Software burns brain cells when it does something different from what you expected, and before you realize your thoughts are going the wrong way, you go too far, and going back hurts your head.

The pain comes from brain cells that are committing suicide because they're so frustrated, all they can think to do is end it all.

It's like lurching at the end of a rope when it breaks while you're playing tug of war, except it turns out it wasn't a rope at all, it was a bar fight.

Using a computer always puts you at the edge of a haze, managing more complexity than your poor brain can handle. An overload caused by a misdirection == burning brain cells.

Nothing new. Software has been doing it since Day One, I'm sure. I mention it because it happens all the time on Facebook. You're reading a message from a friend and then your brain slams shut because it realizes it's actually an ad!

It's good I suppose for the advertiser and Facebook, but it's not good for my poor brain. Or yours either. And maybe ultimately it'll be bad for Zuck when we all get to the afterlife and get to tell him what we think about it.

Thanks for listening.

01/04/14; 08:01:33 PM

I went for a walk, of course, in the fantastic cold and brilliantly clear post-snow Central Park today. Here's a picture that gives you an idea of the glory of the day.

Now here's a contrasting picture, of a popular sledding hill, in the shadow of 157 W 57th St, the first of the new skyscrapers to go up on the south end of the park.

You can see how dramatic the difference is on a sunny day.

This shadow is emerging as a political issue in NYC.

01/04/14; 01:11:47 PM

I read Tim Bray's piece about the word content, and I agree. It betrays a point of view. If you're a writer, and someone refers to your work as "content" -- well that's like telling a painter his work is wall-covering. Yes technically, it's accurate -- your painting does cover the wall, Mr Rembrandt and Ms O'Keeffe. But there's also the inspiration. The joy. The dread, the lessons learned, the life lived, the gains and losses. The feeling. All that can be used to cover a wall, or provide a surface for ads to run. But calling it wall-covering doesn't capture its fullness.

Yet there are times when you have to think of a painting as wall-covering -- if you're implementing a wall management system, and you need to account for people hanging all kinds of content on it, paintings, frescoes, posters, quilts, light -- incandescent and candles. Even chairs are wall-covering of a sort. Chandeliers, while they don't hang on a wall do provide light. Viewed that way all art is a wall-covering. It's the engineering view, while it does subtract the art from the art, it's a valid and useful point of view too.

I've spent a good part of my career working on Content Management software, and I'm also a writer, so I see it from both sides. Should I say the C in CMS stands for Creativity? Does that help you understand what it does, or make writers feel better for producing fungible slurry of ad-supporting letters, numbers and punctuation? It doesn't mean a thing to this writer.

There is lots of duality in human language. There's the mother who is also a sister and a daughter. A car that is both a method of transportation and a source of revenue for mechanics and car dealers.

So in some contexts, my writing is art. And in others, it's content.

01/04/14; 10:42:46 AM

Last built: Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 12:29 PM

By Dave Winer, Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 10:42 AM.