Reading List - daguerreotype, the art of focus

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... the daguerreotype put an end to the portrait making business as it was known to the world. Skilled painters, who previously were the only means of creating a likeness of one’s self, were suddenly squeezed by the faster and cheaper process. Not only was the daguerreotype literally faster and easier to create than a painting, the operator didn’t need to have any particular talent other than being able to follow directions and do some mathematical computations to mix chemicals. They didn’t need to spend years cultivating their art and style and studying methods. And they surely didn’t need the underlying “spark” or “raw talent” that is often associated with painters or sculptors. By the 1860’s, much of the portrait painting industry was gone and those that did still have their paintings commissioned often did not sit for their painting sessions, but instead sent their painter a daguerreotype to work from.Lisa Robinson

OMG! I see some parallels to modern digital photography and smartphones. In case you don't know it, the daguerreotype is "a photograph taken by an early photographic process employing an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapor."

Learning Baggage

... the next time you look up from that proposal on the new infrastructure schematics and see that the sun is shining, go for a walk, notice where you are, and give your mind a chance to go into diffuse-mode and process what you’ve been focusing on all morning. And give yourself a hug for doing it.Farnam Street

Reading List - Medium Format, Voice Interfaces, Human Rights, ichigyo-zammai

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On the gear acquisition syndrome and the Fuji GF-X:

Sure, the format itself, the sensor, the glass...all of it contributes to the end results and I do believe there's a quantifiable difference. But it's how it alters us that's most important. That creative influx and change of pace. In many ways it's the X100 all over again, potentially transforming how we approach our work as a whole. Tweaking our eye. That's the pull here. It's not a bloody conspiracy. But I'll say it again: there's no such thing as magical gear. In a recent interview I even expressed concern about this, at people potentially getting in over their heads, purchasing a GFX 50S and ultimately ending up disappointed. Realizing they now have sharper and higher rez images that...don't look all that different. It's always the photographer, not the gear.Flux & Fuel by Patrick La Roque

Voice interactions with computers are in a fledgling state.

... Google and others are working on populating their systems with hundreds or thousands of the most common commands, and ensuring that the responses to these are rewarding and useful. That’s all that needs to happen. Alexa has a small number of commands it can do, but it can do them really well. And when it fails, it fails gracefully. Siri is the opposite. It makes you feel like you can say anything, but half the time she doesn’t understand you, and the other half she does something stupid even when she does. This hurts peoples’ confidence in the voice interface, and keeps it from becoming their default.Daniel Miessler

Human rights only exist because … humanity.

Ghana opposed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on principle: there is nothing inherently universal about human rights at all. The only rights you possess are the rights that your state protects and enforces. To call human rights ‘inalienable’ is to ignore the fact that they are as fragile as governments. As a consequence, to think of human rights as transcendent values is the unfortunate first step in neglecting your state’s accountability and abidance to them.James Shelly

Leo Babauta on focusing on one thing at a time:

It turns out, we are very rarely fully in the moment with any single activity. How can we try this enlightened activity of full concentration on one act?Zen Habits

Are you exposing your mind to varied ideas?

In the extension of this idea to my own life, adding inputs, even if they are selected on a whim, is like adding molecules to primordial soup.10 The more widely I read, the more connections I can make. All the better if they are unusual connections, because unusual is often valuable.withthegrain