Other People's Problems [en]

[fr] Je pense qu'une des raisons pour lesquelles il est plus facile de trouver des solutions aux problèmes des autres est que nous avons moins d'informations à disposition pour essayer de choisir "la meilleure solution".

A few days ago I had a sudden insight. And yes, amongst other things, I blame Fooled by Randomness.

We all know that it’s easier to solve other people’s problems than one’s own.

And we also know that being away from home with no computer access makes it easier to relax and do other things. Or working in the office instead of at home means you are not “tempted” by home stuff while you should be working. That basically, being in a context where you physically have less options reduces stress.

I just realised that it’s similar for with problems. One of the things Taleb insists on in Fooled by Randomness is that more information does not mean you make a better decision. More information is bound to get you fooled by randomness.

So, two things here:

  • less choice means less stress
  • less information can mean better decisions

I think that both come into play in a way when dealing with other people’s problems. You have less data about the issue than the person who is stuck in the problem. That makes it easier for you to take a decision about it (or give advice), because you aren’t burdened by tons of possibly useless data that you still try to process.

Makes sense?

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About Missing Videos (Open Stage, Friday) and Expectations [en]

[fr] Certaines vidéos de LIFT, dont celles des open stage, n'ont pas pu être montées en live. C'est un peu compliqué pour finir tout ça et les mettre en ligne, et on ne saura pas quand ce sera le cas.

**Update:** the (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8270350768335569204) is online now, thanks Laurent!

I posted this note [on the LIFT community blog](http://www.liftconference.com/about-missing-videos-open-stage-friday-and-expectations) at Laurent’s request (he sounds a bit swamped right now) to give some info about the missing videos. I’m cross-posting it here, mainly for the few personal thoughts at the end of the post.

A few of us Open Stage speakers have been wondering why our videos weren’t online. Let me state first that it is *not* a conspiracy of some kind or an indication that community-chosen presentations might be less regarded than “invited speakers”. If you look at the [videos on nouvo.ch](http://www.nouvo.ch/liftvideo), you’ll see that Kevin Marks is the last recorded speakers — all those after him are missing too.

I’ve asked Laurent about this (believe me, he’s heard about it enough) and what has happened is that some talks were not edited live — so it seems it’s a bit of a struggle to get it done / retrieve them / put them online. We unfortunately don’t know when they’ll be available. I trust, however, that the recordings are safe and will not be lost.

This kind of situation is really annoying. As a speaker, who was relying upon this video, I feel extremely frustrated — and also a bit mad at myself, because knowing how important this recording was for me, I should have planned for a fail-safe and got somebody to do some dirty shooting “just in case”.

As a conference organiser, I dread that I’ll find myself in this situation at some point — it’s almost inevitable. When you announce something, even if it’s something that you’re giving graciously, people come to expect it and rely on it. And when things go wrong and it doesn’t happen the way they hoped, they react badly (me included) — when they probably wouldn’t have said anything in the first place if they hadn’t been expecting it.

I know Laurent feels bad about this, and they’re doing what they can to find a solution — amongst the myriad of other post-LIFT things they need to deal with.

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Nokia 6280 Shortcomings [en]

[fr] Au début, j'étais réjouie du fait que mon Nokia 6280 était compatible mac. Maintenant, j'ai un peu la gueule de bois, même si j'aime toujours autant le toucher du clavier.

Appareil photo de vraiment mauvaise qualité, synchronisation capricieuse, dictionnaire t9 à la mémoire courte, impossibilité de marquer comme lus tous les SMS pas lus, volume d'alerte de SMS trop fort par rapport à la sonnerie (impossible à régler séparément), réveil qu'il faut réenclencher chaque jour, et lien vers Sunrise Live (qui n'est pas mon opérateur) gravé pour l'éternité dans le menu rapide que l'on peut soi-disant configurer entièrement.

I’ve had a Nokia 6280 since September, and unfortunately the initial excitement of managing to make it sync with my Mac has worn down. Here’s a round-up of what works, and doesn’t work.

The phone is pretty, it’s the right size to fit in my hand, and the keyboard has a very nice touch (particularly important to me as I have RSI). The sliding mechanism is fun to play with (specially to answer calls or hang up), and it overall behaves quite correctly as a device to call other people and be called.

However. Not all is well.

One of the reasons I bought this phone was the 2Mpx camera. Well, to put it simply, it’s crap. Too much compression, artefacts, patchy colors, and an overall impression of digital zoom.

As I said, the phone works over iSync to sync contacts and calendars. When it works, that is. Half the time computer and phone are unable to recognize each other. (Yes, it could have something to do with the computer, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to blame it on the phone.)

The T9 dictionary works fine until you want to teach it new words. It remembers them for a little while, and then forgets about them. Obviously, instead of being permanently added to the dictionary, they are kept in some kind of short-term memory of very limited capacity.

Flooded with many unread SMS, maybe because you use Twitter on your mobile and forgot to turn it off? Fear not, you will be given the chance to trudge through those 30 messages one by one to mark them as read. You can “mark” them individually and then delete them all in one go, but you can’t “mark as read” in a batch.

There also seems to be no way to set the volume for SMS reception and incoming calls separately. This means that the “beep-beep” announcing the arrival of text messages is way too loud, and the ringing for incoming calls is still not loud enough.

The alarm has to be reset each day. Learning this involved quite a bit of oversleeping, until I understood that just checking the alarm time was right and then exiting was not sufficient. The “OK” button needs to be pressed each day to reactivate the alarm.

The icing on the cake? The customizable “Go to” menu (for easy access to frequently requested functions) sports a shiny shortcut to the web portal homepage of a carrier which happens to not be mine. Hard-coded. First position. Unmovable.

Crossposted to hate.my.phone.

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Geeky Frustrations [en]

[fr] Quelques râlages (comme quoi je ne fais pas ça qu'en français) au sujet de certains outils que j'utilise quotidiennement.

Right, so, just so I can get it off my chest, here is a list of little things that bug me with the tools I use daily. If I save them for a “proper write-up” they probably will never be posted, so… here goes.

– Twitter: let me see a differential list of those I follow and those who follow me, both ways. I need to know who is following me that I’m not following (maybe I missed somebody out) and who I’m following but they’re not (to keep in mind they won’t see stuff I twitter).
– Twitter: let me tag my friends, or sort them into buddy groups. Then let me activate phone alerts for only certain groups. One-by-one management is just impossible with 100 or so friends.
– Adium: let me [turn off Gmail notifications](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/5560398). I have Google Notifier for that. I hate having to click “OK” on that window all the time.
– Google Reader: let me [drag’n drop](http://steph.wordpress.com/2007/02/17/dragn-drop-in-google-reader/) feeds from one folder to another.
– Facebook: let me import more than one RSS feed in my notes.
– Nokia 6280 and Macbook: please sync with each other *each time* I ask you to, not once out of three.
– Nokia 6280: gimme a “mark all as read” option for my text messages, please!
– Nokia 6280: I’d say something about the really crappy camera, but there isn’t much you can do about it now, can you.
– iPod: let me loop through all episodes of a podcast instead of having to go to the next episode manually.
– iTunes: let me mix playlists as a source for Party Shuffle (30% My Favorites, 30% Not Listened in Last week, 40% Artist I’m Obsessing Over These Days… for example)
– Google Reader and del.icio.us: find a way to allow me to automatically post Shared Items to del.icio.us too.
– Flickr: let me link to “My Favorite photos tagged …” so I can show my readers what I’ve found.
– **Added 18.02.07 0:10** [Google Ajax-y Homepage](http://padawan.info/web/google_goes_mashup.html): let me Share Google Reader items, not just star them.
– …

Certainly more, but these were those which were bugging me badly just now. Well, they’re off my chest, now I can go back to fretting about all the [stuff I need to get rid of](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/5560379) in my flat and which is still lying around because I haven’t quite figured out the optimal way to dispose of it.

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