Does GTD foster OCD?

February 17, 2007

Holy crap. It’s a useful book people.

I have visions of the “Church of Allen” sometime in the not so distant future, complete with special digital watches that incessantly blink your Mastery Number.

Reach number 100? Time for the fiery carousel.


Of dancing dogs and mysterious warning signs

February 17, 2007

// had a prof in grad school who was talking about an ambitious theoretical model that didn’t quite work.

“It’s like watching a dancing dog.” he drawled, “You don’t know whether to be happy that it’s dancing, or sad that it’s not doing it very well.”.

Gawd bless the folks at Homeland Security, it can’t be an easy job. But if I’m hearing warning sirens and running around screeching like a bansh..err..barking orders to my fellow citizens, and I encounter this sign, I suspect I will just crumple like a used tissue and wait for a Katrina-like resolution.

Luckily, the folks at have what must be the ultimate bummer for the folks who undoubtedly spent a lot of time designing these signs: alternative captions. The one for the sign above:

Try to absorb as much of the radiation as possible with your groin region. The current world record is 5 minutes, 12 seconds.

5 steps to writing your talk (a graphic designer’s perspective)

February 17, 2007

Graphic design

When you craft a lecture you are trying to convey a series of facts and relationships in a compelling, memorable way. This goal is shared by a variety of creative enterprises, not least of which is graphic design. Since one basic theme of creativity is to steal liberally from other disciplines, let’s spend a moment thinking about the craft of graphic design.

Start with Alex White’s The elements of graphic design. I’m enough of a bibliophile to rationalize that one good idea make’s a book worthwhile. The image above is a recreation of one of White’s first of many good ideas. It captures the essence of what we try to do when we lecture: avoid the twin evils of

slide after slide of bullet points, monotonous delivery, and simple recapitulation of the readings,


distracting goo-gah graphics, frenetic buzzing around on stage, frequent attempts at bad humor.

In short, we are trying to achieve balance. Here are Alex White’s five steps toward good design, and my adaptations toward the craft of giving a good talk: Read the rest of this entry »