Nuts to self doubt

This is becoming a thing on The Blank Screen: articles about doubt, self-worth, worry, all that kind of thing. Anyone would think we are writers. Here’s a 9-part guide to why self-doubt is useless bollocks. I think there’s really only a couple of parts in it that are good and like you I hold on to the thought that a bit of self-doubt is better than a tonne of ego.

But I like this one. It’s about doubting your ability to make a decision: writer Minda Zetlin argues that you should go for it because:

You will survive a bad decision. This is often where I trip up. I tend to believe that a wrong decision will drag me down along with everyone around me. But few decisions are that powerful or that unchangeable. Nobody gets everything right all the time, so we’re all sure to have some of our decisions go south. It’s what we do afterward that makes the difference.

Nine Reasons to Conquer Self-Doubt and Start Believing in Yourself – Minda Zetlin, (8 December 2014)

Read the full feature.

Be the worst

I feel this is more likely to apply to you than it is to me but the crux of this is that if you are the best person in a group, get out. Finance writer Emma Lincoln:

In fact, you should always try to the be the worst one in the room. If you’re the best one in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

That’s why I read other personal finance blogs, and why I’m helping organize a personal finance retreat this summer. Because when I spend time around people who (metaphorically and physically) kick my finance-ass, I’m inspired to work that much harder to hone my money-saving skills.

And when I meet couples who have done incredible things together, built homes together, traveled the world together, saved a million dollars together, I’m inspired to go deeper with A, to seek out the goals that are the most challenging to set.

Are You the Worst? – Emma Lincoln (29 December 2014)

Read the full piece. Also, hat tip to Lifehacker for spotting this.

How and probably why Apple’s streaming event failed so badly

My interest is in how a bad presentation – the video stream was so very poor though the actual talk was good – can affect the audience’s experience. I’m interested because I present and I’ve had things go wrong. Just never on this scale.

The short answer is that it wasn’t how many people tried to watch it at the same time. It was the fancy page that Apple put it on.

Unlike the last live stream Apple did, this time around Apple decided to add some JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) code to the page which added an interactive element on the bottom showing tweets about the event. As a result, this was causing the page to make refresh calls every few milliseconds. By Apple making the decision to add the JSON code, it made the website un-cachable. By contrast, Apple usually has Akamai caching the page for their live events but this time around there would have been no way for Akamai to have done that, which causes a huge impact on the performance when it comes to loading the page and the stream. And since Apple embeds their video directly in the web page, any performance problems in the page also impacts the video. Akamai didn’t return my call asking for more details, but looking at the code shows there was no way Akamai could have cached it. This is also one of the reasons why when I tried to load the Apple live event page on my iPad, it would make Safari quit. That’s a problem with the code on the page, not with the video.

Inside Apple’s Live Event Stream Failure, And Why It Happened: It Wasn’t A Capacity Issue – Dan Rayburn, Streaming Media Blog (9 September 2014)

Productivity can go wrong in the biggest companies

When you or I fail to do something, it can be pretty bad but it is unlikely to have a visible impact on millions of people. You know where this is headed.

Apple never reveals its plans ahead of announcing them, but a fairly detailed report published prior to the conference from 9to5Mac laid out what it claimed was Apple’s map news.

Key changes included enhanced, “more reliable” data; more points of interest and better labels to make certain locations like airports, highways and parks easier to find; a cleaner maps interface; and public transit directions — that is, providing people with data about nearby buses, subways and trains. Further ahead, the report noted plans to integrate augmented reality features to give people images of what was nearby.

Why didn’t they appear? One tipster says it was a personnel issue: “Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time. Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project.”

It’s a take that is both contested and corroborated by our other source. “I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group,” the source said.

Apple’s Maps are Still Lost – Techcrunch (9 June 2014)

I like Apple Maps: I find Google’s improved iPhone maps app a chore to work, though I too have been misdirected by Apple’s one.