• “If you want to plant a garden, cook what you grow, find a husband, be a better husband, get a baby to sleep, get along with a teenager, get that teenager into college, get a divorce or lose 20 pounds, you don’t have to go it alone. There’s a coach to help you find your way to just about any destination you desire. Muddling through on our own doesn’t seem a very attractive option today. The urge to do things perfectly — or as close as possible — and the fear that we’re not up to the task has opened the field of coaching in myriad subjects, from executive time-management skills to communicating effectively with your child’s nanny.”
    (tags: coaching coaches)
  • “Gestural systems are indeed one of the important future paths for a more holistic, human interaction of people with technology. In many cases, they will enhance our control, our feeling of control and empowerment, our convenience, and even our delight. But like all technologies, gesture-based systems will come at a cost. Different systems will devise different conventions. There will be a learning curve. People with handicaps will have to be accommodated. And there will be an entirely new source of material for comedians. Imagine the problems when a system has a repertoire of dozens of gestures, all of which mean something, but not all of which may be known by the person near the device. I am reminded of those old movie comedies of people in formal clothing at auctions doing silent bidding. One person sneezes and thereby purchases an unwanted painting. A couple argues, and as they wave their hands at one another, the hand waving gets interpreted as ever-escalating bids.”
  • “[I]f we ever are to have systems with adequate security and privacy that people are willing to use, then the three fields”– usability, security, and privacy– “must work together as a team. Without usable systems, the security and privacy simply disappear as people defeat the processes in order to get their work done.” To make these systems, “we need more understanding of the issues; better tool kits to deliver to developers; and a comprehensive set of tools, scripts, and templates for the administrative support staffs around the world so that the rules and polices they develop will be consistent both with one another and with the best practices of the security and privacy community. Today we lack a deep understanding of critical things—including people’s conceptual models of security and privacy, what new models might be effective, and how to present the conceptual models so that they are both effective and unintrusive.”
  • This diminutive woman, now known nationwide as “Grandma Cha Sa-soon,” has achieved a record that causes people here to first shake their heads with astonishment and then smile: She failed her driver’s test hundreds of times but never gave up. Finally, she got her license — on her 960th try. For three years starting in April 2005, she took the test once a day five days a week. After that, her pace slowed, to about twice a week. But she never quit. Hers is a fame based not only on sheer doggedness, a quality held in high esteem by Koreans, but also on the universal human sympathy for a monumental — and in her case, cheerful — loser.
  • Great advice about how to deal with your most irrational, frothy attackers: “The trick is to learn not to take any of it personally, because they’re not really talking about you, or your book. They’re talking about themselves, often quite revealingly, at that.”
  • “Leading climate scientists will gather in the UK this week to finalise plans for a revolutionary project aimed at transforming their ability to predict meteorological disasters. The goal is to create an international databank that would generate forecasts of unprecedented precision.”
[To the tune of Ella Fitzgerald, “All Through The Night,” from the album The Cole Porter Songbook (Disc 1) (a 1-star song, imo).]