Weekly Reads: Holiday Edition

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid …

I mean… er… *Ahem*.

It’s officially less than one week until Christmas. Have you finished your shopping and have everything wrapped and ready to go, or are you a last-minute shopper who will find yourself trying desperately to get the last few things on your list in the next few days? Personally, I finished my shopping pretty early, although my to-do list does see me heading out of town to visit family for a bit this week.

Depending on how things go, posting may be a bit sparse, but it’s probably for the best that way anyway — after all, I’m sure there are people who would rather you spend time with them than with your computer!

Regardless of how you spend the holidays — even if you don’t celebrate Christmas and are working straight through — I hope you’ll take advantage of the festive season, and spend some extra time with those special to you.

If you would like to pass on anything you think I might be interested in, post the link as a comment to this thread! I’m always looking for new things to explore. Note that comments on this site are moderated, especially if they contain links, so if it doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry!

Made Me Think

Stop Being a Loser and Pay Money to Save Money (from I Will Teach You To Be Rich). A very thought provoking article from Ramit Sethi. Very often, we think of frugality as being whether or not you save money in the moment. But as Sethi points out, there is value in also considering future money saved. For example, taking a basic computing course may have an initial cost, but you can very quickly regain the cost because of increased skill level and productivity.

Alchemy: Wealth can’t be created. Only money can. (from Minyanville) If you’re interested in economics — and these days, I think most of us have at least a nominal interest — you’ll undoubtedly find something to consider in this article. Just considering how wealth and money are related (but are not the same) gave me reason to stop and think about how I relate the two in my everyday life.

10 Useful Techniques to Improve Your User Interface Designs (from Smashing Magazine). I spend a lot of time designing and developing websites and web-based user-interfaces. I think a lot of developers and designers (myself included, at times) worry more about making a website look good, rather than making it useable and accessible. Are there things other than these ten that you find make websites more (or less) useable?

Made Me Laugh

In the Snow They Melted (audio by InsideOut). When this song first showed up on my last.fm playlist, I just about stopped listening a few seconds in, but was I ever glad I didn’t. If you’re at all into any music from the past 20+ years, you should hopefully at least get a giggle. Even if you don’t appreciate the comedy, you have to give the artists kudos for their creativity!

If Programming Languages Were Religions (from Aegisub). Geeks with interest in either programming or religions will appreciate this humor piece. My favorite part? “COBOL would be Ancient Paganism – There was once a time when it ruled over a vast region and was important, but nowadays it’s almost dead, for the good of us all.” (Can you tell I was scarred by COBOL as an undergrad?)

Bonus Material

If you’re a Mac user, you won’t want to miss out on Mac Heist’s annual giving tree. They’re giving away licenses for six great apps over the next week or so. The first two are Synergy (an iTunes extender for more convenient control over your music-listening) and Enigmo 2 (a fantastic puzzle game that you have to try, to “get”). I’ve spent a bit of time playing with both apps, and… okay, to be fair, I’ve spent more than a bit of time playing Enigmo 2, it’s quite addictive … but they’re both worth at least a look. And don’t forget to check back for the rest of the apps as they’re made available.