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Stop reading! Get things done!

brandelune profile image Jean-Christophe Helary ・2 min read

I started something on November 11 (documented in one of the posts I wrote here). After 30 days, I got stuck and I took a break, telling myself that I'd go back to it in January. And because I was still stuck I started reading blogs, and then I started hoarding blogs, and then I started to have 200 posts to check every single day. And I spent more time separating the good from the readable from the pointless/irrelevant than actually reading, not even to mention doing anything that mattered.

But I can't just stop reading interesting things. So I decided to make a selection based on relatively objective criteria.

-1- if the blog doesn't have an RSS feed, I won't subscribe to it in any way.

-2- if the blog publishes more than n posts a day, I remove it from my list (at first n was 10, now it's more like 2, if you really have something important to say, it's unlikely that you have the time to write meaningfully about 2 really important things in one single day).

-3- if the blog is an aggregator, I go to the source of the post I want to read, subscribe to it (unless -1- and -2- above) and remove the aggregator.

-4- if the blog is from a major information provider (Google/MS, etc.) I remove it because relevant information will be filtered and reported on in blogs that are more practical and personal.

From 200 posts to check I'm down to 30. And every time a blog writes somethings that lacks depth or meaning, I unsubscribe.

A point on relevance:

A long time ago I used RSS a lot, then I stopped reading online, then I came back, only to check Daringfireball, Hackernews and Slashdot. During the last presidential election campaign, DF started to drift from mostly Apple stuff + a few other nerdy topics to half half-backed politics and half what it used to do well before. It always amazes me that people who seem smart (as far as you can tell from their tech punditry) can become really thick when it comes to politics, the climax being when Bush died and DF wrote he really respected him because he had been wed for so long... When a self-labelled liberal can come up with that level of BS it really makes you wonder what worth was everything else he wrote. People read you because you're an expert in one field, if the S/N ratio runs too high on your blog, you simply stop being relevant. If you really need to vent, use a separate media.

I stopped reading DF, and I decided to stop HN and SD because even though they're interesting in general, their lack of focus makes them irrelevant to the task at hand.

Now that I've weeded my RSS client (the excellent reborn alpha NetNewsWire for macos) I feel like I can get ready to dive again into that ocean of web knowledge and practice until I get (happily) sore. Aiming for February 11 (my second son's 14th bd and also a holiday in Japan)...

I'll be back :)

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brandelune profile

Jean-Christophe Helary

@brandelune

In Japan since '97. Translating and localizing on Mac since 2000. FOSS advocate and user. Super proud that I have some code that's been accepted in Emacs :^)

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