Tabula Rasa

We had a number of laptops and cameras stolen on New Years' Eve. Replaced the laptops at least, so we can get stuff done. (and furiously changing passwords...)

Since Safari doesn't have bookmark sync, my new bookmarks bar is completely empty, and I set my homepage to regular Google, not iGoogle.

The amazing thing about this is that the computer isn't "pushing" activities to me right now. I open it to do something, and then do it. It's not like "Look at what iGoogle thinks I should read," and I have to actually type something to see what's going on in Facebook/Friendfeed/Twitter land, which is enough effort that I don't do it as much.

This dopamine addiction (the pursuit of novelty) has attracted a lot of research over the past few years. And activity addiction is almost the new "couch potato" mode...spending hours reading the "news" (which is really entertainment). For people who use computers as tools, it is important to find ways to segment entertainment from work.

What I'm finding with this latest "tabula rasa" is that my own goal to "look up this" or "write to this person" is much easier to achieve without the little novelty interruption. And I think that self-directed activity is very superior to reading on the 30-second "give me a hit of novelty" schedule. Here's hoping things stay so simple in 2010.


  1. Bummer! Was your backup strategy successful?

    I'm reminded of Paul Graham's essay on increasing productivity by unplugging the Internet from his "work" computer. Tempting.

  2. Ditto on the bummer.

  3. @jpeterson - yes we didn't lose any data. But Mac+TimeMachine over NAS is flaky and seems to corrupt easily, had to rollback. Recommend USB instead.