Thinking in Systems

Just finished the book Thinking in Systems: A Primer, by Donnella Meadows.It’s a good introduction to systems thinking and a high level overview of what happens when you actually begin to think in systems. Not at all technical. It’s a good and important read for everyone.

I particularly like her Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems. This list includes:

  1. Get the beat of the system.
  2. Expose your mental models to the light of day.
  3. Honor, respect, and distribute information.
  4. Use language with care and enrich it with systems concepts.
  5. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.
  6. Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
  7. Go for the good of the whole.
  8. Listen to the wisdom of the system.
  9. Locate responsibility within the system.
  10. Stay humble— stay a learner.
  11. Celebrate complexity.
  12. Expand time horizons.
  13. Defy the disciplines.
  14. Expand the boundary of caring.
  15. Don’t erode the goal of goodness.

– Donella, Meadows. (2013-01-18). Thinking in Systems: A Primer . Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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Hut Shuttle

There’s a shuttle service between Corvallis and PDX. I took it today for the first time. It’s not a bad way to get to the airport if you don’t want to take a car, but it only runs every two hours so you may spend some time waiting after your arrive. They drop you off at the front of the airport. Very handy.
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Travel Tech – Scottevest Tropiformer Jacket

I recently acquired a Scottevest Tropiformer Jacket and I’m really looking forward to trying it out. It has pockets for everything up to and including a pocket for an iPad. It’s waterproof and it easily, really easily, transforms from a vest to a jacket (ok, more of a windbreaker), and back. I have a hunch that if you were clever you could pack for a week with just what you could fit into the pockets. I’m not going to try that on my upcoming trip, but may significantly help to keep hand luggage to a minimum.

I’ll report back after I’ve used it for awhile.

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Technical Log – WordPress for Beginners

I’ve been working my way through WordPress for Beginners: A Visual Step-by-Step Guide to Creating your Own WordPress Site in Record Time, Starting from Zero! by Andy Williams. It’s pretty useful though he has certain opinions that you have to take with a grain of salt; mostly related to the use of pages vs. posts, tags and categories. That being said it’s a very good, but shallow, walkthrough of the features of WordPress. Good for getting started.

He, like a lot of people in the blogging community, doesn’t spend a lot of time proofreading so there are typos and grammatical issues that you just have to work your way through. Of course, I’m one to talk…

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Technical Log, iPads

My iPad’s touch only interface just doesn’t cut it for many web based interactions. I need a mouse! Looks like packing may be a bit more difficult for England.

iPads are one of those really close but not quite innovations.

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Technical Log, iPad and Photos

For this trip, I brought along my iPad with an SD card adapter. Of course, I didn’t actually try it to make sure everything worked before I left. That would make too much sense.

My camera is a Nikon D7100 with two SD card slots. One slot contains a high speed 64Gb card, the other contains a 16Gb Eye-Fi card. I took the picture off of the balcony just to document our arrival and then tried to upload it to my iPad so that I could post it here. Here’s the sequence…

  • Just plugging the 64Gb card into the reader didn’t work. Apparently this card is unsupported by the iPad. It wouldn’t read it at all.
  • I swapped cards and put the picture on the Eye-Fi card, then plugged it into the iPad. It could see the files on that card, but apparently the file format was incompatible (it’s just JPEG, I don’t know what the issue is and of course it’s an Apple product so it’s not going to tell me).
  • I finally had to setup an ad hoc wi-fi network with the Eye-Fi card. This at least worked to download the pictures. I’m glad I had this as an alternative. If this hadn’t worked, I’m not sure what the next step might have been.

Things to remember for next time…

  • Try before you travel.
  • Bring my little Epson photo viewer along. I know that works and gives me nearly the flexibility of having a PC.
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