This commonplace is an archive of articles, notes and quotes from books, writing and other things.

Browse by section:

Subscribe via RSS

  • 22nd Dec, 2021
  • 13th Dec, 2021
  • 11th Dec, 2021

    Put your e-reader app where your Twitter / Facebook / Instagram app currently lives on your phone.

    Entertain the idea of never lending out a book again. Instead – give them away, then buy yourself a replacement. A lent book often lingers in the background of a friendship as a little irritation obligation. (When will they return it? Will they have folded the corners down?) Whereas a gift is a gift is a gift.

    James Clear, who’s quite an expert on how to form new habits successfully, sums all this up more constructively: ‘Start more books, quit most of them, read the great ones twice.’

  • 7th Dec, 2021

    Twitter Hacks

    It’s incredibly difficult to speak to a human in support on social media platforms.

    From the platform’s perspective, it makes sense. They’re dealing with millions/billions of users: it’s impractical to have anything other than a self-service and automated support systems.

    For users, this doesn’t matter when everything’s going smoothly, but what happens when something goes wrong? What happens if this account is critical for you business?

    Recovering an account

    This happened to a friend-of-a-friend recently. A mutual friend put us in touch after their Twitter account had been hacked.

    In short, they had received an email to say their account had been accessed from a different country. By the time they tried to access the account, the email address, password and phone number had been changed.

    I don’t know anyone at Twitter, nor do have any experience of recovering lost accounts, but I wanted to help. They had already tried multiple methods of reaching Twitter support with no luck.

    This struck me as odd because Twitter would be able to see:

    • Login patterns/locations
    • That this person was emailing from the previously-associated email address
    • That the account email, password and phone number were all changed shortly after a login from a previously unused location

    Nothing from Twitter’s support pages on hacked accounts seemed to help. At one point, Twitter’s systems even asked the hackee to login to their account and verify their ownership...

    Template letter

    In this case, the account was clearly attached to an individual: the photo was a headshot and the account username and name were that of the account holder. With this in mind, we decided that one approach would be to claim the account was an impersonation.

    After some unsuccessful attempts, the account holder successfully regained access. The key was to pitch their support request around the fact that this account was representing their business (as a sole trader, but this should work for companies, too).

    The account holder tried this after scouring the internet and finding a template letter similar to this (source currently unknown):

    Dear Twitter Team,

    Thank you for the quick response to my query regarding the official Twitter account of [NAME].

    In answers to your questions:

    • Your username - [@USERNAME]
    • Any email addresses that may be associated with your account - [ACCOUNT EMAIL ADDRESS]
    • The last date you had access to your account - [DATE]
    • The phone number associated with the account (if you verified your phone number) - [PHONE NUMBER]

    I am the sole representative of the business, [BUSINESS NAME], registered in the UK with HMRC.

    The Twitter account [@USERNAME] was created [X] years ago and has been operated by me since then as the social media account for my business. Recently, someone maliciously acquired access to the account, changed the email address associated with it and also the password - on or around [DATE], which I think you will be able to see from your records.

    Could I please request that you change the email address for the Twitter account back to [ACCOUNT EMAIL ADDRESS] so that I can recover the account and start using it as the business official Twitter account once more?

    I hereby confirm that all the information provided above is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.

    If you have any questions, kindly contact me on this email or on [PHONE NUMBER].

    With best wishes,


    If you lose access to your Twitter account and it’s associated to your business, this could be a route to regain access.

  • 5th Dec, 2021
  • 4th Dec, 2021

    ‘No’ is a complete sentence. (Anne Lamott)

  • 2nd Dec, 2021
  • 26th Nov, 2021

    Commonplace Books

    When I recently realigned this site, one of the goals was to let me use this place to store thoughts more easily. The Resources section handles this to a degree but, catering only for a link and category, it’s limited to fulfilling the role of a log. There’s no room for comment or other thoughts.

    I’ve also been doing more reading over the past couple of years. There are always quotes I want to remember or refer back to: what to do with those?

    After reading Permanent Record, I wrote a little post with a couple of quotes, but the Writing section of this site isn’t there to be filled with book quotes.

    I’ve previously stored quotes in Notion, but it’s slow and private: all the reasons I wanted the Resources area in the first place.

    This is a long way to say I’ve been looking for a place to store links and quotes, possibly with a way to comment on them, too.


    Despite the minimalist feel, Daring Fireball handles a stream of various content types pretty well. The archive supports long posts and short posts with refreshing flexibility.

    How can I get a bit of that on here?

    In an Unoffice Hours, Joshua Galinato brought up the idea of a commonplace book. Here’s been working on an app to store quotes and this sounds like perfect personal site material.

    Looking up the origins, commonplace books (or ‘commonplaces’):

    Such books are similar to scrapbooks filled with items of many kinds: sententiae, notes, proverbs, adages, aphorisms, maxims, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, prayers, legal formulas, and recipes.

    This sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for: a place not just to store quotes, but to comment on them and write notes, too.


    For now, this site’s commonplace is split into two sections: Commonplace and Books:

    • Books is a space to store quotes from things as I’m reading them: a place to quickly refer back to when I can’t remember the exact quote from an author.
    • Commonplace is an archive of these quotes, along with commented links/quotes from online articles

    At some point, it might make sense to pull Resources and Writing into the Commonplace, so it becomes the ultimate archive for everything on this site.


← Previous

2 / 5 pages

Next →