On modalities of publishing

That last post was essentially a triple-modality experiment. It began life as a dead-trees offline notebook entry, then was recrafted as an audio recording (podcast), and then as a text-only blog entry.

This little experiment highlighted some of the strengths/weaknesses of each modality.

offline notebook

  • my handwriting officially sucks. I have trouble reading it myself, which is why I try to force myself to write in all-caps block letters
  • writing on a moving city bus doesn't help, either. shaky bus = shakier writing = can I read this?
  • paper is a nice medium - can spatially organize stuff easily. can add sketches, doodles, whatnots easily
  • paper is harder to share, though. Scanning to Flickr helps, but is not exactly an invisible part of the process
  • not searchable. I was scanning through a decade's worth of old notebooks over the weekend - wishing there was some form of index or searchability in them. chronology is nice, but makes it hard to find a specific piece of content unless the exact date it was written is known ahead of time...
  • the most private of the three modalities, which can be good for framing thoughts that you don't want to unleash into the ether


  • audio quality can be a problem
  • distractions while recording - my dog started whining to be let out into -30ËšC freezingness during the last couple of minutes of the recording.
  • really like it for the freeform thinking-out-loud style. not sure how valuable that is to other people, but the 1Ëš purpose of this blog is for me, so screw everyone else. well, ok, not quite that far, but as long as it's useful to me, I'll keep doing it
  • publishing process is still quite tedious. have to upsample the audio to 44.1KHz from 8KHz, massage the audio so it sucks less. put in intro track. convert to .mp3. upload. etc...
  • opaque medium - unsearchable without relying on external tools.

text-only blog entry

  • I think I'm most "at home" with this modality
  • can pause, rethink, and take time to write
  • it's still legible. I can read it. And The Goog can read it.
  • easily taggable, searchable, linkable

See Also

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