— (p)latitudes

Controversial opinion from The Guardian:

Search engine optimisation (SEO) was always a flawed concept. At its worst, it means making web content less engaging for the reader but supposedly better for search robots and for the mysterious algorithms that determine the order in which results appear for a Google search. At its best, it means no more than following best practice in creating clear, accessible web sites with intelligible content, meaningful titles, descriptive “alt” attributes for image, no broken links, and the rest of what makes for a high-quality web destination.

Not sure I agree :P

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This is a fantastic interview between Dave Cornthwaite and Alistair Humphreys, two professional adventurers. You should read the whole thing. They talk about various amazing things they’ve done, as well as the planning process and various other things.

Below is a fantstic quote from the interview which ties in nicely to what I was saying before about starting a new hobby:

Then I heard on Radio 4 someone describing himself as a “working artist”, meaning an artist who works and earns enough money to live. That was a massive epiphany for me, to realize that being a working artist, somebody who earns money from it, is enough. He’s obviously not Leonardo Da Vinci, or Michelangelo, but then if everyone compares themselves to the Da Vinci of whatever life they do, then that’s just ludicrous.

If you’re able to live from something you enjoy, you’re doing it right. It doesn’t matter how you chalk up to other people doing the same thing (whether at a higher or lower level). Quite a nice realisation, for sure.

Here are the guys:

Alistair Dave

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I like these pictures of

Dan Deacon:

A watchmaker:

It’s cool to see the custom workspaces. Messy but organised, personal and presumably leading to productivity.

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This was a wonderful article, which has since been taken offline:

The Domino Effect of Simple Living
Cleaning out your closets leads to utilizing a smaller wardrobe more effectively.

Using a smaller wardrobe more effectively leads to making fewer purchases.

Making fewer purchases leads to saving more of your money.

Saving more of your money leads to getting out of debt.

Getting out of debt leads to less financial stress.

Less financial stress leads to greater personal freedom.

Greater personal freedom leads to more time to pursue your dreams.

Time to pursue your dreams leads to increased happiness and personal fulfillment.

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Finn and Jake

I love Adventure Time. It’s fun and tackles some pretty cool concepts for a kids cartoon. The quote in the image above, for example, is an idea that I see in a lot of places, and one that is true and helpful to bear in mind when starting something new / throughout the learning process.

You will suck initially, but that is not a reason or excuse to not start learning

It’s a common theme on language learning blogs I’ve looked at. Khatzumoto at AJATT advocates practice, however small, over deliberating about whether or not to practice. Some of his tweets convey it well:

(If you’re on twitter I recommend following him! (And maybe following me?))

And in his ‘Showing Up‘ post, he gives the following advice:

Don’t EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER judge yourself on your first try

You will suck on your first try. It’s an inevitable part of the learning process. It’s easy to compare yourself to people who are awesome at the thing you’re wanting to learn and getting disheartened because you’re not that good, without considering the years of effort and practice it took them to get to that stage.

The argument that some people are prodigious, whether it’s true or not (I’m undecided) is irrelevant here: 99% of people aren’t, and need to put in effort and practice. They all started from scratch, and sucked, too.

So, if you haven’t got all the resources you think you need yet, practice anyway. If you don’t feel fully ready, practice anyway. You can gather resources and change approach on the way, but the momentum is important; if you don’t start now you risk never starting.

I’m writing this blog daily at the moment, and I’m fully aware that the tone isn’t perfect at the moment. Some of the topics might not be particularly interesting, the posts might not flow particularly well, it might suck. But at the same time I don’t care too much: improvement is probably inevitable.

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