vanderwal / Thomas Vander Wal

A guy who questions most everything with a first impression of, ‘this can’t be right’

There are twenty people in vanderwal’s collective.

Huffduffed (258)

  1. Bruce Sterling at Reboot (Scripting News)

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    Bruce Sterling at Reboot

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 by Dave Winer.

    Bruce Sterling gave a wonderful talk at the Reboot Conference this summer in Copenhagen. At the beginning of the talk I wanted to strangle him, but as it progressed, it made more and more sense. By the end I thought it was one of the best speeches I’d ever heard, a story that I think everyone should hear. I’ve made an MP3 of his talk because I want to make it available to people in my family as a podcast. I hope Bruce and the people at Reboot don’t mind.  

    He talks about clearing your life of posessions, how you should divide everything into four categories: 1. Beautiful things. 2. Things with emotional value. 3. Functional things. 4. Everything else.  

    Divide each category into the things you keep and the things you get rid of. In category 1, you can keep it if it’s on display in your house, if you show it to your friends, if you share it. If not, then you don’t need it, it’s taking up space and time, which you’re paying for with your money, time and health. Take a picture, put it on a thumb drive, take it everywhere with you and get rid of the original. In category 2, if it has a compelling story, one that you actually tell people, you can keep it. In category 3, unless it’s very good at what it does and it does something you do a lot of, it goes. And of course everything in category 4 goes. 

    He says you shouldn’t try to do this in normal times. Wait until a spouse dies, a divorce, a child is born or a child leaves home. Wait till you move. It pays to figure out now what you want to do when that time comes. 

    I know Sterling is right because I’ve had things like that happen and I’ve done it both ways. Most of the time I don’t clean house, and miss the opportunity to improve my life. But sometimes I do make the changes and it’s always, in the end, been a good thing. Most people advise you not to make changes in times of great life turmoil. That’s exactly the wrong advice. Those are the only times you can make change. 

    This is a hot topic in my family because of Father’s Day. It just happened, and the shock is just now beginning to set in. It’s strange that along with the pain and sorrow, there’s also a new sense of freedom, of possibilities. It’s palpable. And it doesn’t take a second to locate the source — it’s the changes Sterling talked about so eloquently. 

    Anyway, most of the time most of us are not in position to do anything about the mess in our lives. But listen to Sterling’s talk. It’s only 43 minutes. It might be the best 43 minutes you’ve ever spent. 

    View the forum thread.

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  2. 203: Perfect 6 with David Sparks

    David Sparks, a.k.a. MacSparky, joins Brett for a Top-3-Picks-only episode.

    And of course to talk about the new book they co-wrote.

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  3. 195: Existing as a Curiosity with Merlin Mann

    Merlin Mann, podcaster, man about the internet, and devastatingly handsome

    provocateur, joins Brett to talk about the state of writing on the web,

    Merlin’s podcasts, and maybe even some politics.

    Sponsored by

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    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  4. 198: Automation for the People with Sal Soghoian

    Sal Soghoian was known as the "AppleScript and Automator guy" at Apple for

    20 years, and is now heading up the upcoming CMD-D conference. He joins

    Brett to talk about his history, his future, and throw in a couple of

    amazing Steve Jobs stories.

    Sponsored by

    ReclaiMe, data recovery software for all occasions. RecaliMe is capable of

    extracting data from Windows, Linux, and MacOS filesystems. ReclaiMe is

    unique because there are no settings at all. Find more information about

    ReclaiMe on the official website.

    TextExpander, a productivity multiplier and shared knowledge base for

    efficient, consistent, and accurate communication. Visit to start your free trial.

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  5. Episode 21: Hoyas recruiting — and rebounding? | Ben Standig on Patreon

    Official Post from Ben Standig: On the latest episode of the "Basketball in the DMV" podcast with Ben Standig (@benstandig):* Introduction and welcome to the podcast  * 3:32 — Patrick Ewing and freshman wing threat Jamarko Pickett met with the media ahead of Saturday’s game at Creighton. Topics include Ewing’s primary issue with

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  6. Banners Broadcast: Marcus Smart + Jaylen Brown’s chef Jawed Halepota - CelticsBlog

    Athletic chef Jawed Halepota joins the show to talk fueling athletes and how he became the trusted cook for Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. In the second half, Greg Cassoli joins to debate who’s the Celtics’ MVP right now.

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  7. Disney Parks — Twenty Thousand Hertz

    Theme parks have a way of transporting us to magical places, and sound is

    crucial in maintaining the illusion. From the most action-packed

    attractions to the background music playing between park areas, theme park

    sound designers have thought of it all. In this episode, we speak to Joe

    Herrington and Mike Fracassi, two Disney Imagineers who work to maintain

    the magic for guests of Disney Parks.

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  8. 003: Craig Mod – I Want My Attention Back! - Hurry Slowly

    Designer Craig Mod on how you can break free from the shackles of “attention slavery” and regain control over your powers of concentration.


    Tagged with craig mod

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  9. Brian Eno: The Long Now - The Long Now

    The Long Now

    Brian told the origins of his realizations about the "small here" versus the "big here" and the "short now" versus the "long now."

    He noted that the Big Here is pretty well popularized now, with exotic restaurants everywhere, "world" music, globalization, and routine photos of the whole earth.

    Instant world news and the internet has led to increased empathy worldwide.

    But empathy in space has not been matched by empathy in time.

    If anything, empathy for people to come has decreased.

    We seem trapped in the Short Now.

    The present generation enjoys the greatest power in history, but it appears to have the shortest vision in history. That combination is lethal.

    Danny Hillis proposed that there’s a bug in our thinking about these matters—-about long-term responsibility.

    We need to figure out what the bug is and how to fix it.

    We’re still in an early, fumbling phase of doing that, like the period before the Royal Society in 18th-century England began to figure out science.

    Tim O’Reilly gave an example of the kind of precept that can emerge from taking the longer-term seriously.

    These days shoppers are often checking out goods (trying on clothes, etc.) in regular retail stores but then going online to buy the same goods at some killer discount price.

    Convenient for the shopper, terrible for the shops, who are going out of business, hurting communities in the process.

    The aggregate of lots of local, short-term advantage-taking is large-scale, long-term harm.

    Hence Tim’s proposed precept, now spreading on the internet: "Buy where you shop."

    Ie. When you shop online, buy there.

    When you shop in shops, buy there.

    Four simple words that serve as a reminder to head off accumulative harm.

    Leighton Read observed that imagining the future is an acquired skill, and comes in stages.

    An infant can’t imagine the next bottle, or plan for it.

    A teenager can at most imagine the next six months, and only on a good day; on a rowdy Saturday night, Sunday morning is too remote to grasp.

    For us adults the distant future is still unimaginable.

    One thing that Leighton likes about the 10,000-year Clock project is that it lets you imagine a particular part of the very remote future—-the Clock ticking away in its mountain—-and then you can widen your scope from there, to include climate change over centuries, for example.

    Alexander Rose suggested that we should collect examples where a small effort in the present pays off huge in the long term.

    Tim O’Reilly would like to see us develop a taxonomy of such practices.

    Brian’s talk Friday night at Fort Mason was a smashing affair.

    Some 750 people were pried into the Herbst Pavillion, while 400-500 had to be turned away.

    Eno evidently attracts the sweetest, brightest people—-everyone was polite and helpful and patient.

    The only publicity for the lecture had been email forwarded among friends and posted on blogs, plus one radio show (Michael Krasny’s "Forum").

    —Stewart Brand

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

  10. Gadget Lab Podcast: Special Guest Firefox’s Nick Nguyen | WIRED

    This week, the hosts welcome Mozilla’s Nick Nguyen, the VP of product for Firefox.

    —Huffduffed by vanderwal

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