Take Notes On Paper

Walter Isaacson in the conclusion of the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci:

Five hundred years later, Leonardo’s notebooks are around to astonish and inspire us. Fifty years from now, our own notebooks, if we work up the initiative to start writing them, will be around to astonish and inspire out grandchildren, unlike our tweets and Facebook posts.

I’ve used a notebook in some form or fashion throughout my life and I love going back through my old ones. Most of the time it’s simple scribbles of me working through a problem, or planning out features in the software I’m building, but it brings me back to that point in my life. I never assumed anyone, including my grandchildren, would find it interesting, but I would love to have old notebooks and journals from my grandfathers. Both served in WWII and lead interesting lives to me, so learning more about them through their writing would be amazing now.

Earlier in the book Isaacson related Leonardo’s notebooks to Steve Jobs:

The more than 7,200 pages now extant probably represent about one-quarter of what Leonardo actually wrote, but that is a higher percentage after five hundred years than the percentage of Steve Job’s emails and digital documents from the 1990s that he and I were able to retrieve.

That stat is pretty amazing to me and makes me think of how much of our digital lives are in siloed ecosystems owned by a few big companies. Unfortunately, I don’t see us bringing the web back to its roots and away from that.

How much have I spent with Amazon?

A few years ago my family only used Amazon to purchase books and electronics, but over the past year and a half, the company has made its way into our daily lives and now we order everything we can through it. It’s so convenient and easy to just pull up what we need and click order, versus spending the time driving to different local stores and then either not finding what we need or having to wait forever for an employee to show us where the product is. It’s so much easier to search, look for it as a prime item, and then have it appear two days later.

One thing you might not realize is a nice feature Amazon offers is the ability to download your entire order history which makes it easy to see exactly how much you are spending. To create this report follow these steps:

  • Click your “Account & Lists” from the top navigation
  • Next in the “Ordering and shopping preferences” box look for “Download order reports
  • From here you can create your own report to download and see how much you’ve spent.


Just note that I wasn’t able to export from the beginning of time. It would always fail, but doing 12 to 15-month ranges seemed to work. YMMV.


ZSH Stats

I was not aware ZSH had a stats option that will display your top commands until I saw this tweet by Roger Creasy:


Not sure it has a lot of value, but I love little utilities like this that show what you commonly use.

Sales are not made from screaming

I rarely watch regular TV but when I do it’s immediately noticeable how much louder the commercials are than the program you are watching.

I’m sure the advertising industry has done extensive research on this and came to the conclusion that it grabs your attention but it never works in my house. Instead of getting positive attention it ends up everyone screaming, “turn it down”.

Product sales are the same, you can’t scream or spam your way to become a market leader. Instead, it takes word of mouth, trust, and getting people interested. Once you do those the rest will come.

How to draw comics when you can’t actually draw

Chaz Hutton has a great post on Medium with some quick tips on how to draw comics and the section on emotions caught my eye:

You should probably learn how to do emotions. Those are easier than you think and can be achieved through the clever placement of lines. You can go from worried, to surprised, to angry all with some little flicks of your pen…


He demonstrated a few simple ones and in Mike Rhode’s Sketchnote handbook he gives a few more easy emotions:


I love that all these are really just simple lines and shapes that anyone can do, and what makes a good comic is a narrative, not the actual drawing.