Tools of the moment

It’s been a minute since the last time I took stock of my notetaking/productivity apps, so here’s where I stand currently:

  • I still use paper. The reporter’s notebook I got last Christmas is good for my occasional work-based bullet journaling.
  • Feedly has been my RSS reader of choice for years now. To further declutter my email inbox, I also use Feedly to follow many email newsletters (shout-out to Substack and Buttondown for their RSS-friendly design; boooooo Mailchimp).
  • I went deeper into WorkFlowy, which has remained delightfully clean and minimalist even while adding a bunch of new features. I transferred my Book Notes & Quotes there, along with old conference session notes and other reference things that fit as bulleted lists.
  • Once I realized my files were awkwardly split between Google Drive and Dropbox, I decided to commit more fully to the former and put the latter on ice. Once essential, Dropbox now seems superfluous.
  • I stopped using Simplenote because other tools filled its role, and Apple Reminders because its syncing sucks.
  • I started paying for 50GB of iCloud last year before I upgraded to a new iPhone, mostly for photo backup.
  • I use the Office 365 suite for work. It’s fine.
  • My calendar situation remains annoyingly bifurcated between Google for personal and Outlook for work. The only place all my events appear together seamlessly is in the iOS Calendar app, which isn’t ideal.

See my other “of the moment” series.


Get thee a blog and an RSS reader

Two belated New Year’s resolutions:

1. Get more of my intelligent, articulate friends to start blogs.

Maybe some of these intelligent, articulate friends aren’t the writing type or won’t have the time or inclination or find Instagram sufficient for digital socializing, thank you very much. Still I will try.

(I halfway succeeded already with my friend Tone’s Mustaches and Tiaras, though she was already working on it when I gave her a final push.)

I’m in my 13th year of blogging. I’ve not made a dime from it, but it has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my life. The satisfaction of owning my turf and trying to make something worthwhile of it cannot be duplicated elsewhere on the Internet.

If you’re reading this and don’t have your own blog, consider starting one. (While you’re at it, subscribe to mine.) If you have a little bit of money and are moderately tech-savvy, consider self-hosting with a custom domain. Then email me with the URL so I can add it to my RSS reader.

2. Get more people to use an RSS reader

An RSS reader, for the tech-challenged, is basically an app for following blogs or other regularly posting content.  There are several other options, but I use Feedly. Here’s what mine looks like currently, with all the latest stories already read:

RSS is a much more pleasant way to get news and opinion than Facebook or Twitter, where instant emoting rules and thoughtful context drools. Some blogs post multiple times a day, some once a week or less. I don’t read them all, but whether I do or not I never miss a post, because there’s no mysterious algorithm deciding to hide certain posts from me like on social networks. Just a dumb, straightforward technology that provides me everything I ask for and waits for me to act on it. As good technology should be.