March 2011 Archives

The consistently wonderful Seth Godin makes a point I've seen elsewhere about distraction. The devices we use for work are too close to the devices we use for play. This causes a net reduction in work. Very true. He suggests using an iPad for one and the computer for the other. Makes sense. I've slowly been working to do a version of the same thing: falling back in love with paper. I take most of my notes on paper now. I print out most stories so I can mark in the margins. This robs me of the ability to search digital copies of it all but serves several important purposes: 1. I learn more when I write by longhand. (There's something to this). 2. I engage with the material when I review and sift and sort the paper in a way sticks more  than it does when I move things around on the screen. 3. It keeps me off the bright screen which already dominates my day.
James Fallows reminds me in this post of something in the preamble of his piece on Libya. He says: "I am in the middle of other things here in China and am not a Libya expert. But this is a moment when people in any form of public life (ie, including the commentariat) are supposed to be counted rather than clamming up and waiting to see how things turn out." I get irritated when people pop off about the latest news without having done any reporting but Fallows reminds that it's good to have people asking questions and waving their arms early even when the facts aren't in. The questions keep a bad idea from getting worse.