I’ve been on Yuval Noah Harari overload lately. A month long read of Homo Deus brought me some insight into the future of mankind, or perhaps the evolution. Harari’s books have left me with a bunch of thoughts about his ideas, but often I haven’t written them down; so I’m left to circle back on them another time. That’s ok, because sometimes this stuff really needs to be pondered. Today, I returned to an idea in Harari’s first book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind about travel (thanks to Reddit). It had me thinking about how this relates to my own view of the pursuit.
How tough is it today to be an Electric Vehicle (EV) driver today? Really tough, it turns out. As we sit on the precipice of mass-market adoption, more and more cars are on the road, and the charging infrastructure is not growing nearly as fast as it should. A fact making things worse is all the lip service governments seem to give EV promotion and charger installation, but the results are clear in practice. In all of this is the promise of greater Electric sales and adoption, cleaner energy sources, and price pressures on gas pushing more towards the EV market. But, in my two years of driving an EV, there is a clear dark cloud over charging infrastructure. There aren’t any more “Good” chargers out there.
You might have wondered why licensing Retail versions of Microsoft Office 2016 on Windows has become so cumbersome and clunky and confusing? Why does Microsoft force a login to install and activate Office? Why is this service so bad at showing information and handling more than one installation? If fact, if you have more than one retail copy of Office to install and activate on the same account, you’re in for serious confusion. I can’t answer all these questions, but I’ll show you how to fix this mess so you can install Office and move on.
Yuval Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind was known to me for a while as a book of interest, but I hadn’t given it a serious look. I generally avoid the droning, long and tedious history books in favor for more recent and topical themes. After finishing The Disaster Artist, I was looking for my next read, and Sapiens was staring me face to face at an airport bookstore. Now that I’ve finished, I’ll offer some of my thoughts.
So, what is it? It’s a book about a friendship that spans 15 years between two unlikely people (one of them the author). I too had a friendship that very closely parallels this story. Amazing how us humans have these constant repeating patterns. The subject of the story is Tommy Wiseau, who would go on to create perhaps the worst movie ever to be recorded in The Room. I haven’t seen the movie and I know it sucks.
The unusual story of Jim Kubicek, an IT consultant and business owner in Cumming, Georgia captured my attention recently. Due to a disagreement with the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce having unpaid bills, Jim’s company KIT cut off its services. What followed was the local Sheriff charging Jim with “theft by extortion”, “computer theft”, and “computer trespass”. All of these felonies could conceivably see Jim spending 45 years in jail. Incredibly, this is a small town with a population of 5,613, so I’d expect people like Jim are known to a large number of people in his local area. This is becoming a far-too-common cautionary tale we can learn from.
While reading The Formula, by Luke Dormhel, a treatise on the many ways computer (and other scientists) have attempted to quantify and algorithmically understand the world, I was struck by this idea of our past present and future. What kind of future are we looking at when humans are replaced by robots and even laws are being handled by artificial intelligence? The answer is, I don’t know, but it got me thinking.
Last year I had an idea: Create a really, really high quality newsletter. Reading technology related news is a daily and rigorous ritual for me, so why not take that effort and synthesize it into a curated list of “What to Read”? Many others are doing this, of course, but I felt the value for readers was to get it from your trusted technical advisor (I manage technology for a number of small and medium sized businesses). For many years this voracious appetite for news and information was only for myself, but I knew it was time to change that. Time to share this with the world.
The story is all too common: I go onto Kijiji (a Canadian Craigslist clone) and find what I had been looking for: an iPad. I see the post’s price and presume it’s an “anchor” price, so I start off asking if the device is available and if they’d take a lower number. What follows is finding out the iPad posting was misrepresented as a “personal” sale, when in fact it was a business selling the product at a firm price, quoted without tax. Another asshole muddying what’s known as the “grey” market for the rest of us. Too many of these types of experiences, and you start to wonder if this can ever be improved past this level of failed experiment.
You might think the two of these have nothing in common, but I find it surprising how these two share similar tactics. In fact, taking a similar approach to writing information in each place might improve your odds of getting that message accross clearly and concisely. You may be the type of person that writes one-word message in email and Tinder profiles; and this wouldn’t be an article for you. For everyone else, however, read on to see these two in action.