Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How Many Pages Per Mile Can You Read?

I can read about 20.

What the heck am I talking about? My new love: reading while walking! I have a hard time focusing on one book for more than a few pages while sitting still and reading before the old ADHD kicks in. It doesn't matter how interested I am in the book, fiction or non-fiction, I always need to stop reading to act upon some thought or overwhelming impulse that I've just had.

So today I thought I'd try something new. I had just gotten Your Brain: The Missing Manual (see my previous post). I was about to go for my daily walk, but I really really wanted to read this. So I thought why not, I'll bring the book with me and read it while walking. Worst case, that proves to be difficult and I just carry the book with me on my walk.

What a pleasant surprise! I found that I not only walked my usual, very brisk pace, but that I actually managed to read 64 pages; 3 whole chapters! Reading 64 pages at home would be nearly impossible for me. I actually retained all of the material and had a very enjoyable walk. When I got back home, I decided to do a useless calculation:

First I used Google Maps to map out my route. I had guesstimated it was 3 miles long, but it turns out it's 3.2 miles. Feel free to stalk me on my daily walks if you know where this is.

View Larger Map

64 pages over 3.2 mi = 64/3.2 = 20 pages per mile. A completely useless statistic, but fun to know.

So why this blog post? I feel like this is a mind hack. I typically can't focus enough to read a lot at once, so this seems like a great way to get me reading on the daily walks that I enjoy so much. I'd love to hear results from anyone else who has tried this or would like to! Apparently, there's even a wikiHow article on the subject.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Romance and JavaScript

I just received a book order from O'Reilly Media. It didn't quite go as planned...
Here is the email I sent their customer service department.

I daresay there was a problem with the book order I just received. I had ordered CSS Pocket Reference (9780596515058), HTML and XHTML Pocket Reference (9780596527273), and JavaScript Pocket Reference (9780596004118). I received the CSS and HTML Pocket References, however, instead of the JavaScript Pocket Reference, I received "On a Wild Night", a paperback romance novel by Stephanie Laurens. Needless to say, this is not what I want. While I appreciate O'Reilly Media trying to add some excitement and romantic zest to my life, I'm far more in need of exciting JavaScript flings at the moment. I can't even imagine how this book was placed in my order, since O'Reilly Media focuses on technical computer books, and doesn't even sell this book. Perhaps Ms. Laurens is not selling as many books as she would like, and is subverting O'Reilly's shipping department by slipping in copies of her books to unsuspecting customers, in the hopes they will enjoy it and buy more?

In any case, please send the JavaScript Pocket Reference, as that would be absolutely wonderful. Again, the order number is 171212.11860740.

Yours in romance,
Matthew Harrison

EDIT: This was replied to by a very nice customer service rep named Tammie. She said I made her Friday and she loves my humor =) She's going to send me the JavaScript book, and in addition, said I could pick ANY O'Reilly book and she would send that as well! So I picked Mind Performance Hacks, and as an added, super-awesome bonus, Tammie said she included an additional surprise book for me! (It's this book).

Talk about caring about your customers! O'Reilly not only has an awesome collection of books that any geek desires to have, but they clearly have really good customer support. O'Reilly++