By Accident : Red Kite Prayer

By Accident : Red Kite Prayer:

I got hit by a car and learned how large my ego had become, learned that, more than anything, I was in my own way, and that the best way to get where I wanted to go, i.e. everywhere, was to let myself be small and let the world be big. I can, if I squint, see the accident again. I’m riding along. A Volvo passes me on the left. Its brake lights blaze purposefully. I back off on the pedals. A turn signal. I brake. Nothing to prove. And then the car turns in front of me. Its shocks make a hiccuping sound as it bounces into the driveway of the grocery store. I glance over my left shoulder and then guide my bike out into the open lane to glide past the Volvo’s bumper.
And then I ride home. Whole and well.

[The world is always ready to humble and caution us. It’s why “no fear” is a mantra for some. But none of us leave this world undefeated. I for one accept the path to smaller in everything I do, even if some parts of me will fight it until my final defeat.]

At Sloth-Like 3.5 MPH, M50 Bus Wins This Year’s Pokey Award

At Sloth-Like 3.5 MPH, M50 Bus Wins This Year’s Pokey Award:

Want to understand why more Manhattanites don’t ride the bus? Look no further than this year’s Pokey awards, given out annually by the Straphangers Campaign. Manhattan buses, as usual, top the list of the year’s slowest service.

The Pokey this year goes to the M50 crosstown bus, which averaged a mere 3.5 miles per hour at noon (imagine it at rush hour!). The 14 slowest lines are all in Manhattan, with the Bronx’s Bx19, which runs down Southern Boulevard and into Harlem, clocking in as the slowest bus in the other boroughs.

[Of course, I had many runs in with the M50 while empty (and I presume going home). The drivers were super aggressive, cutting off other drivers, not letting anyone into the lane. And they make a left hand turn onto 9A/12th from the right hand lane of 49th street. I know the turning radius is large, but there was no communication of their intent. It was always dangerous to watch as time after time unknowing people would pull up on the M50s left assuming that the bus was going to make a right turn… so a big NY raspberry in the direction of the M50.]
Source: StreetsBlog Pub Rules Pub Rules:

Almost of the above stuff is easy. Most of it is just avoiding stuff that’s stupid, but that lots of publications do. (And that make their jobs harder, for no gain.)

The challenge belongs in one place: the quality of the writing. And that’s it.

If the articles were poorly-written or not interesting or both, the site would fail.

But I believe, though I can’t back it up with numbers, that such a site with good, interesting articles would succeed very well.

[Noting for myself. Good stuff.]

How to take advantage of Redis just adding it to your stack

How to take advantage of Redis just adding it to your stack:

However one thing I like about Redis is that it can solve a lot of problems just adding it to your stack to do things that were too slow or impossible with your existing database. This way you start to take confidence with Redis in an incremental way, starting to use it just to optimize or to create new features in your application. This blog post explores a few use cases showing how people added Redis to existing environments to take advantage of Redis set of features. I’ll not report specific use cases with site names and exact configurations, I’ll just try to show you class of problems that Redis can solve without being your primary database.

[It’s the way I got Redis in the door with a team very wary (and weary) of adding anything to the stack.]

McDougall Newsletter: November 2011 – Why Did Steve Jobs Die?

McDougall Newsletter: November 2011 – Why Did Steve Jobs Die?:

Neither Steve Jobs’ vegan lifestyle nor turning down surgery were the acts of an insane man. Rather both decisions demonstrate his rationality, genius, intuitiveness, and internal strength to stand up for what he knew to be right. The truth may now give family and friends some peace of mind. Also those who tied Jobs’ cancer to his vegan diet can now go back to healthy eating. Understanding and publicizing the cause of his cancer should also focus more attention on the serious harms caused by chemicals used in the electronic industries.

Consider the misfortune that happened to Steve Jobs, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men to have ever lived. A little cost-free, harmless, and honest counsel would have greatly improved the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of Jobs—especially during the last 8 years of his life, when he gave so much to us.

[Interesting stuff if only conjecture.]
Source: Dave Winer

What purpose do book publishers serve?

What purpose do book publishers serve?:

Self-publishing often means Amazon is in control

The author also mentions her reluctance to become “Amazon’s bitch,” as she puts it, by making her work only available through the online retailer and its mobile platform. While self-publishers see themselves as fighting the system, she notes that they are really just exchanging one large corporate entity for another:

I don’t mind if someone else chooses to read my work electronically, just as I don’t mind if Amazon is one of the places to purchase my work; I’m simply wary of Amazon monopolizing the reading landscape.

But one of the biggest reasons Lepucki gives for not wanting to self-publish is also one of the best weapons good publishers have in their fight not to be disintermediated by Amazon, and that is the relationship that forms between a publisher — and the editors who handle a book — and an author. As she puts it, even the notes on her rejected manuscript from the sub-editor who handled it showed “these professionals are valuable to the process of book-making.” For every publisher who treats their writers so badly that they switch to Amazon, there are likely others who value that relationship and work hard to improve it.

[The problem is that entering into that relationship is costly so the big publishers have a lot of gatekeepers in place and often won’t even look at a book that doesn’t run through the industry mill. I don’t disagree that trading in one corporate owner for another is problematic. Unfortunately, that is the simple answer if you don’t want to do the work of building an individual relationship with your readers. Maybe do it as part of a plan. For example, it is often suggested that you publish a blog etc. in order to build an audience, and then the potential to earn money rises with the audience. Essentially you get to sell the “second” act, or the second book, etc. But maybe you can use Amazon to build that audience and then do something different with follow-ups so that you don’t lose all control.]