Kickoff For May 4, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I’ve found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

One month down, and another begins. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has been flying lately. Here’s hoping that the last week has been kind to you and that things are looking up.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


The man who got rich on data - years before Google, wherein we learn about the work of Herman Hollerith who, decades before tech giants started vacuuming up all of our information, transformed business and bureaucracy with punch cards and tabulating machines.

OSI: The Internet That Wasn’t, wherein we look at two networking protocols that competed to be the standard for online communication, and how the cheap and agile, if less comprehensive of the two became the backbone of the internet as we know it.

Fax on the beach: The story of the audacious, visionary, totally calamitous iPad of the ’90s, wherein we learn about the creation and failure AT&T’s EO Personal Communicator, which was supposed to bring tablet computing to the business world in the 1990s.


When the best way to take notes is by hand, wherein we learn the going analog can be superior to taking notes digitally since with pen and paper you process the information more deeply because you can’t possibly write it all down.

The Problem with “Smart” New Years’ Goals, wherein we learn that setting goals (SMART or otherwise) isn’t enough, but instead that we need to take the time to build the habits that will help us reach those goals.

Against Productivity in a Pandemic, wherein Nick Martin argues that even though we’re locked down and, maybe, working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no reason to jump on the productivity treadmill just because we can or are expected to.

Odd and Ends

How a plant saved a Japanese island, wherein we learn how the people of Amami Oshima in southern Japan took the toxic cycad tree and turned it into both a source of food and way to survive harsh times, and discover that the knowledge of how they do that is fading away.

How Hong Kong’s Protests Turned Into a “Mad Max” Tableau, wherein we learn about how the democracy protests in Hong Kong started, and how they escalated from being relatively peaceful to being more aggressive and violent.

My Neighborhood Sento, wherein David R. Munson tells us how regular visits to his local public bath in Tokyo helped him pull his scattered life back together and helped him feel at home both in my neighborhood and in my very skin.

And that’s it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt