Books and Links: August

Books

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

I enjoyed Mr. McKeon’s book very much, and was convicted about many of the ways my life has been “designed by default.” I have tended to drift through life. It’s been fine for a while, but as an aspiring leader in my home and at work I need to embrace more clarity and focus.

If 40% of my decisions are made subconsciously, and I realize that my subconscious is largely influenced by the nudges and artifice of my digital surroundings as well as social pressures. It’s the great secret default key to my behavior… and I have invested far too little in designing and protecting my subconcious patterns. I now feel that this is part of “taking every thought captive” and “demolishing strongholds.”

I would recommend this book, especially if you feel pulled in all directions by many good things and you find the best things in life are suffering.

I’ll probably muse on it a little longer and write a longer review soon.

Link to my full notes

1: Peter Thiel — The Portal — Overcast

I’ve been meaning to listen to this for a while now, a long car ride to the beach gave me an opportunity. The collective historical perspective of their two minds is fascinating.

I’m slowly thinking through some of their assumptions… the revolution model of scientific progress, that scientific progress of any kind is inherently good… interesting.

Great discussion on the speed of progress (if you removed all the screens out of a room, how would you tell that time had passed since the 70s,) the issues with hyper-specialization of knowledge work, the self-destructive Malthusian obsession with “growth” leading to a lack of discernment between “cancerous growth” vs. true growth, the mass self-deception required for pretending your way to success, the way tenure is massaging professors into never questioning the university system… really intriguing conversation and ideas. I don’t think I’ve ever been tempted to re-listen to a three hour podcast before. Highly recommended.

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Implant Teardown

The implant has access to almost all of the personal information available on the device, which it is able to upload, unencrypted, to the attacker’s server. The implant binary does not persist on the device; if the phone is rebooted then the implant will not run until the device is re-exploited when the user visits a compromised site again. Given the breadth of information stolen, the attackers may nevertheless be able to maintain persistent access to various accounts and services by using the stolen authentication tokens from the keychain, even after they lose access to the device.

This is the tail-end of a long post about an iOS 0-day exploit that was in the wild for a while.

Don’t click on random URLs. Make sure you know who sends you stuff. Don’t go looking for pirated material on the internet. Not even your super-secure iPhone is safe.

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mophie powerstation hub

I’m always looking for neat ways to lighten the load in my bag… this may be a cool way to combine a whole slew of chargers… and a built in battery.

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The Marvel Symphonic Universe - YouTube

I’m continually sad that Every Frame a Painting is no longer making videos, but this is one of my favorites… highly recommended if you haven’t seen it already.

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Inside a scam call center - YouTube

I’ve had several friends and family hit by this particular scam. Seeing how the “business” is run and how easily they can get away with it is super fascinating. The way they smoothly move from coaxing and coaching to threatening is… anger-producing.

His sneaky ways to drain the bad guy’s money and protect their victims had me fist pumping in the air at my desk. He’s like a quiet-voiced cyber Paul Kersey.

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Why the NEW Blender 2.8 is a BIG DEAL - YouTube

Once upon a time, little Evan really wanted to make movies. My brothers wouldn’t act for me, so I did stop motion animation on Legos and when I ran out of bricks… I started looking at 3d animation.

I haven’t looked at it since high school, but it’s cool to see what amazing improvements an OSS community has made to this amazing tool.

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606 Universal Shelving System | Vitsœ

606 Universal Shelving System Designed by Dieter Rams in 1960 and made by Vitsœ ever since

Heard about this company in Essentialism… the design is lovely although I don’t think I’ll ever afford it.

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The Beehive - Factorio 1.35kspm Megabase with 1-1 Trains

the output is written in braille because it’s the most compact alphabet I’m aware of and I don’t want to make a bigger one.

I’ve been playing factorio and I’m amazed by the creativity and passion of its community. It makes me excited to build complex and interesting tools and automations at my actual job… I can’t think of many games that push my creativity the same way.

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Ethan Marcotte | The World-Wide Work

It’s all too easy to design something that excludes people.

Jeremy Keith is right. Set aside time, watch this now. I’m not sure how I feel about unionization, but I definitely agree that we need to take personal responsibility for what we design.

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Raush-Clearwater Packraft Traverse

It’s an area so wild that what may be the largest cave in Canada with a gaping 100m wide mouth was only discovered last year by a helicopter crew. Hence – moreso than the other ranges – the Caribou’s still have unclimbed peaks, unpaddled rivers and almost no trails – a situation Will wanted to investigate.

I have often lamented that I live past the days of grand exploration and adventure. I guess I haven’t looked hard enough.

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The Distraction-Free Phone – The Sweet Setup

It’s not hopeless though, and it’s not really the smartphone’s fault that we succumb to the gravitational pull of apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s our own fault for allowing ourselves to get sucked in in the first place.

But what can we do about it?

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Highlights from Git 2.23

A pretty big release… git switch and git restore feel like sensible additions to the porcelain. A lot easier to explain to be sure.

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The untold story of America’s brilliant national parks branding

unigrid system. photo courtesy of Standards Manual

Vignelli came up with a framework called the Unigrid system that provided a set of visual devices to streamline all of the NPS’s maps, pamphlets, and posters. That meant that each title would now run vertically along a brochure’s right side in Helvetica, and designers would work within a modular grid system that dictated where they could place images and text.

It was a boon for the government financially and logistically. “One of the good things about the Vignelli system is that it standardized paper sizes, weights, and types, and it was a grid system where you knew roughly what it was going to look like and how much text you had to have written and how many images might fit,” Smyth says. “It streamlined things quite a lot, and in the end they saved a lot of money from printing by buying things in bulk.” Vignelli’s Unigrid was so successful for the NPS that it’s still in use today.

Great design. Would not mind adding Parks to my collection of books.

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Electric Geek Transportation Systems

As for me, I have seen the future, and it is absolutely, inexorably, and unavoidably … electric. ⚡

While I am excited about the prospect of electric vehicles, and this article speaks to me when it comes to cars coming into my world as a programmer… I wonder how long the value curve will take to reach me down here in “I don’t buy new cars and I buy ten year old junkers” land.

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Adding Webmention Support to a Static Site

In an effort to have something like a comments on this site, I have started working on implementing webmentions. I’m excited to join the “IndieWeb,” and have a presence that I own but is still connected.

I have not fully implemented it all… but I hope to soon show webmentions via twitter or indieweb in each article.

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The Portal Podcast - 3: Werner Herzog

We shall technological utopias coming to an end in our century just as we saw sociological utopias coming to an end in the last century. this kind of illusion, this kind of technical utopia will come to an end in our century … we are going to die. That’s what all of creation points to.

– Werner Herzog

I’ve been finally catching up on this long form interview podcast… and was delighted to see Herzog as a guest. I’ve always had a fascination for Herzog, and this interview did not let me down.

I don’t agree with his worldview, but I admire his sense of duty to his craft and message. Get used to the bear behind you.

Some of his book recommendations in answer to a crowd question:

  • Don’t just read three. Read two thousand books. It’s the constant practice that makes a difference.
  • The Peregrine by JA Baker
  • The Discovery and Conquest of New Spain
  • A Guide for the Perplexed
  • The short stories of Joseph Conrad