How Designers Destroyed the World

TLDW is that we are responsible for everything we put into the world, and think hard about what we make and what impact it has on those around us. This way of thinking about things really resonates with me. I like to think that the real afterlife is the legacy you leave behind. It’s how your kids, grand kids, and so on remember you, what you did, and what you stood for. I just hope that I put more good than bad into the world.

And I wonder when we broke everything so thoroughly

Every night, homeless people construct their nightly shelters outside the Quaker meeting house. Quakers will not make you leave. And have a high level of empathy. A few weeks ago I was walking home and there was a woman, a homeless woman, setting up a space. She’d unrolled a rug. And a chair. And a toy stove. The big chunky plastic ones kids play with. And that’s when I noticed the kid. A girl. About five or six years old. And realized her mother was setting up a space for the girl to feel at home.

via The Pastry Box Project | 18 December 2013, baked by Mike Monteiro.

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

We buy stuff to cheer ourselves up, to keep up with the Joneses, to fulfill our childhood vision of what our adulthood would be like, to broadcast our status to the world, and for a lot of other psychological reasons that have very little to do with how useful the product really is. How much stuff is in your basement or garage that you haven’t used in the past year?

via Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed.

It’s surprising how true this statement is especially when I look at myself. For the last year or so I’ve tried to simplify my life and what I own. It’s made me very aware of how much junk I have piled up around my house that I’ll never use. My desk is covered in notebooks, puzzles, toys, and other things I rarely use and don’t really belong there. The problem extends into my digital life as well with hours of video I’ll probably never watch, a feed reader that I rarely empty, and an Instapaper account full of articles I’ll never get around to reading.

Like I said above I’m trying to clean this up when I clean I try to look at everything I pick up and evaluate if I’ll ever really use it. If not I throw it away, give it away, or donate it; if I think I’ll use it I look at what I can do that will make me more likely to use it. Could I place it somewhere different? Would it be useful in some other aspect of my day? Hopefully as I get better at this it will free up more time in my day and add less mental weight to what I have to deal with during the day. Freeing me up to enjoy things more.

Social Share Links in iContact

We’ve been sending out html emails with a service called iContact lately. The only issue is that unlike other email providers they don’t provide automatic social links, but they do give you [webversionurl] that is replaced with the url to the online web version of your email. You can place that in the url attribute of a sharing url you can create your own share buttons. There are a few steps to do it right which can get a little tedious, so I created this little tool to general the twitter and facebook urls for the text you enter.

First Week with the Standing Desk

I’ve just finished the my first week with my Ikea  standing desk. Other than the expected leg fatigue it has been great.

The desk was simple enough to build I just followed the instructions shown in “A standing desk for $22.” I have one complaint about the setup but nothing major. I should have, and eventually will, bought a wider shelf for the keyboard surface than I did. With multiple monitors the smaller shelf pushes me more in front of one monitor which means I have to turn my head a lot more. The extra space would also be nice as a writing surface. Currently I have to lean up over my keyboard and write on the tables which will not hard is inconvenient.

Other than those things it’s been great. I’ve felt a lot more productive and have had a much easier time concentrating on tasks. I also haven’t had issues with coming back from lunch tired.