Sunday, March 27, 2005

Free your mind

One of the most useful tools I use day to day is an open source mind mapping tool named FreeMind. Mind mapping is a fairly simple concept that organizes your thoughts hierarchically. Once you get beyond seven or eight thoughts on a subject the mind needs to organize into levels of abstraction. FreeMind allows you to put some thoughts down and then start categorizing. You can easily move thoughts from one category to another, link them, and highlight them with icons. I highly recommend it. Download at the freemind sourceforge site and start mind mapping today!

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Ignorance, intent strangely both begin singing
Raise hope owing not insistence only
Hanging gardens plight form grooves
Impact one actor, silenced, militant
Entranced plagued elegant here
Light filters agnostic nothing itself
An affection lost pining accepted

Back here fearing every admonishment
Bones moan echoing egregious fate
Come ascertain hastily penned boarish
Earth addled, absolute penetration a curse
Faraway magic begins family theme
Finished braggery helps itinerant bystanders
Inebriated allegory wizard zeitgeist nears

Atavistic heroine errs strangely zen
Peloton skullduggery daringly initiates laughter
Departments condone ample whispering patience
Raindrop descends abruptly rupturing striking snakelike
Virgin hipster personifies gallant convulsive recidivism
Moonlight tumbles sonata-like peculiar
Immaculate arrangement fetters heart


To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
('Auguries of Innocence')

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Blink #1

Malcom Gladwell points out in his book Blink that we are constantly making snap decisions about complex situations and that most of the time these decisions are right on. We don't know how we do it, but our subconcious mind quickly picks out the essence of a pattern that fits the given situation and we "sense" the right thing to do. These intuitions seem to work best when we have a limited amount of information. Mr. Gladwell gives the example of emergency room cardiac arrest diagnosis. In most hospitals, if you arrive complaining about pain in your chest, and especially if you're older and have been a smoker they will check you into the cardiac unit and run a barrage of tests. This is a classic case of too much information. The chairman of the department of medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago ran a little experiment. Given this information on 20 past patients, he asked his staff of doctors to make an assessment and recommend treatment for each. "The answers were all over the map." A cardiologist named Lee Goldman discovered through statistical analysis that there are only about 3 really important leading indicators. If you limit the doctors to this set of information for initial analysis their accuracy improves dramatically.

"Overloading the decision makers with information, he proves, makes picking up that signature harder, not easier. To be a successfull decision maker, we have to edit."

Now this may not be a groundbreaking discovery but what it does point out is an incredibly large problem that technology has foisted upon us. While dramatically improving our lives in many ways(including lengthening) technology has also created an information glut. This makes it harder and harder for us to make good decisions.

Can technology solve problems imposed by technology? Stay tuned. I'll write more about this in the future.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Boycott Starbucks!!

America's favorite latte' location doesn't get it. While most independent coffee shops provide free wireless access to their loyal customers Starbucks charges for their airwaves (or rather encourages T-Mobile to do so). While pumping that glorious coffee aroma into the neighborhood, the wireless transmissions that share the same airspace are restricted. Free wireless access would increase loyalty (or in Starbucks case, decrease attrition of the loyal base). I for one, will not support Starbucks any longer until they free their airwaves!! Starbucks, lift your head from the sand!

To find free hotspots in your area you can go to:

Here's a listing of free spots in the Boulder, CO area. My favorite spot is Cafe Sole in Superior. Great coffee, free wireless!

  • Boulder Public Library - 1000 Canyon Blvd. - (303) 441-3100
  • Buchanan's Coffee Pub - 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. - 303-440-0222
  • Cafe Bravo - 2425 Canyon Blvd # B
  • Cafe Sienna - 1 Boulder Plaza, 1801 13th St - 303-417-0168
  • Caffè Sole - South Boulder - 637R South Broadway - 303-499-2985
  • Camille's Sidewalk Café - 1710 Pearl St. - 303-440-9727
  • Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub - 1922 13th Street
  • Jet's Espressoria - 2116 B Pearl St
  • Pearl Street Mall - between Broadway and 13th Street along the mall
  • Pekoe Sip House - 1225 Alpine Avenue - 303-444-5953
  • Penny Lane Coffehouse - 1795 Pearl Street - (303)443-9516
  • RedFish restaurant / Jamaica Joe coffeeshop - 2027 13th St.
  • Tea Spot - 1801 13th St. Ste 170 - (303) 442-4TEA
  • The Painted Bean - 2500 30th St. - 303.444.4207
  • Traveller's Juice N Java - 1932 14th St.
  • Trident coffee and café - 940 Pearl St
  • Vic's coffee - 2680 Broadway St

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Our Time

quiet animals watch
dew turning to frost
green and now gone
still and yet still
all ending as one

in their midst lay the dancer
negation of charms
still and yet still
rotations begun

breath reaching outward
once spinning, once spun
still and yet still
first full and now none

minister's mystery
peace will come from
still and yet still
all ending as one

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Feeder herds

Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby is a cautionary tale that excoriatingly explores american pop culture and even deeper the misguided use of power in human history. One of the stories a character in the book (Oyster) describes is about mariners who would leave a pair of pigs or goats on deserted islands(in Adam/Eve fashion). The introduction of the goats to this pristine wonderland has a devastating effect. With no natural predators the goats are able to multiply unhindered and eventually denude the entire landscape. The upside was that when the sailors returned in the direction from whence they came, they could stop at this island knowing they had fresh meat for their return journey. Oyster ponders when the gods might return to Earth with a whole lot of barbecue sauce...

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