100SILEX, de 0 ą 100 s: thinking
1502 Phone-Reluctant Introverts, There is Nothing Wrong With You
As I sit down to write this blog post there is the dreaded sound of a prolonged vibration as my phone skids, bouncing and sporadically across my desk. This is perfectly ideal and ironic distraction that actually befits the very thing I am thinking about and from which it is distracting meā¦ Itself!
I have always had an absolute detest for talking on the phone. And Iāll say now that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the person at the other end, I just find it a horrible tool for communicating with.
I think I probably am, and always have been worse than most people when it comes to using the phone (in the traditional sense, ie speaking to people) but if you can identify with any of this then read on. If youāre thinking, āwhat are you on about, I love the phoneā then youāll probably just get confused, but if you also have friends who ānever answer the phoneā then this might help you to understand them a bit better.
I canāt sum it up any better than Sophia Dembling in her article, 9 Signs that You Might Be an Introvert:
1132 Mammoth Modular Synthesizer At MIT Museum
Just got an update from Joe Paradiso on his homebuilt mammoth analog modular synthesizer. Heās installed it in the MIT Museum and has completed a fairly epic patch which you can listen to (24 hours a day!) here.
Joe will be at the museum this Thursday and Friday (2/23 and 2/24) at 1pm, demoing the synth to visitors, so be sure to stop by if youāre in the neighborhood. Hereās some info from Joe on the construction and inspiration for the latest patch.
The second patch I made at the MIT Museum is totally done now, and you can hear it live on the stream. Listen to it at http://synth.media.mit.edu, and let me know what you think if youāre inclined ā itās running in physical space in Quad, of course ā stereo on the stream. Note that this one has absolutely NO sequencer of any sort on it ā all of the patterns you hear were made entirely from hand-patched logic (counters, ands, ors, flip flops, ring counters, rate multipliers, etc.). Itās an entirely different kind of composition environment from the norm ā you really need to simultaneously be an engineer while being an artist and something of a performer. The inspiration for this patch started with the Boredoms ā if you donāt know who they are, you should (http://www.boredoms.jp/). In particular, I was thinking of SuperRoots 9. The beauty of the patching interface is that you can never exactly nail what you start out to attain, but on the other hand, you get drawn into places you wouldnāt have normally gone once you start. The 3 drummers that Yamantaka Eye performs with lay down a compelling rhythm that my hand-patched logic and analog processing canāt match, of course. But this patch definitely has a strange jumpy groove once it gets into gear, and the 2-chord pad is archetypical too. Yes, Boredoms rule today! BTW, this patch took every cord I had, plus a good 30 more wires just shoved into the pin jacks ā check out the photos here and here ā the latter shows the kind of logic section patching complexity you need to build a sonic environment like this one.
Iām ripping this baby out next Thursday, as Iāll be at the museum next Thursday and Friday (2/23 and 2/24) at 1pm to demonstrate the synthesizer to visitors ā doing some very simple patches and showing off what the modules do in case anybody is interested in this. It will run continuously until then.
Otherwise, enjoy the stream ā there are moments of introspective drift in-between wild percussion (yes, Boredoms!). I might pull the percussion line back so it doesnāt come so often or regularly, but itās essentially a wrap.
868 How Facebook Ships Code Ā« FrameThink ā Frameworks for Thinking People
Iām fascinated by the way Facebook operates. Itās a very unique environment, not easily replicated (nor would their system work for all companies, even if they tried). These are notes gathered from talking with many friends at Facebook about how the company develops and releases software.
Itās been over six months since I assembled these observations and Iām sure Facebook has continuously evolved its software development practices in the meantime. So these notes are probably a little bit out-of-date. It also seems like Facebookās developer-driven culture is coming under greater public scrutiny. So Iām feeling more comfortable now about releasing these notesā¦ HUGE thanks to the many folks who helped put together this view inside of Facebook! Thanks are also due to folks like epriest and fryfrog who have written up corrections and edits.
767 The 5 types of programmers Ā« Steven Benner's Blog
In my code journeys and programming adventures Iāve encountered many strange foes, and even stranger allies. Iāve identified at least five different kinds of code warriors, some make for wonderful comrades in arms, while others seem to foil my every plan.
However they all have their place in the pantheon of software development. Without a healthy mix of these different programming styles youāll probably find your projects either take too long to complete, are not stable enough or are too perfect for humans to look upon.
The code may not be pretty, but damnit, it works!
This guy is the foundation of your company. When something goes wrong he will fix it fast and in a way that wonāt break again. Of course he doesnāt care about how it looks, ease of use, or any of those other trivial concerns, but he will make it happen, without a bunch of talk or time-wasting nonsense. The best way to use this person is to point at a problem and walk away.
You want to do what to my code?
This guy doesnāt care about your deadlines or budgets, those are insignificant when compared to the art form that is programming. When you do finally receive the finished product you will have no option but submit to the stunning glory and radiant beauty of perfectly formatted, no, perfectly beautiful code, that is so efficient that anything you would want to do to it would do nothing but defame a masterpiece. He is the only one qualified to work on his code.
Iām a programmer, damnit. I donāt write code.
His world has one simple truth; writing code is bad. If you have to write something then youāre doing it wrong. Someone else has already done the work so just use their code. He will tell you how much faster this development practice is, even though he takes as long or longer than the other programmers. But when you get the project it will only be 20 lines of actual code and will be very easy to read. It may not be very fast, efficient, or forward-compatible, but it will be done with the least effort required.
What do you want? It works doesnāt it?
The guy who couldnāt care less about quality, thatās someone elses job. He accomplishes the tasks that heās asked to do, quickly. You may not like his work, the other programmers hate it, but management and the clients love it. As much pain as he will cause you in the future, he is single-handedly keeping your deadlines so you canāt scoff at it (no matter how much you want to).
Well, thatās a possibility, but in practice this might be a better alternative.
This guy is more interested the options than what should be done. He will spend 80% of his time staring blankly at his computer thinking up ways to accomplish a task, 15% of his time complaining about unreasonable deadlines, 4% of his time refining the options, and 1% of his time writing code. When you receive the final work it will always be accompanied by the phrase āif I had more time I could have done this the right wayā.
Personally, Iād have to classify myself as the perfectionist. So, which type of programmer are you? Or perhaps you know another programming archetype that is missing from my list? Post a comment below and Iāll add it to a new updated list.
726 Procrastination Ā« You Are Not So Smart
The Misconception: You procrastinate because you are lazy and canāt manage your time well.
The Truth: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.
551 The Top Idea in Your Mind
I realized recently that what one thinks about in the shower in the morning is more important than I'd thought. I knew it was a good time to have ideas. Now I'd go further: now I'd say it's hard to do a really good job on anything you don't think about in the shower.
Everyone who's worked on difficult problems is probably familiar with the phenomenon of working hard to figure something out, failing, and then suddenly seeing the answer a bit later while doing something else. There's a kind of thinking you do without trying to. I'm increasingly convinced this type of thinking is not merely helpful in solving hard problems, but necessary. The tricky part is, you can only control it indirectly. 
I think most people have one top idea in their mind at any given time. That's the idea their thoughts will drift toward when they're allowed to drift freely. And this idea will thus tend to get all the benefit of that type of thinking, while others are starved of it. Which means it's a disaster to let the wrong idea become the top one in your mind.
What made this clear to me was having an idea I didn't want as the top one in my mind for two long stretches.
474 Why Intelligent People Fail
Why Intelligent People Fail
Content from Sternberg, R. (1994). In search of the human mind. New York: Harcourt Brace.
1. Lack of motivation. A talent is irrelevant if a person is not motivated to use it. Motivation may be external (for example, social approval) or internal (satisfaction from a job well-done, for instance). External sources tend to be transient, while internal sources tend to produce more consistent performance.
2. Lack of impulse control. Habitual impulsiveness gets in the way of optimal performance. Some people do not bring their full intellectual resources to bear on a problem but go with the first solution that pops into their heads.
3. Lack of perserverance and perseveration. Some people give up too easily, while others are unable to stop even when the quest will clearly be fruitless.
4. Using the wrong abilities. People may not be using the right abilities for the tasks in which they are engaged.
5. Inability to translate thought into action. Some people seem buried in thought. They have good ideas but rarely seem able to do anything about them.
6. Lack of product orientation. Some people seem more concerned about the process than the result of activity.
7. Inability to complete tasks. For some people nothing ever draws to a close. Perhaps itās fear of what they would do next or fear of becoming hopelessly enmeshed in detail.
8. Failure to initiate. Still others are unwilling or unable to initiate a project. It may be indecision or fear of commitment.
9. Fear of failure. People may not reach peak performance because they avoid the really important challenges in life.
10. Procrastination. Some people are unable to act without pressure. They may also look for little things to do in order to put off the big ones.
11. Misattribution of blame. Some people always blame themselves for even the slightest mishap. Some always blame others.
12. Excessive self-pity. Some people spend more time feeling sorry for themselves than expending the effort necessary to overcome the problem.
13. Excessive dependency. Some people expect others to do for them what they ought to be doing themselves.
14. Wallowing in personal difficulties. Some people let their personal difficulties interfere grossly with their work. During the course of life, one can expect some real joys and some real sorrows. Maintaining a proper perspective is often difficult.
15. Distractibility and lack of concentration. Even some very intelligent people have very short attention spans.
16. Spreading oneself too think or too thick. Undertaking too many activities may result in none being completed on time. Undertaking too few can also result in missed opportunities and reduced levels of accomplishment.
17. Inability to delay gratification. Some people reward themselves and are rewarded by others for finishing small tasks, while avoiding bigger tasks that would earn them larger rewards.
18. Inability to see the forest for the trees. Some people become obsessed with details and are either unwilling or unable to see or deal with the larger picture in the projects they undertake.
19. Lack of balance between critical, analytical thinking and creative, synthetic thinking. It is important for people to learn what kind of thinking is expected of them in each situation.
20. Too little or too much self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence can gnaw away at a personās ability to get things done and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, individuals with too much self-confidence may not know when to admit they are wrong or in need of self-improvement.
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