Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thanks for All the Hits

Last month was a stellar month for my blog.

First, it was the 2 year anniversary of the blog. I had no idea. I will post more often.

Second, last month we had more hits than in the previous 47 months.

For the first time in quite a while, How to Zoom on Amazon Kindle, is no longer the top article for the month. That prize has now fallen to: Does Anybody Think Messing with a Drivers Reality is a good idea? Thankfully almost nobody is running around querying Google for "Messing with driver reality". The traffic came from my Twitter followers (@thejacobtaylor), FeedBurner readers, and referrals from: Lenore Skenazy

Lenore, you have quite the interesting blog. I agree that we spend far too much time with our kids locked up in little boxes worrying in fear if there is a possibility that they can get hurt on an inside corner. That being said, sometimes, just sitting there watching the kids playing can be aerobic exercise.

Today, I watched two little boys get in a disagreement over a doll. They each grabbed a limb and started to pull. This bothered me. When one of them made a fist and started to pummel the other one in the face, I got them to stop immediately. I still have not figured out what to do in situations like this. Neither of these children were mine. Both had parents within about 100 feet. In fact, I later heard one of the parents complaining to the child that was being punched in the face repeatedly about his name calling. I am not entirely sure that he was paying enough attention to the furious motion on the play structure. He looked up after I made it clear that activity had to stop but, kids being kids, it stopped much faster than it takes for a human head to rotate. As it was, neither kid appeared to be getting hurt and they stopped after hearing my voice. I am thinking that they heard that if they did not stop hitting each other in about 5 seconds I would be there with one in each hand.

Just to clarify, when I wrote the title of this blog entry, "Thanks for all the Hits." I had not intended to share  the punching story. I am leaving the title because brutal puns are apparently part of my nature.

Thank you for reading.

If you write in English and you have thoughts that don't involve endorsing a product or a link farm, please feel free to comment.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Speaking of Messing with your Mind while Driving...

I ran into an interesting car on the freeway the other day. At first, I thought it was a trailer. It was that low to the ground. Then, it pulled to the side of the car that I thought it was attached to. I pulled up along side it and snapped a painfully slow picture with my cell phone.
Ford GT40 Sighting
It took a little while to track down. It turns out that this car is only 40 inches from top to pavement. Very impressive. I found a page that describes them: Beautiful and Ugly Machines: Ford GT40. I am glad that I had a chance to see this beast.

Back to messing with your mind...

Typically, when I see a sports car, people move out of the way to let it go by. I have personally had this experience. I purchased a 2005 Toyota MR2 (was my dream car) and drove it from San Francisco to Los Angles. The weather was bad, well at least bad for California. I encountered mud slides, pouring rain, and a small flood. I actually was able to ask someone on a Jet Ski to come over and tell me how deep the water was before proceeding. They did, I did, and we all made it home safely. I was on a little two lane road that wound its way in and out of rolling hills. At some point, I realized that this was the scenery for several of my favorite games. The stick shift in the car even had the same top as the one in the game. Where was I? Oh yeah, so, weather was a little bad and I was new to the car so I was trying to drive slowly. For the entire ride, people just kept pulling to the right. It is hard to not accelerate when someone pulls to the right for you.

The Ford GT40 was far more exotic. People were surging towards it instead of away. Instead of projecting a cone of power that people tried to avoid, the car was like a beleaguered actor surrounded by an ever changing collection of teenagers while trying to escape to their car.

It makes me wonder. Would I really want a car that is so exotic or cool that people drift towards it on the freeway? I think not. I would probably always end up punching it to squeeze out of tight spaces or close calls.

Do any of you have cars that exotic?
Do you take them on normal roads?
What do you do about the traffic?


Friday, September 10, 2010

Does anybody think messing with a driver's reality is a good idea?

3D Image of Child Chasing Ball

Illusion in Street Tries to Change Driver's Attitude

Can you imagine driving down the road and seeing this image? It looks like a child, right in front of you. If you were distracted, you have only seconds to decide. Should I swerve into oncoming traffic or into the tree, or drive straight over the child. Personally, for me, I am pretty sure what the answer is. First, protect the defenseless child, second, protect the passengers in my car (if any), third protect other drivers. Please note that the odds of me just running over the "child" are really low.

On the other hand, there is a chance that I could be suspicious of the optical illusion. Now you are forcing me to alter my view of reality and question my ability to perceive what is around me. I am not questioning if I am driving too fast. I am more distracted than a drunk driver, questioning if what I am seeing is correct, marveling at the illusion, thinking about taking a picture, thinking about calling someone, ...." All while driving a several thousand pound vehicle down the road. Hrm.....good idea? I think not.

Assuming I pass the test, realize it is an illusion and drive over it, what next? I have run into this scenario almost exactly in real life. My best friend at the time was driving. It looked just like the image. Ball comes out from blind spot (he stoppes and says wait for it), child comes out from blind stop, stops, bends over to pick up ball, and right then looks up for the first time. If he had not been paying attention, the child would likely have died.

Now, if this kind of artwork gets people ignoring this kind of image in the road it will cause people to do something very dangerous. They will have a mental bucket that says, "a fake image on the road". This is bucket to which they will likely only assign fake images. When they are distracted though, there is a chance that they will put a real child with a ball or other object into that bucket. We really do not look at things. We glance just long enough to classify them and then mentally hold up the fake object. How many times have you clearly seen something only to later look closer and find out you were completely wrong. If you cannot think of an instance, contemplate monsters you could see before the lights were turned on.

For the sake of my children and other's children, please don't place mind altering images on the road. You will only end up killing people!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Considering a new Target Domain

I have been spending more and more time getting involved in my daughter's school. It turns out, just like large companies, they have many technology related issues. I have shamelessly stepped forward and entered the fray.

That being said, it looks like Adaptive Intelligence Inc's software could actually be a great fit for schools. I am looking into what I might have to offer.

I am also starting to participate in Project Cornerstone. As far as I can tell it is a project that has been working to build the leaders of tomorrow. It is also showing results. From a high level, they are helping encourage people to learn, read, and provide a safe environment for themselves and others. If all works out, I will blog on the "Developmental Assets" that they consider key to success in school and in life.

I am hoping to grow greatly from my involvement in this program and also to help others around the world by documenting the experience and highlighting resources, activities, and effective techniques.


"Developmental Assets" is trademarked by Search Institue. Search Institute is also trademarked by Search Institute. (does anybody else hear an echo, I cannot give attribution without giving attribution for my attribution).