Power of Simplicity

Blaise Pascal once famously ended a letter with an apology: I’m sorry that this was such a long letter, but I didn’t have time to write you a short one. Computer science has pretty much the same problem. It’s a young field, and young fields are messy. They get weighed down with excess Jargon. There are multiple names for the same ideas and the ideas themselves are often snarled together. It’s a complicated science, because we haven’t had enough time to make a simple one.

Read the article: Pascal’s Apology

Procrastination: Thinking about thinking

Thinking about thinking, this is the key. In the struggle between should versus want, some people have figured out something crucial – want never goes away.

Capable psychonauts who think about thinking, about states of mind, about set and setting, can get things done not because they have more will power, more drive, but because they know productivity is a game of cat and mouse versus a childish primal human predilection for pleasure and novelty which can never be excised from the soul. Your effort is better spent outsmarting yourself than making empty promises through plugging dates into a calendar or setting deadlines for push ups.

Read this article: Procrastination [You are not so smart]

The ‘Busy’ Trap

“I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know… Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.”

“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system. – Sir Arthur C. Clarke”

Read the article: The ‘Busy’ Trap [New york Times]

Steve Jobs on Average vs Best Software Developers

“I observed something fairly early on at Apple, which I didn’t know how to explain then, but have thought a lot about it since. Most things in life have a dynamic range in which average to best is at most 2:1. For example if you go to New York City and get an average taxi cab driver versus the best taxi cab driver, you’ll probably get to your destination with the best taxi driver 30% faster. And an automobile; What’s the difference between the average car and the best? Maybe 20% ?  The best CD player versus the average CD player? Maybe 20% ? So 2:1 is a big dynamic range for most things in life. Now, in software, and it used ot be the case in hardware, the difference between the average software developer and the best is 50:1; Maybe even 100:1….”

Read the article: Why You Need To Hire Great Developers

Symbian Operating System now open source

The source code for the ten-year old Symbian platform will be completely open source and available for free starting Thursday. The transition from proprietary code to open source is the largest in software history, claims the Symbian Foundation. Symbian, which powers most of Nokia’s phones, has been shipped in more than 330 million devices worldwide. But in the last few years, Symbian has seen more than its fair share of changes. In 2008, Nokia, one of Symbian’s largest customers, acquired a major share in the company. Nokia then created the Symbian Foundation to distribute the platform as an open source project, and began the process of opening up the source code that year.

Symbian OS being open source could very well adversely impact the Android platform.

Read the article: Symbian Operating System, Now Open Source and Free

The Economics Of Fear

Scientific studies have shown that you can destroy a child by calling them “smart.” Even when they’re very young, little kids know that being “smart” is what makes them special – and so, the first time they encounter something they don’t understand immediately, it’s a threat. Their specialness is in danger of being stripped away. And if they lose that smartness, then what are they? Kids who are called smart take fewer chances. Why risk all that glorious social acclaim for a stupid test? And if you don’t really try, then you can still be smart – you may have potential, but even a six-year-old knows that having the potential to be smart gives you more benefits than finding out that no, you’re not really smart at all. Far better to tell a kid that they’re hard working. Hard work is something you can’t take away. Hard work is something that can always be improved. Smart can just… vanish.

Read the article: The Economics Of Fear

The Cone of Learning

Something very interesting, slightly questionable, but beautifully summarises how different ways of learning can affect retention of information. Taken from Robert Kiyosaki‘s book ‘Financial IQ’, the diagram is inspired by but a highly convoluted version of the second graph below known as the ‘Cone of Experience’ originally conceived by Edgar Dale in 1969 (notice that it did not have any numbers).

The Cone Of Learning by Edgar Dale

The Cone Of Learning (source Financial IQ by Robert Kiyosaki)

‘Cone of Experience’ originally conceived by Edgar Dale:

Original Cone of Experience Edgar Dale

Original Cone of Experience Edgar Dale

Verbal Symbols < Visual Symbols < Recordings Radio Still Pictures < Motion Pictures < Educational Television < Exhibits < Study Trips < Demonstrations < Dramatized Experiences < Contrived Experiences < Direct Purposeful Experiences.