Show Menu

Pixel Resolution of Pen & Paper

When I need full access to my creativity, I work with a Pigma Micron 005 on 8.5×11” card stock. The pen writes at 0.2mm stroke width. There are 60,322.5mm² per sheet and 25 dots per mm². That is over 1.5 million dots (pixels) per sheet. I have 8 sheets on my desk now. That is…

Read more

The Organic Software Movement

People are figuring out that the software we use may be using us more than the other way around. Mobile apps started by filling cracks in our schedules, but have now sunk roots, and expanded to displace other activities we used to perform, like making conversation and eye contact with dinner partners. There’s no evil…

Read more

Polyrepo-ism

In a world of warring Monorepo-ists and Microrepo-ists… there is a Middle Path: Polyrepo-ism. Microrepo-ism ordains that each service composing a total system shall have a repo unto itself. In Microrepo-ist cultures, a single conceptual change to the system requires a coordinated update across multiple repositories. Complex, arduous, and error-prone. Visit https://www.npmjs.com to study Microrepo-ism in the…

Read more

Book Review: The Anatomy of Self by Takeo Doi

This is a fascinating book. I recommend reading it. It’s small and short and provides a framework for understanding the social world we all inhabit. It explain things that you know are true but didn’t recognize until reading it. After traveling to Japan, a number of my friends said that as much as I love…

Read more

Statistical Thinking: Overkill

One of my homes in San Francisco was a nice, sunny little studio. On one warm day, some ants crawled up through the wall from the trash cans a story below, and searched my apartment for food. Gross. Seeing a line of ants crawling turned my stomach. I took a paper towel, wiped them up,…

Read more

What is a Probability?

The world is a big place. With airplanes and the internet, we can now see all of it. This is something new in recent human history. We aren’t hard-wired to process the huge amounts of information that describe our modern world. This quote sums it up pretty well: A single death is a tragedy; a…

Read more

How to Never Get Locked Out of Your House

When I was in college everyone got locked out of their dorm room. The first time you called Public Safety to unlock your door it was free. Then they started charging you $10 or $20 bucks. I resolved to never let this happen. So I designed a system to avoid getting locked out. It works…

Read more

Manners Propaganda

A couple weeks ago I presented at BIL LA on some nicely-engineered aspects of Japanese society that I noticed when I was in Tokyo, recently. One thing from the trip that really struck me was what I call “manners propaganda”. Tokyo subways are full of this stuff. Friendly messages encouraging people to observe good manners.…

Read more

Everyone Plays Their Part

The warehouse worker packs the alarm clock. The postal worker delivers it. The barista sets it for 6:00. So they get to work on time. To serve coffee to the auto repair guy. So he’s alert when he gets to work. To replace the train worker’s tires. So they can drive to the depot. To fix the train. That the quant rides to work. To build the derivative model. That the finance exec uses. To do the deal with the food company and the farm company. To make a new food product viable. So the cook can make it for the grad student. Who eats it for energy to stay…

Read more