summing up 64

i am trying to build a jigsaw puzzle which has no lid and is missing half of the pieces. i am unable to show you what it will be, but i can show you some of the pieces and why they matter to me. if you are building a different puzzle, it is possible that these pieces won't mean much to you, maybe they won't fit or they won't fit yet. then again, these might just be the pieces you're looking for. this is summing up, please find previous editions here.

  • the collapse of complex business models, when ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. it's easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. but there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future. recommended
  • notes on present status and future prospects, every new conceptual idea (unlike a mathematical one) must go through a phase of facing opposition from two sides - the entrenched establishment who thinks that its toes are being stepped on, and a lunatic fringe that springs up, seemingly by spontaneous generation, out of the idea itself. those whose fame and fortune are based on their very real accomplishments using previous methods have a strong vested interest in them and will raise strenuous opposition to any attempt to replace them. this phenomenon has been very well documented in many cases. in contrast to the establishment which is protecting something that has some demonstrated value, the lunatic fringe has no vested interest in anything because it is composed of those who have never made any useful contribution to any field. instead, they are parasites feeding on the new idea; while giving the appearance of opposing it, in fact they are deriving their sole sustenance from it, since they have no other agenda. the establishment and the lunatic fringe have the common feature that they do not understand the new idea, and attack it on philosophical grounds without making any attempt to learn its technical features so they might try it and see for themselves how it works. many will not even deign to examine the results which others have found using it; they know that it is wrong, whatever results it gives. there is no really effective way to deal with this kind of opposition; one can only continue quietly accumulating the evidence of new useful results, and eventually the truth will be recognized (pdf)
  • sequelitis - mega man classic vs. mega man x, games are supposed to be fun, and reading manuals isn't fun; it's pretty much the opposite of fun. but it is also true for software in general. manuals are pointless when we can learn about the game in the best and most natural way imaginable: by playing the actual game. you learn by doing, provided you have a well designed sandbox that lets you safely experiment as you're starting out in the game
  • trivial, the word "trivial" offers many opportunities to inappropriately reduce an item to its most basic components; allowing us to ignore the beauty that lies in the process. the value of a network is greater than the sum of its parts, but a simple misstep in vocabulary undermines it all
  • the fastest man on earth - the story of john paul stapp, stapp was promoted to the rank of major, reminded of the 18 g limit of human survivability, and told to discontinue tests above that level

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