Saturday, February 04, 2012

Robin Williams does a Siri impression

Doriano Paisano Carta
Robin Williams does a Siri impression - During his interview, Robin Williams did the most hysterical impression of Siri, the "personal assistant" that comes in the iPhone 4s. He had Ellen dying of laughter!
View or comment on Daniël Crompton's post »

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

6 Months of Security Links #2011

I'm a regular curator of daily links, and like to give overviews of my collection of curated links and posts. This is partly as there are some good sources and articles in here and as I am working on a research project which I started based on a number of books I read.

I'm sure you'll find something interesting in the items below - there are some gems in the list - and I dare to hazard the guess you might learn something you wanted to know. :)

Read more »

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Educating Children to Stimulate the Economy #lifehacks

I watched a micro-documentary on Dutch television about Tiger Mothers, the opinion of the commentators was that all these children are unhappy and that there is no such thing as 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, although the other commentator rephrased it to Parato's terms of 20-80. Or as Gladwell says: "... the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours."

I believe he is wrong, and I will tell you why.

In international terms I am above average with an IQ of 135 measured at age 10, although only a little above average when you consider that since I was tested the IQ points are rising with approximately 1 points every 3 years. [1] One of the reasons I am above average is not because I have a good brain, it's because my parents encouraged me to start reading when I wanted to start reading at age 2 or 3. This means that when I was tested for my age I had a better grasp of language than my peers to which the test is compared, on average they have a smaller grasp of language when they are tested as they are proficient in only one language and start at a much later age. Their mathematical grasp was also poor when they were tested as they didn't spend hours in their younger years with their father writing a mathematics computer program and playing the computer program to get more than just proficient at mathematics.

I am not a wonder child, I haven't played piano in years. And I couldn't start any kind of lessons at age 3 when I wanted to start, I had to wait until age 12. I stopped after a couple of years and picked it up again at age 24 practised "Moonlight Sonata" - until 26 - between 6 and 8 every evening, and created my own musical notation as I found regular music notation unclear at a glance. 10 years later with a littler prompt of my own notation I can play most of Moonlight Sonata's introduction from the top of my head at part of it using regular music notation.

And as I mentioned before I was stimulated at young age to play with computers, the ZX81, and with my father's help wrote a program to help me do sums at young age. This meant that when I went to study Information Technology I was so ahead of my peers that I ended up being discharged from all the IT subjects as the school believed that they and I were wasting our time spending time in class.

I could give other examples, and this all was not because of this magic number of IQ which was averaged to an age level average which is based on children which aren't encouraged to excel in what they want to or should do. I didn't and still don't have the feeling that there was no pressure on my shoulders due to a high IQ, quite the contrary. And I have a contradictory feeling that I was given too much freedom to get less than a score of 10 out of 10 (US equivalent of an A) in many cases. In the end I feel that my parents where too lenient when I was young and to accepting of outside arguments, such as with piano, that children should start learning certain things at a certain age.

I will not be a Tiger Father, and I won't be an easy father. I can't say what I will do, and I want to allow my children to develop themselves in the direction they want and encourage them to put in the 10,000 hours to achieve that which they want to achieve. And perhaps as I have suggested before I want to remove choice, so they can never blame themselves for making the wrong choice.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The unhappiness of action and inaction?

Like many people I am lazy, this is sometimes handy as it means I will automate mundane important tasks and ignore unimportant tasks. And it's a pattern that I'm not always happy with, even with it's obvious advantages. I go on time management binges, spend my time creating frameworks for organizing my time, yet I often don't get to the execution of the framework. The journey is sometimes more fun, than the goal.

This means that many handy, and even some fun things, are left in to do lists with little chance that they will be crossed off. And I'm quite happy with the situation.

This leads me to the reason I started this post: I watched Dan Gilbert's TED video Why are we happy? and came to the question: Can I enable myself to see my inaction as a choice? And choose something different?

I may be unhappy whether I do or don't, says Gilbert. Wondering whether I made the right choice until the end of time. It's also impossible to see the choice as immutable as the choice can always be changed at a moments notice. And yet, as is suggested by Gilbert, the power of the mutability of decision is an illusion. Having the ability to choose will make it impossible to know whether the path chosen is the right path - even if there is no right or wrong.

This leads me to believe that the Reinhold Niebuhr quote: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. should actually read: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can change, the courage to not change the things I can, and the wisdom to make choices immutable.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year #2011

Fireworks - Happy New Year

Hope you have a very happy 2011.

Image source: bruce89

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just Finsihed Reading: "Fooled by Randomness" #books

For Christmas my girlfriend's mother followed the advise I long ago gave to my girlfriend: "Only buy a book for when you don't understand what it says on the cover." That resulted in the book Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It covers a number of points, one of which is excellently explained in the Dilbert strip below:

Dilbert Strip

One of the point that Taleb makes is one that Bruce Schneier also makes: the difficulty for people to understand causality and correlation. It is such a difficult subject that even Taleb confuses correlation with causality when it comes to smoking, for which I assume he has a distaste, and this exactly proves the point that his book is making.

Brilliant book!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A catalog of this year's risks #2010

Programming Hands

Risk is something which can be difficult to evaluate for the average person, there is a lot of work which goes in to learning not to do the two things that people usually do when they are confronted with risk:

  1. Ignore
  2. Overreact

It looks like every man and his dog needs to have a Facebook page, even banks...

It has been almost 1.5 weeks since Google’s FeedBurner removed the Frie...

Some days ago I tweeted to Prosper, a personal loan marketplace, whether they...

I don’t really think most people get “it” when it comes to ...

Just noticed that Google Translate translates the name of the Dutch social ne...

I find a 400 plus page manual of office policies and job descriptions for eac...

In the last two days I’ve not been posting so much, and focussing on up...

I started playing with Google Scribe and wanted to see if patterns emerged so...

I have my Google account set up with English as the preferred language, my br...

For the last 2 years LinkedIn has been running a bad poor IT management depar...

When I just started I too had trouble with getting all the items I required t...

On August 11th 2007 I exceeded my GMail quota, I blogged about it here. At th...

Brian Szymanski send a reply to me concerning another bank implementing SMS b...

I don’t understand why url expansion after url shortening is such an is...

I just read an article Web Coupons Know Lots About You, and They Tell in the ...

This morning/night China’s networks were sending rerouting messages to ...

The lack of trained and experienced computer security people working in small...

Last week I saw an episode of a popular Dutch Ombudsman program Kassa, they r...

After seeing a program about a lifecoach trying to find the time to get his p...

Image source Radio Nederland Wereldomroep

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