Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2011 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Angela Buraglia

Is It True That If You Don't Use It, You Lose It?

By Ben Nadel on

Heck yeah it's true!

I am of course, talking about the things you have learned... or more specifically, the things that I have learned. I now have over 500 blog posts on my site, the majority of which are of a technical, exploratory nature. A lot of it get's retained, but not all of it. I find, that unless I use a newly learned skill on a regular basis, I lose the ability to recall it on command (ie. when I need it while programming). But even more than recalling it, I just forget I know it and hence, a particular trick might not pop to mind when it would be most useful.

To remedy this, I am testing out the idea of a daily "If You Don't Use It, You Lose It" email that will send me 5 random blogs entries from my own database every day. I figure, most of the time, I will glance at it and trash it. But I figure, every now and then, I am sure I will come across a blog entry and be like "Oh crap! I totally forgot about that!"

Now, not all of the blog entries on my site are technical, so I am including blog entries on a category by category basis. Right now, I am including the ColdFusion, Javascript, and SQL categories. I figure this will cut down on the junk that I send myself... get a good signal to noise ratio going.

So anyway, this is designed to remind ME what the heck I wrote. However, if anyone else is interested in using it, feel free. I have an ultra simple subscribe / unsubscribe form here:

Sign up for, "If You Don't Use It, You Lose It."

We'll see if it helps me remember stuff on a permanent basis. It might... of coures, it might end up being totally useless.



Reader Comments

Funny enough, now that I have been blogging for over 2 years I have forgotten much of what I wrote as well. The other day I was arguing a point regarding CF and someone brought a superbly written counterargument to my attention - it was written by me on my blog about a year ago. :)

The good thing about that argument is I was right no matter how you look at it!

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I'm constantly amazed at how much of the content from two books and hundreds of blog posts I've forgotten as well. It used to be that when someone asked me a CF question, I always had the answer on the tip of my tongue. Now I find myself having to crack open a book - that I wrote - to find out what I originally said about a particular point.

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Rob,

I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes, I will be trying to solve a particular problem and feeling a bit stumped. So I do a bit of Googling and then end up coming across one of my OWN posts :) Ooops!

This way, I figure it will take 30 seconds for me to glance over 5 random posts and I feel with every glance, the idea... or at least the idea of the idea becomes more permanently ingrained.

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Ben,

two things:

1. The 5 random posts thing sounds like a good idea for RSS feed - "Ben's 5 Random Posts" or something of that sort. What do you think? (I still subscribed to your email)

2. CodeSnippets - I run into the scenario often enough - "Damn, I know I've done something very similar to that, where the hell is it?", followed by scratching head and spending hours trying to find it.

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What a great idea! I love that motto. Its so perfect even in everyday life. Right now I'm trying to use my muscles so I dont lose them when I'm 80! ;-)

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