EppsNet Archive: Cell Phones

Some Links on Effective Communication

18 Feb 2018 /

Busting myths on gender differences in the brain (Article)
Nora Caplan-Bricker, “The Idea of a ‘Male Brain’ and a ‘Female Brain’ Is Likely a Myth,” Slate, November 2, 2015.

Challenges and strategies for creating safe communication spaces at work (Article)
James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, “Can Your Employees Really Speak Freely?,” Harvard Business Review, vol. 94, no. 1 (January/February 2016): p. 80-87.

Communication comes in all shapes and sizes (Video)
Nancy Lublin, “Texting That Saves Lives,” TEDvideo, 5:24, February 2012.

Do men and women communicate differently? (Article)
Deborah Cameron, “What Language Barrier?,” The Guardian, October 1, 2007.

Find out the meaning behind emojis (Website)
Emojipedia.”

Game-changing communication developments (Article)
Amber Leigh Turner, “5 Trends Disrupting Communication,” TNW News.

How the medium of communications can change what we say (Article)
Tweets From Mobile Devices Are More Likely to Be Egocentric,” International Communications Association press release, October 1, 2015.

Leaders can change their power cues to open up discussions (Article)
James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, “Nonverbal Cues Get Employees to Open Up—or Shut Down,” Harvard Business Review, December 11, 2015.

Parent/adult child bond increased with number of communication tools (Article)
Heidi Stevens, “Tech-Savvy Parents Communicate Better with Adult Kids: Study,” Chicago Tribune, November 3, 2014.

Solid teams require people who can talk and organize (Video)
Nike Academy: Communication and Leadership,” YouTube video, 2:47, posted by “Nike Football,” Oct 2, 2014.

Tools to streamline internal work communications (Article)
Catherine Lawson, “Online Chatting at Work Gets the Thumbs Up From Bosses,” BBC News, November 27, 2015.

When language perpetuates discrimination (Article)
Tory Paez, “Goodbye Chatty Kathy,” Catalyzing, January 26, 2016.


Teaching Computer Science: The Phones Aren’t Helping You

15 Feb 2018 /

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week at a local high school, helping out with computer science classes.

The way the classes are taught, via an online curriculum, provides a great temptation to kids to get off-task, which they do, usually by entertaining themselves with their phones.

They get off-task in other ways too — web surfing, doing homework for other classes — but the main distractor is the phones . . .

 

“As I mentioned before, I worked with another CS class a couple years ago. No phones allowed in the classroom.

Students with cell phones

“I remember one day the assistant principal was in class observing . . . a student had a phone out, looking at it . . . he was holding it under the table so no one could see it, but this guy, the assistant principal, he did see it.

“Oh man, did he hit the roof! If a student had pulled out a gun, there couldn’t have been any more excitement in the room.

“I thought that was overkill at the time. But I have to tell you that those kids kicked ass on the AP exam. Can I say that? That was the CS A test. Hard test.

“Most of the students got a 5. Most of the students who didn’t get a 5 got a 4. Nobody got a 3, one student got a 2 and, out of about 35 students, 6 of them got a 1, including the guy who spent 47 hours playing video games instead of studying. What did you expect, right?

“Now you guys may crush it on the AP test too. We don’t know yet.

“A lot of programmers have a phone in view when they’re working . . . a lot of programmers listen to music, sometimes through their phone . . . but nobody has the phone in their hand looking at it every minute, you’d never get anything done.

“So it depends what your goals are. If your goal is to get a top score on an AP exam, I don’t think you’re helping yourself with the phones.”


What Does a Programmer Do?

8 Oct 2017 /

I was asked to give a talk last week to a high school computer science class on “What Does a Programmer Do?” (I’m indebted to Jim McCarthy for the “lords and ladies of logic” section.)

 

Programming is problem solving.

Programmer

At the highest level, the problem that programmers solve is that people want to be able to do things with computers that they can’t do. And by computers, I don’t mean just the kind of computers you have on the desks here, I mean phones, watches, cars . . . more and more different kinds of devices are running software.

So one good thing about being a programmer is that pretty much every field of endeavor now uses software and data.

You can work at a tech company like Microsoft or Google or Twitter or Facebook, but you can also work in healthcare, finance, education, sports . . . you can work on cancer research, you can write video games . . . everybody uses software and everybody hires programmers.

Programming is a good job if you want to be learning new things all the time, if you don’t want to do the same things over and over.

The dark side of this is that it can be daunting trying to keep up with the pace of technological change. It can be overwhelming.

I was asked once in an interview, “What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned in the last week?” If you haven’t learned anything in the last week, it’s hard to answer that question, let alone if you haven’t learned anything in a month or a year. It’s easy to let your career slip away from you.

Programming has been a good job for me because I’ve been able to make a living doing things I like and things that I’m good at. I’ve always liked solving problems and building things.

To me that’s a good job: you do things you like and things that you’re good at. I don’t think most people can say that. Most people seem to be like “I hate Mondays,” “Thank god it’s Friday,” “Thank god it’s Thursday because it’s almost Friday.” If you spend a lot of time doing things you don’t like and you’re not good at, that’s a bad job.

As a programmer, you’re given problems to solve and a set of tools with which to solve them. You need to be able to figure out “what do i need to do, what do I need to learn, to be able to solve these problems with these tools?”

Self-reliance is good. Persistence is good. Floundering is bad. Know when to ask for help.

Asking for help is a no-lose strategy. Worst case, you ask for help and someone can’t help you or won’t help you, but you’re not any worse off than you were in the first place.

The demand for programmers exceeds the supply and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

Nearly 30 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 cannot locate the Pacific Ocean on a map, and 25 percent of Americans think the sun goes around the earth. Those people are not going to be programmers.

In a time of ubiquitous software and intellectual lethargy, programmers are like the priests in the Middle Ages. We are the lords and ladies of logic. We’re in charge of rationality for our era. We’re bringing common sense and sound judgment and aggregated wisdom and glory to everyone.

That’s our job.


If the Titanic Sank Today

22 Jun 2016 /

Titanic today


Nobody Reads Books Anymore

11 Oct 2014 /

Me and Mark Twain


I wish more people staring at cell phones while walking would fall into holes . . .

Posted by on 1 Jun 2013

NTSB Recommends Ban on Driver Cell Phone Use

14 Dec 2011 /
Car crashing into delivery truck

States should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, the National Transportation Board said Tuesday.

The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones and significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cellphone use behind the wheel.

DISLIKE!

Busy, productive people need to talk and text while driving in order to jumpstart this economy!

Yes, some of them will die, but it’s a net win because the benefits outweigh the costs.


Just Like the Pros

27 Jul 2011 /
Above the rim

The boy comes home from somewhere this afternoon . . .

“Where have you been?” I ask him.

“Playing basketball,” he says, as he heads into the kitchen for a beverage.

“I’ve been trying to call you. Why didn’t you pick up your phone?”

“Does Kobe pick up his phone during a game? Neither do I.”


I’m All About Safety

20 Mar 2010 /
Everyday Life 135

The woman in the car next to me was talking on a cell phone while driving. I was so incensed, I ran her off the highway. Her car flew into a barranca and exploded in a giant fireball.

I’m a stickler when it comes to traffic safety.


Notes From Interstate 5

18 Jan 2010 /

It poured rain all the way from San Jose to Los Angeles . . .

fields and traffic along Interstate 5, between Westley and Tracy, September 4, 2006

“It’s a good day for cows,” I say to my son, as we drive by a field of happy-looking bovines.

“It’s raining,” he points out.

“I don’t think cows mind a little rain. They get to eat lush, moist grass. Instead of dry grass. Do you like to eat a dry salad with no dressing? You don’t, right?” No answer. “I’m trying to think like a cow here.”

 

“My phone would go out right in the middle of a text message,” the boy says.

“That’s awful,” I say in mock sympathy.

“It is,” he says. “It was a thoughtful, heartfelt text message.”

“How thoughtful and heartfelt can a text message be? Aren’t you limited to 160 characters?”

“Not to Verizon numbers.”

“Oh. Well, that is disappointing then.”

 

We’re driving past an agricultural area with nothing but four- to five-foot sticks in the ground as far as the eye can see.

“What are they growing here?” he asks.

“Sticks,” I say. “It’s a stick farm.”

 

When I pass trucks on the highway, I always signal before pulling back in front of them.

Most people treat truck drivers and their vehicles just as obstacles to be bypassed. I treat them as real people with real feelings.

I think it makes life better for everyone . . .


Lost or Not Found

3 Jul 2009 /

My son can’t find his cell phone . . .

“You should glue it to your hand,” I say, “since you lose it at least once a day.”

“No, I don’t,” he says.

“Once a week, then.”

“Okay, but I never lose it. I just can’t find it at the time I need it.”


Mankind Is No Island

23 Dec 2008 /

Below is a short film shot entirely on a cell phone. It uses an unusual technique — a very simple technique — to present a narrative without the use of an actual voiceover narration . . .


California Enacts a Cell Phone Law

9 Apr 2008 /

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation that prohibits the use of handheld mobile phones while driving in the state.

Effective July 1, 2008, the legislation prohibits drivers from using a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle unless the driver uses a hands-free device. Drivers who violate the law will face a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense.

I can’t talk on my cell phone while I’m driving?

What a dopey law!

Can I still eat a chili dog while I’m driving? Can I drink a beverage? Can I try to find my favorite song on the CD player? Can I perform any number of activities that require the use of at least one hand and are at least as distracting as a phone call?

Has anyone else noticed that we have too many laws? And that every new one takes away one more precious freedom or one more hard-earned dollar, usually for no good reason?


Aren’t Cell Phones Great?

17 Jan 2008 /

Now not only can I call home and get no answer, I can call my wife’s cell phone and get no answer and call my kid’s cell phone and get no answer . . .


The World of Make-Believe

26 Apr 2006 /
Imagination

I take my cell phone out of my pocket and notice that the battery’s gone dead.

“Way to plan ahead,” my son says, without looking up from his GameBoy.

Continue reading The World of Make-Believe