All that Substack content that arrives via email

I’m not a paying subscriber to any Substack at the moment. During the height of the Twitter related drama that was occurring I did subscribe to Platformer for a bit. Earlier this morning I enjoyed a free post from a different publication and hit the like button and was about to add a comment. Unfortunately, they have a setting on Substack that presents me with a prompt, “Only paid subscribers can comment on this post.” It is of course followed by a suggestion to upgrade to a paid subscription to unlock the ability to comment. In this case the author simply won’t get my thoughts or receive any communication from me on the subject. I appreciate the idea that people could gain income from writing a Substack. Independent journalism and writing in general is always a good thing to encourage. Some of that output might not be very good, but that is how the great sorting of attention brings things forward and pushes others to the background. 

Sometimes things that I write pick up a bit of attention and people look at them, but the vast majority of the content that I have produced over the last 20 years has been pushed to the background during the great sorting of attention online. That is perfectly fine with me for the most part. I’m writing for the purpose of observation and mostly for my own learning and personal growth. My methodology of processing complex ideas at times involves writing about it to work on advancing my consideration. 

Throughout the last 2 years I have added 16 different Substack’s to my recommendations list apparently. 

  1. https://investinginai.substack.com/
  2. https://decision.substack.com/
  3. https://www.platformer.news/
  4. https://mindfulmodeler.substack.com/
  5. https://zetter.substack.com/
  6. https://brief.montrealethics.ai/
  7. https://dblalock.substack.com/
  8. https://techtom.substack.com/
  9. https://lastweekin.ai/
  10. https://garymarcus.substack.com/
  11. https://mikeelgan.substack.com/
  12. https://thegradientpub.substack.com/
  13. https://askwhy.substack.com/ 
  14. https://aboutchromebooks.substack.com/
  15. https://newsletter.mollywhite.net/
  16. https://joefattorini.substack.com/ 

They all provide a variety of different insights to my email inbox throughout the weeks or in some cases months. They arrive at a variety of intervals. Some Substacks are way more active than others. My efforts for example arrive every Friday. That makes it a weekly Substack and it has pretty much always been that way. I know that the team over at Substack would really like us to interact with the content on the smartphone applications or in the feed as a collection of content. I’m guessing that most people still read and consume the content as emails either as they arrive or when cleaning out an inbox.

Starting down that writing path

A lot of my thoughts have been drifting toward what content should be put into the backlog for this year. Sitting down to rework my writing plan is something that happens at the end of the year and after building out what needs to be done I start down that path. This year got a little bit more complicated based on recovering from being unwell. Sometimes people describe a bit of fogginess or a lack of focus that occurs post this novel sludge that has been going around for the last couple years. It certainly did take some time to get back up to a solid game shape afterward. One of the things that I have been doing is going back and reviewing some of the work that I completed in that window to see if what happened was solid or needs some rework. 

To that end, my writing backlog for this year’s Substack posts is an area that I’m going to keep looking at each week until I’m super happy with it as a go forward plan. Right now the backlog file has a list of posts from week 105 to week 148. That leaves 8 fresh uncopied slots for the year to fill up and of course whatever content ends up getting replaced along the way. Sitting down and writing a chapter every week is an interesting way to go about creating a book. You really have to make sure the flow and content is set up in the right order or the content being created will be a collection of essays and less of a collective work. 

While this post certainly falls into a common weblog post tag theme of writing, Substack, and thinking about my writing plans it has become more a process blog than a collection of events. Blogging a series of process stories in a row that are essentially only relevant to my interest and amusements at the time might not seem like the best idea, but oddly enough this practice has been going on for years. You can easily check the archive and you will find while tactically unfortunate that this trend is certainly dependable. Striving toward the ultimate goal of a perfect possible future always provides opportunity. 

One of the base levels of effort that helps set up a solid writing habit is the creation is on a daily basis filling up the blank page. You can see it in a word processing program as you get to the bottom of what is considered the page. It slowly comes into focus as the paragraphs pile up and you get that sense that in just a few more sentences a victory will be achieved. One of the things that has troubled me about that writing process is just how fast and easily some of the new chat style models are producing content. All of these words were produced after downing two shots of espresso, sitting in my office chair, and spending time striking keys on the keyboard at the start of the day. Perhaps it is debatable if I’m just a slower prompt than what ChatGPT delivers in a few moments. I like to think my writing has a deeper relevance to what I care about which in the end is the core of how experience is expressed in prose. It’s that voice, experience, and more importantly directionality toward an ongoing narrative and focus on my writing plan that I like to think makes my content distinct.

Working on taking some things from draft to done

Things are starting to come together. Tonight I’m working on going from draft to complete on Substack posts for the rest of the year. Right now posts for weeks 98 to 101 are currently drafted. Completing that effort will get me to Friday, December 30, 2022. Getting to that Friday will close out the year and should also give me a couple weeks of cognitive break to plan and prepare to shift over into a new year of publishing. At one point, I was running a couple weeks ahead, but that did not last. 

I have considered publishing each of the Substack posts here on my weblog as well. Instead of going that direction I elected to package all the content up and deliver a yearly published manuscript. Going with the publication based route seemed like the right way to go about it and last year it was pretty rewarding. Friday, January 20, 2023, will end up being the final Substack of the 104 week series. At that point in the journey, I’ll take all 104 posts and get them over to my editor before publication. On the brighter side of things the first 52 posts have already been packaged and edited with one complete cycle. I’ll put the whole thing back into the editing cycle. That seems like the right way to go about managing overall quality and continuity.

Throughout the rest of this weekend I’ll need to finish up writing and ultimately record podcast audio for 4 different weeks of content. A task like that seems like it should be a possible thing to complete. Some time might be taken away from that task to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play football tomorrow.

Working out the last posts of a lengthy series

I’m very quickly closing in on the last few posts in the 104 week series for my Substack, “The Lindahl Letter.” I’m currently working on the posts for weeks 98 to 104 to close out the two year series. On the brighter side of things week 98 is almost ready for podcast recording. Something has happened to slow things down and I’m not entirely sure if it was a cold that arrived over Thanksgiving or if my topic selection to close things out was just not as good as it could have been. Either way my rate of productivity has dropped off a bunch. Today is the Sunday following thanksgiving which means I should be well rested and ready to draft a few posts really quick this morning. Right now I have the whole day reserved until the Kansas City Chiefs play tonight to write, draft, and tinker with 6 posts. When you hear my voice from the week 97 recording you will know that it is maybe at 50% of where it should be for recording audio. We will see how it goes, but I don’t think that I’ll be recording any additional podcast episodes today even if they get written. 

At this very moment, I have put thoughts out into the universe about finishing up drafts on the 6 remaining posts for the year. To begin with the end in mind let’s consider where we are tactically in terms of a production current state. 

  • Week 99: Started, research, some drafting
  • Week 100: Research
  • Week 101: Planning
  • Week 102: Not even started
  • Week 103: Not even started
  • Week 104: Started, some drafting

Assuming that each week gets a 500 word boost that would be a 3,000 word output day. I have a large portion of the day reserved for this effort so it is totally possible to write all the things that need to be written. I should have just jumped in and started writing instead of starting off with 300 words on what I needed to do for the day.

Always working beyond the last point of thought

Today was one of those days where I spent a lot of time chasing things along. Certainly that can happen from time to time. Right before we went out for dinner the latest issue of my Substack post went up promptly at 17:00 hours. 

https://nelslindahl.substack.com/p/ai-hardware-risc-v-ai-chips#details

Every Friday at 17:00 hours a Substack post goes out. I’m getting really close to 104 consecutive weeks of posting. Two years at anything is a real habit for sure. Closing out the last few posts has been much harder than I expected it to be based on the previous run at things. My writing routine is pretty much bulletproof. I wake up just after 05:00 hours on both Saturday and Sunday and devote those early hours throughout the weekend to writing really solid content. Everything throughout the week builds up to that point and writing the final product is about getting to done and clicking publish.

Earlier today I decided to take a bit of a vacation from Twitter throughout the weekend. That should be easy enough to accomplish. Instead of looking at that application I’m going to focus my attention on old school blogging. Getting back into the habit of sitting down and collecting my thoughts at the end of the day could be a great thing to do for the next few days. Maybe after all those thoughts are collected I’ll be able to capture a wellspring of adventure.

Those early morning writing hours

A tree with leaves starting to turn colors

During the flight back from Orlando, Florida, I had started to collect my thoughts and write an essay about my trip to Disney World. Apparently, those words just would not show up to the part and that document remains in the false start files. Maybe I will be able to finish cleaning up that post at some point. I was really surprised that during the flight no writing really happened. For some reason I just was not in the mood to produce epic prose. I just did not want to sit down and write. Without question the reason for that probably has to do with being tired from a very busy week. 

This morning I returned to my writing routine at 0530 hours. Things moved along and the post for week 91 was edited and audio recorded. A huge update to the Audacity software was required before that audio recording could get under way. I almost gave up on recording a podcast this week and thought about moving back to just regular posting on Substack. I think it might even be possible to switch back over to my weblog and host the podcast that way. That is something that I might test out again tomorrow. It has been some time since audio files were added to my weblog posts which could be picked up as a podcast. It certainly would have the right RSS feeds to get picked up. One of the reasons that almost two years ago now I started using Substack was to let them manage the platform elements of the newsletter. Everybody at the time seemed to be getting into Substack. Over the last couple months that seems to have started up again. More and more people seem to be starting Substack newsletters. I have never tried to charge for my weekly post. Sometimes I do wonder if a paid subscription model might end up with more viewership. The quality would be the same of course. 

Today involved watching a ton of football on the television. That should afford me the time to sit and write while the game is on and I certainly had time to think about a few things. What did not happen was a bunch of writing on my Pixelbook Go. It is another example of where I had the time to write, but for some reason the words did not flow. That probably means I should mix things up a little bit and work in some different ways.

That one with a long post written during an airplane flight

I’m on a flight to Orlando, Florida right now. We departed from Denver, Colorado, after apparently some issue with a tray table was fixed. As delays go this one was not a very big deal and only amounted to around 30 extra minutes of standing. I’m pretty confident that we will make up a bit of time during the actual flight. We appear to be traveling at roughly 558 miles per hour. 

I’m going to spend this 3 hour block of time just writing. That is about to happen. You certainly could sit back, relax, and prepare to read a bunch of prose. 

During the course of cleaning out a drawer and a stack of papers I briefly considered going down the path of working on some public administration related academic articles. That type of consideration happens from time to time and is one of the things that at some point will probably happen. My 5 year writing trajectory includes a lot of things to complete. One of the things that has been a major part of that effort for the last 2 years has been working on Substack posts. That is a pretty distinct weekly cycle of creation to publish. 

What I plan on doing here after hitting the two year mark on that one is working toward a different method of weekly creation. Each weekend I’m going to work on creating academic articles and some of that content will be used to feed the Substack posting. Over the last two years things happened a bit differently. The content being created for Substack sometimes found its way into an article or manuscript. Flipping that scenario around will be key to boosting my productivity in terms of academic prose output. 

That will for the most part give me a set of two windows of 2-3 hours for crafting and generating academic content each weekend. Over time that will be enough to build out and write a bunch of different things. Some of that for sure will be literature reviews. Another part of it will have to be using a combination of publicly accessible dates and automated sentiment analysis to create original work. I should be able to build a sentiment analysis model automation and execute it for each academic paper if that is the dirrention things end up going. It will certainly yield original content. 

I think as we work into 2023 that is one of the things that I’m most looking forward to producing. Within the machine learning space I have produced original research into the MLOps space and looked at a lot of open source code repositories in that space. At this point, I want to shift away from searching out and reading academic articles and move from conducting an ongoing literature review in the machine learning space to producing some content that makes a substantial contribution. The field has had so much content added recently that just sorting out the ideas coming in is hard enough without trying to consume the best of it or even locate the very best of it. This has to be the peak academic period for machine learning based on the hype cycle. I think at some point in the next couple of years a lot of machine learning researchers will be shifting over to the study of artificial intelligence in general. 

That shift is probably good overall. My views which have been shared previously are that a lot of both model production and intellectual overcrowding has occurred within the machine learning space. A lot of papers have been written. It’s great that people are producing content and I’m happy they are mostly sharing it online without any paywalls or other limitations. You will have to admit that the sheer volume of it is overwhelming and at this point beyond any method of conventional sorting. Some of it gets promoted by social media and other actual interpersonal interactions where content is shared. People are having to really go out and share a paper to get it noticed or picked up by the top contributors within the field. 

I think at this point in the program I’m going to drop out of weblog writing mode and work on some different essay related content.  I might circle back to this one or something else might show up.

One of those types of days

This weekend a bunch of time got devoted to cleaning up my office. I even went back into a stack of paper journals that has remained unmanaged for years and managed a huge stack of randomly piled things. That is part of my effort to clean up things. My Scandinavian Designs credenza is certainly a place where a lot of nonsense could be stored. It has rather large storage compartments. One of them unfortunately was filled with a stack of journals, papers, and other collections of just pure nonsense. I have not used any of it in well over a year and it seemed like this weekend was a good time to clean that mess up. I think that has to do with my interesting in getting things extra clean this weekend. I’m not entirely sure where that need to clean came from this weekend, but it certainly happened.

Yesterday, I sat down to watch some football over the air (OTA) which worked out well enough. I had my Google Pixelbook Go with me and for some reason. I did not want to write anything. Throughout the day 3 different games were on the screen. Time passed and writing could have happened, but instead of working out some things on the keyboard my mind just wondered around ideas without producing any prose. It was one of those types of days. It happens from time to time that the writing process just functionally stalls out. I’m rapidly approaching the 104th post on my Substack writing plan. Maybe something about that is lingering in the back my mind. It is a major milestone.

At the moment, I’m ready to shift over and start the new journey at post 105, but that is problematic given that I’m working on finishing up post 91. The rest of the posts between 91 and 105 are all framed up and ready for writing. The rest of the topics seem pretty workable. I think the blocking factor is just getting stuck on the content for the 91st post. The main content is already written, and some links are assembled on that one, but it is a short post. The best path forward at the moment might just be to accept the brevity of it and chalk it up to a bit of pithiness.

Considering a new daily series

I’m going to try to get back to my practice of daily writing and publishing some thoughts. Earlier this week I had considered trying my hand at daily vlogging again, but that never seems to turn out very well. Sitting down and recording 15 minutes of thoughts via video each day could be a thing to do, but I’m not sure if that will happen. Earlier this morning I was working on week 91 of The Lindahl Letter that will eventually go out on Substack. Things are moving along well enough to the epic week 104 post that will mark 2 consecutive years of publishing on that platform.

Oh those weekend thoughts

Time quickly passed this weekend. I spent a fair amount of the weekend just resting my back. Somehow and it was one of those ineffable things I managed to tweak my lower back last week. It lingered into the weekend and I’m hopeful that today is the turning point where things will get better. Oddly enough a bit of back pain is enough to slow down and destroy my writing sessions. Apparently, I need both my mind and my body to be in agreement to sit down and create some prose. Right now I need to write two more posts for The Lindahl Letter to have my writing on schedule for a bit of a break here in October. The two posts are generally in the draft to build stage of the process.

My process really does involve having about 5 weeks of posts in planning or revision at any given time. Some of that is researching what needs to go into the posts in terms of articles and links the other part is the slow writing process of adding in the content as necessary. I could go with an approach where the content is just written the weekend before and sent out that Friday. Adding the audio recording changed that for me and made it to where I needed to work a bit ahead to be able to complete an audio recording. Almost all my audio recording happens first thing in the morning during the absolute quietest time in the house. Only a small two hour window exists on the weekends where the household including the dogs are going to be relatively silent.

My office picks up banging or other loud noises. A few of them have made a podcast along the way, but you would have to listen very closely to notice. During the course of recording live streams on YouTube I ran into the same type of ambient noise problems. The podcast audio is cleaned up compared to the live stream content. To be fair on that one the live stream content is not cleaned up at all. That is not something that you really go back and clean up for audio quality.

I may have to go to my alternate writing schedule where 7 day a week future posts receive tinkering. This is all about working out the first two October posts. I’m sure it will end up getting completed, but at the moment on this particular Monday things are not moving along very well. I spent some time watching YouTube videos about various guitar parts. That happened. It happens from time to time. My interests typically shift between looking for computer parts and looking at guitar parts. One of the things that has saved me a bit of activity in the last few years is that computer parts were really hard to come by and the rate of change on motherboards and chipsets was low. I did take the time to price out a brand new computer build this weekend and it can get really expensive pretty quickly.