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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#49)

Amazing “paintings” can be made in code on a web browser: Check out Pure CSS Lace. See how they’re made here.


Running in the rain is a good habit: I’m trying to apply this in other areas of my life.


This was so funny I was actually crying: Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito:. I guess this came out a long while ago but I must have missed it. So good.

Bonus laugh: Google Launches ‘The Google’ For Older Adults


Tips for reducing distraction: I was trying grayscale on my phone to see what it does for improving my attention but switched it back after half a day simply due to the fact that my phone is my only camera. However, I have removed all icons from my home screen and am a fan of using search for launching apps instead of the icon.

Here are some other helpful tips to take control from Humane Tech (be sure to check out the apps/services recommended at the bottom of the page).


Quote I loved:

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Reminds me of the Tim O’reilly and the mantra of creating more value than you capture. Good stuff.


A useful guide to understanding the impeachment saga. Even though I didn’t really need this it’s pretty great and I kind of want to be somewhat informed on the topic. Now where is the equivalent for Brexit?


An exercise for discovering the cause of stress and emotions: I had heard about the work of Byron Katie before, but was recently reacquainted and read more about the four questions practice:

Next time you are upset at something or someone, think about why and try asking these four questions:

Is it true?
How can I know it’s absolutely true?
How do I react when I believe that thought?
Who would I be without that thought?


Distilling many of my aspirations as a parent, and an attempt to be gentle with myself as I inevitably don’t live up to them much of the time.


Finally, a thoughtful tool if ever in doubt from Seth Godin: A year from now…

Will today’s emergency even be remembered? Will that thing you’re particularly anxious about have been hardly worth the time you put into it?

Better question: What could you do today that would matter a year from now?

Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#47)

Tool I discovered: Droplr. Since starting work at Automattic I have been getting to know and love this tool for taking and sharing screenshots and screencasts. It uploads your files automatically for easy sharing, has a bunch of surprisingly great options, and it’s fast.


Documentary I enjoyed: The Game Changers. Since going vegetarian over a year ago, Kav and I have been getting into it more and more and have no desire to go back. This made me want to go farther.


Tumblr site that made me laugh: Catalog Living. There have been a few of these floating around the office. Too funny.

Gary threw down his napkin in disgust when he realized tonight would be yet another Giant Pear dinner.


Favorite life advice of the week: Read like your life depends on it, because it does. From the always good Marcus Purvis. I also enjoyed his recent post in his Notes from a Small Country series.


Article about “work” that made me think: Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive. This lines up neatly to my new role working for an entirely distributed, async company, so it’s right in my echo chamber but good I think nonetheless.

This highly synchronous way of working would be understandable if it produced results, but there is more and more evidence that all the real-time communication overhead makes it hard to focus, drains employees’ mental resources, and generally makes it more difficult to make meaningful progress on work.


To see what we’re up to, check out our now page. The featured image is another one I colored in with some Tombows from my small notebook:

Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#27)

Quote I most wanted to share:

The world needs you at the party starting real conversations, saying “I don’t know”, and being kind.

Charlie Kaufman

Favorite book excerpt from last week:

The most dangerous tradition we hold about work is that it must be serious and meaningless. We believe that we’re paid money to compensate us for work not worthwhile on its own. People who are paid the most are often the most confused, for they know in their hearts how little meaning there is in what they do, for others and for themselves. While money provides status, status doesn’t guarantee meaning. They’re paid well because of how poorly work compensates their souls.

From The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun

For a good laugh, make sure you read the replies: The long thread that accompanies this 20 things we’ve learned from TV tweet is magic.


An endless source of inspiration (and desktop wallpapers): NASA makes their entire media library publicly accessible and copyright free. Like Lego, NASA is in the upper-echelons of cool organizations.


A great explanation on color: As someone who is really into art and design (but doesn’t have a ton of technical training), this article on How to Not Suck at Color was a really useful and interesting read.

To really know what color is, we need to understand its ingredients. Every color breaks down into three fundamental attributes: hue, saturation, and value. You might recognize these characters from your favorite design app, though sometimes they’ll be referred to as HSB.


The behind-the-scenes story of NBA team branding: The story of How the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies Revived the NBA is an interesting read and includes a tidbit about team naming contests that raised my eyebrow.

Without the hype and critical praise that accompanied the Steven Spielberg’s film, it’s unlikely Raptors would have been a unanimous selection. Instead, we might have be cheering for the Toronto Huskies against the Warriors — prior to the NBA, the Huskies represented in the city in the Basketball Association of America in the 1940s. “The pop culture context made us predisposed to following that direction,” says Mayenknecht.

That April, The Star and radio station CFRB 1010 organized a team naming contest. Several dozen potential names were nominated, a list which included the Lakelanders, the Trilliums (Ontario’s official flower), and the Canadian Eh’s, but O’Grady claims that despite the ten names that were shortlisted, the franchise already knew which direction it was headed. “They were going to be the Raptors all along, [and the naming contest] was a smoke screen to let people believe they were part of the decision making process.” Even though Bitove and others were considering the possibility of naming the team the Toronto T-Rex, O’Grady says the franchise was driven by the notion that raptors, like birds of prey, travel in packs. “If Raptors barely registered, then that may have swayed Bitove a bit — ‘Let’s do another focus group’ — but those are all about sanity checks, to make sure not making colossal mistake,” he says.