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Comment author: Matt_Simpson 27 February 2013 10:27:32PM 0 points [-]

Wait, org-mode will track your productivity and make suggestions based on that? Please tell me they mention this somewhere besides buried pages deep in the manual...

Comment author: mej10 28 February 2013 12:39:59AM *  0 points [-]

It won't make the suggestions/evaluate things itself. But it is very good for tracking productivity and getting different views into that data, and it has a bunch of plugins for common productivity things.

I meant to clarify that more in my original post.

Comment author: mej10 27 February 2013 03:59:13PM 2 points [-]

You should check out org-mode for Emacs. It is somewhat similar to what you describe, but being an Emacs mode it doesn't get as much love as it should. I use it daily and it is awesome. It isn't quite what you are envisioning, but it is probably the closest thing that currently exists.

That being said, I am actually working on something like this currently. Well, it is the next big step of the project, anyway. Currently it doesn't focus on the meta level as much as I would like, but is very much along the lines of trying to fix "Humans are not automatically strategic"

Based on the people we have spoken to and the research we have done, we think there is a market for something like this.

I say go for it. If it is open source I would probably contribute if for some reason my project collapses or you make something more awesome.

Comment author: gwern 11 September 2012 08:29:47PM 62 points [-]

what is true is already so. Robin Hanson doesn't make it worse

OK, I'm impressed.

Comment author: mej10 12 September 2012 03:08:09PM 4 points [-]

what is true is already so. Eliezer Yudkowsky doesn't make it worse

That isn't going to help me sleep at night.

Comment author: mej10 06 September 2012 06:06:52PM 3 points [-]

Can we get a citation for "The evolutionary reasons for this are so obvious as to be worth belaboring: In the ancestral environment, politics was a matter of life and death."

I am just interested in how this was concluded. I have always been a little skeptical of evolutionary psychology type things, which, is what this sounds like.

Comment author: mej10 30 August 2012 04:59:29PM *  1 point [-]

I track all of my "I should do this daily or almost daily" tasks/habits. (Review TODO lists, schedule things for tomorrow, chores)

  • How long I read for.
  • How many personal tasks I completed that aren't considered chores.
  • How many commits I made on my code.
  • If I am studying something, how many hours I spent studying and the exercises completed (the latter bit isn't of too much use, other than it being >0)
  • Which supplements did I take.
  • A rough sketch of what I ate (basically, the food items and rough macro-nutrient quantities)
  • If I exercised then I track almost every detail. When/What/Weight lifted/Sets.

I will also occasionally record what my "mental clarity" feels like on a scale from 1 - 5. I don't yet do this often enough for it to be worthwhile, and I may just stop altogether unless I figure out a useful system.

The best thing I have found for my personal habit formation is https://chains.cc/ but there are a lot of "riffs" on this idea out there. I have one desktop on my computer dedicated to tracking all of the things important to me (chains, calendar, TODO lists, long-term goals). I have Google Calendar "event" that creates a popup on this desktop every day at 5:00am, so that ensures it is the first thing I look at.

Comment author: advancedatheist 26 July 2012 05:40:07PM 1 point [-]

Transhumanism seems to hold people's interests until around the time they turn 40, when the middle-aged reality principle (aging and mortality) starts to assert itself. It resembles going through a goth phase as a teenager.

BTW, I find it interesting that Peter Thiel's name keeps coming up in connection with stories about the singularity, as in the New York Observer one, when he has gone out of his way lately to argue that technological progress has stagnated. Thiel has basically staked out an antisingularity position.

Comment author: mej10 26 July 2012 06:40:17PM 11 points [-]

Saying that we haven't made much progress recently isn't the same as not wanting a positive singularity event. These are orthogonal. Thiel has directly supported singularity related organizations and events, while also being pessimistic on our technology progress. These are most certainly related.

Comment author: iceman 25 July 2012 09:08:02PM 32 points [-]

I know that this article is more than a bit sensationalized, but it covers most of the things that I donate to the SIAI despite, like several members' evangelical polyamory. Such things don't help the phyg pattern matching, which already hits us hard.

Comment author: mej10 26 July 2012 05:33:46PM *  15 points [-]

The "evangelical polyamory" seems like an example of where Rationalists aren't being particularly rational.

In order to get widespread adoption of your main (more important) ideas, it seems like a good idea to me to keep your other, possibly alienating, ideas private.

Being the champion of a cause sometimes necessitates personal sacrifice beyond just hard work.

Comment author: novalis 17 July 2012 07:49:39PM 5 points [-]

Skip "Computer Vision: The Fundamentals", at least until it is seriously reworked. The videos were poorly edited, and the material was poorly paced.

I really liked Andrew Ng's machine learning course, and, on Udacity, Sebastian Thrun's AI course (although a few sections of it were unnecessary for me personally).

Comment author: mej10 18 July 2012 05:26:02PM 1 point [-]

I also liked Andrew Ng's machine learning course. It is a great introduction to the ideas and techniques of the field.

I have since started diving into a more serious treatment of the topic by studying Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning by Bishop, and I will say that the knowledge from the course has definitely helped, but its main benefit was in getting me interested in the topic.

Comment author: komponisto 10 July 2012 01:11:57AM 2 points [-]

On the other hand, I'm kind of curious about what it would take to get a job like the one you've currently got. From your description, it sounds like it shouldn't be too hard, but there are some slightly worrying cautionary notes in the post ("It isn’t an overnight project; getting basic competence will take months, and true skill takes years"), and it isn't obvious from the outside what sort of specific skills one would need to demonstrate to impress an employer of this type. (That is, what specific sort of programs one should write at home in order to prepare, as opposed to just going through Project Euler or something.)

Comment author: mej10 10 July 2012 02:39:52AM 0 points [-]

It requires decent knowledge of Java, XSLT, Perl, *nix command line fluency, Web stuff (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), caching, SQL, and RESTful web services. I may not have been entirely fair in calling it "pretty basic web app stuff" it is just paltry compared to what Google and Facebook (for example) do.

HOWEVER, an acquaintance of mine with no programming knowledge, no degree, just a passion for technology got a job as some kind of Visual Basic forms programmer (it is an extremely limited subset of the language). He has since taken some night classes to learn programming more formally and has moved to a normal programmer-type position. This place probably hired 3-4 people to do this.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 10 July 2012 01:08:51AM 6 points [-]

Honestly, I should probably just apply to some places and see if I can get a better job, but for some reason I am afraid I will just get turned down.

Consider it rejection therapy, then. It turns out it's OK to be turned down; and you might at least learn something about the interview experience.

Some thoughts:

  • Try working for a larger organization where there are more diverse internal opportunities.
  • Try working for a much smaller organization (i.e. a startup or small nonprofit) where you are compelled to work on different aspects of the project.
  • Try programming-as-sport: programming competitions such as Ludum Dare.
  • Try a different technical hobby — learn digital electronics, for instance.
  • Find an open-source project that you already have an incentive to work on. Do you use an open-source text editor or other tools? Are there features you'd like those tools to have?
Comment author: mej10 10 July 2012 02:24:42AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for responding, this is a good comment and I have considered some of what you suggest.

I do work in a very large organization, and there is a huge amount of technology in use here. The big problem is that technology is a cost center. They will never (without major changes to how the business works) do anything technologically innovative due to this. That is part of my problem with it.

I am looking at several startup jobs in the area that use more interesting technologies. I'm hoping that my incomplete side projects are enough proof that I don't only know/care about Java.

I use a ton of open source stuff (emacs, rails, countless libs) I just have problems putting myself out there when it comes to contribution.

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