Give Credit. Take Blame.

StopSign-OldSeth Godin recently wrote of the importance of owning responsibility for your mistakes and sharing credit for successes. He focused on use of the pronouns “I”, “you” and “we,” and when each is most appropriate. Example: Instead of saying “I” when announcing a success, he suggests using “we.” Continue reading

The Ever-Growing Book List

A portion of the book stack that awaits me next to my bed.

A portion of the book stack that awaits me next to my bed.

I just finished reading a marvelous book of essays about Chicago and Chicagoans, Neil Steinberg’s You Were Never in Chicago, recommended by a friend. It was educational, engaging, and made me think a lot about what makes Chicago unique and what makes someone a Chicagoan. It also left me further behind in my planned/desired reading than I was when I started it. Continue reading

Thinking Machines: They’re Already with Us

An essay inspired by the book What to Think About Machines that Think, edited by John Brockman

A-Techno-thinkyMachines that think are already among us. They’re also so far out in the future that they might never arrive.

Machines that think give us reason for great hope. They also should cause us great concern.

We might be thinking in entirely the wrong way about machines that think. Continue reading

Map My Fail

I’m a fitness tracker. Exercise, weight, the foods I eat, how much water I drink… I track it all. It helps motivate me to get healthier.

The other day, I walked my dog to the library so I could return a book. It’s a moderate-length walk for us, a couple of miles, and was uneventful save for the fact that my phone crashed while I was using it to track my exercise. So when I got home, I had to log the walk manually. My phone still didn’t want to behave, so I fired up my laptop to use the tracking app’s web interface. What greeted me was an object lesson in usability:

Usability fail Continue reading

Community, Literature, Snow


The happy little snowman I walked past in my ‘hood a couple of weeks ago.

Snowmageddon hit the East Coast this week, and judging from my social media feed I think at least a few people took the opportunity to immerse themselves in books they’d not previously found time for.

I live in the Midwest, and we saw only an inch or so of accumulated snow throughout the entire week, which is nearly nothing by our standards. We also saw the end of a cold snap, with temperatures rising from the single digits, which even we consider cold, to the upper 20s, which in January constitutes a virtual heat wave. We took advantage of this very moderate weather by getting our dogs out for longer walks, which makes both them and everyone around them happier.

Despite the moderate weather, I still found myself immersed in books throughout much of the week and weekend: reading, thinking and talking books. Continue reading