While it’s a month later than intended, a book chapter entitled “Law Enforcement and Security Agency Surveillance in Canada: The Growth of Digitally-Enabled Surveillance and Atrophy of Accountability” is now finished in draft and in the editors’ inboxes! It feels really good to have another writing project temporarily off my plate; this makes five finished in three months!
Good: I’m on track to getting a bunch of writing done today! Bad: It’s writing that was foisted on me by an external party and the writing is to their (immediate) deadline. Depressing: All of the writing might get tossed away should their editor decide to can the story.
The reality of a day in the life of a public intellectual…
Peer review is a hit and miss proposition. Sometimes whoever reviews the work is clearly unsuitable. Other times the reviewer’s suggestions would have you write a totally new paper. And other times the reviewer shows how the argument you’re making can be helpfully deepened and strengthened. That last kind of review is rarer than it should be but, when you experience it, can help to transform a good paper into a considerably stronger and more meaningful piece of work.
It’s another week closer to the end of the year, and another where high profile men have been identified as having engaged in absolutely horrible and inappropriate behaviours towards women. And rather than the most powerful man in the world — himself having self-confessed to engaging in these kinds of behaviour — exhibiting an ounce of shame, he’s instead supporting an accused man and failing to account for his past activities.
I keep going back and forth as to whether I want to buy a new Apple Watch; I have zero need for one with cellular functionality and, really, just want an upgrade to take advantage of some more advanced heart monitoring features. The initial reviews of the Apple Watch Series 3 were…not inspiring. But Dan Seifert’s review of the Apple Watch Series 3 (non-LTE) is more heartening: on the whole, it’s fast and if you already have a very old Apple Watch and like it, it’s an obviously good purchase. I just keep struggling, though, to spend $600 for a device that I know would be useful but isn’t self-evidently necessary. Maybe I’ll just wait until Apple Canada starts selling some of the refurbished Series 3 models…
While photographers deal with Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS), which is usually fuelled by the prayer that better stuff will mean better photos, I think that writers deal with the related Software Acquisition Syndrome (SAS). SAS entails buying new authoring programs, finding new places to write, or new apps that will make writing easier, faster, and more enjoyable. But the truth is that the time spent learning the new software, getting a voice in the new writing space, or new apps tend to just take away from time that would otherwise be spent writing. But if you’re feeling a SAS-driven urge to purchase either Ulysses or iA Writer, you should check out Marius Masalar’s comprehensive review of the two writing tools. (As a small disclosure, I paid for Ulysses and use it personally to update this website.)
New Apps and Great App Updates from this Week
Great Photography Shots
If tapeworms are your thing then there’s some terrific shots of them included as part of an interview with tapeworm experts. A few gems include:
Music I’m Digging
Neat Podcast Episodes
Good Reads for the Week
- How Password Managers Work And Why You Should Use One
- The Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked
- Facebook (still) lets housing advertisers exclude users by race
- Secure Your Chats: Why Encrypted Messaging Matters
- A Sense of Appreciation Is the Single Most Sustainable Motivator at Work
- Encryption Won’t Stop Your Internet Provider From Spying on You
- You Don’t Have to Be Prolific to Accomplish Your Blogging Dreams
Robb Lewis lays out everything you need to understand about the SEO industry in < 256 characters.
I’ve been with “professionals” who jeer at notions that content matters, or that you can get people to care/read anything longer than 300-500 words. Been told that my long form writing is a death sentence if I want to disseminate ideas. Words can’t express how glad I am I never took their “advice”.
Valve’s Handbook for New Employees has made its way to the Internet. While such handbooks are normally incredibly dull – I mean, really, who hasn’t almost fallen asleep or committed suicide to escape reading one? – Valve’s is excellent.
It lays out corporate culture, modes of engaging with other employees, identifying tasks worth doing, and how the company actually functions. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is scattered with jokes. Valve has, effectively, created a whimsical and useful document that embraces employees. Employers could learn from what Valve has done.