Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
On the culture of distraction; one pipe for all interruptions?
Merlin Mann | Jul 25 2005
Really good article on the problems and implications of the interruption-driven lifestyle. Full of great bits, including this:
I really do encourage you to read the whole article, because it gets to the heart of a problem that’s contributing to most everyone’s stress and feeling of being constantly overwhelmed. And you might want to follow it up with seeing how Billy G. reportedly carves out a “Think Week” each year.
The piece of technology we could really use
Danny and I (as well as many other folks, obviously) have been thinking about this stuff a lot lately. Seems like most of our problems today don’t stem from a dearth of technology or a lack of access to the tools we need; we have faster, bigger, and more powerful crap than most of us can ever hope to fully use, plus it’s available everywhere. We’re drinking from a freakin’ fire hose. The real trick will be figuring out how to get all these devices’ copious output delivered in a way that’s meaningful, contextual, and timely.
I’m starting to think that devices and applications should share a standard—like an API, I suppose—that can pipe to something like Growl (or what Quicksilver calls its “Notification Hub”). That way, we could each adapt all the streams of data, alarms, and updates in our lives into our own logic-based system. That way you're not beholden to how Outlook, iCal, Bloglines, AIM, or what have you chooses to tap you on the shoulder.
Add Bayesian filtering and rules-based behaviors to the mix and there’s at least a hope that we could only be notified (read: “interrupted”) when something truly important is happening within the froth of information that’s sprayed at our heads all day. Here’s hoping, anyhow.
The standard part would be a relative breeze; I’m guessing the tricky part would be to get adoption from a bunch of competing companies. Still, everybody would benefit from having a product that “plugged in” to a popular notifications protocol. Standards worked for light sockets, headphone plugs, sewer lids, and railroad tracks. Maybe it’s time to demand our “productivity” products play a little nicer together, too. Pipe dream? You tell me.
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