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Clackity

(months pass)

I’m sitting at a Panera, with my shiny new 11″ MacBook Air, waiting for a meeting. I’m caught up on my feeds, [Reddit](http://reddit.com), email, and other distractions, and since I’ve done pretty much all the fidgeting I can on this new machine (which I’ve lusted after for so long at The Perfect Writing Machine(TM)), I figured I should actually, you know, do some writing.

Notably, there is not much [Clackity Noise](http://www.kungfugrippe.com/post/169873399/clackity-noise) from the keyboard. But I love it. It feels great. Same layout as previous MacBooks and the Apple Wireless keyboard that I’ve used and loved for years, so no need to relearn muscle memory. One thing that bothered me about previous MacBooks was the thick front ledge, machined to a nice, sharp aluminum blade, and positioned perfectly to cut into the underside of my wrists while I was writing. It never bothered me that much until I notice its absence on this Air. The front edge is so thin, and close to the table, that I don’t feel it at all. Very nice.

I’m using Yet Another Text Editor, too, but I hope to stay with this one for the long haul. I finally broke down and bought [BBEdit 10](http://www.barebones.com/products/bbedit/). I’d been on the fence while all the supernerds debated BBEdit vs TextMate, and honestly, I was leaning towards TextMate. I would have taken the plunge already if there weren’t such a stench of death and abandonment hanging around it. But BBEdit was $100, and that was a lot of dough to drop on the electronic equivalent of Yet Another Notebook, ostensibly for me to write in, but more likely to be hoarded, empty, and admired on its own. But then BBEdit 10 came out. Besides some nice updates (I’d never really used it before, so I’ll take the nerds’ word for it), like improved [Markdown](http://daringfireball.net/markdown) support, it also got a price drop to $39.99, and appeared on the Mac App Store. I hemmed and hawed for a few weeks, trying the trial version, feeling overwhelmed initially at the interface, but really liking what I saw on the whole. The weight of all that was finally more than the desire to keep $40 in my checking account, so I bought it. I still don’t have it all set up the way, or at least, I don’t think I do. I’ve learned how to turn off the things that annoy me (autocomplete all the freaking time? No, thank you). And [Brett Terpstra’s Marked](http://markedapp.com/) really does make a nice companion app for it.

For all that, though, until a few minutes ago when I sat down to write this, I was still dorking around with the tools, and not actually, you know, writing anything. But now I am. I feels good. The tools feel good. This MacBook Air is quite possibly the nicest computer I’ve ever used. It’s certainly the lightest. Maybe the fastest. I was worried that the eleven inch 1366×768 pixel screen would be too small, but it’s perfect. I love this thing.

Now, to see if I can make myself get out of Tool Dork mode, and actually use it to create something on a regular basis. Clackity clackity clack clack.

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Blog

Rebooting my Blogging

I’ve hit another one of those blocks. Before the end of 2008, I had grand visions of taking time off at the end of the year, having time to think, and write, and get some of the ideas that have been squirming around inside my head out and into words. But then the Snowpocalypse happened, and instead of nice, relaxing time off, we were all cooped up in our house for two weeks, getting on each other’s nerves. When the snow melted, we headed off to visit family in southern Oregon, which was fun, but busy, and full of activities. I’m not complaining, or trying to make you think I didn’t enjoy my vacation – who doesn’t enjoy a 3 day Guitar Hero World Tour binge and Nerf gun modding with the nieces and nephews? :-)

But i didn’t get the writing done that I wanted to. In fact, as you can see, it’s been weeks since I’ve posted anything substantial here.

So I’m going to try to “reboot” my blogging here, and just write, write, write. I’m going to try to avoid the distractions of throwing thoughtlings out on Twitter, sinking into reading feeds and forums, etc. It feels really weird to think that I’m actually procrastinating something that I really enjoy, that no one is forcing me to do. :-)

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Why do I have such a hard time writing consistently?

It’s been days since I’ve posted here. I’ve been sick, which is partially to blame, but not completely. I have a ton of stuff starred in Google Reader and elsewhere that I’ve wanted to write about – even just quick “Linky” posts. But it feels like there’s the gravitational field pulling me away whenever I start to think about writing something. Email to read, work to do, feeds to catch up on. Maybe I’m just having a slump. This blog isn’t dead or dying – never will, if I have anything to say about it. But maybe Paul Boutin is on to something – my activity on places like Twitter, FriendFeed, etc. have definitely had an impact. His point is that if you blog for the fame, recognition, link love, and money, it’s getting harder and harder to be “successful”. But I never have written for those reasons. This is a place for me to write my thoughts, and I don’t care a whole lot about who reads them. I mean, I love traffic, links, and feed subscribers, but for me, I love them because they represent people I interact with. People who are part of my network, my community. My friends. That’s the payoff for me. If I cared about ad revenue or page rank or how many hits/subscribers I had, I would have given up a long time ago.

So, I’m sure my muse will come back soon. Where are you, muse? :-)

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I want to write more. Do more. Hack more. Learn more. So I gotta read less.

There aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve been trying to juggle several side projects, plus all the stuff I have to do at work, plus all of our family stuff which is ramping up for summertime, and still keep up with all of my sources of information crack – RSS feeds, Twitter, books, etc. And it’s not working. A couple of things are crashing down around my ears. Something has to give.

I read a LOT. I used to be subscribed to over 1500 RSS feeds. That was WAY too many. About a year ago, I cut it down to around 500 feeds or so. But that was around the same time that Twitter really exploded in my life, proving itself invaluable for not only connecting and talking with people, but as the fastest conduit for breaking news, the most efficient source for answers to questions, and general serendipitous gems of things that were interesting and made me smarter. So I think the overall level of information overload stayed about the same.

Today, I decided action was needed. Drastic action, maybe. So I went and pruned my Google Reader feed subscriptions down to around 250 – I cut them in half. I have a pretty structured system for organizing feeds into various attention tiers (which I really should write about one of these days, but I haven’t had time – see my problem!? 😉 ). But even that wasn’t enough. So, after backing up my OPML, I got out the machete. Chop chop!

I feel pretty good about what I have left. I have a serious disorder – FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I’m always afraid that something cool or interesting or significant is going to happen, and I’m not going to be among the first to know about it! I had to battle that tendency, and be ruthless about what I really needed to keep in my aggregator, and what I could get rid of. We’ll see how it works out.

I pacified my FOMO by reminding myself how effective tools like Twitter, TechMeme, and Digg are at letting the interesting/cool stuff bubble to the top. A few years ago, there really wasn’t anything like them that information addicts like myself could rely on. Now that they’ve matured into what they are today, I’m more comfortable relying on them, and not needing to subscribe to the many, many sources of news myself. It was funny and ironic to tell myself “I don’t need to subscribe to that feed. I’ll just go to the site if I want to see what’s new.” Me, Mister Orange RSS Shoes, lives in his aggregator, etc. You can laugh now if you want. 😉

Anyway, I hope to force myself to have more time to write (long form, as in blog posts, and maybe other stuff – 140 character microposts on Twitter don’t really count as writing!), and work on some side projects. I’ve been getting the itch to do more programming and hacking. I want to sit down and teach myself Python, or PHP, or build something cool on Google App Engine or Amazon EC2 or something. Create. Build. Hack. Teach. Do.

And as much as I love reading, something’s gotta give, so we’ll see how long I can last on this feed diet…

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