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general

Clearing mental debt, editing like a pro

It’s really easy for nerds like us to build up a digital hoard of things to do/learn/read later, and each of those (mostly useless) items drops another pebble of guilt on a growing mountain of mental debt.

Tech bankruptcy

My Instapaper queue is a great example of tech debt and it’s easy to fix. Just a few minutes ago, I squished my eyes closed and cleared out a list of articles reaching back in time all the way to March. The list was overwhelming, and everything I saved before Dec. 1 is scrubbed from the list leaving a manageable list of articles I will finish reading by tomorrow. Are all of those deleted reads really lost forever? No. If I happen to remember something that I really wanted to read, it’s saved somewhere on my Pinboard account.
During the past few weeks, I have chucked out most of the mailing lists that suckered me in at some point thought a few good ones remain. My email inbox is, for the moment, is blissfully back to zero.
Reeder and Google Reader used to feed my heroin-level addition to RSS. Fever is my methadone. My move about six months ago to Shaun Inman’s wonderful feed reader has helped me reduce mental debt, relieve my guilt that I haven’t read everything, and keeps me informed about the news and technology that interests me. Later today, I’m going to move some of my kindling to sparks to deglaze my news pan and further concentrate incoming news.
OmniFocus got its first round of annual review earlier this week. I’m going to sift through it again to get a few things done, pull a few more weeds, and begin the new year with a realistic stack of projects, actions, and contexts.

Work smart

A proper workshop isn’t limited to one screwdriver, one hammer, and one wrench. It will have a collection of the best tools for a craftsman to get the job done with efficiency and beauty.
I used some of my Christmas loot to add Sublime Text 2 to my text-wrangling toolbox. My work and play is primarily filled with organizing letters and words on my Macs. This began back in System 7.6 with BBEdit Lite on my first Mac. After its demise, I stuck with the free apps and moved on to Text Wrangler. There was a long dark era of collecting a variety of word processors that ended when I found TextMate.
TextMate was great, and when support began to dwindle I jumped ship back to my freebie roots and purchased BBEdit, the legendary text editor for Mac OS. BBEdit is tough to beat, yet Sublime Text provides better support in some scenarios (it’s cross-platform, and multiple cursors!). Both editors are jockeying for position as my primary editor, and both are great. I would have a hard time recommending one over the other. Lucky for you, both of them have generous trial periods. If you’re interested, check them out:
BBEdit
Sublime Text 2
I’ve always been big fan of the keyboard — I added a Matias Tactile Pro and Apple Extended II since Christmas 2011 — and 2012 was the year of keyboard shortcuts, learning a bunch of new ones and getting friendly with Keyboard Maestro. After migrating to Movable Type on this website, I have been learning perl and honing my skills at the command line (focused on vim and zsh). My work has been produced on a series of Macs since 1994, and it has never been easier or more fun.