20 year old advice on helping people with computers is still relevant today

Phil Agre's 1996 article "How to help someone use a computer" is full of eternal verities that hold up today: it starts with a section on putting yourself in the mindset of someone who's struggling with something you know how to do already ("Beginners face a language problem: they can't ask questions because they don't know what the words mean, they can't know what the words mean until they can successfully use the system, and they can't successfully use the system because they can't ask questions") and then moves on to practical tips for turning that empathy into successful advice ("Try not to ask yes-or-no questions. Nobody wants to look foolish, so their answer is likely to be a guess. 'Did you attach to the file server?' will get you less information than 'What did you do after you turned the computer on?'.") Read the rest

Amy Walker impersonates Trump to empathize with him

Amy Walker is well known for her celebrity impersonation and accent demonstration video. Here, she practices impersonating Trump as an exercise to better understand him. This video fascinated me. I love it when people experiment on their own nervous systems like this.

This is not a parody. It's an exercise in #CourageousCompassion. Empathy. To understand President Trump from the inside out, that I may know myself better - especially any part of me that I'd not identified with and projected onto him. To see all as equal. As one.

As Meryl Streep said, "We have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy."

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The narrative lottery at XOXO

Glenn Fleishman reports from Portland's beloved arts and technology festival, where a darker sense of mission and meaning took hold in the event's third year.