Web Excursions 2021-11-13

Scattered Thoughts on Why I Waste My Own Time by mbuffett.com

  • Top shelf theory

    • as long as you have access to things that are more immediately satisfying,

    • you’re making everything else seem worse by comparison.

  • it doesn’t match my own experience in getting to a stage where I can easily eat healthy.

  • what I have now is more general, in that I have a pull toward easy satisfaction, that I find hard to resist.

  • It’s a gradient, and

    • even if I could magically set some strict boundaries around my behavior,

    • I’d be attracted to the tasks that just about made it inside the boundary.

  • You can compare time-wasting to eating junk food, like the top shelf article does.

    • In contrast to my free-time habits, my eating habits are flawless.

    • There’s zero disconnect between “what I wish I would eat” and “what I eat”.

  • Overall, this feels like an identity thing.

    • Caring about my own health is a very strong part of my identity.

    • It would feel wrong to eat any other way;

    • I’d be betraying a core part of myself.


How to Build a Second Brain as a Software Developer - Aseem Thakar

  • a second brain is

    • a personal knowledge management system

    • that serves as an extension of your mind

    • so you don’t have to think as hard or remember as much.

    • You offload thinking and remembering to your private second brain.

  • there’s no “local link” in this supply chain that we’ve developed.

    • Google is the closest link,

    • meaning we use the massive, unsorted network

      • that is the Internet and Google’s interpretation of our problem as our “second brain”.

    • We’re going directly to the farm/forest every time we need food.

  • By building our own “second brain”, we can create our own local link in the information supply chain

    • that holds relevant information optimised for our needs

    • instead of relying on Google and scouring the Internet every time.

How to build

Step 1 – Choose an application

  • Deal breakers: 1. Quick capture and editing 2. Scales to thousands of notes without performance lag 3. Basic formatting options 4. Strong search feature 5. Ability to handle images and attachments 6. Private space, with public sharing

  • Must-haves: 7. At least 3 levels of hierarchy 8. Many ways to capture information 9. Native and web versions 10. Capturing and syncing across multiple devices 11. Exportable as plain text

  • Nice-to-haves: 12. Side-by-side viewing 13. Bullets or lists 14. Automatic date stamps 15. Tags

Step 2 – Create a general-purpose structure/wireframe

  • The Zettlekasten approach advocates for a disciplined approach to note-taking.

  • Notes are captured “atomically” in the shortest and most modular manner possible.

  • Once captured and split into components, you then search for other relevant notes you’ve taken in the past to link them to.

  • Finally, you update your overall network of notes to make your recently captured note accessible.

  • Having a network of notes is invaluable but it requires a lot of time and effort.

Step 3 – Create data structures for captured information

  • Q&As – building your own StackOverflow

    • Question – the question you had (not necessarily the question the source author had)

    • Answer – the answer that helped you (if possible, rewrite the original answer to be more relevant to your original question)

    • Tags – keywords to make this easily search-able in future

    • Links/related reading – links to other useful information (keep your notes as lean as possible)

    • (Date) – should be automatically captured by your note-taking app

  • Code snippets and boilerplates

    • Language, Type, Context, (Description), Snippet, (Dependencies)

  • Documentation templates

    • Type, Location, Title, Template, (Description)

  • Resources

    • the least actionable, but most educative forms of information.

    • They are the videos, courses, tutorials (and more) that you look for when you want to learn more about a broad area rather than fix a specific issue.

    • Name, Author, Category, URL, Status, Tags, (Rating)

Step 4 – Determine your information workflows

  • Finding info

    • Instead of going directly to Google when you have a particular issue,

    • you now go to your second brain first.

  • Sorting info: Depending on how relevant and timely it is, it needs to go into the appropriate project, area or resource umbrella.