Blog logoMatthew Lang

Deep book researching advice

 •  Filed under Posts, Books, Reading

Cal Newport divulges his technique for researching books.

The key to my system is the pencil mark in the page corner. This allows me later to quickly leaf through a book and immediately identify the small but crucial subset of pages that contain passages that relate to whatever project I happen to be working on.

How I Read When Researching a Book by Cal Newport

Such a simple thing to do and yet I wonder why I haven't read of this before. I often fold down the corner of pages, but simply putting a line in the top of the page I can quickly thumb through a book without having to worry about folded corners of pages unfolding themselves and being missed.

The content creation device

 •  Filed under Posts, Tools, iPad

Jack Baty has been using his new iPad in anger this week. The results are good!

I’ve been using the iPad exclusively while at home for more than a week and I have been continually surprised by how much I enjoy it. I’ve been emailing, managing projects, editing photos, drawing, tweeting, and generally carrying on like it’s actually normal doing stuff on an iPad other than reading social media sites and playing games. Who knew?

Surprise! The iPad is a Content Creation Device

I picked up an iPad Pro at the weekend that I'm currently using side by side with my MacBook Pro. The iPad Pro isn't intended to be my main development machine but it will be my portable development tool of choice. First impressions are good and Jack's blog has been a great read with his recent move to using an iPad.

Erasing the past

 •  Filed under Posts, History, North America

Kurt Harden is concerned about the erasing of American history.

The first is that it strikes me as an effort to erase history. That never goes well. And I write as an Ohioan with absolutely no sympathy for the the Confederates memorialized in bronze, copper, or stone. The statues represent our past and they offer different reminders to different people.

Erasing history by Kurt Harden

I agree with Kurt on this one.

By removing these statues, the American people are removing part of their history. Yes, these statues represent a side of America that many would like to forget but it's in these statues and the history they represent that we see the progress that has been made.

Time to kill the personal website?

 •  Filed under Posts, Blogging

Rachel Kaser over at The Next Web certainly thinks so.

Like it or not, social media provides an easy-to-use template that lets anyone make their personal information available — and most of those sites are a hell of a lot easier to use than even the mildest website creation software.

It’s time to kill the personal website by Rachel Kaser for The Next Web

I can certainly see Rachel's point. With all the progress we've made on the web, the days of self-publishing means that you don't need to be tied to a domain or a way of publishing your thoughts online. Social media and blogging platforms make publishing online easy.

Where I disagree though is that while these social media platforms are easy to use, they require an investment of effort in order to be effective. In order to stand out you need to be publishing consistently and that requires investing time and effort in that platform. I'm just not prepared to make that investment in order to build my name when I can use a personal website.

Having my own website means that I'm only investing in the content at my own website and then optionally using social media to get my content out further. I not only control the content but I also having a simpler delivery method for people. I have a place where people can follow me without the pressures of social media timelines. You can visit my website or subscribe to my RSS feed. It might be less convenient than following me on social media, but when you consider that you can read my website in a less crowded environment, away from the timeline, then I think having a personal website is essential if you want people to actually read what you're publishing.