5 Simple Habits That Will Make You a More Positive Person

Jessica Stillman repors for Inc.com:

Are optimists born or made?

We tend to think of those who see the sunnier side of life as having been blessed with a positive disposition. And it’s true that some significant portion of our happiness is probably determined by our pre-set tendency towards melancholy or cheer. But according to science, positivity is also very much a skill you can learn.

Just like you can exercise daily to build your body’s capacity for lifting heavy objects, it turns out you can also adopt simple daily practices that will rewire your psychology to tend more towards a positive outlook.

From my own experience I can support the „Avoid complainers“ suggestions:

Complaining has memorably been described as the equivalent of emotional farting in an elevator. Would you stick around for dozens of floors with the guy who clearly ate too many beans for lunch? No, I’m guessing you would not. For similar reasons you should start making it a habit to quickly exit the situation when others around you start to bitch and moan.

Surely complaining has a lot of negative impacts like lower moods, negative emotions, decreased life satisfaction and optimism.

Lazy Leadership: Why I rarely go to the office, only see my team a couple times a week, and let other people make important decisions

Andrew Wilkinson, Entrepreneur and Investor, reports for LinkedIN:

Here’s a list of values that we share with everyone who joins our team:

  • A job that doesn’t feel like a job: We want to give our team the freedom and autonomy to work when and how they please. We hire smart people, give them great work, and treat them like adults — even if they want to start work at 4PM, work from a cafe, or road trip across the United States.
  • A focus on craftsmanship: We take a breath before we ship and ask “Is this the best we can do? Are we proud of this?” If the answer is no, we go back to the drawing board. We don’t ship work we aren’t proud of, even if it means having an uncomfortable conversation.
  • No jargon or buzzwords: We think jargon destroys companies. It’s designed to make one person feel superior, while the other feels less than and nods along. We use simple terms that everyone understands, and we do the same with our clients. Our work speaks for itself, there’s no need to dress it up.
  • No assholes allowed: This one is pretty self-explanatory. No political climbers, bullies, yellers, or machiavellian BS. We operate in a climate of mutual respect, and when one bad egg crosses the line, they need to go before they sour the whole bunch, regardless of how talented they are. This goes not only for our team, but for our clients too.
  • People over profits: We’d rather break even than run a company that isn’t enjoyable to work at. Profits are important — they keep the lights on and give us long term security — but we will not compromise the quality of our work or make ourselves miserable in pursuit of financial gain.
  • Be honest, not perfect: We all make mistakes and have flaws, and we should be comfortable owning our mistakes and knowing it’s ok to mess up once in awhile. This isn’t about being kumbaya, but accepting the gap between where you are and where you want to be. We think the gap makes us do better work, especially when we’re honest about it.

Our goal at Xavo is to follow Steve Jobs’s mantra: “If it is not ready – we don’t release. If it’s not absolutely awesome – we don’t release. If we fuck up, we admit it and make it right.”

Nest’s time at Alphabet: A “virtually unlimited budget” with no results

Ron Amadeo reports for arstechnica.com:

Nest CEO Tony Fadell wasn’t officially „fired“ from Nest, but it certainly feels like it.

It’s hard to argue with the decision to „transition“ Fadell away from Nest. When Google bought Nest in January 2014, the expectation was that a big infusion of Google’s resources and money would supercharge Nest. Nest grew from 280 employees around the time of the Google acquisition to 1200 employees today. In Nest’s first year as „a Google company,“ it used Google’s resources to acquire webcam maker Dropcam for $555 million.

In return for all this investment, Nest delivered very little. The Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector both existed before the Google acquisition, and both received minor upgrades under Google’s (and later Alphabet’s) wing. A year after buying Dropcam, Nest released the Nest Cam, which was basically a rebranded Dropcam. Two-and-a-half years under Google/Alphabet, a quadrupling of the employee headcount, and half-a-billion dollars in acquisitions yielded minor yearly updates and a rebranded device. That’s all.

At the Google I/O 2016 keynote Google Home was presented with a futuristic movie. Nest is not mentioned at all.

We know that it is not easy for big players to buy and integrate innovative companies reasonably. Google and Nest are another good example that throwing money at the new company does not guarantee success.

If Google’s right about AI, that’s a problem for Apple

Marco Arment (a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek and coffee enthusiast) reports:

Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for.

If they’re right — and that’s a big “if” — I’m worried for Apple.

Today, Apple’s being led properly day-to-day and doing very well overall. But if the landscape shifts to prioritize those big-data AI services, Apple will find itself in a similar position as BlackBerry did almost a decade ago: what they’re able to do, despite being very good at it, won’t be enough anymore, and they won’t be able to catch up.

If Google’s right, there’s no quick fix (for Apple). It won’t be enough to buy Siri’s creators again or partner with Yelp for another few years. If Apple needs strong AI and big-data services in the next decade to remain competitive, they need to have already been developing that talent and those assets, in-house, extensively, for years. They need to be a big-data-services company. Their big-data AI services need to be far better, smarter, and more reliable than they are.

I’m quite convinced that the interface will become mostly AI-based in the near future. If I’m „texting“ on my smartphone I use speech most of the time. Because it’s faster and more convenient. Unfortunately I cannot see any progress with Siri. It’s terrible to use it, both on the iPhone and the Apple Watch.

Google is clearly the best at voice-driven and AI driven assistants. Google’s CEO Pichai  sees the future of computing as an „ambient experience that extends beyond devices.“

This is a very big problem for Apple.

Led Zeppelin Can Exit Stairway Suit for Just $1

Vernon Silver, reporting for Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

Lawyers suing members of rock supergroup Led Zeppelin say their client is willing to settle a lawsuit over the band’s most famous song–a claim potentially worth millions of dollars–for just $1.

The catch is that band members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would have to give dead rocker Randy California a writing credit on the iconic 1971 rock ballad Stairway to Heaven. And that’s probably worth a lot more than a buck. Such an agreement by Page and Plant, the band’s guitarist and singer, respectively, would head off a much anticipated copyright infringement trial scheduled for May 10 in Los Angeles federal court.

„It’s always been about credit where credit is due,“ said attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy, who brought the suit on behalf of Michael Skidmore, administrator of the trust of the late Randy Wolfe, known as Randy California. Wolfe wrote an instrumental track called Taurus in the late 1960s for the band Spirit that Malofiy argues was the genesis of the famous Led Zeppelin ballad. He claims Page and Plant copied it in their finger-picked opening of Stairway to Heaven.

My wife was not aware of the Stairway to Heaven vs. Taurus lawsuit. I asked her to listen to the Taurus track. Her response was: „This is a mix of Stairway to Heaven with other melodies“.

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2016 von Detlef Riedel unter All Music

Apple’s new short film starring autistic teen shows how tech transforms lives

Katie Dupere, writing for Mashable:

Dillan Barmache can’t speak, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything to say.

In fact, Dillan has complex and powerful thoughts, and thanks to easily accessible technology paired with innovative apps, you can hear his perspective.

Dillan, who is autistic and nonverbal, is the star of a new short film created by Apple to celebrate Autism Acceptance Day. Notably, the film tells Dillan’s story through his own words, typed out on an iPad then spoken out loud via an augmented and alternative communication (AAC) app.

Dillan’s Voice is a wonderful short film about teenager Dillan Barmache, who is autistic and uses his iPad to express himself.

Veröffentlicht am 20. April 2016 von Detlef Riedel unter All Apple Movies

The 3 Big Technologies To Watch Over The Next Decade — Genomics, Nanotechnology and Ro

Greg Satell, writing for FORBES about Genomics:

The exponential advance of computing power has enabled scientists to begin to unravel the mysteries of an even more important mystery, the genetic code. This is the new field of genomics and it’s already showing great promise.

The first area where it’s having an impact is on cancer. Mapping the cancer genome is enabling new, more targeted cancer therapies that treat patients based on their cancer’s genetic makeup rather than just on where the tumor is located, like in the prostate or the breast. That, combined with new immunotherapies are giving hope that a cure to cancer may soon be within reach.

Beyond that, a new technique called CRISPR allows scientists to actually edit DNA sequences so that they can, for example, disable key genetic sequences in an HIV virus, deactivate genes gone awry in an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis or reprogram yeast DNA to create petrochemicals like plastics.

The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said: “Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.” This genius moment seems to be true for Richard Feynman in 1959 when he defined a new science which became nano-technology.

For most of history, we had to settle with the materials nature gave us. Now, we’re on the verge of being able to design materials with the properties that we want.

And finally, I’ve written about the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics before.

We’re also seeing robots becoming increasingly integrated into civilian life. Drones are being deployed commercially to survey crops and Amazon is looking to roll out a drone delivery service. IBM’s Watson is helping doctors to diagnose patients. As the technology advances further, robots will be taking over even more human jobs, like driving delivery trucks.

The Internet of Things says Hello!

Failing at Microservices. Please avoid our mistakes!

Richard Clayton’s unrepentant thoughts on software and management:

Microservices are the new fad in software architecture, and while I think they are generally the correct philosophy to take with service design and composition, the pattern can certainly lead you quickly into trouble.

As the title of this post points out, my team struggled (I’d say failed) at implementing a microservice architecture. There were a number of factors that lead to this failure and most were not related to technology and implementation practices. However, in the parts related to developing microservices, we did fail.

Use common sense. Do what’s best for your team and your customer’s or product’s goals. This may even mean re-evaluating the microservice use case. At the end of the day, given our team composition, we should of gone with a more traditional approach. Personally, I preferred the microservice architecture, we just couldn’t make it happen.

Clayton says that their failure was a result of a number of factors like philosophical differences, service boundaries, service separation, service granularity and DevOps burdens.

Regarding the right microservice granularity the devil is in the details. A lot of emphasis has to be put on the right size of the services. The services should not get too fine-grained at the beginning of the project. Otherwise the project could fail because of complexity and performance issues.

Likewise Stefan Tilkov thinks that it’s not a goal to make the services as small as possible. He argues that the service granularity should primarily be defined by the needs of the overall application. Another option would be to derive the size of the services from the Bounded Context definitions in a Domain-Driven Design.

What also is the right size of a microservice? It is probably rather in the hundreds or thousands lines of code than millions. But it seems to be more important for me that the functionality of the service has to fit in the head of the (single) developer who produces and maintains the microservice.

Revolver should only ever be listened to as the Beatles intended – on vinyl

Michael Henderson, reporting for the Telegraph:

This week, 50 years ago, the Beach Boys concluded the sessions in Los Angeles that produced Pet Sounds. They wrapped up on April 13, to be precise, by which time Brian Wilson, never the cheeriest soul, was a gibbering wreck. The same day, at Abbey Road, the Beatles recorded Paperback Writer, and rushed it out as a single before Revolver sprang, fully armed from the head of Zeus, in August.

You can argue until you are blue in the face but, by any reasonable standards, Pet Sounds and Revolver must be considered the two finest pop music records ever made. This was also, as we shall be reminded once again this summer, the year that England’s footballers, wearing strawberry jam shirts, won the World Cup. Yes, 1966 was a great time to be young. Half a century later, with a retro movement gaining ground day by day, a younger generation may enjoy the fruits that Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Wilson (in that order) dropped from the tree in the traditional manner. In case you hadn’t heard, vinyl is back, fortissimo.

Revolver or Pet Sounds? For me the definitive winner is Revolver. First of all Paul McCartney deserves the trophy with Eleanor Rigby;  Here, There and Everywhere; Good Day Sunshine; Got To Get You Into My Life and For No-One.

Fifty years ago! What songs written this year will people be singing with love half a century on?

This is a good question.  Surely the 60-ies were an extraordinarily successful decade for the worldwide pop music.

It‘ great that Sir Paul McCartney will be back on a World Tour this year in the US, Canada, Argentina, France, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Denmark and Norway.  Most of the concerts will take place in the US. Interestingly not a single concert has been planned for England.

Veröffentlicht am 17. April 2016 von Detlef Riedel unter All Music Society

Some Relationship Advice From Pope Francis

Camila Domonoske, writing for npr.org:

On Friday, Pope Francis released a 256-page document called „Amoris Laetitia,“ or „The Joy of Love.“ In it, he calls for the Catholic Church to approach issues of sex, marriage, family planning and divorce with less emphasis on dogmatic law and more emphasis on individual conscience.

Francis muses on sex, communication, commitment and love in general — and for a 79-year-old man who has taken a lifelong vow of celibacy, the pontiff has some pretty solid relationship tips:

  • Make Time For One Another, Even If You’re Busy
  • Sometimes, Just Listen
  • Accept Your Partner’s Shortcomings
  • … And Be Generous With Their Imperfections
  • Never Go To Bed Angry: Hugs Can Help
  • Try To Find Your Partner Beautiful And Lovable … Even When They Make It Hard
  • Don’t Hold Grudges
  • And Do Try To Have Good Sex. If Nothing Else, It Makes Life Seem OK For At Least A Moment

„God himself created sexuality, which is a marvellous gift to his creatures,“ Francis writes.

I first thought this would be a April Fool. But I double-checked with the New York Times and it seems to be true.

Sex should never be pursued for just one person’s pleasure, or in a way that treats your partner as „an object to be used,“ Francis writes, and should always involve freely given consent.

And — a point he makes several times — mutual pleasure.

Sexuality is „meant to aid the fulfillment of the other,“ he writes, but „personal satisfaction“ is involved as well — not just self-sacrificing service to your partner’s needs.

Wow. What an insight for a man with a vow of celibacy.