Interesting Links 2
I read a lot each week. I keep a lot of bookmarks, intending to either write about them or cite them. When I finally get to writing a particular piece, I usually forget which link I intended to include. This means I end up spending more time searching for a link than writing the piece itself.
I've decided to start keeping links to articles I found to be interesting along with a quote from each. This will help me organize. The list seems like it may be interesting to others as well, so I've decided to periodically publish them.
I tend to read in spurts and without regard for chronological order, so I make no claim that everything linked will be "current" by Internet standards. These links are in no particular order. The vague categories are just to help guide you to what you may also find interesting.
Creativity and Writing
21 or 22 Yet Even More Amazing Tips to Be a Better Writer by James Altucher
I reread tip 21 to myself over and over until I got the courage to publish It Never Gets Better.
When I was 22 years old I thought girls would like me if I wrote a novel. I spent so much time writing that I was thrown out of graduate school.
My first published book caused me to get fired when my boss thought I stole all his ideas.
My sister wrote me, "you're a horrible person".
How Caffeine Can Cramp Creativity by Maria Konnikova
Your morning coffee may hinder creativity. Conversely, it may help with executing an idea once you have one.
Balzac, then, may not have been personally quite as far off the mark as it seems. If he expected caffeine to have a certain effect, he may have been able to attain it simply by believing it, regardless of whether the caffeine itself was causing those effects. And, ultimately, for the hours of research and focussed thinking that form the raw material of most any creative endeavor—in Balzac's case, the endless pages of plot and character development—an extremely caffeinated approach may be productive, as long as the mind is allowed to wander every now and again.
The Hardest Part: A Brief Survival Kit for Working Writers by Matt Wallace
New writers, myself included, typically only focus and struggle on one half of the writing process. The other half is the hard part.
I think a lot of us transpose the two. We like the agony of writing because it's active. The agony of writing is communal (another thing you people do I will never understand. You choose an inherently solitary pursuit and then form a fucking community around it). You're reading this because you want that feeling of being engaged in the struggle. Grappling with words, struggling to produce them makes you feel like a writer. Waiting just makes you feel impotent and gives you the terrible opportunity to question the quality of whatever it is you submitted and by proxy your own self-worth.
You don't read a lot about how to be a writer when you're not writing.
Every writer on the internet seems to want to help you deal with your craft.
Precisely none of them want to help you deal with your life.
Productivity and Career
A Time For Things by Patrick Rhone
Patrick Rhone has a good idea: take your to-do list items and put them on a calendar instead of a disorganized list. I like his justifications for doing so, too. I think I'm going to try this.
Start with the "Big Rocks" or "Today List" or "Next Actions" or whatever list system du jour your are praying to at the moment. Take those things, look at them, and commit to them — ask yourself the when. When today will you do these things? Are you serious? Then put it on the calendar, schedule, planner, — whatever. Even if it is just to carve out a couple of hours and call it, "A Time for Things". Now, you have committed. Now, you are serious.
Reviving Blue Collar Work: 4 Myths About the Skilled Trades by Jeremy Anderberg
"There aren't any jobs!" people cry in front of the "Help Wanted" signs.
While the number of laborers in the skilled trades has sharply declined, there's still a great need for this type of work. These blue collar men and women literally keep our nation's infrastructure intact – from our electrical systems, to our plumbing, and even the nuts and bolts that keep our buildings together. There is an ever-widening skills gap occurring in our nation because of the fact that young people aren't considering those careers. This means there are good jobs available, but no talent to fill them.
The Not Too Smart Home by Patrick Rhone
When building a project, I've been guilty of "over-engineering." There really is no need for a lot of what I've done. What I consider to be my mistakes are slowly becoming the norm in consumer electronics. Patrick Rhone rebuts this trend.
I don't have to buy some fancy wi-fi enabled bulbs — I can use any bulb I want. And, the fact is, I can't currently think of a single area of my home where I would want or need a light I can control from my phone. Or a use case that can't be solved with technology that has already been around for years.
Information Doesn't Want To Be Free by Cory Doctorow
This excerpt from Cory Doctorow's latest book shows that Digital Rights Management hurts sales for an entire industry. People will pay for something if you would just let them buy it.
The first person to publish a program to break the digital locks on old-style DVDs, in 1999, was Jon Lech Johansen, a fifteenyear- old Norwegian teenager. "DVD Jon" took up the project because his computer ran the GNU/Linux operating system, for which the movie studios wouldn't license a DVD player. In order to watch the DVDs he bought, he had to break their locks. Seven years later, Muslix64 broke HD-DVD's DRM for similar reasons—he wanted to watch a legitimate out-of- region DVD that he'd purchased. Both of these seminal figures in the history of digital locks were inspired not by "piracy" but by frustration with the limitations put on the legitimate media they'd paid good money for.
No Debate: Separating the Art and the Artist by Matt Wallace
When an artist people like commits a crime, people will continue to buy the artist's art, claiming there is a difference between the artist's personal life and the art they have created. Sometimes, this argument doesn't hold.
This is a heavy one for me, for many reasons, but the most pressing of which at the moment is I work in Hollywood (okay, Hollywood-adjacent. Whatever. That's kind of the point I'm working towards here). And here's a truth. It's a fucked up truth. It's one I probably shouldn't write about, shouldn't commit to the internet wayback machine for the sake of whatever career I hope to have in this town and this business. But it's the truth, and not speaking it is, once again, what largely creates this problem.
The Liquid Nitrogen Tanks of New York by Tom Scott
I always thought those liquid nitrogen stickers were a joke. Tom Scott explains why Manhattan has liquid nitrogen canisters sitting out in the open.
How I Got Rejected From a Job at The Container Store by Deborah Copaken
Deborah Copaken tells a fascinating story of how, no matter how organized, skilled, or importunate you are, you can lose everything in an instant through circumstances beyond your control.
Reader, first I laughed when I read this. Then I cried. Oh, Reader, I cried and I cried, long and deep and mournfully. I cried for me and my kids, then I cried for everyone else in my same boat, then I cried for everyone in far worse boats. Because seriously, if an Emmy-award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and Harvard grad cannot land a job as a greeter at The Container Store—or anywhere else for that matter, hard as I tried—we are all doomed.