What are your most contrary MPU opinions?

I exercise by walking 90+ minutes a day, and that’s my prime podcast listening time.

If my mind wanders during a podcast, well, I consider that a plus.


Watch out for open manholes covers and low-walled fountains! :slightly_smiling_face:

I very rarely listed to a podcast if I want to learn something. My reason is I can’t ever learn by hearing. Now if the podcast has a transcription I might listen to it enough to decide I want to read the transcription. In all the various testing ideas about learning types I’m at the very far end of reading focused. Any noise to me is distracting, even a podcast about something I want to listen to. I have a hard time staying with it. It takes huge effort to listen and get anything out of a podcast when I can read it and get it in a few minutes. For entertainment I can occasionally listen to them but often I have problems because I want to pay attentiona nd then it’s not relaxing. And no I do not listen to music much at all. I can’t stand having music playing if I’m trying to work. OTOH fan noice from computers is soothing. I think it’s the tech equivalent of white noise at least it is to me. I have more problems when the computers are silent, I’m sure something is broken. :grin:


FWIW, one can use DEVONthink without putting any files into it. DT can work perfectly well just by indexing files in Finder directories and nested folder structures. I only mention this because it took me a minute to realize this when first trying out the software. Moreover, DT let’s me index files that are in other sandboxes on my machine (e.g., Zotero).


Interesting; thanks, all. I agree with the sentiment that a podcast is a poor alternative to a written article or transcript, if the content and connotations are the same.

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For everyone who can’t remember shortcuts, I highly recommend CheatSheet by Media Atelier. It’s a nifty little program that runs in the background on your computer. When you’re in any app and you can’t remember how to do something, press and hold the cmd ⌘ key, and a sheet will come up telling you what shortcuts are set in the active app. This is often quicker than finding the right menu in the toolbar, I find this little program invaluable.

E.g. this is what it looks like for me this morning while I’m in Safari typing to you:

The sheet only remains visible while you hold down the cmd key, so as soon as you either press the keys you need, or release the cmd key, it disappears and you carry on with your task.


KeyCue from Ergonis Software does that too and I have been using it.

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I too recommend KeyCue. A good thread about it here:

Same can be said for the anything-bucket EagleFiler app and the structured note-taker Notenik app. Both apps add a lot of value but do it on top of a folder of files, plain text and otherwise. If that appeals to you, than these are your apps. Both are Mac-only, and while I’m not a fan of putting all my data “in the cloud,” both can be run on data stored there. (Full disclosure, I run these apps on data stored on my Mac.)


I think that I should be able to set the fonts in Apple Mail for Mac that recipients will see.

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I would like to add that I really appreciate the honesty of this thread and welcome the contrary opinions.


I disagree with this from an Accessibility perspective.


If you consider that the average speaking rate is about 172 WPM, that makes a 100-minute podcast (to use round numbers - but similar to MPU’s actual length) 17,200 words. And the average reading speed is 238 WPM, so that means that if you’re reading it’s the same as listening to the podcast at about 1.3x. Even long articles are usually only a few thousand words, so that would mean you could fit in 6 long-ish articles in the space one long-ish podcast.

Efficiency clearly seems to be with the written media.

The downside, of course, is that you can’t do that reading while you do other things. :slight_smile:

I don’t mind fonts typically, but size is a big gripe for me. Even Apple is horrible at this sometimes. In Apple Books, I tried using Pencil to take notes on an ePub, and once I did up the note on my iPad I went back in to look at it. It was in tiny, tiny print, at the top of a page all by itself, with no obvious way for me to increase the size. And using the Accessibility scaling stuff didn’t make it bigger from what I can tell.


I vastly preferred the old written field guides to the new video ones. More generally, I prefer articles with screen shots to videos. Clearly that’s not David’s business, and I don’t think it’s make economic sense for him, but I still love a good write up.


podcasts:radio::on-demand video streaming:TV

I think of podcasts as time-shifted radio. (And for me, at least, radio these days is as much an internet thing as a terrestrial broadcast thing. Being able to listen to non-US radio streaming over my various internet-connected devices has been a game-changer.) I listen to podcasts and other spoken word content when my mind is free, but my hands—or, like @MitchWagner, my feet—aren’t.

But maybe we need to define what a “podcast” is. Some of the podcasts I listen to are simply on-demand broadcast radio shows posted as podcasts (including by the BBC, of course). Some are focussed conversations among subject-matter experts. Some are highly-produced all-but-scripted narratives (think Radiolab).

To my mind, print isn’t really a substitute for any of them: the speaking human voice conveys a lot of information that print can’t, and speaking human voices in conversation are dead on the page. (Literary dialogues a la Plato’s work because they are highly structured emulations of conversation, not transcripts.) It’s why we have seminars and not just textbooks. While I might review a podcast’s (or interview’s) transcript to take notes from a particularly dense part of the conversation, I couldn’t start there: I need to hear the voices. Sometimes I have to read something out loud to my self and talk back just to wrap my head around it.

It took me far too long to figure out that I’m a multi-channel learner and information processor and to get over the belief that reading and writing was the only legitimate way to really learn. For a lot of people, reading is the best and perhaps even the only path to a certain kind of knowledge; for some of us things like podcasts and spoken word are a more than useful adjunct.

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Right. I told you it was a contrary opinion! Ha ha.


For tutorials, I like having both screen recordings and articles (like the old Railscasts site) but that’s a lot of work. I like videos for the same reason I like podcasts: when they communicate additional information or subtext that the speakers either wouldn’t think to write down, or would edit out of an article. (Podcasts are becoming less like this as good editing tools become cheaper/new ones created, and techniques and good audio freelancers proliferate–another topic.)

That is one reason I like some books better than articles, too. Books sometimes have the same benefit of podcasts and screen recordings in that they are often too long to be completely controlled by the author and editor (or they’re intentionally over-complete, which means the interesting asides get thrown in.) I’m not talking about business books.

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Makes sense. I find that I love short videos, like the backstage updates, but I have to really commit to a full tutorial in a different way than a book or long article. I’m also aware that I read quickly and bias towards text - which is certainly not a universal thing. I’m also a bit of a completionist - so I feel like I’m “supposed to” watch or read the whole thing.

In the end, I appreciate that there’s multiple options these days.


The problem with the video guide is pacing. You can’t really speed through things you already know and slow down what’s new and difficult. Not a problem with the written word.

I got introduced to David and MPU because I read his Paperless field guide first. That book made a major change in how I did things, something I cannot say for later video guides. From the book I discovered MPU.


" … if the content and the connotations are the same."

That’s the crux of the matter! More than a few content creators seem wedded to formats that aren’t suited to the kind information they want to convey and / or the needs of their audience. I think we’ve all seen stuff shoehorned into a YouTube video that should have been a podcast or a podcast that should have been a blog post or a blog post that should have been a properly-edited long form article or a long-form article that should have been a listicle or, going the in the opposite direction, a listicle that should have been a Wikipedia entry with references and footnotes if not an actual book and on and on and on.

The ease with which any of us can publish in just about anything in any format is a both blessing and a curse. Constraints help us make hard choices about what to say (or show) and how best to say it.