When this list of Woody Guthrie’s “New Year’s Rulin’s” popped up on the internet a year ago, it became an instant classic of the season. Which means that the time has rolled around to remember it, reread it and take it again to heart. There’s a rulin’ on it to suit just about anybody because it never hurts to be reminded “Don’t get lonesome,” “Stay glad,” “Dream good” and “Love everybody.” Also, “Wash teeth if any.”
Happy New Year everybody!
Via Lists of Note
[Y]our experience in the for-profit world is not nearly as valuable as you think it is. The executives are probably good at flattering you by asking you for your advice: the slogan in the non-profit world is “if you want advice, ask for money; if you want money, ask for advice”. Once again, be humble. They live these issues every week; they know them better than you do.
A lot of good tough-love lessons for donors in this piece. The most important? Don’t attach conditions to how your money is used if you trust the organization. If you don’t trust the organization to spend it wisely without strings attached, give elsewhere.
I think the kingdom of heaven is like this. There was little girl playing on the beach with her bucket and shovel, building a sandcastle. She started way up high on the beach, at low tide. And she built and built, building towers and walls and using driftwood sticks as flagpoles. After a while she began to notice that the waves were getting closer. So she built seawalls, and moats, and drainage ditches. But the water kept coming closer and closer. She stopped for a moment, and turned and looked at the ocean. There was water as far as she could see. She looked back at her little castle. It didn’t seem quite so big anymore. Then she threw her bucket and shovel over her head and ran down into the surf, splashing and yelling and full of joy.
We can spend the whole of our lives trying to protect the little sand castle we’re building from the waves of the rising tide, or we can say to heck with it, and go swim in the great big ocean.
Searching Google News for “Android Update” is the fastest way to find the motivation to hurl yourself into an abyss lined with new Android phones running old software. There’s a veritable cottage industry around the question of which Android phones are going to get the latest updates, and when they’re going to get them, like some strange technologically dystopic form of Calvinist divination. Short answer: Not your phone, and not anytime soon.
"Just root the phone" the Android loyalists would say, "you can install whatever ROM you want."
Let me say as a moderately technical and resourceful person who spent some time this morning trying to figure out how to root a Galaxy S I to run Android 2.3 (currently on 2.2)…this is not a solution for the faint of heart/time/patience. Fragmentation on Android sucks. A lot.
There’s a great book called The Lyre of Orpheus by Robertson Davies, a Canadian writer. In it someone has written a symphony. It’s part of her doctoral thesis, and she brings it to a professor, who says, “Okay, I’ll let you know what I think.” He’s asked, “Don’t you want to hear it?”—there’s an orchestra at this school—and the professor says, “No. All an orchestra can do is get the notes wrong. I’ll play it perfectly in my head.” I understand what that means. When I look at a script for one of our shows, I’m playing it perfectly in my head. All I can do is fuck it up.
I blame Ezra Klein (via a tweet around election time) for leading me to this site….literally for the article. The profile is well worth a read as Colbert gets to step away from his character for a bit to reveal his true nature as a thoughtful and caring person who takes his craft tremendously seriously.
Just because you can sing a song or write a song does not give you the right to be haughty. To act like you’re something that you ain’t. And to get away from your raisin’. That ain’t gonna be done. It’s not gonna be done.
Love this oral history of the Avetts from Michael Kruse. Looking forward to reading the full piece in Our State soon. This is a quote from the brothers’ father.
Lawmakers are scrambling to strike a deficit reduction deal before the end-of-year deadline, and in a press conference today, President Obama called the failure to get a deal done “mind-boggling.”
The dysfunction is even more mind-boggling when you consider just how close both sides were before the talks collapsed. House Republicans and the White House had been gradually giving ground and getting closer to a broad deficit reduction package. As the chart above shows, the last offers from the Republicans and the White House were extremely close, off by only a few hundred billion on either side of the ledger. One or two more rounds of negotiations may have sealed it.
Instead, the House Republican caucus revolted, Speaker John Boehner walked away from the talks, and we find ourselves here, three days from the deadline with only flickers of hope that an agreement will be reached in time.
I really like this Google Analytics ad showing online checkout processes in the real world.
Via The Dish.
Digital Holiday Chores
I’ve been enjoying my post-holiday vacation time like most folks by eating too many leftovers (including the sinfully delicious homemade cinnamon rolls we made Christmas morning), reveling in the return of the West Wing to Netflix streaming, and….trying to organize a few aspects of my digital life.
A few things I’ve found recently have been insanely useful, so I wanted to share:
1. If, like me, you have a personal DropBox account but also use DropBox for work, you’ve likely encountered the frustration of only being able to sync a single account with your computer. Thanks to this item on Lifehacker I found this incredible guide to adding 2 DropBox accounts to your computer. Works great—pain point no more!
2. We received a new fancy DSLR camera this Christmas in preparation for baby’s arrival in May. I wanted to establish a process to both save and backup our photos but also easily get them from camera to computer. So far I like the Eye-Fi card, which uploads over our wifi network to a folder I designate on my computer. Their software interface is pretty horrendous, but with a little poking around I established this system (posting in case it’s helpful to anyone else):
- Picture is taken on the camera
- When connected to our wifi network, camera downloads the photo from the Eye-Fi card to a folder on an external hard drive connected to my iMac
- The photo, once downloaded to the external HD, is posted automatically to our Flickr account as a private photo
- The external HD is regularly backed up via BackBlaze
So, in theory, photos should automatically exist in 3-4 places: the Eye-Fi SD card (until it runs out of room, at which point it automatically deletes old, successfully transferred photos); the external HD; Flickr; and the BackBlaze back-up. Let’s see how this holds up once baby arrives and photos increase exponentially.
3. Related: I moved all of my music over to my external HD as well. Here are simple instructions for doing this without losing play counts, etc from your iTunes library.
Back to West Wing viewing.
Above all remember, dear, that you have a great opportunity. You are in one of the world’s best schools, in one of the world’s greatest modern empires. Millions of boys and girls all over this world would give almost anything they possess to be where you are. You are there by no desert or merit of yours, but only by lucky chance.
Deserve it, then. Study, do your work. Be honest, frank and fearless and get some grasp of the real values of life.
I really love this note from W.E.B. Du Bois to his 14 year old daughter, away at prep school.
New voting technologies face a mountain of scrutiny. Elections in the United States require a high level of integrity, across multiple dimensions, either by public expectation or by law. These requirements include secrecy (so people can’t find out how you voted), privacy (so people can’t stand over your shoulder at the ballot box and coerce you), accountability (so votes can be verified as authentic), uniqueness (so people can only vote once), and accuracy (so votes are recorded correctly). Good voting systems should also be reliable, flexible, convenient, and cost-effective. For remote internet voting to be feasible and meaningful, it has to fulfill all of these criteria adequately, and experts are skeptical that an internet voting system could meet all of these needs.
This is a really great and thorough piece that you should send to anyone who wonders aloud “Why don’t we have online voting yet??”
Mr. Loughner, by making death and producing tragedy, you sought to extinguish the beauty of life. To diminish potential. To strain love. And to cancel ideas. You tried to create for all of us a world as dark and evil as your own. But know this, and remember it always: You failed.[…] there is what persists in Gabby: her love for this city, this state and this country. Her commitment to lifting us all up, and her ability to lead. Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place.
My Ikea-Hacked Standing Desk
I’ve been interested in switching over to a standing desk for a while. This piece in Wirecutter helped seal the deal for me, and I began researching options. As somebody who is moderately handy but by no means a legitimate carpenter—and who also reads Lifehacker regularly—the concept of Ikea hacking appealed to me.
The first and very crucial step was deciding on the correct ergonomic heights for my keyboard and monitor. This graphic from the Tinkering Monkey tells you all you need to know. Using their guide I determined that for my 6 foot frame, I needed my keyboard shelf at about 44” and the monitor shelf about 6-8” inches above that. I use a 21” iMac, so I tried it on various surfaces around the house to make sure placing it at 50”-52” put the center of the screen at standing eye level.
Knowing the dimensions I needed, I looked at a variety of approaches posted online, including:
- Gina Trapani’s modification of the Ikea Jerker desk, which didn’t match the style and sturdiness I was going for but which might be a good fit if you want to limit the construction and modification steps. This desk can also be switched from standing to sitting in case you change your mind.
- This desk, which seems similarly easy to build and customize but not quite my style.
- This option from Ikea Hackers was a little short for my frame. I like the style but it looks complicated to build.
- This one was appealing but wouldn’t work with my iMac.
- This standing/sitting desk combo looks great but I’m a bit short on space to do this and my wife doesn’t work from home.
- Other options shown here.
In the end, I liked this approach from Peter Marks the best, but the height of his model was too tall for me. I liked his idea of using the Expedit shelf units as a strong and sturdy base, so I started there.