Where I Am Heading and Why

A modern magnetic compass

If I were to write a career advice book, I’d call it Stretch Out in reference to what I believe is the third most important consideration for career decisions.

The first — and most obvious — piece of advice everybody gives is to follow your passion and do what you love doing.

The immediate second one (from Warren Buffett who might have borrowed two thirds of the saying from Stan Lee) is to choose roles in which you get to work with people you like, trust, and admire — and I would add ‘and can learn from.’

The third consideration…


How Intentional Ambiguity Leads to Richer Interpretations

The last scene with the monolith in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ (Image copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment)

The impenetrable black monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey neatly encapsulates the qualities of the whole film. Its meaning is as opaque as its surface. The ambiguity of its function is the complete opposite of its clearly defined form.

Few directors had their works interpreted by critics and audiences in so many varied ways as Stanley Kubrick. There are two connected reasons why Kubrick’s 2001 provokes so many debates and opinions: The first is that — as we know directly from Kubrick — he made the film’s meaning purposefully ambiguous. …


Thanks to Zipf’s law, it takes only a small number of chorded shortcuts to improve one half of all the typing we do.

The frequency of the top 100 most used words in ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ demonstrating Zipf’s law in action. The most frequent word makes up 6% of all words in the text.

Trained stenographers type at over 200 words per minute. This is because stenotype machines use chords of simultaneous key presses to input whole words at a time. Unsurprisingly, it takes years to master this skill.

Because languages follow Zipf’s law — the second most frequent word appears half as often as the first, the third one appears one third as often as the first, etc. — it turns out that half of all our written text is made out of just about 100 words. …


A Discussion and Interlinear Translation of the Essay’s Opening

1811 edition of Shōbōgenzō, written by Dōgen in 13th century. (Image source: terebess.hu)

Genjo Koan is a key writing in Zen Buddhism and Japanese literature in general. Ten years ago, I wrote an article on the challenges of translating this text to accurately convey its meaning to modern readers. Now, I come back to it to solve two mysteries that eluded me.

Genjo Koan (Genjōkōan) is one of the essays in Shōbōgenzō, written by Eihei Dōgen. Dōgen’s writings are notoriously difficult to translate. Japanese, like all languages, has changed a lot since the 13th century. …


A Simple Symmetrical Notation System for the Hive Board Game

A consistent notation system plays a key role in the practice and study of board games. The direction-based notation for Hive was created to fulfill the following goals:

  1. Games that are mirrored, rotated or played with reversed colors all have identical notations.
  2. Pieces of the same kind do not need to be tracked.
  3. Moves are easy to record and replay for human players and computers.
  4. Every move has only one notation.

These goals are even more important when studying openings where — save for transpositions in move order — this system produces identical notation. …


CODEX

The idea of owning an original digital art can be both intriguing and confusing. How do the concepts of originality and ownership transfer from physical to digital art? And are some historical works of art digital in nature?

(Quantized Starry Night, source image from puzzlewarehouse.com, edited by Pavel Soukenik)

Crypto art has been making headlines over the past several months with reports of pieces of digital art fetching record-breaking sums in auctions. After each major transaction, there have been articles both questioning and defending the legitimacy and value of crypto art.

Buying and trading crypto art is often compared to that of physical art. …


CODEX

The typewriter has been invented around the same time as the telephone but while phones have changed beyond all recognition, the keyboards of today look substantially the same as when they first made their entrance.

Image by Apple

Why do keyboards still look like those on old typewriters? Let’s review some of the attempts at innovations that happened over time and why they failed to become widely adopted. This might give us some clues about the dynamics at play here.

I grew up just as the computers were becoming ubiquitous, so let me briefly start by sharing how I came to be interested…


The pyramids of Giza
(Photo by Osama Elsayed on Unsplash)

Fifteen Years of Collaboration in a Single Post

I am sharing this article as a reflection, a thank you, and maybe an inspiration after fifteen years of working together with my colleagues, partners, and clients on building solutions that break down language barriers and make amazing devices and services accessible to people around the world.

As I am leaving my role of Chief Client Acquisition Officer at RWS Moravia, I am fondly looking back at the people I was fortunate to work with and learn from and at the things we’ve achieved together. I joined Moravia in January 2006 as a project manager. …


Photo by Joel Swick on Unsplash

What Should We Ask of Translators

My entire career has been centered around languages, translations, and building bridges that allow people to communicate and collaborate with other people regardless of their native language, country of birth, or the color of their skin.

What should we expect of people whose vocation it is to take the words and experience of people from other countries, ethnicities, or even different times, and translate them — in the true meaning of that word — into another language? It is my deep conviction that what we should expect is that they take those words, treat them with the deepest respect, and…


The Distinction That Separates the Big Five From FAANG+

The terms FANG and ‘Frightful Five’ are not new. The former still appears frequently today as FAANG+ in reference to hot tech companies and even though five years later the ‘Frightful 5’ label has all but vanished, the profound observation it offered endures.

This article briefly looks at the origin of the terms and the companies they represent, and it revisits the dominant dynamic highlighted in The New York Times article five years ago.

The FANGs

The acronym FANG was originally popularized by Jim Cramer in 2013, and it stands for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. Although most sources claim…

Pavel Soukenik

I write about technology and personal development. I have a background in localization and build enterprise solutions at Translations.com. All opinions my own.

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