Last year, I blogged twice about serious PDF rendering issues in macOS High Sierra (first post, second post). The problems were very significant for knowledge workers (and serious university students), because the highest quality information tends to be distributed in PDF. And if it’s not in PDF format, it often ought to be converted to PDF to be annotated and delved deeply.
Continue reading macOS Mojave Seems to Have Fixed the PDF Rendering Problems I Described Last Year
I argue in my Cognitive Productivity books that it is important, after superficially processing a knowledge resource (“skimming” or “surfing” it), to try to answer questions oneself that the author raises — i.e., before processing an author’s answers. This is a reading strategy that is sometimes proffered to students (at least to fortunate ones), and it has received attention from educational psychologists. Alas, in this age of over-abundance of information, it is far too easy for graduates to simply skip ahead to the author’s answer. They consequently are less likely to notice and deeply appreciate anything that is original or profound about the answer. They might think they knew it all the long. They might even fail to recognize that there is a question and an answer. They are also less likely to understand and remember the insights (if any). Moreover, they are in a weaker position to detect deep flaws in the argument.
This may seem too obvious to be blog-worthy for readers who are not educators. But keep in mind that we are all self-regulated learners, and hence self-educators. Continue reading Ask Questions Before Delving (Reading, Watching or Listening to) Knowledge Resources
Many people are still not convinced that software is better than paper for reading in depth. I believe this is largely because current software is, in fact, not designed for this purpose. It’s also that the majority of people haven’t figured out how to select and utilize e-reading software. One can shoehorn learning strategies on top of the best reading software.
I’ve dedicated much of my professional life since 2001 to understanding what it would take for people to be able to learn deeply by reading and practicing with software. I’ve been designing new software and strategies for learning with current software. Cognitive Productivity and Cognitive Productivity with macOS® demonstrate that learning with (the right) software is far better than with paper and pen —for that small minority of people who really wish to improve themselves with knowledge.
Last month, I published Assess Analytically, which is Principle 3 of Cognitive Productivity with macOS®®. That principle helps you identify knowledge resources that are worth processing in depth. Yesterday, I published Principle 5, “Delve Deeply”. That chapter contains tips for identifying, understanding and utilizing knowledge gems within helpful documents (and other types of resources). Continue reading Reading with Software is Better than Paper: Principle 5, “Delve Deeply”, of Cognitive Productivity with macOS
When they read, experts tend to seek out the gist and structure of a document. They pay attention to the table of contents. However, many PDF documents don’t have a table of contents. Fortunately, there are tools, like Smile Software’s PDFPenPro (coupon below), that enable you to add a table of contents while you’re reading. Continue reading Editing Tables of Contents with PDF Pen Pro: Delving Tips and Screencast
Reading contributes more to human excellence than any other form of knowledge acquisition. Reading comes so naturally to experts that they don’t tend to think much about the process. Yet reading is one of the most sophisticated mental activities.
Continue reading Are we Doomed to Read with Information Technology?
In Cognitive Productivity I described several illusions and biases that interfere with our ability to leverage knowledge resources. The first set of illusions is to over-estimate or underestimate the “helpfulness” of a knowledge resources.
Illusions of Helpfulness of Information
Selecting the right resource to process is critical to the development of effectiveness. Continue reading Is This Information Sufficiently Helpful?
Getting enough high quality sleep is important for cognitive productivity. I’ve developed a technique called the cognitive shuffle. This is a technique that you can use in bed to ease you into sleep. I always try to make it clear that it is not a silver bullet. I recently posted an article on mySleepButton about how it can be used with acceptance and commitment therapy. “Acceptance and commitment” is a “third wave” psychological framework that aims to help people better relate to the content their minds generate. (That framework has some dubious “behavioral” theoretical baggage which you can safely ignore.)
I recently applied for a 2-year SSHRC grant to study some of the problems with which Cognitive Productivity is concerned, such as
- the challenges knowledge workers face (a) in learning with technology and more generally (b) processing knowledge resources with technology;
- the effectiveness of proposed solutions to these challenges.
It is important to study these issues because we depend on knowledge workers to specify and solve humanity’s most critical and complex problems! These people are the “engine” of the knowledge economy.
This is a copy of my review of Nicholas Carr’s book _The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains (Kindle Edi.). I posted the original this morning on GoodReads.com
Nicholas Carr’s book The shallows is an entertaining book that raises flags about the impact that technology is having on our reading habits. He essentially claims that we (more specifically, our brains) are becoming superficial processors of information because of technology. In carefully reading the book, I found that he supported his thesis through insinuation and rhetoric rather than from premises to the clear conclusion you’d expect from the subtitle of his book.
There are plenty of good things to say about this book. However, I will focus on its significant problems so that we can address them.