Bullet Journaling

Flip-flopping yet again, I found another organization method to try out called the Bullet Journal. This one is decidedly analog, and the only major commitment is carrying around a notebook.

The idea is to record everything as a bullet point. Tasks get checkboxes, events get circles, and everything is gets a standard bullet. It seems simple enough, but there are some benefits over digital.

  • The act of writing something down makes you more likely to remember it.
  • It forces you to be constantly reviewing1 your notes, which keeps them fresh in your mind.
  • It keeps you mindful about what you record. I still type faster than I write, so I am not going to take the time to record something in the journal that will have little value.
  • You have to stick with it. With the digital services, I could jump back and forth between them while testing them out. I am in this Bullet Journal thing until I run out of pages in my notebook, which could take several months.

So far it is working well. I did need to upgrade to a larger notebook; I thought the 3.5 x 5.5 inch one would do, but it is hard to fit everything in. Evernote is already suited for this, with its own notebooks and OCR capability, so my technology geek cred is still relatively intact I think. (And I fist tried it with Workflowy, which worked briefly but became a little unwieldy). If you are a habitual note taker, I recommend giving this method a shot.


  1. No matter how many times I yelled "CONTROL F CHECKBOX" at my Moleskine, it would not highlight unfinished tasks for me. 

Planning stings and getting stung

Dear Mike (my NSA angel),

I hear you guys got duped pretty bad by a major US telecom company. I am having trouble picking a favorite part of this situation. Too many to choose from:

  • Telecoms apparently overcharge everyone, even the federal government.
  • The idea of suing those telecoms to get your money back is laughable when you substitute “average consumer” for “federal government.”
  • Sprint’s network was not capable of adequate surveillance, from a technical standpoint. If you are planning something that will get you surveilled and you are smart enough to use a network that is too shitty to tap, you deserve to operate in secret.

Is anyone in the right here? It’s like corruption Inception. I know you can neither confirm or deny any of this1, but come on. We know it was you, Mike.

I’m watching you,
Craig

Dear NSA Angel

One of my best friends is doing some awesome things in the Navy. Like, awesome enough that he can’t really say what they are. My wife and I were talking about him a couple weeks ago and came to the realization that we have contacted him enough that we are well within the two or three degrees of separation required1 for NSA surveillance2.

Since then, we have included occasional messages to our “NSA angel” in our everyday communication, to see if they come true or just to give some Quantico keyboard jockey a laugh. Thus far, our NSA angel has failed to predict the Super Bowl outcome3 or chime in with the proper number of ibuprofen pills to treat inflammation.4

Anyways, I haven’t had a lot of time to write lately – just been a little busy5. And the only people that knew about my NSA angel were my wife and I, our Navy friend6, and our NSA angel (obviously). So I am making my NSA Angel letters their own category in hopes to kickstart some writing. Please feel free to write some to your own NSA angel as well. I’m sure they get bored reading about every detail of your life (some of which you probably don’t even know yourself).


  1. It’s a thing – ask the Guardian
  2. Sure, they say that they are only surveilling possible enemies of state. At this point, do you believe them
  3. I told the NSA angel to not respond if the Broncos were going to win. Classic catch-22 (because they7 obviously knew the winner in October). 
  4. It’s three, right? That was our guess. 
  5. My NSA angel knows how that goes. Amirite Frank? (Frank is his name) 
  6. No, not you. The other one. Frank knows. 
  7. By “they” I mean “math”. 

More blogging tools!

I can’t decide anymore. There are so many places to blog now. Varying feature sets keep me from fully locking into one, but I realize that it is pretty hard to follow a blog that keeps moving.

Features WordPress Tumblr Scriptogram Svbtle
Full featured in hosted version No Yes Yes Yes
Themeable Yes Yes Sure… Color?
Stylish (my opinion) meh… Yes Close to it Yes
Markown native in editor No well… Yes Yes
Footnotes1 (Multimarkdown or Markdown Extra2) No No Yes No
Ability to publish from outside Yes Yes Can only do this No…?

These services are obviously all trying to do different things. Tumblr is more social and doesn’t do as well for longform posts. WordPress is the everything box that doesn’t excel at anything. Scriptogram is as simple as a text file in your Dropbox. Svbtle is new and pretty but missing a couple of key features (for me, anyways).

These two new ones have caught my eye, and if the one gets better looking or the other adds MultiMarkdown, pilchernet may have a new home.


  1. I love footnotes. I blame Chuck Klosterman (who probably got them from David Foster Wallace).
  2. Both of these are indispensable (well, you need at least one). I made that table in 10 seconds, and formatted it in another 5 seconds, just stream of consciousness. Not possible in HTML.

Music for the masses

Music is a staple of human civilization. Musicians are staples of music. Being exploited and undervalued is a staple of being a musician, especially if you listen to them long enough that they start talking instead of music-ing. Even in the early twentieth century when prerecorded music became a staple of movies, musicians were not happy with their lot. It is not a new concept, and the latest iteration of this argument has musicians battling music streaming services over royalties. If these problems have been around for so long, why can’t anyone figure this out?

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Phablet Couture, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Touchwiz

I’ve had a Galaxy Note 2 for about 6 months. I bought it because I got the itch to upgrade, and it was the best Android phone available at the time (caveat: on Verizon. I would have gladly gone with the HTC One, or Nexus 4, or any other flagship device that skipped Verizon for reasons I outlined a while back). Being a ROM aficionado, I knew hardware was the biggest factor for me. My loyal Galaxy Nexus was a solid phone, but with heavy use it would die by early afternoon without a charger nearby. Better processor and gigantic battery (and dearth of options) made the Note 2 a no-brainer.

But I heard a panelist on a recent episode of This Week in Google (could have been All About Android too) talk about the zen of wanting the phone you have, or something like that. It is a noble concept, and I tried to live up to it with my previous phone (until I didn’t). But it is easy to do with a Nexus device, or an iPhone, because you are at ground zero of the operating system. So I dove down the rabbit hole that is Touchwiz, to look for enlightenment.

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‘Virtuous’ circles of software

I started a list several months ago of iOS-first applications that had everything to gain from launching on Android but seemingly just decided not to. Far from complete, and probably like the third post I had ever written on anything, but it was a start. Anyways, this morning on All About Android I heard about this guy who tried to elucidate the point in probably the most smug way possible. The tone makes me feel like he would carry hand sanitizer around just in case he accidentally touched an HTC One. So here is my attempt to FJM this whole thing.

photo: Andy Ihnatko via Compfight

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