Use the Tools You Were Given

But if you can't find them, make them

Alexander wept, for there were no tools left to tinker.

NB: this oft attributed quote may be actually the other way around!

Working as a creative technologist builds confidence in knowing that if a tool/market offering is overpriced, you have the skillset to reverse engineer it and make a prototype of your own.

Tools approximate solutions to problems. This is because tools are made for a persona, not an individual.

Applied with a creative lens, tools can be combined and remixed to create solutions to your specific problem.

The Social Media Tick

When I’m on Chrome, oft times I’ll go up to my omnibar and type “T” or “I” or “M”. These letters may be the start of a search like “Multiplayer in Unity” or “Index fund allocation” or “Three.js lighting techniques”. 1

Chrome loads the most frequently visited option, surfacing the most “helpful” response:

I put helpful in quotes here because it’s not helpful at all. I don’t want to go on Twitter.

If I have the immediate self-control to finish my original search and continue my work, the little Twitter bird continues to fly about somewhere in my head, an itch waiting to be scratched, an anxiety waiting to be subdued.

If I don’t have self-control at that moment in time, I end up context switching away from something valuable to see yet another 32 quintillion IG stories of food or 64 thousand tweets about crypto-hustle or something. Yuck.

The boring solution would be to simply clear my history or to block the offending websites. This solution works, but it doesn’t address the problem within the problem.

The fun solution is in realizing that habitual reflexes move faster than the frontal lobe. Muscle memory fulfills the pathway, and the conscious is left to justify the action. This is biological, and therefore irreducible.

Knowing that the “conscious” mind has a lag time of ~<100ms, I decided the trick would lie in making Chrome work for me.

I installed Redirector, a Chrome extension cited by the creator to be used for:

“…be used to redirect a site to its https version, redirect news paper articles to their print versions, redirect pages to use specific proxy servers and more”

Thanks to creative technology, I was able to set up automatic redirects from habitual visit sites to my Kindle library (much better use of time — I’ve been reading a lot more!).

Go forth and look at tools differently, see them for what they could be instead of what they are. And if you can’t find a tool that solves your problem, make it.

Till next,

Bram

1

T = Twitter, I = Instagram, M = mail . google . com