Open Loops: Sleep and Productivity

“As we rob the night of sleep hours to get more things done, we are depriving our body of much needed time for it to repair and rejuvenate itself. Sleep is what we need to stay alert and focused on the day’s activities.”
“Exhaustion, fatigue and lack of physical energy are common sleep deprivation symptoms. Exhaustion and fatigue affect our emotional moods, causing pessimism, sadness, stress and anger. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has suggested that social problems such as road rage may be caused, in part, by a national epidemic of sleepiness.”
Open Loops: Sleep and Productivity

Big Spiders

I have just discovered the most evil looking spider I have ever seen.
Taiwan has some fairly large spiders which when encountered for the first time scared the hell out of me. When we first moved into this house we killed about six of the brown huntsman variety which are reputed to be expert cockroach killers. So last week when I saw one I let it be thinking that it would help with keeping the cockroaches away. I had seen a couple cockroaches in the house so I thought it made sense. Now this spider I saw last week was big, many times larger than anything you see in Atlantic Canada, but whatever is lurking downstairs at the moment looks like it may have eaten that one for a snack. It’s eyes glowed green and it’s body was huge.
Unfortunately I can’t have a creature like that in my house. I’m 84kgs in weight, 185cm tall, and I am terrified of spiders. In this death match that is about to ensue I hope I come out the victor, if not, please tell my family I love them.

Error Message Guidelines

“Established wisdom holds that good error messages are polite, precise, and constructive. The Web brings a few new guidelines: Make error messages clearly visible, reduce the work required to fix the problem, and educate users along the way.”
Jacob Neilson believes good error messages should include:

  • Explicit indication that something has gone wrong
  • Human-readable language
  • Polite phrasing that doesn’t blame users or imply that they are either stupid or doing something wrong
  • Precise descriptions of exact problems
  • Constructive advice on how to fix the problem
  • Visible and highly noticeable, both in terms of the message itself and how it indicates which dialogue element users must repair
  • Preserve as much as the user’s work as possible.
  • Reduce the work of correcting the error
  • Hypertext links can be used to connect a concise error message to a page with additional background material or an explanation of the problem

Error Message Guidelines

Common Sense View on Ways to Make Money

“You can make money in three ways: (1) you make it (you are an employee; you work), (2) someone else makes it for you (you are an employer), and (3) what you own generates money (assets). Being self-employed can be thrown into the employer category, if necessary. I suppose you could add things like gifts and inheritance too. However, I’m not going to count those things because they are too random.
If this assessment is true, and your goal is to work less but still have more money, the trick is to pile your effort (and money) make into the right categories. You should try to be an employer or acquire assets. I can’t make it much more simple than this.”
Ways to Make Money :: WebWord Usability Weblog :: Usability and Human Factors for the Internet

Consider the entire experience

“And yes, I think that designers must – in fact, are responsible to – attempt to control those environments. At the end of the day, our job is to create or participate in the creation of solutions. While we may be conditioned to artificially define the boundaries of our involvement at particular places, the reality is that our charge can, and should, stretch to include the entire experience. And even though many of us are not working in contexts where we realistically have the budget, influence, or reach to change the state of interfaces, we at least need to be thinking at that level, and ask those questions, and challenge the artificial constraints. Because is is our job to provide solutions for people. That is what design is: creation in or alteration of the world to meet the needs and desires of people. In order to best meet those needs and desires, we must think at a different level.” Beyond the pixels: consider the entire experience

How to Become an Early Riser

“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.
– Aristotle
Are morning people born or made? In my case it was definitely made. In my early 20s, I rarely went to bed before midnight, and I’d almost always sleep in late. I usually didn’t start hitting my stride each day until late afternoon.

The solution was to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night.”

How to Become an Early Riser » Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog


“Specialization is in fact only a fancy form of slavery wherein the ‘expert’ is fooled into accepting his slavery by making him feel that in return he is in a socially and culturally preferred, ergo, highly secure, lifelong position. But only the king’s son receive kingdom-wide scope of training.”
— R. Buckminster Fuller, “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”
Found at

Overcoming workflow paralysis

“I’m a good, modern hipster. I’ve read GTD (twice). I’ve got my moleskines, my hipster-pda, my treo, my powerbook, my basement covered with notes. I know the difference between a next action and a to-do. Yet every once in a while, I still manage to get behind. When I do, my behavior changes. The more behind I am, the more time I spend staring blankly at my monitor. The later my nights get. The crabbier I become. I feel like poo. And I look like it too.”
Read: Almost Cool: Overcoming workflow paralysis:

IA as a competitive advantage

“America’s entertainment industry is committing slow, spectacular suicide, while one of Europe’s biggest broadcasters – the BBC – is rushing headlong to the future, embracing innovation rather than fighting it.”
“The BBC is indeed quietly getting way ahead of most other media companies.
I often talk about IA as a competitive advantage: the BBC gets that. (I shouldn’t define IA this broadly, but hey). They have consistent URI’s for every program ever made (working on it at least), they have API’s in the new BBC Backstage, they embrace RSS and let users play with their data. In other words: they architect their information with an eye towards the future. Long term metadata. Good URI’s. Open to users.
The big advantage the BBC has had is that it’s attitude towards information hasn’t been lead by vendor pitches, but by passionate and talented people for years. You can’t just buy that, or expect to catch up with that in a year or two. That’s IA as a competitive advantage.”
From IA as a competitive advantage on Wired News: The Beeb Shall Inherit the Earth