2021i7, Thursday: how to read.

Yes, I know. A staggeringly arrogant title. But we lawyers have to get through huge piles of stuff. And finding ways to curate the pile is a genuine bonus.

Short thought: I haven’t got time to write a long thing I was planning on curation of online content. Not with one multi-day hearing finishing today and another starting next Wednesday. But I can take a moment to preview it with one critical tool for reading stuff: RSS.

(For the uninitiated: many websites, particularly news and blogs, publish what are called RSS feeds - which a dedicated app or site can use to drag down headlines and either whole pieces or summaries for you to read at your leisure. My blog’s is at https://remoteaccessbar.com/feed/.)

I know, I know: with Twitter, Facebook, and the rest, who needs RSS?

Any sensible lawyer, that’s who. I’ve been curating feeds for about 15 years now. Originally, like almost everyone else, I used Google’s Reader site to do so. Then Google shut down Reader in 2013 and a world of alternatives blossomed. I use Feedbin as the back-end to manage and grab the feeds; it costs me a few bucks a month. And Reeder as my app of choice for Mac and iOS for actually reading them. Costs me about a tenner every couple of years; I have no problem paying for major updates for something I use a dozen times a day. (There are loads of alternatives - both backend and reading/processing. Honestly, we’re spoiled for choice. Just stick “RSS reader” into your search engine of choice.)

Why is it good? And why is it good for lawyers? Well, think of all the chambers, law firms, legal academics and bloggers whose stuff you see linked to on Twitter etc, or get emails from, or glance at from time to time. Now think of how much you probably miss as the firehose of the Twitter feeds and unread emails shoots by. Now imagine if you could get all that stuff in one big list. Then (and this is the really game-changing part) use your cursor keys to shoot down that list, scanning headlines and summaries before starring anything you want to read later and dumping the rest. Once you get into the habit, you can keep-or-dump a couple of hundred entries in a minute or two. And then read them. Often offline. Whenever you’ve time. On any device.

Now tell me that doesn’t sound fantastic.

Still need convincing? Check this. Yup: that’s feeds for BAILII. Thank me later. Those, as they say, are my submissions.

Someone is right on the internet: It's been a weird 24 hours, hasn't it? What with the quasi-putsch attempt in DC (David Frum suggested that word - a good one, better than coup) and all, maybe everyone needs a boost. Here you go: a work of breathtaking, glorious artistry. It made my day.