Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web, by those far wiser than myself:


Three Staples
Before a short trip away recently I had a look back through a travel journal I had written almost twenty years ago, having a chuckle at what it contained. A lot of memories came flooding back. As Jinnie describes, that is generally the aim with such a journal:

At the end of the trip, we end up with a nice, tangible reminder of our time together that we can look back on.

I did feel a little guilty at not continuing the tradition in the intervening years, thinking to myself I must return to that very habit. I must admit I wasn’t successful in recording that particular trip, however there are those who are, and they do it in style:
Travel Journaling


You Tube – Murphy Report
Courtesy of Pen Economics on Twitter.

At just under 6 minutes, a wonderful tale of a fountain pen collector, showing the passion behind accumulating and enjoying a 200+ fountain pen collection:
Fountain Pen Collector Jose “Butch” Dalisay Jnr.


The Washington Post
I was occasionally guilty of this one, often being admonished by my teenage daughter with “Daaaad – punctuation?!” in a tone of disbelief and pity. Never again.

Now a study has confirmed it. Researchers led by Binghamton University’s Celia Klin report that text messages ending with a period are perceived as being less sincere, probably because the people sending them are heartless.

All the while I thought I was simply being a little uncool:
Study confirms that ending your texts with a period is terrible


The Verge
Advice apparently received by co-founder Gentry Underwood when raising funds to develop the now discontinued email app Mailbox:

“This path,” they told him, “is paved with corpses.”

A tough market:

Ask Sparrow, or Molto, or Boxer. Everyone uses email, but most are content to stick with the default mail app on their phones. At worst, you’re dead within months. At best, you’re acquired, and then killed off a few years later

As mentioned in last weeks links, I was a Mailbox user for quite some time, however the ease with which I simply logged into an alternative is perhaps somewhat telling for this market segment also:
Why Mailbox died


A handy tip for Drafts users. This magical place where text can begin and go just about anywhere, does not limit you to just one action.

Get cracking and stack those actions:
Drafts – Dual Actions


Perfect Daily Grind
The effects of climate change are of course far-reaching, not the least of which in the coffee industry.

Ethiopia is not only said to be the origin of Coffea arabica, but also a genetic bank of coffee. The natural diversity of coffee plants here is stunning. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a 10-20% decrease in overall crop yields by 2050, due to climate change worldwide.

This piece also notes that by 2080, wild arabica plants could be virtually extinct, and this amazing genetic diversity may vanish. Yes, that would mean some amazing coffees many vanish before they are even tasted, yet probably of equal importance is the livelihood of those the farmers who rely on coffee — currently one in four Ethiopians:
The Price of Climate Change on Ethiopia: Extinction of Wild Arabica


The first in a three-part series of posts on the current state of specialty coffee, which has already generated a few counter points and discussion over Twitter from other coffee professionals.

I don’t believe coffee cannot, or should not be, improved; it can and should always get better. I think we just need to readjust our expectations of what an isolated sensory experience can do. Yes, sometimes it can change someone’s life. However, it can’t do it every time or even most of the time.

The piece goes on to discuss how the excitement and innovation in the industry has perhaps stagnated somewhat, with great coffee far more accessible, and as a result, no longer exciting.

As a consumer I would agree that high quality coffee is now being served in far more places than ever before, which is clearly a positive.

How to maintain the excitement in an industry is more of a challenge, and there are some interesting points here, and I am certainly looking forward to the two follow-up posts:
Part 1: The Lull


The New York Times
Author Bret Easton Ellis on the now well established culture of reviews and likes, where everyone has an opinion on just about everything, and is happy to provide it, cultivating their online reputation the process.

The reputation economy is yet another example of the blanding of culture, and yet the enforcing of groupthink has only increased anxiety and paranoia, because the people who embrace the reputation economy are, of course, the most scared. What happens if they lose what has become their most valuable asset?

Touching on the herd mentality of always positive reviews or taking the conservative option to fit in:

Empowerment doesn’t come from liking this or that thing, but from being true to our messy contradictory selves

Things have certainly changed, and we now live in this world of rating and being rated:
Bret Easton Ellis on Living in the Cult of Likability


Study Hacks – Cal Newport
A common theme on Cal Newport’s blog is the idea of “deep work”. I may have mentioned previously that I think along the same lines however have always described this in terms of “sustained focus”.

Alice never went more than twenty minutes or so without switching her attention away from her primary task to something else. It’s tempting to dismiss these breaks because they’re so fleeting — lost in the standard background noise of knowledge work — but their cost is substantial.

Again, nothing new in that quote above, however something seen all day every day. Think about that in the context of the supposed benefits of “fleeting” or “spontaneous” interactions in your open plan office. Think about it in the context of the constant stream of text messages you receive and respond to with your phone on the desk in front of you.

Sure, it only takes a few seconds. A few seconds every few, ten, or twenty minutes. It still amazes me why people cannot seem to comprehend this:
Deep Habits: The Danger of Pseudo-Depth


John Scullen
The tools! The processes! What is it about reading how others get their work done that so intrigues us — myself very much included. Rather than simply being nosy, it definitely gives the reader (and the writer for that matter) a chance to think about their own practices, perhaps tweaking and improving things a little.

Having a reliable process makes it easier to keep going when I get tangled in the jungle of words.

Absolutely — having a process (whether yours is perfect or not), at least gives you a systematic way to work through things when they become complex or a little convoluted perhaps.

Tools are secondary to the process though. Tools come and tools go, but the process is more enduring and evolves gradually. The more consistently you work that process, the better your writing gets.

I wholeheartedly agree. I believe that is the key point which is sometimes lost when we read about how people do their work. True, if certain apps or pieces of software are not known to us, it may be about the tools just a little. Most often though it isn’t, and the real value indeed lies in the process. The patterns of thought and procedures that fit a particular persons method of work.

This is a really great post by John, and I’d highly recommend poking around his site a little more while you’re there:
How ideas come to life: a revealing look behind my writing process

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