Delicious Bookmarks for September 24th through March 8th

These are my Delicious links for September 24th through March 8th:

Delicious Bookmarks for September 2nd through September 6th

These are my Delicious links for September 2nd through September 6th:

  • Taking the Initiative: Carl Pope’s Blog – Sierra Club – This is as depressing as it is sickening. We progressive Americans who were finally so galvanized by our reaction to 8 years of Bush/Cheney coupled with the bright promise of the change Obama could bring have reverted back not just to complacency, but worse to underestimation. Just because *we* are immune to the politics of fear, does not mean they have lost their power — no matter how absurd the claims in question (whether it be death panels, Obama's racism, or Van Jones's "extremist views and coarse rhetoric"). Remember how much we underestimated George W. Bush in the 2000 election? We have to stop assuming people fact check outrageous claims and recognize that inflammatory propaganda must be stopped in it's tracks and those who perpetuate it must have their credibility undermined so they can't continue to spew it. Say something enough times (especially on tv) and too many people will start to think it's true.
  • Facebook Connect Plugin Directory – Facebook Developer Wiki – List of Facebook Connect publishing platform plugins by 3rd party developers.
  • 16 Best Facebook Connect Plugins for Your Blog, Forum, Wiki, or CMS – List of Facebook Connect plugins to add community functionality to your publishing platform.
  • Kareem Mayan’s Weblog – How I Discovered My Life’s Purpose – I've never really thought about coming up with a mission statement for my life, but that's what my friend Kareem has spent the last 18 months doing. I'm very excited that he feels he has come up with a verbal distillation of his life's purpose (even if I personally find the actual language to be a bit vague). I look forward to seeing the ways he comes up with to pursue this purpose.

    I agree with a lot of Kareem's thinking on these matters (which is probably why we're friends 🙂 ) and greatly admire (and somewhat envy) his courage to so aggressively pursue these questions. So, it's great to be able to ride along on his journey even from afar. My favorite line from this post is: "The opposite of quiet desperation, I reasoned, is magnificent fulfillment."

Delicious Bookmarks for March 2nd through March 4th

These are my Delicious links for March 2nd through March 4th:

  • THRU YOU | Kutiman mixes YouTube – Unbelievable remixes of music samples from various YouTube videos into really great songs and fascinating videos. This is the poster-project for Remix culture! (hope someone sends it to Lessig)
  • Good design: The ten commandments of Dieter Rams – A great collection of rules on how to design products. While originally meant for physical products (industrial design), I think many of the rules still apply to online products and web design. Some of my favorites:
    – Good design makes a product useful
    – Good design helps a product to be understood
    – Good design is unobtrusive
    – *Good design is thorough to the last detail*
    – Good design is as little as possible

    And some quotes:
    "The aesthetic quality of a product – and the fascination it inspires – is an integral part of the its utility."
    "Things which are different in order to simply be different are seldom better, but that which is made to be better is almost always different."
    (And on a personal note, my late grandma had Rams's Cylindric T2 lighter in her apartment when I was a kid and I always got in trouble for playing with it, but its design fascinated me.)

Delicious Bookmarks for February 3rd through February 9th

These are my links for February 3rd through February 7th:

  • 5 Lessons I Learned After a Year as a Digital Nomad – The best piece of travel advice I've heard in a while: know the difference between traveling and living. If you're going to some place interesting, don't expect to have time to do other stuff like work. You'll just end up choosing between missing out on all the cool things to do where you are (and thus resenting your choice) or feeling guilty about not doing whatever it was you thought you were going to get done.
  • Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy? | Video on TED.com – Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we'll be miserable if we don't get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned. This is a really great talk. Well worth the 20min it takes to watch. You will be amazed at the empirical evidence on how bad humans are at predicting our own happiness and how subjective and relative happiness actually is.
  • Kareem Mayan’s Weblog: customer experience, emerging technology, media, and more – A great (old) blog post by Kareem on what makes people truly happy, how bad we are at predicting it, and how so few of us actually pursue it. Kudos to Kareem for taking his own advice and deciding to align his life to best pursue his dreams of traveling around the world (http://howsthewifi.com). The video at the end of this post is a must watch. Unfortunately, the embed is now broken – so, go see it here: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html
  • random($foo): Online Tools for A New Small Business – Leonard Lin's list of recommended business tools for startups. Covering accounting, CRM, marketing and development.
  • Why Should I Care What Color the Bikeshed Is? – "The really, really short answer is that you should not. The somewhat longer answer is that just because you are capable of building a bikeshed does not mean you should stop others from building one just because you do not like the color they plan to paint it. This is a metaphor indicating that you need not argue about every little feature just because you know enough to do so. Some people have commented that the amount of noise generated by a change is inversely proportional to the complexity of the change."
  • FT Alphaville » Blog Archive » Happy Boycott CNBC Day! – "The real problem with mullets and Pabst and Toby Keith songs, and with CNBC, is that there are people, large swaths of humanity, in fact, who apparently regard the above unironically."

These are my Delicious links for February 3rd through February 9th:

  • TechStars » Seed capital and mentorship for startups – Documents that TechStars uses as a starting point for seed stage financing for their companies. Aimed to be model documents for an angel or seed financing in the $250k-$2M range. They represent a “light” preferred equity financing and have very simple terms that are generally “balanced” but if anything lean toward the entrepreneurs and represent a great deal of trust in them, which they think is appropriate for angel deals where you are primarily investing in the people at the early stage.
  • 5 Lessons I Learned After a Year as a Digital Nomad – The best piece of travel advice I've heard in a while: know the difference between traveling and living. If you're going to some place interesting, don't expect to have time to do other stuff like work. You'll just end up choosing between missing out on all the cool things to do where you are (and thus resenting your choice) or feeling guilty about not doing whatever it was you thought you were going to get done.
  • Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy? | Video on TED.com – Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we'll be miserable if we don't get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned. This is a really great talk. Well worth the 20min it takes to watch. You will be amazed at the empirical evidence on how bad humans are at predicting our own happiness and how subjective and relative happiness actually is.
  • Kareem Mayan’s Weblog: customer experience, emerging technology, media, and more – A great (old) blog post by Kareem on what makes people truly happy, how bad we are at predicting it, and how so few of us actually pursue it. Kudos to Kareem for taking his own advice and deciding to align his life to best pursue his dreams of traveling around the world (http://howsthewifi.com). The video at the end of this post is a must watch. Unfortunately, the embed is now broken – so, go see it here: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html
  • random($foo): Online Tools for A New Small Business – Leonard Lin's list of recommended business tools for startups. Covering accounting, CRM, marketing and development.
  • Why Should I Care What Color the Bikeshed Is? – "The really, really short answer is that you should not. The somewhat longer answer is that just because you are capable of building a bikeshed does not mean you should stop others from building one just because you do not like the color they plan to paint it. This is a metaphor indicating that you need not argue about every little feature just because you know enough to do so. Some people have commented that the amount of noise generated by a change is inversely proportional to the complexity of the change."
  • FT Alphaville » Blog Archive » Happy Boycott CNBC Day! – "The real problem with mullets and Pabst and Toby Keith songs, and with CNBC, is that there are people, large swaths of humanity, in fact, who apparently regard the above unironically."

Dealing with Death

[Originally posted on my 360 Blog]

I found out on Friday night that my best friend from grade school had committed suicide. His funeral is in a couple of hours and I’m trying to write a eulogy right now. I’ve got a bit of experience dealing with death — too much for my tastes. When I was a junior in high-school, my paternal grandmother passed away followed by my father’s sister and his uncle all in the same year. And then the next year, one of my best friends had a skiing accident right in front of me that required 14 hours of brain surgery and put him in a coma for 3 days. Mercifully, he survived and is largely ok now. But, the confrontation with mortality was as jarring I have ever experienced. Subsequently, I’ve lost a fraternity brother to a car accident, a friend to a shooting, and more family, including three uncles with whom I was close and my maternal grandfather.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with death. But, I think there are some consistent things we all feel when our own mortality pulls back the curtain and stares us in the face. Life is fragile and fleeting, and if we truly grasped that fact on a daily basis, we wouldn’t be able to function. And so most of the time, we live in a state of willing delusion — we refuse to confront ourselves with the reality of the human situation, that the life that is the center of our being can and will terminate. And that’s why death is always such a shock to us. It’s the finality of it all; the reality that sometimes there are no more tomorrows invading our necessary fantasy that the sun will still rise no matter what (or, more accurately, that we will be around to see it when it does).

I remember what I felt when my paternal grandmother died. I was 16 and it was the first time I really had to deal with death. There were two main sources of sadness, and I realized later that they were both rather selfish. It was the shock of the absolute finality that made me cry. I cried about the fact that *I* would never see my Grandma Lu again and that she wouldn’t be there to chide me and impart her pointed wisdom. I cried from the realization that there were no more fond memories to make and that the existing ones would inevitably dull and fade with time. And I cried from regret, and the fact that there was no longer any way for *me* to right those wrongs. I regretted every time I had been a brat to her (and there were a lot), and I most regretted not going to visit her (she lived in Chicago) the last time my parents went before she died. Of course they didn’t tell me quite how sick she was, but it was football season and if I missed a game I might lose my starting position. The fact that I chose high-school sports over my family was not as much a statement of selfishness as it was of obliviousness — it never entered into my mind that she wouldn’t be around when football season ended. The only unselfish reason I cried during that time was for my father. For knowing that he must be feeling those same things I was feeling only stronger. 

I never actually cried for my grandmother. She was a dignified woman, who lived a long and full life, and she wouldn’t have been happy living on in a state that required constant care. When my Grandpa Wolfi passed away several years later after a long hospitalization, I was actually happy for him. I cried a little for myself, but mostly for my mom and grandma. Of course, it is quite different when someone passes away as young in life as the friend whose grave I will be standing over later today. The prospect of a life cut short and opportunities not lived is a tragedy. But it is a tragedy with no possible remediation. That is the finality of death that we struggle not to grasp. There is nothing we can do to change things now, and so there is nothing gained in crying for what will not be.

If you want to truly mourn, don’t do it for yourself. Don’t cry over memories that won’t be made, put that energy into cherishing the memories that you already have and making them last as long as possible. Don’t cry over regrets you won’t be able to make right, put that energy into righting the wrongs against others with whom you still have that chance, and do it in the memory of your friend who reminded you that you might not be able to fix things tomorrow. And don’t cry for the life not lead and the opportunities not realized, put that energy into honoring your friend’s loss by living your own life to the fullest. But do miss your friend. Miss him every day, because that is the highest honor you can show someone who is gone. But do it with happiness and laughter and with friends, because that’s what he would want.

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