Links and Notes - April 5th 2021

Possibly noteworthy: I started off today's post feeling completely uninspired and lackadaisical. My mind kept having thoughts but I just couldn't get myself to commit them to the document. At some point during the day, I reminded myself of what I said yesterday about keeping momentum, so I opened up the editor and typed the first thought that happened to be on my mind. A short while later, other thoughts entered my mind that found their way here. Eventually I stopped writing because of how long things had gotten. Showing up beats being inspired

Where are the ant baits

I am currently dealing with a fairly large ant issue. At this point it might even be wise to call in exterminators. The ants seem to have wormed their way into every possible crack in the walls and it's becoming increasingly difficult to kill the nests by spraying into them. It feels like they shake it off, mark the exit as abandoned and just come crawling out of yet another hole in the wall.

What's frustrating is that there are good ways to deal with this. There is ant poison that's specifically made to be carried off and be fed to the colony which causes colony collapse in a few days. The best of these are the Terro ant bait stations and the Raid ant gel (no I don't have any affiliate links).

The problem? They aren't available in Sri Lanka. The weirder problem? Sri Lanka has lots of ant problems and we don't seem to have a single locally managed product that works as efficiently as the above two. The only option that we have is the Optigard Ant Gel launched by CIC. These aren't manufactured by Sri Lanka either as far as I know. But more importantly, they are terrible. Ants seem to show mild interest for the first 1 hour, but after that, the gel just lingers there only to be an inconvenience to the ant line. Sometimes it works. Most of the time it doesn't.

This boggles my mind. Suren Cooke are the only ones who even bring down Terro and they are hardly reliable in terms of stock. So it feels like there's this decent market opportunity waiting for someone to seize it. Ants are an expensive issue. Entire stocks need to be thrown out at times to deal with them. I think it would make real financial sense for someone to bring down better products more consistently and shake up the market here. It's ripe for the taking.

The upcoming "revamp" to the projects section

This blog has a projects section. The idea behind it was that I wanted to be transparent about projects that I'm working on. To that end, people would be able to see the projects I'm currently working on, and the projects I've worked on in the past. For each project, there'd be project page, relevant blogs posts, and relevant logs. Blog posts would be for bigger more substantial updates while logs would be an actual working log of the bits and pieces I've completed. A live update of my thoughts as I went along. A mind stream if you will.

Here's an example project page for a tool I was building to manage my slack status from the CLI. And here's an example log from that project.

March 25th 2018
Not sure I can get much done since I'm on only till my son and/or wife wakes up. So let's just jump into it.
05:49 Just spent some minutes writing a test to ensure that I pick the correct status out of a given list of statuses. One thing I'm doing as I go along is to write all the functions as private. If I find that I need to make them public, I will. I'm not sure if this is the "right" way to do it or if there is any such "right" way at all. But at this point I'd rather just get my CLI working :).
05:54 Writing the function to satisfy the test. Think I need to refresh my memory on how to write a loop.

  • Oh. Looks like there might not be a for in concept in Go. Cool.

The problem was that this was a bit of an over done system for someone who was still struggling to stick to getting projects done. Therefore, I need to rethink this system and have it be something I can maintain with less thought. And to do that, I've thought about the goals I want to achieve.

  • I want to have a central place where people can see what I'm working on and what I've worked on in the past
    • I also want people to be able to see what I've been up to on a project by project basis
  • I want to be able to share updates as I go along where the updates are of interest to anyone who's reading. Not just me.[1]
  • I want it to be frictionless for me to add an update.

And after giving it some thought, it seems fairly simple. The distinction between blogs and logs are awfully confusing. And I can think of several times where I have stopped because I'm not sure if something should be a blog post or a log. But the logs are also useless for anyone but me. They make for a great resource to create a daily update from. They make a great resource for me personally if I ever want to check on a particular day's work and see how I got from point A to point B. But they serve no purpose to anyone else.

So the first element to change is only having blog posts. I'll need to change the projects page and the tagging of older posts to reflect that.

The next element to consider is how I define a project. I think that the GTD methodology works well here. Anything that requires more than 1 step and that has a distinct goal is a project. Of course, what a "step" means here is up to the implementer but for me I've never had any issue with that. I think taking this approach will make for a more vibrant project place.

But what type of projects do I want to have? I don't want just technical things. I think having projects for technical stuff, and for my non technical endeavours such as writing children's stories would be nice. But I'll have to consider that in the future. For now, I just need to work on re-organizing that projects page.

Controlling content consumption

I'm starting to consider offloading my content consumption to the GTD system I have setup. There's too much content out there to consume. And I'm not even thinking of social media. I spend less and less time on social media these days. But between newsletters, online magazines which produce long form content of news from around the world, and personal blogs that I follow on Feedly, and the channels I follow on YouTube for education, there just doesn't feel like there's enough time to consume everything. Worse still, is that I'll pick up random pieces of content at random times, and there's always this guilty feeling that I shouldn't be doing this at the time.

Today I tried to apply the GTD principle to my YouTube feed. I browsed through and selected content from my subscriptions and added them to my inbox, and later I filtered them again and added them to a "Next Actions" list I keep for consuming content. What I found was that I didn't have any urge to go visit YouTube again for the rest of the day to find something to watch. When I wanted to take a break, I opened up the "Consuming" next actions list, picked a video I felt I wanted to watch, completed it, and marked it as done.

This felt both good, and exciting in terms of opportunity. There are things I could do a lot better with this system but would be too complex to do manually. For instance, tomorrow morning, I'd like to go through the list of videos that have shown up since today and add the ones that interest me to inbox to filter later. Even better? When adding them, I'd like to see how long each video is. Then when I'm picking content, I'll know what I have time to watch and what I don't. Apply this same principle to what I'm reading. Get the fresh content on Feedly, get the title, the blurb, the link, and most importantly, the reading time. I feel like this would create a far less stressful stream of content.

I'd just have to watch out not to fill up the content too much into my next actions list. If I did, then I can see myself in a position where I'm constantly scanning the "Consuming" list randomly all day long and getting distracted there.

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 4th)

  1. Still trying to stick to the rule of writing for myself first, but ensuring that anyone else who reads it can understand my thoughts ↩︎

Posted on April 05 2021 by Adnan Issadeen