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· 3 min read
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

Hello there, fellow efficiency seekers!

With this issue, we're diving into the transformative potential of ChatGPT's Summarization Technique and celebrating the newfound accessibility of Bluesky's decentralized social networking platform!

ChatGPT Summarization Technique

Recently, I learned about the ChatGPT feature that saves my time and attention.

The summarization feature is pretty handy for condensing long-winded stuff like YouTube videos or online courses into bite-sized nuggets of info.

ChatGPT YouTube transcript Summarization

One thing I love about this feature is how it gives me a quick overview of the content, helping me decide if it's worth diving into further. It's like having a personal content curator at your fingertips!

Want to see it in action? Try this prompt:

Here is a transcript of a youtube video about a new gadget. 
Summarize this transcript to a single sentence where you tell me the essence of the video:

0:00 okay so one of the you know big topics
0:04 of the Apple Vision Pro is Persona and
0:07 that is the um scan that the Vision Pro
[... and a few hundred lines of transcript more]

and the answer is:

The video discusses improvements in facial scans on the Apple Vision Pro gadget after a software update, noting enhanced realism in the Persona feature and the potential impact on user experience.

Remember that you can modify the prompt to get what you want. For example, ask ChatGPT to use bullet points, limit the size of the answer

Other prompt examples:

  • Extract key points from this video transcript.
  • Summarize this video into bullet points highlighting the main topics
  • Give me a summary of this video transcript along with an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Provide a summary of this video transcript, emphasizing the technical aspects and innovations discussed.

To get a YouTube transcript, open the video, expand the description below the player, select "Show transcript," copy the text from the side panel, and paste it into a text editor for later use.

Give it a spin, and let me know what you think! 🚀

Bluesky For Everyone

Bluesky 🦋, the social network I've been keeping my eye on, just opened its doors to everyone! It's been invite-only for almost a year, but now, anyone can join in on the fun.

One of the coolest features I've come across is the ability to use domain names as nicknames. How awesome is that?

What makes this feature stand out even more is the instant credibility it brings. With a domain name as your nickname, there's no need to pay for verification or worry about impersonators.

Plus, it ensures that your nickname is always free for you to use, no matter how popular Bluesky gets. It's a win-win situation, giving you peace of mind and a unique identity in the online world.

Bluesky is backed by Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, boosting its credibility.

I created my account and connected my domain under bsky.app/profile/koprowski.it. I'm still exploring the platform and would love to hear from you! Unsure if I'll stay, but excited to connect for now.

· 3 min read
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

Around a month ago, I wrote about reducing mindless scrolling without external software. Two weeks ago I showed how to block the distracting content. Now let us discuss the options and flavours of content blocking.

I was experimenting with multiple scenarios of blocking, for example:

  • block access to the website completely,
  • give me X minutes per day to saturate with the content, then block,
  • turn the phone to grayscale, so it looks less appealing instead of blocking.

“X minutes per day to saturate with content” tactic

“X minutes per day to saturate” was a smart move to give some restrictions initially.

The drawback was that when some article or comments thread was exciting and my time was up, I ended up curious… Curious about what happened at the end of the story and how the discussion ended, or just interested in the topic. So I kept looking for information about it on other websites.

This might work well for novices afraid of blocking the content entirely.

Turn the entire screen into grayscale

Some say that the web is addictive because it is so colourful and appealing. I tried to make it less “nice” by cutting out the colours.

Grayscaled app icons also don’t look so appealing. Way less temptation to press them.

If you’re addicted to rich visual content like YouTube, TikTok or Instagram. I encourage you to try grayscale. It works on the whole phone, even outside the browser – on installed apps.

To try it, there is an option in the developer’s options menu. The mechanism is described well here on WIRED.

I tried removing colours only for “restricted websites” as well as turning my whole smartphone into grayscale (menu in icons, messages etc.).

The effect wasn’t so significant for me. I’m mostly looking for content to read, so grayscale is not as much of an obstacle.

Redirect to a newsletter

This is my favourite option. If I try to enter some website by habit, my brain feels bored and craves entertainment. So I trick my brain.

Instead of just seeing “block page”, I see the latest newsletters in my inbox.

It is much better because I only subscribe to things that inspire me positively.

There is no space in my newsletter inbox for world news, endless memes or low-quality content. So I feed my brain with something worthy.

Newsletters are usually longer pieces of text. Thanks to that, I have to focus longer than a few seconds on a single thing. So, it also fights “context switching” and calms me down.

To redirect you can use LeechBlock – a tool described in the “ how to block distracting content “ issue.

My current approach

It looks like blocking completely, plus a small buffer for links from friends, works best. Then I seek “entertainment” in newsletters.

However, I leave this buffer only on a desktop machine because it is less risky for me to stay on the website longer than needed.

· 3 min read
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

Hello, Today I’ll tell you how I almost switched to Revue and share a story of how lava lamps help in cryptography.

Revue one-day adventure

I was frustrated that adding photos to my current newsletter tool is quite cumbersome. I have to do multiple operations like save the picture on a disk, add it to the image gallery in the tool then drag and drop it into the newsletter. IMO simple ctrl+v from the clipboard should do the job.

So, I started looking for an alternative instead of creating content, of course… I found Revue – a newsletter service from Twitter.

It has a straightforward editor, and I enjoyed testing it. I can see that UX designers did a great job there. Plus, Twitter integration would help.

I was so excited that I almost switched the tool despite the lack of automation and basic features.

pitfalls

Then I started reading people complaining on IndieHackers about deliverability, high spam etc. Technically it is possible to connect a custom domain but the settings were limited only to confirming email in the inbox. I haven’t seen DKIM and SPF settings for example.

The main reason I abandoned my desire to switch was the rumour that Revue might be closed by the end of the year… I’ll hold on and see how the situation resolves.

the time was not completely lost

So, to at least feel that I did something productive, I migrated to the new MailerLite service. Previously I was using MailerLite “classic”. Even before that, I used MailChimp.

The new version of MailerLite seems to be completely rewritten from a code perspective – API is changed, UI is changed, and the iPad app arrived.

But functionalities, for now, look pretty similar. I’ve found one extra so far – now I can schedule emails based on subscribers’ timezone.

So far, so good. I need to get used to their editor, but maybe I should keep my emails simpler.

I selected this service mostly because they have email Automation and API out-of-the-box, even for the free plan. If you want to try it, now you can get an extra $20 for plan usage by using my referral link.

I hope the info about Revue being shut down is a rumour after all. The email editor is the best in class. It would be a huge loss to shut down such a service.

My initial idea was to use both services – one for simple emails and the other for automated email scenarios.


A big network tools provider – Cloudflare, uses physical Lava Lamps to generate secure encryption keys. That is a cool intersection between the real world and the digital one! Read more on their blog: How do lava lamps help with Internet encryption? | Cloudflare

· 3 min read
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

Two weeks ago, I mentioned removing distractions on my smartphone and computer. Check issue#1: How to reduce mindless scrolling for the “why should I block anything”.

Here I present in practice how to block “too attractive” content.

what is content blocking?

Blocking means that when you try to enter your favourite time-wasting website you will see a limited amount of information or nothing at all.

You might also be redirected to another website if you want: e.g:

  • some inspiring quotes,
  • call to action websites like “drink water” or “do 10 push-ups now”
  • one of your projects stats that should inspire you,
  • or even your email newsletter inbox to feed yourself with valuable content.

LeechBlock on a desktop browser

Blocking on laptops/computers is the easiest thing. Just install the proper extension into your browser and setup correctly. I use LeechBlock NG extensions. It is open-source and IMO best in class extension for all major browsers.

Why best in class? Because the number of configurations in that extension is more than expected. Multiple corner cases are covered like filters: “turn website blurry/black-white/dimmed instead of blocking” etc.

set up blocking

In the screenshot below I marked important sections to pay attention to.

  1. “Domain names” are all the websites that should be restricted,
  2. time periods are when you want to block – usually I just select the “All day” button to always block,
  3. “10 minutes every 6 hours” option means that I give myself some time to enter those forbidden websites – e.g. when someone sends me a link and I desperately want to see it I have some buffer,
  4. important setting is: “Select when to block these sites “within time periods AND after the time limit”. Otherwise, it would apply OR and in the case where the “All day” is selected my time buffer wouldn’t work.

leechblock configuration

blocking on mobile devices

Locking on a desktop is easy. When it comes to mobile browsers it is much harder. There are lots of apps that can do it but for safety reasons, I don’t want to give any app permission to all network traffic on my mobile device. I was looking for a less intrusive solution.

LeechBlock on the Android Firefox browser

On Firefox for Android, there is a possibility now to install extensions. This is great because I just installed LeechBlock and configured it the same way as on the desktop.

blocking on iOS using built-in tools

Unfortunately, on iOS, there is no way to install such extensions as far as I know (let me know if it is). Here I used a built-in tool for content management.

  1. Launch Settings from the home screen,
  2. choose Screen Time,
  3. tap Content & Privacy Restrictions,
  4. toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions,
  5. select Content Restrictions,
  6. tap Web Content,
  7. choose Limit Adult Websites,
  8. now inside Always block you can specify websites that should always be blocked.

The same mechanism is present on devices running macOS like Macbooks, Macs and also on iPadOS. On macOS, I recommend instaling a browser extension though.

Here we don’t have any options regarding locking. Once you put the website on that list it is always blocked. The good part of that is that it is not only blocked in the browser but also in in-app popup windows.

what’s next

Next week I will show you my experiments with content-blocking strategies. Stay tuned!

· 6 min read
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

On my path to becoming a content creator, I decided to give it a try and build a Twitter account. It should help me build my personal brand as a professional.

To validate if I can give some value I set a goal to reach 1000 followers in 1 year.

I watched some video courses, followed “twitter gurus”, tried tools and implemented strategies shared by growth hackers. I learned a lot during that experience.

In this topic, I want to share some observations from my path.

tweeting every day works but you have to comment even more

I have read this uncountable number of times – discipline is the biggest growth hack. Therefore it is important to tweet every single day to have results. I even tried to use a tool that queued tweets for me in advance for a whole week so I could write them in a single sitting.

It looks like the sentence tells the truth. Tweeting every single day for a few weeks causes “the algorithm” starts to like you. Commonly, people with massive followings come back after a long break and their tweets are seen by just a handful of people.

For example, my Twitter friend with 40k followers had a break and returned after a few weeks. Then he complained that despite the 40k follower count his tweets were seen by just 200-400 of them. He was out of the mercy of “the algorithm”.

So from my current experience, it seems that tweeting regularly is needed to be considered a valuable user by the platform.

It is also needed to be considered interesting by the users – but looks like it is not the clue here. Interesting content with irregular posting dates will be omitted by lots of users just because “the algorithm” decides who sees what.

Tweeting regularly on a timeline is not enough though. Without followers, you’re writing to the void. Nobody reads that but you still have to do it to gain first followers 🤷.

real results are from commenting

Tweeting rarely goes outside of my timeline. Maybe I had too few followers. So, I had to implement other ways of growing.

My usual growth strategy is to respond to other people's tweets. I see the best results when I respond to people with small accounts who posted some questions.

I have filters on TweetDeck that show me all the tweets with for example “reactjs” keyword or “front-end”, “typescript”, “react native” etc. I read those tweets and if I have something meaningful to add I just hit “reply”.

Helping people that way usually turns into a conversation. If I am helpful enough they often enter my profile out of curiosity. Then they see that my profile is described with a “Follow me to learn Frontend & React Native” sentence. They also see my cover image where those technologies are mentioned (I show it in the section below).

With that strategy, I have this nice feeling that I helped somebody with my experience or knowledge. Having a new follower who recognizes me as a helpful guy is just nice addition to that.

“helpful answers strategy” funnel

The funnel of a new follower in my case usually looks like this (or I imagine it is like this): read my reply -> check on my profile -> check my latest tweets -> decides if follow.

That is why I need to have some tweets on my timeline. With empty timeline nobody would follow me – there is why “tweeting into the void” makes sense.

having an optimized profile helps a lot

I think that what helps me is my profile optimization. I try to present it as a mono-thematic – frontend technologies-focused profile.

I decided to do that as I try not to follow people who write about everything that happens in their life. I’m not interested in that so I assume others would not be interested in such spam from my side either.

That said, posting some off-topic from time to time helps to show that I’m not a bot 😆.

Having an optimized profile converted like crazy when I hit my first viral tweet. I describe that at the end of the post.

Here is what my profile looks like right now:

koprowski twitter profile

my first viral tweet helped me a lot

I had this one tweet during my “career” that hit 450k+ views, 27k engagements, and 79 comments.

That was a surprise as I spend like 20 seconds writing it – I just passed the news with a screenshot.

koprowski-viral-tweet

That single tweet itself gave me around 300 followers. That was a huge milestone for someone with 650 followers and a goal to reach 1000 😄.

986 people from that tweet entered my profile -> ~300 decided to follow. This is a huge conversion rate I would say.

I think that the optimized profile + the tweet in “my niche” make such a great result.

twitter consumes a lot of time

Lately, I’m less active on Twitter as it requires a lot of attention. When I was trying to reach that 1000 followers I was spending half of my Saturday preparing “quality content” for my account.

I was trying to author nice tips and interesting topics with custom images, in-depth thoughts and my experiences.

The issue with that idealistic approach is that it is very hard and probably ends unnoticed. I discovered that a social network platform is not the best place to put such content. It had few views, one person clicked the “like” button and after one day it vanished in tons of other creators' content.

Right now, I’m in a “responsive” mode. I reply and I post only when I encounter something interesting or insightful to share. I don’t forcefully prepare content upfront. I decided to focus more on my other activities.

about my goal

Did I reach my goal of 1000 followers in 1 year? Nope.

I reached around 950 followers and had multiple interesting conversations. I also wasn’t active for the whole year – there were months when I wasn’t very active and there were months when I was hyperactive (according to my standards).

Do I regret that time? Nope.

I learned a lot. I improved my writing and make some nice connections. I learned a bit about “the internet” and how social networks work. I satisfied my curiosity. In my opinion, it was worth it.

The conclusion is that Twitter wants the user to be very active – such behaviour is promoted. If you expect to just share and forget there will be no success on Twitter.

👉 Check out my Twitter profile.

· 3 min read
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

Every week I lose multiple hours on scrolling memes, news and comment sections. It distracts me from the important stuff, makes my eyes sore and destroys my ability to focus.

What is more: the dopamine reward loop mechanism also affects my mood. Without these small excitement doses, I feel depressed.

This affects many developers as we tend to seek a break in our natural habitat – in front of a screen. As a software developer, I spend too much time in front of a screen anyway because of my work.

how to measure time lost on scrolling?

Do you think you lose less time on that? Check that on your phone right now.

On iOS find Screen Time in settings and see stats from last week. On Android find Digital Wellbeing inside settings (name can vary depending on the phone manufacturer).

That is why I decided to fight that behaviour and reduce this unnecessary screen time. Digital procrastination topics will appear in this newsletter from time to time. This is my long-time struggle.

Below I present two techniques to reduce scrolling that can be applied right away. Without installing any external software.

main devices where I scroll

I managed to almost eliminate lurking on a computer. Using browser extensions that block specific pages + logging out of services helped.

Eliminating smartphones is way harder.

It’s always there, it’s easy to unlock and tends to notify me about non-essential stuff.

avoid installing apps

Here is some radical step. Don’t freak out - later on, I will send workarounds.

uninstall some apps

Apps are well-designed and comfortable. They tend to send tons of notifications. Hence taping on some juicy, colourful icon on the home screen is very tempting.

When an app is uninstalled it is no longer there – I don’t see its vivid icon on every unlock. It doesn’t bother me for notification permissions.

But I want to see content from this app… I cannot uninstall it!

That is a fair point. Most “apps” are just online services with websites. If I really need to see what is happening on Facebook, 9gag or anything else I just enter its address into my mobile browser.

It requires an extra step. It requires effort. Mobile websites are usually designed worse than apps. GOOD – those drawbacks are beneficial for me. The brain is a lazy being. Thanks to that I have fewer opportunities to enter endless content.

what about apps that I cannot just uninstall?

There are apps without websites or apps that I really need because of some other features.

In such scenarios, I just disable notifications. On iOS it is even easier because notifications are disabled by default. If I want them I have to agree during the first app usage.

Unfortunately, on Android notifications are enabled by default. I have to remember to disable it in the options.

This helps a lot and it seems like all those URGENT things are not so urgent after all. Without a smartphone constantly screaming about some new post that was added here and there I have much fewer distractors.

what’s next?

These are simple suggestions that everyone can apply without installing additional software. The only thing that is needed is mental strength and a will to change habits.

If you are interested in that topic let me know – I can share more tips on that e.g. how to block content on mobile devices.

· 5 min read
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

Progractivity name sketch

It’s my pleasure to finally announce the PROGRACTIVITY initiative!

Progractivity newsletter is about programming, productivity and proactivity.

My goal is to enable frontend developers to feel more fulfilled by their daily duties. We will discuss tooling, distractions, coding, product building, brand building and much more here.

There is a saying that time is our most valuable resource. It is the truth. Yet, for programmers focus is the most important asset. So what, that we have 8 hours a day dedicated to working if we cannot commit to the important task? Especially now, when remote and hybrid jobs are on a rise.

I decided to fight for my focus – and here I wish to share my journey with you.

why rebranding

I was publishing for quite a while on my koprowski.it blog. You probably subscribed to that newsletter there. I gave this newsletter the codename “Dev News” out of better options. I wasn’t even sure if the newsletter should have its own name.

The blog will remain my space for in-depth technical articles and opinions. Also, as a technical playground. While the newsletter should be lighter to read. Focus on fewer technical details and more on concepts and high-level problems.

But publishing only under my own surname felt limiting for me.

With a separate “brand” I hope more people will be able to identify with the message. I aim to build a community of progractive developers. With a brand unrelated to my credentials I feel that others will be more willing to participate. It should be easy for others (also creators) to identify with Progractivity.

the plan of action

This newsletter is a new project of mine. I test a new approach here. With all previous endeavours (e.g. blog) I was just rushing to create content when inspiration comes. Here I have a more methodical workflow.

I decided to create content for the newsletter in seasons. As TV shows. Each season will contain 12 issues. Ideally, send once a week to cover the whole quarter with one newsletter season.

I write one month upfront – that means that I have 4 issues already in my queue awaiting to be sent in October. Next, I will proceed with writing another four for next month.

After each season I will do a recap. What worked and what did not? I will do a summary and if it might be valuable – I can share it.

Progractivity mind map

target audiences

I used a nice framework to structure this newsletter. It is described in How To Generate 112 New Content Ideas In 30 Minutes from ship30for30. I decided to write to “me from 2 years ago”. This means I distilled three main “buckets” or “categories” of my content:

  1. 🧐 Focus and productivity for life-long procrastinators who are seeking fulfillment.
  2. 🚀 Product building for a solo frontend developer with a full-time job.
  3. 🗞️ Audience building for a wannabe solopreneur that loves good design but without experience in marketing.

content first - cut the distractions

As a lifelong procrastinator, I am a master at focusing on details that are not pushing the project forward. Here I committed to producing content first. I used the simplest tools that I’ve found to plan and write the newsletter.

After writing 4 issues, then – as a reward – I allowed myself to configure a bit. To experiment with some other apps and have fun with those drawings you see above.

For example, with my blog, I guess the rule 80/20 applies. But I spend 80% of my time doing some micro-optimizations and non-visible improvements. While content is king I need to refocus on delivering instead of tinkering.

why a dedicated domain instead of some mailing tool?

I decided to post the newsletters on the new domain Progractivity.com. I could use some ready tool with issues archive like Substack or Revue but I prefer to “build on my own ground”. SEO is a big factor here.

I want the content to be helpful now and also in a while. Therefore re-publishing on a website that is SEO optimized seems like a good idea.

To cut the distractions, for now, I just forked my blog’s code. Adjusted it for newsletter website purposes and deployed. Later on, the new website it will go it’s own path. More functionalities will come and it can be considered as “a home” of the Progractivity initiative.

cross posting

When it comes to SEO, I also think about cross-posting. Content will need to be adjusted for different platforms. So far I had nice results from cross-posting my blog articles.

The newsletter will be the most frequent and fastest place to get the message. Not all newsletter issues will be put on the website or cross-posted. Some are only for subscribers.

I have a few ideas on where to cross-post. Previously, I had great results from Reddit and Medium. I’m also considering LinkedIn and IndieHackers.

tools

I write in plain markdown. Thanks to that the content is easier to move around many tools/portals.

For now, I decided to use Bear App to write content. It is simple enough and the editor looks nice. Markdown gets a bit of styling in this app so it’s more esthetic to read and that is important for me.

I will send emails through MailerLite. I was looking for a tool with automations and API. This one also had a nice editor and a fair plan for beginners.

summary

I aim to schedule content for every Wednesday for now. Feel free to respond to me with your thoughts or opinions.

Stay in touch and let us get progractive together.

Daniel Koprowski avatar
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate
Unleash Your Potential with Progractivity! 🚀

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