Nate Dickson Thinks...

Small Thoughts for a Quiet World.

Qui me amat amat et canem meam —Possibly the original Latin version of this phrase, except probably not.

I discovered this phrase when I was studying Latin in high school. It stuck in my mind because of how different it is from...well, pretty much everything else we had read from the ancient Romans. A few of my friends and I had devoted ourselves (briefly and humorously) to cataloging every verb in Latin that was a way to kill someone, until we realized that would be like cataloging every snowflake in a blizzard.

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The best way to actually accomplish a side project is to not think about how big it will get. Start with the basic idea and let the complications and nuances come into play when they need to.

In writing there is the expectation that the first draft won't be the final draft. You expect to throw away a lot of work as you draft and re-draft a work.

In programming there is allegedly a standard model of “create then iterate.” But those of you who work in software development: how often do you actually get to say “this is just the first pass”? How often do you actually get to go back and iterate on a feature you wrote last year?

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Kind of the opposite of yesterday's post. I haven't slept at all. I've laid in bed, tossed, turned, got up, read a book, tried to sleep on a couch... but my brain is convinced that now is the time to do neat stuff. But I can't just...not be a person tomorrow. That's not how life works.

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My brain has a terrible feature: when it's decided I've slept long enough it starts poisoning my dreams. I generally can't sleep more than seven hours at a stretch because of this. Once I hit about 7.5 hours I start getting crazy stressful dreams until I wake up panting and go do something else.

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Such power there is in clear-eyed self restraint. James Russell Lowell

Self restraint is difficult. We are curious creatures at heart, always looking to do and change things around us to better fit our needs. Curiosity and experimentation are traits that have helped us many times as a species and our brains reward us for doing things like that with dopamine.

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Plexamp is rapidly becoming my favorite music player for a number of reasons. One of which is that it still has the small-development group feel of being a passion project, while also being very good at what it does. It is a commercial product that doesn't feel commercial.

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Sure, I'll join in. I've seen a lot of “100 Days to Offload” posts lately, and I like the idea. I like it right now because I have felt entirely drained lately. For reasons that we all share. Here's why the 100 Days thing resonated with me today: Scrabble

My wife and I played some Scrabble the other day to take our minds off of everything else. In Scrabble the primary goal is simple: make words that connect to the other words on the board. But there's a secondary goal in Scrabble: put good letters on the bonus spaces so you get a better score. And that's where the analogy comes in.

When you're reaching for a triple letter score under a “Q” you're thinking much harder than you are if you're just trying to put any letters on the board. You can play either way, but when you're twisting and turning your words to optimize your score you tend to be more engaged.

So having a simple guideline like “put 100 new thoughts into the world this year” could just be the motivation I need to keep writing even when I don't want to.

So there's my thought for today: playing a game with guidelines—or rules, if you like— is more fun than playing without them. The guidelines give meaning to your successes.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

#100DaysToOffload 1/100

Can someone tell me why music is so important?

(It's a rhetorical question; even though my posts get aggregated into the main “Read” feed I rarely check it to see if anyone has responded.)

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I just thought I'd give a little update on my Painless... books since I set the minimum price to $0, or “free-ninety-nine” as one of my friends always says. Which doesn't make sense, because that sounds like “free plus 99¢” which isn't what he meant at all. But I digress.

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In my junior year of high school my English teacher introduced us to the works of John Rember, An Idahoan author who writes about the Idaho outside of Boise. The story we read was a simple tale of a man taking a road trip from Southern Idaho to (what sounds like) Northern Utah with his friend and realizing that all he needed was some sunlight and a brief moment of clarity.

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