Commonplace: Linkroll

Updated September 15, 2023.

My Weekly Link Checks.

Blogs

Sites

I am not a designer. While I appreciate pretty, readable, useable, and lightweight (I love lightweight), I am not a designer. Well-designed, beautiful places on the web do inspire me. While some of these sites may have a blog, I had to make a special place to call out the whole package:

  • Lynn Fisher’s amazingly-named lynnandtonic.com. Not only is the site you’ve clicked to amazing, she redesigns it every year – and you can browse past designs!

  • As I write this I’ve spent a good hour browsing James A. Mathias’s site. I find it completely fascinating, from the writing to the archives to just the way of it. When I found the sitemap, my jaw might have actually dropped.

  • Rob Weychert hits me in the forehead in two ways: his open talk about site redesigning and his one-off Robtober designs, which he also documents.

  • anh's site feels cared for an constantly updating. It's filled with experiments, a lovely media diary, a journal, and photos among other things.

Inspirations for My Site

Credit where credit is due, here are some places that inspired this site.

Blogging and Writing

I have maintained a blog in some form since 2004. Those early days had a fair bit of writing as I interacted with blog writers from across the spectrum (I remember many of them being on Xanga). I miss those days! I also need to write for my own well being, but private journaling has not been a habit I’ve been able to maintain long term. It seems I need to hit a publish button to get a little dopamine in the mix. Thankfully some folks, unbeknownst to most of them, have encouraged me to just jump in and write:

  • Kev Quirk’s #100DaysToOffload smacked me in the face and said why not. It even had me playing with using Mastodon as what amounted to a hashtag bank. (His personal site also generally inspires me to create simple, lightweight things to share.) As the man says: Just. Write.

  • Matt Webb’s Rules for blogging provided many useful blogging attitudes, including my favorite: Writing Is a Muscle.

  • Craig Mod and his epic newsletters and projects. I particularly like the idea of writing and experiences as projects; things that can have both a begin and, importantly, end date.

  • Robin Sloan has a wonderful way of telling stories. He also likes to work in projects, and he hits the software button sometimes as well.

  • Adam Wood's array of writing from blogs to microblogs to newsletters are all an inspiration.

Documenting as a Goal

One thing I know about myself is that I’m a list person. In childhood I had lists of my books and my baseball cards. I would even scour baseball boxscores every week in Sporting News, making my own lists of the achievements therin. In other words, as much as I’d like to resist it, I have that human need to document (a link should go here because I read that somewhere). These are some places that encourage me to pursue this goal:

  • Simon Collison’s style of articles with a stream alongside them was certainly an inspiration. I’m doing it a little differently; at least for now.

  • kottke.org is the ultimate example of one person absorbing, learning, and becoming a filter for the web that I find incredibly valuable. I don’t visit Kottke daily, or even weekly, but every so often I dive in and discover so many things of interestingness.

  • Jamie Thinglestad’s extensive documentation of his life and travels, around the world and around the web, including his newsletter, Weekly Thing.

  • Extensive book notes that people share on their sites. The most obvious example is Derek Sivers’s Books I’ve Read.

Commonplace

This idea is drawn from the historical commonplace book. It is very similar to the simple documenting goal above, but I consider it a sort of “starring” of found things. Some specific websites also helped me collect my thoughts around this concept:

  • Hiroki Nagasawa’s Things I Like, which was itself inspired by…

  • Soroush Khanlou’s Things I Love. “[T]hey are all things I love to go back and reread or rewatch every few months.”