Welcome to the 42nd edition of The Three Things, the weekly update of three links, podcasts, videos, or books you can’t miss from Michael Schechter (Honora, A Better Mess), Lindsay Bell (Arment Dietrich, SpinSucks), and your very own Chief Alien.
For those of you new to this series, The Three Things arrives in your inbox on Sunday mornings (unless you don’t subscribe, but that can easily be fixed if you hurry over and enter your email address or add to your RSS feed) so you have some extra time to spend perusing the obscure content we’ve curated for you (and one another) before your week begins and deadlines, meetings, and work takes over.
This week we look at procrastination and our wired lives, we find a subversive way to fight against the resulting lack of privacy in said wired lives, and finally, we talk kindness. Simple kindness.
Michael on Procrastination. Every day we face infinite distractions provided by the devices on our desk and in our pockets. The ease at which we can be knocked off course by our always-on Internet connectivity contributes significantly to our inability to get big things done. The problem is with us and not our tools, but our often unhealthy relationship with them is a growing challenge for many.
Matt Gemmell went to some truly extreme – and geeky – measures to add friction to his ability to get online, but the results seem to be speaking for themselves. If you find yourself at odds with your Internet connection, this piece is for you.
Howie on Surveillance. In the past two years we learned Apple has been tracking iPhone users, the US Government has been listening and reading our communication, and Facebook launched the DATR cookie to track Facebook users off the network. Cops and cities have been photographing us in public and in our cars, and saving that information. What to do? How can you fight back? Encryption my friends. Encryption.
Lindsay on Failures of Kindness. Yes, it’s the first week of August. Yes, we’re already thinking about getting the kids back to school. But still. You must read George Saunders’s convocation speech he delivered to this year’s graduating class at Syracuse University. Saunders is a New York Times bestselling American writer, so the speech is obviously beautifully penned and very funny. But beyond that, his message, though simple, is extraordinary. Speaking about ‘regrets’ – a common theme in most commencement speeches, as in, don’t have any – Saunders tells a story from his youth, one that’s stuck with him all these years. It is his single most painful regret. I found it moving and profound. And a truly powerful message for all of us living in what’s rapidly becoming a most unkind world.
Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, book, or article you think we need to see?