kind of fiction was a high-school-English-class required-reading bummer. Now it’s flying off the shelves, not because being afraid is hip, but because life as a young person has become increasingly uncertain. If dystopian fiction were really exacerbating the fear of technology, teenagers and young adults wouldn’t be such high-volume users of new tech.

I don’t get why people hate on dystopian fiction so much. I find it beautiful and inspiring. It helps to warn us about our own potential choices, but in most cases still highlights the strength of the human spirit. And while I’m not a huge fan of the newer genres of dystopian fiction (dystopian teen romances?) I still love that they’re popular. 

No, Dystopian Sci-Fi Isn’t Bad for Society. We Need It More Than Ever

As for the dramatic explosion of young adult, predominantly female dystopian fiction—there was a time when kids didn’t want to read 1984, when that kind of fiction was a high-school-English-class required-reading bummer. Now it’s flying off the shelves, not because being afraid is hip, but because life as a young person has become increasingly uncertain. If dystopian fiction were really exacerbating the fear of technology, teenagers and young adults wouldn’t be such high-volume users of new tech.

I don’t get why people hate on dystopian fiction so much. I find it beautiful and inspiring. It helps to warn us about our own potential choices, but in most cases still highlights the strength of the human spirit. And while I’m not a huge fan of the newer genres of dystopian fiction (dystopian teen romances?) I still love that they’re popular. 

In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty

Ms. Guidry, 35, earns money by using her own car to ferry around strangers for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, ride services that let people summon drivers on demand via apps. She also assembles furniture and tends gardens for clients who find her on TaskRabbit, an online marketplace for chores.
Her goal is to earn at least $25 an hour, on average. Raising three children with her longtime partner, Jeffrey Bradbury, she depends on the income to help cover her family’s food and rent. That has become more unpredictable of late. Uber and Lyft, her driving mainstays, recently cut certain passenger fares. Last month, TaskRabbit overhauled the way its users select their helpers; immediately after the change, Ms. Guidry’s stream of new clients dried up.
“You don’t know day to day,” she said. “It’s very up in the air.”

It’s amazing how often freedom and uncertainty go hand in hand. 

In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty

Ms. Guidry, 35, earns money by using her own car to ferry around strangers for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, ride services that let people summon drivers on demand via apps. She also assembles furniture and tends gardens for clients who find her on TaskRabbit, an online marketplace for chores.

Her goal is to earn at least $25 an hour, on average. Raising three children with her longtime partner, Jeffrey Bradbury, she depends on the income to help cover her family’s food and rent. That has become more unpredictable of late. Uber and Lyft, her driving mainstays, recently cut certain passenger fares. Last month, TaskRabbit overhauled the way its users select their helpers; immediately after the change, Ms. Guidry’s stream of new clients dried up.

“You don’t know day to day,” she said. “It’s very up in the air.”

It’s amazing how often freedom and uncertainty go hand in hand.