Category: Ramble

Levenger Circa

Because Organization is COOL.

I am currently geeking out about this:

It’s called the Circa Notebook System, by Levenger. It’s basically best described as an intensely customizable notebook/binder/organizer. The design of the binding allows pages to be easily removed and replaced however necessary, without popping open binder rings or tearing pages. Dividers, a million different types of filler paper, and tons of other options are available in order to customize your notebook just as you need it, and you can buy a Circa hole punch so that anything can fit securely inside.

The idea of super-flexible, modular, and simple notebook/binder-type organization really appeals to me.

 


Header image: “My Levenger Circa notebook” by Jaime Wong. Original licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. Modified: desaturated, edited exposure. My modification is released under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Riding the Wave

Riding the Wave

(or, “Why I’m excited about Google Wave, and why you should be too”)

 

Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

Google wave logoForgive me if I’m excited (especially to my really close friends, who have heard me geek out about this way too much). However, Google’s upcoming new development, called “Google Wave,” has (at least I think) the potential to totally revolutionize online communication.

I know, I know, I’m being a little dramatic. Revolutionize online communication? But I truly believe it. I think Google’s next development could totally change the way we communicate online, bringing it more in-line with the current developments in information technology.

More of my thoughts after the jump.

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One Nation, Indivisible

 

Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

Editor’s note: As I wrote this, I started nodding off. It has been a long day. I may revise it later, to make it a bit more clear.

My friends and family, and fellow Americans:

We did it. We stood up across the country and made our voices heard. Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike flocked to the voting booths in incredible numbers, and many Americans made it clear: it’s time for change.

But as our new President-elect, Barack Obama, spoke from Grant Park in Chicago this evening, he made a point that rings true with me now. He said that this election has always been about us. It has always been about the American people. The change we want, my dear friends, is not something we should lazily expect from Washington. This is a government of the people, for the people, and by the people, and we have to remember that we have the power. Not gigantic corporations, not faceless entities. We do. This is our country, and we must remember to make our voices heard– and listen to those that are speaking.

Listen. Now that’s something none of us have really done in the last eight years. How many liberals, myself included, have shut out President Bush as soon as he mentions “nuke-yuh-ler weapons” in a speech? How many of us have become so proud and angry that we’ve begun viewing the opposing party as a bunch of enemies? How easy has it become to look at someone– a well dressed businessman, or a casual-looking college student– and think, “Well, they’re a conservative,” or, “Well, they’re a liberal”?

The unfortunate fact is that we’ve allowed ourselves to make our political parties more than political. What was once only an issue around election time has permeated every day of our lives, and “Republican” and “Democrat” carry weight even when they shouldn’t. We see our neighbors as “like us” or “not like us,” and no idea has ever been more divisive than that.

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Improving Ubuntu

A while ago, sensing that I was not enough of a nerd yet, I decided to install Ubuntu 7.10, a derivative of Linux. (That’s an operating system, like Windows or Mac OS X, for those completely out of the loop.) Ubuntu, like Linux, is open-source, meaning that anyone can not only view the code that makes it run, but also edit it, tweak it, copy it, and use it in various projects, all free of charge and without treading on any copyright. Also, it’s free (so, for my out-of-the-loop readers, think of it as something akin to downloading a fully functional copy of Windows, already stocked with many applications necessary to perform your daily computing, all for free).

Ubuntu is, in my opinion, the version of Linux that’s pushing hardest for public acceptance. Dell, for instance, recently added an option for customers purchasing laptops to have the computers shipped with Ubuntu installed instead of Windows. I respect that. I believe that there will come a point, given the recent surge in open-source development, when someone can download for free perfectly functional and feature-ridden open-source alternatives to most popular programs, including the operating system. Theoretically, in the near future, someone could work on their computer for years without having to spend money on software. I believe Ubuntu will be at the forefront of that wave, since the most fundamental part of that goal is a free operating system.

But I can almost guarantee you that that goal will not be realized in 2008.

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A Bit of Tao

 

Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

I was thumbing through my copy of the Tao Teh Ching today, and I found this. I think it’s an excellent bit of philosophy that’s fallen by the wayside in today’s fast, modern age.

When a man is living, he is soft and supple.

When he is dead, he becomes hard and rigid.

When a plant is living, it is soft and tender.

When it is dead, it becomes withered and dry.

Hence, the hard and rigid belongs to the company of the dead:

The soft and supple belongs to the company of the living.

Therefore, a mighty army tends to fall by its own weight,

Just as dry wood is ready for the axe.

The mighty and great will be laid low;

The humble will be exalted.

(verse 76, tr. John C. H. Wu)

So easy it is to want to plant our feet and remain rigid in our lives. If something comes along and tries to change us, we push and resist and turn stiff as a board, because we feel that’s the way to do things. Unfortunately, resistance only creates conflict, which rarely has a positive outcome for everyone involved.

By remaining “soft and supple” and empowering ourselves to bend and flow, we decrease conflict, which makes things easier. It’s a core principle of the Aikido philosophy: It is more beneficial to use the energy you’re given to blend and find a solution than it is to force your own energy over someone else. Change what you can change. Wiggle what you can wiggle. I’ve seen people get out of some nasty, improbable-looking pins. How? They simply started by moving what they could move. That eventually opened something else up, which led them to their feet. If they had tensed up and tried to brute-force their way out, they never would have made it.

Anyway. Interesting little thing to chew on.

Good Enough

 

Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

O, my Brothers and Sisters—

What has become of us?

Generations before us strove for excellence. Our great-grandparents lived through two of the most massive wars in history as well as the Great Depression, and still pulled through to keep our nation alive. Our grandparents survived the Vietnam War and launched men into space, a concept never before even conceived of as possible. Our parents saw the rise of ever-increasingly powerful computers. The generations before us faced terrible challenges, yet not only pulled through, but were able to contribute immensely to the building of our modern world today.

I write about this because something is growing increasingly obvious with each passing day. Put simply, our generation is afraid to try.

I see this every day in school, both in myself and in others. We have grown noticeably reluctant to take risks or try things. We all live in our own self-shaped worlds, and rarely actually come out. We are afraid to take risks, because it means stepping out of our safe haven for a moment and risking failure.

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