Weekend Reading: Readwise with Roam, WWI Naval Intelligence, and Interaction Density

April 4, 2020 • #

📖 Readwise2Roam

I’m liking so far the process of manually typing notes in Roam from highlights in my books. Something about it feels more efficient and leaves me with more meaningful, succinct notes. This could come in handy, though, if I want to pull all highlights directly from Readwise (which I’m still loving, use it every day).

How computational power—or its absence—shaped World War naval battles

How the battlecruiser in the early 20th century gave the British a birds-eye view of their fleet before the days of aerial photography, radar, or satellites:

To achieve his vision of a centrally controlled battlecruiser force, Fisher needed a clear picture of the threats. So he set up a top-secret room in the Admiralty building where intelligence reports and shipping news from all over the world were aggregated onto large maps that showed the positions of every friendly and known enemy ship.

This was known as the Admiralty plot. Unlike the displays you might see in a modern military headquarters (which may be updated every few minutes or seconds), these paper maps had a “refresh rate” of hours or even days. But they were nonetheless revolutionary, because for the first time in history a centralized commander could look at a representation of the world naval situation, with every friendly force and known enemy force tracked all around the world in nearly real time. The British leadership could then issue commands accordingly.

📲 Interaction Density

This is one of the best arguments to describe why “pro” users on multitouch devices have so much frustration trying to achieve the same levels of productivity they can on a desktop. Even with quality applications, for certain types of work, an iPad can feel like you’re handcuffed.

David Deutsch on Brexit and Error Correction

April 3, 2020 • #

I ran across this interview with physicist David Deutsch, with his thoughts on Brexit. A lot of great stuff here on resilience, error correction, individualism vs. collectivism, Karl Popper, and Britain’s first-past-the-post system.

Goal Progress: March

April 1, 2020 • #

So March has wrapped, probably the longest month we’ve had in many years.

The shake-up in schedule, work-life patterns, and disruptions in everything from kids, to family, to day-to-day activities played absolute hell with my progress on goals.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 141.04 miles 162 miles 650 miles -21.01
Meditation 860 minutes 778 minutes 3120 minutes +82
Reading 6 books 7.48 books 30 books -1.48

Let’s start with the “okay” news. On the meditation front I’ve been doing alright, but made a decision to switch from using Headspace to Oak. This was partially to shake up what was feeling like a lack of improvement, but I recognize that the tool is not the problem when it comes to disciplined practice of any sort. After reading Tom’s comments on Oak, I decided to give it a shot. I’ve been preferring unguided modes to help work on concentration myself; the cues can actually be a distraction in that way once you know what you’re supposed to be doing. Will see what happens here over the next month with our new normal.

Running was an unmitigated disaster this month. Way too many days off and missed for no particular reason other than the mental disruption in the daily flow. It’s counterintuitive that more time indoors and at home would make less time for running (it really hasn’t), but not having clear breakpoints in the day, plus the kids being home 100% of the time, has made this a difficult adjustment for things like exercise. I’m going to make a concerted effort to do mid-day runs with the kids in tow, even if that means higher quantity of shorter workouts. I’ve got to figure out a way to get a pattern going again.

Books appear behind, but don’t feel that way. I’ve done exactly what I’d intended all along at the start of the year, which was reading longer, deeper books — quality over quantity. I’ve really enjoyed the thread I’ve been following with the history of tech, and I’ve got a few more in the queue I’m looking forward to.

Bill Gates on Coronavirus

March 29, 2020 • #

A solid interview with Bill Gates with his thoughts on the COVID response. There aren’t many folks outside of the medical field more versed in this topic based on empirical experience than Gates. Interesting to hear his take.

Weekend Reading: Cloud Services, Cities After the Virus, and Corona Care Map

March 28, 2020 • #

☁️ Value of Cloud Based Services in Times of Crisis

Bryan wrote this post about how Fulcrum is supporting the COVID response efforts.

🏙 Cities After Coronavirus

I speculated a bit about this sort of thing earlier this week. How might urban design change?

One of the most pressing questions that urban planners will face is the apparent tension between densification – the push towards cities becoming more concentrated, which is seen as essential to improving environmental sustainability – and disaggregation, the separating out of populations, which is one of the key tools currently being used to hold back infection transmission.

🗺 COVID Care Map

Some colleagues in the geo community are working on this project to map health care resources by region and facility. All of the code and work is in the open on GitHub.