Distractions abound these days. Digital frontiers that were supposed to enable freedom seem to have empowered distraction. We have so much potential to unleash. Technological gains are about to redefine our understanding of possibility. These are the years that will define our course moving forward. We have so much potential to unlock. A potential that we allow to be distracted by a series of things that matter only in the moment. Garnering attention when it matters most remains one of the hardest things to do at the intersection of technology and modernity.
Over the last few weeks my television set has been turned to CNN. I even listen to the CNN channel in my car. Mixed with a steady diet of Washington Post articles I have tried to pay attention to politics. Now seems to be a key point in time to really understand what is going on in the world. It is easy to falter from caring about the course of our democracy. It is much harder to try to participate in the process and keep up with the increasingly hard to follow political landscape.
Even the largest televised events draw only a fraction of our attention. No newspaper or internet website can command the attention of the nation. The last point of common discourse most people share revolves around either high school or a test at the department of motor vehicles. Our shared history and experience helps create the common points we can build on to move forward. It seems that out points of divergence are expanding. Even a well organized campaign can only bring a small part of the equation into focus.
We have to figure out the best methods to garner the most attention when it really matters. We have to figure out how to set the stage for the next ten years. We are on the verge of seeing technological complexity ramp up in ways that are almost hard to imagine. That complexity may be the first way of change that cannot be easily consumed or understand with a reasonable amount of effort. Technology that may be easy enough to use, but may be complex enough that it cannot be easily reproduced or reverse engineered.
Naptime arrived today a little later than expected. It did not happen in a hurry. Things did not happen according to a plan. A few giggles occurred and then silence. Naptime at a hotel is always an interesting and unpredictable process.
Now would be the time to engage in a little writing. I turned on CNN and acknowledged the roughly two hours of time in front of me. Given approximately 2 hours of time a certain amount of productivity can occur. That will really depend on sustaining focus. It is about getting locked into the process of writing and staying in the zone without distraction.
The other day I went to a Bose outlet store and traded in my QC2 headphone for a pair of QC35 wireless headphones. Those headphones really do help me focus. Noise cancelling headphones really do shut the world out. Sometimes slowing down and appreciating the moment is the right thing to do and it is the best thing to do.
One of the things that I have learned and tend to share with others is the idea of working real-time, but avoiding the urge to be in a hurry. Imagine just how much Jack Bauer accomplished in 24 hours. That same epic amount of productivity occured season after season. That level of productivity is something to strive toward.
My ability to compartmentalize has always been outstanding. For better or worse that ability helps me move from concept to concept and begin from scratch when necessary. Picking something up in a tabula rasa way sometimes helps. Other times you do not have the time to break something down to the most basic levels and build it back up.
Two hours of writing time should produce a certain amount of words. During a normal writing session I produce more than 1,000 words of prose. It has been some time since I have tried to write for more than two hours at a time. That is probably something that I need to tackle head on and it could happen any night. Writing for a long period without being interrupted is something that will involve a little bit of planning or a little bit of reckless abandon.
These are the moments that happen right when the quiet time starts. That little bit of time before bed where things slow down and quiet happens. It really is just a little burst of time that happens. Things like this happen without any explanation. Separate from that inexplicable moment is my interest in writing some fiction novels. It has been some time since that type of mood has stricken my thoughts. Do consider the word stricken in this case to describe a type of infection. My writing typically ends up being either a functional journaling of thoughts, essays, or nonfiction efforts. Very little of my day in and day out writing ends up being fiction based.
Maybe I missed my calling. The last nonfiction book series I truly enjoyed reading was by David Baldacci. The Camel Club was a series that kept my attention and sparked my imagination. I could truly picture the characters and imagine how the book played out. Sometimes it seems like a good idea to just writing short stories within the spy thriller genre. That type of writing provides a grand adventure into distracting myself within my imagination. Knowing that it does not drive my inquiry into the greater understanding of the intersection of technology and modernity is really the only thing that keeps me from engaging in that type of prose.
Each weblog post helps to define the nature of my inquiry. It helps define the nature of the search and the footsteps that were taken down the path of understanding the intersection of technology and modernity. Maybe it is more or less about understanding how our grand social fabric came together and what it would take to drive things forward. That search for improvement is the keystone that brings our grand history into context. We strive to move forward in ways that could erase division and spark stronger community. Accepting and being present in the moment is not about abandoning the quest to strive forward. Being away of the moment and accepting the moment are important parts of taking active steps to improve things along the way. They are an important part of deciding to make each step toward improvement count.
Standing up to the true test of history used to matter. It used to matter a lot. People would consider that weight of historical judgment during the decision making process. Our politics have become true to the moment. Decisions are no longer judged for having a timeless quality. They are triangulated in the moment based on the passions of the day. Decisions end up being situational in nature. Weighing decisions against a historical context makes the process of deciding more difficult. We have some very important decisions to make. We all get to experience the social fabric that brings us together. An increasingly mobile society finds ways to make small tears in the social fabric as people move from community to community. Each patch of the social fabric creates the potential to add strength. It has the potential to forge new connections within the community.
Politics seems to be dividing folks at an ever increasing rate. My interests are geared toward figuring out how to increase civic engagement and help people work together. We have so many things to accomplish as a society. Opportunities exist to move things forward. We just have to decide to strengthen the social fabric and encourage a higher degree of civility.
We the people have to figure out how to work together to drive things forward. Things are complex and seem to be getting more complex every year. I spent some time thinking about complexity modeling and dealing with complexity theory. From the edges of chaos theory to evaluating machine learning and artificial intelligence my research has been focused, but it has ended up being less than fruitful. That happens from time to time.
Entertainment can be a distraction from politics. A lot of people are probably looking for a distraction from politics this week. Today one example of that is the third game of the 2017 NBA finals. Watching the NBA finals today has been somewhat disappointing. Basketball is something that I generally enjoy watching. Today the first half of the game just did not resonate with me. Overall the rise of senselessly deep three point shots and endlessly rolling offensive sets does not really entertain me. Some of the intensity within the game was interesting.
Today some notes were taken with my Parker fountain pen. Getting back into the habit of taking a few notes throughout the day is healthy. It is a good part of stringing things together. It is amazing just how much I have enjoyed the switch to fountain pens. The sheer amount of enjoyment was unexpected.
…it started with a weblog post or so it goes this time around…
My time away from writing is now done. A few months were spent internalizing the nature of being in the moment. That moment of focus has become the now. The now at the edge of my thoughts is very much present in this moment. In this very moment my thoughts are racing toward pushing things forward. They are centered around making a lasting contribution. Sometimes a single-minded focus on crossing things off of our to-do-lists allows us to confuse taking action with having purpose. Winning short term battles each and every day does not guarantee long term success. We have to strive toward personal growth in positive and productive ways.
Getting back into the habit of daily writing is easier than it might seem. It does not really involve a question of talent. It more or less involves a question of willpower and persistence. My tenacity has not been questioned in years. My productivity with respect to turning out academic papers is very much in question.
2017 has to be a turning point with respect to my academic productivity. Perhaps my goals should shift to writing one academic paper a quarter. The Q2 paper will have to be a literature review. I do not have time to set up collection for an construct a dataset for a more exploratory inquiry into an academic question.
This year my creative interests shifted to vlogging. It is an interesting creative outlet. My efforts included working on some daily vlog videos and even a few live streams. Those efforts were not focused on a making a contribution to the academy. None of it was about an idea that metaphorically knocks on the sky and makes a dent in the universe. Those types of contributions are harder and harder to achieve. The amount of signals and noise is at an all time high. It has become harder and harder to figure out the difference between a distraction and a real contribution that drives the academy forward.
It appears the build from the Google Recovery Utility has stabilized my Chromebook. Dealing with constant reboots over the last few days has been highly frustrating. This weekend things have been better. Overall the Google Recovery Utility was easy enough to use. It worked well enough to get me back up and running. Getting back in the habit of daily writing had to happen eventually. In each moment we make a choice. That choice can help to push things forward.
Chromebooks are fun up until a point. For me that point was when it started rebooting at random. You can start removing extensions and format the device. Naturally, my thoughts turned to buying the new ASUS Flip 2 model C302CA. It looks like a solid replacement plan. That strategy does not really solve the core problem that my Chromebook software failed. Maybe something has been added that will always produce that result after login. It could be the type of error that will just follow you from device to device.
This current run is the longest my Chromebook has gone without rebooting. I switched to using the standalone Docs application. It seems to have helped bolster device stability.
Chromebook troubleshooting steps taken to recovery from a fault condition where a restart loop was occurring during Chrome tab/internet usage.
1. All Google Chrome extensions were deleted from the browser. This step did not yield any positive results. The Chromebook would boot, but during any web browsing the device would reset.
2. Settings → Show advanced → Reset Settings. This step was easy to accomplish. It did not help the rebooting condition.
3. Settings → Show advanced → Powerwash. The last of the basic troubleshooting steps for a Chromebook involved a powerwash. It was easy to delete the extensions, reset all the settings, and to power wash the device. None of those steps help stop the Chromebook from randomly rebooting after any web browsing.
4. Chromebook Recovery Utility (from a Windows box) media. This step required the use of my Windows 10 computer. I loaded the Chromebook Recovery Utility from my Chrome browser. It was easy to install the recovery files on a 4GB USB stick. That seems to have done the trick.
After opening Google docs today it seemed like a good idea to use the Spearmint letter template to write todays post. Even now it still appears to be a good idea. Over the years, this forum for stream of consciousness writing has produced a mix of insightful or banal commentary. Bimodal as that might be it does appear to be true. Creative forces may produce novel results, but that does not guarantee them to be interesting.
Academically my mind has been wandering to the ultimate question of what is my next line of inquiry. Figuring out what is next defines entire industries. For me it remains a simple framework of time chasing a problem. Armed with a true belief in the power of potential time chasing a problem of sufficient magnitude can be daunting. Many academic questions seem trivial in the context of evaluating life, the universe, and well everything. Picking the right problem to go after therefore is highly important.
Currently, the trajectory I have been on is leading me down a road that involves understanding the intersection of big data and artificial intelligence. It may not be as elegant as breaking down the intersection of technology and modernity, but it may end up being comparable.