February 2011 Archives

Creative Loafing

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The wonderful Jonah Lehrer writes another one of his signature pieces about the benefits of distraction. With that in mind, I came across this the other day while I was supposed to be writing. I was looking at the corporate officers at the company Rackspace.

That it's all male is not that surprising, but what struck me is that one half seems separated at birth from the other half. Napier and Engates? Moorman and Kleber? Roberts and Lewandwski? Schoenbaum and Condon?

Perhaps the next Jonah Lehrer piece is why we work with people that look like us.


My colleague John Swansburg posed this question: "I hate my iPad. What am I doing wrong?"

We answered him here.

My answer:

John Dickerson: I have a violently split reaction. I didn't really want an iPad but my wife gave me one for Father's Day because I am such an awesome father (also to keep me occupied so I don't screw up the children). I love grazing on it almost more than on my computer. I use Reeder and Flipboard to go through my Twitter followers and my Google Reader. If I want to tweet something or send it to Instapaper it's all pretty easy from whatever little corner of the house I'm in. Usually this is nonwork reading, so it's the stuff I really love or that takes me out of my day. Because I use it in this way, I feel the same affection for it that I have for a really good pen or my journals.

It also has some great apps for playing music and when we took long drives this vacation, I spent a lot of time checking out the small towns we were going through and looking up famous battles that took place there or famous people who were born there.

For work, however, the iPad is not just bad, it represents a net reduction in productivity. One of the great things about the new Web is that you can manipulate text, but the iPad treats you like a child. (Not unlike the way iTunes treats you like a child with your own music.) I can't copy text out of the New York Times app or the Washington Post app or most other apps for that matter. Doing it from a Web page on Safari takes about the time required to make a cup of tea. I feel like I spend all my time poking at the screen trying to get the little blue box to behave. It's like I'm on an endless search for a button in the sewing box.

It's great to be able to download most books and carry them around easily, but ... I like to mark up books (even novels) and marking up text is nearly impossible. It's like eating candy through a wrapper.

The kids love the iPad and we play lots of math and word games. I have downloaded lots of games but only chess works for me. All the others seem one-dimensional though very pretty, which in some ways describes the iPad.

Amazing performances.

Amazing guitars:

Mel Bay New Yorker serial number 2038
Love Songs in Age by Philip Larkin

She kept her songs, they kept so little space, 
The covers pleased her:
One bleached from lying in a sunny place,
One marked in circles by a vase of water,
One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her,
And coloured, by her daughter -
So they had waited, till, in widowhood
She found them, looking for something else, and stood

Relearning how each frank submissive chord
Had ushered in
Word after sprawling hyphenated word,
And the unfailing sense of being young
Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein
That hidden freshness sung,
That certainty of time laid up in store
As when she played them first. But, even more,

The glare of that much-mentionned brilliance, love,
Broke out, to show
Its bright incipience sailing above,
Still promising to solve, and satisfy,
And set unchangeably in order. So
To pile them back, to cry,
Was hard, without lamely admitting how
It had not done so then, and could not now.

via Poetry Connection