Margaret discusses how our automation and efficiencies are making us unprepared for the future as well as having an impact on society as a whole.
Margarent Heffernan gave a great TED talk about how companies and individuals have trended towards automation and efficiency, which to a large extent is a good thing. However, this can unravel quickly when the unexpected happens.
Margaret talks about how forward-thinking companies and agencies are now moving more towards a “just in case” model of management instead of “just in time” where everything is so planned out, that everything is exactly where it needs to be at just the right time. The theory behind “just in case” is that the unexpected will happen and when it does, the consequences can be devastating, unless you’re prepared to handle perfectly plausible situations even if they would be unexpected.
Continue reading “From Just In Time, to Just In Case”
The Hygiene Hypothesis says that Western culture is too clean to allow our bodies to build up a strong immune system. It turns out that’s mostly true, but with an important recent update.
I have grown up hearing that being a little bit dirty is good for you and that it helps to build your immune system. It kind of makes sense and it’s been my general approach to my own personal hygiene as well as how I decided to raise my children.
What I didn’t know (thanks to a recent episode of Stuff You Should Know) is just how new that theory is. In fact, it’s younger than me.
Continue reading “The current status of the “Hygiene Hypothesis””
It takes a long time to become an expert in anything, so when a lawyer, accountant, or photographer charges an hourly rate over $100, you’re mostly paying for the years, schooling and equipment purchased that it took them to get where they are, rather than their actual time.
If a task takes me 30 minutes to do, it’s because I spent 10 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.Unknown
If you’re a consumer, you may get taken aback by how much certain people charge for their services. These might include professionals in well-established fields like lawyers and accountants, but may also extend to people who are professionals in their own right, but in less traditional fields, like photographers, web developers and wedding planners.
The truth is, these people are experts in their fields and it took them a long time to get to where they are. Certain tasks they can do very quickly, not because they are simple (otherwise you would be doing them), but because they spent years (and probably lots of money) learning and perfecting their craft.
Continue reading “Why experts cost so much”
When working with plumbing, or civil yard piping, you might need to roll a bend to some arbitrary angle, which is where the trigonometry can get a bit tricky.
I had an interesting problem come up today, which defeated my Friday afternoon trigonometry skills.
I was laying out some piping today, and it’s easy to figure out how much distance you’ll cover in each direction if the bend is installed completely flat, or completely vertically, but if you roll that bend to achieve a given amount of rise and horizontal offset, it’s harder to figure out the resultant angle in plan view and how much horizontal distance the pipe covers in the other direction.
Continue reading “Visualizing bends rolled in 3D”
If you’re telling people to get in touch with you online, you’ll thank me later if you start handing out role-based email addresses instead of your personal email address. Have people email you at [email protected], or [email protected] so that when you bring more people on in future, or people move on, the emails can still end up with the right person.
I’ve worked with my own websites for long enough now – and certainly enough client websites – to know that it is a nightmare to either publish your email address, or to route contact forms to your own email address.
As you’ll come to realise, people come and go at companies. So if you’ve been writing articles for years, inviting people to email [email protected] if they want to discuss it further, when Sarah resigns and now you want people to contact Lisa instead, you’ve got to go through and change all of those articles.
Continue reading “The case for role-based email addresses”
My favourite song of all time. Such a beautiful melody that really gets that frisson going.
Continue reading “Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi”
Ricky Gervais has nailed it again, and caused me to bawl as he tells the story of Tony: a middle-aged widower who has turned his back on the world.
I’ve long been a fan of Ricky Gervais ever since David Brent graced our screens back in 2001.
What is most unique about Ricky’s shows is that he champions the ordinary and the unseen. In The Office, it was the awkward middle manager who had cringeworthy people skills. In Derek, it was the intellectually-challenged volunteer at an old people’s home. And now we have After Life, the story of Tony, who recently lost his wife to breast cancer, and has taken the attitude of giving zero fucks, each and every day. He does what he wants, and says what he wants, because he’d rather be dead than dealing with the grief of losing his wife.
Continue reading “Ricky Gervais does it again with After Life”
Computers are much smarter than us now. Using your first pet’s name followed by your year of birth stopped being sufficient as a password about a decade ago. There’s only way to really stay safe online these days: a password manager like 1Password.
It’s 2018. If you’re still under the impression that putting a number at the end of your password, or switching Es for 3s or As for @s in your password is the answer to password security, you’re probably very susceptible to having your passwords cracked.
This is the age where computers are now able to guess 350 billion passwords a second. 350 billion. Every. Single. Second. That means that if you have an eight-character password using only lowercase numbers and letters, a computer can guess every possible combination in about 8 seconds.
And of course, there’s been enough high profile hacks in recent years (Target, Home Depot, TJ Maxx, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Equifax) that there are databases full of login credentials for billions of accounts. If you’ve used the same password on multiple websites and your login credentials have been uncovered on any single website, a would-be hacker potentially has access to all of your online accounts.
With computer power doubling every 2 years, computers are getting very powerful very quickly. The trouble is, if you’re relying on your brain to remember all of your passwords, your brain isn’t getting too many upgrades in its processing power from year to year, no matter how many acai smoothies you drink. You’re fighting a losing battle.
Continue reading “1Password: Stop being outright dangerous with your passwords and online security”
I don’t usually play games on my phone, but when I found Mini Metro, which let me build my own subway system and improve it, I found a treasure.
I just came across a new game for iOS which has me embarrassingly addicted.
Let’s be clear: I don’t play games on my phone. The only exception is Chess. However, as a big old nerd with autistic tendencies, building my own Metro/Subway/Tube system, refining it, expanding it, making it more efficient and watching it run makes me happier than it should. So when I came across Mini Metro, I found a new pastime. Continue reading “Mini Metro: the perfect iOS game for nerds and engineers (or nerdy engineers!)”
There is a way to have multiple trip odometers on a Jetta, but they don’t make it easy or tell you how, so I’m sharing what I learned.
I’ve had a (2017) VW Jetta since last January and despite my attempts to figure out how I could use multiple trip odometers, I wasn’t able to do so until this past weekend (18 months later).
When I first got my Jetta, I noticed how there was a small number 1 near my odometer and other trip calculations (such as average consumption), which I assumed to mean that you could have multiple calculations running concurrently. However, I couldn’t find any such information in the user manual. And that’s the way it stayed for 18 months. Continue reading “How to use multiple trip odometers on a VW Jetta”