Monday, March 17, 2014

Right speech and "the surprisingly large cost of telling small lies"

Some really nice thoughts in this blog post by Rebekah Campbell on telling little white lies and the consequences they have on you and those around you:

Like Ms Campbell, I also have been reading and listening to Buddhist philosophy over the years, especially from Zencast and Audio Dharma.

What really resonated with me about her post was the idea that telling little lies can erode the trust of people around you (of course), and also pull you out of the present moment into offshoot micro-worlds where the lies hold true (nice).
"Peter maintains that telling lies is the No. 1 reason entrepreneurs fail. Not because telling lies makes you a bad person but because the act of lying plucks you from the present, preventing you from facing what is really going on in your world. Every time you overreport a metric, underreport a cost, are less than honest with a client or a member of your team, you create a false reality and you start living in it."
The concept of right speech is a core virtue of the Noble Eightfold Path, and it's nice to hear stories illustrating where it's made a difference in people's lives.

How has telling the truth affected your life?

Photo CC-BY Julian Povey

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thoughts on the EU/US free trade agreement TTIP?

We got an email this morning calling to our attention the negotiations for a free-trade agreement between the EU and the US (called the Translatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP).

I started reading up on it and was wondering what your thoughts are on this?

Here is the official EU trade commission webpage on TTIP:

Here is an editorial on it in the Zeit: (German) (Google Translated)

And here is Occupy London's take on it, including leaked documents on some of the provisions in the proposed trade agreement:

As a proponent of open source and open gov, I wish there were more public debate and public negotiation of these agreements that have such a great impact on our lives.

But like most international trade agreements, secrecy is the modus operandi and this one is being done behind closed doors.

Any thoughts on the pros vs the cons based on what we know?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Location-based happiness. Literally!

I have to admit that I am an Ingress player. I've been fascinated by location-based interactions for years. But when I came across this idea, I just had to share it.

These happiness circles have been popping up in NYC and are compelling busy New Yorkers to stop, smile, and think about happiness.

This street art by an artist who goes by the moniker Mazeking is pure genius!

Check out the original post at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The product designer's dilemma

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook and it seemed too perfect not to reshare. :D

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Not OK, Glass" (MIT Tech Review)

A recent article on Technology Review highlights research by computer scientists at Indiana University that helps you mark places as off limit for lifeblogging and photo sharing.

Interesting to explore when sharing becomes over-sharing, and when meaningful sharing becomes meaningless sharing.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beautiful bicycle roundabout

Trust the Dutch for awesomeness when it comes to cycle-anything! They constructed a roundabout on top of a busy motorway intersection that is not just functional but also is quite beautiful!

See the full post on Medium:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fix "no camera" problem on Google Hangouts (OSX Mavericks)

Super frustrating. The intermittent, "no camera found" problem on Google Hangouts that started happening after I upgraded to OSX Mavericks makes me want to scream!

As an independent contractor, I rely on the awesome (and still free) Hangouts to communicate and coordinate with colleagues and clients. It really does make a difference to be able to see the other participants in a call and keep it from turning into this:

It took a while for me to track down. But if you're having problems with the camera disappearing from Hangouts after installing Mavericks, give this solution a try.

The best theory I've found is that the AppleCameraAssistant process that locks the camera hardware for exclusive use with apps isn't properly releasing the hardware. (Or perhaps other software isn't telling it to release the camera correctly.)

So we'll reset it by killing the process. Don't worry, we're not doing anything permanent, and the process relaunches itself.

First, open up your shell and look for the process:
ps -alx | grep "AppleCameraAssistant"
You should find a process from /Library/CoreMediaIO/... (The other one is the grep process. :)

Now, kill the misbehaving process:
sudo kill 78350 (use the process ID you found, not mine)
Go ahead and try Hangouts again.

With any luck, you should have access to your camera now.