Things I Learned In 2012

As this year draws to a close, here is a once again not nearly complete list of the the things I learned this past year:

  • That a pony is not another name for a foal but, in fact, a small breed of horse.

  • Abundance may seem more than enough, but it is only so when not doing enough with the abundance.

  • What dropping a ten pound weight from six feet high on one’s foot feels like and the effects there of. (Hurts like hell, two broken toes.)

  • That is is completely possible to make a (so far, very) modest income from writing. (Please buy my books because every little bit helps.)

  • I read way more books than I thought I did.

  • That it was mostly non-fiction. (OK, I kind of knew this.)

  • That I want to read more fiction in the future.

  • TV is broken.

  • Carrying coals to Newcastle” is a phrase that means to do something pointless and superfluous.

  • How to set ACL permissions in Mac OS X Lion Server. (Wish I wouldn’t have had to learn this because it is a pain in the ass.)

  • How easy it is to become numb to things that cause pain in our lives if the pain is not painful enough to address.

  • Convenience is a double edged sword because inconvenience can be such a very good motivator.

  • That true communities have sidewalks.

  • What a Stand Up Meeting is and it’s potential value outside of programing culture.

  • One of the best things you can say about a pen is that it is “pocketable”. Because a pen you can easily pocket is a pen you are likely to take with you every day and a pen that you take with you is a pen you will use.

  • A good pen is a promise to an empty page.

  • That, my best writing is done with pen and paper and that I plan on doing so more and more.

  • Paper is always on.

  • Paper is never passive.

  • That I really need to listen to the push back my inner voice gives me when it comes to committing to things outside of my comfort zone and skill set. (Some exceptions apply. Your actual milage may vary. Please drink responsibly.)

  • You only need one good reason to commit to an idea, not four hundred. But if you have four hundred reasons to say yes and one reason to say no, the answer is probably no.” — Twyla Tharp in The Creative Habit

  • Why waste your CPU on something you are not committed to do?

  • You gotta love the land.

  • John James Audubon, despite portraits you may have seen depicting him otherwise, was half-Black.

  • The quietest place on earth is just a few miles away.

  • The Re-captcha Project is used to help digitize books, newspapers, and radio shows. This makes me less annoyed that I often cant make out any of the words it wants me to type.

  • The biggest tech story of the year is always you.

  • That it is, in fact, possible to love my wife even more than I ever thought I could even as I think I could not possibly love her more.

  • Bonus prediction: That 2013 will be the year of opt-out. That disconnection will become hipster cool. More and more people will be replacing smart phones with dumb ones, digital with analog, social with solitude, sharing with journaling, etc.

Hadley’s Movie Club

Hadley’s Movie Club is an interesting new project from Sam Johnstone. He describes it like this:

Hadley’s Movie Club is a site I curate now on a casual, semi-frequent basis. It is just one page that shows you one movie. A movie that I’ve found, that I love, that I can show legally to the public. I wanted it to work like a free one-screen cinema. You show up, read the playbill and if you want to watch the movie, you can, and if you don’t you just leave and check back another day. No archive, no schedule, no sign up. In a way, total freedom.

What a wonderful idea . If you are ever stumped for something to watch, here you go. Also, what a great way to highlight free, independent, filmmaking.

Outliner

I was asked recently on App.net, following a post of my new iPad mini home screen to Minimal Mac, about my use of OmniOutliner and outlining in general and tips, posts, or other resources to get started. Strangely, I was somewhat stumped by this question. Here’s why…

I think in outlines.

Some people think in mind-maps, some think in visuals and colors. I, think in the parent-child-sibling hierarchy. I have for as long as I remember.

If you we’re to look at any notes I have taken since grade school you would find that they were outlines. I remember learning what a proper outline was and the various styles and numbering schemes in some early high school class but I was working this way in practice (if not by official system) long before that.

When I purchased my first computer the first program I sought out to download was an outliner (mainly, so I could hide and reveal rows). For many classic Mac years I used and loved MORE, which still is the best outlining application ever created. I loved the outline mode in Notes.app on the Newton MessagePad. I’ve likely tried every outliner made for the Mac. Many years later, when I learned that the OmniGroup was going to build an outliner for OS X and that they were interested in building the best they could and integrating many MORE like features, I jumped at the chance to use early betas, provided feedback, and have been using OmniOutliner ever since.

So, what is the point of all of this? Not sure there is one.

Actually, maybe it is this paradox: Sometimes the hardest things to help others understand are the things that come so easily to us. Perhaps this is because we lack the ability to truly empathize in this area. We have never had to learn or struggle with the process. That maybe it is best not to learn from the master of a thing but, instead, seek the advice of a more advanced student.

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