Links and Notes - April 30th 2021

It's the end of April. I'm off work today since Buffer has a 4 day work week policy. I'm also spending time at my wife's family's place which is 1 of 2 houses inside our bubble (the other being my parent's). This means my son is playing with his cousins and I have time to myself to type out the daily blog post peacefully on a couch in the hall.

This is not how the usual process of writing links and notes. Especially not during the month of fasting.

On workdays and even on weekends, the process goes roughly like this:

  1. I'll have some time that I've set aside for a break to read an article/watch a video. Or I'll have a random idea during the day when I'm reflecting on stuff
  2. I add a title to the Links and Notes document I have for the given day in Obsidian
  3. Under the heading, in bullet form, I'll add the points that I want to cover in the fuller text
  4. Repeats steps 2 and 3 throughout the day. Typically, I'll limit the headings to a maximum of 4. Anything else goes into the "In other news" section
  5. Finally, after work and usually after dinner and time with my wife, I'll spend 30-45 minutes putting together the final post where I take all the bullet points and expand on them

I wish there was a step for editing but I can't pretend there is. And I know it shows when I go back and read the post again. So that's one place I'd like to change my process: Whenever possible, take about 15-20 minutes to read and do any edits needed the next day.

This is all much more difficult during the month of fasting too. By the time I sit down to do the Links and Notes post in the night I'm half asleep. I've routinely dozed off while completing the post. This happened last night too. I know I should probably turn in and come back to it the next morning, but I also know how many habits I drop during this month. I'm determined not to allow myself to fall off the wagon when it comes to the links and notes.

Tom and Jerry remains entertaining

My son had never watched Tom and Jerry until today. That's not because of any content restrictions as such. It's just that we'd never thought of it. Kind of boggled my mind. Thus I was curious if after having been exposed to modern day cartoons, whether he'd show much interest in something like Tom and Jerry.

From the title, it should be obvious what the reaction was: He was beyond entertained at all the shenanigans that happened between the two characters.

What's remarkable to me though is how good the animation is. No it's not a technical masterpiece. But in terms of direction and how well the action reads? Absolute masterpiece. After all these years, Tom and Jerry could be released today and even alongside the current crop of animated content in Netflix I'm confident that it would be a hit. It's just that good. Suffice to say that I'll continue to show the Tom and Jerry cartoons to him. I'm aware that some of the content may be insensitive and culturally inappropriate and I'll be screening for those. But aside from that, I'm looking forward to watching these with him.

A caveat here though. This praise applies only to the cartoons produced by Fred Quimby. I might be imagining things but when I blind tested myself at least, I could immediately tell the difference between those done by Fred Q and those that weren't. In fact I discovered it by accident when some Tom and Jerry's just didn't feel all that good when watching it. The action seemed both too over the top and unimaginative at the same time. It was only after examining the credits — I assumed it was the artists but they changed between each episode — that I realised the quality change was associated with the producer. I've never dug deeper than this, but all I will say is that if you are looking for the chef's kiss version of Tom and Jerry, go look for the ones produced by Fred Quimby.

Becoming a Tom and Jerry snob is not how I thought I'd describe myself when I hit my thirties.

Make a personal changelog

This post from Brian Lovin was particularly interesting to me. In it, Brian makes the case for having a single place where people can see all the things that a person has been working on professionally. A way to see the intersection of all the various paths they work on. To Brian that means not just his resumé as a "Product Designer". It also means including the podcasts he participates in. The side businesses. The blog posts. All of it.

The solution that Brian has hit on is the idea of a changelog. You can see his one here.

A good changelog is a medium-fidelity information channel, sitting in the Goldilocks-zone between a feed and a static post. Great changelogs aren’t as noisy as a commit stream or a Twitter feed, and they’re not as coarse as blog posts or a LinkedIn job change. At their best, they are bite-sized updates, a few sentences at most, that can be easily skimmed and understood.

Could the personal changelog be a solution? It can sit at the right fidelity where people want to update it regularly, but not so often that it competes with a Twitter feed. But it’s updated often enough, with the flexibility to represent all kinds of activities, that it can become a true reflection of someone's professional and creative momentum over time.

I agree with Brian here. This is something that people sorely need. We need ways to express ourselves more fully. I've in fact been wanting to write about this at length for a while. To me, I keep thinking of our social networks and our audience building. And it all seems so one dimensional. Success on such networks is geared towards presenting ourselves as an entity with a single interest. How bland. How boring to take away the possibilities of each person, the eclectic, the serendipity, and instead encourage the idea that a person will have a core interest that shall never change. I'm a programmer today. Could I not become a children's storybook author tomorrow? And if I did, would I have to "re-invent" myself? In my Twitter thread I make reference to this in the following:

I like Brian's solution honestly. I like the site Polywork too. I also think there's so much more to solve for in this space. For starters, self hosted open format over privately owned. But also, personal and professional in one place. I need to think on this idea more.

In other news

  • For all the talk of how Ubisoft is another soulless business, I am grateful for the fact that their website allows us the option of saying "I reject all cookies". I'm so tired of websites which pretend to allow an option to disable cookies but then hide it behind painful user interactions. "Reject all cookies" should be the default option available everywhere.
  • I've started migrating all my accounts over from my email address to my one. Not gonna lie, this process is incredibly painful. I do wish that there was a better solution. Such a pity that Open ID didn't work out.

This blog doesn't have a comment box. But I'd love to hear any thoughts y'all might have. Send them to [email protected]

Previous links and notes (April 29th)

Next links and notes (May 1st)

Posted on April 30 2021 by Adnan Issadeen