Read it never...

I believe I’m a huge consumer of information just like every other people with the internet. The internet has blessed us with access to information but, also introduced us to a new term “TMI”. TMI stands for Too Much Information.

Cambridge Dictionary online defines TMI as:

too much information: used to say that you are, or someone else is, giving too many details about a subject in a way that is embarrassing, usually personal details about something that should be kept private.

That sounds about right, but, in the case of the internet, the information might not be personal but, it does contain a lot of information.

So, you’re casually browsing Hacker News to see what’s happening on OpenAI vs Elon Musk war and you see, a post about how someone wrote a Vector Database on a weekend and about some interesting bugs in the Browser engine. Since this wasn’t the information you were looking for in the first place, what would you do?

A: Save it somewhere to consume it later. B: Read it quickly and if it is interesting research more. C: Ignore it.

If you’re like me, you would choose Option A because the post you just looked over was well-written and interesting. Additionally, you may want to write a Vector Database someday…

OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model]. /g/g-2fkFE8rbu-dall-e

Enter tools and software for you to store those websites and other materials. They can range from free bookmarks to paid read-it-later services. Yes, bookmarks might be free but you have to arrange all the categories apply filters, and don’t get cool features of read-it-later services like speed reading, text-to-speech to listen to your text documents, forever storage of information even if they are deleted, etc.

Awesome! With these services, you can read your saved contents wherever you want, you usually have your phone with you and you can go to their app or web app and start reading your saves, it’s even designed for you to make it easier to read. Great, right?

Well, err, em, the only problem now is you don’t have the context to consume information, and sitting in an overcrowded commute, sweating on a hot summer day trying to read how to write a toy VM in Python isn’t pleasing. Plus, you will read the contents, and probably cross off the post but, what’s the takeaway? That a toy VM can be written in Python? Will you be able to write a VM now that you have the information?

Yes, I’m describing only a single situation. But, what I’m trying to justify is that, even if you’re lying on a hammock sipping some Piña colada and trying to read all the information that you stored at some point in time that you find interesting, it might not give you the value at that moment, which you thought it would give. But, also, you won’t be just storing a single interesting thing, right? Each day Hacker News has lots of new submissions, also, someone might be sharing some interesting article on X, Reddit, etc. You will create your own Kafka queue. Bookmarks, saves, etc. will keep on increasing in the cluster, but, you can only consume as much.

Knowledge is an expiring asset, you might remember a few things now, but, slowly gradually, you’ll be at a point where you remember nothing of it and it’s just like you never read it. In which case, when you need that information you will go and read it and you will then, read more documents around the subject, you will be in the context that’s why you’ll remember it(for a long time). Our brain is single-threaded, context switching is an expensive process and it can only keep much information, the point of getting information is to use it and not just store it. Because that’s what your machine is doing.

So, relax, there will always be new things, and you will never be able to learn everything. If you find something interesting now, and you have time to read it, do it now! (it might not be interesting tomorrow) When you read it, understand it properly as you are using your mental effort.

And yeah, delete your bookmarks. :) :)

There’s no freedom like letting go….