End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email
Just in time for the Labor Day holiday in the United States, Clive Thompson dives into the thing that will ruin the holiday for so many:
Why would less email mean better productivity? Because, as Ms. Deal found in her research, endless email is an enabler. It often masks terrible management practices.
When employees shoot out a fusillade of miniature questions via email, or “cc” every team member about each niggling little decision, it’s because they don’t feel confident to make a decision on their own. Often, Ms. Deal found, they’re worried about getting in trouble or downsized if they mess up.
This seems exactly right. I’d venture to guess that most email that is sent in the work environment doesn’t need to be sent. But it is as a way to cover one’s own ass.
As Thompson continues:
In contrast, when employees are actually empowered, they make more judgment calls on their own. They also start using phone calls and face-to-face chats to resolve issues quickly, so they don’t metastasize into email threads the length of “War and Peace.”
This is basic behavioral economics. When email is seen as an infinite resource, people abuse it. If a corporation constrains its use, each message becomes more valuable — and employees become more mindful of how and when they write.
So maybe the idea isn’t to limit the characters one can write in an email, maybe it’s to give people a quota of total emails sent each month. If they hit it, better find another way to message your colleagues. Or better yet, work harder not to hit the limit!
Most email is nonsense. But what if you could run out of it?
USB Type-C Connector Specifications Finalized | AnandTech
Love it and hate it — USB cables are part of our gadget-filled lives. Now it’s finally time for a much welcome upgrade to the connectors featuring a smaller and reversible plug orientation.
As some people know, it can take several tries to get a USB cable to connect, and has resulted in more than a few jokes being made about it.
And more than a few tantrums I guess.
AnandTech lists some of the changes:
- Completely new design but with backwards compatibility
- Similar to the size of USB 2.0 Micro-B (standard Smartphone charging cable)
- Slim enough for mobile devices, but robust enough for laptops and tablets
- Reversible plug orientation for ease of connection
- Scalable power charging with connectors being able to supply up to 5 A and cables supporting 3 A for up to 100 watts of power
- Designed for future USB performance requirements
- Certified for USB 3.1 data rates (10 Gbps)
- Receptacle opening: ~8.4 mm x ~2.6 mm
- Durability of 10,000 connect-disconnect cycles
- Improved EMI and RFI mitigation features
AnandTech writes that since the standard is just now finalized it will be some time before we see the new connectors in production devices.
Could we get a standard that doesn’t look ugly? Fine, reversible is good. But why must USB look clunky, like something designed by a Soviet committee in the 70’s.
Sigh… Maybe they should just copy Lightning from Apple and be done.