Long ago, before your grandparents were in this world, there was a young girl. Nara was her name. She lived near a very high mountain. Every day, at sunrise, she greeted the mountain like this:
“Good morning, dear mountain, I wish you happiness. I will climb you tomorrow.”
But she had barely finished these words when a crow perched by her window, and in a trollish voice, told her: “You can’t climb it. You are a very small child and that is a giant mountain.”
Always, at that time, Nara became sad. She believed she would not be able to conquer it, now, nor ever. But one day many smiling clouds arrived at her village. They covered all the sky, and the mountain top too. That way, the mountain looked smaller. That day Nara did not say: “I will climb you tomorrow” but “I will climb today.”
When the crow arrived at the window it did not find her because she was taking breakfast in the kitchen. It went there but she had gone to her room. It flew to her room, but the girl, after having put on her coat, her red woolen hat and her rainbow boots, had left the house. When it found Nara, she was already climbing the mountain. “Hello, crow,” was Nara’s greeting. “Hello, girl, what are you doing?”, replied the crow. “Going up, to the top.” “But you can’t reach the top, it’s a very high mountain.”
Hi, I did it again. Another huge project, not that huge at the Unhomeless script but certainly a demanding one. And, for a change, I’m not setting up any deadline for this project, only that I want it available to the public by Christmas.
So what’s this project about? A traditional, pen-and-paper, roleplaying game with influences and inspiration from Horatio Alger, Dickens, Victor Hugo, Jules Verne and Mark Twain. You know, in a roleplaying game you pretend to be someone else, usually fighters, wizards, clerics, and thieves. Only in this game, you could be a newsboy or newsgirl from 1890 to 1910, living on your own in the fictional city of New Paris, USA. (more…)
It’s 7:30 PM. You are working on some stuff due tomorrow, 9:00 AM, and you have enough time to make it. But then a red light pops up in your mind. Yes, that other task you chose to procrastinate and had forgotten… guess when they want it done?
I know I sound like a mother, teacher, and boss, but it happens to be true: you must avoid procrastination. Had you done it when you had the time too, now you would not be facing this crisis. Some people may say that they love to work under pressure; I’d say that many of those only work when pressured enough.
Do you love tight deadlines? Good, just do stuff as soon as possible and try to beat your record every time. That’s all the pressure you’ll ever need or want.
We do, most of us anyway, yet not with the strength of our fathers. They saw the marvels of science transformed into technology: railroads, steamships, antibiotics, the airship, the plane, radio, television and last but not least, the Internet.
Yet at the same time, children are no longer safe roaming the streets, we are aware of every crime, villages that once had a vibrant cultural life are now transformed into TV watching drones and then plugged into the Internet. And let’s not forget the atomic bomb or even the conventional bombing that hit Guernika, Amsterdam, London and destroyed Hamburg and Dresden. Last but not least, an increasingly endangered nature.
Science is not really about that. Science is knowledge. But, the fact is, most of us judge science not by its capacity to predict anything, nor by being structured or follow any method, but by the cool things it brings to us.
A profound shift in the basis of competition has occurred. Today, competitive advantage in many businesses lies in the ability to capture unique information about customers – information that is not accessible to other vendors. For example, airlines develop frequent-flyer profiles that are not accessible to other airlines.
Banks use information about balances and individual funds flow to market various financial products to their customers. Even grocers create loyalty card programs in order to build and act on proprietary profiles of their customers.
In infomediated markets, infomediaries hold these customer profiles on behalf of the customer and, subject to the customer’s privacy preferences, make them available to appropriate vendors willing to pay to access them.
Digital security is a trade-off. If securing digital data were the only concern a business had, users would have no control over their own computing environment at all – the Web would be forbidden territory; every disk drive would be welded shut. That doesn’t happen, of course, because workers also need the flexibility to communicate with one another and with the outside world.
The current compromise between security and flexibility is a sort of intranet-plus-firewall sandbox, where the IT department sets the security policies that workers live within. This allows workers a measure of freedom and flexibility while giving their companies heightened security.
That was the idea, anyway. In practice, the sandbox model is broken. Some of the problem is technological, of course, but most of the problem is human. The model is broken because the IT department isn’t rewarded for helping workers do new things, like finally passing the N.Y. Regents exam or studying for an advanced degree, but for keeping existing things from breaking. Workers who want to do new things are slowly taking control of networking, and this movement toward decentralized control cannot be reversed.
How should a fiction writer use the web? Should I limit myself to the plain text? There are powerful reasons to do so. Art thrives in boundaries. A communication needs a channel that both the writer and reader can understand. In a way, boundaries are a common comfort zone.
When these limits are breached, the readers are not really sure of what’s going on, nor the writers. I don’t think anybody is yet sure of what this whole online fiction writing would turn out to be; if it finally turns out to be something.
Cinema, before Eisenstein and Chaplin, was not meant to be an art. Just an amusement for the less cultivated. I believe online fiction writing is passing through the same process; only more complicated. You could use a blog, a newsgroup, a wiki, twitter, a social engine or even combine all those resources together. And then there are text, photographs, video, interactivity, links, comments… (more…)
So, who was this René Descartes guy?
Oh, just one of the boys who invented science.
Hmm… so his method gotta be hard, serious stuff, just look at that face. I think I’ll pass.
Fear not my young apprentice, they are only four simple rules anybody can use. One of the good things about René is that he believed good sense was available to all. Anybody can become a scientist, just by thinking the right way.
Rule 1: Do not accept anything as true, unless you have no doubts about it. In other words, make sure you have understood everything. Now, if you haven’t, then note down your doubts.
Rule 2: Split those doubts up in as many simple parts as possible. For example, let’s suppose you have trouble making sense of the following paragraph of the US Constitution: (more…)
I was innocently browsing along Amazon.com today when it struck me how many dumb book titles there are. Here I’ll share with you a handful of the bizarre books I found:
1. Book #1: Cheese Problems Solved
This book Cheese Problems Solved is a must-have for anyone who faces chronic problems with cheese. For $249 (no, that’s not a typo) it better solve a heck of a lot more problems than just ones caused by cheese…
2. Book #2: How to Read a Book
At 426 pages, How To Read a Book may not be for beginners or people who have never read before. (more…)
When I was a kid I had no imaginary friends; I have an imagi-Nation. The Sovereign Duchy of Borgonnia. You see I was born in Tenerife but lived in Gran Canaria. So what, you say? So there is an unhealthy rivalry between the two islands. Living in Gran Canaria I was always the chicharrero (”fish eater”) and when I went to my grandparents’ island on Tenerife I was the gofión (”gofio eater”) or even the traitor.
So I developed a strong distrust for anything that sounds like nationalism of any kind. And, I grew up without roots, nation wise. Now you know why I had an imaginary nation. You can guess its drawbacks. Let me share its benefit.