I’m listening to the 4th Graders Read A Credit Card Agreement episode of NPR’s Planet Money podcast. In it, the hosts discuss the how eye-roll-back-in-your-head complex credit card agreements and notices are. Is it really necessary to make them so complicated? Is it even possible to make legal notices simpler?
Of course the second one is easier to read. It is broken down into clear sections with nice signposts to tell the reader what s/he is looking at. Now, here is the question. Are your fee agreements and other documents more like the first set notice, or the second?
I was listening to Martin Seligman at the RSA talking about positive psychology. His discussion of the causes of suicide (a lack of meaning in daily activities) dovetailed with an earlier discussion on the Suicide Paradox from Freakonomics. Two bits that stuck with me from the Freakonomics episode was that suicide rates increase as standards of living rise and that the time from the suicidal impulse to the suicidal action is often as short as two to five minutes.
I know, this doesn’t sound very “happy” so far. The RSA lecture made me look up more of Martin Seligman’s presentations and I came across the TED.
I love the videos Microsoft makes showing their vision for the future: roboto-Bill Gates ravaging the landscape shooting lasers from his eyes and leveling buildings with shoulder mounted missile launchers… /sigh… good stuff.
Actually, I find their videos on how school, work and life might work to be quite enthralling (despite being shockingly depopulated — perhaps they simply depict the 2023 forced “retirement” of anyone unable to afford a smartphone).
I’m not sure why they do this other than just give futurists a “SQUEE!” But, they do and I love them for it. Squee!
Here’s the latest one titled “Productivity Future Vision (2011)”
It’s a bit more whackadoo than their Office Labs Vision 2019: containing holograms coming off the screen combined with (still awkward) Kinect type controls. But, hey, you can continue to follow the adventures of business-mom (same actress as in the prior video) who still hasn’t found her way home (she’s now in Johannesburg). Ah well, maybe by 2040.
This isn’t a dig against moms who work. Just that usually if a company wants to show you an idealized future, they who how technology improves work/life balance; not keeping you continents away from your family. But, at least there’s pie!
iOS 5 comes with text expansion. You can type “omy” and your iPhone and iPad will type out “On my way.”
Sure, you could use the widely available Text Expander app. However, one benefit of iOS “Shortcuts” – what Apple calls its expansion system is that it is system wide. This lets you use snippets, er shortcuts anywhere on your iOS 5 device.
Turn on Shortcuts in Settings > General > Keyboards. Click the “Add New Shortcut” button to add a snippet.
Type in the full phrase you want your iOS device to type, and the shortcut (the abbreviation).
Design sells. If you doubt it, see what former iPod designer Tony Fadell did with the Nest thermostat.
Like the iPod that Fadell helped create, the Learning Thermostat is a compact device that features a small digital display and is controlled by a wheel. You simply push the front of the device to make selections within the menus. To control the device remotely, there’s an iOS app for your iPhone, and another coming soon for Android devices.
Emoji, those Japanese pictograms, are built in with iOS 5. So, you no longer have to buy a separate app. However, they are not turned on by default and they are pretty well hidden in the iPhone or iPad settings.