Monthly Archives: November 2013

Your life is epic: you just don’t know it

If you were to ask most people if their life is epic, they would reply no. Theirs is no life of adventure, of quests, of heroism, they’d say. They do no awesome battles with great evils, nor overcome great obstacles. They might reply that they live ordinary and uneventful lives, just like you or I might, if we were asked.

Yet really, we all live epic lives. We all seek love, search out our fortune (however we define it), and set out on trips big and small into the dreadful unknown. What quests are more epic than that? What treasure could a hero in a story seek that is more precious than the true love we search for, or the great friendships we strive for? What grail could have more value than the achievements we put in so many hours to finally reach? If our aims are not famous, our reaching them are valorous and virtuous in their own way.

And ever day, in the work we do, the love we provide, the good words we say and the good deeds we do, we battle fear and loneliness, sadness and worry. Though these things are not material, they are evils nonetheless, and the things we do, however small, are great weapons in fighting such terrible things.

We all have our quests, our evils to battle. We all live epic lives.

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Some thoughts on dealing with Evernote problems on my Windows laptop

I recently had problems with Evernote on my Windows laptop, and I want to document my notes here in case you run into a similar issue.

I am not certain what was the cause of the problem, but one day I could not synchronize my Evernote client on my Windows laptop. It kept saying I could not reach the server. This was odd, because I could access the Internet and login to evernote.com and see my notes there.

Now the first thing I should have done is work to resolve this. Instead, I kept adding things to the Evernote that was having a problem. Bad idea. I can’t tell if I lost what I kept at the time. It doesn’t appear that I did, but don’t make this error. Work to fix it right away.

I tried a number of things to fix it. Finally what seem to fix it was uninstalling it, and then installing it using the Advanced install option. Going through the Advanced option, I picked a different directory than the default directory to install it in. When I brought up the Evernote client, I was notified by my security software that Evernote was trying to connect to the Internet. I allowed it and it then the client worked fine.

My theory is that there was something corrupted with the files in the old location where I had Evernote installed. As a result, uninstalling and then reinstalling didn’t correct the problem. Now this is somewhat odd, because when you uninstall Evernote, the file directory seems to go away. That leads to my other theory, and that is that there was something else that was corrupted (e.g. registry? appdata?), and that picking another directory with the Advanced option forced the installer to ignore the old settings and come up with new default settings.

The good news is that the problem is fixed and Evernote is fine and syncing is fine. I just checked and a note I just added an synced on my laptop flowed over to my iPhone.

We live in many worlds at once

We live in many worlds at once. The present world, of course. We live in the near future world, where the next choice we make creates the next present world. At the same time, we can be in old haunts, and in our minds, we now inhabit past worlds. Or our minds will imagine us living in worlds that don’t exist. Imaginary worlds. Worlds where we win the lottery, where we avoid past defeats, or we turn out different than we did. We live in worlds with fears and worlds with hopes, where the invisible things around the corner or over the hill shape our world even if we never encounter it.

We inhabit the world and the objects around us, but we live in many worlds at once. For our lives in the world are a function of mind, and with our thoughts we make the worlds.

Some thoughts on books as social objects

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This week I was carrying this book around with me and managed to have two people initiate conversations regarding it in the same day. First a younger waiter in a restaurant told me the author’s name was similar to a favourite children’s book she had many years ago. Then on the subway, a man who appeared to be a gamer engaged me in a long discussion about war games, the US Civil War, and the Napoleonic wars.

Neither conversation would have happened if the book were an ebook or even an abstract cover, I suspect. The cover itself caught their eye, and that led to further conversation.

Books are great social objects. They tell something about you, and they give a topic for others to start talking to you about.

Both conversations were not really about the book directly, but ways for people to share something about themselves. This is a benefit of social objects: you can learn much more by taking the object out in public. With private objects, you have to do all the work: with social objects, people help you learn more.

It likely helped that the book was not controversial. Plus it was odd enough to catch people’s eye. The potential barriers to starting conversations were low.

It is difficult to say what makes an object more social than others. Much of that is random. I had been reading the book all week: that day was the first one that people talked to me about it. Certainly something people are passionate about helps. Even that is random, though.

Other objects can be social, too, but books can be both personal and impersonal at the same time. That dual quality makes them a good social object. Strangers asking about highly personal objects may seem prying and put people on the defensive. Objects like food are too impersonal and not easy to make an interesting topic to start talking about. Books are nicely in the middle.

In short, get down your quirky looking books from your bookshelf and take them out for a walk. Your social life may improve. Even in a big city like Toronto.

An additional note: I was walking down Yonge Street yesterday, and I stopped to admire a mosaic on a wall. While I was doing that, another man walked next to me and told me about the construction of it and his thoughts on it. It too was a social object, thought I created the context for socialization by stopping to admire it.