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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…

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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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Fully-Automatic Society

In manual society, the law only stings if you get caught and prosecuted. But we’re transitioning to semi-automatic society, and fully-automatic society is on the horizon. Manual society is like manual transmission in a car: some human has to do all the work. A police officer has to catch you doing a “California roll” through…

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