the virtue of sloth

Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. — Robert Heinlen Yesterday a friend came to me with a problem. He and his colleagues regularly make use of articles posted on a website. It’s a useful site, but it has two shortcomings.

lessons from the cuckoo’s egg

Cliff Stoll Doubleday, 1989 Amazon There was a time before we defaulted to locking our doors. In the 1980s, the nascent internet was mostly used by research scientists and the military. The community was small, and—as tends to be the case in small communities—the level of trust was high. Administrators didn’t invest much effort in […]

construct validity

For a while we were all deluded into believing that we can directly optimize for the “correct” objective — be it clickthrough, revenue, or whatever — without any regard for made-up bullshit that can’t be objectively measured. You know, like “happiness,” or “trust.”

when jakob met eliza

There are two ways you can help users become proficient with your product. The first is explicit feedback, in which you literally tell them what to do. Documentation/manuals are a common example. The second is implicit feedback, where the user learns by doing. Implicit feedback is great, but a whole bunch of prerequisites have to be in place in order for it work […]

visualizing piero scaruffi’s music database

Since the mid-1980s, Piero Scaruffi has written essays on countless topics, and published them all for free on the internet – which he helped develop. You can learn more about him (and pretty much anything else that might interest you) on his legendary website.