i used to use this app called Writeroom to write without distractions.
it takes over your whole screen and is just a cursor and text. no messing with the font, changing the spacing, or anything liek that.
just you and your text. like a typewriter
it hasn't been updated in awhile and i don't write as much as i used to. But I still use it when i want to write something semi-long and want to minimize distractions. It works.
this recent New Yorker article takes a fresh look at the current landscape of distraction-free writing apps and hardware, and it's just great.
here's an excerpt:
But focus mode on an everything device is a meditation room in a casino. What good is it to separate writing from editing, formatting, and cluttered interfaces if you can’t separate it from the Internet? Even a disconnected computer offers plenty of opportunities for distraction: old photographs, downloaded music, or, most treacherous of all, one’s own research. And so, just as savvy entrepreneurs have resuscitated the “dumb” phone as a premium single-tasking communication device, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would revive the stand-alone word processor.
Released in 2016, the Freewrite Smart Typewriter is a hefty little lunchbox of a machine with a noisy mechanical keyboard and an e-ink display the size of an index card. The user can type and backspace but not much else, and, with the default settings, only ten lines of text are visible at a time.
March 12, 2022
Bike sharing is a service you can use that lets you rent a bicycle in your city. They typically have "docks" from which you retrieve and return said bicycle.
Citi Bike is the bike sharing service of New York City.
Here's a photo I recently took of a Citi Bike docking station near my apartment.
Now that we're on the same page about Citi Bike, check out an excerpt from this article in The New Yorker about two people who are trying to say they visited all of the 1,600 Citi Bike stations in the city:
Citi Bike had recently introduced a map denoting which docks a user had and had not visited: an invitation, basically, for the George Mallorys (Q. Why climb the mountain? A. Because it’s there) of socialized self-propulsion. Partway through his quest, he heard distressing news. A rival had been zigzagging across the city, checking off the same stations and surmounting the same obstacles—hills, dying cell-phone batteries, malfunctioning docks that nearly cost each the twelve-hundred-dollar lost-bike fee. In the end, Ambinder was beaten to the finish. He was bummed. When he completed his own journey, he thought, I gotta meet this guy.
Highly entertaining read. Do it.
March 4, 2022
This story/essay(?) is so good please just go read it.
here's an excerpt
I had always avoided writing about my sister’s death. At first, in my reticence, I offered GPT-3 only one brief, somewhat rote sentence about it. The AI matched my canned language; clichés abounded. But as I tried to write more honestly, the AI seemed to be doing the same. It made sense, given that GPT-3 generates its own text based on the language it has been fed: Candor, apparently, begat candor.
In the nine stories below, I authored the sentences in bold and GPT-3 filled in the rest. My and my editor’s sole alterations to the AI-generated text were adding paragraph breaks in some instances and shortening the length of a few of the stories; because it has not been edited beyond this, inconsistencies and untruths appear.
see also: another time i wrote about gpt-3
January 29, 2022
This is one of my favorite new podcasts. If the conceit isn't enough to pull you in, you're not hooked up right.
It's called Didn't See It Don't Need To [Overcast link] and it's hosted by Sarah Miller who is a very funny writer and another person (Joshua Clover) with whom I am not familiar but whose voice is very nice.
Here's the show description:
This is a free podcast from The Real Sarah Miller in which Joshua Clover and I do not see movies and then discuss not having seen them. So many people are out there seeing movies that aren’t worth seeing and discussing them when they could just go swimming or pet an animal or check how many Twitter followers Zendaya’s dad has. We have disrupted this nonsense by NOT SEEING movies and discussing anyway, very briefly.
I recommend starting with the episode on Dune, which is only 16 minutes long and very funny.
See also: My other podcast recommendations.
January 6, 2022