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A study of bugs

Using Readwise

I realized I read quite a lot on the web. I spend a lot of time browsing answers on StackOverflow and reading documentation.

For the most part, such information is only useful once and it's OK to forget it. But occasionally, I'd come across a new bug that reminds me of an older problem I had seen before. At that time, I'd wish I could remember how I solved that problem earlier.

I take notes in Obsidian when I try to seriously learn something new. In the meantime, I'd create flashcards in Anki if I find what I'm learning really useful.

The downside of this is, when you are in the middle of debugging, it feels costly to pause and change the mode from debugging to note-taking. (To reduce the friction while collecting information in Obsidian, I've enabled global hotkeys. Hope this can be helpful.)

This is a good scenario to use Readwise. It allows you to make highlights on any webpage and all the highlights and annotations are collected in one place.

There's even a small spaced repetition feature to review your highlights, which I find beautiful but a bit unnecessary. You don't need to remember every piece of information. Using spaced repetition for everything is certainly overkill. Then for the serious knowledge that you need to remember for the rest of your life, this seems too flimsy and you would prefer using Anki.

Although the trademark feature of Readwise seems to be importing highlights from Kindle and Apple Books, so far I find read-it-later and highlighting the most relevant. You can even read PDFs on Readwise Reader. But tbh it also feels like it's too much and too little at the same time.

I had used Instapaper for my read-it-later needs since it was created. When Instapaper came out, it was certainly groundbreaking. But in the end, I stopped using it because 1) they blocked users in Europe for months when GDPR took effect and 2) that they charged too much for its offering, which by now looks rather meager in comparison.

When I was using Instapaper, I hoarded too many to-read items. I'm afraid I would do the same with Readwise. If you run into the same problem, follow the advice in this blog post and treat your reading like a river.