Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #40

Offline this week I learned to check I’m on the correct train before insisting someone’s in my seat, not to eat jam doughnuts when I’m in a rush, and that it’s still OK to buy paper books even though I’ve got a Kindle… đŸ˜‰


  • Need a comparison of the latest, greatest and upcoming tablets? Engadget’s got you covered.
  • I’m not sure how long Evernote Site Memory has been in existence, but it’s a great idea. Got a website? Add a button (like the one you’ll see at the bottom of this post) for people to be able to ‘clip’ or ‘remember’ your post/article into their Evernote account!
  • The video below shows another reason why I get Android envy from time-to-time even though I’ve got an iPhone 4 (more here)


  • Windows 7 has one feature that’s better than Mac OS X. It’s the feature where upon hovering over an application icon in the dock all instances of that application are shown. Thankfully, Hyperdock adds that functionality to your Mac for free. FTW!
  • Chris Messina’s got a nice homepage (that I, er, ripped off until he told me off about it). Zach Klein’s is similar but even bolder. The rest of us without Chris and Zach’s ninja skillz can use! đŸ™‚

Productivity & Inspiration

Organization needs to be designed around how we actually  use stuff otherwise it can become a time waster just like being disorganized.

  • There’s some great life lessons from Ralph Waldo Emerson (go proto-Pragmatist philosophers!) here.
  • Scott Berkun quotes Matt Mullenweg (who’s now his boss at Automattic) about the make vs consume ratio:

I wonder if there could be some sort of metric for writing that told you the ratio of time-to-create versus time-to-consume. On Twitter it’s basically 1:1, you can craft and consume a tweet in a time measured in seconds. For this blog post, it may take me an hour to write it and 5 minutes to read (not skim) it. You can work your way all the way up through 8-10,000 word essays, and books that may take years and years (or a lifetime) to create.

Education & Academic

“We seem to have forgotten what activism is,” writes Gladwell. If activism is defined only as taking direct action and protesting on the streets, he might be right. But if activism extends to changing the minds of people, to making populations aware of what their governments are doing in their name, to influencing opinion across the world, then the revolution will be indeed be tweeted.

Data, Design & Infographics

  • Need to test a user’s first impressions of a website? Check out Clue. It gives users 5.5 seconds to look at an image of your site and then give as many impressions of what they remember as possible. Works well!
  • CyArk is ‘digitally preserving and sharing the world’s cultural heritage’. More (including amazing images like the one below) at National Geographic:

Traditional rooms in Japan (which are becoming rare) often have nothing that is permanent, even the “walls” or fusuma, slide away to create a larger expansive empty-space. The people, wall, furniture, and artwork, enter and then leave the room, to return it to empty-space, full of potential….

This philosophy can often be seen in many parts of the country, from objects to culture, to even an international company like Muji (“Mu” meaning “empty” or “absence” with a hint of “tranquility” and “potential”. That would be the closest translation in English. )

  • Oh dear, this infographic on the ‘tax gap’ isn’t pleasant viewing a UK tax payer given our current economic situation (click for full version):


  • You’ll be delighted to know that the First World War officially ends today when the last reparations payment will be paid from Germany to the Allies.
  • Vodafone’s got an awesome Google Maps mashup racing car game called Hometown GP. You can literally race around the roads of your local area! đŸ˜€
  • Readness is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to ‘compare yourself to your friends to learn who reads what online’. Login by Facebook Connect only at the moment, but they’ve assured me they’re looking at other methods of authentication (including Twitter!)
  • There’s a spider that can spin webs so large that they span rivers. Scarily awesome.
  • Streamdrag is an effortless way to create music playlists from YouTube videos.


However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. (Winston Churchill)

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. (Peter Drucker)

High achievement always takes place in a framework of high expectation. (Jack Kinder)

A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. (Wayne Gretzky)

(more quotations at my page)

Main image CC BY Mikael Miettinen

3 thoughts on “Things I Learned This Week – #40

  1. Doug I always look forward to this on a Sunday, I always bookmark some stuff from it. Thanks. My one annoyance with it is that your links open in the same window which means a lot of toing and froing. I much prefer links that open in a new window…. a very very minor point.

  2. Really enjoyed this post. You made me smile at the beginning, found me a new blog in the middle & gave me thoughts to think about at the end! Great! (aka theheadoffice)

    1. Ctrl+Click on the links usually opens them in a new tab (IIRC Opera uses a different modifier button), or middle clicking usually works too =]

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