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Kindle’s Chosen Specialization Against the Generalist Smartphone

The Kindle Paperwhite has no business releasing new hardware in 2015. It’s a stubbornly single-purpose device, one of the remaining few pieces of consumer electronics that hasn’t been completely consumed by the smartphone/tablet wave. I impulsively bought the 3rd generation Kindle, with its slightly higher resolution screen, to replace my 1st generation Kindle without regret. […]

A Gap in Career Mentorship

Nobody told us how mentorship works in an age of multi-company, multi-career employment. We used to have a practice model in apprenticeships, with advancement in a single company following a rigid corporate hierarchy. Mentorship still wasn’t easy, but at least the path was well-defined and the stability of our surrounding organization simplified the search and […]

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Review: Career Superpowers

Self-improvement books – at least the ones I read – fall into two categories. There are those who claim to unmask universal truths via research and corroboration across many different sources, and the rest draw from personal anecdotes to provide lessons. In general, I lean more towards data, so I find the researched advice more […]

Faking Software Design

I’ve been having a back-and-forth with a friend on getting a software developer job in Japan. Cultural differences aside – and there are quite a few – we reached an impasse in debating how to approach a software engineering design question within the context of an interview. To summarize, he wants to find the right […]

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The Relic of Postage Stamps in an Digital Era

My toddler was playing around in my office over the weekend, and ripped a book off of my bookshelf. It turned out to be an old postage stamp collection album. When I started the book some 25 years ago, stamps were one of the few things that were both collectible and accessible to a child […]

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Knowledge Rot

I just came across a fascinating observation on the nature of knowledge over time, how it rots and fades despite the rigorous recording, publishing, and indexing of information. This is a familiar story on a personal level. Pieces of half-completed writings; coding projects that consist of a handful of config files and base functions; musical […]

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Review: The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door is not a particularly subtle book. Published first in 1996, it draws a thesis based on hundreds of interviews of America’s millionaires, and beats it over the heads of its readers. Repeatedly. The central, mind-blowing “surprising secret” is that a lot of millionaires have accumulated wealth slowly, and live below their […]

The Comfort of an Simple, Enjoyable Routine

Every year, I go out and buy a copy of the latest NBA 2K video game. Every year, I start and finish a season of basketball with a team, usually going through the full 82-game season schedule, playing pretty much every game manually. Despite the tweaks that the developers make to the controls and AI […]

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Review: The Alliance

I enjoyed The Alliance. It’s Reid Hoffman’s second book on work and career management, with insights and many actionable points of advice to deal with our current job environment of shorter job stints and ambiguous roles. The book makes a good case about old adages no longer apply when the dynamics of employment have shifted, […]

Apps don’t Magically Increase Reach

Apps are supposed to be magical. Well, not so much magical as they are a supposedly a requirement for most businesses, the main way to get in front of users whose time is increasingly dominated by mobile. Admittedly, I feel a little schadenfreude whenever evidence points to the contrary, a big part of it coming […]

Retina is Driving PC Hardware

Nope, couldn’t do it. I took the new Macbook “upgrade” that I bought a few weeks ago back to the Apple store and told them that I’d stick with my 4-year-old battleship for now. Quick aside – Apple’s hardware return policies are a blast from the past. Most products can be returned, with no restocking […]