Monthly Archives: September 2013

How To Deconstruct Almost Anything

Afterward, however, I was left with a sense that I should try to actually understand what these people were saying, really. I figured that one of three cases must apply. It could be that there was truly some content there of value, once you learned the lingo. If this was the case, then I wanted to know what it was. On the other hand, perhaps there was actually content there but it was bogus my working hypothesis, in which case I wanted to be able to respond to it credibly. On the third hand, maybe there was no content there after all, in which case I wanted to be able to write these clowns off without feeling guilty that I hadn’t given them due consideration.

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A barbaric software engineer attempts to understand and deconstruct postmodern literary criticism.

Thoreau 2.0

First, though, a word of warning. Thoreau is a wonderful writer and often extremely quotable. But when people are very quotable, it can make it harder to listen to what they actually have to say.

Walden is a layered work. You can’t just go in and strip-mine it for a bunch of Tim Ferriss-style life hacks, or inspirational quotes, without missing the entire point of the book.

Since we have limited time, though, I’ve gone and picked out some Tim Ferriss-style lifehacks and inspirational quotes, which I will present as a set of bullet points.

Maciej Cegłowski the writer gets better and better with age.

Lexington: The American Dream, RIP?

It describes a future largely stripped of middling jobs and broad prosperity. An elite 10-15% of Americans will have the brains and self-discipline to master tomorrow’s technology and extract profit from it, he speculates. They will enjoy great wealth and stimulating lives. Others will endure stagnant or even falling wages, as employers measure their output with “oppressive precision”. Some will thrive as service-providers to the rich. A few will claw their way into the elite (cheap online education will be a great leveller), bolstering the idea of a “hyper-meritocracy” at work: this “will make it easier to ignore those left behind”.

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An idea for a series of bestselling books: take cyberpunk novels of William Gibson from 1980s and rewrite them as non-fiction set in the present or near future.

Progressive Reduction

Our Signposting button starts out as a large icon with a label. When you’ve demonstrated proficiency, we remove the label. After you’ve become a total pro, we de-emphasize the button altogether. Other examples include variations on labels, size, contrast, and color.

LayerVault creates a proficiency profile for every user. We do so by providing positive forces to get you into the right process, and when you’re an expert, we get out of your way. At the moment it’s limited, but you can imagine how useful having a report card for each user might be.

A web app adapts its interface as the user becomes more proficient. An idea that sounds so obvious and all the technical building blocks have be in place for years, yet no one seems to have had implemented it before.

Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?

So let’s reprise this situation: The Chairman of Google’s girlfriend was being used as a back channel for Hillary Clinton. This is illustrative. It shows that at this level of US society, as in other corporate states, it is all musical chairs.

For an extended time Silicon Valley was pinned for not understanding the intricacies of Washington politics. Well, these days are long gone.

Geeking Out on the Logo

We hadn’t updated our logo in 18 years. Our brand, as represented by the logo, has been valued at as much as ~$10 billion dollars. So, while it was time for a change, it’s not something we could do lightly.

Sneak peek into Marissa’s next steps:

On a personal level, I love coding, HTML, CSS, and, most of all, Vim. I think it’s one of the most incredible code editors ever made. I’m not a pro, but I know enough to be dangerous :)

So, one weekend this summer, I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the trenches with our front-end dev team. We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday coding the new Yahoo front page from start to finish, and we had a ton of fun weighing every minute detail.