Homo Bufferedius

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The most prevalent critique of modern communications is that we are “always connected.” But the problem isn’t that we’re always connected; we’re not. The problem is that we’re always buffered. The difference is enormous. The feeling that one needs to look at everything on the Internet, or read all possible books, or see all possible shows, is bufferbloat. You miss an episode of your favorite series and watch it an hour, a day, a decade later. You go on vacation and come home to a mountain of correspondence. It used to be that people knocked on your door, got no response, and went away. Now they’re effectively waiting in line when you come home.



Algorithms To Live By, Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

One of the greatest benefits of a reliable capture system is that seemingly pressing watching/reading commitments can be dealt with at a later time.

A capture system solves the buffer problem by putting an external queue in place. This data structure turns an O(n) search (what do I need to watch/read/do again?) into a O(1) lookup (oh that looks fun to work on, and I have some free time right now to work/watch/read this).

This, of course, just kicks the can down the road of having to decide if something is worth your time in the first place, but distance provides clarity and many "commitments" will fail to meet the bar of quality on later inspection.

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