Archive for April, 2008

My rude heuristics
April 29, 2008

People often try to overwhelm you with facts, theories, and statements. It is easy to just pour them until the opponent gives up.

I made up this heuristics, and I’ve used it for some time. It probably isn’t original and I’m certain others have made better systems, but this is working for me.

  1. Did it really happen?
  2. Can it be caused by what you say?
  3. What is the probability that it was caused by something else?

The first one is usually enough. Can they prove their claims. Most people with outrageous claims can’t.

The second is that you have to be able to represent a justified theory of how X can really be caused by A. Usually it involves other statements, where you should recursively apply the first criterion did it really happen.

The third one is what I call Bayesian step. How probable it is that it wasn’t caused by something else? You have to find the alternative explanations and evaluate them too. Very often it is just statistical noise.

The point in using this is that if it doesn’t pass (or if any part of it doesn’t pass) the previous step, you shouldn’t bother thinking about the second. If something doesn’t exist, there is no reason to waste your time thinking of what caused it.

Always check the facts first
April 28, 2008

I happened to check something I thought I can check later. I learned two things:

  • I almost missed an important deadline (bad!)
  • I have lot – a lot – less work to do than I thought (good!)

I should write this somewhere where I can see it every day.

Two weeks without Igoogle
April 28, 2008

My addiction to certain blogs is practically gone. I still read some of them occasionally because I don’t see any harm in doing so.

Last Monday I started a 30 day challenge about ubiquitous capture but dropped it in a few days. The reason was that it was too effective. I wrote down the three most important problems in my life. I solved one of them very soon and now I’m concentrating in solving the second one.

I don’t think I achieved all this only because I stopped reading blogs but I’m certain that it was of some help.

I began using Windows Live Messenger. I had strong reservations about it. I’ve been addicted to chat programs earlier. However, while I certainly use more time chatting in the net than I should, the conversations have been quite rewarding. That’s because I’ve added only people I meet in real life. I’ve consciously avoided the ones I know only virtually. So all the conversations either support the real life socializing or about the topics they can help me about.

I still check Facebook too often. Maybe I should do something about it.

Doing laundry II
April 28, 2008

I tried some more hand washing. My ex-girlfriend is a fashion designer and she taught me dirt and sweat react with fabric for some days. So the sooner the clothes are washed, the longer they last. If they are of reasonably good quality, dirt wears them faster than washings.

I learned the first difference between washing by hand and machine. The amount of work and time required grows linearly with the number of clothes while when using machine you might as well wash as much as fits in.

I found the rinsing part very laborious. I’m coming back using the laundry for most of my clothes and hand wash some critical and most expensive ones.

Buckminster Fuller quote
April 27, 2008

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Found here.

Reason for a silence
April 25, 2008

I haven’t been able to write for a few days because I’ve been paralyzed by a certain tough decision.

Something I haven’t still made, but there’s a good side in very tough decisions. You want to escape them anywhere. Even in making decisions that aren’t that tough but are a lot tougher than what you’d normally want to handle.

Monday I had a sneaking suspicion something has to be made. Tuesday I realized what it was. Wednesday I was dealing with shock and Thursday morning after not so well slept night I realized an answer to the next toughest problem of mine.

A week without Igoogle
April 20, 2008

A week ago I stopped using Igoogle. Here are my experiences of the first week without.

How it went

I decided not to read my email very often and log out in between. This worked quite well. During the first days I still typed igoogle occasionally, but since the third day it hasn’t happened any more. Mere email isn’t as addictive as a site equipped with blog feeds.

I began to use Yahoo search as my primary search engine. There’s not much difference with English searches on popular subjects. However, Yahoo is considerably weaker on less common words and topics and on non-English searches. I will still go on using Yahoo but maybe I’ll give a chance to Microsoft’s Live search.

I stopped reading feeds, and I haven’t missed them at all. Occasionally I’ve checked a blog or two I’m interested in. Usually ones written by people I know personally. I think I might even cut that. I haven’t decided yet.

I haven’t used Stumbleupon as much as I planned to do. Of course I fear it might grow as time consuming as blogs used to be but I think I should have something as a substitute. Stumbleupon’s usability has been better than what I expected.

The results

Ditching Igoogle has been a rather positive experience this far. I’m far less addicted to blogs. I get more varied information from the net. I’ve lost almost all of the anxiety the compulsive blog reading gave me. I won’t be going back.

Today I’m too tired to plan anything ahead but I believe I’ll cut other time-consuming and addiction prone web activities. Maybe I’ll stop reading blogs of any kind. Another target might be Facebook. I was very busy today and I didn’t have time to visit Facebook until quite late. And I didn’t miss it for a second.

Larry Graham bass solo
April 19, 2008

While I still think watching Youtube should be banned at parties, yesterday a friend of mine showed me this amazing bass solo by Larry Graham.

Switching rooms experiment, day four
April 18, 2008

Yesterday was the fourth and last day of my experiment. Now when the novelty has worn off, it doesn’t feel much more effective than before. Especially the first two hours were a drag and I had very little done. However at the end of the day I realized it wasn’t that bad at all.

Boredom. Quite normal, but there are two kinds of boredom:

  • Boredom experienced. Like “I feel bored now”.
  • Boredom that can be measured by decrease in performance. Lack of motivation, problems in concentrating, laziness, procrastination, tiredness, etc.

I was certainly a little bored in the first, I’d call internal, respect. In the second respect I’d call external I have to admit I had a lot done. Not as much as in Tuesday but not bad either.

Procrastination. Still very little procrastination. i took quite a lot breaks but when I was at my desk, I had zero problems in beginning the work promptly.

Social contact. We had some discussions and now I’m having a more accurate picture of their personality. I realized if I wanted to go on using this room, I should get to know them better. Spend my breaks with them at least occasionally, ask something about their life and background and so on. Of course I know I shouldn’t be too pushy either.

Working in a more social environment certainly has a balancing effect but it also requires some work. I know these being a new kid on the block might last for months. It’s normal and I have no grudges about it.

Song of the gulls
April 16, 2008

Today I found Islands by King Crimson in library. I’ve been searching for it for a while.

Here’s a video of one of the songs in album. Besides the nice music it teaches you art history.