Improved Roads

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When we “improve” a road, what exactly are we improving? My map of Death Valley shows four kinds of roads: paved, improved, unimproved and primitive. As I bounce and rattle over the washboard of the unimproved road past the salt marshes of Saline Valley, I wonder what an “improved” road would do to this place. […]

Farmers and Miners

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Farmers When you walk the fields and woods of Vermont, where I grew up, you often encounter long stone walls. These walls were built stone by stone by farmers clearing their fields. The effort put into these walls, three feet high and hundreds of feet long, is staggering. By one estimate, there is enough stone […]

Monitoring and Tuning Network Traffic in Windows 8 with Netbalancer

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I was having trouble with Google Drive wreaking havoc on my internet connection and need to see what was going on. No tool I know of is better for that than Netbalancer and I was pleased to find out that, unlike another tool I know, this one works in Windows 8.

Garmin Forerunner 210 Review: Great Toy After Replacing Lemon

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I was excited by the features the Garmin 210 offered, but myu initial faulty unit was a HUGE disappointment. Between terrible signal acquisition and a heartrate monitor that broke almost immediately. Fortunately, the replacement unit has been a lot better.

Uniformity, creativity and the employee handbook

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George Hartzog, the greatest leader of National Park Service understood that creativity can be crushed in the name of “standards.” He killed the employee handbooks and set his people free.

Getting Things Done by Making Slacking Hurt

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At a certain point this year I found myself frustrated and feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere on several different projects, while at the same time feeling like I was working too much and not having enough fun. I needed motivation, and I needed priorities. I came up with something that helps me with both […]

Gmail delete and go to next message issue

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Short version: create a label (like ‘aaDelete’), enable keyboard shortcuts, use ‘l’, then label the message aaDelete, then ‘k’ to go to the next message. When you’re all done, select all messages labelled delete and then delete them. It’s sort of like a second Trash can since Google won’t make the first one work right.

Support Desk Basics: Only Customers Can Close Tickets

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Every once in a while I file a support issue with some service I use. The customer service rep confidently replies with an answer. The last one, at a place I won’t name, suggested that I clear my browser cache. Of course, I had done that, multiple times on multiple browsers. That’s fine though. That […]

Don’t Blink (Does Logic Betray Us?)

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If you have to make a snap decision to save your life, that’s one thing, but the hoopla around Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink got me thinking of the times when I’ve been told that you can’t always trust logic. Well, never trust someone who tells you that.