📰 Elderblog Sutra: 12

Author: ribbonfarm.com

Full Title: Elderblog Sutra: 12

URL: https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2021/03/11/elderblog-sutra-12/

Highlights from March 13th, 2021.

The only piece of the text renaissance trend to buck this general trend of falling costs and complexity is Roam Research, which I’d rate at a difficulty level of around 80 to use with power-user fluency. Or somewhere between cgi-bin Perl era and the earliest blogs. And it’s not cheap. Where Substack represents a kind of airbrushed-nostalgia in medium terms, reflecting a sanitized memory of OG email newsletters (running an email listserv 20 years ago was frankly a horrifying thing a universe away from the simplicity of writing on Substack), Roam is actually a kind of Unix shell pretending to be a web app. It promises the convenience of modern technology but actually delivers some sort of nerd-out maze of worthwhile inconvenience and complexity, a hilarious kind of bait-and-switch in an unexpected direction. In that sense, Roam actually has an open-source ethos, despite being a commercial startup that charges for its product.
I use a subset of Roam’s functionality that keeps my own use at a difficult level of say 45. Also I use it only as a private notebook so far, but might make more public use of it once their permissions architecture improves. I have no intention of ever becoming a Roam neckbeard, just as I never got deep into Unix shell mastery, but it’s nice to see a breed of neckbeards emerge. Always a healthy sign for a tech ecosystem.