As pointed out by several publications, as of yesterday Apple — the world’s most valuable technology company — has more cash and marketable securities on hand than the federal government does, according to the U.S. Treasury’s own daily statement. At the end of June, the iPad and Mac maker had $76.2 billion on hand, while the government currently has $73.8 billion in operating cash balance.
Reverend Gary Davis was mentioned during the documentary, It Might Get Loud.
The blues he sings is about as real as the blues gets.
Welcome to the new road to serfdom. Here’s how I’d put it. Far from innovating our institutions in this time of historic, sweeping global economic crisis and social fracture, the very opposite seems to be happening–our institutions are diminishing, regressing, devolving, sliding back tens or hundreds of years at a time into economically prehistoric practices and beliefs.
I came across a refreshing talk to the students of Berklee College of Music by John Mayer. While I’m not a musician and not all of his advice is relevant to me, what he said was great and can be useful to people in other artistic endeavors.
We read a lot about the importance of developing your personal brand and taking advantage of online tools and platforms but Mayer thinks otherwise. At least for when you’re still honing your craft:
This time is a really important time for you guys because nobody knows who you are, and nobody should. This is not a time to promote yourself. It doesn’t matter. This is the time to get your stuff together. Promotion can be like that. You can have promotion in 30 seconds if your stuff is good. Good music is its own promotion.
You got the distraction of being able to publish yourself immediately, and it is a distraction if you’re not done producing what the product is going to be that you’re going to someday use the promotion to sell…I had to go through the same thing I’m talking to you about – what you have to go through – which is to completely manage all the distraction. Manage the temptation of publishing yourself
I like the dig at Facebook on the Settings page of Google Plus:
Shneiderman’s Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design:
1. Strive for consistency.
2. Enable frequent users to use shortcuts.
3. Offer informative feedback.
4. Design dialog to yield closure.
5. Offer simple error handling.
6. Permit easy reversal of actions.
7. Support internal locus of control.
8. Reduce short-term memory load.
Most of the time, I’m in complete agreement with this sensibility, but what concerns me is that in this counterintuitive embrace of failure we may be conflating different kinds of failure, and doing so at some risk. Perhaps all this is a necessary antidote to capitalism’s “success at any cost” mentality. But I have a creeping sense of anxiety that the rise in the rhetoric of failure dovetails in troubling ways with a shift toward esteem building in child raising and general education — in other words, trophies for the last place team, too. And not to sound like a hard-driving, unforgiving “tiger mother,” but I do wonder what this ubiquitous positive vibe surrounding failure really means for a nation in decline on almost every measure of productivity, achievement, and social equity. Coincidence?
Wishingful Thinking gives us 10 Ways the Workplace Crushes Creativity.
One study found that office distractions eat an average 2.1 hours a day. Another study, published in October 2005, found that employees spent an average of 11 minutes on a project before being distracted. After an interruption it takes them 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they do at all. People switch activities every three minutes, either making a call, speaking with someone in their cubicle, or working on a document.
Distractions are not just frustrating; they can be exhausting. By the time you get back to where you were, your ability to stay focused goes down even further as you have even less glucose available now. Change focus ten times an hour (one study showed people in offices did so as much as 20 times an hour), and your productive thinking time is only a fraction of what’s possible.
When I read this, my immediate thought was all the external distractions I get (managers, clients), but there’s just as many, if not more, self-imposed distractions to get rid of.
Checking Facebook, checking RSS feeds, checking Twitter, seeing if anyone new and cool is on Google Plus, responding to instant messages – these are all potential distractions (not everyone finds them irresistible to check) we have the ability to remove.
Made me laugh for a good five minutes.
Great review of a great film over at A Bright Wall In A Dark Room:
Which is why a film like Blue Valentine is so tough to watch. Hollywood, long complicit in the fueling of many millions of happily-ever-after dreams, here slaps us in our collective face: it gives us the whole story. The beginning and the end (and all the highs and lows in between). It’s draining. It’s painful. It’s one of the finest relationship movies I’ve ever seen. Not because relationships are awful – some are, some aren’t – but rather because they are such hard work. And so rarely do we get to see all that hard work – the truly messy and complicated rollercoaster of a living, breathing relationship – onscreen.
via On Display
Steven Johnson talks about moving from New York to San Francisco:
But the other reason for the move, in truth, is that I’ve come to think that this kind of change is intrinsically good in itself, wherever you happen to move. An old friend who did a similar westward migration a few years ago told me that the great thing about moving is that the changed context helps you understand yourself and your family more deeply: you get to see all the things that you really loved about your old home–and the things that always bothered you without you fully recognizing it. Like a good control study in a science experiment, the contrast allows you to see what really matters. Changing the background scenery helps you see the foreground more clearly.
via Noah Brier