Today let’s step outside the news cycle and turn our attention toward a topic I’m deeply invested in but only rarely write about: productivity platforms. For decades now, software tools have promised to make working life easier.
The booksellers whose rickety green stands dot the River Seine have been a Paris staple for hundreds of years. Through the censorship of kings and Nazi occupiers, through the Covid-19 pandemic and frequent protests, the bouquinistes have remained.
“I subscribe to so many Substacks, and I read zero of them,” quipped Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley on one of his social accounts (I honestly can’t recall which one). This perfectly encapsulates the issue with the newsletter ecosystem.
On living the dream
Yesterday this ol’ blog turned 22. Sure, it’s ignored most of the time and is a little dusty and rusty and maybe its best days are behind it, but it’s a reflection of me and my life in so many ways so it’s still special.
Not sure what about life happens to get in the way of things like writing. Yes, events, family, work, kids, etc etc. But it’s odd how I have the least amount of time to write during the years I’m going to want to remember the most.
All the stuff before, the first 8-10 years of J’s Notes, they’re not nothing but they certainly don’t reflect the life of a guy truly living a life beyond his wildest dreams. Two amazing kids, a good job, a nice house, more animals than I know what do do with, an incredible wife because, dang, y’all, I married up!
Life is good. Maybe I can just say I’m focusing on living it instead of focusing on journaling it, the memories will count. Not just mine but those of my boys, my best friend and rock and partner, my family.
It’s a good place to be. But it’s nice to make note of it once in a while.
Steve Wanner is a highly respected 37-year-old partner at Ernst & Young, married with four young children.
This post is dedicated to Catherine and Monique, two pals who asked me to dish on my longest-running daily habit. Thanks so much for being curious. In its simplest form, a Daily Snapshot is one page in a Field Notes pocket notebook filled every single day. One page. That’s it.
One of my favorite books of all time is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I first read it early on in my career, and I continue to come back to it again and again. It’s that good.
This morning, I was shaken to learn Heather B. Hamilton (formerly Heather Armstrong) aka Dooce is no longer with us. I learned the news from a post to her Instagram, confirmed by several friends after and then the Associated Press, announcing the tragic news that she died yesterday at the age of 47.
As I dig through and repost the archives of J’s Notes I’m finding a ton of dead links because twenty plus years is a LOOOOOONG time on the Internet and things go away. But thanks to the Wayback Machine you can find a lot of lost digital history with a quick search. But cut and pasting each link into a search is tedious, so maybe there’s a way to shortcut with a bookmark that has a little code to do the work for me.
So let’s ask ChatGPT!
After a little tweaking, some testing, minor back and forth with ChatGPT, and a total of 15 minutes, the following code did the trick:
- Create a new bookmark in your browser.
- Edit the bookmark’s URL field.
- Copy and paste the code above into the URL field.
- Give the bookmark a name (e.g. “Find Archive.org Cache”).
- Save the bookmark.
And this is where I think the true value of ChatGPT is (right now at least). Rough first drafts that you can then edit and build off of and make your own. I wouldn’t recommend it for “original” content — because it’s not original, it’s aggregated and filtered from other people’s work — but for non-proprietary work or learning the basics of something it can go a long way to saving some time and effort.