Simulation Overflow: The Runtime
The universe is described as having went from a state of nothing to being everything in a trillionth of a second. You know what else has that property? Software programs. Software programs go from a state of absolute nothingness to a state of infinite proliferation every time they are turned on. And what is software—like us—but an animation of electricity into different patterns and formations? In thinking about the nature of our existence in the past, I had imagined that our simulation was co...
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SAGE
I didn't think I'd see this for another decade, let alone in my lifetime. When my symptoms related to gadolinium exposure from my single-dose MRI contrast agent get particularly bad, I go deep down the Google rabbit-hole in search of hope, which I typically try to avoid for this particular case because I'm afraid of what I might read. If you haven't been following the last two posts, I suffer from a condition known as Gadolinium Deposition Disease, which developed immediately after a one-time ad...
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Gadolinium
I wrote this post on April 7, 2021, but never published it. I guess I just didn't want the disease to define me. Surprisingly, it also takes a bit of courage to publish something that goes against the official whitelist of negative medical interactions. Most people believe a hospital would never give you a drug or chemical that is known to be toxic. But of course, every drug has its interactions. I publish this now because without public bug reports, nothing gets fixed. I wonder if on that da...
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2021
I recently added the ability to view all posts of an author on Listed, having found no such way to do so with the current iteration. In previewing this page on my blog, I began reading some of my older entries from 2017, 2018, and 2019. It had been just the right amount of time for them to read like new to me. I look back at that person in wistful reminiscence—my struggles seem almost romantic from here. But I knew it was hard then too. 2017 was an era of exploring what it takes to build a suc...
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Only once
So much practical external has changed in the past few years with direct impact on my life, which, come to think about it, I have not had any say-so in. Why was I not consulted? Why weren't you consulted? Who was consulted? Where's my vote man? Perhaps I have become too tainted by the charm of smart contracts and the promise of decentralized autonomous organizations, but it appears that if every single collective action is not put to a vote—crippling in efficiency as it may be—then there are ne...
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A thousand signs
Outside the place where I lived many years ago in the bustling city was a one-way, dimly-lit side street, branching from the busy road and into the quiet neighborhood. The parking on the street was unpermitted and unassigned, but when I’d walk my dog at night, I’d see the same cars nestling in their usual spot. One of the cars was a small pickup truck with a large caged wagon used to collect metals and scraps for recycling. The neighborhood was new and old. Of the old was really old; the red-br...
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The great external
One thing religion does well is externalize blame. Why are you poor/sick/alone? Because god deemed it so. Even more, he may have a special plan for you. This framework of externalizing cause and effect to a third party seems an important dependency of the human process, given its relentless survival against all odds and reason. It is a core human process, because we understand our powerlessness to change most things beyond our diet and morning routine. If it takes believing for god to exist and...
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Science client
I wrote a post last week about a concept of freedom which I later deleted. It was too obvious, direct, basic, simple, and I felt dirty afterwards. I like participating in current political trends sometimes with friends, but definitely try to avoid it on the internet. A friend once told me that if you find yourself arguing the same national talking points as everyone else, you’re too plugged in. Someone living their own life in their own world would hardly have any clue what the current trendy de...
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The Metaverse
Facebook has recently market-rebranded as a “metaverse” company. Ostensibly because they are a VR company, and there is supposed to be an implicit connection between VR and the metaverse. But the metaverse is not waiting to be built. It’s already here. Perhaps influenced by Ready Player One, there is this idea that the metaverse must be in 3D, and can only be experienced in high-fidelity VR. This is nonsense. The metaverse is more like a Pokédex than it is the actual fictional universe that Po...
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There is no team
I’ve come to learn there is no such thing as a “team”. Only very productive individuals. You can’t take a group of average individuals, make a team out of them, and produce above-average results. In fact work quality and efficiency decrease with team size. The most productive unit is the individual. This is a sort of anticlimactic realization for me. Back when I worked on Standard Notes solo, I had always been mystified by how large teams operate and produce. How did companies like Apple, with ...
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Simulation Overflow: Intervention
In previous posts on simulation theory, I had written with full certainty that our simulation was based on non-interventionist principles. That once a simulation was created, the simulator would not dare interfere in its rote operation as not to taint its outcomes, so that the simulator can observe what interesting results become of each unique fork of a simulation. I had also surmised that the purpose of a simulator creating simulations is for its own intellectual amusement. I want to make cle...
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Science™
Some thoughts on science that deeply conflict me: Science largely does not exist at the scale it does today without capital. Science is funded. There is always a money trail. Take away the capital, and the only science being conducted is in high school chemistry classes. Medicinal science is largely built on the homicidal tenet of when “the benefit outweighs the risk.” The risk is presented (but most times not) to you as a percentage: 1% of people who take this drug may experience a serious, n...
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Oscillation
Left versus right is a game of oscillation. The oscillation between the two poles creates heat. The heat creates movement. The generation of heat, on a societal scale, is difficult and not meant to be easy. It also needs to be a complete game. Each side wants to win, and each side must feel everything is at stake. Consider were it not this way: maybe you could get lazy, notice you are playing the game, and get away with attempting to generate the minimum heat possible. So when the heatball is...
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Simulation Overflow: Part 2
In Part 1, we established what motives a potential thing running our simulation could have from a universe-sized perspective. We mentioned a thing could be running many simulations, like jars on a shelf. Assuming there was a purpose of running multiple simulations, what could the thing be solving for? I would assume the thing had initially run simulations that resulted in fancy arrangements of planetary matter, and was awed at the results, but one thing-day a specific simulation developed some...
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Techno conservatism
It’s bleak and rainy outside. I woke up earlier than usual this morning, and even before I saw what it looked like outside, my insides matched. So it’s the perfect day to write a rage piece against the bewildering behavior of what I can only describe as techno-conservatism, whose followers seem to absolutely loathe any sort of movement or innovation in the space. Have you seen the comment threads in Hacker News on articles about Signal’s new crypto payments feature? Every single one of them a la...
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How does Naval speak so eloquently?
Have you ever heard Naval speak? He’s been on various podcasts, like Joe Rogan’s and Tim Ferris’. He oozes eloquence. Every sentence he speaks is brand new. Every analogy and metaphor a drop of revelation. I’m not sure if prophets are still made today in the post-Information Age, but he’s one for the ages. It’s not that he’ll just drop one-off quotables during the course of an interview. No—every sentence he speaks is something that twists your mind. Wow, you think—I didn’t know you could do tha...
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Rarity is extremely uncommon
With all the perpetual hype around cryptocurrencies and recent hype around non-fungible tokens, it can be easy to forget just how uncommon rarity is. Try this exercise: Look around you, or outside your window, and point to any object and ask, “is this rare?” The answer will almost certainly 100% be “No.” The tree outside my house — not rare. The bushes by the trees — unique, but not rare. The brick my house is made of — not rare. The gravel on the road — not rare. The ceramic my coffee cup is ...
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The Kids Choose
If you haven’t been following lately, there’s a newly relevant form of digital scarcity called NFTs that are selling for thousands of dollars, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars. NFTs are rare collectibles, whether they be digital artworks, music, memes, or domains. In most cases NFTs are just a smart contract application built on top of Ethereum, where each collectible series is its own smart contract. Hashmasks are one example. There are a total of 16,384 unique digital items, and...
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The Bitcoin Story
According to Hacker News, Bitcoin has many problems, and therefore, is not merit-worthy: “Transactions are slow and expensive" "It lacks a lot of the controls that traditional banks have for good reasons, so fraud becomes harder to tackle” “I just wanted internet money, not a speculative financial instrument.” "This volatility is why it will never be a useful currency.” By this same logic, email should also not have succeeded: Email is slow, heavy, and uses largely outdated technologies It...
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On the Epic side of history
Imagine a natural road spontaneously forms between point A and point B, and that as a consequence of this road, individuals suddenly wake up to the importance of point B, and of traveling there. Companies had first ignored point B altogether, but because the overwhelming majority of individuals now travel this road, these companies must now begin meeting individuals where they are: at point B. If they don’t, they will perish. But then comes along a wonderful invention: a road between point A an...
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A total hoax
A friend of mine, whose intellectual opinion I admire, recently told me that he believes the coronavirus is a hoax. Completely fictional. Doesn’t even exist. I said, lolwut? That this virus could be completely fabricated had never remotely crossed my mind to be in the realm of possibility. But, this friend of mine had been right about other complex topics in the past. So I lent him my ear. The idea is that the virus, and the subsequent lockdown, is cementing power into the hands of a few organi...
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Bullshit opinions
If a friend describes to you some weird random physical pain they’re experiencing, probably the best thing you can say to them is, “you’ll be fine.” It’ll pass. In most cases this ends up being true. But imagine making a “spiritual” symptom checker website where the result for every input is “you’ll be fine” (rather than the present “you have cancer” minefield). You’d get harassed and bullied mercilessly for reckless endangerment. The difference between the friend and the internet is that on t...
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Simulation overflow
Quantum is the proof that we’re in a simulation. That there is a dimension beyond our own, by which our own physical rules and laws do not operate. Entangled particles bypass the light speed limitation because their state is reconciled externally. We only see the resulting particle flips. Not the computation, like what other particles to affect in the global counter. If a hundred-trillion light year wide simulation existed on a hard drive, the simulated particles are very far apart, but only i...
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A year of pain, and some growth
2019 has been a strange year. In April, I underwent a retrospectively unnecessary surgery that caused me to suffer a level of physical and emotional pain, lasting more than six months, than I had ever experienced before. I went from being unrelentingly focused and productive, to not being able to summon the will to write a single line of code. I don’t want to give this excruciating experience any credit for where I have ended up today, so I will treat the resulting occurrences as purely incident...
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The imagined world
An idea is a story. A story about how the world could be. Great ideas are often described as having an almost ethereal source. Beyond the mind—as if the mind were a receiver, and not a generator. Some people think, I’m not an ideas person. They just don’t come to me. But, and apparently like every other damned thing in this world, ideas appear to be nothing more than stories. They fictionalize the present, and imagine what an alternative could look like. You don’t have an idea for an app, or a ...
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Like Air
At one point, lack of freedom feels like a lack of air. It's total suffocation. But at another point, freedom becomes like air. It's something you notice only in its absence. I've become wealthy recently—a gazillionaire of time. I wake and sleep as I please, and roam space with no one to appease. Employed me, a few years ago, would fantasize almost erotically about the freedom to do one's own thing and build one's own product and answer to no one but one's own self. But like a suffocating human ...
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What happens when an AI learns to read?
There's something old-fashioned about trying to predict the future. I get a little uneasy when someone says "if it's like this now, imagine what it'll be like 10 years from now!" I feel a sense of robbery happening on the part of the future. A modern person attempting to predict the future conjures fantasies and prophecies as quaint as a first century prophet. Although I too can't help but let my mind run with seemingly autonomous calculations that assume a future value given a present value, I ...
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The Top Shelf Principle
Say you have before you a kitchen cabinet with three shelves. On the top shelf you have your most delicious snacks and delicacies. Chocolate chip cookies, crispy cheetos, and frozen pistachio gelato. In the middle shelf you have snacks that are "not bad", but not the most scrumptious. Maybe some beef jerky, plain pretzels, and a granola bar. On the bottom shelf, you have your survival snacks. You wouldn't eat them unless you were starving. For me that'd be plain almonds. I've found that when I'...
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Evil algorithms
A world in which advertisers know your every interest is scary. But a world where entrepreneurs build products no one ever hears about is even scarier. A few years ago, I bought a pair of $60 Nike shoes. They were thicker than your average modern Nike shoe, and much taller, reaching just above the ankle. They were great for moving around, playing basketball (when I did that), and just sort of general every day use. And as they started to deteriorate, I began looking for the exact same pair to r...
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Play the game
When I was just a bit younger, I had dreams of becoming filthy rich. I wanted to do things big. If I were to found a company, it wanted to be a 500-person company. Hundreds of millions in revenue, headed straight towards an IPO. As I grew older, I found it more sane to focus not on size, but value. What problem do I want to solve? And how can I best engineer a solution? Numbers and scale became irrelevant. A lot of it was philosophically backed. We are constantly told to be happy with what we h...
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The futility of knowledge
I’ve very well internalized the fact that things can only make you happy once. Then fade into drudgery. An addiction to material purchases and consumption is one for fools. No, I shall hook into a better addiction. One that can actually drive me to live a better, more fulfilled life. The consumption of information. The search for truth, meaning, and origin. Surely, with speed of light access to the world’s top source of information, I shall unencumber myself from these earthly chains, and asc...
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Six flights
I had, until that point, managed to avoid spotting any references of a plane crash or incident. But here, thousands of miles away from the closest English speaking country, it had found me. Waiting in the hotel lobby of an archaic hotel in Colombia, I glimpse the Spanish headline on the table newspaper offered so generously to guests: 120 something something de aviacion something something. And a picture of a crashed plane. I knew what it meant, even without understanding the words. I avoided s...
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That bitter taste
It’s easy: what feels good in the short run feels bad in the long run. And what feels bad in the short run will probably feel good in the long run. Now, don’t go treating this like an absolute maxim—you’ll find plenty exceptions. But for my circumstances, I find this wickedly true. Anytime you attempt to optimize for short term gain, you are borrowing from the future. The life equivalent of technical debt. And anytime you optimize for long term gain, you are likely going to have to forego some ...
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The storyteller
I’ve been playing images in my head. Sort of making believe how things might go, were I actually to act on them. When I’m imagining the things I would do, or the things I would say, or the places I’d go, I receive a small compensation for it. A tiny bubbling taste of serotonin. Yum. Delicious. Now let’s not change a single thing and go back to life exactly as it was. Every action requires some sort of positive energy expenditure. And unfortunately, my inner brain optimizations are on the highe...
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Susceptible to Control
Privacy is a question that I never quite seem to find a satisfying answer for. In the past, when I’ve asked myself why digital privacy is important, and why it’s worth struggling for, the answer I nestled on was that privacy is important because privacy is power. But that’s about as far as I got. Privacy was about keeping a balance of power between those who would abuse it for their own gain, and those who live out their lives, unconsciously leaving valuable trails of information behind. The i...
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Real
In the game Factorio, your goal is to create a well-oiled factory that produces objects which are then used in other parts of your factory. I had a flash addiction to this game, meaning I played it intensely for a period of two weeks, then never touched it again. The game was dangerous. It synthesized the human incentive loop into a mind-wrapping game one could not help but be mercilessly sucked into. The game's purpose was mostly up to you, but, in order to upgrade your factory parts, in order...
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You, Deity
We make plans as if our future self were rational, when present self is never more than a galactic mess of emotions. Present you is the only possible person that can save you. ...
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How to learn programming the natural way
Some years ago, I had a fellow developer ask me where I learned to type on the keyboard. I said, huh? What do you mean. It’s a keyboard. You just tap on it, and eventually you get rally tappy on it. I’ve been doing it since I was three feet tall. He said oh. “I took one of those Mavis Beacon typing classes.” Both of us, at that point, were equally proficient in typing on a keyboard and understood the super complex mechanics of hand placement and proper finger etiquette. I learnt it absentminded...
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Dog food is soylent for dogs
What to feed the poor little man? This dog is real beyond words, and every slight negligence of attention on my part is an injustice to his world. So I try to accommodate our guest. Love, warmth, long walks, and infinitely satisfying cuddle sessions. I would be a five star establishment, were it not for negligence and ignorance of the most important part of the experience. Rock food. How painful yet the sight of it is. Tiny rock-hard pebbles that give your dog only the best of what he needs. Th...
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Common Genius
Excellent taste plus average resourcefulness, or average taste and excellent resourcefulness, is about all it would take. Resourcefulness is a better way to phrase intelligence, as intelligence seems useless without the ability to impact neighboring matter. Resourcefulness can thus be found anywhere, and not imaginarily confined to unique circles. I had a friend call me once, lamenting how his unique struggles are owed primarily to his high level of intelligence. I said, are you sure? Now don...
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Simple
I told my friend, my requirements are: simple work, simple life. But I also need this amount of money on a monthly basis to find peace. And that I would need more users to get there. More. Ugh. That word. I cried in agony. What a trap more is. More is a thing with madness as its only logical conclusion. So why chase more? More users. More employees. More revenue. More markets. More problems. Why should I bother? I should close off registration today and say, That’s it. We’ve hit peak users ...
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Not all days are equal
Good days are good, bad days are bad, and there's nothing you can do about that. I find that if a bad mood stupefies you as to its origin, then, it's probably not your fault. You don't always need a reason. You can have two identical days with the exact same starting points, variables, circumstances and factors, and have the best day you've had in a long time in one, and be completely miserable the other, and have absolutely no guesses as to why. If it were deducible, which I do not think it is,...
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Notice
You're more likely to notice the bad things around you, than you are the good things. This is easy to notice. I have around me right now innumerable good things. I'm sheltered in a warm room, and have an endless supply of coffee. That's pretty good. My dog is snuggling cozily next to me, I'm not tired, I have food to eat, my bills are paid. Great, great things. But, it would be silly if that's all I thought about. No, better to think about the bad things. So I can fix them. Which proves, it do...
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Ambiance Monetizer
I was at a coffee shop today and overheard someone talk about a book they purchased on Amazon. Upon hearing that word, a bit immediately flipped in my brain and reminded me of a few things I’ve been meaning to order. So I went and made a purchase. I thought it would be funny if at some point Amazon introduces a device shops can place to monetize their ambiance, which at random times during the hour has no other purpose than to scream “Amazon!” as obnoxiously as possible. ...
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Not open to suggestion
I recently took a trip with a friend, and noticed myself behaving extrinsically, rather than intrinsically, and felt dirty about it. That is, rather than drinking coffee when I felt like drinking coffee, my friend might awake earlier than me and say "Hey, I'm making coffee, want some?" To which I might reply, sure, why not! I thought this was harmless, but carried on to other elements of life, you start living a life of suggestion. "Hey, I'm taking a walk, want to join?" Sure, why not! When re...
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It's not your fault
Several years ago, I went vegan for six months, because I wanted to be conscientious. I was fortunate enough to exit that unfortunately ascetic lifestyle after realizing: It’s not your fault you like meat. Humans have been eating meat long before I was ever born. Long before any of us were ever born. We’ve been eating meat for millions of years. If I crave it, it’s not my fault. Sure, I can try to fight it. I can resist my hardware. But if I give in, it’s not my fault. It's not your fault t...
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The Artificial Life
There was a story some years ago about living circumstances for the 1.3 million employees of Foxconn in China, the company that builds Apple’s products. It’s a problem of scale, no doubt, but these workers lived in crammed boxes stacked atop one another high into the sky. In between the buildings, there was a net. The net is an admission that suicide is embedded into the overall design of the arrangement, and short of a full-out global economic revolution, this was just the way it was going to ...
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Imaginary
Sometimes, when I’m deep in it, I think that there are several billion people on the planet, all worrying after something. Each and every one has found some way to entertain their mind with the wonderfully wicked world of what if. And it must be, if each of us is worrying ceaselessly after something—it must be that our worlds aren’t as real as we think they are. Sometimes, it helps to know that my problems are sort of...imaginary. After reading the above to myself, I realize another aspect, ...
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Chaos Theory
Not writing yesterday felt so good. And, now that I'm off the hook to produce on a fixed schedule, I can write flexibly whenever I want, in between tasks, like right now, at 2pm. I am no longer my own boss. I came across a really good quote the other day, which describes a theory of life in surprisingly succinct terms, in a way I hadn't encountered before. The quote comes from, of all places, a movie on Netflix called When We First Met, which was actually pretty good. Down on luck person: I...
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Masterless
Honestly, I wanted “Time is patient” to be my last post for a while. Because it so perfectly captured what I wanted to spend my time on. To live presently, and to not be in constant thought, focus, and anxiety. Writing every day has many benefits, but it has also produced some strange effects. One is, I express myself so vividly here, that I do not feel the need to express myself any further, in real life. It sort of gives me my social fix. I was already reserved before this; now, it's intensif...
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A world awaits
What I like most about vacations is the difficulty with which I come to a decision in going, and the ease at which I feel when I return. Even bad trips invigorate me in some way. It’s escaping your circumstances just a little bit; separating you from them, and seeing yourself behave in a different habitat. It’s almost shocking what part of my mood is directly tied to the routine I’ve managed to sink into. Sinking into is another phrase for complacency, and I think of all the horrible acts we he...
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Time is patient
One year is really long. Ten is an era. A hundred is a lifetime. A thousand is a millennia. Ten thousand is incomprehensible. A hundred thousand years—unimaginably vast. Yet two million years. Two million years is the amount of time, give or take, that nature has been thoroughly employed with this side project. The human species is a project that seems fresh, new, and cutting-edge. Yet it has been a work in progress for countless millions of years, if not billions. We like to fancy ours...
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Visitors
We are content to the great gods— Characters, of a never ending story. ...
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Bye bye
I'm taking a spontaneous, much-needed road trip to some remote cabin in Wisconsin with the wife and dog. The indoor atmosphere here has grown noxious from my ceaseless huffing and puffing. I should leave a window open to air the place out. I'm leaving..right now actually. Coming back Sunday. Vacations are a great way to test the resolve of your daily routines. If I stop writing..ah, who cares. ...
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Lethargy
This winter's been long. It's gotten me trapped indoors. My dog and I yearn for freedom. Change is afoot. I just..need to..snap from..this haze.. Because title, here's a dump of some unexpounded thoughts: Every day, we choose when to resign. Life is impossible to fill. It’s just too big. “It has solved a lot of problems, but it's also created a whole new set of problems” is probably the best deal you’ll get in life. Growth doesn’t operate on the same timescale as consciousness You can’t sk...
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An old friend
As predicted, the big project is complete, and now I’m impatiently trying to figure out what’s next. Do I code more? Do I do more marketing, whatever that is? Do I live off daily maintenance chores? These things should be easy. Why is this stuff not easy? Ahhhh. It should just be automatic. I figure at every "next" point my compass will automatically recalibrate. Instead, it seems to shatter completely, forcing me to assemble a new one from some unknown materials. It’s frustrating how non-respo...
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Resourceful
I’ve moved on to the third of the Dan Brown reading series, and at this point have grown just a little bit tired of the same plot-and-twist. But, his writing is instructional, so I'm attempting to stick it out. This book is Inferno, and—it may just be me—but it lacks the same profundity of topic as the others (The Da Vinci Code and Origin). I did however encounter one subtle passage that caught me meandering: Vayentha swallowed hard, scarcely daring to imagine the possibility. Has Langdon elud...
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Hardcoded
There is one recurring aspect of my life that always shackles me. My dependence on external activity. Notifications. Notifications of themselves carry no meaning and have no inherent value. I had been in one very particular setting so uncontrollably enamored by the interfacial beauty of a notification, that I glorified and fell weak at all the powers it had on me. Is it the font color? The way it says that word? No, it’s the dopameaning we’ve ascribed to that particular shape on a screen. I do...
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Uncertainly Free
In the definitions of freedom we’ve been exploring in the last few posts, we happened on the most suitable as the lack of dependence on arbitrary powers. And I had figured, since I don’t have a boss, that I’m pretty free, and should feel pretty good all the time. But, I don’t always feel good. Sometimes, I feel as bad as I ever felt at a job. Of course, they’re different strands of pain. But pain nonetheless. And I think if we were to explore more deeply the definition of freedom we’ve been ent...
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Licenses are the death of freedom
I wrote yesterday how the definition of freedom can be stated as “the lack of dependence on an arbitrary power,” and that freedom is the sum of your “microliberties” as permeated across the subtleties of your life. Personally, I’ve never been able to handle lack of freedom well, in any situation. No one likes being told what to do. We want to do what we want to do. Freedom is the space to pursue that. I will say that in the course of my life, government hasn’t been a large impediment to my free...
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A definition of freedom
I happened on a video lecture on the genealogy of liberty, posing the question: In most precise terms, what is the definition of freedom? Language is quite literally the architect of our reality, and a clear definition of freedom is of grave significance. The lecturer had presented various historical definitions of freedom, beginning with freedom as the power to pursue an option and the lack of external interference in doing so. This worked well enough for some time, until it became important t...
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A React Native tutorial
I wrote an article with a headline I won't apologize for on Medium some time ago about my experience with React Native. Since then, I still get the occasional comment or message asking the same question: Do you have any tutorials you recommend? This is a bizarre phenomenon that seems to emerge with large numbers, and I don’t quite get it. Find any article or tweet praising a framework, and you will invariably see comments of the same nature. Can you help me get started? Better yet, when I sai...
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Zzzzz...
I screwed up today. At 3:45am, I surprised myself awake. I was then faced with an important decision: check phone, or don’t check phone. The rules are simple: if I check my phone, I’ll be riled up by some alert, and won’t be able to fall back asleep. If I don’t check my phone, I’ll be antsy. This isn’t a common occurrence. It’s only because I finally launched the big update. Lots of moving parts, and from the time I fell asleep, tectonic shifts may have occurred. So I checked it. And I’ve b...
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Meticulously Explicit
It goes without saying, but it’s always easy to forget: Be explicit. But be especially explicit with your intentions. Several years ago, I underwent a metarough transition from a worldview of “things will align by themselves” to “only yourself can possibly care enough to justify your alignment.” It’s awkwardly phrased, but it wasn’t until I began being what you might even call meticulously explicit that I began seeing growth or results that I was contented with. At any given point, one must ...
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You can be made to believe
Let’s represent a day as an array of events. day = [] As the day progresses in infinite fashion, events are piled on: while today: day.push(new Event) (Of course, this isn’t a singleton. Everyone has their own day. But let's keep it simple.) There are too many events in a day. Publications found an excellent market opportunity by culling events, chaining them together, and adding some makeup to tell a story. This story is called a piece. A piece is not truth. It is not fact. It is not jo...
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No Competiton
In the modern winter, you just can’t compete with the indoors. From a touch on your phone, warmed streams of air trickle from the low heavens and dance with the tiny hairs on your ear. A particle-reenactor presents you with a dizzying supply of drama, comedy, and commentary. And why not pick up a game controller, and manipulate the glowing particles to your will, while delivering the reverberations of your larynx through thin air to fellow waking meat bags thousands of miles away? Perhaps you ca...
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Lossless Writing
I stayed home over the past few days, as promised, to catch my solar breath, and feel better for having done so. But, it has meant less reading, since commutes are a golden time to read. I had only two chapters remaining in The Da Vinci Code, so I just checked out a block of time to finish it today—and, what an excellent, excellent book. My mouth gaped at the eloquence of description and the warm glowing aura Brown successfully describes in the last few chapters. I read over some of the descript...
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Launch
It’s been an eerie calm before the storm. Just like beautiful summer days that turn stormy with a flash of lightening, my mood unexpectedly turns long-term solemn in an instant. My days have been filled with resounding purpose and determination doing work on the new update, and I fear uncertainty follows. There was a moment in Silicon Valley when the team was about to hit the “Launch” button on their platform. Seconds after launch, they erupt in spontaneous success. It’s been my experience tha...
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The consumer isn’t stupid
I asked a friend who’s a “journalism connoisseur” whether he has a paid subscription to any news publications. He said only one: Foreign Affairs. Initially, his school had paid for digital access, but after he graduated, he kept the subscription active and put in his own payment information. I asked how often he accessed his subscription content, and he said not that often. Then why keep a subscription? He said, “I’m a fan of the work they do and I want to see more of it.” My head exploded inst...
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Melted
Tired today. Fatigued. I’ve just noticed it, but I’ve been in an adrenaline fueled frenzy the past few weeks. Going fast. Extremely productive, but tiring. On the first sign of light I immediately rise and resume my robotic trance, and perform the morning ceremonials while anxiously observing the availability of the next bus. I’ll always over or under shoot, so there’s always either lengthy waiting or needless rushing—never in between. The snow is wet and heavy, and each lifting of my boot ancho...
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The solution to fake news is more fake news
Or, it’s an interesting proposition. “Fake news” is a complicated problem, and yet I think rather than setting both human and automated criteria for what constitutes truth, overproducing fiction can have a similar but self-selecting effect. Namely, skepticism. A little of it wouldn’t hurt right now. I think there are two differing options for reality, or a blend in between: Truth is curated by a handful of entities. Which in turn teaches reliance and trust on these entities. Which in turn crea...
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Problem solver
I’ve had a broken experience with employment. And these experiences have led me to believe that employment as is traditionally done today is broken. Others may have different experiences, and some others might even swear by their job. I don’t doubt it. Yet I know a lot of others who have succumbed to the slow rotting of what I could only describe as profoundly subtle misery. I think employment can be made to work. But in the interest of squeezing every last oozing drop of utility from an employ...
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Win by one
Winning usually involves possessing just 1 more than the opponent. One more of what? Anything. This was sort of the stunning insight that led to AlphaGo’s dominance over its human counterparts. (AlphaGo is an AI developed by Google DeepMind, and is also the eponymously named documentary on Netflix.) At a game like Go, optimizing a game for winning by just one would be nearly impossible for a human to accomplish. For an AI? I tremble just thinking about that level of forethought and incisiveness....
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Fond Contempt
Part of the reason I like to challenge myself to write everyday is to get over, as my friend calls it, the sacredness of art. When we believe the work we put out is the most important thing the world will ever see, it creates too much ceremony around something that should be casual. Case in point: In the beginning of Standard Notes, there was a lot of development work to do, but I still needed to echo out signals of existence from this corner of the world. So I would write some piece on some r...
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Pure Capitalism
I came across a tweet on John Deere’s practice of encrypting software on their machines to limit what repairs farmers can do themselves, and on the emergence of a nascent network of farmers trading encryption keys online. On the one hand—beautifully done. This is a magnificent display of capitalism, and is awe worthy just in that regard. On the other hand—what about the farmers? Pure Capitalism and its consequences is a topic of endless fascination, but I am no economist, and have no fresh ou...
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Thoughtful
I had a rough day today for whatever reason, and was on my way home antsy to just sit down and eject myself from the world and play some video games. But then a horrific thought hit me—what if I didn’t charge the headset? I’d been too lazy to take the extra step to plug it in every night, and I felt like I hadn’t charged it in a while. It’s died on me before mid-game, and being the only way to have both input and output, was absolutely crucial. I came home, and there it was. The prettiest scen...
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Spinning
I’m feeling a little delirious today, after having fully exhausted myself the past two days hunting down a dreadful bug. The most dreadful of all bugs: mobile crashes that occur on launch. Fortunately, this was just a beta build, and it was detected quickly by early testers. But, I was absolutely bewildered. What could it possibly be? The crash reports showed nothing. The changes I made in all were inconsequential. So unaffecting, in fact, that I pushed them straight to master. What could possib...
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Write everything down
I get mad at myself when I forget something that would have been very much of help to remember. I’ll be tracking down one bug, and find myself traveling through forgotten worlds whose functioning seems totally alien. What are you? What do you do? Sure, they’ll be some comments here and there, but almost mindless in nature. As if it were a chore. If only I had written it down. If only I left clues for my forgetful future self. I could be such a more evolved, intelligent being. But instead I say...
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I'll give today 2 stars
I read something at about 11pm last night that dramatically altered my mood. I went to sleep like that, and now my waking is the manifestation of that seed. It’s the type of thing you can’t shake, because it hits you right where it hurts. And my overall consciousness is diminished by it. I’m writing about it to evict it from my mind. It’s gotten me in the worst mood, and the sooner I let it out of me, the quicker I can move from it. There were two small incidents, one which happened last nigh...
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Proof of work
Another alternative to yesterday’s post about essentially the "proof of stake” (or proof of influence) system used by physical laws to redistribute matter is the idea that those who work the hardest succeed most in acquiring the things they’re after, or in other words, proof of work. I realize I may be applying bizarre personifications, or in this case machinifications, to the concept of a “sentient’ universe. This whole set up, including the environment, is ultimately fictional. But I think it...
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The Influence Multiplier
Everyone gets what they want, relative to their influence. At least, that’s the new principle which I'm presently entertaining regarding the rules by which the “universe” operates. I’ve cycled through many beliefs about this particular question in the past—how do the mechanics of this world, if refusing randomness as a sufficient answer, allocate a participant’s wishes and justify it within the entire system? I used to carry sentimental views on this question, and was an avid enthusiast of the p...
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Chaos. Pure chaos.
By now, we should have all heard the expression that goes something like “you can’t always get what you want because if everyone got what they wanted the world would be in utter chaos and disarray.” I asked my wife recently whether she believed if someone wishing bad for you is enough for those wishes to have any concrete effect on your life. In other words, if enough people pray silently to all the gods in the world for your demise, can that possibly materialize into anything? She hesitated. O...
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Problem = solution
Something strange just happened. And it happened seemingly overnight. I mentioned before how I've spent a lot of time sucking in Rocket League on PS4. Nonetheless, I’ve played it consistently. And I’ve seen myself improve very little. Over the last week, I’ve been thoroughly obsessed with Twitch live streams. I’m late to the party—but have you ever participated in a live stream? It’s one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever experienced. Essentially, you’re able to control this human being th...
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Wildcard schedule
I mentioned how the transitioning of something from the unconscious to the conscious can sometimes ruin that thing for me. Like when I’m watching a movie and see through bad acting, and start feeling the presence of a camera crew behind the set. Strangely, this also happens with my unconscious routines. I’ll go about a few days where, by chance, I will have enjoyed the actions of the first day, so do the same the next day, and same the next. But somehow, invariably, and usually after about the f...
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Ideas prison
I used to keep an exhaustive list of ideas, piled on to over the course of several long years of fantasizing what I was going to one day build. I found, and somewhat counter to my expectations, that the decision making process was not so measured as it was spur of the moment. My friend, during a Watts-induced meditation, once mused that decision making is an illusion: in reality, you almost never have enough information to make the “right” decision, so instead you make a split-second decision at...
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The mere act of observing
If quantum mechanics has taught us anything, it’s that observing screws everything up. Sometimes, I’ll be absentmindedly experiencing a positive emotion or experience, and think, this is great! But ah. Damn. Now you’ve observed it. And rather than continuing through the experience with the enthusiasm and enthrallment of a child, you’re now looking through the side of your eyes. It’s a devilish little thing. Observing for me can sometimes be about reproducibility. Last week was great—do that ...
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One thing a day
I awoke early today, and having been in a rhythm of going to the office first thing, made no exception on this Sunday. Don’t be mistaken—this isn’t me hustling. My wife works some weekends, and rather than staying at home and basking in my living room, I’d rather get out and be enlivened by the brisk temperatures and constant motion. That energy, coupled with a throat-scratching cup of coffee, gives me large enough momentum to carry out any task of my choosing in the morning, up until about 2-3p...
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The Great Shift
A mind-blowing excerpt from Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code: The Priory's tradition of perpetuating goddess worship is based on a belief that powerful men in the early Christian church 'conned' the world by propagating lies that devalued the female and tipped the scales in favor of the masculine. The Priory believes that Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the...
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Sorry, nothing today
It would be easier if I didn’t have to publish this. I could just write the … silliest … things. Some days are subtle, like today. Fair-weathered, all around. My brain’s fan spins with a soothing calmness, unlike my macbook when I accidentally write a recursive javascript function, which seems to be happening more than it should. Progress remains steady on the new update. The codebase is cooling and taking form, after being molten for the past few weeks. I’m currently knee deep in The Da Vinc...
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Hazy
In Rocket League, when someone joins in the middle of the game, the game lags and glitches momentarily, integrating the new player into the network. My friend mused, what if real life lagged every time someone new entered. Life ultimately remains fascinating, despite the waking drudgery of our days. Sometimes I’ll wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and still be crossing the ethereal divide between two different worlds—I’ll stare out the window, through the night and onto the m...
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Clarity
I hadn’t been very productive from Friday until Monday. Which sounds like it’s a weekend related thing but I assure you it's not. My weekend's borders are dashed, so you can slip in and out any time. But, Monday was strange. I was excited to get out of the house and head to the office, and avoid all the wondrous merry distractions at home. But, wasting time I still managed to do. Apparently, you can’t run from yourself. I was so heavily reluctant to produce even a single line of code, that it w...
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Don't do something every day
I wrote in a post just a few days ago, that because I had happened upon a flow that seemed to be beneficial to me (writing every day), that you should also explore the opportunity to challenge yourself daily, by committing to a fixed schedule where you produce some sort of item every day. And upon further reflection, this is total bullshit on my part. There’s a certain self-help culture online wherein those who happen upon a productive nugget of truth or wisdom share it and urge others to also ...
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The God Move
I watched AlphaGo on Netflix yesterday, and have been in an eerie mood since. An amazingly well made documentary, AlphaGo is the story of AI and man. Have you ever seen images and cartoons from the 50’s that attempt to depict how the future will look? It’s the retro-futuristic vibe similar to the Smeg line of products. One thing you will notice though: we always get it wrong. No matter which time period we attempt to predict the future from, we get it wrong. I’ve always wondered, if this proces...
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What's your axiom?
Rumor has it that we only live once. Of course, we live an infinite number of times, as we are just processes that execute the function of life. But while you’re here, while you’re in this body, and while you have the ability to harness raw materials and transform them into another order, why not indulge? Why not explore? It takes only one axiom. If you can decide that 1+1=2, then the powerful rest follows. What is your 1+1=2? What is something that no matter how inhospitable your surroundings ...
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The flower and the bee
I have a friend who insists he’s blind. Not lacking the ability to decipher light, but the ability to break it apart. He says, I can’t see the divisibility in things. He says, there is no you, there is no me—there is just the universe, at a particular time and place. The Great Unfolding, he’s wont to say. I find this philosophy totally beautiful, if not utterly useless. He refutes that the binary nature of human beings is innate, and instead calls it learned. This was at first a shocking revela...
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When you have to, you will
9:25 PM. This is no good. In the last two weeks, my home and I have morphed into a single homogeneous entity. An as of yet unnamed species, this entity seems to oppose its manifest destiny at any op or inopportune moment imaginable. Trapped in these confines, I devised a plan to escape, and successfully executed it at 8:30 this morning, wherein upon waking up, I immediately ripped apart the gooey organs connecting me into this habitable vessel, clambered through the front door, ran as quickly ...
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Chip Away
I forgot to walk my dog until noon this morning. In our four years together, this has never happened. In David Attenborough voice, these are signs of a tumultuous time. The offline installation of extensions has been such a challenging problem, that longing for any gratification, I feel instantly accomplished by doing any minute task, like properly indenting a line or changing a margin. Yup. That’ll do it for today. When the problem is a behemoth, you dread fighting, and are easily fatigued. Bu...
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The Last One Percent
The economy of our days is often times volatile; a high warrants a low and a low warrants a high. Compensation. A “correction.” I for no reason today awoke in the red, with a mass sell-off having apparently taken place during premarket hours. And if my job was to at all increase the share value by any number of points for the day, then I have further disappointing news. What was the event? The news? What did the analyst find? No one knows. All I have is my marketing department, with its endless...
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Easy
I woke up later than usual today, after staying up last night trying to get to the bottom of Origin by Dan Brown (author of The Da Vinci Code, which I haven't read). The book is thus far interesting, and is more like an art and religion manifesto by the author (though I’m only three-quarters of the way in), and is filled with mouthwatering descriptions of Spanish art and architecture and an overall well-fitted encapsulation of the role of religion and science today. It’s a compelling read if you...
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Joint Pain
I’ll never forget it: Ten or more years ago, in the midst of the cold Chicago winter, I found myself always itching my scalp and body from dryness. I was watching an episode of Family Guy where Stewie goes to some Star Trek convention and the cast and crew hold a Q&A. Instead of asking questions about the show, the audience proceeds to ask silly every-day household questions, like: Oftentimes my household sponges accumulate an awful amount of buildup. What can I do to prevent this? (Patr...
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What if dreams are...
I like to speculate on things that can easily be googled and figured out for sure, but that ruins the fun of it. My speculative writing teeters on the edge of fiction anyway. And besides, if we just accepted only what is written, what room would there be for the crazy new? So here’s my wild theory. I was watching Planet Earth II yesterday (brace yourselves), the episode about deserts. Any time I watch Planet Earth, my mind is instantly taken away. If it isn’t the greatest TV series ever produce...
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2.1 Progress Update
I’m talking to myself while I work. That’s always a good sign. I’m giddy with excitement at the updates in store for Standard Notes. I’m not usually prematurely optimistic, but it’s nice when things start coming together. Version 2.1 might as well be called Version 3, but, I don’t want to be a version “45.6.8” sort of company. So we’ll be thrift. The prototype I’m toying with of offline installation of extensions is probably most promising of all. It opens doors for new experiences and a wide...
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Pricing cannot be an afterthought
I wrote yesterday how the notion of app ideas is still fairly romantic, and challenged anyone exploring building one to really give it some thought before actually doing so. I don’t mean this to say “don’t experiment and hack things,” but as someone legitimately concerned for your well-being, how are you going to survive, dude? If a friend came up to you and said he wants to write a book and get it into Barnes & Noble, would your first piece of advice be: Dude. Just start writing. Go. Now. ...
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There's no such thing as app ideas
I realize that most people are distracted by cryptocurrencies to be bothered to think about app ideas anymore, but I still get the occasional “hey, I have an app idea!” from the casual layman, be it at a family dinner or reunion of friends. Of course, out of sheer dumb curiosity, I’ll say, “what is it?”, but I’m finding it might be time to start telling these people the truth: There is no such thing as app ideas. It’s a fable. A fantasy. A story passed down from generation to generation. That ...
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The story progresses
For the deity-fearing amongst us, closure is part of the benefits package. You get a nice little beginning, middle, and end, all packaged in a wonderfully vivid story passed down through the millennia. For the agnostics and the 100% sure—lack of closure is the name of the game. At first creating a black hole of meaninglessness and insignificance, the void slowly incorporates itself into every area of life, ultimately finding ways to be useful and productive, until a lack of conclusion becomes a...
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The same person
This is common knowledge to me, and may be to you too, but I thought I’d share it in case it may not be. All speculation is treated as fact to make the writing easier: You and I are the same person. Exactly the same person. The voice in our heads: they’re the same voice. The person you accidentally made eye contact with? The same person. You and your dog? The same person. You and the squirrel stalking you from the tree? The same person. I wrote some time ago how I struggled with the concep...
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Loosened
It is inanely cold today. I took what was supposed to be a brisk walk, but turned out to be a nipping icebath, and all my parts are now numb. Icicles are beginning to crystalize in the outer shell of my mind, slowing the speed of my thoughts to a drawl. My functions are still unthawing, but I can waste no more time—I’ve come running back as quickly as I could. My fingers feel large and blurry, and mistype flagrantly as I write. You are reading this only by the mercy of autocorrect: I saw someth...
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I spread fake news today
I’m not particularly proud of it. But it happened. I shared fake news. No, rather, I created the fake news. Then spread it. Some friends and I share an iMessage group where we occasionally speculate on cryptocurrencies. In the past few days, we’ve been closely watching the price of Ripple. I woke up recently, befogged and groggy, and saw this tweet: I didn’t click on the video, because, I mean, I’m not going to sit here and watch a 3 minute video of Jimmy Kimmel mean tweets. But, wow, Rippl...
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The myth of telling people about your goals
There’s a certain myth floating in the ether which essentially says that when you tell people about your dreams and goals, they’re less likely to happen, or you’re less likely to make them happen. This isn’t a very prevalent myth mind you, but more of a subtlety. Sometimes, I’ll have told someone about my goals, especially very short term goals, and, after failing to succeed on them, I’ll curse and bemoan myself for having shared them with other people. There is some truth to this belief, but n...
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@ing people
I saw yesterday that someone had tweeted about a small, local, and not particularly well-written article about the design flaws in Apple’s new flagship Chicago store. John Gruber was mentioned in this tweet at the end via “cc @gruber”, and Twitter showed me that Gruber liked this tweet. That would have been that, except for the fact that when I scrolled up a little more, Gruber, after being alerted by that tweet, had posted a reference to the article on Daring Fireball, his blog that drives a l...
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Layer code instead of modifying in place
I caught myself doing something shady recently and thought I’d share so that you may avoid doing the same. I ought to have known better, but, I was a few weeks into a new feature branch on Standard Notes, and last minute, I needed an important feature to make everything else work. And it got really, really ugly. The background of it is I wanted to sync user preferences to a user’s account, rather than saving just locally. This way if you choose to sort your notes by title instead of date, this ...
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When did stocks become boring?
A friend of mine is experimenting with a podcast, and at the end of one such experiment (and coming from a finance background), he gave out some tips on stocks you should look into. And while I was listening to that segment, I felt something strange that hadn't materialized so directly in me before: A strong disdain for stocks and stock markets in general. Psht, stocks. I thought it was normal, but after reflecting on it later in the day, I thought, when did that happen? When did stocks become...
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Daily Routine
The morning is a better time to write. My hands do not hesitate like they do at night, after 80% of my energy has been depleted. My stream of consciousness flows less sinuously, and empties effortlessly onto this ocean of paper. This transcription process is cathartic. The coffee makes me brash. Morning writing gives structure to my day. Waking up is essentially like calling Math.random() on your day. Without structure, it will quickly devolve into anarchy. Rebounding is difficult. Randomness c...
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When to write
For the first time in sixty-something days, I’m legitimately struggling to upkeep the habit of daily writing. It’s not that I’m losing some battle. But, I have most to write about when I’m undergoing some kind of struggle, in which case writing helps me explore that struggle. Now has come time to work, and the struggles I undergo can all be fixed from the command line. Hats off to you Seth Godin. I don’t know how you do it. The habit. That was the important part. The habit is more important th...
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Christmas Eve Worklog
This is no good. It’s not that I don’t want to write, but just not in the thinking mood. This is getting to be dangerous. I need the consistency of the routine back. But I need to code in the morning. No solution yet. But, the tradeoff has been valuable in many ways. Progress continues on some really cool features for Standard Notes. It’s not just the features themselves that I'm excited about, but the way the features are built and installed. I risk being publicly committed by mentioning what ...
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Unprofitable Days
I’m in a generally positive mood today. And I bring notice to this fact only because it is very easy to see, given previous posts, that this isn’t always the case. A friend of mind was asking me how I felt recently after I had messaged him some weeks back about my apparent state of despair. I couldn’t recall what he was referring to, or what state I could have been in at all two weeks ago. He told me it was on December 12, that he sensed I was in a panic. Well, December 12 is meaningless. Unles...
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The first four hours
I’ve been running a dangerous habit the past few days of letting writing occur on a non-fixed time, as opposed to first thing in the morning. But, it felt like a necessary adjustment, as writing first thing would put my mind in the frame of writing, which would not rub off for hours. For me, the morning is the most productive part of the day, so what I do for the first four hours is probably the highest quality work I'll do all day. For the past two months, that’s been on writing this blog and ...
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Get into it
Get into it and you’ll be into it. It’s so commonly prescribed as to almost be cliche, but we know the hardest part of doing anything is starting it. Starting requires the most amount of energy. But, you only need one Big Bang. Once you start, physics kicks in. Momentum. Inertia. At that point, you’ll just keep going until something stops you. This pervades every corner of our world. Cars make all kinds of funky noises when they start in the cold. But once they warm up, they drive like a dr...
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Do nothing
I wrote a few days ago about how the quote “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone” had profoundly resonated with me, and that I thought I would take that on as a challenge to strengthen my resolve against my monkey-mind. For my own sake, though, I’d like to adapt this challenge to a more modern way of life, in a way that I can benefit from directly. I can expand the definition of “do nothing” to include activities which accomplish productively littl...
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Some marketing advice
In accordance with my recent understanding that it is more efficient to seek help from external sources than to pedantically rely on yourself, I’ve gotten some operations & marketing advice from an operations & marketing savvy person. He immediately opened my eyes to all the wonderful things I'd been doing wrong. Politely of course. But he was right. He saw holes in my strategies in minutes, while I have grown too numbingly close to the problem to have any sort of clear sight. I thought...
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All of man's problems
I’ve become increasingly a fan of Naval Ravikant of AngelList. The man freestyles prose on all topics, from life to cryptocurrency. His Twitter bio links to a Farnam Street article, and the article links to a podcast the two of them did together. I am halfway through the podcast and am thus far amazed and astonished at Naval’s eloquence and unstoppable substance spewing machine. At one particular point, Naval quotes the 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal who says something that pro...
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The mind is a wild place.
A wild, wild place. Undomesticated, savage, untamable: these are some synonyms for wild. Primitive, uncivilized, uncultured, barbaric. Unpopulated, rugged, rough, inhospitable, desolate, barren. Stormy, squally, tempestuous, turbulent. Disheveled, tousled, tangled, untidy. Unrestrained, out of control, undisciplined, unruly, disorderly, riotous. The mind is a wild, wild place. ...
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10,000 hours is way too many hours
This post embarrasses me in many ways. The first is that I’ll be making extensive Rocket League analogies, which is a fantastic game I play on PS4 (but available on almost every platform). The game is supremely well made, and offers infinite room for self-improvement. There will always be someone better than you, which gives you the incentive to keep playing. The second is because despite having spent many, many hours playing this game, I have today I realized I am pathetically under-skilled. T...
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Things I'm exploring
I’m in a weird state where all my thoughts are unapologetically raw. By raw I mean unassembled. I have a hundred different variables floating around in my head, and the cruel job bestowed upon me is to figure out how to arrange, combine, and breed them to achieve some sort of increase in progress. It is an absolutely maddening process. The ideal solution would be to iterate over the possibilities like a computer, quickly and thoroughly. But in our world, each of the floating variables requires...
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The human function is to want
The illusion, or the projection, that the mind makes on our consciousness is that the human function works like this: wants = get_finite_wants(); want_index = 0; while(self.alive) { if(want_index >= wants.length) { self.success(); break; } self.want(wants[want_index]); want_index++; } But that’s not it. It's what we're lead to believe. That our wants are finite. And that we work towards them, and achieve success once we iterate through all of them. It’s a damned, cruel tr...
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Journal Entry #56
How much to really say? How much to open? I've made this blog public to get over my fear of being public, but there is a maximum darkness threshold that I simply will not let out. There is a thing as too much honesty. I think. But maybe that's just fear. The truth is, I'm currently tired of writing publicly like I know what I'm doing when I have no idea idea what I'm doing. Any post that I write giving advice or motivation is always note-to-self's. But I'm presently tired of giving myself advice...
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Objectively Difficult
Objective difficult is nothing to feel bad about. Objective difficult is when you are doing something so hard that the gods themselves would struggle with the same task. If you’re doing something hard, but don’t feel great about how far you’ve come, or the progress you’re making, or your inability to handle the challenge, determine if it’s Objectively Difficult. If so, relax. And keep going. It’s not you. It’s the problem. ...
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I've gotten stupider with time
Somehow, throughout years of conscious self-improvement, I may have gotten stupider. Don’t get me wrong—I may have gained some wisdom. I may have learned some strategies and tactics. I may have upped my technical talent. I may have learned a bit more about what I want and how to go about getting it. But I’m no more able to drive this vehicle than I ever have been. In fact, while I have been collecting all these in-game tokens to improve my abilities, my driving has gotten worse and worse. I swe...
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Be Intelligent For Your Users
I was talking with a friend yesterday about my experience with Apple’s AirPods and how, despite the price, they are one of the most magical pieces of technology I’ve ever used. You really wouldn’t expect a pair of headphones to delight you in this fashion. It’s more of a feeling, so I can’t describe it perfectly. But it's by far my most futuristic self. It improves your day, and makes something you couldn't imagine being any simpler infinitely simpler. But surprisingly, the magic is in not just...
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Not everything is a complex problem
I’ve found that the apparent complexity of a problem is proportional to the amount of time you’ve spent thinking about it. Which means, it’s easy to fall into a trap of turning a really simple problem into a difficult one simply by virtue of entertaining it too rigorously. I’ll run into a problem sometimes, be it a personal or technical one, and immediately assume it to be a Hard problem. I’ll completely over-engineer a potential solution. This is more to do with my personal life than engineer...
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You’ll get there faster if you slow down
I’ve spent a lot of time in the fast lane, traveling at speeds that are dangerous but feel good. Life in the fast lane is ultimately not a way to live. And when you find yourself drifting off from a comfortable 70mph and into the left most lane, you should really consider how much time you spend there. The fast lane is when everything needs to be rushed. You’re perpetually running out of time to supersede your competitors or yourself. Everything needs to be finished yesterday, and you forgo any...
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Growth Articles That Make You Feel Small
I was speaking to a friend a few days ago about how frustrating it is to work really hard for months and months to make gradual progress, only to see some article about “How We Got 300,000 Users In 2 Days” or “How We Got To $1 Million Monthly Recurring Revenue Selling Toothpicks”, and other articles of this sort. You know the articles I’m talking about. They invalidate all the work you're doing and make you feel like you’re doing something wrong, or not doing enough. I’ve been in this industry ...
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Be absolutely resolute in what you do
When you’re doing something big, let’s say like approaching a big shot entrepreneur at a conference, or reaching out to someone via email and asking them for coffee, be absolutely resolute. Don’t wish-wash. Don’t waver. In the past, I'd been so nervous reaching out to people that I would hide my request in a little “P.S.” at the bottom of the email. Here’s the kind of wimpy email I might have sent: Hello Person, [Some text about some previous work this person has done, and why I find it rela...
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Things vs. People
A new toy can only surprise you once. Or at most a few times, if it’s multifaceted. A diamond necklace will only surprise your wife once. A new house will only surprise you a few times before it slips into normalcy. A new car, just the same. A large sum of money, just the same. The reason we desire things while they simultaneously empty us is because we know they will delight us at least once. But the magic fades quickly. People, on the other hand, are infinitely surprising. They are infinite...
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Productivity of the soul
I was walking with my dog yesterday when I began contemplating on life’s hard problems, like “what am I going to do tomorrow?” In the moment, it was a pressing question. Of most importance. I took it too seriously. I felt like I needed to have everything figured out about tomorrow. I felt that I needed to be productive. The right answer should have been something like “get some work done” or “make work for yourself if there isn’t work to do.” But I was in a good mood. So I took it easy on mysel...
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Never ever play the What If game.
A reader on Medium responded to my post yesterday about doing the thing that scares you, and asked, what if you’re scared of death? Hmm. Well, I’m not sure if I have any advice about the topic of all topics, but, it might be important to differentiate between fear and worry. I won’t use the official definitions, but we can try to break it down into casual sets. Let’s define fear as things you can do something about, and worries as things that are just sort of abstract panics about some future...
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Immediately do the thing that scares you. Immediately.
A note to future self: Immediately seek out and do the thing that scares you. The moment you notice you are afraid of something, seek it out, and destroy it. Fear spreads like cancer. It is disease of the heart and mind. If you remain fearful of something, you will always feel small. You will always feel conquered. You will always feel held back. Immediately seek out your fears and conquer them. Immediately. Fear is not real. And that’s what you must prove to yourself, every time. When you s...
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100% chance of failure
If you were 100% sure you were going to fail at whatever your current venture is, how might that change your actions today? I asked myself this yesterday. There are lots of competing cultures swirling in my mind regarding how I view success and failure. On the one hand, there’s the optimistic Disney or Steve Jobs mindset of Follow your dreams and It’s all going to work out in the end. On the other hand is the raw, neutral, statistical stance of Your venture is more likely to fail than not. Thes...
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Why is success scary?
I’ve written a lot as of late about the fear that I have and the courage I lack. It’s weird how it’s chosen to manifest itself at such a critical point. You see, I had thought that, given some luck, success was sort of automatic: you do the work, you grow, and you become outwardly successful. I didn’t expect there would be emotional treachery involved. I became stumped some weeks ago when given a few opportunities to advance my growth, I chickened out. I straight up cowered in fear. And more th...
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I enjoy struggling too much
This is a hard one to cope with. On the one hand, when I’m struggling, I try to make changes that decrease my level of struggling. Then, when my struggles have decreased, I become so bored, that I want to undo all the changes I made so that I begin to struggle again. This is seriously messed up. But it makes sense. The struggle is an indication of work and progress. It is a very explicit feeling. Not struggling doesn’t feel like anything at all. I enjoy struggling, and it would be damned near p...
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What is true, and what is beautiful.
Some weeks ago, I found myself tinfoiled by the question of the objective vs. subjective nature of reality. I was so endlessly obsessed with trying to understand, what is the true nature of the world, as opposed to the nature of the world from my perspective? It sounds like a meaningless question, and probably is, but is extremely fascinating. At first, it was just an amusing thought. Later it would grow into a behemoth that occupied a great percentage of my working CPU. My friend was also fasc...
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Life doesn't like to be observed
There’s a strange part of the modern, scientific human being that likes to observe the world and its functioning. If something good happens, we say, how do we make more good things happen? We try to deduce it to an exact science. You might also find me contemplating, as in previous posts, things like “nature rewards this or that” or “life tends to act this way or that”. The reality of course is these are dumb, blind guesses, and are at best bizarre personifications of a world whose “true nature”...
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When you're stuck, bash things together.
I’ve been stuck in a loop of non-progress for some time. Things are going well, but not as well as I’d like (I’m pretty sure that remains the case at every level of progress). In any case, the hardest part of building something new, especially a company, is that the road is unpaved. There are no signs, other than a few warning and “Dead End” signs here and there. I’ve found myself extremely stuck as of late. Not knowing what to do next. I’ve scoured through books, through the web, through my mi...
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A vision for how life should be
A hopeless in love friend was oozing his worries yesterday, and said in the most beautifully tragic way: I have this vision for how my life should be. And my real life doesn’t match it. If there’s anything I uselessly specialize in, it’s letting worriers know that they are symptoms. You are never ever alone in how you feel. You are a statistic, and odds are, most other people feel this way too. Even more hopelessly, I replied is this not the human condition? I reflect on this now because of ...
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Of the ground, and of the Sun
What comes from the ground is grounding. This much I’ve learned. It’s tethering. The ground produces some of the most addicting products we consume (well, it produces all the products we consume, but). Food, fruits, vegetables, alcohol, marijuana, mushrooms, coffee, tea, tobacco—they all come from the same place, and all seem to share a common property: they are grounding. They bring you into the earth. But I don’t want to be pulled in. What is the 21st century human being if not a beacon of ou...
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The Courage That I Lack
I've been telling myself that I am not afraid. And therefore any mismatch between the progress I'm making and the progress I want to be making is due to a datetime imbalance, and not some sort of inhibition. I may have been partly right. But also very partly wrong. Perhaps I am not afraid of many of the things I choose not to go after. I am not afraid of meeting people, yet I always tend to stay inside my head. I am not afraid of talking to people, yet I always prefer to avoid small talk. I am ...
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Why You're Resistant to Being Productive
A friend was telling me yesterday that he’s been struggling to get daily tasks done. He’d rather just put them off. But this friend might as well be me, or probably you. Sometimes we go through periods of absolute demolition of our daily tasks, but other times, we go through seemingly longer periods filled with reluctance to work. In observing this behavior in myself in the past, I’ve noticed that it usually comes down to three reasons why I don’t feel like doing the work I should clearly be do...
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A class of internet-developing humans
The question of the random vs. non-random nature of our existence in essence asks: what part of our lives has meaning, and what part is chaos theory? I tend to think that science ascribes too much randomness to our world, while religion and spirituality ascribe too much meaning. But, as a friend of mine says, it is the job of each of those fields to specialize. Science specializes in eliminating meaning, and allows it to focus on what removing that lens makes the world look like. Religion specia...
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The Capitalism Squeeze (or, No One's Happy)
Have you ever heard of a company or startup having more labor resources than they know what to do with? I’ve never heard such a thing. Instead, every employee, every company owner, and every story I hear is riddled with The Great Squeeze: human resources are squeezed far beyond their breaking point, and hiring more is detrimental to the bottom line. The result of the squeeze is unhappy laborers in every corporation around the world. You must complete eighty hours worth of work in forty (the res...
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Giving fate a chance to intervene
I’ve been under the weather for the past few days. The world must have read what I said about being twistedly envious of Charles Darwin’s extended sicknesses and took it literally. As shitty as it feels, it has allowed me to finally take a small, much needed break. Yesterday was the first day in probably a year that I did no work at all. I’ve gotten into a rhythm of listening to podcasts when I can instead of music. Typically I go through a podcast phase once every year or so, before deciding I...
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Reality optimizes for the whole, not just you.
This one is fascinating to me. Someone I follow on Twitter liked a tweet someone else posted, and that tweet was a picture of Ray Dalio’s book called “Principles”. I had never heard of Ray Dalio before, but apparently he made Forbes’s 100 richest people (17 billion USD net worth) through an investment firm called Bridgewater Associates. Ray himself is an intellectual, and so far his book is extremely fascinating. He takes a very iterative and evolutionary approach to self-improvement. The scree...
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Memories of Winter
The memory of winter is always the same for me. It’s always difficult in an emotional sort of way. The memories themselves are clear, but the times while they pass are hazy. I’m always half sleepy during winter, and thus only half myself. Maybe it takes adjusting to. But memories of winter are always dark. There are memories of working on other projects years and years ago from my bedroom in my parent’s house. That was, during the moment the most profound era of my life, but retrospectively a d...
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How does the universe look to nothing?
I had a fascinating conversation with a friend regarding the objective vs. subjective nature of reality. Does the universe objectively exist whether or not someone is there to observe it, or is its existence subjective and in the mind of the observer? This question dates back centuries, but comes back highly recommended from quantum physics, which makes this question no longer a metaphysical one, but a fundamental scientific one. Neither of us made any particular progress on this question. I be...
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A Photograph of the Mind
My wife always forces me to make unnatural poses for a Snapchat or Instagram photo. She tells me “smile!” but if I wasn’t already smiling, then the photo is a lie. I’m being pedantic just to say, I hate hate posing for photos. It’s more of my introverted nature than anything to do with worrying about faking an emotion. I’m really not sure when this started. About a decade ago I remember being extremely extroverted. I was an arrogant teenager, and I probably loved taking photos of myself. Someth...
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The Romance of Another's Life
Some years ago, I was reading Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species to see what the source itself had to say about evolution. Aside from the topic itself, I found myself growing somewhat envious of Charles’ post-mortem grandeur. It’s easy to give someone so much credit retrospectively, not realizing they were mortals themselves. Darwin recounts how at many times, he grew very, very ill during his research, sometimes bedridden for most of the year. This surely must have been a horrible way to f...
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Don't mistake stress for an existential crisis
This may seem obvious for many, but for me, I never could handle the difference between the two. Any and all stress was an immediate existential crisis. What I mean by existential crisis is, you blame the stress on yourself. You think, there’s something wrong with me, and it’s ruining my life. But there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just legitimately stressed. It’s important to catch exactly when this happens as well. Sometimes, an external event will happen that is beyond my control. For e...
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Is Nature Intelligent?
This is a question of endless struggle. On the one hand, nature obviously produced us, and it becomes troubling to say "that which produced something as intelligent as us is itself not intelligent". On the other hand, chance, probability, randomness, and singularities play a huge part in modern science, and to question that would surely invite ridicule. I had an eight hour round-trip drive this weekend where I got a chance to catch up on some fascinating podcasts. This one in particular was the...
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Code Me
I’m exhausted. I keep saying, after I fix this one bug, everything will be groovy, and I can relax. But then I find a new issue to get entangled in. “Just this one last feature, and all will be nice and slow again.” But it’s constant pounding. If I'm not fixing bugs caused by previous code, I’m fixing bugs from new code. The problem is that I’m an obsessive. Once I start on something, it becomes the only thing I want to do. And I’ve been addicted to coding lately. A great problem to have right?...
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How To Leave App Reviews Like A Decent Person
There is common behavior in the app (and technology) review world that, upon inspection, really does not seem to be logical. I’m sure you’ve probably seen user written reviews that read something like: ☆☆☆☆★ “This app is good, but it doesn’t have this one feature that this other app has. 1 star.” This sort of comparison game is human nature, and while I don’t intend to change the nature of our behavior, I do hope I can make you think twice before posting a review like this in the future. T...
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PSA: Add dir="auto" to your inputs and textareas.
As someone living in the bubble that is the United States, it can be hard to think externally. But every so often I am reminded there is a world outside of my own. This sounds like a hugely unnecessary pep talk before I lay down something extremely simple. But one small change can be the difference between your app being used by people around the world, or just strictly by people like you. The distinction between these two worlds is something I endlessly struggle to comprehend; luckily, the folk...
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When nothing happens
I’ve spent the last week in a buggish sort of hell trying to track down bewildering software issues that made no sense at all. It was, by all definitions, hell. I hated myself for writing bugs. And I hated software for being so sensitive to my human-ness. After spending several days collecting clues and checking the same code over and over again, I concluded there was nothing visibly wrong, and it was time to exile myself to some remote island. The issue would later be solved, of course. And i...
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Save yourself from Daylight Saving
I’ve been waking up at exactly 7:00am ever since Sunday. Before that, I would wake up around 8-8:30am. Of course, 7:00am Sunday, accounting for Daylight Saving Time, is really 8:00am, so “physically”, nothing has changed. However, overnight, your daily routine is pushed back or up by one hour, and we make no big deal of it. Our artificial world clocks are adjusted, but our internal clocks are stuck trying to figure out what the hell just happened. But life goes on. By Monday, we’ve forgotten all...
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Do Everyday
I'm trying to write every single day. And it's really hard. It's the first thing I do when I wake up every morning. Why? It's good therapy. And it instantly gives meaning to an otherwise blank canvas of a day. But I don't always have things to say. Or worse, I don't always feel like talking. I might learn a life lesson here and there, and be inclined to share it. But every single day? Close to giving up, I visited Seth Godin's blog, and without fail, he writes a new post every single day. It go...
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I'm glad I'm not doing hardware
Anyone who builds software knows how hard it is. I'm referring not to the initial building of software—that's the easy part. What's hard is actually keeping software afloat and healthy for long periods of time, while making it work for millions of people with thousands of different environments. I've recently been trying to debug a certain race condition that has been driving me absolutely mad. Doing so has lead me into a mysterious world which I thought I knew like my own name; after all, it m...
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Post-Human
Humans today are pathetically ephemeral. It’s what defines our existence. Death lingers in the back of our minds like an unpaid bill (a huge scary bill). Tragically, we may be some of the last ephemeral beings the world sees before this problem is solved. Technology and medicine are moving fast. Within decades, or no more than a century, aging will be cured or delayed, or better yet, electron-emitting devices will be manufactured that can create anything. I try telling my friends about my wild ...
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The Secret Life of Software Bugs
Bugs simply do not reveal themselves to me when using my own product. They cower in fear, knowing somehow their all-powerful, all-punishing creator is watching, ready to descend upon them in wrath and eliminate their existence. No, my creations hide from me. Instead, they are attracted to my users. Poor, helpless users who do not have the tools to squash these creepy crawlers. Some bugs are bewildering. A user will have found some way to place his app in an impossibly invalid state. My goal is...
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I'm not entirely sure you exist.
My brain has many bugs and limitations. But by far the most limiting is my inability to comprehend the existence of other people. I mean, I know you’re there. And I know that your world, to you, is as big as mine is to me. But I am completely incapable of ascribing “realness” to your life. I am incapable of fathoming that inside your mind is a universe bigger than my own. Because one universe is large enough. I have an already difficult time fathoming my own existence, to even begin trying to f...
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Stop changing your homepage
I’ll be honest. I hate data. Parsing it, collecting it, strategizing around it—I just want to build things the way I feel like building things. Instinct has gotten me up to here, hasn’t it? And while I haven’t fully made the switch to a hard-core data kind of mindset, I have realized its importance in some areas, especially if you’re a new company. One of the most dangerous things you can do starting out on a new app or product is changing it too much, especially when you’re not sure where your...
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Don't build features you can't afford to maintain
It’s fun and pleasurable to make children. In fact, it’s orgasmic. But, there tends to be an upper bound on the number of children a couple could bear. At some point, the couple presumably understands that another mouth siphoning scarce resources would be detrimental to the entire family, and cannot possibly be sustainable. I’m sure you see where I’m headed with this. Building new features is highly fun and entertaining. In fact, you might even call it the orgasm of the technical world. You’ve ...
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Build a Business, not an App
During the 2008-2010 App Store gold rush, all you needed were a pick, ax, and laptop to strike it rich. Forget a business plan and forget being original: Just make an app, any app, and your chances of making some profit were better than none. Times have changed, and the single-app mindset can be catastrophic today, if you’re still chasing it. App vs. Business “Apps”, compared to a business providing an app, were novelty items during the emergence of the iPhone and Android. There were so litt...
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Stop Waiting
I have a really bad habit. After I release something, be it a project, an update, or even an article, I wait. I wait for something magical to happen. I wait for the universe to finally give me what’s due. Because one of these days, one of these updates or features or emails I send—one of these is going to make it. And it’s going to be huge. Right? Wrong. I just learned this lesson myself only a few days ago. For the last decade of shipping projects, my ritual and plan was always to 1. Develop...
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You could be anything
The first half hour of every day are the most difficult. I sort of have to remind myself who I am and what I’m doing. It’s a lot of work when you think about it. Every day, you choose to renew your commitment to be yourself. You choose to live a day similar to the one you lived yesterday. Really, there are no days. Yesterday is separated only by sleep and the eerie parallel universe of dreams. For the first 30 seconds after I awake, I am completely dumbfounded. But it starts coming back to me....
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I don't know, a million times
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I repeated these words frantically to myself as I was taking a walk, trying to figure out not only what my problems were, but what the answers were as well. How do I get more traffic to my website? Should I be getting more traffic to my website? Should I be improving the product? Am I charging the right price? Maybe it’s too expensive? Maybe it’s too cheap? I don’t know. Should I be going out and meeting people? Networking? Connecting? Maybe someone ...
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You should quit your job.
Sounds reckless right? But I want to make the case for why quitting your job can be a great way to advance your project, even when it may sound like a scary idea. You see, I had always thought that, during times I was employed, the extent to which my side projects would reach was inherent in the nature of the project. That is, the reason all my side projects tended to be single-use and single-launch was because they were designed for that. I was lying to myself. The truth was, my side project...
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How To Destroy A Company
It’s fun to hate on things we love. Humans tend to have a sort of fetish for violence when things are too easy. Utopia will never exist because Marco Arment won’t like a minor detail, and will ruin it for everyone. I love and respect Marco, and use his name only as the most common example of behavior that, when inspected, really doesn’t seem to be in our favor. I get frustrated by usability bugs as much as anyone. And as someone who like Marco runs a company, I understand what it feels like whe...
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I've seen heaven. And it's written in JavaScript.
Why React Native is the Future I have a weird way of describing software. And you’ll either know what I mean, or you won’t. It’s sort of strange, but software interfaces feel like they have a weight. When I use an interface, it can feel heavy, or it can feel light. Neither is better than the other. It just sort of depends. Chrome is very light. Safari feels heavier. And Firefox feels the heaviest. It’s probably bullshit, but that’s the feeling I get. One of the heaviest feeling experiences in...
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If doing something wags your tail, keep doing it
To whom it may concern, I’ve always wanted to start a letter like that. During the 90s, my dad owned a fast-food restaurant in what was then not-River North. I remember he would receive letters addressed like that. Thus began my mild infatuation with TWIMC. Last night I attempted to continue reading Biocentrism, a book I’ve been spending some time with every night. I only ever read when I get into bed, for as long as I can keep my eyes open. Sometimes I’ll last twenty minutes. Other times, jus...
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A falling tree doesn't make a sound
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? I’ve always thought the answer to this was yes, of course it makes a sound, even when no one is present. I posted this question to Twitter and the answers were the same: of course it makes a sound! I was surprised to learn this is the wrong answer. After I heard the case for why it does not in fact make a sound, I was dumbfounded. Why had I been conditioned to see it otherwise? It was kind of earth-shattering. Let me explain...
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The universe is lazy-loaded
I’ve recently been entangled in the world of quantum physics, where absolutely nothing makes sense. I dance this confused ballad every so often, and always wind up at the same place: what on earth is going on here? The universe is as suspicious as ever. I’m reading a book called Biocentrism, which argues that without conscious observers, the universe quite simply does not exist. That is, the universe as we know does not exist “physically”, but we create it with our minds. How is this done? Wel...
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I hate marketing
I hate marketing. There, I said it. I hate hate hate marketing. Reaching out to people, forming new “connections”, networking—I cannot stand even the thought of imagining myself at a tech conference. I hate the thought of approaching strangers and trying to somehow mention or convince them of me or my product. Apart from my wife and a few long-standing friends, I am notoriously bad at up-keeping relationships. Marketing for me is something I haven’t been able to learn like other things. If you ...
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Niceness happens in pockets
This is my attempted (re)beginning of writing three pages every day in the morning. It's a sort of therapy for me. A lot of stuff finds itself circulating in my mind, then lingers and pollutes it. It's become exhausting to think, I should write this down, and expand on it to learn more about it, then never following through. Writing three pages every day is something I learned from The Artist’s Way. At first I thought it would be impossible, that I couldn’t possibly find something to write abou...
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Tethered
Sans opened his eyes, his face smothered with ash and dust. His ears were ringing painfully, his arms and legs bruised and paralyzed. Around him were bodies—dead—decapitated, amputated. The explosion had killed everyone but him. It was night out, and he could hear sirens in the distance. He tried moving, but could not summon it. Even if he could, there was nowhere for him to go—everything had collapsed around him, and there was no open path. He managed to free his arm from under the body of a wo...
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A Hundred Redwood Trees
A friend texted me today asking if I was busy. How to answer such a question? No, and it may be "I need help installing Word on my impossibly slow and unresponsive computer." Yes, and I'm an asshole. "No what's up?" Please don't be a tech issue. Please don't be a tech issue. "I feel lost. I don't know what I'm doing with my life. I don't seem to be motivated by anything anymore. I don't know where my passion has gone." I double check the sender to make sure it wasn't me. Sigh, — how to help ...
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The Meantime
That's what gets left out. In stories about fame, success, and glory, we don't get a sense of time. We only learn of the checkpoints in someone's journey, events which may have numbered just a hundred in the story of one person. The meantime are all the long endless seconds in between. The meantime is eternity. It is time at a pace beyond your control. It is days that never end, constant doubt and questioning, incessant fear and irrational paranoia. It is chores and work and labor and illness a...
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Taking Risks Accelerates Progress
How much sooner do you think you’d arrive at what success is to you if there were no consequences on you or your family for your actions? Not having to worry about providing, about health, about anything – how much sooner would you arrive at success? Maybe you’d say in 3-6 months, compared to the several years otherwise. Your reluctance to behave in that sort of “reckless” fashion is what’s called fear. Thus conquering fear allows you to accelerate your progress. The act of conquering your fears...
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Standing
Look at that mountain, I just want to stand on it. But you’re on a mountain now— How does it feel? ...
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The Myth of Healthy Foods
It’s liberating to realize that there’s no such thing as any one specific “healthy” or superfood, but rather that your best odds at living a healthy life is to eat as many diverse not unhealthy things as possible, and hope you did it right ten years from now. This isn’t a great solution, and it would be great if we received more timely feedback and positive/negative reinforcement from our bodies (then again, maybe our bodies don’t plan very far ahead anyway). But until we figure out a better so...
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Invisible Probability Forces
In recently attempting to understand the intuition behind basic probability theory, I found myself unable to think past the tangible reality of what it all meant. You flip a coin a couple times, and you see mixed results. You try to guess its next move, but it always outwits you. You’ve flipped the coin twenty times now, and you don’t see a pattern. You get heads a couple times, followed by tails five times, then heads three times and tails six more times. There just doesn’t seem to be a pattern...
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Entangled
Update: I have since learned that the conclusion I make in this post is incorrect, and as a science hobbyist, quantum mechanics is still far too difficult for me to understand. I leave this article published as a thumbtack in the history of my foolishness, and also as a way to hopefully instill curiosity of the subject in the reader. (See footnote for brief explanation.) Several weeks ago, a friend of mine called me with some troubling news: the world of physics is in total disarray. “The best ...
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Do the right thing.
In the course of a week, there may be at most one or two events in which we don’t know the self-morally correct decision for a given situation. In most cases, the difference between right and wrong is clear. The difficulty lies not in recognizing which of the two is is better aligned with our values and goals, but in choosing the right path. I struggle with a certain lack of discipline in various areas of my life, and in an attempt to control and mold myself into the kind of ideal person I wish...
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To update your software, take a vacation
When you begin to ask questions like “why”, crazy things happen. When it comes to our daily routine, however, “why” is the least asked question of all. We figure that we must have arrived at our current routine by gradual evolution; by tinkering and tweaking until we’ve found something agreeable. We then live on by this standard flow for as long as possible, sometimes years. And yet while we sit here judging and questioning articles, people, and events, our daily flow slips by undetected and unq...
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Wired In
Is it possible to hit deadlines while remaining friendly? If you’re like me, you always choose shipping over chatting. The result is hit deadlines and finished products; the price, neglected relationships and unfinished interactions. I often find myself asking, am I a mean person? Is it unreasonable that I ask not to be interrupted so that I can be more productive? Am I mean for being abrupt and pithy with my statements, when my intention is understandable and perhaps even noble? To accomplish...
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One Week in Peru
On Friday, June 13th of 2014, I quit my job without an idea of what to do next. Two days later, I found myself on a plane to Peru. The thought of going to South America came to me only the day before, and I booked my flight that same night. I wanted to explore culture: to figure out what part of me was human, and what part American. The only way to do that was through contrast. I didn’t book a hotel beforehand, nor did I plan out what I would do for the week that I was there. I decided it would...
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A Well-Disciplined Machine
There are days, such as today, when I have absolutely nothing to write about, but in want of expressing myself or feeling productive, I sit at my computer and stare at an empty page and a blinking cursor. “What can I possibly write about?” I ask myself pessimistically. I scan my mind for possible ideas, things which might have happened today, notes I may have written down that might lead to a potential post. Nothing. I sit staring at the document for a few more minutes, reluctant to give up, whe...
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Friends with Boredom
Boredom is that overwhelming state of emotion one feels when faced with so many possible things to do coupled with the lack of desire to do any of them. More than anything, it’s a lack of discipline. I sometimes wonder whether it was possible, perhaps thousands of years ago, for one to have felt bored. The fact of the time was that you could either work, read, socialize, or sleep, and faced with this ultimatum of no choices, I could not imagine that one could have gotten bored, but rather accept...
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The Importance of Looking
Paulo Coelho (author of The Alchemist) writes: At first, Theo Wierema was merely a very persistent individual. For five years, he kept sending letters to my office in Barcelona, inviting me to give a talk in The Hague, in Holland. For five years, my office replied that my diary was full. My diary was not, in fact, always full, but a writer is not necessarily someone who speaks well in public. Besides, everything I need to say is in the books and articles I write, which is why I always try to ...
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Beginner's Luck
My first app to the App Store back in 2010 made it to the number one position in the US Productivity category. How, I do not know. I did not advertise it nor did I really make a big deal of it publicly. It was more of an experiment than anything else. I hadn’t even known it was top in its category until I was randomly browsing the productivity category to see what else was on there, and lo and behold, my app sat gloriously on its lucky throne. Since that day, I have been on a wild goose chase to...
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The Amazing Echo
I recently read Dustin Curtis’ rant on the new Amazon Echo, how Amazon has no idea what they’re doing and how their new product is misguided and “sucks”. My reaction was a bit different. When I first saw the commercial for Echo, I was in tears. It was so beautifully done and natural that you felt the family was real and lively. Let’s set aside branding for now and focus on the meat: the actual product. I think the Echo is wonderful. I just recently purchased my own home, and I couldn’t be more ...
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The chance success of startups in a wildly volatile marketplace
There is an illusion of science in the success of tech companies, and those who have made large exits wear the white coats. Most people believe in luck when it comes to failure, as in, “I was unlucky to have failed”, but believe that success is the product of strategy; of science. But give a successful entrepreneur enough time to launch his next product, and you’ll see that even he will choke on the baffling currents of fashion and time. It is no coincidence that some of the most successful star...
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Do not disturb
You check your phone on two occasions: when it interrupts you, and when you manually check it yourself in hopes that the outside world has communicated with you. Let us say that the distribution between the two is equal, that you check your phone as much as it checks you. Is it a true statement then that the less time you spend on your phone, the more time you can allocate to being productive and healthy? I think so. So what if you were able to cut your phone usage by 50%? Imagine the sanity you...
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Mobile phone batteries are not ready for 2014
Throughout a typical day, the average 2014 human being will consume on their mobile devices a couple of YouTube videos, listen to a few songs, send and receive dozens of Snapchats, upload and browse several photos on Instagram, tag a few songs in Shazam, check their Facebook notifications more often than not, use GPS to find out where they are and where they need to be, hail a cab with Uber, check the weather, make a few phone calls, send out hundreds of text messages, compose and read lengthy e...
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Meditation without the frustration
Many of the most inspired and successful people in history have praised meditation as a keystone in their journey, that without they would not have been so fortunate. And indeed, many that practice meditation today claim levels of peace and happiness not achievable by any other means. I begin to feel guilty at this thought, and wonder whether I may be missing out on something potentially life changing. Sadly, all my attempts at meditation have ended in failure. My frustrations with the topic h...
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How to maximize the number of email responses you get
Few things make me as frustrated as an email of mine that goes ignored. For one reason or another, I take this overly personal. It’s especially demoralizing when blog posts I’ve read have encouraged readers to reach out and say hello, and when I’d take them up on that offer, they wouldn’t respond. It turned me bitter. “How dare you encourage me to email you and then go on to ignore it!” I have in time gotten over any bitter feelings I may have had over an email, but I vowed that if I were ever...
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Entrepreneurship is not ideation
I have, all my life, been of the thought that an entrepreneur is one who comes up with ideas that might make large amounts of money. And by that definition, then I am perhaps a great entrepreneur. But I am not a great entrepreneur. I have, in my mental cellar, hundreds of ideas waiting to be manifested, but none so. What is the difference then between me and a real entrepreneur? An entrepreneur makes things happen. An entrepreneur is not one who generates great business ideas nor one who feels...
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What to ask yourself when creating a startup
Update like 2 years later: I must have been down when I wrote this, because the age of invention will never dwindle. The golden age of invention is dwindling. Look closely, and you’ll see that the most successful products and startups today are not original ideas, but iterations on previous ideas. Very little is new; most just an upgrade of the old. Every new generation of people refuse to live by the rules and ideas of previous generations, and are therefore always in an effort to replace what...
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Three Brands of Water
To a Saharan desert inhabitant, the display right before my eyes would have been no short of the promised land, the seventh of all heavens. Organized before me were rows, columns, and grids of bottles of ice cold water. One could imagine, had they never been accustomed to the lifestyle of the so called westerners, that these bottles would be in clear plastic containers, without any labels or colors of any kind. It is only water after all – what more needs to be said? What purpose would any label...
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The dangers of willful blindness
A while back, I wrote a post praising the benefits of willful blindness. In it, I argued that being willfully blind and neglecting negative and pressing issues can help you attain more optimism and positivity in your life. I compared willful blindness to a strong chemical drug that disrupts the normal flow of thoughts in your mind. And now, just a few months later, I have realized that I have overdosed on this cancerous drug. Little did I know that what I had extolled and worshipped as a hack to...
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The Human Class
If a garbage truck picked up your garbage, delivered your mail, and sold you ice cream, it would be extremely inefficient at doing all 3. But by focusing on just one thing, it is able to do its job well. This is the same with code: if an object or class knows too much, and is too tightly coupled with other classes, it becomes confused, difficult to change, and in most cases ineffective. This is also true in economics: if a country is efficient at producing a certain export and inefficient at pro...
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10,000 Years Ago
Somebody, 10,000 years ago, a human just like you and me, going through exactly what we go through, looking for a way to be happy and make the best out of the days, gave birth to a child, who then went on to live a life of his own, and gave birth to another child, and this cycle continued, till you, I, was finally born. The blood that runs through our veins is no stranger to these lands, and nature is well acquainted with the families and ancestors of its current inhabitants. Someone 10,000 year...
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The Adverse Effects of Mental Profanity
My thoughts of late have comprised of bitter negativity and reluctant pessimism. I could not help but see the worst of every situation. The origins of this cancerous attitude, I did not know, but its existence was more evident than the morning sun. I began to simply dislike most things for no reason. And it wasn’t that I actually disliked the thing in question. My mental consciousness would just blurt out disinterest in things by default, before they were even given the chance. It seemed more li...
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The benefits of willful blindness
Update: I have since followed up with another post describing the dangers of willful blindness. The post below is officially deprecated. There was a video on TED called “The Dangers of Willful Blindness”. I didn’t watch it. I have a condition called willful blindness. It is a mental disorder that alters the prioritization algorithm in my mind, and overrides the default priority weight given to thoughts and events. If for example there be 10 thoughts to be considered, 4 of them being murky atten...
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A Lonely Age
What a man is and all that flows through his mind with the lapsing of clouds and ticking of time, is infinite. But what a man manifests, what he says and who he appears to be, is finite. To fall in love with another being then would be not to fall in love with that person and their infinitely varying selves, but to fall in love with the one face of an innumerably sided polygon. So it is not too difficult to believe that a man of young ambition fell in love with a woman that did not exist but as ...
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Misunderstood
We must learn not to take things personally. No one ever intends to hurt us. Every one is busy living their own life, waging a war within, and focusing on accomplishing their own dreams, that they hardly put any effort into their communication, or pay no special consideration to what they say. It is no wonder that every other song we hear on the radio mentions the concept of “haters”. Haters are fictional characters perceived by every human. We are so overwhelmed, so captivated by our own lives,...
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Ones and Zeros
The human has two states: happiness and sadness, or in other words, 1 and 0. Using ones and zeros, humans are able to create infinitely complex and super powerful computers. And where else do we get our design inspirations from other than nature? You see, with these two simple emotions, these two states, nature is able to dictate your every move and direction. 1 implies energy flow, happiness, a signal of affirmation, to usher you to continue doing what you’re doing. Zero is an off state, where ...
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Voices
every one is made of two some days red and others the blue long suspected were multiple voices each of which offers its choices pick and choose either way you lose ’tis not such a bad thing ...
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The Ideal Self
No one can truly practice what they preach. What one preaches is ideal, is well thought out, is romantic and poetic, but what one does, is spontaneous and partial, is a flawed and incomplete manifestation of the ideal. What one preaches is not who he is, but the best of who he is. It is what each man strives for and wishes to become. Our ideals are goal posts, and must always— can only be — on a higher platform than their physical counterpart. We must aim for the stars, so that if our escape vel...
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The New & Old
Life is a war between the old and the new. The old becomes history, the new becomes old, the two combine and reproduce to make the new new, and ever onwards. Every generation out does the other, and while it may seem unlikely, our minds will one day shut, its views will freeze, and what we believe will be our truth until death, with no capacity for new. Our children will see us as old and traditional, just as we see our ancestors today. What the next generation sees cannot be seen or understood ...
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The Wave
It starts out like any other the mornings light as feather but a weight lingers within dragging you till it begins find your way out of this rhyme not using what you used last time make it out the other end waiting will be a new friend one tunnel out and into the next with every step more perplexed every other harder than the other with you all along is the earth mother take every step though shoeless with every step more clueless remember it is all a wave up and down till your grave. ...
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Fate
The men that we call great, had all to thank to fate. The passing of time, makes men sublime, the lyrical divine, and days align. Day by day, say and nay, do all you may, speculation at bay, and time finds a way, to make your name stay. For the men we call great, had only eaten off their plate. ...
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Every time
‘Twas a tired night, like many before away from my home I began to explore and I found something I hadn’t before a new thought I could not ignore so I followed it like times before not knowing what else to look for but it lead me to the same place as ever before "beyond you is a sea but you remain at shore" And so I took sail like never before and once I arrived I asked what for? I could not bear to think it anymore, happiness will find me like each time before. ...
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Sadly
Bitterness takes the best of me Watching flowers bloom and begging it to me Your time will come, it says to me Now now! I try to plea. No! no! it cannot be! To every seed an intricacy! So longer I wait, till the day I see. ...
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The Coldest Winter
Dear love, I write this to speak to you. To tell you who I am and which parts of me have been missing. I have become a monster. Life has robbed me of my sanity. I used to be normal, and normal in the good sense, not the conformative sense. The kind of normal crazy people wish they could be. I find myself on a very dark planet, lost beyond recognition. I know very little of what is happening in my life. Everything seems to be happening all at once and nothing at all. The worst part about being s...
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The War Within
Nature constantly taunts us. Every human is fighting a war within. But had it not been for this perpetual inner war, then humans would not be what they are today. This system constantly challenges us, forcing us to despise the actions of today for the promise of tomorrow; forces us to be discontent. It challenges us — you’re not working hard enough, not eating well enough, your new design not genius enough, you’re too fat, too skinny, you need to study harder; it’s a master trash talker. But ima...
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Trouble
What is the reason for your worry, troubles and pain? It is the mere thought of them that makes one go insane. How scary things appear in thought, but your whole life the future has cometh and harmed you not. So fear not the mystery of days to come, for all your actions are part of one, – we are only but a part of nature’s hum. ...
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