Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 1st, 2008

Netflix “Watch Instantly”

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I have to admit that the Netflix “watch instantly” option is pretty cool: 6000 titles, more being added, and you can start watching (on your computer) within 30 seconds. It’s particularly useful to try out movies that you might want to rent—I’ve been able this afternoon to remove three from my queue: I watch for about 20 minutes and decide I don’t want to see it.

OTOH, I watched Maxed Out all the way through. If you have a credit card, you should watch that movie.

With Firefox, you do have to use IE Tab.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 5:22 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

“What have you changed your mind about?”

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Good question, with lots of answers:

[Most recent first:] Daniel Kahneman, David Gelernter, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Randolph M. Nesse, Linda S. Gottfredson, Kai Krause, Clay Shirky, Denis Dutton, Jamshed Bharucha, Lera Boroditsky, Gregory Benford, Richard Dawkins, Roger Bingham, Jesse Bering, Barry Smith, Steve Connor, Geoffrey Miller, George Johnson, Stephon Alexander, Beatrice Golomb, Chris DiBona, Jordan Pollack, Alison Gopnik, Paul Saffo, Neil Gershenfeld, J. Craig Venter, David Sloan Wilson, Simon Baron-Cohen, Austin Dacey, Daniel Engber, Roger Highfield, Francesco De Pretis, Dimitar Sasselov, Jaron Lanier, Janna Levin, Martin Rees, Esther Dyson, Anton Zeilinger, Gerd Gigerenzer, PZ Myers, Susan Blackmore, Adam Bly, Nicholas Humphrey, Paul Ewald, Seirian Sumner, Brian Eno, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Robert Shapiro, Sam Harris, Yossi Vardi, David Buss, Andrian Kreye, Daniel Goleman, James Geary, Tim O’Reilly, Philip Campbell, Frank Wilczek, Chris Anderson, Rupert Sheldrake Nicholas A. Christakis, Daniel C. Dennett, Helena Cronin, Aubrey de Grey, Nicholas Carr, Lisa Randall, Brian Goodwin, Carolyn Porco, William H. Calvin, Mary Catherine Bateson, Stanislas Dehaene, Linda Stone, Sean Carroll, Richard Wrangham, Marco Iacoboni, Scott Atran, Leo Chalupa, John Allen Paulos, Eduardo Punset, Rebecca Goldstein, Juan Enriquez, George Dyson, Paul Davies, Steven Pinker, Alan Alda, Patrick Bateson, Jon Haidt, George Church, Terrence Sejnowski, Judith Rich Harris, Oliver Morton, Stewart Brand, Daniel Gilbert, Sherry Turkle, John Horgan, Roger Schank, Carlo Rovelli, Xeni Jardin, Stephen Schneider, Diane Halpern, Alan Kay, Marti Hearst, Kevin Kelly, Marcel Kinsbourne, Peter Schwartz, Scott Sampson, Ernst Pöppel, John McCarthy, Seth Lloyd, Gary Klein, Stephen Kosslyn,Lawrence Krauss,Jeffrey Epstein, Ken Ford, John Baez, A. Garrett Lisi, Lee Smolin, Gary Marcus, Lee Silver, Laurence Smith, Robert Trivers, Rodney Brooks, Paul Steinhardt, Helen Fisher, Steve Nadis, Tor Nørretranders, Robert Sapolsky, Max Tegmark, David Dalrymple, Daniel Everett, David Myers, Keith Devlin, Todd Feinberg, Robert Provine, Marc D. Hauser, Thomas Metzinger, Dan Sperber, Leon Lederman, Timothy Taylor, Haim Harari, David Bodanis, Charles Seife, Mark Pagel, Arnold Trehub, Gino Segre, Nick Bostrom, Rudy Rucker, David Brin, Ed Regis, Freeman Dyson, Marcelo Gleiser, Irene Pepperberg, Colin Tudge, James O’Donnell, Michael Shermer, Donald Hoffman, Howard Gardner, Piet Hut, Douglas Rushkoff, Karl Sabbagh, Joseph LeDoux, Martin Seligman

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Daily life

Innovating requires fresh minds

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Interesting:

It’s a pickle of a paradox: As our knowledge and expertise increase, our creativity and ability to innovate tend to taper off. Why? Because the walls of the proverbial box in which we think are thickening along with our experience.

Andrew S. Grove, the co-founder of Intel, put it well in 2005 when he told an interviewer from Fortune, “When everybody knows that something is so, it means that nobody knows nothin’.” In other words, it becomes nearly impossible to look beyond what you know and think outside the box you’ve built around yourself.

This so-called curse of knowledge, a phrase used in a 1989 paper in The Journal of Political Economy, means that once you’ve become an expert in a particular subject, it’s hard to imagine not knowing what you do. Your conversations with others in the field are peppered with catch phrases and jargon that are foreign to the uninitiated. When it’s time to accomplish a task — open a store, build a house, buy new cash registers, sell insurance — those in the know get it done the way it has always been done, stifling innovation as they barrel along the well-worn path.

Elizabeth Newton, a psychologist, conducted an experiment on the curse of knowledge while working on her doctorate at Stanford in 1990. She gave one set of people, called “tappers,” a list of commonly known songs from which to choose. Their task was to rap their knuckles on a tabletop to the rhythm of the chosen tune as they thought about it in their heads. A second set of people, called “listeners,” were asked to name the songs.

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Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Tagged with ,

Morgan’s cool cars

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Thanks to Jack for pointing out these, especially the Aeromax and the Lifecar.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Business, Technology

Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles

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The Son recommended the move Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles, and I finally got around to watching it. While I watched, I thought it was good. After I finished the movie and thought it over, I thought it was very good. And now, a couple of days later, I’m beginning to realize that it’s exceptionally excellent. For one thing, it deals with a difficult theme: our desire to be close to other people, and how what we do gets in the way and is often irrelevant. And yet we continue to work toward closeness.

But the exceptional thing about the movie is the way the images so completely embody the ideas. Really, as I think about it and remember the various scenes, it grows on me what an amazingly good movie this is.

Watch it, and then take a day or two to think about it and remember the scenes and discoveries.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 11:15 am

Posted in Movies & TV

If you like mind maps

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Some people like mind maps, others (like me) are more reserved in their admiration. But if you find them useful, you will probably like Bubbl.us, a flash-based Web-resident program to create (and share) mind maps. Lifehack.org tells about it.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 10:38 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Free tools to manage resolutions and goals

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Lifehacker has a very good post today, listing (and describing and linking to) a bevy of tools that will help y0u define and achieve goals. And they’re free.

Their post begins with some good advice:

Choose Your Resolutions

Before we dive into goal trackers and resolution reminder systems, first make sure you’ve nailed down exactly what you want to achieve. Management expert Peter Drucker recommended that teams use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym as a guideline for setting objectives, and it works for personal goals, too. Your SMART New Year’s resolutions should be:

  • Specific. Don’t just say “Lose weight.” Decide to “Lose 12 pounds.”
  • Measurable. Instead of “Be better about corresponding with old friends,” decide to “Send out birthday and holiday cards to my high school friends.”
  • Achievable. “Be the perfect employee/mom/sister/spouse” is an admirable goal, but nobody’s perfect, no matter how resolved they are. Make your resolution something that’s possible—like, “Improve next year’s performance review by at least one grade.”
  • Realistic. You’ve only got so many hours in the day, so make your goals realistic based on what resources and tools you’ve got on hand. Learning how to milk a cow, for example, is less realistic for someone who lives in the middle of Manhattan.
  • Timely. Since these are New Year’s resolutions, set goals you can reach at most within the next 12 months. Giving yourself a “deadline” of sorts will help you figure out where you should be when while tracking your progress.

To read more about Drucker’s S.M.A.R.T. objective system, seem this helpful TechRepublic article, Use S.M.A.R.T. goals to launch management by objectives plan.

Tools to Track Your Progress

Last year we covered six free webapps that can help you keep your resolutions, including FitDay, Joe’s Goals, 43 Things, Wesabe, NaNoWriMo, Backpack, and Coolrunning.We won’t re-hash those six again today, but if you look at any of them, do check out Joe’s Goals. JG is the most flexible, feature-rich, and generic goal tracking site that can log your progress on multiple resolutions in a fun interface.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 10:29 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Good resources to know

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Ray also points out this site, part of the Open Library.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 10:05 am

One TV program I like a lot

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Though it’s over, it lives on via DVD—and it’s timeless. Worthwhile for any who enjoy politics. Two series: Yes, Minister followed by Yes, Prime Minister. Well worth the price, since they can be rewatched with enjoyment.

The great appeal of the series has several sources: the timeless machinations of politics, clearly explained and mocked; the fine comedic skills of the principals; and the excellent scripts.

But don’t take my word for it. See if you can persuade your library to buy the two series.

As is usual with good series: the episodes and the series should be viewed in order.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 10:03 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Tagged with

Classical music on the Web

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Thanks to Ray for pointing this out:

Classical Music Resources on the Web
A massive compilation from librarian Dave Mattison.

See Also: PublicRadioFan.com
We’re including this service since many public stations air classical music.

See Also: Pandora
This personalized music service now offers classical music

In particular, note PublicRadioFan.com (and be sure to set your time zone, so you can see what programs are currently on).

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 9:33 am

Epicurus on the happy life

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And what modern research says about his views.

“If a little is not enough for you, nothing is.” –Epicurus

Philosophers down the ages have been keen to tell the rest of us how to live and how to be happy. Certainly their advice comes to us with the lustre of intellectual achievement; it is both high-brow and high-powered, but can we understand any of it and how does it fare against modern psychological research?

One philosopher who dispensed clear advice about how to live a happy life was Epicurus, a Greek who lived in the third century B.C.. In a new article in the Journal of Happiness Studies, Bergsma, Poot and Liefbroer (in press) explain Epicurus’ guide to the good life and then compare it with some of the huge body of work in psychology looking at satisfaction with life.

Especially now as we launch ourselves into a New Year it is worth thinking about what both philosophy and psychology have to teach us about how to live the good life.

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Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 9:30 am

Posted in Daily life

Tagged with ,

10 movies for 2008 (with trailers)

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Here they are.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 9:18 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Google’s year-end zeitgeist

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A look at the big searches over the past year, categorized somewhat.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 9:16 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

First shave of 2008

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I did give a little thought to it. Taylor of Old Bond Street Avocado shaving cream, a favorite. And the Rooney Style 2 Finest, of course. And, since I haven’t used it for a while, the Merkur Vision with a new Treet Blue Special blade.

Very nice shave, though I see that the Vision needs disassembly and cleaning: it’s become hard to adjust.

I finished with Booster Lilac aftershave.

And, on the subject of shaving, I was pleased to find this new review of the Guide to Gourmet Shaving, posted on 30 December:

I bought this as a gift for my fiancé, along with a wet-shaving starting kit and a safety razor. He DEVOURED this book, and finds himself reading it again and again. He finally enjoys shaving. This book has helped him figure out so many things about wet shaving, and has recommended it to all of his friends and family.

Truly a great source of information for any man.

A good start for the new year.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2008 at 9:11 am

Posted in Shaving

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