I’d love to see another Known hosting provider pop up, as well as more development on the project. I want something that works well and gets out of the way, too.

Using Known for posting notes, likes, and bookmarks by James James (jamesg.blog)

I have been using Known for the last few weeks. Known is a publishing platform that adheres to many IndieWeb standards, from marking up posts with microformats to supporting post creation using Micropub clients. I decided to check out Known out of curiosity. I wanted to know what an IndieWeb-first, …

I came across this Reddit comment when it was new and recently re-discovered it in some clipped notes. With the utmost respect to /u/Yeargdribble and his 15 years on Reddit, I’m reposting it here, with highlights.

First a brief overview of the concepts:

  • Break focus work into short sessions throughout the day. Your brain can only handle 1-2 30-minute sessions at a time.
  • Have a plan.
  • Get enough sleep and take naps. This is how your brain congeals concepts.
  • Develop all the skills you need, not just the ones that are cool or obvious to others.

Here it is:

Pianists have a terrible habit of over-practicing and getting very little out of it. Piano, more than most instruments, really lends itself to this sort of mindless repetition.

I make a living playing. I average about 2-4 hours a day. That said, I try to never go over 30 minutes in a single session and have run into some consequences in the recent past for doing so.

When I practice I’m not just aimlessly repeating things with a metronome. I’m focused with very clear goals. I tend to break what I’m working on into 10 minute chunks. So three chunks per session.

Task fatigue

Research continues to show that we have a limited amount of mental resources doing any one thing before basically get task fatigue and stop paying attention. The beginning of the drop-off ranges from 20-30 minutes and the harder upper limit where you’re pretty much cooked tends to come out at around 50 minutes. So practicing for over an hour at a time as many brag to do basically is a huge waste.

That’s why I tend to take a decent break for every 30 minute session to stay mostly on the safe side. There are more reasons to be conservative about this as I’ll get to later.

General mental fatigue and over filling the cup

Practice (if you’re doing it right) is very mentally taxing. Even with breaks, you can only take so much. If I need to practice more in a day (usually to prepare for a steep deadline), I take serious naps. When it’s an option and fits with my work schedule, I lapse into bi-phasic sleep to maximize my work time. You make most of your improvement while sleeping, not while practicing. Many people find that after spending an hour beating at something with a metronome, they’ve actually regressed the next day and I are playing slower than where they left off. I tend to find that I’m usually playing faster and cleaner than where I left off… and a given section of music probably only got 10 minutes of my time the previous “day.”

If you were pouring a gallon jug of water into a cup, the jug will continue to empty, but the cup won’t get any fuller. The water just continues spilling over the sides. This is what happens to most of the people who spend lots of time practicing. They also claim they aren’t getting tired. Well, they usually aren’t working that hard. Mindlessly running scales for an hour without paying much attention to anything in particular isn’t that taxing, nor is it helpful. Blindly running your piece from start to finish and glossing over mistakes for 3 hours isn’t quite so taxing, nor is it useful. However, focusing on the fine detail work of anything for 30 minutes can be very exhausting…. and it’s actually doing something for you.

Garbage in, garbage out

Your brain gets better at doing what you tell it to. You get very good at replicating the things you do a lot. If that means playing a scale while sloppily using the wrong finger or missing a note entirely….then you get much better at playing wrong. Many people play until they get right. 10 attempts and only 1 of them is correct. Your brain unfortunately remembers the other 9 because that’s what you fed it. That’s why you should always practice painfully slowly and absolute as accurately as possible.

This is also why I check out after 30 minutes. That subtle bit of mental and task fatigue start creeping in. You might not notice it, but it’s better to not keep going until you do. For one, you’re much more likely to burn yourself out mentally. For two, as you start over that cusp, you tend to start making a few more subtle mistakes and might not even be catching them…but your brain is still remembering and polishing those mistakes. There’s absolutely no good reason to keep pushing beyond this point unless you literally only have a tiny fixed window of practice a day. Even then, I’d say 30 minutes of quality is better than an hour of half quality, half crap.


The problem with all of this is that it doesn’t seem rewarding. Only playing at the tempo you can actually control doesn’t feel like progress. Making it from 60-100 gives you that dopamine hit. It’s a game and you’ve leveled up. You’re also hearing your reward. It sounds vaguely more like a song and that’s cool… except it’s a trap.

Unfortunately, going from 60-65… and then 60-65 again the next day doesn’t seem as exciting, but it’s so much better for you. You’re in control, and at some point you’ll hit a tipping point where you’ll start at 60 on a subsequent day and go, “[Come on,] this is a joke… 65, 70, 80…OMG this is so easy!” But instead most people hit their target tempo ASAP and then go, “Why is this so uneven?… why do I only nail this 75% of the time? How do I fix this?” And it’s much harder to fix a habit you’ve already formed.

This all also applies to song selection. Everyone wants to play something cool and impressive. They all jump onto stuff that’s way too hard. They don’t develop their reading skills, theory knowledge, ear, or anything else that are part of being a good musician. They just want to play cool stuff. It makes them bad pianists. They are trained robots who can play 2 or 3 of the pieces they have memorized on command from start to finish…. unless they make a mistake which they generally can’t recover from because they only know how to play one section based on where their fingers were in the previous section due to pure finger memorization.


Honestly, I hate to even tell people how long I practice. It seems to spark competition in people and a give a false idea. They think they’ll get better by just plugging in the hours, but I think most people aren’t disciplined enough to practice even 2 hours effectively. Heck, all of my practice isn’t even on piano. On average, most of it is, but I spend a lot of time practicing my other gigging instruments depending on what I’ve got coming up. It’s never about the quantity of practice, but about the quality. I think most people who excitedly practicing more than 4 hours a day could get just as much progress out of 1 hour applied more judiciously. In fact, I think they’d make more progress by cutting back because they wouldn’t have to retread so much ground fixing bad habits.

In The Now Habit, Neil Fiore says there are three basic reasons a person might procrastinate: 1) victimization, 2) sense of overwhelm, and 3) fear of failure. If you’re not aware of how or why you procrastinate, a time log can be helpful.

While there are variations and you can adapt to your needs, the basic idea is this:

– For at least two weeks, keep track of how you spend each day.
– Every thirty minutes, note down what you did.
– If you procrastinate, write down what you thought, how you felt, what you did, and what you should have been doing.
– You can even toss in some mood/focus/energy tracking to determine when you are most productive.

I’m at the end of the second week and want to continue for a couple more, especially because I didn’t keep up with it during the latter half of this week. I do feel like writing down how I use my time helps me to keep myself accountable, though. When I review my log, I color code it to get a visual sense of how I used my time—dark green for productive, healthy tasks; bright green for focus tasks; red for procrastination; and with all honesty, yellow for things I don’t want to classify.

A quick aside here: it’s normal and good to not be fully productive every minute of the day. We need time to decompress and for things to bump around in the subconscious. However, in addition to having a goal and charting a course to get there, a good navigator must make sure they are staying on course. The time log helps with that.

Last month, I added a refurbished Gaggia Classic Pro to my coffee bar—with a 9-bar spring modification, VST basket, and Barista Hustle tamper. (I want to replace my milk pitcher because mine has a wide mouth that isn’t great for latte art.) I usually roast Ethiopian Sidamo in a dutch oven once a week, keep it in an AirScape container, and grind it in my Rancilio Rocky. I am extremely happy with the results I’m getting.

Each morning, I click the machine on and let it warm up while I prepare my great-grandfather’s breakfast. Once it warms up, I grind approximately two tablespoons of whole coffee—usually set somewhere around 7 on the Rocky—and eyeball what comes out. I’m very particular, but not too particular. 😉 Give it a good tamp, run a little water through the grouphead, lock in the portafilter, and give it a go. As long as the crema looks good and the extraction time doesn’t feel too long, it goes in the small 8-ounce Keep Cup. Steam up some milk, top up the cup, and I’m ready to head to the computer.

## Other Elements

We have a Chefman glass variable temperature electric kettle. It replaced our Breville, which died suddenly and caused serious disappointment. The Chefman beeps with abandon to the point that I can’t recommend it. There are some videos online about disabling the beeping; I might have to try it. We mostly use it for tea (matcha or herbal) and Americanos.

I also have a Chemex, French press, and Bialetti mokapot. IMO, the French press is the best option when lazy or brewing for a group; the Chemex looks cool but has a longer brew time.

This is lengthy, but right on. My second MacBook Pro’s logic board died after Catalina was released. I hated Catalina’s overzealous security, and Big Sur seems like an oversimplified yet buggy mess. I have unfortunately reached a point where, even with the release of Apple silicon Macs, I feel better off building a Windows PC. The OS was the reason for me to buy my first Mac; it’s now a reason to not buy my third.

El Paso definitely learns from its disasters. After the 2006 flood, they made huge drainage improvements. After the 2011 freeze (it got down to 12F/-21C in Las Cruces!), they made power station improvements. And as a result of drought, they have the largest inland desalination plant and implementing closed loop “advanced purification”. You love to see it.

Nancy Drew personified “the dream image which exists within most teen-agers,” Benson wrote in an autobiographical essay in 1973. This teen of 1930s remained culturally relevant for more than 80 years, even as young women’s roles changed dramatically. Mothers and grandmothers passed the books down to their daughters. “Women still tell me how they identified with Nancy Drew and that Nancy Drew gave them confidence to be whatever they wanted to be,” she told an interviewer in 1999.

Nancy is really a timeless character, and this kind of longevity is remarkable for a ghostwritten series.

Tyler Hall:

> I don’t know if human curation can ever be a solution to this problem. Not at Apple’s scale.
> My issue with this is that if Apple is not going to put in the effort to prevent the countless, systemic abuse running rampant on their storefronts, they need to stop marketing the App Store as something it’s not and using in-app purchases as a revenue stream.
> Because, right now, the assumption of every developer I’ve spoken to – and friends and family members who have been scammed – is that Apple pays lip service to consumer safety on the App Store so they can reap the enormous financial rewards.

Apple’s receipts suck, they’ve sucked for a long time, and they’ve shown no interest in improving. They’re obscenely wealthy, charge a premium, have an App Review team with a reputation for capricious or at least inconsistent decisions, and only pay lip service to consumer safety.

This song came on while I was listening on Apple Music, and I thought, “Hey, this sounds similar to that song by The Tokens!” I eventually realized (through research) this makes perfect sense, because it’s “Tonight I Fell in Love”—my Spanish failed me. So below, find the 2020 musica mexicana version, a Mexican rock version by Los Apson, The Tokens’ 1961 version, and a bonus at the end. Anoche Me Enamoré by Christian Nodal, 2021 ([Spotify](https://open.spotify.com/track/59iaqF7XLiSXmI9Mz7Xcu8?si=VUpzKe0XR2-f9lhJpttoCA)) {{< youtube i27oX_-c-bk >}}
“Anoche me enamoré” by Los Apson, probably late 1960s ([Spotify](https://open.spotify.com/track/5qcqR0zBWDtdFj1Qwi5YGE?si=FXQ-OlNGRjy98vZJQkEGBg”>Spotify)) {{< youtube iRtiMC0L_C8 >}}
“Tonight I Fell in Love” by The Tokens, 1961 ([Spotify](https://open.spotify.com/track/5Je693k5EPOByKPmjPoFnv?si=205cnqYeQQy4fjbcauu6Gg”>Spotify)) {{< youtube tN5S-uXkti8 >}}
And as a bonus, the precursor to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, Mbube by Solomon Linda, 1939 ([Spotify](https://open.spotify.com/track/4mImt8lujcXcCr2bVDOQ5W?si=stvy_nchSB2U_52BxSRmXA”>Spotify)) {{< youtube XqfU_BeCszg >}}

I enjoy reading, but most of my reading nowadays is news, long-form magazine articles, and blogs. That’s good, but I want to incorporate some books this year.

I’d like to finish Geography of Thought and Geography of Time and perhaps add Space and Place to the list of non-fiction.

I’d also like to find some fiction; I read it faster, and switching modes helps me continue. I’m taking suggestions.