Things You Should Know This Week (05.07.16)

Movies

I saw Captain America: Civil War. Twice. I loved it. If you like movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you will too. Here’s a review on io9.

In a couple years there is going to be a young Han Solo movie. Harrison Ford is too old to play him, but Alden Ehrenreich isn’t.

Music

DJ Shadow has a new album coming out in June. It’s his first since 2011. This week, a video for The Mountain Will Fall was released and it is beautiful.

Law

WhatsApp was shut down for 3 days in Brazil. Why? Well, law enforcement wants access to messages. WhatsApp employs end-to-end encryption, meaning that they can’t get at the messages even if they wanted. So, a court got mad and told the 5 Brazilian wireless carriers to shut them down for a few days.

Copyright and Trademark law can be incredibly obnoxious in the hands of the wrong dead musician’s estate. Frank Zappa’s family highlights this as they get into a dispute with one of their own, Dweezil Zappa, over the use of the band name, Zappa Plays Zappa.

Ending on a Happy Note

The 100% Human Candidate will not be the Republican Presidential Nominee. He will, however, be a source of entertainment for days to come…and then hopefully fade into obscurity.

Ted Cruz Elbows Wife

Things You Should Know This Week (04.30.2016)

Movies

The final trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse was released. I am a sucker for a good piece of music in a trailer. In this case, they used Hey Man, Nice Shot, which isn’t the greatest song ever, but works well in the trailer. In terms of music setting the tone of a trailer, one of my favorite examples is the trailer for X2 which used Mars, Bringer of War by Gustav Holst.

Science and Health

Over the past couple years, I have gotten really into running. I used to only go a mile or two, never loving the experience. Then I discovered that crossing three miles is where the magic happens. All of the things that have been bugging me–and which I ruminate on those first two miles–just fade into the background. I can look at my problems and worries more objectively. And, I feel great. Well, there is science that explains why this may happen. Maybe it will inspire you to run too.

On top of that, there is evidence that you can fight depression by combining meditation with running.

Productivity

I procrastinate. You probably do too. I read this article last night and realized how much of a procrastinator’s mindset I truly have. Time to forgive myself and get working on the tips for overcoming the problem.

Gadgets

Dropbox is going to let you look at the synced files on your computer without taking up space on your hard drive. It’s called Project Infinite, and for those of us who have small SSDs, this is a welcome feature.

I have an obsession with bags. I love backpacks, messenger bags, man bags (stop gender shaming me), and other accessories to hold my stuff. The latest product that I lust after is North Face’s Access Pack. It’s not cheap, but it sure is gorgeous and useful looking. Oh, and my birthday is coming up, so pool your money together and buy me one.

Ending on a Happy Note

Windows 10 will ruin your weather report if you don’t install it.

Things You Should Know This Week (04.22.2016)

Law
The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in the Google Books case. For a number of years now, Google has been scanning millions of books and making them searchable (but not freely available). The Authors’ Guild sued them for copyright infringement. Google won the case in the 2nd Circuit using the defense of fair use and now that ruling will stand.

Surprising no one, the FBI wasn’t able to get any useful information off of the phone of the San Bernardino shooter’s phone.

Gadgets
More augmented reality is on the way. This time from a company called Magic Leap. Where Microsoft’s Hololens seems pretty cool, Magic Leap sounds revolutionary. As I’ve said in the past, I am more interested our world with AR than VR.

Music
Prince died this week. We all know that he made lots of great music, but not everyone realizes that he was also a ridiculous guitar player. Seriously, go search around for some Prince live performances, You might have trouble finding them, though, because he was super protective of his copyrights and hated the Internet.

TV
Doctor Who has a new companion. I really wanted to love his last companion, Clara, but she just wasn’t written that well. Hopefully they will fix that with Bill.

Ending on a Happy Note
Harriet Tubman is the new face of the $20!

Things You Should Know This Week (04.16.2016)

Movies
Another Suicide Squad trailer was released this week. While Batman v. Superman was terrible, I am keeping my hopes up on this one. The trailers have made it look playful, though there are rumored reshoots to make it even lighter. Given the positive response to the trailers, this seems like a smart move.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them finally got a full trailer. I still haven’t read the Harry Potter books (don’t kill me), but really enjoyed the movies. This looks like a fun expansion of the universe (Potterverse?).

This week is actually pretty heavy with trailers for geeks. The teaser for Doctor Strange was also released. This is Marvel’s expansion into the world of magic (though Daredevil touches on it a little bit). I like magic. I like Benedict Cumberbatch. I like that the trailer looks like a mixture of The Matrix, Inception, and Batman Begins. I’m down.

Gadgets
I don’t need a new Kindle, but man do I want the new Kindle Oasis. It is super expensive, but it gets months of battery life and had a design that lends itself to one-handed reading, which is a problem with my Paperwhite when I am trying to read while laying in bed or on the couch.

Law and Policy
Microsoft sued the government, challenging the constitutionality of Section 2705(b) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Under this section, a court can direct the recipient of a warrant (like Microsoft or Google) not to tell anyone of the existence of that warrant. For example, if the government decides that they want to look at your email for an investigation, under this section they can order Microsoft to share the contents of your email (but why are you still using Hotmail?) and Microsoft can’t tell you (or anyone) that this happened.

The Burr-Feinstein bill has officially been released and it is [still lame]
(https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160413/15143434173/burr-feinstein-officially-release-anti-encryption-bill-as-wyden-promises-to-filibuster-it.shtml).

Ending on a Happy Note
The post-wisdom teeth surgery zombie prank is something that I have watched numerous times this week. I recommend that you do the same.

Things You Should Know This Week (04.09.2016)

Movies
I saw Batman v. Superman. It was dour, disjointed, and worst of all, boring. One exception: Gal Gadot was fantastic in her few minutes as Wonder Woman. Contrast this with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which I re-watched later in the week. Despite also being a “serious” comic book movie, I had a blast viewing it. My recommendation to you: skip Batman v. Superman, watch (or re-watch) Winter Soldier, and get ready for Civil War which comes out next month.

Batman v. Superman

The teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released this week. If you are a Star Wars fan, you have no excuse not to see it and get excited.

Tech
The other VR headset, the HTC Vive, shipped this week. I am more excited about this one due to its use of your actual room to let you move around in VR.

Your technology is often assigned a gender, and that gender is generally feminine. Why? Here are some thoughts.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off, flew around, and then landed again. This is big. Just don’t call it Shirley—we all know that phallic rockets need male names.

Policy and Law
Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) proved that you can reach across party lines to propose bad law with the snottily named Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016. This bill would force U.S. companies to decrypt data for law enforcement. Something that is not possible with good end-to-end encryption. So, in order to comply with the law, companies would have to put backdoors into their products, making all of us less secure.

Ending on a Happy Note
If you live in the DC area and have not been to Sugar Shack yet for a donut (or 3), you need to get moving. I recommend the maple bacon to start.

Maple Bacon Donut

Things You Should Know This Week (04.01.2016)

Tech
Oculus Rift shipped and it is the beginning of our plugged-in future. I have a couple comments here. Oh, and I’m not the only one talking about how porn will drive VR’s adoption.

Microsoft’s HoloLens is coming someday and people have been trying the latest version. Where Oculus is Virtual Reality (VR), HoloLens is Augmented Reality (AR?)–the goggles superimpose images over your view of the real world.

Music
Yeasayer’s new album, Amen & Goodbye, came out today and it is excellent. You can check it out on the major streaming services.

Amazon shipped the Tap, a smaller, battery-powered version of the Echo. I wish they had just called it the Echo Tap for clarity. That said, I love my Echo and wanted another device for other parts of the house, so I bought one.

Life
I have been think a lot about that fact that I need to say “No” more often. Derek Sivers wrote about it years ago, and his advice is still good.

Articles that Made it to Evernote

Throughout the week, I drop a lot of articles into Pocket to read later. When I finally get around to reading one of these articles (could be weeks, could be months), I do one of two things. If the article ends up being just entertainment, I will click the checkmark and it will be archived. If the article is something that I want to share, read again for inspiration, or use for research, I will give it a star. That star triggers an IFTTT recipe that will create a new note in Evernote. I will occasionally be sharing the best of those here on my blog.

We’re Already Violating Virtual Reality’s First Code of Ethics, by Daniel Oberhaus
I am mixture of fascinated, excited, and horrified by our VR future. I bought Google Cardboard a few weeks ago and have had a lot of fun with this simple intro to the medium. As soon as I find someone who has an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, I am going to befriend them to see what the future actually looks like.

As VR gets more real, we need to pay close attention to how it affects us as humans – an immersive environment may change us more fundamentally than other computer interfaces. In this article, Oberhaus discusses a recent paper proposing a code of ethics for VR.

12 Powerful Habits I have Stolen From Ultra-Successful People by Tomas Laurinavicius
Lists like this are neither new nor unique, but I read them anyway as a surrogate coach who is hounding me to be better. I want to wake up early, make lists, and employ those habits that will improve my personal and professional life. I also want to pick and choose from the endless options for betterment. To save you time, I have reduced the list here, but please read the article for the why of each of these habits:
– Waking up early
– Making lists
– Habit stacking
– Stretching
– Listening to podcasts
– Meditation
– Reading
– Writing
– Defining the most important task
– Doing the affirmations
– Visualization
– Exercise

How to Booth Your Team’s Productivity by Rebecca Knight
I love Harvard Business Review, their magazine, their blog (even with it’s lame limit on the number of articles you can read each month), and their daily emails. This blog post was shared in a recent Management Tip of the Day and covers a number of techniques you can employ to support your team. Since I don’t manage a team, I will use it as a tool for self management.