Randomness for fun and profit

I now spend a part of Fridays going through my RSS reader (NetNewsWire), collecting a list of articles I would like to read. I then save all of those articles in a text file (called links.txt) and use a Python script, referenced via the bash alias lniks, to randomly choose a link and open it in Safari. Now (and this is relatively now), if the article is longer than a paragraph or so, I push it off to Instapaper, so that I can read it on my Nexus 7.

This is an example of actively incorporating randomness into my life. Previous to using the lniks script, I found that I wouldn't read a certain article for a very long time. Admittedly, this meant that I got through the articles that I most wanted to read first. But it left those other ones wasting away, never to be read.

Actually, I invented this system completely by accident. Before, I kept folders, by topic (MISC, SCI, TECH, META, etc.), that I stored the articles in. Once, I failed to save these folders, and had to reconstruct my weekly dose of articles through the 'History' feature in Safari. It turned out that when I saved the articles from 'History' into my 'Bookmarks' folder, Safari shuffled all of the articles around. "What a bother!" was my first thought. But as I started working my way through the articles, I found that my pace of consumption greatly increased, as I felt more comfortable deleting articles, if I didn't really have an interest in reading them.

So, for a while, I recreated this 'failure to save bookmarks' experience, until I realized that it was the randomness of the bookmarks' presentation that I really wanted to capture. Thus, lniks.py, and my new habit of weekly article consumption.