Monthly Archives: May 2010

“There is the iPad”

“Our experience of technology has been largely wondrous and positive: The green revolution ameliorated the problem of world hunger (for a time at least) with better seeds and fertilizers to increase harvests. When childhood diseases were ravaging the world, vaccines came along and (nearly) eliminated them. There are medicines for the human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS. There is the iPad.” NY Times: Our Fix-It Faith and the Oil Spill.

Create Windows 7 Hotspots

Windows 7 has an awesome utility called netsh that allows you to create wifi networks, even if you’re already connected to a wifi network on the same interface, which is actually slightly better than the same feature on OS X. If you don’t want to play with the command-line, there’s a handy utility called Connectify that makes creating a wifi hotspot from your Windows 7 box a breeze. This was one of the things I missed most about my Mac laptops.

Proustian Telephone

From Alain de Botton’s book How Proust Can Change Your Life, highly recommended:

Take the unemotive example of the telephone. Bell invented it in 1876. By 1900, there were thirty thousand phones in France. Proust rapidly acquired one (tel. 29205) and particularly liked a service called the “theater-phone,” which allowed him to listen to live opera and theater in Paris venues.

He might have appreciated his phone, but he noted how quickly everyone else began taking theirs for granted. As early as 1907, he wrote that the machine was

a supernatural instrument before whose miracle we used to stand amazed, and which we now employ without giving it a thought, to summon our tailor or to order an ice cream.

Moreover, if the confiserie had a busy line or the connection to the tailor a hum, instead of admiring the technological advances that had frustrated our sophisticated desires, we tended to react with childish ingratitude.

Since we are children who play with divine forces without shuddering before their mystery, we only find the telephone “convenient,” or rather, as we are Continue reading Proustian Telephone

Facebook Over-optimization

On Facebook I was trying to get to an event and clicked “see all” on the friend finder instead of the events area. Then something caught my eye, every friend Facebook was suggesting for me was female, and most I didn’t know. (Update, there’s one guy in there.) The first part of that is interesting — perhaps they’re testing some optimization in the friend-adder with the assumption that since I’m a straight male I’m more likely to add girls than guys, but if so that seems a little skeezy.


When I wrote about starting a bank, aka SafeBank, I was overwhelmed by the feedback and at least once a week since then I’ve been contacted by someone working on the idea. One I hadn’t heard of yet though is BankSimple, which I noticed yesterday because Alex Payne is leaving Twitter to work on it. I’m fully focused on WordPress and Automattic so can’t be involved with any new ventures as more than an advisor, but I’m glad smart people are tackling the problem and I hope to have an account at one (or more) someday.

Travel Minimalism

The best part about traveling is the forced minimalism. My life at home, as it has evolved, is quite complex and full of stuff. On the road I’m reduced to what I carry in a small backpack and hand bag — clutter becomes a physical burden. I really enjoy this simplicity as it helps me focus. One of my favorite things to watch as a friend or colleague travels more is how their bag gets smaller and smaller with each trip.