it all adds up

May 20, 2006
I've noticed that for every current front page entry, I've had a bit of non-"of the Moment" rambling. I know I've fretted about the balance of quotes-and-links to Kirk's ramblings before (and that that navel-gazing fretting probably doesn't make the most exciting reading) but I think for a while I'd like to make some non-"Moment" content a daily occurrence on this site.

Non-Moment of the Moment
Yesterday our lead engineer Tim was talking about his ADD and the ways he has of coping with it. He mentioned a bit of "self-medication" with caffeine, and it reminded me of Mo saying how stuff like Ritalin calms a person with ADD down but has the opposite effect on people without the condition. Same with caffeine, though "opposite effect" isn't quite accurate in either case. I only sort of remember Tim's explanation of exciters and inhibitors in the brain chemistry but it seemed to make sense of that counter-intuitive idea.

Tim's geekish computer metaphor for his head was like a terrific multithreaded processor without a scheduler, or with a poor one. One trick people with ADD pick up on is "self-medicating" with something distracting to occupy one of the threads that would otherwise start pushing the rest of the brain around, looking for something to do... he talked about how his own son will play contentedly with Legos for hours if there's a TV on, but turn it off and he'll wander off within minutes. Same goes for the daughter of a friend of his and having music on while doing homework.

He also mentioned how for someone growing up with ADD, things change as the brain matures and gets older, and that made me think about some differences I've noted in my own ability to focus. I don't think I have ADD proper, but might have had a bit of a similar chemistry especially when I was younger. But I've noticed how I used to like random music on when I wanted to hunker down and focus, but now it has to be music I'm very familiar with... preferably energetic, so I can tap into the energy as well. Tim also talked about how he's gotten very good at balancing his own head, but sometimes he'll get virtually indistractable as every thread gets focused on different elements of the same problem. I remember something like that happening when I was a kid, where I'd get so engulfed in a book that I'd ignore my name being called, though I haven't noticed that happening to me so much lately.

Video of the Moment
Wow, BoingBoing's description and photo of this golem suit was impressive enough, but check out the video. D+Dish geekery at its very finest!

I'm very impressed with youtube's performance. They seem to have great bandwidth and/or efficiency, because videos seem to always start right up, and because of their custom player, there's never a hassle with drivers...I guess the downside is there might not be an easy way of saving a video...