Christina Crook: Scapegoats

We are too prone to make technological instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them

Christina Crook, “The Joy of Missing Out”

Cal Newport on tool selection

The Any-Benefit Approach to Network Tool Selection: You’re justified in using a network tool if you can identify any possible benefit to its use, or anything you might possibly miss out on if you don’t use it.

Cal Newport, “Deep Work”

Indexing my paper notebooks

I keep a simplified version of a Bullet Journal in paper notebooks. I write in it every day. I write tasks, log meals and moods, write journal entries, copy quotes, etc. This way of working fits my brain, and I see no future in which I’m not doing some version of it.

But I must admit that y’all are right, searching paper notebooks kind of sucks. However, I’m not moving my notes to digital just so I can search them more easily. That’s not a trade-off I’m interested in. Instead, I’m working on a system that makes my paper notebooks easier to search. Or perhaps it’s better to say that I’m working on making it easier to find things I’ve written in my paper notebooks.

A year ago I started highlighting key words and topics in my notebooks (see Highlighting in Notebooks). This works great. It lets me quickly scan my notes and pick out important topics. What I’m now doing is adding those topics to a separate index. I already maintain a table of contents in each notebook, but that’s not the same as an index. My index is kept in a box of 3×5″ index cards (see photo).

The beginnings of my notebook index

Each notebook gets a number (e.g. 01) so the index entries reference this. For example, if there are several pages about “Health” in Notebook 01, it gets indexed like this: “Health: NB01.23, 45, 67”. The “NB” prefix may be unnecessary, but I’m thinking that at some point I might want to differentiate between sources. I might have written something in a notebook (NB) but there might also be something written in my Antinet, so I can do “AN2024/1/2A” to reference the specific card. Or perhaps I filed something written using a typewriter in a ringed binder. That might be “B02.34-35”. I’m still noodling on this.

Speaking of my Antinet, the contents of my notebooks/index differ from that of my Antinet experiment (which I’ll write about later). This index is for personal notes, observations, interactions, etc. The Antinet is for topics I’m interested in.

Have you tried keeping an index like this? If so, I’d be interested to hear how you’re handling it.

Photo wall

I hang random prints on these magnetized strings in my office. If I were to worry about order, or frames, or any kind of formality, nothing would end up on the walls. I love the chaos.

The “photo wall” in my home office.

Print your photos!

Contact Sheet: Josie

I adopted Josie years ago. She was a sweetie but was incapable of being around other dogs, and my life at the time involved being around other dogs. We found a new home for her with a lovely woman who enjoyed dogs but had none. What she did have was 5 acres of land and immediate love for Josie.

Josie contact sheet. Tri-x, shot with the Hasselblad.

I recently ran across the above contact sheet taken shortly after bringing her home. I love medium format contact sheets, since they make a fun polyptych. I often make a second contact sheet expressly for hanging. Sometimes I make a third and cut the small images out for my journal.

I could cheat with digital photos and make something similar, but it’s not the same.

You’re Pointing Your Camera the Wrong Way

There is no simple way to banish the ennui of our age, but maybe it would help if we stopped looking at our own faces and turned instead to documenting the vanishing natural world in all its manifestations.

Margaret Renkl, NYT

I love self-portraits but I hate selfies.

Survey results: Blog post format preferences

I can never decide which blog post format I should use on my home page(s). Should I use full posts so that all of the content is available by simply scrolling? Should I shorten each post to just a title and a short summary, making it look more consistent and easier to scan? Or maybe I should only include a list of titles, and let people dig in based on that.

To find out what readers actually preferred, I asked the following question on Mastodon and Micro.blog:

When visiting a blog (not via RSS), which layout do you prefer?

  • Full posts
  • Titles and brief excerpt
  • Titles only

I received 64 replies. Here are the results:

Results of an informal web poll asking which post format is preferred

I wasn’t surprised by these results, other than the Micro.blog responses leaned quite heavily toward full posts, while Mastodon was split closely between full posts and excerpts.

This helps me with how I present posts on my blog. I will continue using full posts, but I’ll truncate longer articles with a “read more” link to reduce the amount of scrolling needed.

Thanks to everyone who responded!

Dumpster

It’s just a dumpster, but I like the lines and colors.

Here’s a photo. At least it’s something that’s not about blogging.

Or is it?

Blog posts: Macro, Micro, (and Nano?)

I remain incapable of consolidating my blogs, social media, etc.

I’m realizing that I have three types of blog posts, “macro”, “micro”, and “nano”.

Normal long-form posts are “macro” posts. Shorter posts or images with commentary are “micro” posts. Then there are the little snippets and random thoughts I can’t help blurting out for some reason. Those are “nano” posts.

I could put them all at baty.net and be done with it, but I have yet to find a way to do this using WordPress (or Hugo, for that matter). I never like the way themes render all three types.

I thought I could do macro posts at baty.net and the rest at jack.micro.blog, but for some reason, I hesitate to post my little nonsense thoughts there because it feels weird having them saved as “real” blog posts. I can’t explain it, but those little “nano” posts make more sense to me on an actual social network like Mastodon.

This morning, I spun up a new Mastodon instance as my “official” social media presence. I wanted my own domain, and baty.social is as good as any. It’s eponymous, short, and I’d already paid for it a few months ago. So now I’m posting the nano posts at @jack@baty.social.

Micro.blog can act as an account on the Fediverse, but I think I prefer using Mastodon for that.

I’m not sure that there’s a meaningful difference between micro and nano posts, so this is an experiment. If it continues to feel right, great. If not, I’ll try something else.

Evernote in 2023

You all remember Evernote, right? For years (beginning in the late 2000s), Evernote was the note-taking tool for many of us. Then, they got weird, started selling merchandise and branded scanners, and made odd tangental mobile apps for some reason. Evernote seemed to have lost focus.

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