I love this idea from USA Facts. If you need to talk about controversial topics with the fam, then have the facts handy.
I just thought this was funny and apt. It’s an “extra-long” mediation class for stress relief leading up to Christmas. 😂. It looks like we need relief from all the peace and happiness of the holidays. 🤷🏻♂️
According to research on the effect of music listening on work performance, music can indeed help your brain work better. But it depends what you are listening to.
Classical music, especially baroque, can increased mood and concentration – see Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel 👉example
Not really music, but nature sounds can increase cognitive function and concentration – rain, water, etc. 👉 example
Epic music can inspire you if you’re feeling unmotivated 👉 example
Ambient music can reduce stress (I’m not a huge fan, so no example 🤷🏻♂️😂)
My Own Favs
I also like some of the Apple Music concentration playlists such as Swift Concentration.
And even though it breaks some of the rules above, I just find KUTX relaxing.
Also, Miles Davis.
What Doesn’t Work
Not surprisingly, complex musical structure and lyrics don’t help. In fact, they make it harder for you brain to focus. (*Still, I can work to Johny Cash music, probably because it’s so familiar.)
Also, any music may hinder the especially difficult tasks.
And you have to be in the habit of listening to music to make it helpful. If you only do it sometimes, it doesn’t help.
Getting older is good! Well, not in every way — I’m getting near-sighted and having trouble bending my legs. 🤷🏻♂️ But in more significant ways, aging makes you better.
I don’t love the name of this article, but I do like the observations it contains.
These are some great lessons learned from aging, and I agree with them all.
- Nothing is ever “done”
- Success increases with your ability to be vulnerable
- There is always another struggle coming next
- You always have more to learn
- Being uncomfortable feels the best
I especially like the last one.
As you age and you understand the struggle never ends, you learn to move closer to uncomfortable situations because that’s where progress is unlocked and fulfillment can be found.
My blog’s current tag line is “This is not a blog.”
Originally, this site was intended as a way to keep track of links to interesting or useful things, like glorified bookmarks. But since then, it has evolved to serve another purpose: to make me think and communicate about stuff.
See, as I was bookmarking stuff, I found myself adding little bits about why I liked the link or context about how I found it. Over time, I found that when I would link to an article, I would sometimes want to add a summary about the article to help me process it and remember it better.
A better way to learn, process, retain and remember information is to learn half the time, and share half the time.
If I take two seconds to effortlessly save a bookmark, then the information is saved and soon forgotten. If I add even a quick post about it, giving it a title and some context or a summary, then that post is now a part of me. And as a bonus, I get to share it with other people.
So I was happy to see this article, which makes me think I am not wasting my time.
It basically says that if you make yourself talk about something, then you come to understand it or appreciate it better. Spend half you time learning and half your time explaining what you learned.
According to the article, I would be serving myself better by writing out my notes by hand. It seems people type too fast for their brain to absorb what they’re doing. And simply by writing that, I now remember that fact. But I’m typing this anyways because you can’t tag, search, and share your paper notebook. 🤷🏻♂️
And yes, this article is so meta.
If you’re not impressed, read “Failure is Not an Option” for just one perspective of the Mercury and Apollo programs.
Okay, let’s hashtag this 😆 #moon #apollo #apollo11 #apollo11anniversary #nasa #space #usa #houston #sky #shotoniphone via Instagram https://ift.tt/2xZpncU
Next time you’re in NYC, why not go see an opera? The tickets are surprisingly affordable (from $30). And even if you’re not an opera fan, this is a unique and interesting experience.
👉 The Metropolitan Opera (NYC)
Funnily enough, this tip came as a recommendation from Andy Ihnatko on a tech podcast. Listen in at this spot for more inspiration about the opera. 🤷🏻♂️
👉 MacBreak Weekly (MP3) 565: 10 Years After (via Overcast)
For the last couple of years, I’ve been relying on Apple Music for all my of musical needs. It’s great. It has absolutely every song I ever want to hear, instantly available in my car, while out for a walk, at home, on my laptop. Anything anywhere any time! And I have dozens of my own purpose-built playlists (Springsteen Covers, Dance Party, Garage Rock, more). Plus they provide a ton of their own playlists. (Same for Spotify, I’m sure.)
So online music streaming is perfect, right? Well, yes, but also no. 🤷🏻♂️
My playlists had became too safe and predictable. And it’s weird that I never ever ever listen to the local radio. So today I suddenly had the urge to listen to my favorite local Austin radio station: KUTX. So I streamed it (seriously, I don’t have a radio). And it was great!
KUTX will constantly surprise and delight you with music that you don’t control. I have unwittingly discovered some of very favorite bands here (The XX and Tinariwen for example). And btw, KUTX is a public radio station. No ads or BS. It’s basically a community service by music fans.
If you’re not in the mood straight-up KUTX , which is geared towards indie rock, they have other streams like Old School Dance Party, Eklektikos, a soul and R&B station, a jazz station, and even a kid-friendly indie music station.
This doesn’t mean I’m dropping Apple Music, which is still great when I want music to help me concentrate, or to listen to my favorite album. But I’m glad to remember my old friend KUTX as a way to mix things up a bit.
Okay, let’s keep the European spa / bath / swimming pool tour going. This time up: Budapest!
Yaaas! Code a Wolfenstein 3D knock-off and learn Swift 3D programming as you go! This is a hands-on Swift 3D programming tutorial with source code. I don’t see a down side here (except finding the time). 🤷🏻♂️
Retro Rampage is a tutorial series in which you will learn how to build a Wolfenstein-like game from scratch, in Swift.
Even the tutorial topics sounds cool: Separation of Concerns, Mazes and Motion, Ray Casting, Texture Mapping, Sprites. 🤩
Via iOS Dev Weekly.
If I ever get to Thailand, this temple is on the top of my list. I had never heard of the Wat Samphran Temple until it showed up on my Instagram feed with this amazon drone pic.
The whole building is a temple with a dragon wrapped around it. You can get to the roof in an elevator (when it’s working) or climb your way up inside the dragon. It kinds of looks like a Vegas tourist trap, but it’s a legit Buddhist temple.
More on Atlas Obscura:
We’re lucky to have such an amazing, energetic, diverse country. Let’s avoid the “us vs. them” stuff. We should be lifting everyone up.
#4thofjuly #independenceday #usa #🇺🇸 #shotoniphone #flag #austin #texas #atx #america via Instagram https://ift.tt/2G59mXl
This is a great quick guide on exploring a city in a more spontaneous and fun way than just rushing between pre-planned sites. Explore and have fun!
- Research, ask around — ask your Uber driver, check local Instagram accounts
- Be present — look around, pay attention to signs
- Map a Google map — Yes! I always do this on a big trip. It’s fun and helpful. (NYC example)
- Avoid making reservations — give yourself some flexibility
- Walk different routes — go one way, come back the other way
I hate setting aside 8 hours to sleep as much as anyone. If you need some inspiration, consider these benefits of getting 7-8 hours of sleep instead of 6. I’m adding this as a note to myself… Don’t skim on sleep! It’s not a waste of time!
- Unclogs your arteries
- Clears out brain clutter
- Improves brain performance
I remember reading that good sleep habits also help maintain a better body weight. I believe that; I know I get the munchies pretty bad when I’m tired. 😪
Follow up… An article on staying up late being tied to health issues including cancer and depression. 😵
Happiness isn’t a choice, or meaningfulness or something that you arrive at once you achieve something; it’s a habit.10 Habits of Consistently Happy People
Okay, here’s another one of these lists of things that happy/confident/successful people do. I’ve been generally skipping over these since they’re getting repetitive. But I saw this one and liked that it was emphasizing that these are not big, grand things, but little things to do consistently every day. (In that sense, it’s similar to being physically fit and eating right.)
But remember, pessimism has its place. 🤷🏻♂️
These high-rises in Milan are covered by 3 hectares of forest. What the?
Sure, the trees look cool. But they also moderate temperature, filter dust, and reduce noise pollution. Gotta check it out next time I’m in Italy.
The song You Worry Me has a great quote in it. It basically says, “Yeah, you might be worried, but I know things are gonna be good with us.” 😎
You seem tired today. Were you up all night afraid of what the future might bring?
I feel fine today. I’ve had dreams of you in places I’ve not seen before.
A fundamentally insane idea, here is a directory of 256 ways to be a better human.
This list covers productivity, health, mindfulness, business, and more. I think the list is too big to be helpful, but I like the inspired attempt to compile all this stuff. We could all certainly benefit from this info.
Personally, I feel like I have basically earned a degree on self-help over the last couple of years, and I’m at my limit. One of the things I’ve learned is to stop reading and thinking quite so much and instead get out there and do stuff. Nonetheless, here is the list. 😂
I really love this article on sprinting vs. jogging for exercise.
This guy literally kicks a ball as far as he can, then he chases after it as fast as he can. He does this for 7 minutes every other day. That’s his workout. 🤩
This workout is as effective or more so than jogging 40 minutes every day.
And it’s fun. It’s all about youthful chasing. He does this workout in parks across the world as he travels. No special clothes or workout gear are needed. Just a ball and basically whatever you’re wearing.
I felt I had flicked a switch. I discovered that I was more aware of my body — aligned with it. I carried my body with deeper confidence. For me, I am never looking for a beach-bod. I simply want to be strong, free from disease. It was amazing. In just a few minutes, my mind was signaling me — you’re stronger.
I’ve been into interval training, but this article is convincing me to drop the stopwatch for a soccer ball.
So simple, but even Aesop knew that adventure was worth something in itself.
Adventure is worthwhile.Aesop
Okay, at first this seems like another one of those articles that says “get off social media” or “back in the days before the internet…”. But it’s better than just that.
The core idea here is basically focus on your craft.
Creating authentic work that feeds your soul is all you need to do. It will fulfill you into old age, long after the Internet celebrities of the moment have moved on to late night TV commercials.
This article asks great questions, like:
- Why do I want more followers? To what end?
- What happens if I get them?
- What would I do if I didn’t have an audience?
Get comfortable with digital irrelevancy. Get off the social media treadmill and figure out what you really love doing. Then set about learning your craft.
Reminder to Self
In my own case, I have a measly 120 followers on my Instagram account. Yeah, sometimes I wish I had 500 or 800 followers. But how would that change my life? It wound’t. What if I could make a living on Instagram? Well damn, that would ruin it. The pressure of having to post interesting stuff on a regular basis would make it no fun at all.
I like Instagram because it’s a place to share photos with cool filters. And I like seeing other people’s cool photos. And occasionally connecting with people. And finding good places to eat and stuff to do.
As for this blog… my About page says that I have an intended audience of one (me). I find writing these posts useful because it makes me really read articles and focus on what they’re saying. And it makes me keep writing at least a little bit on a regular basis to help keep my brain engaged. I also like sharing good content that I come across on the interwebs
If I tried to make this a popular blog that makes me money, I would quickly drive myself insane. I have a day job for that. 😂
Much to my surprise, I have collected a few subscribers along the way. Hi, friends! Thanks for subscribing, and sorry for all the random posts!
With the Voyager space sailing beyond out solar system, this article looks at some ways we could send people to Alpha Centauri.
This article is a complete mindmelt 🤯: ion drives, solar sails, nuclear rockets, foraging for dark matter.
I don’t really understand this stuff, but I do like the idea that people could potentially fly around the universe and find a new home. Especially considering the black holes out there.
Deep dive into the interactive animations in the Sire Shortcuts app. I need to spend some time and understand this. It’s pretty involved.
PS I love the nice whiteboard he came up with for the architecture.
Amazing article on solving problems by first understanding essentials of the problem (not the solution). Simplify and focus on the big picture or “core” of the problem before jumping into details.
Finding the true form of the problem is almost as important as the answer that comes after.
I practically want to copy and past the whole article in here, but here are a few select highlights.
Finding the core problem
…it is to get the bigger picture right before you go chasing after the details. Otherwise, you start by pointing yourself in the wrong direction.
Shannon’s reasoning… was that it isn’t until you eliminate the inessential from the problem you are working on that you can see the core that will guide you to an answer.
Looking at the problem in different ways
One of Shannon’s go-to tricks was to restructure and contrast the problem in as many different ways as possible. This could mean exaggerating it, minimizing it, changing the words of how it is stated, reframing the angle from where it is looked at, and inverting it.
In every day life
Much of life — whether it’s in your work, or in your relationships, or as it relates to your well-being — comes down to identifying and attacking a problem so that you can move past it.
This mural is at Elibaeth St. and South Congress.
This #AccidentallyWesAnderson Instagram post caught my eye.
Next time I’m in LA, I’m going to check out this super-short and super-cute railway. It looks like it covers about one block in downtown LA. It’s been around over 100 years, minus a hiatus in the 1970’s and 1980’s due to some “urban renewal”.
Or “This beach isn’t nearly as nice as Hawaii.” Hey, Galveston is still a beach! Sand, waves, wind. Heaven.
Just because there might exist some other version somewhere that is (arguably) better doesn’t mean this one isn’t good/fun/yummy. You’re only hurting yourself, people! So I like this Teddy Roosevelt quote.
Comparison is the thief of joyTeddy Roosevelt via Soup Peddler
I’d consider myself to be an optimist, even against overwhelming evidence at times. It’s a sort of faith. It’s fun to be optimistic and see what happens. I like to give the middle finger to negativity.
While this article acknowledges the positive powers of optimism, it also details the surprising advantages of some healthy pessimism. I may need to work on leveraging some pessimism more, especially while estimating projects and budgets!
Pessimism can help us prepare and do our best work, increase desire and enthusiasm to improve things, and even reduce anxiety by motivating focus over avoidance. 🤯
The down side of optimism
Multiple research has shown that optimism has a dark side too. Not only it can lead to poor outcomes, but it makes us underestimate risks or take less action.
Optimists pay less attention to detail and fail to seek new information to challenge their rosy views leading to poor decisions.
The Optimism Bias is one of the two key factors why we inaccurately calculate big projects — we tend to underestimate both time and cost.
Defensive Pessimist is a particular type of pessimist that takes negative thinking to a whole new level. It’s a strategy that helps people reduce their anxiety — it drives focus rather than avoidance.
The defensive pessimist focuses on the worst-case scenario — s/he identifies and takes care of things that optimists miss. This approach can help us better prepare for events that are out of our full control such as a job interview.
In philosophy, Meliorism is a concept which drives our ability to improve the world through alteration — we can produce outcomes that are considered better than the original phenomenon.
Meliorism doesn’t mean ignoring the world’s evils. But to accept life’s setbacks as challenges to overcome. This joie de vivre energizes us — it boosts our desire and enthusiasm
I’ve been thinking lately how many “good” things have a bad side, and many “bad” things have a good side. A crisis is an opportunity. A loss is a rebirth. A failure renews focus. Sadness motivates appreciation. And on the flip side, getting what you want can be a letdown or even a disappointment.
I think Shakespeare’s quote is mostly about attitude and perception, and that’s a big part of this equation.
There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.William Shakespeare
I love that Herman is actually delivering this speech to a bunch of rich boys. And only Max Fischer applauds. 😆
Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember: they can buy anything, but they can’t buy backbone. Don’t let them forget that. Thank you.
These scientists used a virtual telescope the size of the entire Earth to nail down this black hole. And it appears that Einstein’s “least favorite idea” is holding up. Also, black holes are terrifying. 🤯
Great podcast about Houston’s ethnic diversity and a crazy giant underground cistern.
Anna Pham of Mai’s Restaurant and the chef Chris Shepherd discuss Houston’s heritage and how it’s being reinvented.
This episode of The Daily gives a great overview of why the heck “Brexit” has been so hard for the British prime minister to work out. I never really got it until now.
In a last-ditch effort to fulfill her promise of delivering Brexit, Britain’s prime minister dangled a final sacrifice.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2019/04/01/podcasts/the-daily/brexit-uk-theresa-may.html
I can’t even describe how amazing Garageband is. It’s lets you record almost anything. And it sounds good! And it’s free! And easy to use! And it has basically all the guitar amps and pedals in the world. And real professional musicians use it to record real music. And it works on the iPhone and iPad.
I just recored a punk-inspired version of Bruce Springsteen’s No Surrender with it. I sang (yikes!) and played two guitar tracks, Drums were compliments of Garageband. It took like half an hour. I mean, what the hell?!?!
Here is Steve Jobs introducing GarageBand in 2004. “Garageband is a major new pro music tool. But it’s for everyone.”
And here’s an interesting list of milestones for Garageband.
Okay, this stuff drives me crazy. I’m glad to see an article about it.
Here’s the perfect quote to summarize the idea:
The point is to prepare the kid for the road, instead of preparing the road for the kid.
Via Apple News.
Procrastination is emotional
We put something off when there is a negative mood about it. By putting it off, we (1) get some momentary relief and (2) increase negativity about the task. This makes us want to put it off more. So it becomes an “especially vicious” cycle. We momentarily feel better by putting off an unwanted task, and we learn to dislike the task more the more we put it off. 😑
This only compounds the negative associations we have with the task, and those feelings will still be there whenever we come back to it, along with increased stress and anxiety, feelings of low self-esteem and self-blame.
Procrastination is irrational
When we procrastinate, we’re not only aware that we’re avoiding the task in question, but also that doing so is probably a bad idea. And yet, we do it anyway.
With procrastination, we are overly focused on the present and tend to look at our futures self (who has to do the task) as a different person, and the thing we’re putting off as “somebody else’s problem”. 🤷🏻♂️😳
Dealing with procrastination
Aka “The Bigger Better Offer”. Make it easier and feel better to not procrastinate than to procrastinate.
Procrastination is about emotions, not productivity. The solution doesn’t involve downloading a time management app or learning new strategies for self-control. It has to do with managing our emotions in a new way.
- Consider only the next action
- Make your temptations more inconvenient
- Make the things we want to do as easy as possible
- Forgive yourself for procrastinating. This can actually break the cycle!
- Practice self-compassion. (Side note, this also “boosts motivation, enhances feelings of self-worth and fosters positive emotions like optimism, wisdom, curiosity and personal initiative.”)
- Be curious about your own feelings on the procrastination
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmonyMohandas Gandhi
It’s easier too ^.
I love this progression from believe to action to destiny. It makes sense and shows how powerful and self-actualizing your beliefs are.
Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.Mahatma Gandhi
I think it’s funny that we in the software engineering world actually have to create rules and idioms to remind us to do things the simplest way possible. When you can do anything, it actually takes conscious effort to simplify. Meet KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and YAGNI (You Ain’t Gonna Need It).
Developers are not dumb, but sometimes we outsmart ourselves.
Where KISS suggests that you implement the full solution to a problem in the simplest way possible YAGNI asks the question of whether everything in the full solution is really necessary.
IMHO we shouldn’t fix a problem until we have the actual need in focus, and which point we know the details of the problem and can properly kick its ass. Or if the problem never comes up (which is often the case), then the problem solves itself. I’m not saying we shouldn’t plan ahead, but let’s only do so when we have an actual concrete issue we can aim our brain lasers at.
Essential Xcode Shortcuts for More Efficient Coding
— Read on medium.com/flawless-app-stories/essential-xcode-shortcuts-for-more-efficient-coding-1f8e58b2c907