how does it DO that?

It's a standard feature of social networking sites that they offer you suggested new connections based on the connections you already have.

LinkedIn is starting to freak me out. It has suggested to me several out-of-state individuals to whom I have no openly-discernable connection but who are, in fact, actual clients of mine. Who might not want that broadcast on a social networking site.

How does LinkedIn know?


holding my breath

One of the biggest mental shifts that I've had to make over the years as I think about computers--which I do a lot--is learning how to think about networks. Way back in the day--and I mean waaaay back in the day--my law firm put a box on my desk (it was a 286! w00t!), connected it to a network, and that was it. It ran or it didn't, and no one ever explained why to me. This was a big firm.

Twenty-one years later, my main business machine is a laptop (my beloved Thinkpad T61, still a classic) that travels largely between the wired network at my office over which I have some control, and a wireless network at my house over which I have complete control. It also trundles around from time to time to hook up with public networks from SeaTac to Aruba and parts in between (I'm particularly fond of the wireless network at the Satellite Cafe in Albuquerque, New Mexico).

I've always been able to make the laptop's connections work. But. In doing a little end-of-the-month maintenance on my system this morning, I focused for the first time that I have the following software running simultaneously on my Thinkpad:

(1) The Windows Vista Network and Sharing Center (part of the OS AFAICT);
(2) Lenovo's Access Connections (which has always worked really well); and
(3) Network Magic, which I used to set up my Rube Goldberg system at home that links a Win XP Home machine, a Windows 7 beta machine, a Windows 2000 machine, an XBox 360, a Zune, and, from time to time, my laptop (Vista Business SP 2 beta RC).

Now, I still know next-to-nothing about networks. How is it that I have been able to persuade these three pieces of software to peacefully coexist (and to split infinitives)? Is it time for dialectical bootstrapping?

I'm holding my breath.


data rot

New nomenclature, old concept. Along with global warming, something else to worry about.


the minimalist workspace

I'm working towards this. I have noticed, however, the peculiar phenomenon that as my workspace grows ever less cluttered, the desks of my staff get more cluttered. Are they less committed to miminalism than I, or simply in no position to complain about me dumping my crap on their nice clean desks? Hm.


dialectical bootstrapping

I'm all about making better decisions, so imagine my delight when I stumbled on research by Stefan M. Herzog and Ralph Hertwig of the University of Basel about a decisionmaking technique with the added benefit of a delightfully jargon-loaded name.

According to the article,
Dialectical bootstrapping is a method by which an individual mind averages its' [sic] own conflicting opinions, thus simulating the "wisdom of the crowd." In other words, dialectical bootstrapping enables different opinions to be created and combined in the same mind. For example, in this study, participants were asked to identify dates of various historical events. After they gave their initial answer, the participants were asked to think of reasons why the answer may be wrong and were then asked to come up with an alternative second (dialectical) answer.

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that the average of the participants' first answer with the second answer was much closer to the correct answer, compared to the original answers on their own. In addition, the dialectical bootstrapping method (that is, thinking about why your own answer might be incorrect and then averaging across estimates) resulted in more accurate answers compared to simply making a second guess without considering why the first answer may be wrong.

These findings suggest that dialectical bootstrapping may be an effective strategy in helping us come up with better answers to many types of problems.



how not to use a lawyer

You never know when your snotty letter is going to be posted on the Internet.


strange bedfellows

Because of XM Radio's well-publicized financial problems, I haven't been surprised to see changes in their radio lineup (wreaking havoc with my preset buttons, but it's not all about me). So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that the traffic and weather channels would change.

But what a change! Looking for the channel with Seattle traffic while stuck in same last night, I found that it now combines Seattle and San Francisco traffic and weather. Well, that would be quite a commute.

Curiosity led me to listen to the other traffic stations and discover additional weird combos:

Atlanta and Miami
Phoenix and San Diego
Chicago and St. Louis
Pittsburgh and Minneapolis
(my favorite) Las Vegas and Detroit

Not to mention the fundamental weirdness of listening to a traffic report for San Francisco while driving in the dark in Seattle.

Yes, I can see that broadcasting the Calendrier Sportif reduces the number of weather and traffic channel space available. Did XM acquire this along with Howard Stern when they combined with Sirius? I hope they received something more useful.


the real reason that dinosaurs became extinct

Their eyesight was too #*%*% crappy to use text messages effectively.


I have been trying to use this thing called Twitter (where I am, creatively, "tdgor"), and my texting ability is severely limited by my inability to see the buttons on the damn phone.

This is sad.