Archive for January, 2009

Fri 30 Jan 2009 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Technology

This Facebook thing has gone too far

Elementary school? Really? The worst part is you know I’m going to click “Confirm.”

Wed 28 Jan 2009 8:37 am   //   Posted in: Labeling

Important vs. interesting

I have been thinking about the difference between stuff that’s IMPORTANT and stuff that’s INTERESTING. For some reason, our brains do not give these concepts equal weight. We feel phobic toward big spiders, yet we find nothing scary about riding in a car – even though the odds of sudden death by car accident are far greater than death by spider bite.

This may explain why, over the last decade, America invested billions in airport security and the war in Iraq, yet did very little to patch the vulnerabilities in our financial system. Both terrorism and banks are IMPORTANT. But terrorism is INTERESTING, while banks are not.

Even by sheer numbers, a thing with influence, that’s demonstrably important, is not always interesting. Consider the things we talk about compared the things that touch the greatest numbers of people.

INTERESTING: Plane crashes
IMPORTANT: Heart disease

IMPORTANT: Reader’s Digest

INTERESTING: A handgun in your nightstand
IMPORTANT: A fire extinguisher in your kitchen

INTERESTING: Media companies
IMPORTANT: Construction companies

IMPORTANT: High school sports

INTERESTING: Saturday Night Live
IMPORTANT: 60 Minutes



Things that manage to be both? How about weather, schools and gas prices.

Sun 25 Jan 2009 5:33 pm   //   Posted in: Technology

Demo of my new web site

Ever have a project that you’re obsessed with getting perfect, but you just don’t have time to get it done? So it is with my redesign of the main page.

I have a working test version of it online here. But it needs a lot of refinement (both technical and aesthetic) before I’m comfortable letting it stand as my main public face on the Internet. My goal was to have it done by the end of January, so there’s still time. Stay tuned.

Sun 25 Jan 2009 5:17 pm   //   Posted in: In the news, Photos

More inauguration photos

Washington, D.C., January 20, 2009:


Tue 20 Jan 2009 4:32 pm   //   Posted in: Photos

From the inauguration

Gerritt, Melanie, Tom, Matthew and I had a fine time on the mall in D.C. earlier today. It was a long, cold morning but everything went as smoothly as possible under the weight of the huge crowd. We got caught in a big mob scene at one intersection on the way out, but after a few minutes of muddling through it we escaped to the relative calm of Capitol Hill SW. The crowd itself was really great… Cheerful, patient, exhuberant. Will post a few more of my snapshots later, but here’s one:

Sat 17 Jan 2009 3:07 pm   //   Posted in: Food & drink

The password is “Mint Mojito”

The people in charge of America’s chewing gum supply should be put in charge of curing cancer – ’cause they’re doing a freakin’ amazing job with gum. For as long as I can remember, gum has been getting better. We’re in a golden age of gum.

I’m a fan of the super-strong Dentyne Ice gum that comes in the black package. But about a year ago, a guy I know from church introduced me to a new flavor of Wrigley’s Orbit gum called Mint Mojito. He spoke about it in such glowing terms I thought he must be joking. He wasn’t. It’s simply amazing gum. Since then, every time I notice someone chewing it, I say, “Hey, I chew that gum too.” And suddently we’ve bonded, as if we’re both instantly in on a little secret. Now you’re in on it, too. Try it.

Sat 17 Jan 2009 2:56 pm   //   Posted in: Technology

See what the Internet can offer you!

I was cleaning up my apartment last week and found a box of old mail. Inside was this postcard advertising Delphi Internet service. There’s no date on it, but I’m guessing it’s from 1992 or 1993. I’m not sure why I saved it, but it’s a hoot: