Monthly Archives: September 2015

TED Talk: End Bad Meetings

David Grady shows a clip, but here is the whole thing. It feels quite familiar.

His TED Talk:

2015-04-11 15.51.22 Personally, I hated status meetings for one project but liked them for another. The bad one was purely about going over the project plan every week and 40% of the time was spent telling the project manager what to type in order for the director to understand the item. The good one we talked about what everyone was doing and spawned side discussions about dealing with where people were stuck.

Certain people I know respect everyone’s time, so I’ll blindly accept everything they throw at me. Anything my boss sent me to I’d just go. While I may not know why, my time was never wasted.

The worst? A certain vendor in investigating issues affecting thousands of users in production, would schedule a time for us to meet about their findings. The content of the meeting would be, “We have not found anything yet, but this is still our top priority. Can we meet again at <new time>?” Yeah, this is a waste of everyone’s time. Just send an email a quarter hour ahead of time explaining you need more time and pick a new one. This is so important people will MAKE time to be there.

For years, I have tried to make sure I include the why of a meeting in the invite. And if my “bad meeting” radar goes off, then I will inquire about the why for it.

The post TED Talk: End Bad Meetings appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From TED Talk: End Bad Meetings published September 29, 2015 at 07:08AM.

Phone camera and teeshirt selfies

I love Sci-Fi teeshirt

I love Sci-Fi

So I wear lots of geeky teeshirts. Many of these shirts have text on them. Maybe it is just me, but I want the text to be oriented the correct way when I take a photo of it. (You all are smart people, so it is not that I think you would be unable to read it backwards. More likely I do not want to appear cluelessly unobservant about what I am posting.)

Originally I tried to take this photo with Instagram. And then I realized the text was backwards. So I pulled up Facebook and took the same photo. Facebook flipped the backwards photo so that the text was correct. It did a face recognition thing prior to taking the photo.

What mystifies me is that Instagram, the king of cellphone photo sharing does not already do this? And that Facebook who also owns Instagram does. I can rotate the photo to its side or upside down, but not flip it over. Probably I could find another app to do this, but now that I know Facebook takes it correctly maybe I will not bother.

Once Facebook has taken the photo and oriented it, I can then go back and use Instagram to post it. This cumbersome method will bother me until Instagram works out how to correctly take the photos. Kudgy workarounds make me hyper-aware I should seek an alternative.

The post Phone camera and teeshirt selfies appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Phone camera and teeshirt selfies published September 23, 2015 at 07:46PM.

TED Talk: How reliable is your memory?

The legal system heavily relies on eyewitness testimony. The erroneous thinking is that human memory works like a movie: events are committed to an infallible permanent storage system. Instead each time we recall a memory, we recall the memory of an earlier memory. If a detail was missing, then we can fill in information. The danger is that a questioner can lead the witness to plant false information and make people absolutely certain of details that convince a jury but never actually happened. People freed by DNA evidence often were convicted by evidence heavily reliant on eyewitnesses.

Elizabeth Loftus studies false memories.

It might be interesting to control behavior to make people feel disgust to soda or sugar and enjoy leafy green vegetables. Of course, it is also pretty ethically questionable.

The post TED Talk: How reliable is your memory? appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From TED Talk: How reliable is your memory? published September 15, 2015 at 07:39AM.

Search Engine: Quote Context

Is there a search engine that already does this? If not, then I hope one adds it.

Please make it easier to find the quote context. Someone posts a quote on Facebook. I want to see the quote in context. When I search for the quote the results are of the same quote over and over.

Google has a cool feature where if you put “define” at the start of a search, then it will just give back results from dictionaries. It picks a definition or two to highlight in a box above results.

It would be really cool if they added a feature where putting “context” provides results which displays the quote in context. Google Books search shows the search item in the context of the page. The top GB result could be shown in the highlight box.

Another possibility is a feature where putting “source” displays the source of the quote in the highlight box. Several sites list the quote and author, but they leave off the book name. Excluding those results would be helpful.

The cause for this rambling was a friend posting:

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
― Marcus Aurelius

I highlighted the quote, right clicked, and searched against Google. As an example, brainyquote lists the quote plus author and lots of author bio without the text source. I went back to the results and saw Goodreads who did list the book source as . So I looked up Meditations in Project Gutenberg. The HTML version did not have it. Back to the results and picked the Wikiquote page who also did not list it, I knew controversial stuff would be on the Discussion page, so I did find it there under “Is this a real Marcus Aurelius quote?” Turns out the quote is a simplification of various quotes into something easily remembered.

Remember that all is but opinion, and all opinion depends of the mind. Take thine opinion away, and then as a ship that hath stricken in within the arms and mouth of the harbour, a present calm; all things safe and steady: a bay, not capable of any storms and tempests: as the poet hath it.
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Twelfth Book section XVI.

This is why I’d love for search engines to make it easier to track down stuff. I spent probably half an hour on this triviality. Few people I know would bother. And while features to make it easier probably will not result in many bothering to fact check, maybe there will be the one who does and prevents me from having a stroke.

The post Search Engine: Quote Context appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Search Engine: Quote Context published September 03, 2015 at 06:56AM.

TED Talk: How to make choosing easier

Choice overload first came to my attention through reading The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. (Schwartz’ strategy.) Sheena Iyengar has some newer research on choosing.

The difficulty is people BELIEVE they need more choices to make a good decision. Lots of choices make us happier in part because we invest more time making one which in turn we need to justify those spent resources with pleasure. (I’m thinking this is similar to how that $100 HDMI cable makes me feel better about the signal quality when technically it is not much better than the $5 one.)

The funny thing, though, is that all these choices prevent the making of them. Sales go up with fewer.

  1. Cut : get rid of useless alternatives
  2. Concretize : make it real
  3. Categorize : make differences understandable
  4. Condition : order choices obvious to nuanced

Funny enough, I also posted Malcolm Gladwell’s Pursuit of the Perfect Spaghetti Sauce. This is an illustration of how we get to choice overload. The revolution was that relying on self-reported data is unreliable because people say what is the conventional wisdom not their true desire. Taste tests are better because it measures what they actually like. BUT people are terrible at understanding what they want, which is why I think they bog down in choice overload. Too many options makes it difficult to figure out what is right for “us.”

Iyengar has another TED Talk which has a good primer on choosing. The end has a great story about her experiment with choosing a nail polish (she’s blind and suspected those advising her were influenced by the name).


The post TED Talk: How to make choosing easier appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From TED Talk: How to make choosing easier published September 01, 2015 at 07:51AM.