Category Archives: Info Management

Twitter Wishlist

These probably already exist, but this is stuff that I want Twitter to be able to do:

  • Prioritize by other than time
    • Look at the cluster of retweets and show me stuff that is retweeted in users that I resonate with.  Thus “I am at the airport” will not pop up, whereas actual useful stuff would get read first.  This could be done on a priority for the last 2 hours.
  • Adjust interface for skimming
    • Present breaks content skimming – it should be more homogenized.  Single-line, user on left, content on right.
  • Track other people’s RSS feeds via Twitter
    • Saw some apps that exist, but didn’t see anything that’s actually functional.

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Filed under Ideas, Info Management


Reading a paper call Eye Movements in Reading and Information Processing: 20 Years of Research (published in 1998).  Gonna use this thing to take notes. 

  • It being 11 years old seems a bit old, but perhaps most of the interesting stuff was found early on?
  • Basic terminology:
  • Saccade – when eye moves from looking at point A to point B
  • Duration of a saccade related to distance covered: 2º take 30ms, 5º take 40-50ms
  • saccade latency – saccade a motor movement –> latency – 150-170ms.
  • separate process: decision on when and where to move eyes
  • evidence: cognitive processes can influence latency
  • gap effect – if fixation point disappears before appearance of target, latency goes down
  • global center of gravity effect – given two objects, first saccade goes between them.  Position related to “weight” of objects (closer to heavier).
  • Continue reading

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    Filed under Info Management, Learning

    Grass Roots Democracy through Social Networking

    Update 9/18: recently came across CitySourced (presentation).  A tool that helps people collaborate with the government.  Directly related.  Tim O’Reilley mentioned: Open311, FixMyStreet (in UK).  I liked Kevin Rose’s response suggesting actionable items that people can take themselves.


    Spent several weeks ago with family…  very good times.  Had an interesting conversation with Garik and Lena about the state of politics in Russia, which tied in nicely with previous thoughts and discussions of government failure and how to deal with it.

    The premise was that federal government is an entity that does not have serving its people as its primary goal.  This means that governing structures on both the federal and local levels are inefficient and do not function as they should – meaning that they do not provide services and represent/provide for those whom they “govern”.  That naturally leads to the question: if the government is not performing its function on the local level, can you enable self-governance?

    Continue reading

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    Filed under Ideas, Info Management, Politics

    Tracking News

    Read this article about FCC inquiry into Google Voice rejection.  Why is there no easy way for me to click “track this issue” so that I could be notified of developments?

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    Filed under Ideas, Info Management

    Observations on Thought Part II

    After a good night sleep…  in two parts (3 to 11 + 12 to 4…holy crap, I am a ridiculous waste), need to formalize what it is I am looking for in a “blog”.  First off, there is one idea we need to shed – not everybody is interested in everything about you.  Or me, in this case.  For instance, chatted with Cyn this morning and her voice betrayed a bit of a disappointment “Oh, this is work related…” until she scrolled down and saw the word “relationships” and I felt a proverbial "Aha!”.

    Anyway, point being that people are not interested in everything I do.  Moreover, even I am not interested in everything I do.   A blog is a way for me to verbalize my thoughts, organize my life.  And I will rarely (never so far) go reading randomly from my past posts…  if someone else ever does so, it will probably to dig up dirt for when I am running for president. Which right now is not very likely.  Too verbose.  BTW, I shave my head yesterday.  It felt amazing.

    Moving right along.  So what I need is something that is not temporally organized.  Let’s start simple: I need a root, the root needs to grow into a tree, and people interested in various aspects of what I write should be able to track branch growth changes/additions/improvements.

    To take this a step further, I would argue that this is not unique to people following individuals.  This should also extend to people tracking ANY information including news tracking of news stories.  Moreover, depending on value of each individual branch, it may be possible to do micropayments.

    I know what you are thinking.  But this is what tags and categories are for!  And you are right – there is some measure of scoping, but there is no focus. There should always be an article with conclusions. And, it may be possible to do what I am describing now through the existing systems, but it takes too much work.  Too much work means it doesn’t get done.  (Aside – I wonder how difficult it would be to quantify the energy threshold for when tasks become easy enough to be adopted by the market).

    So some conclusions (C: = conclusion):

    • C: my blog is an online notebook that needs to be easy to work with.
    • C: it should be possible to discern importance of information within a particular context (information unit?) 
      • Aside: Perhaps informational units should be identified as content is written?
    • C: blogs should enable writing to accumulate information into a structure that is not temporally dependent.

    While writing this, I had another thought – what if I am completely wrong about my approach to this?  what if, in fact, what I am describing is a sort of “refactoring” of material that can most effectively now be supported through workflows combined with the wordpress pages feature?  For example, there are tons of wiki systems and blogs that try to have a plethora of features, but text is still easiest to work with most of the time, so Wikipedia is primarily text-based with regular rehashing (this is an assumption – I don’t know this for a fact) of content to be better organized.

    Conclusion: I need to outline conceptual demands for a system and then, even thought it will be annoying, support these systems through workflows rather than through designing as system.  Then a system can be popped into place to support what I need to have done.

    While writing this, also some thoughts:

    • Formatting needs to be more flexible to allow presentation to bring additional information.  If you noticed, I was bolding out important concepts to allow skimming of this material.  It would be great if I could also use indentation more aggressively as well as coloring of text.
      • Gray out non-bold text
      • Bullet point symbols should specify what sort of content bullet it is: concept, aside, etc.

    Basically, I need richer metadata to allow for less re-organization.

    Now, major workflow question – how do I take my thoughts here and make sure that there is сухой остаток (Russian: a dry remainder).  Something actionable.

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    Filed under Info Management, Musings

    Observations on Thought

    First off, we [people] are generally not interested in the process. Sure, there are scenarios when people do for the sake of doing (ends=means: music, snowboarding, leisure reading, watching movies, etc.), but I am talking about things like studying, working, doing things with an end-goal in mind.

    The present blogging structure is not fit for this workflow – it is more of a pleasure-oriented medium so far.

    So, two main points:

    1. Since this blog is intended to be my notebook, I need to change it.  Specifically, I need a product that would:
      1. Allow my readers (assuming someone other than me cares about content here), to get a present state and historical updates.
      2. Ability to interact with content on a constant basis.
    2. I am interested in answers to questions, which defines how I do research. For example, question that I have are:
      1. What is the most efficient way to exercise and why?
      2. How do I learn how to speed-read?
      3. Is what I am eating adequate?

    Both have straighforward ways of being addressed, but need to sleep now.  Will post more later.

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    Filed under Info Management, Musings

    Managing information

    Another application for a blog as a journal is as a scrapbook.  For example, I posted a response on Digg:

    Yay!  It’s ok for women to have excisions in Somalia and to have the boot driven into their vaginas in the Congo!  It’s ok that there are honor killings in Iran and that Hezbollah is screwing up Lebanon, It’s ok that there is no freedom of speech or thought in the 21st century in some countries and that civilians are being used and oppressed rather than represented – it’s all ok JUST SO LONG AS I GET TO SAVE THE WORLD BY GETTING A HYBRID AND ACCUSE MY GOVERNMENT OF PROFITEERING!!!

    Ugh…  I am sorry, but please stop painting McCain black and Obama white (all puns intended).  We are living in a complex world, but your refusal to see anything beyond the edge of your nicely trimmed lawn is nauseating.  I too am against the draft, but I don’t hop on every opportunity to further my political point.  Both McCain and Obama are intelligent people.  Stop this political crap of bullshit that Digg has turned into.

    As a response to this BS.  So what’s happening on the web is that there are two types of people:

    1. People who know what’s going on, but don’t have a lot of time
    2. People who are clueless, but have all the time in the world.

    I have some ideas on how this balance could be rectified systematically by creating a way to measure quality of content rather than volume, but another way may be to empower those very few who know something and care…  a scrapbook may be just such a tool – one that allows reuse of content in online discussions.

    Nikita’s LJ Tags: ,

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    Filed under Info Management

    Blogging as a Journal

    What do I like about One Note that I would like to be able to do online?  Freeflow of thoughts with limited semantic markup to identify units such as “To do”, “Important”, etc.

    So what may be missing is a journal application that, essentially, replaces your desk, your notebook.  So when I start working, I want to know:

    • What projects do I have?
    • What is their relationship?
    • What steps do I need to take?
    • What are steps that I have taken for project X so that I can take the next step.

    What seems to me to be of paramount importance is the idea that a person is working on a single item at any point in time, while the knowledgebase as a whole is really a big pile of crap.  And in this crap, you have your projects, stuff to do, phone numbers, emails, etc.  So it’s really a mix of project-management and data repository.

    One way to attain this is to use little hacks.  For example, I can add things like “ToDo:” in this blog and then search the blog only for Todos.  While this will be a decent solution for simple things, it does not provide means to create the more complex structures.  For example, you can’t scope.

    <time gap>

    OK, enough…  time to drop this note into the abyss that is the web and pass out…

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    Filed under Info Management, Musings, Theory