Archive for March, 2009

Serious Bump in the Road

Okay, it’s been weeks since I posted here, or in fact done anything about this blog at all. Even though my intention was to work on this for fifteen minutes every day. And that’s okay. Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough…well you get the idea.

My father passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly three weeks ago. I don’t want to get off topic by talking about what that was like, but suffice it to say that it threw off my equilibrium pretty severely. Just getting back to the necessary tasks in my life has been difficult, let alone “discretionary” tasks like working on this blog.

It’s my intention to resume this project now and I’m even hoping that maintaining this habit will be grounding and, dare I say it, therapeutic. There is comfort to be found in the familiar, the routine and the ritualized. Perhaps I’ll post more on that tomorrow.

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One of my aims in blogging for 15 minutes at a time is to be able to really focus on what I’m doing. Focus can be difficult to maintain for long periods, especially for the easily bored (and easily attracted to new shiny things) like myself. Writing is an activity that clearly requires focus – but what about reading?

Reading on the web is usually an activity that we measure in seconds rather than minutes. In the age of the 140 character message (I’m looking at you, Twitter) it’s easy to forget that reading can be an immersive activity worth investing focused chunks of time. Unfortunately text on the web, even when worth reading for an extended amount of time, is often formatted poorly and surrounded by ads, banners, widgets and all other kinds of distracting miscellany.

Enter Readability, a “lab experiment” from arc90. Readability is a bookmarklet that strips out extraneous web page elements leaving just the main text in your choice of sizes and styles. I love this tool. I read a lot on the web and so many pages are cluttered with text that is too small or with too low contrast. Readability does away with those annoyances and lets me focus on the text and only the text. Give it a try, and happy reading.

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