Yifeng Wang

Evernote’s One Thing

Many people praise apps that focus only on doing one certain thing. QuoteBook, for example. They believe focusing only on one thing gives the developers the ability to make the app do that certain one thing really well.

Evernote, on the other hand, sometimes is criticized for being “too big” or “too heavy.” But from another perspective, can we say that Evernote focuses only on one thing as well—letting users put everything in it?

Everything is Evernote’s one thing.

A Little Story About Amazon

Just a little story.

I found out that Amazon Prime was a charged service after I had been using it for about five months. I didn’t realize I was charged until a friend told me about that. I guess I didn’t notice its price policy when I first signed up for its one month trial and I just forgot about it. Anyway, I was thinking about writing an email to Amazon to ask about it. But don’t get me wrong, I like Amazon Prime; it’s a good service. I just feel kind of deceived (but I wasn’t: it was me who didn’t realize the service was charged in the first place.) However, I got an email from Amazon which said they had already cancelled my Amazon Prime membership and I would get a full refund in days within hours I clicked the send button.

I became an happy Amazon Prime member again soon after. How could I possibly think of a reason not to use such a good service from a company with such fantastic customer service?

This is probably the way how good business is done.

The Earth Won’t Stand Still Because I Missed That Kangaroo News

I love social media, and I still do. They pull the world closer to me. They keep me connected with my friends. They inform me in ways never before.

I have to, however, admit that regardless all these benefits that they give me, social media also have some side effects on me. On some days, they take me too much time. On other days, I’m afraid of missing out on what’s happening in the world as well as I’m afraid of missing out on what’s going on with my friends.1 But the worst part is that I’m afraid of all those unread counts: 100 new posts on Twitter and App.net, 70 unread items from the RSS feeds I subscribe to, and another 100 unread count from...insert another social site here. Those unread counts freak me out. They are like some tasks down the street waiting for me to accomplish. The moment when things become tasks is the moment when things become not fun any more.

So I guess it is time for me to do something about my fear. I didn’t find a good way to solve the problem until all of sudden, I realize that I don’t really need most of the information. The earth won’t stand still because I missed that kangaroo news. My friends’ life won’t be messed up because I missed one of their food photos on Instagram. The only thing that I might miss out because I stopped checking the news is probably the chance of missing out some precious real life moments because I’m too busy checking the news. Most of the time, news is irrelevant. This is it. Once I realized this simple truth, solutions are jumping out themselves. Here are things I’ve done so far:

  • Unfollow all the news accounts that I’m not interested in on Twitter.
  • Put people that I’m following on Twitter in different lists, so I don’t feel obligated to read all the unread tweets all at once.
  • Unsubscribe all the news feeds that I’m not interested in in my RSS reader.

These three things were pretty easily done yet they are now working great for me. Now whenever I refresh my RSS reader, no more hundreds of unread items waiting for me but a few things that I actually enjoy reading. So is my Twitter timeline. Nothing big has changed about App.net yet. But that's OK because I just no longer force myself to read everything.

Once again, checking social media becomes something that I’m happy and welling to do without causing me too many troubles.


  1. Update: Apparently, it’s already a thing, FOMO.

Reading for Pleasure

Angus Croll in his How To Read A Book:

Revel in it. Lose yourself in it. Live it.

Reading for pleasure is something I always remind myself to follow. Pleasure should (as long as it’s not pure academic) always be the primary reason we read books, watch movies, listen to music, and write down words. And apparently, revealing the deep meaning behind or practicing a new language should not.

I Saw Time

When thinking about the concept of time, I usually picture a clock or a timeline in my head. But the fact is, those are only two of many measurements of time. What time exactly is if we stop thinking those measurements for a moment? Can we see it? Can we feel it flying like feel water running around our body? How does it actually move? What does its movement mean? If you try to ask yourself these questions, you might see something amazing (and magical).