Friday, August 16, 2002

How RSI is changing the way I work

I used to flick between applications easily, retaining names and numbers in my short-term memory. But the vocal effort required in switching applications (I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking all the time) now means that these things easily are lost, so I have to write them down. For someone who avoids paper wherever possible, this was strange. I understand why people print out procedures when they need to follow them step-by-step. For them when the window changed on the screen the context was lost. As time goes by, I am finding I can retain more while I switch applications. I wonder if the speech centres in my brain are getting wired to the part that controls the fingers.

When composing e-mails I find myself staring into space a lot more, while I tried to put my words together. When I was typing them the words would flow more easily, and I would delete and reword things if they didn't look good in front of me. This is probably because there is some sort of filter on the speech mechanism, which prevents me saying things which are stupid or offensive or otherwise undesirable, which is not kicking in when I am typing. This may explain why I have got into trouble in the past for sending e-mails and were too harsh and undiplomatic, whereas if I were to talk to someone face-to-face about the issue I would be more measured.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Two new internet radio discoveries. Radio 4, my talk station of choice, has some of its old programmes available. NME radio plays all new stuff, well some of it is a couple of weeks old, but I like it. You can find it by following links on their overbusy home page.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Holiday reading part 3

"Every Child's Book of Answers", written around 1967. Full of scientific information presented in a highly patronising way. One of my favourite quotes: "the atmosphere is like hair, it is thin in places".

Friday, August 02, 2002

Holiday reading part 2

I read the 25th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, The Truth. Even after 25 novels his flow of ideas still continues. Some of them are a bit laboured, but this is one of the better ones.

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins.
"My title is from Keats, who believed that Newton had destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to the prismatic colors. Keats could hardly have been more wrong, and my aim is to guide all who are tempted by a similar view, towards the opposite conclusion. Science is, or ought to be, the inspiration for great poetry."
Even though I disagree with his conclusions about evolution, this is a good book, giving you back your sense of wonder, and exposing bad science.