Archive for June, 2008

Information Overload – Solution

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Any person with two brain cells will be able to figure out that if you check your Twitter and RSS feeds continuously, get IM-ed and emailed throughout the day and you respond to every beep your computer gives you, you will repeatedly if not continuously be distracted from whatever work you were supposed to be doing.

Last year some people with many brain cells wrote a report about it, basically saying that when many people in a company get distracted continuously, this is costing that company a lot of money[1]. Of course, they knew that before writing the report, but now that they’ve put numbers and ascending lines in graphs to it, it’s black on white, a reality that can’t be ignored. The big companies are getting worried. After all, the larger the company, the more workers, the more distraction through information overload, the more money lost, the more reason to be worried.

The good news: they’re working on a solution! 🙂

They haven’t found it yet of course, but they did form an Information Overload Research Group, whose website has the subtitle ‘reducing information pollution’. Sounds like a plan! I’ll keep a close eye on their progress, even if just to see how long it will take them to figure out that the only real solution lies in getting people off the addiction, instead of having them spend time on tweaking their filters for it. For now, their current monthly tip to the information overload sufferers themselves, is “reduce interruptions by turning email notifications off”.

Problem: people are already addicted to checking their email, so even with notifications off, they’ll feel compelled to click a button just to check if email has arrived in the last 3 and a half minutes while they weren’t looking.

The best description of this addiction I’ve found so far, is ‘ADHD 2.0′. This newly discovered disorder is documented by Aldo Bucchi, who also managed to post the first ever photo of the bacteria that causes ADHD 2.0.

While Ritalin has proved to help deal with ADHD, ADHD 2.0 may need more rigorous methods. Some suggestions in no particular order:

  • cut your umbilical cord (also called RJ-45, network cable, airport, wifi)
  • set the DNS in your network settings to
  • delete anything that’s called ‘profile’ and has your name on it
  • send your friends a ‘change of email address’ message, saying your new addy is
  • delete (and block!) every buddy in your MSN contact list
  • delete the file you use to remember all your passwords (for the cheaters: also burn the piece of paper that has all your passwords on it!)
  • tell your 341 Twitter followers that you want to be friends with them, and if they can schedule you for a cup of coffee at their place next week. Then ‘unfollow’ any that don’t have time, as well as those you can’t fit in that week due to your own schedule.
  • ….

I bet you can come up with plenty more suggestions, so how about you help me out here? Comment with your best efforts 🙂

[1] Interestingly, back in 2002, these same people wrote a report to say that “online community and collaboration tools increase productivity and profits”.

Overdue Blog Update

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Just an update on what I’ve been up to lately 🙂

– A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my birthday and got these funny little Rebel Duckies from my brother.

Rebel Rubber Ducks

– With that birthday I reached the old age of 42, so I figured it was about time to finally watch the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the first time ever. So yes, now I know who Arthur Dent is, and that you should never travel without a towel. But not entirely sure why everybody kept saying I should watch it…

Acrobots with lightsabers

– Last weekend I decided to earn even more geek points by watching (again for the first time) Star Wars. Not too bad, but I think I mostly liked it because it made me get the jokes in the Family Guy version of it, and I think I’ll also watch Spaceballs again. I already liked it about 20 years ago, but it must be even better now that I’ll get the references. Or maybe I should try Planet of the Apes first as well?

Dr. Who's Tardis

– Since I was in England that weekend, I also watched Dr. Who Saturday night. I like Dr. Who, and I thought this episode was quite intriguing. Where do the shadows come from, and where is the little girl? At the end it appeared it was one of them ‘to be continued next week’ episodes. Well, long live bittorents – I’ll be waiting for it to show up on btjunkie on Sunday.

ticket to Liverpool Sound

– Still the very same weekend, I went to Liverpool and saw Paul McCartney play the Anfield stadium, with Dave Grohl as special guest and supported by the Kaiser Chiefs and the Zutons. One of the best concerts I’ve been to in quite a while – I was well impressed.

flames on stage at Liverpool Sound

During ‘Live And Let Die’, I was surprised by a flash of heat against my face from the flame throwers on the stage. I was about 20 meters from the stage, so I can only imagine how hot it must have been on the front row, not to mention on the stage itself. Wonder if everybody still has their eyebrows…

young girl at concert

Other than that, no news for now 🙂