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This blog contains hundreds of original articles all FREE. Rather than run distracting ads for things you don't need I rely on subscriptions through the donation box or through PATREON patrons. For the time being, though, the donation box on this site is a better way to pay me than through Patreon, which I have only just started in 2017.

Current Book

"Loving micromastery. Clever concept, well executed." Tim Harford.

"Micromastery is a triumph. A brilliant idea, utterly convincing, and superbly carried through." Philip Pullman.

 

OUT NOW!

Go and get it from a bookshop.

Or Buy online! Micromastery - learn small, learn fast and find the hidden path to happiness is published by Penguin books (UK) in May 2017. It will be published in China, Taiwan, USA, Germany and South Korea in the months after that.

You can get it at Wordery- click below

https://wordery.com/micromastery-robert-twigger-9780241280041?

Or for those amazon junkies click this one:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Micromastery-Learn-Small-Hidden-Happiness-x/dp/0241280044/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494518558&sr=8-1&keywords=micromastery

 

Wednesday
Aug162017

don't take it personally

Our informal culture encourages us to take success personally- and failure. But these things are really better treated as accidental outcomes of certain behaviours...that sounds clunky...whatever you have to do to separate your observing self from stuff you've achieved or not achieved- do it. Identifying with your success is just building a problem for you somewhere down the line. Just do more stuff and focus outwards on being some use to other people.

Wednesday
Aug162017

smart people and wise people

Nice to see in the so far excellent 'what I learned losing a million dollars' that the author (jim paul)s father told him that there are only two types of people in the world (that count presumably)- smart people and wise people. Smart people learn from their own mistakes. Wise people learn from the mistakes of others.

Monday
Aug072017

Value spot-check

Sometimes it's benficial to perform a value spot-check.

I realise that the things I've done in the past that seem to grow in significance and value are:

Journeys made

Things I have built

Books written and published

Pretty much anything I've written and published

Practical problems solved

 

Things I don't value so much

Prizes won

Money earned

Praise garnered

Books, poems and pictures made but unpublished or unexhibited

Time spent indoors

 

I think one insight is make sure you publish or make public in a way that people appreciate the things you make. Don't just let them clutter up the hard drive.

And build things.

 

 

 

Thursday
Aug032017

Edinburgh Micromastery Photography Course

Last minute course - How to Micromaster Street Photography- in Edinburgh during the festival- Monday 21st August- 9.30am to 12.30pm- three hours of fun and learning shooting the streets of Edinburgh at its fullest and most interesting...Again I'll be approaching it from the Zen street photography angle, emphasising ways of getting into the right flow withoiut fuss or bother.

Writers who want to increase their range, beginners at photography and people who already know what they are doing- all welcome. 

The key ideas I explored in zen street photography (getting into the right headspace, deep looking, how best to get into a flow state) will inform the orientation for the morning. We'll examine the key concept of 'getting closer' from all angles. We'll try and pin down micromastery routines that help looking for the fun in taking street pictures. Then we'll look at some other street photographers, learn plenty of clever tricks, hacks and wheezes before trying it all out.

Any camera you feel comfortable with and know how to use - from a phone to a Canon megabeast mark 3- will be fine. But bear in mind that small and inconspicuous cameras usually trump big and obvious ones...

I offered this as a workshop recently and it went incredibly well so book now!

£45 concs available

robtwigger@gmail.com

Thursday
Aug032017

Course! Micromaster Street Photography

After the success of an informal Zen Street Photography workshop at Offgrid Sessions festival 2017 I am pleased to be able to offer a Micromastery course in Street Photography. It'll be one day, Saturday 9th Setember 2017 in Central London. We'll start at 10.00am and learn and roam until 3.30pm with pleny of breaks. 

This will be ideal for beginners of street photography- or any kind of photography- but also for those who want to learn more. The key ideas I explored in zen street photography (getting into the right headspace, deep looking, how best to get into a flow state) will inform the orientation for the day. We'll examine the key concept of 'getting closer' from all angles. We'll try and pin down micromastery routines that help looking for the fun in taking street pictures. Then we'll look at some other street photographers, learn plenty of clever tricks, hacks and wheezes before trying it all out on the glorious London public.

Any camera you feel comfortable with and know how to use - from a phone to a Canon megabeast mark 3- will be fine. But bear in mind that small and inconspicuous cameras usually trump big and obvious ones...

Cost is £60, concessions available for those in need. Not too big a group so book ahead.

email: robtwigger@gmail.com 

 

Friday
Jul282017

driverless cars

Everywhere I go I hear people parrotting the technobabble emanating from the dark centre of the earth- silicon valley- that 'driverless cars are only five years away'. So you can forget driverless cars in any way shape or form that the phrase suggests. When technology is more than two years away it won't happen. The atom bomb was built in 18 months...pretty much. Oh yes, President Kennedy's prediction about going to the moon. Believe it or not, driverless cars are actually harder to make than going to the moon. The reason is: computing power (an electronic calculator has enough computing power for a moonshot).

Most people, even those in computing, fail to recognise the things that computers and robots are bad at and the things they are very good at. The narrow, nerdy people who write code (cliche but broadly true) naturally believe, want to believe, that computers are super powerful. Just as academics believe education is everything and journalists think newspaper leaders change the world. But computers are very bad at reacting in real time to real unexpected events- drop your laptop in a bath and see what happens. But humans are rather brilliant at this- hence motor racing and other sports which robots will never be able to compete at.

Driverless cars that resemble a tram may happen. On certain toll roads maybe. But people prefer cars to trams for a very good reason- you have control over where you go. Imagine the moment you leave the 'driverless train'- what happens then? That moment of transition from driverless to driver controlled is fraught with the potential for an accident. So there will have to be some kind of check system in place. Have you ever been in a station when they detach a carriage? Takes a while- for a good reason- everyone needs to be aware it is happening. Well, pedestrians and cyclists will want to know whether the thing bearing down on them is driver controlled or driverless- more confusion.

But the main reason driverless cars won't happen is that people derive meaning from driving. Driving allows for freedom and range, it is a zone of possibility, a speed machine just sitting in your drive. There is absolutely no reason why speed regulators couldn't be fitted to all cars- like trucks- but they aren't. Driverless cars is just a fancy version of a speed regulator except it isn't even possible to make it work.

The robber barons of the current age- who insist on forcing computer driven technology down our throats- will be eating a lot of humble pie on this one. Meaning centred evaluation of a future product is downplayed by the geeks- but look at kindle. On the face of it there should have been no contest. But kindles provide less meaning than a physical book (because a book is not just content). And e book sales are going down.

In the long run people don't want to live meaningless lives. Technology that increases meaning is the stuff to bet on, not the things that make our lives emptier, less meaningful and maybe not even that much more efficient.

There is however, one rather sinister caveat, driverless car technology allows for far more efficient surveillance. Imagine- your unregistered car joins a driverless train and bam! the cops are waiting at the other end. Or maybe the car is immoblised by the roadside. The powerful attraction of surveillance possibilities may cause a vastly expensive and inefficient driverless car system to be set up...and largely ignored by everyone who can.

Friday
Jul212017

precision and simplicity 

I am reading R.V Jones fascinating account of scientific work during WW2 Most Secret War. He talks baout the way committees (loathed by Churchill) in which 'experts' each had their say were far less efficient than a single polymathic figure able to see the bigger picture. The idea that a chairman could arbitrate the 'experts' evidence often fell down because the chairman did not know its full significance himself. He talks about the main figure behind radar, Watson-Watt, who later on in the war opposed anti-radar techniques against the Germans and even wanted to stop the bombing of German radar stations in case they 'retaliated'...in other words he was more in love with radar itself than winning the war. 

He also mentions the difference between German and British methods: "I had come to have 'feel' for the way the Germans did things. They would take simple ideas and put them straight into practice no matter what technical effort was involved, because they had a far greater command of precision engineering than we had (apart from a few notable exceptions such as Rolls Royce). When we contemplated a development we would take the simple idea, look for the technical snags in the way of its realization, and think of ways of getting round them without having to go to the trouble of great precision of design or workmanship. In the end I suspect we often took as much trouble avoiding the difficulties as the Germans did in overcoming them by good workmanship...as it turned out in the war, the advantage in the end lay with us because while the German equipment was technically very good, it was also less adaptable, and we could more easily changeours to meet a new situation."