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by Jacob O'Bryant

A few planned Yakread updates

Welcome to my weekly newsletter about practical ways to improve the information environment. I'm Jacob O'Bryant.

 I mentioned a month ago that I decided to finally get a job and do my tools-for-online-speech work mostly in the form of open-source. (If you missed that—surprise!) I have a compelling offer from one company (a 6-person startup in the renewable energy space) and I'm in the middle of interviews for two other larger startups. I'm hoping to have a contract signed within a couple weeks.

In the mean time I've been enjoying a semi-vacation for the past week or two. I don't need to look for more jobs to apply for, so while I wait for my scheduled interviews to roll around I've been spending more time with the offspring. We went to Home Depot's kid workshop today and made a nice bean bag toss thing.

This upcoming week I might actually get around to doing some more Yakread updates. A few things on the top of my mind:

Add an "in case you missed it" section to the emails again, which will resurface old articles from your subscriptions and bookmarks that you haven't read yet. Then you can get the Full Yakread Experience® just from skimming the daily emails every day.

I've actually stopped using the feed on the Yakread web app myself. During my morning routine, I skim the email on my phone and open any links I want to read. Throughout the day, any reading time I have goes into those articles. If I get through all of those and I have more reading time, then instead of opening my Yakread feed, I just read a book. And if I don't get to all the articles and they're starting to pile up in my open tabs, then I bookmark them in Yakread and trust that they'll come up in the future, once I add the in-case-you-missed-it section.

Make a landing page, again. I removed the landing page a while ago, opting instead to put new visitors immediately on a feed of articles. But the vibes are off (not to mention the signup conversion rate. I think it'd do better with a more traditional landing page that gives some quick context, accompanied by a nice big email signup form. I'll include a "try it out first" button that takes you to the article feed without needing to create an account first.

Typography settings and dark mode, if the latter isn't too much work. The main complication is that newsletter posts come with their own styling, and overriding that may be tricky (or not; I won't know until I try).

It's amazing how many items in a product backlog you can cross off as "eh, doesn't seem that important anymore" if you just give them a month or two to simmer.

I'm feeling pretty good about open-sourcing Yakread. I'd like to wait until I'm settled into my new job first. So if you're a coder and you want to hack on Yakread, that might be an option in a month or so.

Some things I read this week:

Private Comments, or Why I’m Down On Webmentions []. The creator of Haven (and a fellow TFOS reader!) writes about some fundamental problems with the IndieWeb approach of trying to host all your comments on your own website: you still need to have a filtering/moderation layer somewhere.

The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet []. A deep dive on Section 230 by law professor Jeff Kosseff. See also Why Section 230 Is Better Than the First Amendment.

Spaced Repetition Through Newsletters []

Supreme Court Clarifies "True Threats" First Amendment Exception []

The Economics of Engineering Blogs []. "Allegedly, the multi-armed bandit problem was so time-consuming to Allied researchers in the Second World War that they looked into ways to get the Germans to try to solve it specifically to waste their time."

Published 1 Jul 2023

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