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June 08, 2005



Haha. I actually make it a point to exploit this "notifying environment" trick (that is, making the world remind me of things). I put my dog's glucosamine medication on top of his dogfood container, so whenever I feed him (he reminds me) I remember to give him glucosamine. When I'm done writing code for a while, I'll add this (uncommented) into the source code, which guarantees I'll see it before the next time I see a succesful compile.
!!! implement xxx_yyy here !!! // forces me to not forget it

And with todo lists or a dayplanner, the only thing you have to remember is that you have a todo list. I sometimes wonder if it's bad to rely on the world this way, is it making me cognitively lazy?

Adam Russell

This sort of human behaviour seems like a development of the phenomenon Phillipe Grasse described in his studies of termites as 'Stigmergy':

"The coordination of tasks and the regulation of constructions does not depend directly on the workers, but on the constructions themselves. The worker does not direct his work, but is guided by it . It is to this special form of stimulation that we give the name STIGMERGY ( stigma , goad; ergon , work, product of labour = stimulating product of labour)." Grasse



Ian: Nah, that's just called getting it out of your mind. The human brain can only handle one thing at a time effectively. If you force yourself to remember multiple things, all of them will seem urgent and you won't focus too well.

On the other hand, if you put reminders to yourself in obvious places, you ease your mind. Your mind knows that you will be reminded of things in the appropriate place. It doesn't have to remember that you need to take care of the dog. You don't have to worry about where you were when you were coding. And your todo list is great because, like you said, you only have to remember you have the list. Everything is in it.

My favorite slogan regarding reminders: "If it is on your mind, it isn't getting done."

If you're not familiar with David Allen's "Getting Things Done", you should look into it. He's done a lot of research on it and clarifies why todo lists and reminders work so well and are essential to getting things done.

Christian Mogensen

This is what's know as putting knowledge in the world as opposed to relying on the user's memory. User interfaces do this when they offer a dropdown menu or a checkbox instead of a command line to enter into.

You no longer have to remember the command, instead you can pick it from the list.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game