Tech in the Trenches

Carl T. Holscher fights for the customers.

One tiny screw

Tonight’s plan.

I’ve been planning to swap out the 256 NVMe drive for a 1tb drive. This should be quick and then I’ll have more storage on my desktop.

Then I dropped the tiny screw into the PC. And it was lost to another dimension. I scoured the floor and desk and everywhere nearby with a magnet.


It must be inside the computer. I worried about it wedging itself between the motherboard and case. Or getting wedged into the power supply and shorting it. All of the worst case scenarios.

I removed the optical drive. Then the drive cages. I unplugged everything. Then unscrewed and removed the motherboard.

Still nothing.

So… I resolved myself to it being gone forever and went to work putting it all back together. I powered it on before I put everything back in place and screwed the last screws in.

Then I grabbed the external hard drive, and the cables to plug it all back in and power it on to continue the restore of data with a temporary screw holding the drive in place.

And what do I find? Right under the cords and cables I moved three times and looked over, under and around?

One tiny screw.

Why note-taking apps don’t make us smarter

Initially, I threw myself into this kind of associative note-taking. I gathered links around concepts I wanted to explore (“the internet enables information to travel too quickly,” for example, or social networks and polarization). When I had an interesting conversation with a person, I would add notes to a personal page I had created for them. A few times a week, I would revisit those notes.

I waited for the insights to come.

And waited. And waited.

My gusto for concept-based, link-heavy note-taking diminished.

Why note-taking apps don’t make us smarter

Throwing notes into a system is all well and good but it’s not going to do the thinking for you. You can have the largest collection of notes with back-links and tags and immaculate organization. But at the end of the day, you still need to do the work and review those notes and find those connections to write about or to learn from.

Don’t start a new thing

Find a way to put the new thing inside the thing you’re already doing. Don’t make a new thing. Don’t split attention.
Analogue: The Fast and the Curious

I’m paraphrasing Myke above.
This is advice I need to hear again and again. I continue to want to make new things then split my efforts between the new thing and the current thing. Then I get confused where I should post what so I just… never post.

The entire episode is worth your time especially if you’re struggling to launch a new thing or have just launched a new thing. Analog(ue) #216: The Fast and the Curious – Relay FM

Digital Social Distancing

Digital Social Distancing: the act of distancing yourself from others on social networks — by unfollowing, muting, etc. — with the goal of preventing anger from infecting your mental health.

Digital Social Distancing

Good advice for every social network. Just because you agree to follow someone doesn’t mean you agree to everything they share.

Disabling boosts and retweets are often the first thing I do. I’m also very quick to unfollow people, mute keywords and hash tags.

Deep dives into hidden niches

Three Years – Culture Study

Over time, I also figured out that I also wanted to do interviews with people who aren’t famous but spend their days deep in the trenches of a particular subject


Anne Helen Petersen’s Culture Study remains a must-read newsletter and she beautifully nails the why. It’s the interviews with people deep in their niche. It’s the insight (and exasperation) that comes from someone who has spent years toiling in a trench that’s never seen let alone acknowledged. It’s always something interesting and insightful that I never would have thought to seek out because I did not know it existed.

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