One Day You Wake Up and Want to Change The World

Satellite photo of the Earth lit up at night.

Ever have a lucid dream? I have. It was an incredible experience when I realized that I was able to take over in the director's chair of this fantasy world stage. I remember thinking "wouldn't it be cool to fly" and then doing it, soaring over a body of water and feeling complete and total exhiliration down to my bones. My entire being was celebrating. It was trippy, like many dreams. But this one was special. This one I made a choice.

Respond Like a Punching Bag

Punching bag getting hit.

When people use the metaphor of "being a punching bag", the focus is usually on quantity and intensity of the attacks being inflicted. What's often overlooked is that, in spite of these attacks, the bag's rugged and flexible nature allows it to absorb the blows before returning to its original position, appearing largely unphased and exhibiting minimal long term effects.

Impact Versus Entropy

Einstein once said that compound interest was the 8th wonder of the world. While many might scoff at this as an over exaggeration, the reality is that our culture's obsession with quick-fix solutions causes us to overlook the power of this lesson. Notably, while changes appear small and insignificant in the beginning, over time they stack on top of each other and lead to massive change.

The First Minute

Stopwatch held in hand.

Once I'm engaged and immersed in an activity, I rarely have difficulty keeping the momentum going. It's the initiation that I find most challenging. To combat this, I've been experimenting with a new strategy when creating todo lists. Rather than just leave it as the generic (and sometimes overwhelming) task, I write down the smallest possible actions I could take and complete within one minute. Often, it's so embarrassingly easy and small that I can start taking action immediately, but that's not the goal.

Optimizing the Unnecessary

There's an old expression about the futility of "re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." The point being that when there are more important and/or urgent items to address, such as a huge gaping hole on a sinking ship, it is utterly useless to focus on something as unnecessary as deck chair positions.

My First Article Written (Almost) Completely Through Siri

I'm no stranger to the field of voice-to-text translation. Over the past decade, I've used several product iterations from a company by the name of DragonSpeak. Despite the claims of accuracy for anyone that takes the time to use the system long enough, I must be one of the outliers. Perhaps I speak too quickly or maybe I don't enunciate my words, because I found the error rates to be somewhere between five and ten percent no matter how much training I put in. As a result, the amount of time I spent correcting the many mistakes.

Solving the Right Problem

When a doctor misdisagnosis a patient, a tremendous amount of effort can be spent trying to fix the wrong thing. Example: trying to apply an antiobitic treatment for a bacterial infection when the underlying issue is caused by a viral infection, thereby rendering the antibiotics useless. It's important to note this isn't a fictitious or uncommon example. Evidence points to "wrong diagnosis" being a leading cause of death in the US.

Practicing Appreciation for "The Little Things"

Two kids with arms around each other while walking down a dirt path.

It was the most important Christmas present I ever received because it changed the course of my life forever. I remember the confusion that came over me as I opened the box and Uncle Warren had to explain to me that it was a Packard Bell Pentium 60, which consisted of top-of-the-line hardware for a consumer computer. I didn't know at the time that this would serve as the spark of my interest in technology, computer programming, and in open source software. And it would have never happened if it were not for the generosity and thoughtfulness of my uncle.

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