Coding Horror: Maximizing The Value of Your Keystrokes

[http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000854.html]
Coding Horror: Maximizing The Value of Your Keystrokes

May 03, 2007


Maximizing The Value of Your Keystrokes

I met Jon Udell this year at MIX. I was reading through his excellent blog to flesh out some of the topics we talked about, when I was struck by the powerful message of this particular entry:

When people tell me they're too busy to blog, I ask them to count up their output of keystrokes. How many of those keystrokes flow into email messages? Most. How many people receive those email messages? Few. How many people could usefully benefit from those messages, now or later? More than a few, maybe a lot more. From this perspective, blogging is a communication pattern that optimizes for the amount of awareness and influence that each keystroke can possibly yield. Some topics, of course, are necessarily private and interpersonal. But a surprising amount of business communication is potentially broader in scope. If your choice is to invest keystrokes in an email to three people, or in a blog entry that could be read by those same three people plus more — maybe many more — why not choose the latter? Why not make each keystroke work as hard as it can? hands blurred, typing on a keyboard [converting an email to a blog entry] can have powerful network effects. To exploit them, you have to realize that the delivery of a message, and the notification of delivery, do not necessarily coincide. Most of the time, in email, they do. The message is both notification and payload. But a message can also notify and point to a payload which is available to the recipient but also to other people and processes in other contexts. That arrangement costs hardly any extra keystrokes, and hardly any extra time. But it's an optimization that can radically expand influence and awareness.

I covered similar ground in When In Doubt, Make It Public, but Jon's entry is even more compelling. It's a specific example of how you can adapt your behavior to have a much broader impact. What Jon's describing happens to me all the time. I'll be in the middle of composing an email when I suddenly realize that there's no reason to silo this information in a private email exchange. I convert that email into a blog entry. Now, anyone who is interested in the topic can find it and have a public conversation with me– and everyone else– about it. The next time you find yourself typing more than a few sentences on your keyboard, stop and ask: are you maximizing the value of your keystrokes?

Coding Horror: When In Doubt, Make It Public

[http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000840.html]
Coding Horror: When In Doubt, Make It Public


When In Doubt, Make It Public

Marc Hedlund offered some unique advice to web entrepreneurs last month:

One of my favorite business model suggestions for [web] entrepreneurs is to find an old UNIX command that hasn't yet been implemented on the web, and fix that.

To illustrate, Marc provides a list of UNIX commands with their corresponding web implementations:

talk, finger ICQ
LISTSERV DejaNews
ls Yahoo! directory
find, grep Google
rn Bloglines
pine Google Mail
mount Amazon S3
bash Yahoo! Pipes
wall Twitter

Jason Kottke noted that most successful "new" business models on the web aren't new at all — they're simply taking what was once private and making it public and permanent :

Blogger = public email messages. (1999) Instead of "Dear Bob, Check out this movie." it's "Dear People I May or May Not Know Who Are Interested in Film Noir, check out this movie. If you like it, maybe we can be friends." Flickr = public photo sharing. (2004) Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake said in a recent interview: "When we started the company, there were dozens of other photosharing companies such as Shutterfly, but on those sites there was no such thing as a public photograph — it didn't even exist as a concept — so the idea of something 'public' changed the whole idea of Flickr." YouTube = public home videos. (2005) Bob Saget was onto something. Twitter = public IM. (2006) I don't think it's any coincidence that one of the people responsible for Blogger is also responsible for Twitter.

But you don't have to found a new Web 2.0 company to benefit from the power of public information. Even brick and mortar companies are finally realizing that the age-old principle of "secret by default" may not be the best policy today :

Companies used to assume that details about their internal workings were valuable precisely because they were secret. If you were cagey about your plans, you had the upper hand; if you kept your next big idea to yourself, people couldn't steal it. Now, billion- dollar ideas come to CEOs who give them away; corporations that publicize their failings grow stronger. Power comes not from your Rolodex but from how many bloggers link to you – and everyone trembles before search engine rankings.

Power, it seems, comes from public information. Secrets are only a source of powerlessness. Just ask Brad Abrams, who poses this rhetorical question :

If no one knows you did X, did you really get all the benefits for doing X?

I think Brad is being a bit too cautious here. I'll go one step further. Until you've..

  • Written a blog entry about X
  • Posted Flickr photos of X
  • Uploaded a video of X to YouTube
  • Typed a Twitter message about X

.. did X really happen at all? This is not to say we should fill the world with noise on every mundane aspect of our existence. But who decides what is mundane? Who decides what is interesting? Everything's interesting to someone, even if that someone is only you and a few other people in the world. It's my firm belief that the inclusionists are winning. We live in a world of infinitely searchable micro-content, and every contribution, however small, enriches all of us. But more selfishly, if you're interested in deriving maximum benefit from your work, there's no substitute for making it public and findable. Obscurity sucks. But obscurity by choice is irrational. When in doubt, make it public.

又开禁了

  在smth上看到blogger又开禁了,上来记录一下。
  又。
  不知道哪天又被封掉。在调试程序时,最可怕的现象就是对现象可能发生的规律我法把握。
  
  终于完成了SPR的设计、实现的第一阶段。幸亏有学生帮助,否则很难完成,感觉工作量太大,时间太紧。接下去是联机调试了。
  
  隔两天打一次极品飞车。跑了一次第一,大多数时候都难以避免地排列最后一名。另,目前还只能打一个赛道。
  看来还是老习惯,像孙QC说的,游戏打得不好,爱打。我喜欢灯光和赛道扑面而来的感觉,那种感觉令我停止呼吸。

  最近太忙,都没有太陪着老婆,今天下午去了次她单位。又需要都市行走了。

又被封了

  又被封了,只好找代理上来。
  自己不能访问自己的blog,正如小于说,这是只有在XX才能发生的事。
  不知哪根筋错了,我一访问[http://giftdotyoung.blogspot.com/index.html]就自动转到[http://www.kan-shoku.jp/],什么关东食品株式会社。域名劫持?也不会到了这个地方。
  
  

又开禁了

  blogger有几天访问不上去了。今天在smth上有人提到开禁了,后面跟贴说是DNS或线路问题。
当时访问不了的时候,
  为什么我第一个怀疑的就是被盾呢?
  为什么我第一个想法是找个代理试试呢?
记得鲨鱼的故事。不是鲨鱼笨,而是他怕疼。
  一下子就能想起YTHT,想起SMTH。

企鹅快跑


  试玩游戏tuxracer-win32-0.61a。赛车类,滑雪,主角是Linux企鹅。老婆玩儿的时候嗷嗷叫,好象真地在高山速降。
  上键向前爬加速,向下减速,左右控制方向。根据吃鱼数量和速度计分。
  左右摇摆可以加速,在悬崖上可以凌空一段时间。


  有一件事特别地引起了我的注意,这是free game:

The Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL for short) is a cross-platfrom library
designed to make it easy to write multi-media software, such as games and
emulators.
The Simple DirectMedia Layer library source code is available from:
http://www.devolution.com/~slouken/SDL/
This library is distributed under the terms of the GNU LGPL license:
http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html

  类似地免费发行实例作为广告,而核心技术不免费或公开的例子有不少。集全世界程序员的力量推广其核心,厂商用服务或核心获利。
  autohotkey用GPL发布,而其引擎则是商业化的;
  google earth/google desktop的API免费使用,供大家随便扩展,而API本身则是商业产品。
  核心的技术及其所依据的原理才是形而上的道,而在此之上的开发是形而下的器。不过,我们更多的时候都在关注许多的“器”,比如熊猫的轰动效应;比如jedicat当年推荐给我的一个用VB调某引擎加自制model和素材所做的游戏。虽然这些都是低技术含量的,但是却引起我们一再喝彩。
  作为技术人员,而非商业人士,也非用户,我们所要的,不是免费的好软件,不是源代码,甚至不是API规范的设计文档,我们所需要的是这些背后所依据的道理。
  我们是否应该多关注emacs之后的lisp甚至lisp引擎,关注VC++后的C++,关注eclipse/idea后的java……关心更后面的编译原理和数据结构/算法?
  喝彩的时候我们应该谨记:我们是技术人员。

弱者代表世界的前进方向

塞翁失马的例子层出不穷:


研究显示两性相争雌性率先用武器 为其求生产物-搜狐新闻: “研究认为,雌性动物有使用武器的必要,因为雌性单凭四肢猎食的话,是没有足够的体力和时间与雄性竞争的。人类学家发现,非洲塞内加尔的雌性黑猩猩经常会咬下树枝,当作矛来追捕猎物。很多动物都懂得使用工具,但这是研究人员首次发现动物使用武器猎食,显示黑猩猩比人们所想的更近似人类。”

  据说在巴西柔术的学习中,女性更容易掌握那些技巧,而男性则由于倾向于蛮力而忽略了技巧的使用。
  一直觉得,软件工程的出现正是由于天才太少,大多数人没有能力控制复杂的代码和事物的关系,才不得不借助于工程方法。
  软件的更新、新软件的开发,很大程序上是为了适应不会使用软件的用户,而不是提高高级用户的使用效率。所以有人说,计算机是天才制造,傻子使用;还有人说,微软产品的特性之一是适合初学者而不适合熟练的用户。
  如果人类有科幻里外星人的心灵感应,是不是就不能创造出语言呢。进而,语言所带来的抽象(概念/分类)如何被掌握呢?
  某些方面的能力过强,可能会导致搜索时迅速达到目标,从而造成局部最小点。而对长远未来的预测正是人类独有的重要能力。
  这是一个适合弱者的世界,只有他们有机会生存下去。