Old year’s resolutions

What can you tick off already? Good work on those. What do you need to quit – stop doing, stop trying to do, draw a line under, declare an amnesty for yourself, admit that it won’t get done, and let die with the old year? Perhaps most crucially, what are the little things – acts of kindness that you’ve been…

Compound interest

We all know about compound interest in the world of money. Save £100 a month for thirty years at one percent interest** and you’ll have a little under £42,000 by the end of that time (compared to £36,000 at zero-percent). Make that investment at 5% and suddenly you’ll hit £83,000. 10%*** makes almost £228,000. It takes time, and the commitment…

Governor Jerry Brown, c1976: an approach to protest

I would be part of the entourage and we’d go to some public event… and there outside the event would be the usual protesters about one thing or another. And I’d find myself trying to get Jerry [Brown, Governor of California] in, and we’re all of us late, “Come on, let’s keep moving,” and then he’d see the protesters and…

Expectations: tell us what you do

We’re staying at a simple hotel in North Sulawesi. The setting is idyllic. Our hosts are unfailingly pleasant and helpful. Good food is served three times a day, at regular times… plus or minus an hour. Our room is cleaned… intermittently, and our bin emptied when we take it to reception ourselves. We have lights, running water, and even air…

Expectations: flaw to feature

We decided to explore the garden before we ordered our food. The manager caught us just as we were starting down the path. He was apologetic: “Excuse me… sorry… the food can take a long time to come at the restaurant – up to an hour after you order it. We suggest that you order first and then enjoy the…

Peter Morville on Category and Taxonomy (1)

While findability comes first, we must also remember that categories are about more than retrieval. Classification helps our users to understand. Through splitting, lumping and labeling, we reveal choices and invite questions. … Of course, all taxonomies are imperfect, as is the language they’re built on… like maps and myths, taxonomies hide more than they reveal. They bury complexity to…

The Gift

Everything changes if you can see the thing you’re doing as a gift. Doing it as a gift transforms the thing you don’t want to do, or don’t want to do right now; the thing you don’t want to do in the way you know you should do it; the thing you said yes to that seemed like a good…

The new possible

My sister (let’s call her Sharky) bought me a book for Christmas. Sharky lives in Argentina. She bought the book from a shop in the UK. I’m on holiday in a remote part of Indonesia. She bought the book, told me about it, and I was reading it, in less than ten minutes. This is the new reality – actually,…

Scrapbook: Niall Ferguson on culture, text-for-profit, libraries, search and literacy

Niall Ferguson was speaking at the Long Now Foundation, responding to a question from Stewart Brand about how ads and the profit-motive influenced the nature of search and the internet echo-chamber. Google and Facebook in particular are platforms driven by user-engagement and time-on-platform (the source of their ad revenue) and as a result tend to give us more of what…

Deep literacy: Kevin Kelly on more than reading

… producing books with ease on Gutenberg’s press did not fully unleash text. Real literacy also required a long list of innovations and techniques that permitted ordinary readers and writers to manipulate text in ways that made it useful. For instance, quotation symbols make it simple to indicate where one has borrowed text from another writer. We don’t have a…