Task Management for the Weekly Thing

    I’m often asked about how I create the Weekly Thing and how I’ve been doing it for over six years. People are usually curious about how I find things to write about or how I build the Weekly Thing. However, there is a critical part that is invisible to others but key to the consistency of sending every week for 262 issues — project management!

    With the recent rebuild of my automation I needed to update my project template which seemed like a good time to share how I do this. I’m a Getting Things Done practitioner, and my tool of choice for as long as I can remember has been OmniFocus. Everything here is in OmniFocus or supporting automation.

    A detail to share on dates and times for the publishing schedule. My target for sending the Weekly Thing is Saturday at 7:00 am CT. If I miss that it’s fine, I can shift things. However, the content cutoff is actually Thursday at 11:59 pm CT and that never changes. This allows me a window from Thursday night to Saturday at 7:00 am CT to publish. One odd side effect of this is that a blog post I publish on Friday will not be in that issues Journal on Saturday, but will wait for the following week. Nobody seems to notice this and it is necessary for me to have the time to do the publishing.

    Project

    Here is what the project to send Weekly Thing 264 looks like in OmniFocus. The two dates on the right are the defer and due dates. Defer dates are critical for me since they keep things off my plate until they need to be. Note everything in gray is deferred. You can see that right now, there are only three tasks available. I’ve expanded select tasks so that you can see the helper links and text that make things a bit faster for me.

    There are four major steps to publishing each issue:

    1. Creating Content: Most notable activities here include writing the introduction, adding any “Currently” topics, taking and setting the picture for the week. Some of these I can do immediately, others I defer until a few days into the week. The writing is done in Drafts.
    2. Curating Links: I try to curate links and various points through the week, but I have two “deadlines” for the publishing cycle. Links are curated in Pinboard.
    3. Building and Sending: Content and Links are done, time to build and send. I’ve automated this to be pretty simple. See how I build the Weekly Thing for more.
    4. Finalizing: After the issue is sent and in peoples mailboxes, I need to do some final activities and most importantly create the project for the next issue.

    All of these steps are sequential. And the tasks in them are sequential, except for Creating Content which can be done in any order.

    Repetition

    This project is not a repeating project. That is the reason for the last step in the project, to create the next project. Why not repeating?

    1. Changes: Not having it repeating means I can change and alter any given instance however I like. I might add a special task to one issue, like adding a POAP for the anniversary issue. Or a special section I’m only doing that time.
    2. Schedule: I may move the due dates for one step or another and I love knowing that will not persist to the next iteration.

    So how do I get the repeating project without doing all the work? Plus, there are tons of date references that need to be calculated, where does that come from? This is where TaskPaper and project templates come to the rescue.

    TaskPaper allows me to have a template for sending the Weekly Thing that I can “run” via a Shortcut. You can see the Send Weekly Thing Taskpaper Template for all the details. Take note of two special “tokens” in the template: «Issue» and «Date». These are not part of TaskPaper, but instead two “variables” I handle.

    Before I hand OmniFocus the TaskPaper to create the project, I’m going to process those two tokens using a Shortcut. My Send Weekly Thing shortcut will get the “Publish Date” and “Issue Number” from Data Jar. It will set those “variables” in the TaskPaper and the rest of the data offsets are magically handled by OmniFocus. Most critical thing here is making sure I format the «Date» as yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm aa so that OmniFocus understands it.

    The Shortcut also puts a time block on my calendar for Thursday night to send the issue. This is a nice benefit of combining Taskpaper and Shortcuts together.

    Summary

    Creating the Weekly Thing isn’t a single “Send Weekly Thing” task on my list. Instead I’ve focused on “next action thinking” to try and make each component a simple task. Overall this works really well for me. It doesn’t solve writers block, but frees me up to focus on the creative aspects instead of the tasks.

    You might be curious how this works when I take my summer or winter breaks? In those cases, I still create the next project for the issue when I come back from break, but then I set the defer date for the whole thing to the week before that issue publishes. I also usually add a housecleaning task to the beginning of that issue to clean out my Safari Reading list and Pinboard Unread links.

    TeamSPS 2023 Kubb Tournament

    Today we held our 5th Annual TeamSPS Kubb Tournament! This event has now become a real tradition and many of our team look forward to playing Kubb together in early fall every year.

    We had 16 teams of 6 people, with a full registration of 96 players. Plus plenty of folks came down just to watch, hang out with team members, and cheer on the players.

    The great thing about Kubb for a team event is that anyone can play, the game is quick to pick up, and I guarantee you that you are going to meet and talk to the other members of your team. The game is casual, and can be enjoyed by players of any age.

    Some of our team really get into it. As the Tournament Director I’m responsible for calling matches, making rulings on anything questionable on the field. It is awesome to see the folks that really git into the spirit of Kubb.

    This year we decided to up our game a bit and got 8 custom Kubb sets with SPS colors on the kings, and the logo etched into it. These amazing sets came from JP’s Backyard Games and he threw in some shirts that I got to hand out to some players as well.

    It was a great afternoon to Throw Some Wood!

    Just like previous years, we had a POAP for the event!

    We played three Round Robin matches in four different groups (results at the end), and from the round robin we placed teams into four different brackets. The winners of each bracket got bragging rights for the year, and an awesome medal!

    Bracket 1: Lead the Way

    EDI Emperors (W) vs. Kubastank
    The Kubb Nubbs vs. Kubbless (W)

    EDI Emperors (W) vs. Kubbless

    Bracket 2: Know More to Be More

    Kubbcumbers vs. Simply the Best (W)
    Kubbiks Rube vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty (W)

    Simply the Best (W) vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty

    Bracket 3: Win Today, Win Tomorrow

    Ice Kubs (W) vs. Kubb Scouts
    Lucky #13 vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash! (W)

    Ice Kubs vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash! (W)

    Bracket 4: Succeed Together

    Kubb on the Cob vs. Kubb Your Enthusiasm (W)
    Kubby-doo Where Are You? (W) vs. Kubb 2: Hyperkubb

    Kubb Your Enthusiasm vs. Kubby-doo Where Are You? (W)

    See: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2019, and 2018 tournaments.

    Round Robin Results

    Group A

    Game 1:
    Ice Kubbs (W) vs. Kubbcumbers
    Kubb on the Cob vs. EDI Emperors (W)

    Game 2:
    Kubbcumbers vs. EDI Emperors (W)
    Ice Kubbs vs. Kubb on the Cob (W)

    Game 3:
    EDI Emperors (W) vs. Ice Kubbs
    Kubbcumbers (W) vs. Kubb on the Cob

    Group B

    Game 1:
    Simple the Best vs. Kubastank (W)
    Kubb Scouts (W) vs. Kubb Your Enthusiasm

    Game 2:
    Simple the Best (W) vs. Kubb Scouts
    Kubastank (W) vs Kubb Your Enthusiasm

    Game 3:
    Kubb Your Enthusiasm vs. Simple the Best (W)
    Kubb Scouts vs. Kubastank (W)

    Group C

    Game 1:
    Lucky #13 (W) vs. Kubby-doo Where Are You?
    The Kubb Nubbs (W) vs. Kubbiks Rube

    Game 2:
    Lucky #13 vs. The Kubb Nubbs (W)
    Kubby-doo Where Are You? (W) vs. Kubbiks Rube

    Game 3:
    Kubbiks Rube (W) vs. Lucky #13
    The Kubb Nubbs (W) vs. Kubby-doo Where Are You?

    Group D

    Game 1:
    Kubbless (W) vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash!
    Kubb 2: Hyperkubb vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty! (W)

    Game 2:
    Kubbless (W) vs. Kubb 2: Hyperkubb
    Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash! (W) vs. Kubb Me Up, Scotty!

    Game 3:
    Kubb Me Up, Scotty! vs. Kubbless (W)
    Kubb 2: Hyperkubb (W) vs. Knock’n Kubb Uff-da-bash!

    It was cool to see UBS prominently marketing their Bitcoin offerings in Zurich airport.

    I’ve been collecting ekekonfts.eth “🔌 Ŝԝ𝞘ፐc₶” collection on Nifty Ink. I dig these and think the collection is a lot of fun. I want to create a backstory for each one of these characters.

    London Welcoming Crypto?

    You may not be a fan of a16z (Andreessen Horowitz). You may not be a fan of crypto. But pushing fintech innovation outside of the United States is not a good idea. The movements by regulators against crypto have much more to do with protecting power and marketing than they do about protecting consumers. See my post from Dec 2022 on Polarizing Technology.

    Andreessen Horowitz, an American venture-capital firm, will open its first international office in London. The branch will focus on investments in crypto and blockchain startups. The firm believes that Britain’s government is more hospitable towards cryptocurrency. Regulators in America have clamped down on big crypto companies recently. — Economist Espresso, June 12, 2023

    Also, inside the crypto community it is disheartening to see some in the Bitcoin community in effect supporting these moves. Bitcoin isn’t somehow immune on this, it is just the biggest and most widely-held of crypto. Regulators will try to undermine smaller ecosystems first.

    Bitcoin Lightning makes the majority of the micropayment models that have been envisioned for the last two decades possible today. Instant, nearly free, person-to-person digital transactions — and the usability is reasonable even at this early stage. ⚡️thingelstad@walletofsatoshi.com

    I added a bit of metadata to my website to enable Bitcoin Lightning “tips”. One line to indicate my Lightning address.

    <meta name="lightning" content="lnurlp:thingelstad@getalby.com" />

    In Chrome, with the Alby Extension you can easily send Satoshis.

    Moving 1,000,000 Satoshis (0.01 Bitcoin) between Bitcoin addresses on-chain so I can claim a customized Wallet of Satoshi Lightning address. 😬

    Achievement Unlocked:

    1. Lightning address is now thingelstad@walletofsatoshi.com.
    2. Nostr LNURL updated with new address.

    Thanks Wallet of Satoshi​! ⚡️

    Blog turns 19!

    Today marks the 19th year of my blog at thingelstad.com!

    Over those 19 years I’ve written 8,186 posts totaling 493,751 words. My website is older than the iPhone, Bitcoin, and Instagram.

    I love having my own home on the Internet.

    You’ll note some posts from 2000 to 2003, but I don’t count them in the timeline as they were added later.

    Lightning Ideas

    Having finally gotten first-hand experience with Bitcoin Lightning, a workable and functioning micropayments option, it opens up a variety of interesting and fun use cases.

    1. Create a circular economy at home. Set your kids up with Bitcoin Lightning wallets and create bounties for projects and milestones they earn Satoshis for. Earn your allowance in Bitcoin. You are the bank to offramp back to USD as they want.
    2. Send Satoshis as Antispam. AI is going to make spam detection ever more difficult. You could Satoshis to an address and then reference the receipt in an SMTP header that the recipient could use to validate the email. More Satoshis could be more priority? Even works for newsletters since a few thousand Satoshis is about $1.
    3. Little Free Library Support. There are many Little Free Libraries in our neighborhood. Since “things” can have a lightning wallet, put a QR code on the library so people can send some Satoshis to support the library as an optional Thank You.
    4. Lightning as Creator Support. Send tips to creators you appreciate, potentially triggered on events. When a newsletter is received send 3,000 sats. When this RSS feed has a new item send 1,000 sats. Many Lightning wallets are adding support for automated sends under a user set threshold to remove friction for micropayments.
    5. Subscriptions with Privacy. Lightning invoices can be paid by any wallet, and the payment is immediate. Instead of subscribing to a service and needing an address and credit card details just get what you need and present an invoice to immediately pay. Fast, easier, and private.
    6. Buy a fridge with a year of electricity. Since “things” can have wallets, create one for each fridge. The fridge meters it’s electrical usage, uses a lookup to determine cost, and the fridge manufacturer sends Satoshis via Lightning to offset the first year of electricity.

    "Bison & Bitcoin"

    I recently threw the term “Bison & Bitcoin” out with some friends. I love bison. 🦬 The name kept bouncing back to me and I thought that would be a fun newsletter. Generative AI is an amazing brainstorming partner, so for kicks I asked GPT-4 to elaborate and DALL-E to make a cover image. 😂

    Prompt: Create a description for a newsletter called “Bison & Bitcoin”. The newsletter has primary themes of innovation, sustainability, and self-reliance, and highlights the shared properties of resilience and strength that Bison and Bitcoin share.

    “Bison & Bitcoin” is a remarkable newsletter that transcends traditional boundaries, blending the worlds of ecology and finance through the lens of innovation, sustainability, and self-reliance. It’s an exploration of the innate resilience and strength shared by the American Bison, an enduring symbol of the wilderness, and Bitcoin, the pioneering force in cryptocurrency.

    This newsletter is published bi-weekly, each edition shedding light on the enduring strength and adaptability of these two entities. For the Bison, readers get to delve into the animal’s natural history, their journey from near-extinction to resurgence, and the significance of their role in promoting sustainable ecosystems. This deep dive into the life of Bison underscores themes of resilience, offering inspiring insights into nature’s ability to recover and thrive.

    Simultaneously, the Bitcoin section dissects the resilience of this digital currency amidst the volatile economic landscape. It explores the trajectory of Bitcoin’s development, its role in driving financial innovation, and how it embodies self-reliance in the increasingly digital economy. It takes readers through market trends, tech advancements, regulatory changes, and how Bitcoin continues to thrive despite these challenges.

    By drawing intriguing parallels between Bison and Bitcoin, the newsletter encourages readers to perceive resilience and strength in a new light, and apply these principles in their own lives for a sustainable future. Ultimately, “Bison & Bitcoin” is not just a newsletter; it’s a bi-weekly exploration of resilience in the natural and financial worlds, providing compelling content that provokes thought and inspires action.

    Ordered one of these orange Bitcoin Miami 2023 Special Edition Worlds Smallest Bitcoin Hobby ATM. I was blown away by this project at the show. It will be fun to be able to share how fast and fun Bitcoin Lightning is! 🤩⚡️🟠

    Bitcoin Lightning: Fun, Fast, and Free-ish

    I’ve been casually investigating Bitcoin Lightning for a while. Lightning is a Layer 2 network on-top of Bitcoin and promises nearly free instantaneous transactions. Apps like Strike and Cash support Lightning, but I got frustrated with them because it wasn’t clear where Lightning was doing the work. Perhaps a good thing for normal use, but not great for learning the tech.

    As Bitcoin 2023 approached one of the objectives I had was to get first-hand experience with Lightning. ⚡️ I did some digging before getting to Miami and had Wallet of Satoshi installed, and via Strike transferred 100,000 or so Satoshis.

    Before going further, a Satoshi is the smallest unit of Bitcoin and it is named after the creator of Bitcoin. 1 bitcoin = 100,000,000 satoshis. At current market 1 Satoshi is worth $0.00027, and $0.01 is worth 37 Satoshis. Satoshis are often referred to as “Sats”. Sometimes people will say “Stacking Sats” which is to imply slowly building value in Bitcoin with small dollar purchases.

    First Transaction

    We arrived at the Miami Beach Convention Center early on Friday and desperately needed coffee. We queued up and noticed that they (and we would realize all vendors here) had IBEX terminals to accept Bitcoin payment using Lightning.

    A little background, in 2015 I had gone on a mission to buy something with Bitcoin in Minneapolis. I couldn’t find any merchant selling anything that would accept Bitcoin. I’ve long felt that Bitcoin is a great store of value, but have many times said that you would never use Bitcoin for day-to-day purchases. Transaction fees are high, and block times are not deterministic so you can’t confirm payment immediately.

    Lightning proved me totally wrong. Thanks to Kerry for whipping out his phone to catch my very first Lightning purchase for some coffees and empanadas on video.

    The payment is instantaneous, and the fees are nearly free. The merchant put in the total amount I owed on their device, it generated a Lightning “invoice” that I scanned with my wallet, and after confirming payment it was done in a flash.

    Amazing. 🤩

    Nostr & Damus

    So how is it that I showed up in Miami with Wallet of Satoshi setup and ready to make Lightning transactions?

    • I knew Nostr was particularly popular in the Bitcoin world and thought it may be a good way to communicate at the event.
    • Some micro.blog folks were playing around in Nostr using Damus on iOS, and Damus looked very polished.
    • Damus connects with Lightning to allow “Zaps” on posts so you can “zap” some amount of Satoshis to other peoples posts.

    Setup was pretty simple actually. I downloaded Damus and it walked be through getting my Nostr public and private keys setup. Damus had a list of Lightning wallets that worked with it and Wallet of Satoshi was the best rated in the App Store. And then I stumbled a bit but finally figured out how to send some Satoshis from Strike to Wallet of Satoshi.

    Off to the races! 🏇⚡️

    This is the first application experience I’ve ever used where micropayments really work.

    This is truly exciting to me as a potential way to fix the Original Sin of the Internet — building everything off of a surveillance economy funded by advertising! Traditionally micropayments are far too cumbersome to work. Zaps powered with Bitcoin Lightning are completely friction free.

    At the show Damus was selling (for 27,800 Sats) “Zap Me” buttons with an embedded NFC chip. When you bought it they associated the chip with your profile so people could tap the button with their phone and automatically be brought to your profile where they could send you a Zap! ⚡️

    PS: I’m planning to add Lightning options to thingelstad.com and the Weekly Thing to encourage folks to experiment.

    Login and Signing

    Finally, Lightning also brings some functionality to Bitcoin that I’ve enjoyed for a long time with Ethereum. You can use your Lightning wallet to authenticate with a service, as well as signing messages.

    Over dinner I was able to authenticate and provision a Bitcoin mining unit just by signing in with Lightning.

    Moving beyond passwords, and digital signatures to prove validity of content, are going to increase in significance over time and it is great to see Lightning bring that capability to the Bitcoin ecosystem.


    During the 2 days of Bitcoin 2023 I relied almost exclusively on Bitcoin to pay for lunches, coffees, and anything else I wanted. I also took the opportunity to send Satoshis to some of the speakers and people that I met at the event. It was incredible. It gave me all the privacy and benefit of cash, along with all the benefit of digital money.

    So my earlier assertion that Bitcoin is a store-of-value but not useful for day to day purchases? Wrong.

    In fact I’m on the hunt to get a Lightning coin machine like the one at the event to have in my house. I’d love to be able to have people come over and get their first Bitcoin experience by installing a free Lightning Wallet, putting a quarter in a box and scanning a QR code to leave with 1,000 satoshis! 🥳

    I got my Blockclock Mini at Bitcoin 2023 in Miami and have it setup at my desk. I’ve wanted one of these for a while and now I can remember the conference with it.

    Good morning Miami! Learned a lot and enjoyed Bitcoin 2023. Heading home this morning. 🛫

    The final session for Bitcoin 2023 on Nakamoto Stage “The Biggest Bulls” with Matt Odell, Adam Back (Blockstream), and Jack Mallers (Strike). 🐂

    Zoltan Pozsar (Credit Suisse) & Arthur Hayes (100x Group) on Nakamoto Stage at Bitcoin 2023 on “New Monetary Order”.

    Good macro session “Steady Lads” at Bitcoin 2023 with Mark Moss, Lyn Alden, and Preston Posh.

    Good session on “Bitcoin Core Maintainers & the Path Forward” with Gloria Zhao, Niftynei, and Jess Jonas moderated by Steve Meyers at Bitcoin 2023. I appreciated three things:

    1. Loved that this was an all women panel!
    2. Great call out to help fund Bitcoin Core development via Brink. Donate!
    3. Call to action for Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund. Donate!

    Really great! 🙌

    Interesting technical solutions to identity and privacy in the “Web 5: Open to Build” session with Daniel Buchner at Bitcoin 2023.

    The Bitcoin Mining Museum was a fun time. The USB miners were a crazy flashback. And the very first mining rig, the Avalon1. 🤩

    The Art Gallery at Bitcoin 2023 is a cool experience with a lot of interesting art.

    Worlds Smallest Bitcoin Hobby ATM

    This Bitcoin ATM is one of my favorite things I’ve seen at Bitcoin 2023. You put coins in the device, I put 3 pennies. You tap the screen and it gives you a Lightning code to scan and I got 99 sats in my wallet. 🤩

    Update (May 23):

    I did some digging and found that “Tortcher” is the one who made this awesome device. I found him online and was excited to see that he is selling the World’s Smallest Bitcoin Hobby ATM. I’ve ordered the Multi-ATM and can’t wait to show people how fun, easy, and fast Bitcoin and Lightning can be with it! 🤩⚡️ Oh yeah, and Tortcher lives in the Twin Cities area — small world! The code is on GitHub as well.

    Hot tub heated by a Bitcoin miner.

    Jack Mallers of Strike closed out Friday at Bitcoin 2023 with massive announcement of global expansion and Lightning improvements. ⚡️

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