Where’s World Wide Wade? Four Encores

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capture the third dimension is almost as old as photography itself. This column is timely because there’s a fantastic Anthony Lane essay this week in the New Yorker that traces the history of 3-D imagery all the way from Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., the Boston poet and physician who invented the first affordable stereoscope, to Cameron’s Avatar.

How I Declared E-Mail Bankruptcy, and Discovered the Bliss of an Empty Inbox
February 6, 2009

I’m re-reading this one because I’ve been struggling to lately get back on the empty-inbox wagon. The column took a look at the time management gurus who say it’s a big stress reliever to clear out every message in your inbox by the end of the day, even if this just means translating many of your messages into to-do list items. At the time, the only way for me to achieve an empty inbox was to declare total e-mail bankruptcy—that is, to move my entire 15,000-message backlog into the archive and hope that if there were some really important e-mails in there, the affected parties would let me know eventually. It worked fine that time. The problem with the whole system, unfortunately, is that after you’ve spent a long day doing actual work, it’s hard to spend another hour or two zeroing out your inbox. But now that I’ve been away from work for a few days, I’ve got a new backlog of about 3,000 e-mails, and I’m feeling the itch to go insolvent again.

Are You A Victim of On-Demand Disorder?
June 5, 2009

This column is one of my under-appreciated masterpieces, if I do say so myself. My argument was that if you only get take-out food from the Chinese place around the corner, only watch the music you can buy instantly from the iTunes Store, only watch movies you can get from Netflix, or only read the books you can order from Amazon or download to your Kindle, you’re probably suffering from ODD: chronic neglect of anything in our culture that takes actual work to discover. I’m all too prone to this condition myself, and this column feels timely to me because of the Winter Olympics, which I completely missed. (Well, I take that back; I did catch the YouTube video of the fatal Georgian luge crash.) I don’t watch live TV (see “Cutting the Cable: It’s Easier Than You Think“) and I’m not willing to bend my schedule around to accommodate NBC’s whims. I suppose there was some online coverage from Vancouver, but I couldn’t be bothered to seek it out. So, the only way I’m going to find out who won the gold in figure skating, halfpipe or hockey is if it’s on Hulu someday. I’ll get to that right after jury duty.

For a full list of my columns, check out the World Wide Wade Archive. You can also subscribe to the column via RSS or e-mail, and you can download Pixel Nation, an e-book version of the first 80 columns, as a free PDF file or a $4.99 Kindle edition.

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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2 responses to “Where’s World Wide Wade? Four Encores”

  1. George McQuilken says:

    Does this mean you’ll miss Mobile Madness next tuesday? Quelle domage.

  2. Wade RoushWade Roush says:

    George: It means my schedule is unpredictable; I may be able to attend part of Mobile Madness, depending on when Tuesday’s court session ends. Quelle domage indeed.