What’s in your name, an indication of your profession?

Friday, 23 January, 2015

If your given name determined one’s career or job, then I would be a golfer or a race car driver… sort of, that would likely be the case if I went by the name Johnny. How about you? Does your name match with your occupation?

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There’s self-employed, then there’s reluctantly self-employed

Friday, 23 January, 2015

Are you working in your own business because you want to, or because you had no real choice?

Seemingly the number of so-called “necessity entrepreneurs” is on the rise, as regular nine-to-five, cradle-to-grave jobs, slowly continue to evaporate. It could be that in the next couple of decades the ranks of the reluctantly self-employed, which includes contractors, freelancers, and part timers, will form a large proportion of the workforce.

Kathleen Christensen, who directs the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Working Longer program, suspects many aren’t starting their own businesses because they’ve been seized with a vision or a solution to a problem, as the mythologized version of the entrepreneur supposedly is. “From the research I’ve conducted,” she says, “they often lack other options.” Many are conscripts in self-employment rather than volunteers. There’s now even a term for such workers: “necessity entrepreneurs” (rather than “opportunity entrepreneurs”). Though not a whole lot of work has been done examining the difference between these two groups, what little there is suggests that necessity entrepreneurs aren’t always as successful – or as happy.

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The art of the Sun and the wind

Thursday, 22 January, 2015

Shade, an installation by Dutch artist Simon Heijdens, projects sunlight, in kaleidoscopic fashion, onto its facade, according to the speed of the prevailing breeze.

A cellular glass facade that filters natural sunlight into a moving kaleidoscope of light and shadow, directly choreographed by the elements passing outside, to restore the unplanned natural timeline of the outdoors to the interior of the building.

Via prosthetic knowledge.

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Turning a buck on the spare space on your hard disk

Thursday, 22 January, 2015

If we’re happy to rent out the spare room to travellers, and ferry strangers about town in our cars, why shouldn’t we then offer any excess space on our hard drives to people who need somewhere to store their files?

Enter Storj, a decentralised, encrypted cloud storage facilitator. So, security and legal concerns much? Such a service seems open to numerous avenues of abuse, but these issues appear to have been thought through though:

When someone uploads a file to our network (i.e. using MetaDisk) the file itself gets shredded (sharded) in lots of different small chunks (shards) on the client side and each one gets encrypted before it even goes out on the internet and our network. These file shards then get distributed all over the network and hosted on DriveShare nodes all over the world. So even if someone has access to one of the DriveShare nodes HD the data hosted on it is meaningless as it will only be composed of small file chunks which are also encrypted.

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Could you fall in love instantly if you passed the love quiz?

Thursday, 22 January, 2015

Could you fall in love, and establish a lasting connection, with someone if, first up, you could both offer – I guess – compatible answers to a thirty-six question quiz, and then secondly, gaze into their eyes for two to four minutes?

I’ve likely cut all the meat off the bone of the concept as it were, but I say forget the questions, I couldn’t possibly answer them instantaneously, but the two to four minutes of eye contact, now that I can go for.

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Looking busy at work, easier to say than to do

Thursday, 22 January, 2015

Yes, there has been the very rare, excessively rare, occasion, when working for an employer, that I may have spent a little time looking busy, rather than actually being productive. Such carry on is pointless these days, but looking busy, as in really looking busy, is, you should understand, not in the least bit simple.

It turns out that slacking off is serious business: “‘Doing nothing’ while at work can be a very demanding activity requiring planning, collaboration, risk calculation, and ethical consideration,” Paulsen observes. Some subjects turned shirking into a game they found more meaningful than their actual jobs.

On the topic of looking busy, check out Forgotten Employee, something I found a while back, seemingly about a worker at a US company who had been laid off, but continued turning up for work, and on full pay, for years afterwards. If that’s not trying to look busy, what is?

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Progress bars that make making progress more fun

Wednesday, 21 January, 2015

Artwork by Viktor Hertz

Progress bars for downloads, web pages, and the like, generally aren’t much to write home about. It’s time therefore that some of the ideas of Stockholm based graphic designer Viktor Hertz, whose work I’ve linked to before, were incorporated into the apps we use regularly.

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Project Blue Book, the truth is out there (maybe)

Wednesday, 21 January, 2015

Project Blue Book was the name given to an investigation carried out by the US Air Force from 1952, through to 1970, into Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs.

So, was it conclusively established that extraterrestrials had in fact visited Earth? I think we all know the answer to that, but don’t let that stop you from reaching your own conclusions, by way of the Project Blue Book Collection, a digitised archive of the reports produced by the project’s investigators.

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Steven Soderbergh’s recut of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Wednesday, 21 January, 2015

US film director Steven Soderbergh, maker of the Ocean’s Eleven series of films among others, has recut 2001: A Space Odyssey. His one hundred and ten minute re-working of Stanley Kubrick’s classic came about, it seems, from a desire to cross a line.

That’s some line to cross. I’m unable to embed the video, but Soderbergh has posted it to his website here.

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Man, my flossing coach is really putting me through my paces

Wednesday, 21 January, 2015

Let’s face it, personal trainers, or fitness coaches, are a dime a dozen. If you were, by chance, considering taking up a career as one, think again. It’s a competitive industry after all, and finding a customer base may prove difficult. That shouldn’t deter you from going into coaching though, it’s just a matter of finding an unexploited niche.

How about then, working as a flossing coach? No, seriously…

For years, dental hygienists have patiently listened to my evasions when they ask me how much I floss. The real answer is hardly ever. That has to end. But the gap between my intention and follow-through in this area always has been vast. Just knowing that flossing is good for me and desiring to do it have, frankly, never been enough. So I did what any reasonable person in the vicinity of San Francisco in 2015 would do. I used an app to hire a flossing coach.

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