Revolutionary Schools

Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: , , , , , , , |


How do you fix the United States education system and not go broke? Here are some interesting takes on customized education.

The Freakonomics Podcast episode “How Is a Bad Radio Station Like the Public School System?” focuses on the “School of One,” a New York City pilot program in elementary schools trying to eliminate the one-size-fits-all factory model in education. Instead of a teacher providing one instruction method to all the students in the class, instruction and advancement is highly individualized:

The classroom is divided into smaller groups based on different teaching methods.

  • Large group live instruction
  • Small group live instruction
  • Small group virtual tutoring
  • Independent practice
  • Small group collaboration
  • Independent virtual instruction

Students elect their own training method. And, this is not a hippy-dippy “let’s have class outside” feel good and don’t worry about results program. This is more objective based than any school I have every heard of: Read the rest of this entry »

Mac Tip: Removing files from Favorites side bar in OSX 10.7 Lion

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: , |

Among the changes in Apple’s OS X 10.7 is how to remove files and folders from the Favorites sidebar in Finder.

I recently noted that I had accidentally dragged a file in to the Favorites folder.

No problem. I’ll just drag it off.

Except that dragging an item off the Favorites sidebar doesn’t work any more in Lion. Thanks Apple!

Thanks to a bit of googling and other users with the same problem, I found the trick.

Hold down the “Command” button while dragging the file. 

The file comes off with and vanishes with the regular puff of smoke when you let go of it outside of the Finder window.

Total European Collapse

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Cash Money - 100 Euro Notes

I imagine that economists tell exactly this kind of story while sitting around camp fires to scare one another.

Planet Money presents the worst case scenario for Europe: how the failure of a few countries could pull the whole of Europe and the world into another 2008 style depression. /Shivers.

Save it for Halloween, if you wish, but give it a listen.

Creative Commons License photo credit:


Trial and Error vs Experts

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Here is a fascinating TED presentation from economics writer Tim Harford defending trial and error methods of arriving at solutions. Harford specifically compares expert solutions to trial and error methods at arriving at solutions to complicated problems.

Why is this important? Many problems do not have solutions that are black and white. We are not asking what is 3 + 4. Instead we are asking how do we create the most effective vaccine? Or, for business people what is the most effective pitch.

Harford suggests the best method for arriving at an answer is to try as many possible solutions as is practical and then iterate with the best ones.

It’s a fine argument is favor of the fail faster philosophy. Give it a watch.

Best Business Advice for Lawyers

Filed under: Marketing, Podcasts | Tags: , |

I was listening to after-show of Episode 10 of Back to Work. Merlin Mann has what I consider the best and simplest advice for anyone in business.

Here’s Merlin is voicing some people’s problem with Apple.

‘I don’t understand: why does Apple only make this costly stuff that only people who like Apple buy? It’s crazy, it’s almost like they don’t care about the people who don’t buy their stuff. It’s the weirdest thing in the world. Don’t they understand that I’m never going to buy their stuff?’

And that, I think, is a pretty good summation of how a lot of businesses see the world.

‘Why don’t you care more about how much I’m never going to buy your thing. Why doesn’t that bother you as much as it bothers me? You should care so much more about how I’m never going to buy your thing.’

And instead they’re not going to burn cycles on that. They’re  gonna go like, “Yeah, we’re a company! Yeah, we’re gonna do lock in. Yeah, we’re gonna do dumb shit. But, yeah we’re going to do that for people who have a fuck ton of money who are really happy to give it to us instead of making 35 tablets who don’t run that well and then make you feel bad about it.

What does this have to do with running a law practice?

Don’t try to make people who are never going to buy your services happy.

And, if you are blogging, you see this every day!  Read the rest of this entry »