Monthly Archives: September 2006

The Google Reader next button

The new Google Reader adds a cool feature I haven’t seen before. They provide a bookmarklet to drag to your link bar called “Next”.

When you click it it takes you to the next unread item in your RSS feeds without ever logging into Google Reader. It then marks the entry read for you. It is a nice alternate way of reading your entries. When you are done it congratulates you on reaching the end of the internet.

“No, FUCK YOU!” money

What would be a good way to calculate “fuck-you money”? Ask MetaFilter

Here’s a thought, how much money do you need to tell the person you want to kiss off, to kiss off?

I think I need to get to calculating.

Why deism?

Protein Wisdom: A crack in the old space-time fabric [ahem]

Jeff writes interestingly about his belief in God, one quote stood out:

“As I said in a comment, I think we believe a thing is true despite logical arguments; we believe a thing is true because we choose to believe. It’s a decision.”

That is not my experience at all. I believe in God, the Prime Mover, the Creative Force or whatever you want to call it not because of a decision I have made to do so, but simply because I believe. In fact it took me a long time to admit this. My logical mind has long since concluded that the existence of God is not something you can prove. Well, no shit! But after trying to be an atheist because that was the logical conclusion, and actually being an agnostic unbeliever because that was an even more logical conclusion, I finally realized that regardless of what my logical investigations told me that I believe the universe is more than just stuff, that there is something beyond mere matter.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition defines agnostic as “One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God” I actually still agree with that, but I also still believe that there is a God. I suppose I could be accurately described as an agnostic deist, or something close to that.

New version of Google Reader released.

Techcrunch » Google Reader steps it up with new version

Gmail was a revelation to me.  It was the first time I preferred to use a web application instead of a desktop application.  I loved the way it worked.  When Google announced Reader, their RSS client I was expecting more of the same.  Except it sucked.  It seemed more of an exercise in demonstrating cool AJAX features than a product devoted to actually offering a solution.  Today Google updated reader dramatically.  In fact, it appears they went back to the drawing board.  The new version is much better (though more conventional) and even (get this) offers a mark all read button. After my recent frustrations with the formerly awesome and newly sucky Rojo, I think I’ll give Reader a try.

Bookmeme from Mojoey

1. A book that changed your life

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. Less loved than he probably should be now, when I first read him during my junior year in high school Kundera made me think. And reading a book that made me consider my world rather than simply reading for enjoyment changed the way I approached many things. It is probably the reason I was (disasterously) a Lit major in college for a while. If you ever want to learn to hate literature, be a lit major.

Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter made me want to be smarter than I am.
2. A book you’ve read more than once

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. One of my all time favorite books. I find something new in it everytime I read it.

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.
“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.”

3. 1 book you’d want on a desert island

The Unabridged Mark Twain by Mark Twain. 1300 pages of Mark Twain goodness, how could you go wrong?

4. 1 book that made you giddy
Too many to list, probably one of my favorites was when I read Bevis, The Story of a Boy by Richard Jefferies. I read it first at about age 8 and loved it. These days when I read it I am reminded of the magic that I experienced for some of my childhood. It is a distinctly romantic and nostalgic book and at times it can be slow going, but it captures the wonder of childhood better than anything else. It reminds me of the awe that I want my son to experience.

5. 1 book you wish that had been written

Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace. There are books that I can imagine writing, that I can relate to the process of having those ideas and writing them down on paper in some sort of approximation of the form the author chose. This is not one of those books. This is a book wherein the talent required to write it simply boogles my mind. I can’t imagine being able to think the way Wallace does. See also G.E.B. above.

6. 1 book that made you sob

I don’t think a book has ever made me cry. I have certainly been moved by books, but I can’t remember crying because of one. I remember getting a lump in my throat reading Shane by Jack Schaefer, but that was when I was very young.

7. 1 book you wish had never been written

Dean Schwartzmiller’s disgusting record of the thousands of molestations he comitted over the years. It included categories such as “Boys who said no.” It makes me ill to think about it. Obviously it was never published and I have never read it. But it never should have been written.

8. 1 book you’re currently reading

Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brian. The last of 20 novels in a wonderful series. I will miss Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin when I finish it. As a whole the series is a remarkable work of art.

9. 1 book you’ve been meaning to read

Grendel by John Gardner. I’ve been told many times to read this. I’ve started to several times. But I seem to give up rather quickly. I’ve been told I remind people of the title character. I’m not sure how to take that.

I worked in the IS department because I wanted to work deliberately

The 20 tips that got me an IT promotion – by Dumb Little Man

These are pretty good. I think what a lot of the “How To Get Ahead” tips that I have read boil down to is intentionality. Being self aware and deliberate about one’s actions at work (and for that matter in other areas of life).

Intentionality implies knowing the whys instead of performing rote actions.

Intentionality implies self direction (You know, that internal locus of control you learned about your first semester of buiness in college).

Intentionality implies making the choice each day to be the intial actor, to take the initiative and continue to own it.

Intentionality seperates the interesting people I know from the boring ones.

I am intentionally intentionally writing this blog (and no, I didn’t stutter) as a tool to improve my reading, writing and analyisis faculties.

Capitulation, reverse capitulation

Bloomberg.com: Oil Drop Robs Mutual Funds of $4.5 Billion

I have a theory regarding markets, the worst corrections will always follow the certainty that some novel new situation that people decide is the new normal. So for example as soon as people started to accept that oil prices would rise perpetually, BOOM! there go oil prices. This can be applied both on the way up and on the way down. (The only requirement is that there actually has to be an underlying market and demand. Investing in podunk Texas real estate because people are saying it will never appreciate is just, well, dumb.)

So for example as applied to the California real estate market, the worst is yet to come. People have been warning for a long time that there is a bubble. The real danger will come (and it may be too late) when people accept the bubble as the new normal. Then BOOM, massive correction.

On the reverse side, wait until you see a cover story or two in BusinessWeek or Fortune saying that the moribund market is a permanent new fixture of the landscape. That will be the time to buy back in.

Or, I could be wrong.