Occasionally I am asked why I don’t “monetize” my blog, but everything good in my career has come from that blog: books, talks, friends… it’s just I’ve always played a very long game: Keep a clean, readable, interesting site and people will buy books, talks, prints, etc.

At this point I don’t even keep analytics on the blog. I have no idea how many people read it! It doesn’t matter to me. Every day, I write a post there. I plan on operating that way indefinitely. - Austin Kleon on Twitter

When I read stuff like this, it makes me realise all the mental effort I expend on answer the question of should I use this or that to blog, is pretty pointless.

A Suggested Alternative to the Term "iPad Only"

The term “iPad only” (as in “I’ve gone iPad only”) has annoyed me for a while. It’s usually wrong for two reasons.

  1. People use it when they mean they enjoy using their iPad the most but still use other devices sometimes
  2. People often use it and ignore their day job
<li>This means someone will <em>say</em> that they’ve gone iPad only, but then mention the times they still use a desktop pc at home and occasionally reveal that they don’t use their iPad at work.</li><strong>That’s absolutely fine</strong>, it’s okay to use different tools but it shows how inaccurate the term is. Furthermore, the term iPad only locks people in to attempting to use the iPad when another device might be better.

I’ve never known of anyone to claim they’ve gone “Mac only” or “laptop only”, they usually just say that they’ve bought a Mac and now use that (but have the confusion of switching to a pc at work).

So I have a suggested alternative name.

iPad power users.

This reflects the core idea behind iPad only for most people. It’s about getting powerful work done on the iPad. It can also accommodate people who use other devices and not just an iPad.

Perhaps it doesn’t sound quiet as controversial and intriguing as “iPad only” and so will attract fewer readers. But it’s certainly more accurate in most cases.

This criticism is true of writing I’ve done where I’ve often used the term iPad only/iPad as my primary device (far too long) and then made many addendums.

I remember some people talking about an alternative to tinyletter for friendly newsletters…any direction?

From an ideological point of view, I really dislike google claiming the TLD .new for their products…but It’s really handy at work to just type docs.new and get a new google doc.

When someone has been nasty and sarcastic to me I always want to take the high ground and be nice to them…but I want to be nasty back more than I want to take the high ground (and I only want to take the high ground to show I’m superior).

Primary Source Material

#77: Primary Source Material, with John Roderick - CMD Space podcast from Rerlay FM

Primary source material is original content, not commentary (which is a secondary source). In this podcast John argues that we should seek to create primary source material and not add to the echo chamber of noise around this product or that.

I think about this podcast from time to time as I wonder if I’m creating primary source material, or if I’m adding to the same talking points of many peers. Sometimes I measure myself better or worse by this yard stick.

I’m not completely against commentary though. Well thought-through comments can add unique insight and perspective. In some cases, the commentary can become a primary source all of its own. Looking at the commonplace books of Da Vinici, Sacks and more show that commentary can be more than meaningless waffle.

In Da Vinci’s case, his notebooks were not just commentary, but also original content. I hope this site will emulate that mix of primary and secondary content.

I annoy myself by overthinking if this blogging platform or that is better. I really ought to just use one and stick to it…having said that, I really like how the WordPress semantic linkbacks show comments under articles. I would love to see manton hosted microblogs support.

Got to send beta feedback thanks to finding a bug 😌

A Break from Podcast While Traveling

I’m a huge podcast fan. It’s one of the core things I use my smartphone for (along with taking photos, sending messages, satellite navigation, and wasting time on social media including youtube) but I’m going to do an experiment this week.

I’m not listening to any podcast while commuting.
As I listened to Jocelyn Glei’s interview of Cal Newport in the hurry slowly podcast, I heard Cal describe a digital detox and how the people who got the most out of it were hoping to do things differently afterward (not just take a break). It made me wonder what it would be like to not use my smartphone for 30 days, what issues would I face.

The thought of not being able to listen to a podcast on my train ride home made me nervous. Which is almost certainly a sign that I should continue along that path.

After my initial discomfort, I realised that there were some great possibilities and options from not listening to any podcasts on my commute.

  • I could read a book
  • I could write (well that’s more difficult when the train is crammed full)
  • I could think and reflect
  • I could plan
  • I could call my family in the UK (yes I could be that guy)
Of course, not listening to podcasts on the train doesn’t mean I won’t listen to any podcasts at all. I can still listen at home, or while walking. But by not listening on the train, I create an even greater buffer before I need to look at my smartphone. I can simply not use it before work.

And so for this week, I’m taking the commute less travelled (by me at least) and eschew podcasts while commuting.

Join Analog Social Media - Cal Newport 🔗

Join Analog Social Media - Cal Newport 🔗 >When you take an activity like social media, for example, and zoom in close, you isolate behaviors like commenting on a friend’s picture, or encountering an interesting link, that seem mildly positive. What harm could there possibly be in clicking a heart icon?

When you zoom out, however, the cumulative effect of all this swiping and tapping seems to add up to something distinctly negative. Few are happy, for example, after allowing yet another movie night to devolve into side-by-side iPad idling.

Yeah, that last part was a little uncomfortable to read.

I think you can also argue that reverse tends to be true of analog social media. The initial energy it requires can be great and the rewards can be small, but overtime the effect is magnified.

I learnt that in Spain where I’d put off meeting up with friends or going out due to feeling tired and knowing that an evening spent speaking Spanish would leave me further drained. And yet every time I did go out, I’d be more energetic in the long run.

After a few months of using Station I have come to the conclusion that it’s basically a slightly prettier version of a worse performing Google Chrome. This may be unfair but it makes my work mac freeze all the time.

We're All Product Reviewers Now

Managing reputation in the age of infinity - Seth’s Blog

Amazon sells junk.

More junk every day. And they know this…

The bad news is that by offloading product review from middlemen (publishers, buyers, Good Housekeeping, The Wirecutter, etc.) to the customers themselves, you transform the filtering process, wasting time, money and goodwill. It’s entirely possible that customers don’t actually want to volunteer to test the things they buy, regardless of how straightforward the return policy might be. The uncertainty that comes with not knowing if it’s what you hoped for adds cost and tension for everyone.

It’s incredible how on the ball Seth often is. I found this minor point, the middle men of reviewers, to be very interesting. After all, I know people who run blogs and YouTube channels which are just that (and more who will try a high number of products in search of the one camera to rule them all (and in the darkroom, bind them)).

I guess we’re all product reviewers now.

I feel a bit like I’m in Narnia this morning. Very fine snowfall on the way to the train (first photo is edited, second is straight out of camera).

An Amazing Transformation

It’s truly amazing the transformation my daughter’s face can through on any given day. At one moment, last as long as a whole day even, her face may positively glow with joy. And yet equally possible, and for an equal length of time, her face may be contorted into a completely unidentifiable object. This object has a sole purpose, to generate high volumes of noise, a task it is well suited to.

This transformation is so extensive that I sometimes find myself shocked and confused at the return of the joyful expression. As though I suddenly have a new daughter with a different personality.

This Hydian transformation doesn’t occur as in the classic story by consuming a magical potion, but instead usually occurs from the lack of a rather more common liquid. Yes, milk and hunger are the frequent but not exclusive triggers of transformation that lead to my identification issues with my daughter.

Regardless of my daughter’s personality, Jekyll or Hyde, I love both (though certainly prefer Jekyll’s company).

Is it possible to automate micro.blog favouriting? For example, save a favourite to Evernote/Instapaper/other.

On the way to the train this morning and practicing editing photo curves. Think I’m getting better at this.

In praise of Garageband - Austin Kleon 🔗

In praise of Garageband - Austin Kleon

Garageband turned 15 yesterday. It was introduced at Macworld by Steve Jobs in January 2004. It’s so accessible and ubiquitous now, it’s easy to take for granted just how amazing a piece of software it really is.

I recently read an article critiquing Apple’s current price. One of the central causes of frustration for the author was the presence of GarageBand for free. He claimed it was used as a justification for the price of Apple hardware and no one used it anyway. He used it once and the song he made sucked so it sucks.

I love the surprise that a writer could have to the fact that he tried something once and wasn’t good at it. You’d think a writer should know that any creative craft requires persistence.

Anyway, I actually find myself somewhere between Austin and the unnamed tech writers article. I’ve used GarageBand for many projects over time, podcasts mainly. I’ve also been frustrated at that great idea for a song taking me five hours to work on and still not being any good at the end. I’m grateful GarageBand is in the Mac and iOS and long may that continue.