October 2022

Sunsetting the Canonet

This is probably the last roll I’ll run through the Canonet. I can’t seem to focus it and I don’t trust the shutter speeds. Also, it has scratched a couple of negatives and the frame spacing is all over the place. It’s a nice camera to look at, so that’s how it’ll spend its remaining days.

Here are a few more from that last roll. I told you I can’t focus it.

Fancy graphs are fancy

All I think when I see posts like this is, “So? To what end?”

“5 months results. @logseq keeps logging and meaning emerges naturally.” (@hillsmao)

I’m sure some people actually derive value from these graphs, but I also suspect that many just get a kick out of looking at them. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not Knowledge. It’s barely even information.

Because I’m mad at Hugo

Most days I love using Hugo for my blog. It’s super fast, flexible, and runs as a single binary with no dependencies. It builds me a nice static website out of a bunch of Markdown files and I love everything about that. Except that sometimes it’s too much work. To post anything I have to create a new file, add the proper front matter, render the site, and push the changes to my server. And if I want any images in the post, I have to size them and copy them to the correct location, and then hand-write links to them. It’s not hard, but it’s still a lot of friction.

Over the past few days I’ve found myself trying to tweak Hugo to accommodate my daily post entries, and it has not been fun. I’ve been using Hugo for years and I still don’t understand the template hierarchy. And forget about doing anything difficult with Hugo’s Go templates and themes. It’s baffling to me. Yes, I understand that maybe I’m just a slow learner but I’m not convinced that’s the entire problem here.

And then this morning something just stopped working. A post wouldn’t render no matter what I tried. It was the last straw.

So here we are in Ghost. I often hate this too, but in a different way. Right now I prefer the way I hate Ghost.

Alan Moore on comics

Watchmen author Alan Moore: ‘I’m definitely done with comics’:

I said round about 2011 that I thought that it had serious and worrying implications for the future if millions of adults were queueing up to see Batman movies. Because that kind of infantilisation – that urge towards simpler times, simpler realities – that can very often be a precursor to fascism.

And this:

Hundreds of thousands of adults [are] lining up to see characters and situations that had been created to entertain the 12-year-old boys – and it was always boys – of 50 years ago. I didn’t really think that superheroes were adult fare.

Personal Knowledge Management is exhausting

I’ve been testing the hot new Tana app for the past week, and I’m exhausted.

First, I don’t need a Zettelkasten. If you’re being honest, you probably don’t either. And yet, we spend hours or days learning the “proper” way to build one. Then we set up our new system, using paper or digital or both, roll up our sleeves, and waste time putting stuff into it.

The worst part isn’t the putting of stuff into my PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) system. The worst part is all of the tinkering around where to put stuff and how to classify/tag/organize it.

I made the mistake of reading “How to Take Smart Notes” by Sönke Ahrens and browsing the forums and that sent me on a spiral of worrying about atomicity, what to do about “fleeting” notes, how big is a Zettel? and so on. In other words, I was more concerned with finding the proper method of managing my notes rather than focusing on what was actually in them and what they were for.

This week’s tinkering with Tana hasn’t helped. Tana is the next iteration of tools based on things like Roam Research, Notion, etc. I like it. It’s a bit like TiddlyWiki and Tinderbox in that it allows for additional attributes to be associated with each node and makes these ontologies easy to search, link, parse, summarize, etc. It makes some complicated workflows pretty easy to implement. I think a lot of people will dig it.

The problem is that this flexibility leads to a lot of hand-wringing over the best way to utilize all this power. The Tana Slack channels are teeming with questions about workflows and structure and attributes and on and on. It makes me tired just reading about it.

I’m not sure I need a system around, for example, the best way to surface the minutiae from interstitial journaling. In fact, just using the phrase “interstitial journaling” is a dead giveaway that I’ve already been overthinking it. Settle down, Jack!

Anyway, I’ll keep playing with Tana for fun, but I’m probably not going to continue using it for my notes. It’s not something I will benefit from, especially considering the amount of effort I’ll put into setting it up and getting everything “right”. I’m exhausted and I think I’ll go back to using paper. Or maybe Emacs.