Two from the Boston Globe on the Need for Better Filters

Boston Globe: Joe Keohane: Imaginary fiends: In 2009, crime went down. In fact it’s been going down for a decade. But more and more Americans believe it’s getting worse. Why do we refuse to believe the good news?

Boston Globe: Easy = True: How ‘cognitive fluency’ shapes what we believe, how we invest, and who will become a supermodel

A quote from David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech

WSJ: David Foster Wallace on Life and Work: Adapted from a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College.:

…the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.

Shirky confirms Shenk

Clay Shirky, in a recent talk at Web 2.0 Expo New York, challenged us to stop talking about information overload as an excuse, recognize it as a fact (one that’s existed for a long time and will not diminish in the future), and to work on building better filters.

Watch Clay Shirky on information overload versus filter failure:

Titles like the Boing Boing one are kinda unfortunate because they frame Shirky’s view to be one that would be in opposition to lets say, David Shenk’s from his book “Data Smog”.

Far from it.

David Shenk attempted to identify the information landscape we are living in now way back in 1997. In a 2007 piece in Slate he took a critical look back.

As with any look forward, the book wildly missed the mark with some of its more grim predictions, but in many ways still has much to offer and think about.

In particular, towards the end of the book Shenk proposed a personal call to action for building better filters (learning to be our own for example) and to be better information producing citizens (being our own editors). Big foreshadowing of Shirky’s talk there.

Most reviews of the book focussed on Shenk’s definition of the problem and pooh-poohed his suggestions. So here we are, many years down the line, and most of the focus is *still* grousing about ‘information overload’.

Clay Shirky’s point is its high time to stop doing that and get busy building the tools, protocols, customs and businesses that will help us not only deal with it, but thrive from it.

Emma’s Playlist for Saturday February 20th, 2010

Emma’s Playlist are links, videos, and music that Emma loved and asked me to play again and again. First in a not so regular series.

YouTube: Spidey Meets the Yeti:

YouTube: The Muppets: Beaker’s Ballad:

YouTube: Fraggle Rock* “Let Me Be Your Song” (okay, this last one is for me – Emma declared ‘THATS NOT ROCKNROLL”) and clicked away.

Was the call to Conan’s defense against Leno a Gen-X and Gen-Y cry against Baby Boomer entrenchment?

When you get older, these kinds of reflections start to seem all the more uncomfortable don’t they? That makes them all the better to consider and think about. “It just hit me: Leno vs. Conan perfectly embodies the struggle in America between the greedy, selfish Baby Boomers who refuse to go away, and its youth”

In the comments someone posted a monologue from Craig Ferguson that was worth a listen:

Happy 40th Metal

NPR: Lordy, Lordy, Metal Is 40: Happy Birthday, ‘Black Sabbath’

Here is a bonus link, Viktoriya Yermolyeva covering Pantera’s cover of Planet Caravan, on piano:

YouTube: Black Sabbath/Pantera – Planet Caravan – piano cover [HD] (vers.2):

A great description of the bug elimination process

John Graham: “A bad workman blames his tools”:

1. Find the smallest possible test case that tickles the bug. The aim is to find the smallest and fastest way to reproduce the bug reliably. With heisenbugs this can be hard, but even a fast way to reproduce it some percentage of the time is valuable.

2. Automate that test case. It’s best if the test case can be automated so that it can be run again and again. This also means that the test case can become part of your program’s test suite once the bug is eliminated. This’ll stop it coming back.

3. Debug until you find the root cause. The root cause is vital. Unless you fully understand why the bug occurred you can’t be sure that you’ve actually fixed it. It’s very easy to get fooled with heisenbugs into thinking that you’ve eliminated them, when all you’ve done is covered them up.

4. Fix it and verify using #2.

Read the entire piece.

Alfresco Links for February 7th, 2010

Alfresco Webcast: What’s New in 3.2?

Alfresco Webcast: WCM Roadmap Webinar – Versions 3.3 and 4.0

Key to Content: Alfresco WCM Roadmap (notes from the presentation)

Philip Kedy at CapTech: Alfresco WCM or DM: What is the best choice for your enterprise portal?

Jeff Potts: Understanding the differences between Alfresco’s repository implementations

Recent related event: Thanks to the folks at zivtech for hosting a great Alfresco lunch & learn event on January 27th.