Introduction to the Blog

Feb 20, 2022

Some notes about the blog.

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Interview on XRAY FM

Mar 30, 2023

I had the enormous pleasure of being intereviewed by Kai for his show, Everyone Is Interesting, which airs on XRAY FM in Portland, OR. Kai is a great host, and asked some really good questions. Definitely worth a regular listen.

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Viral Math and Conceptual Labor

Dec 15, 2022

Presenting the first Conceptual Labor video! Will there be more? Who knows!

It’s a response to a conversation between two YouTube titans, Hank Green and Vi Hart. It started because Hank Green recognized a deeper pattern of online-disagreement in the (fairly pointless) arguments that were flying around over a “math problem” that goes viral on a fairly regular basis.

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Calm Tech and Conceptual Labor

Sep 06, 2022

Of all the ideas that I wish had made it into the current edition of Conceptual Labor yet somehow did not, Calm Technology is the first one I think of. It really feels like a serious omission (which perhaps I can correct in later editions) given its various connections to the Theory and me personally. One of its major contemporary proponents, Amber Case, is one of my closest friends. Which is why when you go to, you are visiting a website I rebuilt according to the Calm principles Amber requested. At the other end of its history we have John Seely Brown, who, with Mark Weiser, co-authored the establishing papers on Calm Technology. Brown’s research elsewhere provided valuable insights and background to some of my favorite parts of the Theory.

What is Calm Technology?

Calm Technology is an approach to design based on the following principles:

Principles of Calm Technology

A Calm Technology should:

  1. Require the smallest possible amount of attention

  2. Inform and create calm

  3. Make use of peripheral attention

  4. Amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity

  5. Communicate, but doesn’t need to speak

  6. Work even when it fails

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The Quick Version

May 01, 2022

By request from the first Conceptual Labor Book Club, I have made a “quick version” explainer for the Theory.

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Collected Rumblings

Mar 01, 2022

I’ve made a little collection on Twitter of people saying conceptual-labor-y things in their own terms.

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Tools to Go from Text to Book Part 2: How I Got here

Feb 27, 2022

My two simple rules were 1) I like plain flavors and 2) I broke Scrivener. I guess those aren’t exactly “two simple rules”. I didn’t set out with clear rules in mind, I just, like most people, worked according to deeply-held tendencies and opinions. Reviewing the list of principles in the article was a nerdy delight; they concisely defined the foundations of those opinions and tendencies. Moreover, here were some patterns of working that I had mainly picked up in the realm of programming, but, like many, felt were deserving of a wider adoption outside of that realm, ala Tenet 7.

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Tools to Go from Text to Book Part 1

Feb 25, 2022

Nerd warning – this gets pretty wonky in the details of text editors, open standards, etc. If you dont find that kind of thing interesting, you might not find this interesting either.

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Conceptual Labor - the book

Sep 01, 2021

You can now read the full contents of the book, Conceptual Labor on this site, which contextualizes and expands on the central theory and includes a demonstration of how to use it.

– Ním

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Composition is Done

Jul 15, 2020

I finished primary composition on the complete Theory of Conceptual Labor on Friday, July 10. That’s my fancy way of saying that I’m done putting ideas into it, but it still needs much editing and arranging, which is a different kind of conceptual labor. It stands at roughly 36,000 words, includes core concepts grouped by Tenet, case studies and an expanded introduction. Check back here or get in touch for updates. I hope to release it by early 2021.

– Ním

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