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Processing the Information Firehose

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The following article explains how I personally organize, consume, and produce information. <h>Writing Process</h> I get information from carefully selected sources, combining more narrowly defined streams without the help of an algorithm---or at least not a <i>single</i> one. I <i>defer</i> reading, viewing, and listening---preferring to determine the order that I consume content rather than letting fate decide. I will sometimes read or watch something immediately---and even then, only if it's short---but almost always spike it for later, so I can continue doing what I was doing. I find that pretty much anything can wait. I'm almost always way "behind" (no hot takes), but neither do I have to worry too much about having reacted too quickly and regretted something I've written. I use <i>Tools</i> to obtain <i>Inputs</i> and generate <i>Outputs</i>. Each of these is detailed in its own section below. I generate content as follows: <ol> Add articles to <i>Instapaper</i> Read some immediately, citing and annotating in <i>Apple Notes</i> or starting article drafts on <a href="{app}">earthli News</a> Download weekly list of unread articles to Kindle Read articles on Kindle, highlighting and annotating Mark articles as <a href="http://www.instapaper.com/starred/rss/1890855/5c1g08eoy9skhOr3tCGqTQbZes">Liked</a> and <a href="http://www.instapaper.com/archive/rss/1890855/5c1g08eoy9skhOr3tCGqTQbZes">Archived</a> on <a href="https://instapaper.com">Instapaper</a> (<i>Instapaper Likes</i> are automatically posted to <a href="https://twitter.com/mvonballmo">Twitter</a>) Copy highlights/annotations to <a href="{app}view_folder.php?id=44">Notes</a> on <a href="{app}">earthli News</a> Start article drafts on <a href="{app}">earthli News</a> with other content Publish articles on <a href="{app}">earthli News</a> (also automatically posted to <a href="https://twitter.com/mvonballmo">Twitter</a>) </ol> The further down the list I get, the more time I invest in writing and copy-editing. <ul> A "like" on Instapaper shows up for people who've subscribed to the newsfeed or are following me on Twitter, but there's no context about <i>why</i> I liked it or <i>what</i> I liked about it. I just started the <a href="{app}view_folder.php?id=44">Notes</a> as a way to add context without a <i>huge</i> time investment on my part.<fn> Articles, as ever, require more time and inspiration. </ul> <h>Tools</h> I use the following tools to retrieve and manage content. <dl dt_class="field"> <a href="https://ranchero.com/netnewswire/">NetNewsWire for Mac</a> A fast and easy-to-use news reader; I've used it for years and years. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasts_(software)">Apple Podcasts</a> This product was spun off from <i>iTunes</i> a few years ago. It's a decent podcast player with few frills, but it does what it needs to. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notes_(Apple)">Apple Notes</a> This product is included with MacOS and tracks formatted notes with cloud synchronization. <a href="https://amazon.com">Amazon Kindle PaperWhite</a> An E-Reader with highlighting and note-taking functions. I can transfer highlights and notes as a simple text file. <a href="https://gutenberg.org">Project Gutenberg</a> A source of free E-Books for out-of-copyright, older material. <a href="https://nypl.overdrive.com">New York Public Library</a> A source of more current E-Books. <a href="https://instapaper.com">Instapaper</a> An online tool with browser plugins to which you can add articles to read later. It strips the articles down to the text and can also send "newsletters" to a Kindle. </dl> <h>Inputs</h> At the beginning of the chain are <i>inputs</i>. I prefer textual input, but I listen to videos and podcasts as well, occasionally transcribing passages I find interesting. <dl dt_class="field"> Newsfeeds The largest amount of information comes from Newsfeeds (RSS and Atom; I don't really care). I use <i>NetNewsWire</i> for <i>MacOS</i>. I read some right away, but mostly go through them quickly, adding articles to <a href="https://instapaper.com">Instapaper</a>. <a href="https://news.ycombinator.com">Hacker News</a> A tech-heavy web site with a pretty decent algorithm for choosing relevant and interesting articles for the home page. I scan the short home page once per day for a couple of minutes. <a href="https://old.reddit.com">Reddit</a> A news/social-media web site on which I've built a few multi-reddits that yield some interesting stuff, but I use it more for fun than research. Lately, the quality of content has dropped, so I use it much less. A couple of minutes per day. Podcasts I listen to some podcasts regularly and sometimes transcribe information for articles. I much prefer reading, but there's lots to learn in long-form interviews. <a href="https://youtube.com">YouTube</a> I rely on YouTube nearly exclusively for videos and have a subscription (it came with <i>Google Play Music</i>). I use the main <i>Watch Later</i> list a lot, moving longer videos to custom "Watch Later" lists for <i>Public Policy/Philsophy</i>, <i>Tech</i>, and <i>Music</i>. I sometimes transcribe information for articles. Books I read books with no real agenda, going from non-fiction to fiction and back as I please. I have a bunch of wishlists at both the <a href="https://nypl.overdrive.com">New York Public Library</a> and <a href="https://amazon.com">Amazon</a>, though I prefer to loan digital works from a library than to buy them. Once I've read a book, I don't really need it anymore (mostly because I track citations in <a href="{app}view_folder.php?id=34">Book Reviews</a>). </dl> <h>Outputs</h> From all of these inputs, I publish to various outputs, ranging from automated lists and feeds to self-authored articles. This is a hobby; my main interest is to organize information for my future self. Therefore, the publishing schedule isn't very predictable. I've included approximations for the different types of content. <h level="3"><a href="{app}">earthli News</a></h> <a href="{root}">earthli</a> is my personal web site, where I publish my blog "earthli News". <dl dt_class="field"> <a href="{app}view_folder.php?id=44">Notes</a> Citations and quick annotations on articles I've read. <i>One per week.</i> <a href="{app}">Articles</a> In-depth essays on various topics, usually including citations from articles, podcasts, or videos. <i>At least one per month.</i> <a href="{app}view_folder.php?id=45">Movies / Series Reviews</a> Synopses/impressions of movies or series I've watched. I'll generally collect 10 movies/series reviews per article, so usually about <i>12 per year.</i> <a href="{app}view_folder.php?id=34">Book Reviews</a> Citations and synopses/impressions of books I've read; I'll generally have one article per book and then a big wrap-up article per year. Usually about <i>24 per year</i>. </dl> <h level="3"><a href="https://instapaper.com">Instapaper</a></h> <ul> <a href="http://www.instapaper.com/starred/rss/1890855/5c1g08eoy9skhOr3tCGqTQbZes">Liked</a>: A running list of all article I've liked. <i>Several per week</i>. <a href="http://www.instapaper.com/archive/rss/1890855/5c1g08eoy9skhOr3tCGqTQbZes">Archived</a>: A running list of all article I've read. <i>Several per week</i>. </ul> <h level="3"><a href="https://twitter.com/mvonballmo">Twitter</a></h> My Twitter consists nearly solely of auto-posted content from my <a href="http://www.instapaper.com/starred/rss/1890855/5c1g08eoy9skhOr3tCGqTQbZes">Instapaper Likes</a> and <a href="{app}">earthli News articles</a>. <i>Several per week</i>. <h level="3"><a href="https://youtube.com">YouTube</a></h> The following are public playlists to which I occasionally save links to videos. Anyone with a YouTube account can subscribe to these. <ul> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaAuYwHbW13pLSB5U05-5KgCSwURS3Z7I">Fellow Agitators</a>: Public Policy, generally left-leaning. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaAuYwHbW13oWFVJBDlOPPThpizvkyGOo">Encodo Suggestions</a>: Technology and Programming, originally created for co-workers at <a href="https://encodo.com">Encodo Systems AG</a>. </ul> <hr> <ft>I currently have over 2500 published articles over the last 20 years or so, but also over 1100 drafts. Some of the drafts are <i>huge</i> but were never polished enough to publish or their time had come and gone. Some of the drafts are collections of links and citations that I've meticulously collection, but also never published, always thinking "I'd get to it." I don't have that kind of time or energy, so I invented <a href="{app}view_folder.php?id=44">Notes</a> to at least make an in-between version with some context. This isn't because I think my choice of citations is particularly clever, but because I use several sources that do something very much like this and I appreciate it very much.</ft>