Did you know that Windows still has a vestigial finger command with just about nothing left to talk to? One of my New Year's resolutions is to bring finger back and unlike the stalled webfinger project I need to make some progress. Here's some C# to run your own personal finger daemon... you just need to create a .plan file in your home directory (haven't done that for a while):
Epic book about the origins, frequency and long term outlook of life in the universe.
Skype for Android is finally getting there. Push support means that it is now useful for more than conditioning your battery. Conversation read status is mostly synced between different client instances which is a big time saver. I'm actually starting to use it.
There is one horrible usability crime. When you open the app you get a list of unread conversations. Your set your finger in flight to the first one and then notice an ad sliding down from the top of the screen. With horror you realize it's too late to change course and you hit the ad instead of the conversation.
I'm not complaining about Skype being ad supported here, but if you were going to try and design a UI to trick people into clicking ads you really couldn't do better than this. I expect better from Microsoft.
Other than this the only real complaint is that new posts to group messages sometimes make it through to the notification bar and sometimes don't. You have to run the app periodically to see if there is something new.
On Thursday The White House announced a trio of executive actions to fight patent trolls, most interestingly:
"Crowdsourcing Prior Art — To help ensure that U.S. patents are of the highest quality, the USPTO is announcing a new initiative focused on expanding ways for companies, experts, and the general public to help patent examiners, holders, and applicants find relevant “prior art”—that is, the technical information patent examiners need to make a determination of whether an invention is truly novel."
I've considered this for a few years as a for-profit business, paying a bounty to anyone who contributes prior art that helps take out a troll. But I have a way better idea: stop examining patents altogether.
Fog sweeps in over Twin Peaks in San Francisco.
Has some new (to me) angles to help you try and understand relativity and quantum mechanics so I enjoyed it. I can feel that clarity starting to slip away again two days later though...
Not as religious as your typical business self help book, still wildly repetitive though. Important goal -> focus on leading rather than lagging metrics -> simple scoreboard -> peer accountability on a weekly basis -> win. It's pretty much scrum for the non-development crowd (assuming that having a captive customer can be counted as a leading metric which I think it does).
Well paced and strange book about catching a serial killer via unexpectedly powerful tattoos.
"There are hard questions about how exactly to structure a political system with lottery-selection at its heart. Here’s one approach, which I am in the process of developing, that I call lottocracy. The basic components are straightforward. First, rather than having a single, generalist legislature such as the United States Congress, the legislative function would be fulfilled by many different single-issue legislatures (each one focusing on, for example, just agriculture or health care)."
It's the same concept as legislative service except randomly selected people serve a single issue for three years rather than just voting on a single bill. I think the advantage is clearly that you get to build up a greater depth of knowledge if you're spending three years learning about health care. The disadvantage is that the number of people willing to give three years of their life is going to be much lower than just asking for the few weeks or months that legislative service would require.