links for 2010-09-24

  • the best for me for both programming and essay writing was colemak. must I switch keyboard layouts again?
  • Here's my advice to people who make these queries: Stop and think about all of your personal interests and solve a simple problem related to one of them. For example, I practice guitar by playing along to a drum machine, but I wish I could have human elements added to drum loops, like auto-fills and occasional variations and so on. What would it take to do that? I could start by writing a simple drum sequencing program--one without a GUI--and see how it went. I also take a lot of photographs, and I could use a tagging scheme that isn't tied to a do-everything program like Adobe Lightroom. That's simple enough that I could create a minimal solution in an afternoon. The two keys: (1) keep it simple, (2) make it something you'd actually use.
  • make users ask for invites publicly, turn on invites for only a few hours at a time
  • "Then [Somerset] moved on to Charles Dickens. His identification with the works of these long-dead British writers was total. “All of those characters are me,” Somerset explained. “Neither a British nor American young man living in the twenty-first century can understand a Dickens as well as I can. I am living in a Dickens atmosphere. Our country is at least one or two centuries behind the Western world. My neighborhood—bleak, poor, with small domestic industries, children playing on the street, the parents are fighting with each other, some are with great debt, everyone is dirty. That is Dickens. In that Dickens atmosphere I grew up."
  • hilarious. During the past few decades, early-development “experts” have stressed the importance of so-called “enrichment activities”: reading to babies, singing to them, even talking to them. We are now finding that these activities, in addition to being excruciating for the parent, may actually be harmful to the baby, lengthening her attention span to the point where she will be unable to enjoy most popular entertainment. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to reverse this damage, using a system I call FIT (Facebook, iPhone, TV). By exposing your baby to these three things for as many hours as possible, you’ll insure that she’ll be well equipped for a lifetime of pointless multitasking. Quick test: Put your hands in front of your eyes and play peekaboo with your baby. If she ignores you and picks up your phone, reward her with her favorite app.

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