Friday Notes 085 - January 10 2020

Back from 2 weeks mostly off work, and I spent lots of time skiing with my family. At this point that means I spent most of my time on the easy hill with my 3 and 5 year old teaching them to ski a bit. Also lots of time just playing in the snow and letting the two younger kids play. My oldest spent lots of time all over the mountain with her friend learning to push herself a bit harder.

So it was a busy holiday, but with stuff the family was doing together.

These are dangerous times. Never have so many people had so much access to knowledge and yet have been so resistant to learning anything. - The Death of Expertise Page 2

I’m sure we all read this and assume that we don’t fall into the comment above. Of course, you don’t fall into confirmation bias. You never seek out information that confirms your opinions.

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I Shipped

Monday I reviewed the StayGo Hub from TwelveSouth as an iPad based hub. In short, it’s nice, but if you’re looking for 4K output from your iPad Pro you’ll need to look at the CalDigit USB C Pro dock.

Wednesday I reviewed my new LG 27UL500 4K monitor. I like it, and 4K looks so nice but I keep finding popular sites that have blurry images that don’t look great. I’m surprised sometimes at the places I see bad images.

Friday Five

1 Jason on Desktop First Mobile Computing

Jason wrote well about the ideal setup we’ve been craving in so many ways. He is aiming at the PinePhone which looks interesting.

I’ve gone the iPad Pro route. When I’m at my desk I drop my iPad in the dock and I’m connected to a 4K monitor and a wireless keyboard and I have a mouse with it. When I’m mobile I snap it in to one of the various cases I have for it.

When I don’t want a keyboard, I simply take it off and I have a tablet.

Yes I have a desktop but there are very few tasks I use it for still. Ripping movies of physical media, and getting a good visual GUI on a database. I am hopeful that the visual GUI for a database can be resolved with the right software, but I’m not expecting to be able to get something like Handbrake on my iPad ever.

2 Matthew on Action vs Motion

Matthew on action versus motion as he reads Atomic Habits (my review of Atomic Habits here).

Outlining a handful of articles I want to write is motion but writing a single piece is an action. Actions are steps towards a defined outcome. Not only did I find this insightful for building habits but also how I categorise tasks.

You should be biased towards action. Deploy that code. Publish that blog post. It’s far to easy to only do the motion thing, then wonder in a year why you’ve not made any progress.

3 Homework Prepping Kids for Working Late Is Stupid

Jamie Todd Rubin wrote an interesting piece about too much homework for his kid in 5th grade. He figures 50 minutes (10 minutes per grade level) is okay, but even there I disagree.

How many studies have we seen (heck Alex Pang wrote Rest all about this and Shorter too) that say over 50 hours a week of work we’re just terrible at anything. His kid already goes to school 7 hours a day 5-days a week for 35 hours of “work”. If we add 5 hours of homework in the week, the kid already has a 40 hour work week.

On top of that, we don’t schedule school for kids we schedule it for adults working so they don’t have to take care of kids. Then, we don’t consider school work so it doesn’t get a bunch of the protections that work does.

I’ve got a kid in public school in Canada and in grade 4 she does...almost no homework at all. Maybe practices spelling work when she wants, but that’s it.

I actually find Jamie’s “silver lining” pretty terrible too.

The silver lining to this, I suppose, is that it prepares these kids for the real world. Homework is a part of life in many jobs. Learning to find a balance between work and home life is a valuable skill. It just seems to me that fifth grade is too early to be learning this skill so abruptly.

We shouldn’t be accepting “homework” at work either. We shouldn’t be in for crazy days where we work all day, then work for hours at night.

It’s bad for us and not productive. Prepping a kid for that is terrible.

4 Retro Tech Has Me Interested in YouTube Premium

I haven’t paid for YouTube Premium but this Retro Tech series by MKBHD is pretty great. So far a bunch of the episodes have become free, but I’d pay for a month to finish out the episodes still behind a paywall if they’re not free after the New Year.

Pilot: Gameboy

Episode 1: Camcorder

Episode 2: Macintosh

I remember visiting a college professor’s house in 2002 and he had a Macintosh on his desk. I wasn’t much into tech at that point in my life, but even then it was old and he was publishing research papers on it. The first personal computer I remember having at home was the 386, my dad did work at IBM in Toronto so that makes sense. We even ran OS2.

Episode 3: Sega Genesis

This was the episode that made me most nostalgic. I owned a Genesis, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Turbo Graphix 16, N64. The Dreamcast was probably the only console of the era that I didn’t own.

5 Are We Actually Defending the Values We Say Are Important

I’m not even sure what to say about this except that you should read it. It’s the transcript of a Russian student recently convicted in court of...extremism. The author of the piece, that printed a translated version of the piece, says that the US could learn something from it.

It’s about love and being there for your family and your neighbours.