The Wednesday Writeup - Issue #5

Hello, and welcome back to The Wednesday Writeup!

This has been a crazy busy week. A good week to be sure, but really busy.

What I'm Doing

I have pivoted my writing again a little bit. I'm still trying to write and publish every day, but that won't manifest in a post every day. Instead, a few days ago I setup a spot on my site that emulates the behavior of Roam Research in order to start maintaining a Public Brain. I don't have much content up there yet, but I have decided that many of the topics I would try and generate a mini-post about, instead probably belong in the Brain. So any day I don't publish an actual post, I will attempt to at least push something to there. https://aengusmcmillin.com/brain is the link if you are interested.

I have written a couple of normal posts though as well this week:

  • https://aengusmcmillin.com/kotlin-part-3 part 3 of my kotlin tutorial series. Getting back into writing more tutorials, I really do want it to eventually be a more full part of my site, but it is time consuming content to make.

  • https://aengusmcmillin.com/what-i-know Short piece about wanting to write more little bits about the different topics I know about. I published this right before I decided to build that brain, so most of this sort of material will be going there.

  • https://aengusmcmillin.com/homeschooling Published earlier today, been working on this off and on for a while, just never felt quite comfortable enough to post until now.

This is week two of the Building A Second Brain course. The big objective this week was establishing a project list. I remember doing the same assignment last time and having a lot more trouble with it. I really do feel like I'm getting a better handle on what my priorities are, and what I want to be working on. Plus, I can tell the course is getting better, and Tiago is coming up with good new ways of presenting the material that helps quite a bit.

About nine days into a paleo diet that my parents and I decided to try while we are in quarantine. So... much... cooking. And huge grocery runs. Our fridge ends up jam packed full of veggies and meat. The meals are pretty tasty though, if it weren't for the fact that I really, really want a proper tortilla and slice of pizza right now I could see myself continuing with something along these lines. (Speaking of pizza, I’m really tempted to get a pizza oven once this is over, looking at the Ooni Koda, but if anyone has recommendations let me know!)

What I'm Thinking

Twitter attention is a weird thing. I got more of it than normal yesterday after a retweet of my Public Brain tweet, and it makes me realize just how much of a dopamine hit the likes can be. I need to make sure I don't let it become too distracting or alluring of an incentive because I know it won't always lead to good results.

I don't think I take the time to recognize this enough, but I'm really enjoying having more journaling and writing in my life. I'm thinking about the world differently, retaining more of what I learn, and generally feeling way more productive, all largely driven by the writing habit.

Things to Read

Articles

https://fortelabs.co/blog/para/

Tiago Forte has a public series of posts describing the P.A.R.A method that he teaches more thoroughly in Building a Second Brain. If you have been struggling to manage information and projects, this is a pretty solid option. Tiago uses Evernote, and so that is what the series teaches, but many of the ideas can be relatively easily applied to other tools if that isn't your note taking app of choice.

Books

Today I wanted to recommend a couple of ebooks that I have been getting a lot of value out of as I do product development. I have been going back through these as I do planning and designing recently.

Just Fucking Ship - Amy Hoy & Alex Hillman

This is a great, if somewhat heavy on the language, book full of tips on how to approach complex projects and actually ship them. I haven't been successful applying all of the recommendations yet, but I have revisited it several times to get advice on backwards planning, how to break down large tasks, and generally stay on course with a new product. If you want to know what sort of content to expect, I would recommend starting with the author's blog https://stackingthebricks.com/. There is a lot of other content worth reading in the archives.

Refactoring UI - Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger

I am not particularly visually inclined, which is a bit of a problem when trying to make nice looking software and websites. This book has a bunch of guidelines and systems for laying out a site, picking colors and managing contrast, selecting the right fonts, and handling margins and padding. Incredibly actionable, and simple enough that as a programmer I can actually design decent interfaces if I apply the rules properly.

Things to Watch

Tiger King on Netflix

I'm assuming most of you have heard about this show at this point, but I finished watching it a few days ago and it is really good. It's just completely insane the type of real characters and 'true' stories that are presented throughout, and it just keeps getting weirder with every episode. Gets rather uncomfortable to watch a lot of the time, but it's hard to stop, and overall is an incredibly compelling show.

Location of the Week: The Eiffel Tower

When I staying in Scotland last year I spent a week to take a train trip down through London to visit Paris. This was my first time ever to Paris (or even France at all), so I wanted to see a couple of the main highlights. Managed to see the Louvre of course, and took a day to visit The Palace of Versailles, but one of my highlights was definitely getting to see the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower. The line took a while, but it was well worth it.

Signing off until next week
- Aengus McMillin