Asynchronicity, GeekDinner, and Chrome Plating
I'm a highly asynchronous individual. What the heck does that mean, you say? One of the ways this shows up is in my approach to mental activities (programming, writing, etc.): as soon as I reach a point where I take a mental "pause", I switch to another activity to fill that pause, pushing the other task onto the back burner for as little as a few seconds, or as long as several hours, depending on circumstances. To other people, it looks like I'm being continually distracted; but actually, it's by for the most effective way for me to marshal my concentration. When it comes to things like my day job, where deadlines and other such considerations are inescapable, there are limits to how long something can "pause", waiting for the return of my attention, but when it comes to other activities like reading that interesting URL someone mentioned to me, it may lie open in a browser tab for a year or more, especially if it's something really long. This isn't necessarily procrastination, and unlike some people, I don't just eventually give up saying "oh, I'll never get around to it now"; I really will get around to it, even if I only manage to do it in another year's time. The same thing happens with my feeds (I use Google Reader via Feedly); I lightly skim the surface from day to day, reading a handful of entries every day, and skipping some of the non-interesting stuff, but I only dip down into the "meat" every few weeks, going through all or most of the unread entries; as a result, I have a rather unwieldy number of unread items at most points in time. Again, this isn't a problem; the time-sensitive items are usually included in my daily reading, so the rest can wait until I get around to it… whenever. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing about time-sensitive issues on my blog, this asynchronicity doesn't work so well; if I wait until next year to blog about an event that happened this weekend, I'll probably have forgotten everything I wanted to say, and nobody will care anymore anyway.
I've given up on writing about my brief holiday in Cape Town at the beginning of this month; I took a bunch of photos, and I'll probably upload them at some point, but otherwise, whatever.
In other news, this weekend's Geekdinner was great, although the afterparty (held in the parking lot outside Piaceri) was better. I remembered to take some pictures (to be uploaded as above), made an attempt at real-time coverage via FriendFeed, and I got a chance to expand on my snarky and petulant comments in some high-bandwidth conversation with Dom. In the end, I think we decided we were mostly on common ground; my point was that privacy is a socially defined convention, related to concepts such as intimacy (as Dom pointed out), and as such is an ever-changing standard. More specifically, the trend in recent times has been moving towards much greater levels of openness; some of my older realtives wouldn't even think of uploading their holiday photos to a site like Flickr without keeping it completely private, whereas thousands (millions?) of Flickr users have everything they've ever uploaded freely available for public consumption. The important thing at the end of the day is that the individual (the "user") should be the one to decide what is private and what is not, and the "defaults" shouldn't be such that you are pressured into changing your standards of privacy for the convenience of Google's advertising, or whatever — the latter is where Google gets demerits, and they probably need to learn a lesson or two from Facebook's handling of their users.