If you haven’t read Zadie Smith’s recent essay for the New York Review of Books, ‘Find Your Beach’, I think you should give it a look:

In it, Smith captures the lonely, Janus-like nature of the American self-creation myth – and that it’s often both false and effective. She focuses in particular upon the hyper-distilled version found in daily Manhattan life:

Here the focus is narrow, almost obsessive. Everything that is not absolutely necessary to your happiness has been removed from the visual horizon. The dream is not only of happiness, but of happiness conceived in perfect isolation. Find your beach in the middle of the city. Find your beach no matter what else is happening. Do not be distracted from finding your beach. Find your beach even if—as in the case of this wall painting—it is not actually there. Create this beach inside yourself. Carry it with you wherever you go. The pursuit of happiness has always seemed to me a somewhat heavy American burden, but in Manhattan it is conceived as a peculiar form of duty.

As a former New Yorker, so much of this essay feels real and spot-on to me… and it has an additional virtue: It’s funny.

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Autumn makes me miss New York City: The crisp air and the fall foliage, to be sure, but it always seemed to be the time of year when all the concerts and events that I wanted to see were passing through town.

In that spirit of vicarious enjoyment, I thought I’d share that BBC Future is putting on a new event in New York on October 21st. They’re calling the ‘World-Changing Ideas Summit’ and it looks like they’ve lined up some good speakers. With topics like ‘Can Technology Create a New and Better Renaissance?’, I think it’s probably of interest to many of you as well (and the ‘Why Everyone Needs a Drone’ session seems to have been especially designed to lure my pal Faine into attending).

Check it out… and jump in a leaf pile or something afterwards if you want to make me totally jealous.

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Accessibility is often treated as an afterthought when making apps and websites.

Part of the reason why, I think, is that many of us don’t really understand the design considerations we should be thinking about to open up our content to people with disabilities and the elderly. And, as Jeffrey Zeldman says, “Accessibility is like the weather: everyone talks about it, but not enough of us do anything about it.”

So I was happy to see this Kickstarter from the people at Knowbility to develop training materials for people who want to be more inclusive – and I’ve just backed it because I know I could use some help figuring out how to make my sites better in this regard.

Watch the video, chip in, and help spread the word before the end of October.

There is a time for being ahead, a time for being behind; a time for being in motion, a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous, a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe, a time for being in danger. The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.
Lao Tzu
Tao Te Ching

One common challenge to many modern workers is integrating digital workflows with good, old-fashioned piles of paper. For people like us, I think Brooks Duncan’s newsletter, ‘Paper Cuts’, is a fantastic resource that (quite literally) helps cut through the clutter and keep you appraised of the latest developments in digital paper management.

Brooks is a warm, engaging writer and his DocumentSnap blog offers timely, tightly-focused information about “paperless office” concepts. ‘Paper Cuts’ collects these on a bi-weekly basis and includes additional tips, along with some exclusive eBook content for subscribing.

I highly encourage you to check it out!

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