In Praise of Email by Dan Cohen:

Most email systems do not signal to others that you are online, and such signaling is not part of the email protocols themselves.

We usually say a lot of bad things about email but it’s a rare case of a technology which is independent, interoperable and if you use it right, can be non-distracting.

I really miss the old days of communication, it was such a simple system: when I was online (on whatever chat service) you could ping me, otherwise, you were able to send me an email. Nowadays we just install multiple messaging apps, each of them is constantly online. We receive multiple notifications and we try to fight the distraction with hacks like Do Not Disturb and AI that tunes our notifications.

Sometimes it works, but we should also train some basic expectations on response time to our peers: send me an email, or if it’s urgent, message me, but never expect an instant response.

I kinda like the new version of Skype for iPad. Their macOS version is still crap, so I hope they’ll adopt something nicer with Martzipan and the current iPad app.

To be honest, I still question whether using RSS and Twitter is beneficial for me in the long term. I feel the excitement that dopamine causes, when I refresh these timeline based apps—it feels similar to craving sugar, which I’m also trying to get rid off. If there is no new content, I feel a little bit of disappointment.

Also, this constant scrolling of Twitter really hurts my ability to read. I don’t read anymore, I scan things. That’s pretty fucked up and I think it’s because I don’t read longer stuff that needs me to slow down and immerse myself in the story.

I really like the redesign of Apple Books (iBooks) in iOS 12 and I want to get back reading more books. And not non-fictional stuff about how to get better at GTD or pretend you work 4 hours a week, but stories about fictional worlds. I really like sci-fi, and there is awesomeness hidden in those books.

Here’s what I’m going to do:

  • Delete Tweetbot and Reeder (at least for now).
  • Pick my favorite sites from my RSS subscriptions and add them to the Favorites screen in Safari. I’ll try to check them once a day manually as Jason Fried does.
  • Buy a couple of sci-fi books (I’m especially interested in Aliens) and read a bit every morning or evening.

I assume BBC had this amazing footage laying around after editing Planet Earth 2 (which I’ll rewatch in 4K soon), so instead of putting it away on a hard drive somewhere, they’ve released it as 10-hour long looped videos. These are way better than any noise-making app for focusing when I code or relax. I even tried connecting a second display to my iMac just to see the video part too in fullscreen while I work, but that was too distracting.

In reply to: Colin Walker

Colin Walker brought up yesterday the idea of using your website as a private repository.

This also occurred to me a couple of months ago when I searched a better alternative for Day One. This blog which runs on WordPress looked great for a private journal, but I didn’t find anything that would migrate my entries from Day One, so I created a script for myself. I’ve open sourced it on GitHub so anybody with a little bit a terminal knowledge should be able to use it.


Before you ask: I still use Day One with encryption turned on. When I reasearched the topic of private posts using WordPress I found a couple of security concerns which I’ve also shared on Colin’s blog. But after last week’s Day One security fiasco, maybe it’s something that I should reconsider.

Leaving Facebook is easy, you just have to leave your laziness behind too

Sarah Jeong writing on The Verge:

I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t […] Facebook is an emotional labor machine, and if you want to leave it, you’re going to have to start doing a lot of work

When I read a post like this, I get angry and sad at the same time: it’s so easy now to reach people, but we still use our tools wrong. It looks like we have the same old problem that we had with every new technology getting popular. We just have to learn to use them. What makes Facebook different is that it’s also a tool for others to hijack our attention and they try to do everything they can to keep us addicted to it.

I’m not comfortable with that. This’s one of the many reasons why I left Facebook. If you think about it for a second, Facebook is no more than just a bunch of tools made for people to

  1. communicate with each other,
  2. maintain their egos by posting stuff about themselves,
  3. keep up with other egos,
  4. collect behavioral data that fuel tools that tricking others into a financial transaction (ads), political decision or other stuff that benefits them.

Nothing is new on this list, but we haven’t dealt with something like this before at this scale. Facebook tries to make the first three as easy to use and addictive as possible—although the internet has a lot of tools already for communicating and publishing— combining them into one is what makes collecting data and influence people this efficient.

I don’t like the idea of collecting data about my behavior and habits to carefully model a profile of me to sell crap or use it as a tool to get me addicted to something.

Existing tools can replace a lot of Facebook functionality (and they already do). You can easily leave Facebook, you just have to leave your laziness behind too. Replace your posts with a blog. There are email and text/IM services to communicate with people (although I still use Facebook Messenger without a Facebook account, I proactively ask people to switch over to iMessage if they can). You can use IM groups to organize a party or let people know about things.

But following people on a feed means you don’t really pay that much attention. We used to follow topics or news, following people around was called stalking. Now we know everything about each other thanks to addictive stalking. Meanwhile, something seriously fucked up: we have hundreds of “friends”, but according to statistics, we feel alone more than ever. That’s because we got lazy to invest a bit more energy to have more meaningful relationships with our friends. We follow them, but we don’t interact that much anymore. You must have been in a situation where you met somebody again after a while, but you didn’t enjoy it, because you had already know whats up with him/her. You were sitting there staring each other.

That’s happened because of batching. Facebook lets you see your friends prefiltered ideas and life moments in a nicely formatted feed. It makes keeping up with information convenient, but there is a problem: while batching works great when you want to be efficient, deepening relationships and friendships isn’t about convenience and efficiency. It’s about experience and time invested in each other. Facebook removes the intimacy of the moment when you “connect” with somebody. It makes it convenient but also isolating. It’s not surprising that people feel themselves alone on Facebook, it’s because they’re isolated.

Do you want to know what’s up with your friends? Message them, call them, meet them, then ask about their life, have a conversation. Invest time in your friendships. I know it takes way more energy and you can’t keep up with that many people, but who cares when it’s way more satisfying than following a bunch of curated profiles.

dumber phone – nomasters:

This setup will cause you to be less responsive on chats and email, but that’s sort of the point. Your phone shouldn’t dictate to you what you focus your attention on, and the behavior it cultivates in keeping you “always ready” is unhealthy and spills over into parts of our lives that aren’t serving us well.

Although I don’t agree with everything, this the sanest article that gives you tips about phone addiction, without going into extremes. I’m already doing a lot of these tips, I just need to revise my notification settings.