Sharper

Focus on a sharper life every day
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I’ve wondered for years why places like Bend, Ketchum, or similar small lifestyle towns don’t do more to attract engineering talent. Lifestyle goodness is important; also note the rise in companies that allow and encourage fully remote development.

Perhaps the biggest problem is being part of a one-company town. Imagine you move to Bend and it just doesn’t work out. Your options are a) move with your family or b) figure out some other way of earning a living. That’s a big gamble especially for people with kids. 15 years ago Seattle felt like that; you could either work at Microsoft or move. Not much in between in tech. Now of course there are choices which brings in more talent which brings more choices… nice virtuous cycle.

So what should Bend and other small lifestyle cities and entrepreneurs do? 

  1. Create and encourage options. Make sure there is a strong network of small businesses and encourage some amount of movement between them.
  2. Encourage remote development. Yes, that means someone could move elsewhere but once you get the kids in school, the spouse has a job, relocation is less likely. Then job motion can become natural.
  3. Make the entire package attractive for families. Some time back we considered relocating to Ketchum, ID. The primary blocker? No great school choices for our kids. Entrepreneurs should be working to remove these friction spots in the local communities to kickstart the migration.
  4. Check out what Boulder did. Close enough to Denver to poach talent and have a major airport, far enough into the mountains to be considered remote. Also there is a good university there.

Let me know if you need consulting, happy to help:-)

Drop Anchor at a Balmy Island This Winter
Stephanie Pearson, outsideonline.com

While the mercury drops and polar vortexes close in yet again (just kidding—we hope), remember that there are still places in the world where the water isn’t bone-chilling and the breezes are gentler. These seven destinations boast great paddling…

Just book-marking this for later… when the December rain leads to three months of gray weather, time to dig this out.

Better front rack shoulder stability | Feat. Kelly Starrett | MobilityWOD
youtube.com

Fun mobility exercise today. Summary: go a little wider on the grip and then streeeetch into the front rack position. I’m going to try this for a few days, getting that front rack right is something that I’ve struggled with for years. #crossfit

Looks like a lovely app. And doing something new in communication is certainly fertile ground for innovation.

But the key problem in voice remains: it’s slow. Try reading a book and listening to an audio book for comparison. Yes, voice conveys things that text and still images struggle with. On the other hand voice struggles to convey as much information as quickly.

Tough challenge, hopefully Talko (really unfortunate as I continually want to say “taco”) has something new to offer.

My goal for this week is practicing these after every workout until I can get the simple progression down. Squat, roll back, forward, tuck the feet to the rear, and power up.

Simple right? Bet I can’t get even one of these today.

Restaurant wants to make Yelp unreliable
Matthew Williams, boingboing.net

Botto Bistro in Richmond, California is unconcerned about its Yelp rating. In an effort to undermine the reliability of its Yelp page, Botto Bistro is working to be the worst-rated restaurant in the Bay Area and is encouraging its customers to lea…

Having hit a brick wall trying to use Yelp yesterday to find a place to grab dinner it seems like the time is right for someone to disrupt this space. We know “star” ratings are bogus. If the Chipotle down the road gets the same score as the fantastic restaurant in Paris, it’s broken. Furthermore geography needs to be taken into account. Not all regions are created equal in terms of food; a road stop with five fast-food places just isn’t the same as a local foodie neighborhood. And yet to Yelp they are all equal.

parislemon:

Just in time for the Labor Day holiday in the United States, Clive Thompson dives into the thing that will ruin the holiday for so many:

Why would less email mean better productivity? Because, as Ms. Deal found in her research, endless email is an enabler. It often masks terrible management practices.

When employees shoot out a fusillade of miniature questions via email, or “cc” every team member about each niggling little decision, it’s because they don’t feel confident to make a decision on their own. Often, Ms. Deal found, they’re worried about getting in trouble or downsized if they mess up.

This seems exactly right. I’d venture to guess that most email that is sent in the work environment doesn’t need to be sent. But it is as a way to cover one’s own ass.

As Thompson continues:

In contrast, when employees are actually empowered, they make more judgment calls on their own. They also start using phone calls and face-to-face chats to resolve issues quickly, so they don’t metastasize into email threads the length of “War and Peace.”

This is basic behavioral economics. When email is seen as an infinite resource, people abuse it. If a corporation constrains its use, each message becomes more valuable — and employees become more mindful of how and when they write.

So maybe the idea isn’t to limit the characters one can write in an email, maybe it’s to give people a quota of total emails sent each month. If they hit it, better find another way to message your colleagues. Or better yet, work harder not to hit the limit!

Most email is nonsense. But what if you could run out of it?

digithoughts:

USB Type-C Connector Specifications Finalized | AnandTech

Love it and hate it — USB cables are part of our gadget-filled lives. Now it’s finally time for a much welcome upgrade to the connectors featuring a smaller and reversible plug orientation.

As some people know, it can take several tries to get a USB cable to connect, and has resulted in more than a few jokes being made about it.

And more than a few tantrums I guess.

AnandTech lists some of the changes:

  • Completely new design but with backwards compatibility
  • Similar to the size of USB 2.0 Micro-B (standard Smartphone charging cable)
  • Slim enough for mobile devices, but robust enough for laptops and tablets
  • Reversible plug orientation for ease of connection
  • Scalable power charging with connectors being able to supply up to 5 A and cables supporting 3 A for up to 100 watts of power
  • Designed for future USB performance requirements
  • Certified for USB 3.1 data rates (10 Gbps)
  • Receptacle opening: ~8.4 mm x ~2.6 mm
  • Durability of 10,000 connect-disconnect cycles
  • Improved EMI and RFI mitigation features

AnandTech writes that since the standard is just now finalized it will be some time before we see the new connectors in production devices.

Could we get a standard that doesn’t look ugly? Fine, reversible is good. But why must USB look clunky, like something designed by a Soviet committee in the 70’s.

Sigh… Maybe they should just copy Lightning from Apple and be done.

There is so much badness in this article it’s hard to know where to start. The idea that the average American drinks 450 cans of soda pop yearly is just sad.

But worse:

"Next year the company hopes for a national rollout of Fairlife, milk in which the molecules have been disassembled and then reformed to create different variations (high-protein, lactose-free milk) that taste like the regular thing."

Rearranging molecules, yummy! And very healthy I’m sure.

Op-Ed: Microsoft layoff e-mail typifies inhuman corporate insensitivity
Lee Hutchinson, arstechnica.com

Satya Nadella and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop during happier times.As a veteran of the aerospace industry, I’m very familiar with layoff notices. During the almost-decade I spent working for Boeing, I survived probably a dozen major reductions i…

One of the more interesting things being missed in the Microsoft layoffs is that many people are hoping to get picked. It’s the only way to cut the cord, get off the gravy train and go do that startup or move to another company. “Pick me” has been heard more than once.