Archive of posts with tag 'tools'

Nick Pedulla's Roubo Workbench

October 23, 2023 • #

The novelty, design, craftsmanship, execution, cinematography, all unmatched. Absolutely incredible work.

He took a centuries-old, classic bench design and added function to support his specific workflow needs.

I have incredible respect for populating your workspace with beautiful, functional things. If it makes you enjoy the work, you’re more likely to do it, and more likely to push yourself to higher standards.

Weekend Reading: Liberal Science, Roam42, and JTBD Examples

February 6, 2021 • #

🧠 In Defense of Being Offensive

Jonathan Rauch on pluralism and the necessity of disagreement in the search for truth.

His book Kindly Inquisitors was first published in 1993, but is as relevant today as ever. The book is a defense of what he calls “liberal science”, our decentralized process for knowledge discovery that relies on relentless-but-gradual error correction:

Liberal science, by its very nature, has little tolerance for fundamentalism; conversely fundamentalism is a threat to liberal science. Fundamentalism, defined by Rauch as...


December 28, 2020 • #

As little as Twitter has moved as a product in the last several years, the amount of time I spend on it clearly demonstrates that there’s gold there that no other product can replace.

If you curate your following list well, the quality level of the interactions you can have and people you can meet are incredible. I haven’t found another social network as good at finding interesting ideas.

A limiting aspect of Twitter is how biased toward “now” it is1. It’s inherently an ordered timeline. Algorithmic recommendations surface some recent things, but not from...

Readwise, Books, and Spaced Repetition

August 7, 2020 • #

In his piece “Why Books Don’t Work,” Andy Matuschak made a strong case that books are a poor medium for knowledge transfer. Even with the most advanced book experiences today (like digital ebook downloads to a Kindle), if you took away the digital e-ink screen, a reader from the 16th century would still recognize books as no different than what they had. We’ve added digital on-demand access, dictionary lookups, and the ability to have a library in your pocket1, but the fundamental model for conveying...

Annotating the Web with Memex

June 5, 2020 • #

I linked a few weeks ago to a new tool called Memex, a browser extension that touts itself as bookmarking for “power users of the web.” Its primary unique differentiator is how they approach the privacy angle.

I’m a couple of weeks into using it and it brings an interesting new approach to the world of bookmarking tools like Pinboard or Raindrop, both of which I’ve used a lot. Raindrop has been my tool of choice lately, but it’s heavy for what I really want,...

Roam Tools

May 17, 2020 • #

The roamcult has been on a streak of creating tools to extend and improve Roam Research. Here are a few that I’ve been using lately.

Better Roam Research

This one is a simple Chrome extension that reskins Roam with a minimalist design. It doesn’t change much about the utilitarian interface, just some simple spacing and colors (plus Dark Mode support).


A simple Chrome extension for clipping quotes into your Roam database. It takes the snippet and source URL and formats them into a nice block to link into your notes.

Weekend Reading: American Production, On Bikeshedding, and Glyphfinder

May 9, 2020 • #

🏭️ Why America Can Make Semiconductors But Not Swabs

Dan Wang on American industrial production:

Learning to build again will take more than a resurgence of will, as Andreessen would have it. And the U.S. should think of bolder proposals than sensible but long-proposed tweaks to R&D policies, re-training programs and STEM education.

What the U.S. really needs to do is reconstitute its communities of engineering practice. That will require treating manufacturing work, even in low-margin goods, as fundamentally valuable. Technological sophisticates in Silicon Valley would be wise to...

Weekend Reading: Beastie Boys, Links, and Screencasting

May 2, 2020 • #

🎥 Beastie Boys Story

We watched this a couple nights ago. It’s hard to tell how objectively good it was, but I loved the heck out of it as a decades-long fan.

🔗 Linkrot

I’ll have to try out this tool that Tom built for checking links. When I’ve run those SEM tools that check old links, I get sad seeing how many are redirected, 404’d, or dead.

📹 Screencasting Technical Guide

This is an excellent walkthrough on how to make screencasts. I’ve done my own tinkering...

Getting Comfortable with Roam

April 15, 2020 • #

Roam Research has been making the rounds on the internet in the last couple months. I’ve written a little bit here about it, but promised this longer overview of how it’s working for me so far.

What is it?

Roam is a tool for note-taking, described as a tool for “networked thought.” With a glance on Twitter you’ll find all sorts of comparison pieces to Evernote, Google Docs, or Notion. I’ve tried all of those (Notion for quite a bit) and I find the experience of using Roam completely different.


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Readwise and Instapaper

February 27, 2020 • #

Discovering Readwise a few months ago caused me to resurrect my long-dormant Instapaper account. Instapaper was my go-to “read later” service, but I also used it as a general bookmark archive. After a while I’d fallen into only using it for the latter, which then made me go back to Pinboard since the single function of bookmark tagging is its specialty. I’m still using Pinboard heavily to archive interesting things, but I’ve found a new use for Instapaper with Readwise’s integration.

Readwise’s main feature is to sync all of the highlighted passages from your...

Kindle for Mac

December 8, 2019 • #

Periodically I want to read on my computer, particularly when sitting at my desk. Amazon publishes a web app called Cloud Reader for reading Kindle books, which emulates pretty closely what their mobile apps look and feel like.

I found out they’ve got a full desktop client also, which seems they’ve had for years but I never discovered or tried it out. It turns out to be one of the better applications for reading ebooks I’ve seen, even though Amazon clearly hasn’t cared about it in years (if they ever really did).


Checking In On Tool Restoration YouTube

November 13, 2019 • #

I’ve been home the past couple days to attend to some projects — getting an aluminum patio cover installed and having shutters put in on most of the windows. My time’s been occupied by holiday season preparation, general housecleaning, and shuttling the kids to their activities. In the downtime I’ve dropped back into a few of my favorite tool restoration YouTube channels to see what’s new.

I watched this great new one from Black Beard Projects where he restores a 1950s-era bench grinder. Degreaser, paint stripper, electrolysis, and a load of elbow grease convert this thing back into a fully...

Weekend Reading: Iceland, the Use of Knowledge, and CLI Search

September 14, 2019 • #

⚖️ The Use of Knowledge in Society

I’ve been reading some of Hayek’s famous articles this week. This one is all about what he probably considered one of the most important concepts, since these basic ideas form a central thesis for most of his works. His argument was for bottoms-up, decentralized systems of decision-making instead of centralized, top-down systems:

The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in...

Weekend Reading: nvUltra, Progress, and

August 10, 2019 • #


This is a new notes app from Brett Terpstra (creator of nvALT) and Fletcher Penney (creator of MultiMarkdown). I used nvALT for years for note taking on my Mac. This new version looks like a slick reboot of that with some more power features. In private beta right now, but hopefully dropping soon.

⚗️ We Need a New Science of Progress

Progress itself is understudied. By “progress,” we mean the combination of economic, technological, scientific, cultural, and organizational advancement that has transformed...


March 14, 2019 • #

I was a big user back in the day, pre- and post-Yahoo. For anyone unfamiliar, it was one of the first tools (before Twitter) for sharing web links and making bookmarks social.

I signed up for Pinboard around the time it launched. Creator Maciej Cegłowski had an interesting concept for making his service paid, a tactic that could allow it to generate enough revenue to be self-sustaining and avoid the acquisition & stagnation that suffered at the hands of Yahoo after they acquired it in 2005.

When it launched it cost around $3 to...