4-1-1: Definitely not written by AI


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Welcome to the inaugural 4-1-1!
4 thoughts, 1 personal win and 1 hack, delivered monthly.

4 Thoughts

1— AI tech is leveling up. While GitHub Co-pilot and other tools around GPT-3 have been influencing workflows on familiar apps, we’re starting to see how the general search landscape might change with the recent release of ChatGPT.

Even ChatGPT’s UX for some niche response types is slick, take code snippets for example. They have clean formatting, copy to clipboard embedded, and an explanation for how the code works. The problem → Google → Stack Overflow workflow is going to change fast for developers. Like Co-pilot, ChatGPT feels like another 10%+ boost for us.

And it’s going to be cool when these tools go from being generic to being personal, where the results (code, text, images, designs etc) are centered around your preferences.

2— Progress feels slow before hitting you all at once. I can practically hear the Lego bricks click in my brain each time something starts making sense, but it takes awhile to feel like you’ve built the whole Lego set (or multiple).

At least this is how I experienced the process of learning how to code, and I think I might be in the middle of that with singing — I signed up for MasterClass with a friend and went through Christina Aguilera’s Singing lessons, and have had a few key phrases click over the last few weeks.

If you’re curious, I’m publicly learning how to sing over at my website (opens in a new tab).

3— Naive vs purposeful vs deliberate practice. I actually had this conversation with a coworker almost exactly a year ago, but starting thinking about it again in the context of recently learning how to weight lift and sing, and sometimes catching myself not doing more than naive practice.

The way I think about these: naive practice is simply showing up, purposeful practice is actively focusing/pushing your boundaries, and deliberate practice is purposeful practice that is also informed by an expert.

For example, with Chinese, I have daily purposeful practice around expanding my vocabulary, with the occasional naive practice of watching Mandarin Chinese content on YouTube or Viki. And then I have deliberate practice with my teacher in a 1-on-1 setting where we target my reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities.

4— Organizing email with server-side rules is sweet. This year, I started utilizing server-side rules for each of my email addresses. I’m surprised I didn’t become aware of server-side rules as being an option on most popular email providers earlier, but they’re handy if you want to reign in your email and apply filters to different categories of recurring email you receive without being stuck with a single email provider.

I wrote more about the different options for organizing your inboxes, including providers like HEY, in this blog post (opens in a new tab). Admittedly, the UX of server-side rules across email hosts leaves something to be desired. If anyone has recommendations, my inbox would welcome them.

1 Personal Win

I learned 284 Chinese words in November, up from 177 in October. I think the difference is attributable to adding an accountability tracker to my public website for my week-over-week vocabulary progress.

The best part is that with hackchinese.com (opens in a new tab)’s spaced repetition algorithm, I only had to spend 10 mins a day to learn these. Let’s go!

1 Hack

A few weeks ago I wanted to programmatically access my iOS health data for the accountability trackers (opens in a new tab) feature on my website, which are themselves an experiment of public goal tracking on productivity.

I ended up writing an iOS app, starting from Apple’s example HealthKit project (opens in a new tab), that fetches a subset of my data using HealthKit and pushes to a database. If you’d like more info, or are curious on ways to do this yourself, I wrote a short blog post (opens in a new tab) that you might find useful.

That’s all for now. See you in the new year, only once I’ve carefully curated resolution suggestions from ChatGPT.

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Last Updated: Wed Dec 7 2022



To 2023 and beyond

Dec 31 2022

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