Random Notes and Thoughts #5

Just a bit of detritus not yet fully baked or otherwise worthy of their own post for your enjoyment and consideration…

  • I’m writing this in Vim, the powerful terminal-based text editor all the true geeks have long loved and espoused the virtues of. I’m just learning it. It has long been on my list of things I wanted to learn for quite a while. It came up as I was reviewing my 3-5 year goals and I thought, “Why not now?”. To teach myself, I looked at several online tutorials but found that Learn Vim Progressively seemed the most suited to my learning style. Going slow so far but that is how the tutorial is designed — learning the basics and using only those for a few days/weeks before moving on to the next lesson.

  • For the truly geeky, the monospace font I’m using in Terminal is Inconsolata. Not sure I have settled on that as the right one for me but it is good enough for now.

  • Despite the many other issues some (understandably) may have with him, one thing I can appreciate about Richard Stallman is that when it comes to his computing habits and usage he is dogmatic about his dogma. I don’t know how one could not appreciate someone who so steadfastly walks what they talk, even if you don’t fully agree with the talk or think it is (perhaps, rightfully) nuts.

  • On the flip side of that, it recently occurred to me that the most important and valuable lessons my wife and I try to instill in our little girl are empathy and kindness. For instance, when meeting a stranger, she often picks out something she likes — a necklace or shirt for instance — and compliments them on it. She is one of those kids who goes out of her way to find something nice to say about everyone — even if she doesn’t like or agree with them. She also does her darndest to try to see a situation from how it might look from someone else’s perspective. She’s not always perfect at these but she works darn hard at it. It’s something we could all be better at for sure.

  • If I were to, say, build a swing for my little girl out of wood, the project is not done when the swing is done. The project is done when the tools are put away, the scrap wood picked up, and the sawdust is swept away. That is to say, clean up after the project is part of the project as well. If you have not picked up the mess of making then you have not finished. This applies to more than just building swings.

  • My friend and all around smart and talented guy (lucky too, I kind of hate him) Mike Rohde is bringing his wonderful Sketchnote Workshop to Chicago, IL on June 26th. I got to go to the very first one in Milwaukee last year and it was fantastic. It’s about way more than just how to make fun little drawings in your notes. It’s about how to be a better listener, a better thinker, capture key concepts, process them in ways that are meaningful, and take better notes in general. If you are in the Chi-town area at that time or close enough to drive you should really consider it.

  • Far too often, we confuse what is urgent with what is important. Most of what is urgent is not important. Most of what is important is ruined by urgency. When pressed by urgency, we rush through things. We become sloppy and careless. If it’s important, you should take your time and care. Most of the important things in my life took/take a long time. For example, I’ve been working on a short story off and on for about 20 years. If I can get it just right, I think it might end up being one of the most important things I’ll ever write, that’s why I’m taking such time with it.

  • I loved what Mandy Brown had to say about what consent has come to mean on the Internet versus what it means in the offline world, especially when it comes to privacy. Basically, it has become distorted online in ways that are meant to oppress and commodify us. This is a dangerous path.

  • A lot of people don’t know that Bill Gates is a voracious reader and often travels with several tote bags of books just to feed his habit. Therefore, when he gives you some summer reading list suggestions it’s probably worth paying attention to. And, if you really want to go deep and long, he also has a page on his website of his personal book reviews which are smart and full of wit and personality.

  • As someone who has killed a few projects recently (and am considering a few more), I can relate to and agree with Christine Xu’s assertion that our projects deserve a good death.

That’s all for now. This is more than enough to keep you busy. I should likely do these more often and perhaps not decide to publish them in the middle of everyone’s busy week. So sorry. Save it for the weekend or use it as an excuse to take the day off. I won’t mind.

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