Sunday, February 19, 2006

Treating Specific Cases of a Concept As the General Concept Itself

If you're constantly checking information -- your emails, the stats on your website, etc -- that doesn't need to be checked so often, you're being unproductive. This is the pretty obvious point made in this article.

Fair enough, except the article is called 'The Inefficiency of Being Too Curious'. Isn't that going a bit far? The article isn't talking about curiousity in general, but a very specific situation. And I don't think its results are generalisable to curiosity in general.

To me, this is an example of a very common tendancy to treat a specific case of a general concept as the general concept itself. When this is done, a more specfic, narrower result is mistakenly presented as a more general, more universal one.

Panasonic's Quicker-Cooking Infrared Toaster Oven

Panasonic claims their FlashXpress Infrared Toaster Oven can heat up food 40% quicker. For one thing, as it uses infrared, it doesn't need to heat up like a conventional oven. $120 US. (via Gizmodo)

Kamen's water purifier and power generators for poor villages

Inventor Dean Kamen has developed "two devices, each about the size of a washing machine that can provide much-needed power and clean water in rural villages" and is planning a scheme of village-entrepreneurs for selling them.

"Eighty percent of all the diseases you could name would be wiped out if you just gave people clean water," says Kamen. "The water purifier makes 1,000 liters of clean water a day, and we don't care what goes into it. And the power generator makes a kilowatt off of anything that burns."
Sounds promising.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Just Because It Has Been A Philosophical Question Doesn't Mean That's What It Is

Just some thinking out loud...

All philosophical problems face one of three eventualities:

they remain forever insoluable,

they are discarded as being confused,

or they become matters of science.

Just because something has always been a philosophical question

doesn’t mean that's what it is, full stop.

That may just be a temporary state of affairs

until its time to become science comes.

Laptops With Adjustable-Height Screens?

You could make laptops more ergonomic if the screens could be raised higher, so you didn't have to look down so much to see them. See the pictures below. I'm wondering whether you can get any laptops with such adjustable-height screens?

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Sometime last year I looked into this, but couldn't find anything. Strangely, the only think I managed to find was an online article from some computer publication -- the link for which I've since lost -- from back around 2000, saying that some companies had plans for such laptops. From what I could tell, these designs never appeared.

The Music Meme

Better late then never, they say... i mean, it's only been like ten months 'getting round to this' since Ricky passed me the Music Meme...

  1. Total volume of music files on my computer?
    Approx 20GB, 3500 songs
  2. The last CD I bought was...
    In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country, Boards of Canada
    which i think is not bad, but not great.
  3. (a) The last song I listened to before writing this was...
    Fit But You Know It, The Streets
    (b)Song playing right now:
  4. Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me.
    Hard question! Too many, too hard to remember. Some that come to mind are...

    • Hey Boy, Hey Girl, The Chemical Brothers
      fantastic song, and it reminds me when I used to go out with friends.
    • Killing in the Name, Rage Against the Machine
      it was what really got me into music. Have to say though, that these days I find their music a bit tiring to listen to... i spose coz it's so angry.
      And FWIW, it's not my all time fav RATM song - that'd probably be Bulls on Parade.
    • Out From Out Where, Amon Tobin
      I'm including this, even though it's an album, becuase I think the whole thing is absolultely brilliant... near perfect. Takes a while to get into it, though.
    • Daughter, Pearl Jam
      From the first CD I bought, which I listened to over and over again...
    • two other songs that have a prominent emotional association for me, because they remind me of past times with friends, are
      Whiter Shade of Pale
      Buenos Tardes Amigo, Ween
      though I haven't heard either of these songs for years, and there's lots of songs I like just as much or more than these...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Small, Cheap, Soft-foam Remote Control Airplane

The "TOMITECH Aerosoarer" (6.7 x 7.8 inches). Looks like it'll initially only be available in Japan. About $22 US.

Guy Kawasaki on the art of schmoozing

Guy Kawasaki on the art of schmoozing.

His advice sounds sensible.

In summary

Great schmoozers want to know what they can do for you, not what the you can do for them. If you understand this, the rest is just mechanics.
# Get out
# Ask good questions, then shut up
# Unveil your passions
# Read voraciously
# Follow up
# Make it easy to get in touch
# Give favors
# Ask for the return of favors