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Clipboard, unbundling tools for thought, microfeed, prepare to be productive & a look inside Matrix

Changelog News for 2023-01-02

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Jackson Huff’s clipboard powertool for the command line, Fernando Borretti thinks tools for thought should be unbundled, Listen Notes helps you run a microfeed on Cloudflare, Martin Rue says to be productive, be prepared & Paul Sawers takes TechCrunch readers inside Matrix and features its recent adoption wins.

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What up, nerds?! I’m Jerod and this is Changelog News for the week of Monday, January 2nd, 202: 2023. Whoops, I’m still writing 2022 on all my timestamps.

Well, the software world didn’t stop cranking while we were on break, so let’s get straight in to the news.

Let’s start with a cool, cross-platform tool for cutting, copying, and pasting absolutely anything anywhere you want, all from the comfort of your terminal! It’s called Clipboard, because it’s a clipboard powertool for the command line.

It boasts zero-bloat, weighing in at mere kilobytes on most platforms, zero-config, zero-effort, which is music to my ears, and zero-dependencies. Clipboard is written in C++ and works on any up-to-date Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, BSD, or anything that supports C++20. I doubt it’d run on Windows XP, but hey, neither did Clippy…

Tools for thought seem to be on our collective minds right now. Linus Lee is building Monocle, Alex Maccaw has Reflect, Adam Wiggins is working on Muse, Apple recently put its new Freeform app on iOS users’ springboards, U2-style

Obsidian now offers an infinite canvas as part of its software suite, the list goes on and on. Amidst this milieu comes an interesting article by Fernando Borretti in which he argues that these tools for thoughts should not be bundled. And he should know, becuase Fernando has written something like six or seven personal wikis over the past decade. He’s tried every possible design choice, but what he finds is: “And yet I don’t use them. Why? Building them was fun, sure, but there must be utility to a personal database.”

Fernando has come to the conclusion that everything he can do with a personal wiki he can do better with a specialized app, and the few remaining use cases are useless. He goes on to support that conclusion by outlining what he calls “the uselesness of scale” and the “single graph fallacy”.

Interesting thoughts, and I found myself nodding in agreement with a lot of his points. Overall I think if our tools for thought remain unbundled, it’s a great opportunity for many apps to shine instead of one big player like Roam, Notion, or Obsidian ruling them all, which would be pretty cool.

Here’s a new one: microfeed. It’s a lightweight CMS that’s self-hosted on Cloudflare. microfeed is built by Listen Notes to let you easily publish a variety of content such as audio, video, photos, documents, blog posts, and external URLs. What you put in comes out the other side in the form of web pages, an RSS feed, and a JSON feed, if you’re into that sort of thing.

microfeed is pitched as the perfect solution for tech-savvy individuals who want to self-host their own CMS without having to run their own servers. Check it out at microfeed.org

Martin Rue writes on his blog: to be productive, be prepared. Motivation alone isn’t good enough. This is timely advice, since we find ourselves in early January… probably more motivated to accomplish life’s goals than usual, but Martin warns: “Motivation by itself gives us the willingness to do something, but nothing more. Once we make a start, the game changes and it becomes about knowing how to make progress.”

In the end, he argues, it’s all about preparation. This brings to mind the famous Seneca quote: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”

Perhaps a fitting alteration to that thought in light of Martin’s advice would be: “Progress is what happens when preparation meets motivation”

Paul Sawers at TechCrunch takes us inside Matrix, calling it the protocol that might finally make messaging apps interoperable. Some interesting factoids from this feature are that Matrix has amassed 80 million plus users, doubling in size this year, and that Reddit is experimenting with it for its chat feature. Here’s the money quote: “In many ways, the ground has never been so fertile for Matrix to flourish: it’s in the right place at the right time, as the world seeks an exit route from Big Tech’s clutches backed by at least a little regulation.”

Congrats and good luck to our friends Matthew and his team on convincing us all to enter the Matrix.

That is the news for now. On the next episode we have Justin Searls, who recently proclaimed that he’s been so productive since getting up to speed on Turbo and Stimulus in Rails 7 that he’s at serious risk of writing a “you might not need React” blog post.

Rails. Is it good again? Has it been that way all along? What are people missing by sleeping on Ruby? All that and more. It’s a good one. I think you’re going to like it.

Have a great week and we’ll talk to you again on Friday.

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