John Cleese on creativity

I must admit I never new much about John Cleese before watching this video other than he was in Monty Python and that he is very funny.  I had no idea he was also so analytical or that he had a scientific background.

I have had similar experiences of giving up on solving a problem and going to bed to discover the next day that I have unconsciously solved the solution over night.  Sometimes I don’t even know I have solved the problem until I start debugging the problem with someone else and at which point I tell them the solution before my conscious mind was even aware that I had a solution.

The concept of setting up ‘boundaries of space and time': space from interruptions and periods of time to focus on a task is a very good way of explaining the necessary prerequisites for achieving flow.  I particularly like John’s dig at laptops being distracting followed by the camera panning to two guys in the audience sitting using laptops who seem oblivious to what he just said…

Kindle Skeptic Converted!

I was skeptical about dedicated ebook readers until I bought a second generation Kindle last year.  The convenience of the device: its diminutive size and weight, the massive Amazon catalogue, the epic battery life, the huge internal book storage capacity, built in dictionary, wireless book delivery and the incredibly user friendly reading experience offered by the E-Ink screen combined to rapidly make it the most treasured electronic device I own.

I just received a third generation WiFI Kindle for my birthday and the new device manages to make the older model look completely outdated which is impressive given the iterative nature of the new device.  The first thing that strikes you when you hold the new device is its size: the new device is half an inch shorter and narrower than the previous generation which adds up to an impressive overall size reduction and means the newer device is seventeen percent lighter than the previous model while retaining the same screen size.

Compared to the 3G in the previous model the WiFi is an significantly faster experience: browsing the kindle store or downloading books is now comparable to the speed of the kindle App on my iPhone over WiFi.  I decided to go for the Wifi only model as despite owning a kindle for a year I’ve only ever bought one book when I wasn’t at home so I couldn’t really justify the extra cost for the WiFi & 3G model.  The battery life for the WiFi only Kindle is also significantly longer than the WiFI/3G version (three weeks versus ten days), this is no surprise given the differences in range for WiFi vs 3G: the 3G radio simply needs more juice.

There are several additional tweaks in the new device: the back of the device is now textured so you are less likely to drop it, the screen has 50% more contrast, you can now adjust text line spacing, the screen changes a bit faster and the storage capacity is doubled.  They’ve also moved the power button, headphone jack and volume control to the bottom of the device although I’ve never actually tried out the MP3 or audio capacity of the Kindle.

I would recommend the Kindle to any avid reader, I used to be a binge reader but I have been averaging a book a week since getting a kindle…