About two and a half months ago, I had 89 saved items in my feed reader. I noted that I wasn’t shrinking that number as quickly as I expected, and predicted that, two months later, I’d have shrunk the list by a further 20 items. It’s a more than two later; how am I doing?

Going over to my starred list and scrolling to the end, it turns out that, in fact, my list has shrunk by a total of -9 items, bringing me to 98 saved items. Which makes my prediction off by 29; oops. What happened?

I’ve changed categories a bit in the interim: whether or not I got around to watching a video had a lot more to do with how long it was than anything else. So I decided to merge my old “read”, “video”, and “long” categories into two categories “short” and “long”, with “short” being items (written or video) that I expect to take 10 minutes or less and “long” being ones that I expect to take longer. With that caveat, and assuming that all the old video items now belong in “long” (mostly or entirely true), the new numbers for each category, with their change from the previous number from that category are:

  • blog: 2 items (-2)
  • book: 25 (+7)
  • commented: 2 (-3)
  • flash-game: 8 (0)
  • long: 14 (-4)
  • music: 7 (-2)
  • podcast: 20 (+9)
  • recommendation: 11 (+4)
  • short: 0 (0)
  • think: 9 (-1)

There’s some good news here. The long items have declined noticeably: I’ve taken the time to go through a few of those, and have generally been glad I did. I’m keeping the blog items under control, and “music” and “think” are doing okay. “recommendation” is growing a bit, but the real issues are “book” and “podcast”.

Actually, “podcast” is a weird case: I currently have 20 podcasts saved up that I’d like to listen to, but I tagged every single one this month. Basically, I’d been doing a quite good job of balancing free podcast-listening time with interesting podcasts that I noticed, but then a lot more podcasts caught my eye this month than last year. I’m not sure how that’s going to play out; check back next time.

The real killer is “book”: I simply run across interesting-looking books a lot faster than I make time to read them. It’s even worse than the numbers make it seem, since some people have the rude habit of recommending multiple books in a single blog post.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course: I have other long lists of books to read that I’ve saved elsewhere. At least the only book queue that I really worry about, the queue of books I’ve bought but haven’t read, isn’t doing too bad: it’s at three books, which is two books too large, but much much better than it used to be. Still, I should probably accept that I’m not going to read some of those books any time soon and get rid of them. Or should I? I read a little over a hundred books a year these days, so there’s no particular reason to believe I won’t eventually read most of the books on that list, even accepting that I take a lot of my reading suggestions from other sources.

There’s one other category which seems innocuous but isn’t: “flash-game”. A list of 8 items with a growth of 0 looks like a great example of a productive category: individual games take long enough that it’s not surprising that I might have a bit of a backlog, but clearly I’m making it through the backlog at an appropriate pace.

The truth is, though, that the 8 saved flash games are the exact same 8 flash games from last time, and that they’ve all been saved since July, 2007 or earlier. I have played a few shorter flash games in the interim, but the real lesson here is that I never get around to playing flash adventure games!

Overall, the oldest saved item (excluding possible items that I accidentally unstarred and then restarred, losing date information in the process) is Simon Phipps’s recommendation of Filoli, starred on June 18, 2006. Which looks like a pleasant place to spend a few hours some future day, I just don’t want to do it during the winter! We’ll go there this spring some time, though. The second oldest item is a mention that Getting Real is now available for free online. Which was in the “long” category for quite a while (or maybe the “book” category?), but I recently read it. (And am glad I did, and it’s actually not that long.) Now it’s in the “think” category, because I’m idly wondering if Backpack might be a useful tool.

I guess I need to make a prediction. I’ll report back in early April; I’ll predict that I’ll still be at a little under 100 items. I guess, to be concrete, I’ll predict that I’ll remain at 98 saved items.

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