On the nature of things

Many sleepless night have been devoted to understanding questions about life, the universe, and well everything we can perceive or attempt to understand… That being said — you have to be present in the moment. That moment has to be all about the journey. It has to be about what you invest in it. Passively running out the clock defies the point of the journey. You have to invest in the actions you are taking. You have to be present. You have to invest. We strive to move forward in different ways. However, you should begin with the simple premise that life, the universe, and everything is 100% about the process of investing in the journey. You get out of journey what you put into the journey. In my humble and brief experience — life, the universe, and everything is 100% about how you invest in the journey.

I started out writing a treatise about education. Specifically, I started to write about online education. Those observations quickly expanded from a specific use case to general theory. In terms of being a use case, online education is for the most part a self-service education installation that provides a guided journey. I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how higher education can be a like an art installation. A campus in general can change our perception about our learning space. Community is the fundamental different between my experiences living on a college and attending college vs. participating in online education. We know that communities of place, circumstance, and interest are incredibly powerful. Fundamentally we are better off together working toward the common goals implied in our social contract. However, even the best education environment is about what you put into it. If you are passive participant in your education at the best possible institution, then you will not get everything you could get out of that experience.

My junior and senior years of college at the University of Kansas I got very interested in the concept of civil society. I had taken a class on it and the guided readings and lecture was work class. The professor was outstanding. The class met one time per week and we had very lengthy discussions about civil society. They were not rushed or hurried. The class was 3 hours long. The next class that professor taught after the one I attended was at Oxford University in England. I would argue the quality of education was world class. However, the tipping point related to me truly understanding the material occurred after the class ended. I checked out the entire shelf of civil society books from the library. I then read that entire shelf of books. “The academy” is a concept that is both alive within higher education and something that exists in scholarly articles, publications like books, and classrooms. A number of ways exist to tap into “the academy”. Online education would open the door to academic databases and provide course syllabuses that would open the academy’s door.

You may not agree with my observations on the nature of things. That is ok. The search for feedback never stops. Accepting and internalizing feedback is the hardest part. Translating criticism into action is never easy. That translation requires both acceptance of what is being said and an understanding of what to do with it.

On complex decision making

My thoughts have wondered to writing a treatise on decision making capacity. A union of modern approaches to game theory, complexity theory, and strategic decision making mixed with some evaluation of decision making capacity could be an interesting read. That is what has occupied my thoughts this morning. My book shelf is full of strategic decision making and game theory books. Some of them are interesting and some of them are very dry. The academy at large contains even more considerations of those topics. However, we tend to hit an overwhelming limit to what we can work with at any one time. The stream of available content has outpaced our capacity to consume it. That is a true structural problem. It might be a problem that came into existence during the intersection of technology and modernity. We have a limited amount of capacity to tackle really complex problems. We can build extremely complex computational models and have computers execute them. Those simulations of decision making via computer models produce outputs. Those outputs could be accepted by others. They could be accepted by people that are not familiar with the models. Those outputs could be layered in decisions that are being made. That would results in previous simulations that may or may not be repeatable being used to make decisions. In some ways, that creates the potential of simulacrums in decision making.

Switching to Android

I made the switch from primarily using Windows to primarily using Android. The majority of my computing work now happens on either my Nexus 9 tablet or my Nexus 6 phone. That was not an easy decision to make. My HP Envy X2 convertible laptop/tablet failed. Hardware problems have rendered it completely unusable. I watched a video on YouTube about how to heat up the edges to open up the tablet without breaking the screen, but that level of effort has not materialized. My Nexus 9 tablet has worked well enough. The Android version of Microsoft Word works well enough.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Domain mischief managed

Moving domains took just a few hours. The move from my .net to my main .com domain took about an hour of effort. That move has happened a few times over the years. A very odd Java code error occurred in one of my libraries and after about 2 days of trying to figure out it was time to reinstall and move on. That happens. It really does. It was not something that I was terribly concerned about trying to solve. An alternative solution existed. The troubleshooting had to stop. It was time to restore and move on. That course of action really just means that search engines have to do a few thousand index changes. It also means that any and all external links to my content no longer work. That should bother me, but it does not. For the most part almost all of my content is text based.

My photography efforts really cratered around 2008 and have never really recovered. I still have a Nikon D3200 camera. It works well enough. Packing it and carrying it with me is the real challenge. I always mean to use the Flickr photo sharing service in meaningful ways, but that just does not seem to happen. I have a YouTube account for video sharing. That account does not get used very often. I simply do not have enough time to edit videos together and upload them. That is probably something that will need to be revisited at some point.

For the most part, my weblog is just a place to write down functional notes that come to mind during stream of consciousness writing sessions. I am well aware that more polished and meaningful prose has to find a home in reviewed publications. Perhaps it would be a better use of my time to only make contributions to the academy. That degree of single minded purpose has not consumed me.

I tend to write when I want to write. That could very well be the root of the problem. It really could be. My writing schedule probably needs to be more of a routine and less of a whim. I could wait for inspiration to strike and chase that river to the source in a single passionate burst of prose. Waiting for inspiration to strike may not be the best strategy. Life gets busy and sometimes the spark of inspiration happens when you cannot set everything down and focus on writing. When I was younger it was much easier to drop everything and focus on a writing project. That luxury simply does not exist anymore.  Over the last few months. I wake up thinking about work instead of engaging in the academic pursuit of general problem solving or theory building.

On being completely present

Daunting as the blank page can become that will never be a valid excuse for inaction. Working in real-time is the only way to be completely present. That is the key to moving forward. That is the key to striving toward a better tomorrow. A massive to do list can overwhelm even the most creative people. Illusory rewards from multitasking have diminished the overall creative output of generation. Barriers to creativity have been destroyed within the digital age. A grand digital divide stands between those with the tools to create the frontier and those who have no access to that frontier or the tools to participate. However, more and more people have access to the tools necessary to get things done. That output has become an overwhelming wall of content that relies on the wisdom of the crowd to push things to the forefront of our socially connected digital world.

Waiting for a new book to arrive


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I’m waiting for a copy of The Girl in the Spider’s Web to be delivered on Tuesday. I wanted to get a copy of the book to read. Reading it on my Nexus 9 via the Amazon Kindle application just did not seem like the right way to read the novel.