January books: Sapiens and The Telomere Effect

As part of my 2020 public goals, I read 2 books on January:

The Telomere Effect

I read many reviews from Goodreads saying that they were expecting more of the book despite some basic information like don’t eat too much sugar or try to have a less stressful life but after reading that I think the opposite.

Dr. Blackburn and Dr. Epel are, both of them, scientists. What they bring to the table is a résumé of hundreds of scientific studies in a very simple way that everyone can understand. If you’re looking for data, I would suggest to google what they are presenting and read the studies.

People still think that there is a miraculous way of becoming healthy and those scientists are hiding from us. People don’t want to read that doing exercise is one of the best way of keeping your health on track. They also don’t want to read that being black and poor are huge disadvantage and these are problems that we must deal together.

Nevertheless, it’s not a perfect book. The author keeps the entire book focusing on self-help and presenting quizzes to the reader to help determine the role of stress in one’s life. The fault of the author was to not make clear to the reader that they wouldn’t find a magic key for the eternal life in the book.

The book also didn’t tell that we need more research on the topic, specially for those that are not used to follow scientific studies. If you pay attention to the text, you can notice that, although harmless (in my point of view), the authors present suggestions of life improvement based in only some studies. Few things are presented as a conclusion although it’s been a field of study for more than 40 years.


Sapiens aims to explain very complex issues of some thousand of years in a way which people can understand. All in one book.
It’s a book made for those who would not have time and will for reading but still could make people think more about the world that we live within.
It was a nice reading, but with some flaws:

  1. You cannot compress thousand of pages and studies of the humanity in 1 book. It has a very, very simplified view of everything.
  2. It begins with a very interesting presentation of early human history, but the author contaminate (in a very deliberate way) the facts from that time on. The author makes you think that the agricultural revolution was humans biggest mistake ever.
  3. Specially when writing about the last century, the author uses a very simplified view of how things works and our “homo deus” tendency.

Don’t get me wrong, I still recommend this book, but I suggest taking care of not following some fallacies presented.

The simple suspender

Google blocked The Great Suspender (this link isn’t working anymore) extension from Chrome, with existing users now receiving a message that it has “been disabled because it contains malware.

The Great Suspender was a quite useful extension for keeping my browser running smoothly given the number of opened tabs that I always left open, without actually forcing you to close old tabs.

I decided to create a solution for myself using PHP and Javascript. I named it “the simple suspender”. You can check its source code at github.com/gokekun/suspender.

The simple suspender

Too many subscriptions: Spotify

This post is part of my series “get your stuff organized, for the god sake!”

The past 10 years, more and more subscriptions services popped up. Most of them cheap and useful, but every year there’s a new subscription service “needed”. I lost track of how many subscription we have and decided to sum them.

It’s a lot, more than 10 subscription. Although they are cheap, together they are quite expensive. So I decided to list and clean the unnecessary ones.

Spotify is the first one that we decided to cancel.

Youtube Premium

Ricardo hates Youtube ads, he even stopped using the service. The launch of Youtube Premium was a must-have. Nowadays we have a family subscription.

The good news is that Youtube Premium comes with Youtube Music. Before that, we already had subscribed to Spotify and were satisfied with it’s catalog and app. We decided to keep them both.

Youtube Music is not as good as Spotify but it’s included. This year, we decided to evaluate which subscription is more important. Youtube Premium won, not because of Youtube Music, but because it prevent the pain of watching Youtube Ads.

But how to leave Spotify? I have 117 playlist (created and saved) and I’m quite happy with them. If I could easily migrate them…

The pain of migration

Canceling Spotify is easy. No more than a few buttons pushed on it’s Subscription page. On the other hand, exporting your playlists are not.

Spotify has API so I thought that someone must have created some app to access and export your playlists. Let’s start googling.

I found many softwares and services that promised exporting your playlists. I avoided the paid ones and looked for those that have its code open sourced.

I found Exportify. It was the easiest way that I found to solve my problem.

Exportify export your playlists to CVS and the entire application runs in the browser, so there’s no need of signing up or anything else. You can also check its code on Github and use it at watsonbox.github.io/exportify, so you don’t need to install it.

Screenshot from Exportify’s Github page

The next part is to understand which format does Youtube Music require to import your playlist. Oh, wait, Youtube Music CAN’T IMPORT your playlists.

Youtube Music can’t import playlists

Yes, that’s right. It can’t import playlist. It also doesn’t have a “computer” app, you must use your browser to access the service and it’s painful, truly painful, to create and populate your playlist.

No upload option on Youtube Music

But does it have an API that can be used to import playlists? Yes, it does. On Google I found the ytmusicapi, an “unofficial API for YouTube Music” and pytuber, a “cli tool to manage your music playlists on youtube“, but I didn’t try them.

I plan to try ytmusicapi and pytuber later to automate importing 100 playlist, but for now, I created 3 playlist manually on Youtube Music.

It’s incredible how Youtube Music didn’t implemented a simple “upload your playlist” service and we need to use an alternative way. If there were no money involved, I surely would give up and come back to Spotify, but for the time being I’ll keep trying to use Youtube Music.