In everything is a chance

Is there something morally pure or preferable about a painful intricate construction, rather than the brisk, functional way most people toss off a task?

Is there a beauty in seriousness?

It would appear it is something that I can’t fail to be touched by. A shorthand lesson plan on how I wish to live.

When there is no compromise with expediency, no taking for granted of power structures, nothing but rigorous honesty and tireless interrogation; there is some feeling or hope that if I could put every single thing under the sun into this moment I could head off sorrow, frustration, resentment, missed communication, and thwarted ambition.

It is way easier of course to walk past, to not examine, to not take apart: There is a social use in seeing an ambulance rushing by without imagining who is inside it, in buying a quart of milk without thinking too deeply about the guy behind the counter, or how the cow was treated. The fish who is thinking obsessively “What is water?” is, no doubt, a little less likely to swim very far.

Still, every time I tinker with some aspect of my life working toward it being, acceptable, professional, workable, move-on-able, I think “Maybe I’ll do it a little better this time.”

And I’ve come to realize that it is that which I cherish in people, companies, workshops, and craft. Making it a priority that the every day approach is “How can I do this better this time?” and is a fundamental path. The warp and weft of process. The chance to make the work, the hour, the day sacred in some truest sense, because through that improvement, we succeed at seizing the moment.

Inspiration vs. Imitation

Inspiration vs. Imitation:

1. It’s OK to copy people’s work.[GIANT ASTERISK!]

2. Not everything you make should be on the internet.

3. Diversify your inspirations.

4. History is important.

5. Train your eye.

6. Just because it’s not illegal doesn’t mean it’s ethical.

7. Everybody knows everybody.

Most of the time the offenders aren’t aware of how obvious their inspiration sources are. We’re all guilty of it when we’re starting out, but hopefully this article will remind some of you to keep that practice work out of your portfolio, which will keep the angry blog commenters off your back.

Always keep practicing (and practicing, and practicing), keep looking at beautiful work, keep researching others to look up to and be inspired by. In no time you’ll be making beautiful original work of your own.

[There’s a lot more to this piece. And the issues are often complicated. But no doubt there is value in being yourself. First and foremost is… no one can be a better you than you.]
Source: Jessica Hische

The economics of Christmas lights

The economics of Christmas lights:

Two asides: First, it’s interesting to note that no one (zero) gets paid to put up Christmas lights, but some towns are awash in them.

and second, I think there’s a parallel to the broken windows theory here. Broken Windows asserts that in cities with small acts of vandalism and unrepaired facades, crime goes up. The Christmas Light corollary might be that in towns (or online communities) where there’s a higher rate of profit-free community contribution, happiness and productivity go up as well.

Source: Seth’s Blog

Firefox faces uncertain future as Google deal apparently ends

Firefox faces uncertain future as Google deal apparently ends:

It might be worthwhile for Google just to keep Microsoft from buying that promotion for Bing. Because if anyone’s willing to throw massive piles of money at gaining marketshare that isn’t worth anywhere near what they spent to gain it, it’s Microsoft. Given the history between Firefox and Internet Explorer, though, it would be pretty entertaining if Microsoft made such a deal, effectively sponsoring Firefox’s continued development.

I’m a bit sad for Firefox. It used to be the fast, powerful, progressive browser that finally broke IE’s era of stagnant dominance and saved web developers’ sanity. Now, it’s a bloated, slow, unstable monster that’s often a pain in this web developer’s ass.

It’s losing marketshare to Chrome for very good reasons. There’s no place for it in mobile, where most of the growth and action is happening in the industry, and most of their other recent attempts at new platforms and products have fizzled out.

I’m not sure Firefox can be saved. It might continue for a long time as a fringe browser choice, like Opera, but I don’t see how its marketshare will ever increase again.

[It certainly lost a lot of ground with my circle of developers. They went from using it as their only browser, to also using it alongside of others. Trust me to know these guys, that’s two miles of bad road. Ya know? Onward!]