New series: Sitting, standing, and walking
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4d ago
I'm starting a new series called Sitting, standing, and walking: Getting rid of the office chair. Near the end of my last series on Journey away from smartphones, I described the growing discontent I felt by sitting in front of a screen all day. I longed to be outside, walking, engrossed in a panoramic view of the surrounding sky. Instead, it seemed most of my life, especially working in tech, was spent sitting. This series is all about ways to reduce sitting and avoid the sedentary life in front of the screen ..read more
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The diametric pull towards tech and wildness
I'd Rather Be Writing
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2w ago
Not long ago, I decided to take up a goal of walking for two hours a day. The goal didn't last more than two weeks, but the trajectory informed me about my ongoing push and pull with technology. However much I try to break away from tech's screens, I'm drawn to them because of their continual inflow of multifaceted information; it's like a magnetic pull. At the same time, there's an opposing pull in the opposite direction: towards wildness ..read more
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Book review: May I Ask a Technical Question, by Jeff Krinock and Matt Hoff
I'd Rather Be Writing
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1M ago
Jeff Krinock and Matt Hoff's 2016 book, May I Ask a Technical Question? Questions about digital reliability each of us should ask, provides an essential addition to the growing cyber-skeptic genre. The authors don't aim to vilify digital technology, but rather to encourage readers to thoughtfully consider the costs and benefits of each innovation ..read more
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Book review: May I Ask a Technical Question, by Jeff Krinnock and Matt Hoff
I'd Rather Be Writing
by
1M ago
Jeff Krinnock and Matt Hoff's 2016 book, May I Ask a Technical Question? Questions about digital reliability each of us should ask, provides an essential addition to the growing cyber-skeptic genre. The authors don't aim to vilify digital technology, but rather to encourage readers to thoughtfully consider the costs and benefits of each innovation ..read more
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Conclusion and takeaways from my Journey Away from Smartphones series
I'd Rather Be Writing
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1M ago
A New York Times article about Luddite teens who rejected their smartphones made me reflect on my own journey away from smartphones and the complexities of discerning how to adopt transformative technology in our lives. In this conclusion to the series, I highlight key learnings and realizations throughout the the year, including how the project changed my life for the better ..read more
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From monkey mind to calm, ordered consciousness -- even outside of flow? Wrestling with Csikszentmihalyi's assumptions about psychic entropy
I'd Rather Be Writing
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1M ago
This post continues my series about how to regain long-form concentration. Although Csikszentmihalyi says the brain's natural state — when left alone without any focused attention — gravitates toward entropy and chaos (more commonly referred to as monkey mind), I'm not sure I want to agree. In this post, I ask how and why consciousness becomes disordered in the first place (why we have monkey mind), and how we might change that natural state. In my experience, infinite-scrolling the web and filling my mind with a high-intensity of randomness creates different brain patterns than reading a book ..read more
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'Putting together things': Articulating a thesis about the effects of hyper-specialization on documentation
I'd Rather Be Writing
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1M ago
In this post, I try to articulate the emerging thesis in this series on fizzled trends. In a nutshell, my argument is that technical writers should focus on higher-level overview content in authoring technical content — for example, a systems view, developer journey, product overview, and the like. The reason being, the role of editing, curating, and publishing information as a valuable skill seem to be diminishing in importance. Additionally, with technology trends moving toward hyper-specialization, this larger, overarching system view is nearly extinct ..read more
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Thoughts on ChatGPT while reading Crawford's Why We Drive: whatever skill you outsource, atrophies
I'd Rather Be Writing
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1M ago
Whatever skill you outsource, atrophies. When we outsource tasks to machines to perform, our abilities to perform the task ourselves weakens. From driving to writing, automation threatens to reduce yet another element of the human experience. In this post, I'll use Matthew Crawford's Why We Drive as a lens through which to interpret ChatGPT ..read more
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Having fun with ChatGPT
I'd Rather Be Writing
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1M ago
If you haven't already heard about and experimented with ChatGPT, you need to. This generative AI writing tool has the potential to do for writing what art AI tools have already done for graphic content. ChatGPT is pretty mind-blowing. I didn't realize AI writing tools were so advanced ..read more
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What scientists learn about attention and focus when using fMRI scans of the brain: DMN and TPN modes
I'd Rather Be Writing
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2M ago
Understanding two areas of the brain — DMN and TPN — helps illuminate different modes of our brain: the DMN is active during brooding, rumination, and other imaginative thought. The TPN is active when you're focused on tasks ..read more
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