Fitbit experiment is looking like a failure. My steps have not been great, but I’ve been sick, so I’m not actually thrown off by that. The problem is that the Fitbit is INCREDIBLY GENEROUS in in interpreting steps. I woke up this morning to discover I had 820 steps already, and it similarly adds hundreds every time I take a drive.
So, back to just the watch. Annoying, but workable.
I am about to start rocking a smart device on each wrist. It’s going to look goofy, but I am driven by necessity. See, this past weekend I went to a convention and got in about 30,000 steps over the course of the weekend. Back when I was tracking my steps this would have been a pretty normal weekend, but I’ve been off that habit long enough that I am embarrassingly sore this morning. Enough so to make me want to get back in the habit.
The problem is that I stopped when I switched to the Apple Watch. It’s a great device, and I love mine, but it is crap as a pedometer. Not because it can’t track steps (it can, very well) but because that information is not privileged in the interface. Either I have to drill down into the health app to see my steps, or I have to use a third party app (pedometer++) which is great, but which can’t display in realtime because of the watch’s limitation.
Intellectually, this shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just a few more seconds and a few more clicks to check my steps – how in the world can that have a drastic impact on behavior?
My suspicion is that it’s all about keeping the information at top of mind. When my steps are presented to me, I stay mindful of them (and the associated behaviors) with no effort on my part. When I have to find them, that introduces enough friction that it’s easy to forget to check, and by extension to then forget the behavior.
That’s the theory. An alternate theory may be that I have just been slacking, and I can’t rule that out. But I have enough experience to know that if I try to solve this problem with good intentions and brute force willpower, then I’ll have a few good days before it all collapses for perfectly legitimate reasons. I need to build a ramp, and in this case, this ramp is going to mean wearing two watches.
I may need to tweak the theme to support headless posts for that true microblogging experience. Small challenge, but not a big deal.
Slightly more annoying: the iOS app lets me do everything except configure the size of images, so that is a bit more of an annoyance.
Anyway, that’s all pretty much inside baseball, and I mostly wanted to make two remarks about the iPad, now that I’ve been using it for a bit:
1. The pencil attaching via magnet is amazing and wonderful and the magnet is always about 20% less strong than i expect.
2. I love the physical shape of this, but it is flat and dull and I think I may need to explode with stickers upon it.
Ok, so for sheer simplicity, I paid for a WordPress account and copied the blog contents over to it, in part because I genuinely am not sure how the current nevernotlearning.com url resolves at all, since it’s pointing to a defunct address that is somehow ending up at my Lightsail install maybe? I am genuinely not sure, because all indications are that it should not work.
Anyway, I directed the DNS to point to this address, and hopefully that will work with a little time. If not, I may let WordPress manage the DNS, but I kind of don’t want to because they seem bad at it (they charge extra for very basic stuff like privacy protection, and if I decide I want to leave WordPress, I don’t want to have to fight them for the domain name). So, the next part is a bit of waiting, which I stink at, but so it goes.
Months have passed, and I have cycled back to more or less exactly where I was with the last post. A few things have changed – I have new hardware to play with, and some pressure coming from the imminent demise of google plus – but that core question of where to write is still largely the same. That this site exists is a good argument for itself, but there is a temptation to move this off AWS (I think it’s currently running on a light sail instance, which is 95% great, but the 5% irks) and maybe just pay for hosting at wordpress. Realistically, I’m paying $5 a month for this as is (the lightsail price) and if that really bugs me, I should just move it to a t2 micro and call it a day, but that would still have some maintenance overhead. Alternately, I just spend the same amount on a wordpress private account and maybe just write.
(Aside: I think the thing that throws me most is that I really want to be able to trivially add imaged to posts on iOS, and every solution is actually pretty awkward.)
Someone posted a lovely tweet about bringing back the “dumb internet” – the internet of blogs and weird websites and all those things that existed when it was motivated by interest more than profit. I admit, I really appreciate that thinking – it’s overly idealistic, but I support the thought behind it to an almost foolish extent.
So I’m taking it as a cue to blog a bit more. Right now, if I have a thought in my head it tends to end up on twitter which is extremely ephemeral and has a couple other issues as well. But it’s almost frictionless in its actual use, especially on mobile. I open the app and with one tap, I’m writing. Everything else (including wordpress) has hangtime and clickthroughs and other steps to hope through before the thinking turns into writing.
So, I’m going to take a little time to consider my options, and see if there’s a way to make it more frictionless. Might mean I end up paying for something like micro.blog or even squarespace if it gives the the tools I’d actually use. Or maybe I manage to get a workflow that lets me dump straight from drafts into a static site generator. I dunno. how it will play out, but I’ll update here as I go.
There’s a good piece of advice out there to never call a meeting when an email would suffice. This is mostly true. It’s definitely true when you are the person calling the meeting and you are the person who should be sending the email.
But sometimes the problem is not yours to solve, but rather you need Alice to talk to Bob, and that conversation just hasn’t happened. A meeting shouldn’t be necessary, because Alice could just pick up the phone or write an email, but she has not, and there is only so much you can do.
At that point, the dreaded meeting to “talk about something” becomes the tool you need. Once you set it up, the clock is ticking for Alice, and she knows it. If she steps up and reaches out to Bob, you can cancel the meeting, but if she doesn’t, then the conversation is going to happen.
If you’re facilitating this meeting, you definitely want to keep it short and have a clear agenda. The latter may not be easy because if you knew everything you needed, we wouldn’t need Alice to explain things to Bob in the first place. So in the absence of information, focus on the questions that need answering. It is entirely reasonable (useful, even) to have an agenda that is the list of things that need to be known, rather than the things that need to be told.