Category: Link

The Verge: “Emotional Baggage”

Wow, did this article by Zoe Schiffer about the work culture inside Away bring up so many traumatic memories from my first startup job. It’s simultaneously shocking in its details, and yet completely unsurprising in the larger context of tech startup labor exploitation.

This Slack message from co-founder Steph Korey to the customer experience team (denying upcoming PTO requests) is, well, something else:

“I know this group is hungry for career development opportunities, and in an effort to support you in developing your skills, I am going to help you learn the career skill of accountability. To hold you accountable…no more [paid time off] or [work from home] requests will be considered from the 6 of you…I hope everyone in this group appreciates the thoughtfulness I’ve put into creating this career development opportunity and that you’re all excited to operate consistently with our core values.”

I’ve worked in tech for over twenty years. It’s struck me, over and over, how so much of our industry’s “innovation” is often about coercing additional, unhealthy labor out of its workforce. That’s not innovative or groundbreaking at all, it’s just the age-old capitalist playbook — hidden behind better branding and marketing communications.

Anne Helen Petersen wants you to take 30 minutes to just read

I enjoyed this interview with Anne Helen Petersen on the Pocket blog. She talks about her path from academia to writing deeply-researched articles on everything from burnout to women in film and music.

It seems fitting that I would read this shortly after the Atlantic piece from my last post. Petersen writes:

But everyone, no matter where they are and what they do, should have 30 minutes in their life to devote to something they want to read, listen to, or think about. For centuries people of all classes have had that sort of time, even if they devoted it exclusively to the bible or church.

I do think that most people do have that time—it’s just whittled away by other distractions (our phones, checking email, especially) that we turn to for quick relief from the overwhelming stresses from the other corners of our lives. Taking 30 minutes to read feels indulgent. It shouldn’t.

She also describes a phenomenon that desperately needs a noun:

The most embarrassing thing is when you start pocketing articles for a piece, go back and search a keyword, and realize that you pocketed the EXACT SAME ARTICLE two years ago—just never read it.

(In my case it happens more frequently with Pinboard, which I use for bookmarking).

Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers

Writing for The Atlantic, Joe Pinsker tries to uncover the factors that lead to folks joining the “reading class.”

This made me laugh in recognition:

“Introverts seem to be a little bit more likely to do a lot of leisure-time reading”

“I’m Parenting Right Now” is my new motto:

Reading will seem more like chocolate cake if it’s something that parents themselves take part in happily and regularly. “When I’m sitting there on my couch, reading a book, and my kids are doing their own thing, I like to think, ‘I’m parenting right now—they can see me reading this book,’” Russo told me.

This ignores the very real possibility that one would have to actually move to a larger, more expensive space to accommodate the influx of cheap books:

Paul also advised that parents seed books throughout the house, not stash them “preciously in your own bedroom, away from everyone else, or in one [specific] area of the house.” It may seem expensive to assemble a large home library, but Paul points out that it’s cheap to buy used books and free to borrow lots of them. “You don’t need a lot of money to fill your home with books … [and] it’s very hard to have a bored child when there are always books around,” she said.

All kidding aside, it’s been one of the biggest pleasures of my life to share a love of reading with my whole family, and to look up most afternoons and evenings and see everyone tucked away in their own corner, lost in a book.

The Disappearing Philly Accent

As someone who moved to the Philly area — as well as having lived in different regions of the US as well as abroad1 — I find this type of linguistic deep-dive fascinating.

(I could’ve used less lazy Millenial-bashing, though).

  1. The other day I was reading out loud, and J asked me to say the word “characteristic”, which I pronounce with an emphasis on the second syllable, instead of the first. Which likely stems from linguistic patterns in Tagalog. 

Bristol teenager loses sight and hearing due to processed food diet

At first I thought this was one of those stories crafted for clicks, and it is that, but it’s also quite sad — it’s not about a kid ignorant about diet and nutrition so much as an actual eating disorder:

The boy suffers from an eating disorder called Arfid (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder). Sufferers become sensitive to the taste, texture, smell and appearance of certain types of food.

He was not over or underweight, but was severely malnourished.


A successor to nvALT, you say?

The biggest difference is that it works with multiple folders and sub-folders. You pick a folder, it indexes it, and you can use it just like nvALT. But then you can open another folder, or create a new one and start editing. It allows you to create folders anywhere, maybe one on Dropbox or iCloud Drive that’s shared, one on an encrypted disk that’s private, one for work, one for home, one for every writing project. You’re not limited to tags (though you can search by and sync with macOS tags within the app), and you can sort your notes into subfolders as well.

nvALT is one of those tools that’s not as polished on the UI front as, say, Bear or Ulysses — but it’s so fast that I still use it for note-taking (especially when hooked up to another editor like Byword for writing longer notes). Speed is a big part of UX.