Archive for October, 2010

Spelling for the new millennium

Posted on October 29th, 2010 · Posted in Off-topic

Tolerance to spelling errors changes as history progresses. For instance, in the middle ages nobody worried about spelling at all; I’ve read many a manuscript from six centuries ago (my wife is a historian researching that period) and the spelling of everything, even names of people and locations, is all over the place. As long as you could guess what is being referred to, nobody cared. The more precise attitudes of the 20th century would not tolerate this, so our spelling has become standardized, enabling us to play Scrabble and hold spelling bees. But the technology we use dictates our.. Read more

Keep your hands on the wheel!

Posted on October 24th, 2010 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

The silly, if cheerful, pop song from the fifties, “Seven little girls“,  gives us the chorus: All together now, one, two, three / Keep your mind on your driving / Keep your hands on the wheel / Keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead / We’re having fun, sitting in the backseat / Kissing and a hugging with Fred! A somewhat improbable notion, considering that there were seven girls (plus Fred) in the back seat; but it has an important lesson: the driver should keep his mind on the driving, his eyes on the road, and – most obvious.. Read more

Join us at the Information Overload Awareness Day event!

Posted on October 19th, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized

October 20 is Information Overload Awareness Day, and we’re holding an online event at 11 AM EDT / 3 PM GMT. Attendance is free if you pledge not to multitask during the event! Basex, who organize this event every year, secured an impressive lineup of academics, analysts and industry practitioners who will speak about IO and what they’re doing about it. Yours truly will speak too, as president of the Information Overload Research Group. Register to attend at (use code IORGGuest).

A good definition of Multitasking

Posted on October 13th, 2010 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

I was lecturing about Information Overload and multitasking recently, and told my audience how the research data shows that trying to multitask makes you less efficient at each of the tasks you try to do in parallel. After the lecture, one attendee came up to me and gave me a lovely definition she had for Multitasking: Multitasking is a way to screw up a number of different things at once. I just had to share this gem with you! 

Data Glut: it isn’t only email…

Posted on October 7th, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized

I was reading an article about hi-tech airships in IEEE Spectrum when my eye caught in the sidebar a link to another article titled  The UAV Data Glut. What do you know – we thought Infoglut was a human problem, and now Unmanned Aerial Vehicles bitch about it too? Naahh… of course, it isn’t the UAVs that complain; it is humans, the only species that can. The problem, according to the article, is that the super sophisticated drone planes generate more data than humans can look at: “In 2009 alone, the U.S. Air Force shot 24 years’ worth of video.. Read more

The importance of Desktop Search

Posted on October 1st, 2010 · Posted in Individual Solutions

A manager recently described to me his system for handling his incoming email, which he viewed as quite inadequate. He would go through his voluminous new mail each day, then move it all to one folder. At least he wasn’t keeping it in the Inbox like the “I’ve got 6,000 messages in my Inbox” crowd; but his problem was that when he’d need to find a message again he often couldn’t. Some people solve the problem by maintaining a carefully defined folder hierarchy to archive old messages; for others, this just doesn’t match the way they work. But even if.. Read more