:Archive Of August 2003:

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 - 4:00 PM -

Yup. Danny O'Brien on why the BBC making full public access to its archives is really big. Follow with the later post, and start getting excited. This is Change.

- 12:53 PM -

Huh. I have to remember to look into this. Win2VNC (A dual-screen hack for Windows), and Matthew Haughey's comments.

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2003 - 11:57 AM -

Hello World.

Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 - 2:38 PM -

Lance, ever worth reading.

To which i'll add my two cents on therapists: I've made more money off of them than they've made off of me.

When I worked as a renovation carpenter, for some reason the clients were almost always therapists. Home renovation is a personal trade. You're inside someone's space, and you're making changes to that sanctum. 90% of your skill is being a therapist yourself. Really hearing what they're trying to say, helping them find the words to say it, and being in word and poise and deed utterly calming to reduce the unavoidable stress and fear of your intrusion and change.

And I noticed something about all these therapists. With one sole exception, they all had a screwed-up lap dog for a pet. One of those frittered, yappy little things that chew on their own butts in distress. That worried me. I did like most of these people. Some of them were even treats of humanity. In one months-long project, an already excellent client even brought out a big tray of coffee and fresh baked cookies every single day at 2 o'clock, and managed to make that a truly warm gesture instead of the awkward little moment that gifts usually are for me. But the dogs still warned me.

The dogs reminded me why many people become therapists. They were troubled people themselves, who studied their own problems for years and eventually realized that they needed a job so they'd better cash in their time on a diploma in the only thing they knew. They might be very good at what they do, but the dog is the warning that they never really succeeded in solving their own issue. They're still troubled, for all their time and techniques.

And that's not enough, for me. Not enough for the complete trust and faith necessary to really open yourself on the deep problems. The troubles that you have years of confirming the rest of the world is wrong about. A therapist with anything less than complete faith will never be allowed in that far. They can help you with symptoms, they can help you with coping, but you'll never give them root.

So actually no therapist has ever made money off of me, though I definitely wake some mornings and wish I had not. I've just known enough therapists personally and professionally to know that there's not a damn thing they can do about that.

So a caution. A repeat of the tired joke that therapy is about as far along as surgery was when barbers did the knife work. A big shiny caveat that an enormous number of therapists just aren't that good, and that finding a good therapist is as difficult, and will take as long, as dating. Though both of these build character and extend vocabulary, which is a-okay if you're clear about that going in.


Oh right. The one without the dog. He was simply one of the most together people I have ever met, and I'm sure it has been a blessing for hundreds that he decided to make his profession therapy. But how sobering that he was the exception and not the rule. So... let's just be careful out there.

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 - 1:35 AM -

Time out for my design hit, and Christina delivers: Make It Bigger. Dig into the comments for this gem of an excerpt, and perhaps more by tomorrow. Thanks Christina!

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 - 3:04 PM -

Memento Mori. I don't have enough time to read this over lunch, but it's Adam and it looks like he's summing up his Japanese experience as only he can do, and if you have even a sliver of the sick fascination that I have with what Japan both is and is not (at the same time, often) then it's a must read. Have a go. And remind me to read it after my deadline.

Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 - 11:52 PM -

*twitch!* Monster Design. Dig into their design links in the Article Garage. Overload.

Saturday, Aug 9, 2003 - 2:44 PM -

Right on, Lance, right on... I've been wondering where this reaction is for some time.

A number of times in casual emails with American friends they've joked in embarrassment and frustration that they want to leave. And I keep saying, Don't. We need you to stay home right now. Things are desperate and the global reality of the heft of the United States is we need you to stay right there and fix things. We all need you to stay home this time.

I'm getting older so this may be a little out of date but it used to be that American kids backpacking though Europe would sew Canadian flags on their packs so they wouldn't be confused with Ugly Americans that people were fed up with. This backfires. Other than it diluted the real Canadian kids from earning or losing their collective reputation, it kept the Euros from learning that many fine folks they were meeting were Americans. And it kept the American kids from recognizing all of each other and knowing that they can forge a fine collective reputation themselves.

For better or for worse the American experiment shoves the whole planet. Right now you're way the fuck off the deep end into becoming just another corrupt, bogus nation that the world has been plagued with throughout history. "Old Europe", indeed.

The last century is often called the American Century, for a number of good reasons, but the title carries with it the inference that this is a waning effect that will be replaced by other human expansions like China. But unlike any other possibility the American experiment is still the only one that holds a chance of creating real peace, real respect, real intelligence, and real justice for individual human beings in opposition to the ignorant inbred hill-tribe spear-chucking violence that has been the normal human experience forever, excepting just a few precious brief steps forward. Never before has there been a possible world-changing step forward that getting it Right in America would be. If you have to think in simple centuries and nations then know that the one we have begun is the truly key American Century and work for that.

We criticize you because we want to be cheering. Stay home and get that incredibly important experiment working again.

Thursday, Aug 7, 2003 - 6:20 PM -

Looking for verbs in the pattern language: An update on the Small World Research Project's experiment with Milgram's six degrees of separation, an older related tidbit from BBC Science, and another beeb report about finding closeness in food webs.

Though the last one needs the sharp caveat of how few species we've been paying attention to so far, c/o all-species.org.

Database analysis is a hell of a tool. Once sorted, it may be what's considered important from our era. Going digital will be just a footnote to getting there.

But it's really disturbing that every day brings a new headline about some DA 'profiling' project being implemented to cure us of anything from terrorism to failing grades. Hold up, folks, it's in its infancy. Start the process, yes, but what's with these applications? Database analysis has become the new snake oil. We've only just begun the 'experiment & observe' stage of figuring out the tool. We're a hella long way from really knowing about collecting information and drawing interpretations from it.

These con-man profiling solutions are a Kafka nightmare. Tech people need to speak up about this publicly, just the way that our doctors failed to confront the pharmachems, who now wag our health care.

Saturday, Aug 2, 2003 - 8:36 PM -

"One night In the fall of 1993, Harrod Blank had a dream in which he covered his car with cameras and then drove around and took pictures of people on the streets. The public, unaware that the cameras worked, reacted naturally."

- 4:40 PM -

David Silver, fortunate to be guestblogging in Amsterdam, remarks, "why aren't bicycles the mode of transportation for all cities?"

Aside from the obvious lack of tradition that means most places aren't well laid out for bikes, there's two inobvious deterrents: helmet laws and open chains.

It makes a big difference when you can just hop on a old upright bike in nice street clothes and doodle to where you want to go.

Lack of that tends to leave cycling to the hardcore bike lifestyle types. Which I was for years, and now I walk into town. It's just nice arriving without helmet hair and 'the gear'. The only bike I miss is my 40's cruiser that allowed me to do just that.

Note for the easily aroused: you don't have to reply to sell me on the safety benefit of helmets. I've had my share of accidents, and powdered one of my lids once. The funny thing I noticed with riding upright bikes is people see you. Never had one anxious moment on those bikes.

Wait, no, one anxious moment: if you get an old coaster, buy a nice new chain. That's your brakes. When the rust-rope snaps, all you can do is jump.

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