Sunday Selection 2011-03-20

Around the Internet

The Art of Losing Your Brain As programmers it’s so easy to get addicted to powerful tools that do a lot of your work for you and never stop to think if what you’re doing is really what needs to be done. It’s a good idea to sometimes disconnect from the latest tools, techniques, trends and fads and just plain simple think about what it is we’re doing.

Lucky to be a Programmer I’ve been going through a motivational low when it comes to coding and programming and making actual stuff. Articles like this remind me why I took up this gig in the first place: programming is challenging and fun with lots of chances for getting into flow states (more on that later). You get to build something that a lot of people will find useful and have a great time doing it.

Why is there no looting in Japan? I don’t talk much about current events here because there’s a lot of that elsewhere. But every time there is a natural disaster there is usually something to be learned from ordinary men and women placed in extraordinary situations. There have been no cases of looting in violence in Japan despite the earthquakes and Tsunamis and I think most of us can learn a few lessons from the Japanese.

From the bookshelf

I’ve started getting back to reading actual books (both on my Kindle and in dead tree form) with the goal of reading one book a week. However, I kicked off this mission by reading the following in about a day.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future As graduation looms I’ve been wondering if I made a mistake by taking two technical majors in college. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot, met great people and I am a much better person for it. That being said, my education in the last few years has been very left-brain centric and I was getting a bit worried about that (hence my decision to start reading books regularly). This book solidifies and backs up a lot of the thoughts I’ve had. In summary, while left brain skills are still important (personally and globally), the right brain is becoming increasingly important. And that’s a good thing.

Software

XMonad As I’ve been thinking of my computing habits and how to get the most from them I’ve decided to get back to using tiling window managers. Unlike most modern window managers, a tiling window manager makes sure that your entire screen is filled up with open windows and maximizes the use of screen real estate. Most tiling WMs also provide efficient ways to rearrange window arrangements without having to manually click and drag corners. I use Xmonad myself, largely because of the way it handles multiple monitors allowing to change what’s on each monitor independently (and not have them all be one giant virtual desktop).