Reviewing Things That Are Too Big To Review

I saw this new app for note-taking the other day: Capacities. Looks pretty neat to me. In the vein of Notion, a block-based document-making machine kind of thing. But with a twist or two, like it doesn’t lean into databases as much but elevates other content types like links and images more. Plus, “everything is connected” via tags which has Obsidian vibes.

But is that a fair review? Surely not. What I really wanna know is: is this thing actually good? Would using this thing actually improve my life?

Capacities has loads of features. It’s going to have a certain feel to creating content within it. It’s going to have really satisfying bits and rough edges. It has things you’ll only see if you’re paid. It appears to have offline support like Craft, but how well does that work? There are a zillion keyboard commands. There will be features you could care less about or never even notice.

The only way you’ll really be able to properly review an app like this, even just to decide for yourself if it will work for you, is to go all-in on it. Just dive in head first and use it entirely for something pretty major. Use it every day.

That, unfortunately, makes it hard to decide. Am I really going to do this? Do I have the time and energy to go all-in on some app that I’m not even sure I’ll like or will work for me? Tricky tricky.

The new iPhone 15 was announced yesterday. Say I’m sick of Apple and am thinking of going Android and buying a Pixel (the Fold is weirdly appealing to me). How can I review that properly? It’s just too big. You can read all you want, but you’ll never really know. You just gotta dive in head-first and see if it works for you.

The only honest review you can do is after you’ve been using the thing for, say, a year. Then you’ll really know the thing. So it’s tempting to look for other people’s reviews that are retrospectives like that, but even then, they’ll skew super personal to the point their opinions are likely to be specific to their quirky selves.

Technology choices can often be in this category. How do you decide if you’re going to use something like Apollo? Apollo is both client and server technology. It becomes your entire API. It becomes your state management. It becomes your cache. You can’t really “Hello, World!” Apollo in any meaningful way. You gotta make the call, dive in, and spend an enormous amount of hours integrating and growing into it. Are you going to like it a year down the road? Who knows.

I don’t have any advice here, I just find it fascinating. Life is full of unreviewably large choices. People move to cities because they visited once and thought the downtown was cute. They have no way of really knowing if they’ll like it there, but they do it anyway, because sometimes you just gotta make the call.

Good luck.



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