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Optimizing Performance is a Moral Imperative

I have an app that some people use. It talks to a web server. That web server responds to different URLs. (I call them “endpoints”.) One of those endpoints was slow. It used to take 113ms (median) to finish. 113ms is pretty quick on the scale of human thought. But 113 was more milliseconds than…

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The Best Shower Clock: A Casio Watch

I’ve found that keeping a clock in the shower is an easy cure for taking excessively-long showers. No need to set a timer—just seeing time pass seems to be enough. To this end, I’ve gone through a couple waterproof clocks with suction cups. They were junk and fell off the tiles and broke. Also, expensive.…

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How to Make a Seinfeld Calendar

People talk about working hard vs. working smart as if that’s the alternative you are faced with. It’s not. People who excel work both hard and smart. The Seinfeld Calendar is a smart piece of productivity technology that helps you to work hard. If you don’t know what a Seinfeld Calendar is, read this article, then…

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How much time does cutting corners save?

The answer is: “up to 30%”. What? You thought this was some think piece about craftsmanship and doing things the hard way? No! It’s math time, my friends. How much time do you save by going straight from the red point to the green point? Call the sides of the triangle a, b, and c.…

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Quantifying Graph Paper Quality

The grid lines on graph paper have to be just right. If they’re too dark, they compete for attention with your ink. If they’re too light, what’s the point? I took Edward Tufte’s concept of the data-ink ratio and quantified what makes the best graph paper. I used “machine learning” to compare the darkness of the grid…

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Mathematics of the Deadlift

By 2015 I was tired of endurance sports and shifted my athletic focus to weight lifting. I targeted the deadlift, for a single goal to optimize. It works most of your body and is the strongest lift, so you get big, satisfying numbers. My first training program was just: go to the gym and do…

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