The Future! (BETA)

If the future were a website, would it be one of those that perpetually has the sign up “Under Construction”?  When are we going to get some closure on these “Beta” web applications that are down every other week, or the software that will be compatible with my operating system “in a few months”?

 In a “Web 2.0” world, the future amounts to a collage of constant upgrades and updates.  Growth is version-bound, incremental, in the style of a digital clock.  Rather than a cycle, change is a linear spectrum.  The old isn’t old, it’s outdated, and the new is what outperforms the old.  Never stagnating or repeating, if you don’t like the way things are, just wait a minute.

This perception of time is an technology-driven, impatient one.  But if I think really hard I’m able to remember another one, when once upon a time, the future was the gently flowing dream of a life we’ll eventually get to, a la “Row row row your boat.” 

Remember the swell of the shadow on a garden sun dial, or the sweep of an analog watch?  In the natural world, growth is cyclical, based on the rhythms of the body and its environment.   Change, rather than being the end of the old, is its renewal. 

I would argue that the integration of the two systems of thought is an optimal framework, allowing the human mind to find continually fresh content, and the body to find stability in the ebb and flow of the daily routine. 

So take the nap, but set the digital alarm, and let the future come to you.

Try the Frivolous Google Search Game

While amusing myself by typing phrases in to Google and seeing what pops up, I discovered some intriguing results. It is a challenging time-waster to find a phrase that produces mostly content on a Google search rather than the name of a company, a movie, or a song, and diverse content at that, like blog posts. Try it – see how many phrases you can come up with that produces more than a collection of Wikipedia entries, IMDB listings, Amazon books, and other name aggregators. When you do come up with a good phrase, the results can be intriguing.

Here are some highlights …

“the art of”:

  • The Art of the Prank
    Insights, information, news and discussion about pranks, hoaxes, culture jamming and reality hacking. – 72k –
  • The Art of Demotivation
    A text so historic deserves art of equal import. Kevin Sprouls, the celebrated creator of the Wall Street Journal Portrait Technique, lent his pen and – 37k –
  • How to Change the World: The Art of Schmoozing
    Schmoozing is both a skill and a fine art. Tech guru Guy Kawasaki has posted an excellent piece called The Art of Schmoozing in his blog Let the Good Times – 137k –

“top ten”:

“how not to”:

  • Bicycle Safety: How to Not Get Hit by Cars
    Ten ways you can get hit by cars (with pictures) and meaningful ways to avoid them. Not your typical lame Bike Safety page. – 72k –
  • How Not To Get Laid
    How Not To Get Laid – How Not To Get Laid, A Compendium of Coitus Rejectus. – 54k –
  • How to Not Be Annoying – wikiHow
    If you laugh loudly at everyone’s jokes, even if they’re not all that funny, read up on how to avoid laughing at inappropriate times. – 36k –

PS I also found out that there are weird HTML tags embedded in the code of Google search results – they make it look pretty on the Google page but when you lift it it can be annoying. Speed Mentoring

At NewBCamp I gave a presentation called Speed Mentoring. This was a 45 minute session divided up into smaller 6 minute segments during which geeks answered the specific questions of newbies on a one-on-one or a one-on-three basis. Basically your robust version of the high school “study hall” but without the bespectacled school marm telling you to tone it down.

My expectation was that all the newbies would float from geek to geek learning a little here and a little there, having a few questions about this and that, moving when the gong was sounded. Far from it. The newbies had questions about particular processes on the internet – how do I upload photos, how do I create a blog, how do I install a Paypal button. Yet more surprising, it was the intermediate users who were most in demand. I had asked that several ‘super-geeks’ – really advanced users – be available for questions. I sat around with them trading NewBCamp observations while the rest of the newbies and intermediate users went at it. The gong was hardly heard as the people who had partnered up stuck together as they exchanged information and at the end, contact e-mails.

Based on my observations, I would say that this session is conceptually analogous to the unconference packed into a single zip file: spontaneous self-organization, collaborative conversational model, participant driven. One word of caution – I organized this session with 20-30 people in mind. More than that and one might have to have an honorary bespectacled school marm to ensure that all the newbies can find those geeks best equipped to help answer their questions. Some form of personal tagging might be appropriate (a sticky label that says, “Ask me about social media!”).

Bad Resume

Human resources managers, if you’re looking for my actual resume, try the About Me page.

inspired by Steve Yegge

Objective: I am seeking a position as a self-employed executive.


  • 12 years of Sunday School
  • Applied to Bryn Mawr College
  • Accepted into University of Pennsylvania’s post-doc program; chose not to attend


  • Custom Latin motto designer – “semper ubi sub ubi” solum principium erat …
  • Formed a political party for women with the first name Sara (also Sarah)
  • Produced and sold hand-crafted crocheted hats, gloves, etc.

Job Titles


  • Calligraphy
  • Domestic Animal Calling (specializing in cats, chickens, and pigs)
  • Free Form Poetry Composition