Episode 128

Eating Scones in the Closet


July 19th, 2013

1 hr 33 mins 14 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

TOPIC: Time Awareness & Scope Wormholes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why we (and Frank) are terrible at estimating time, as well as what we can do to get better at it.

Links for this episode:

  • [SPONSOR] Transporter
    Transporter (use code "btw" for 10% off)
  • 5by5 | Back to Work #107: Pull Out Your Dingus
    This week, Dan and Merlin talk about compression. What happens when we don't account for how long something really takes to do? And, worse still, what if we don't think about what has to happen before we can even start it?
  • Parasites in cat poop | barfblog
    Each year in the United States, cats deposit about 1.2 million metric tons of feces into the environment, and that poop is carrying with it what may be a vast and underappreciated public health problem, say scientists July 9 in the journal Trends in Parasitology, a Cell Press publication.
  • Can Washroom Soap Can Make You Sick? - Blog About Infographics and Data Visualization - Cool Infographics
  • Battle Royale (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action thriller film adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name by Koushun Takami. It is the final film directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the screenplay written by his son Kenta, and stars Takeshi Kitano. The film tells the story of Shuya Nanahara, a high-school student struggling with the death of his father, who is forced by the government to compete in a deadly game where the students must kill each other in order to win. The film aroused both domestic and international controversy and was either banned outright or deliberately excluded from distribution in several countries.
  • Battle Royale (2000)
    In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.
  • Hofstadter's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Hofstadter's Law was a part of Douglas Hofstadter's 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. The law is a statement regarding the difficulty of accurately estimating the time it will take to complete tasks of any substantial complexity.[2] It is often cited amongst programmers, especially in discussions of techniques to improve productivity, such as The Mythical Man-Month or extreme programming.[3] The recursive nature of the law is a reflection of the universal experience of difficulty experienced in estimating complex tasks despite all best efforts, including knowing that the task is complex.
  • The Mythical Man-Month - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering is a book on software engineering and project management by Fred Brooks, whose central theme is that "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later". This idea is known as Brooks' law, and is presented along with the second-system effect and advocacy of prototyping.
  • Second-system effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The second-system effect (also known as second-system syndrome) refers to the tendency of small, elegant, and successful systems to have elephantine, feature-laden monstrosities as their successors due to inflated expectations.[1]
  • Planning fallacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The planning fallacy is a tendency for people and organizations to underestimate how long they will need to complete a task, even when they have experience of similar tasks over-running. The term was first proposed in a 1979 paper by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.[1][2] Since then the effect has been found for predictions of a wide variety of tasks, including tax form completion, school work, furniture assembly, computer programming and origami.[1][3] In 2003, Lovallo and Kahneman proposed an expanded definition as the tendency to underestimate the time, costs, and risks of future actions and at the same time overestimate the benefits of the same actions. According to this definition, the planning fallacy results in not only time overruns, but also cost overruns and benefit shortfalls.[4] The bias only affects predictions about one's own tasks
  • Task Times, The Planning Fallacy, and a Magical 20% | 43 Folders
    Although it's no inoculation against the (apparently immutable nature of) Hofstadter's Law -- and you'll still end up short most of the time -- it can help you do one thing much better: manage expectations. Because you're a project manager, not a magician. Magicians get cooler hats.
  • Optimism bias - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism) is a bias that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others. There are four factors that cause a person to be optimistically biased: their desired end state, their cognitive mechanisms, the information they have about themselves versus others, and overall mood.[1] The optimistic bias is seen in a number of situations. For example: people believing that they are less at risk of being a crime victim,[2] smokers believing that they are less likely to contract lung cancer or disease than other smokers, first-time bungee jumpers believing that they are less at risk of an injury than other jumpers,[3] or traders who think they are less exposed to losses in the markets.[4]
  • Harnessing your interstitial time | 43 Folders
    Rather than always seeing these changes as an intractable liability, try to look at them as opportunities to liberate unexpected pockets of time and focus. While literally non-stop interruptions are likely to make any of us nutty, a slight adjustment to your planning and outlook can lead to fast gains in productivity and a much-improved attitude about your working environment.
  • Amazon.com: Samsung SE-506BB/TSBD 6X USB2.0 External Slim Blu-ray Writer Drive (Black): Computers & Accessories
    This sleek Samsung SE-506BB/TSBD External Slimline USB Blu-ray Writer gets all the power it needs from a USB connection so there is no hassle of power cables. The Samsung Blu-ray RW is also supported on both PC and Mac systems. The Samsung SE-506BB/TSBD External Slimline USB Blu-ray Writer can also function on your multimedia Television if it has a USB input, so you can watch Blu-ray and DVD's on your own TV!
  • Apple - Logic Pro X - What’s new in Logic Pro X.
    Logic Pro X introduces an advanced yet intuitive new interface designed for pro musicians, a ton of inspiring new plug-ins and sounds, and more powerful tools that keep the creative process flowing.
  • 5by5 | The Frequency #134: Did We Meet This Woman?
    Haddie and Dan discuss cleanliness of cats and bathrooms along with the exit of Tim Stevens of Engadget, how men's clothes should fit, Instagram finally getting web embeds, and more.
  • Kitties Litter Playgrounds, Spreading Harmful Parasites : Shots - Health News : NPR
    These oocysts are easily transmitted to humans, and researchers have explored their possible link to various mental health problems, including schizophrenia. More recently, studies of school-age children show a correlation between testing positive for T. gondii and having difficulty in school.
  • One Year of Squarespace 6 — The Official Squarespace Blog
    One year ago today we launched Squarespace 6, a culmination of our best thinking in content management and site publishing coalesced over eight years of running Squarespace. This launch resulted in a period of growth like we’ve never seen before: The number of customers using Squarespace 6 surpassed the number of Squarespace 5 customers within nine months of launch. That’s only nine months to exceed what initially took eight years to create. Consider us exceptionally proud.
  • Bee and PuppyCat Part 1 on Cartoon Hangover - YouTube
  • Release early, release often - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Release early, release often (also: time-based releases, sometimes abbreviated RERO) is a software development philosophy that emphasizes the importance of early and frequent releases in creating a tight feedback loop between developers and testers or users, contrary to a feature-based release strategy.
  • 5by5 | Back to Work #51: Living Inside the Nonsense
    Merlin and Dan talk about managing projects, scheduling calls, and being home when you scheduled a party. It SEEMS SO SIMPLE but then Jeannie has to go to Guam and slipping is your SOP.

This week's episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by Transporter (use code "btw" for 10% off)