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In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

As we make decisions on the futures of our cities—on the future of our transportation systems that will move people across the space but also bring them together to understand one another—we need to re-think what a city should look like, what purpose it should serve.

When designing developer tools, does one have to choose between making programming easier for programmers vs. making programming more accessible and inclusive to a larger group of folks?

Whenever I work with React I feel like it is an example of a tool that makes programming easier for programmers (read as engineers” perhaps?).

If this is true, what then are the consequences of the ClojureScript community so fully embracing the way React does its thing? Is is alienating folks, or is it making react more approachable?

Link logging

How to land on the Moon

Diagrams. Many great diagrams. Even more switches. The quality of older NASA imagery is gorgeous. I’m always surprised by how non-clinical and how artful the compositions are.

BeepBox

For any lovers of nanoloop out there, this will be a nice little toy to play with.

For other fun game dev tools: Game Dev Tools for Raspberry Pi

(🎶 Here is a very tiny loop I made 👩‍🎤)

Tokyo became a megacity by reinventing itself

If you agree with Harvard economist Edward Glaeser that cities are humanity’s greatest invention, then Tokyo is perhaps our greatest example: a stunning metropolis, home to more than 37 million people and one of the world’s wealthiest, safest, most creative urban centers.

Even if you’re not particularly interested in how megacities shape human behavior, Tokyo is unavoidable—it has already changed your life. The city is the ultimate social influencer, the node through which the world connects to Japanese culture.

Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure

…this is included for a single terrifying phone wallpaper. Scroll until you find it. It cannot be missed.

A play in a few acts:

  1. Colonialism is alive in the exploited tech work force
  2. The economics of package management
  3. ASDF, the version manager for all your languages
  4. Terry Pratchett Warns Of Online Fake News In 1995 Interview, Bill Gates Shoots Him Down
  5. Open gardens
  6. A highly opinionated guide to learning about ActivityPub
  7. Pleroma Hosting on Raspberry Pi
  8. Electric Zine Maker (early beta, be gentle, hug it often)

The cutting-edge of cutting: How Japanese scissors have evolved

I know of plenty of folks who like fancy stationary, pens, and pencils, but scissors seems much more up my alley, tbh.

The Invisible City Beneath Paris

I am a sucker for any sort of urban exploration stuff.

The Convivial Society, No. 17: Arduous Interfaces

And @kicks’ response, Reply: Arduous Interfaces. From the response:

We’ve long had some equivalent of Robert’s Rules of Order—now we see codes of conduct or forum guidelines. When we think of running an online group, we think of moderating’ it. Policing the conversations, cleaning up spam and so on. And this is fine: probably necessary and I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of how to do it.

But I think we also need a librarian ethic somewhere among these groups. Maybe there are moderators out there who have this kind of commission. You are dealing with a community of writers, who are all filling the community up with their verbose output—this is all data that needs to be grappled with.

So, think of a librarian at work: putting books back under the proper heading, referring readers to specific titles, borrowing books from the outside—in fact, I wish communities were better about knowing what other communities are in the topical vicinity—to help everyone find themselves a home. (I do see this, though, in the Indieweb community—a person might be told to check out micro.blog or maybe TiddlyWiki. However, I think we’re lucky to be a meta-community.)

Toward the next generation of programming tools

I’ve long thought that the real next-generation programming language won’t be a rehash of LISP, C, or Smalltalk syntax. It won’t be character based at all: it will be visual. Rather than typing, we’ll draw what we want.

The Pizza Lab: Foolproof Pan Pizza

Make thee a pizza.

Black and white and RSS; Photos you can only see in a feed

Fans of RSS, unite!

Link logging

I got older last weekend so took a week off from assembling the link log. Gonna do a bit of ketchup here between playing levels of Baba is You.

Brace yourself!

Academics: it’s time to get behind decolonising the curriculum

Many advocates of decolonisation don’t want to abolish the canon; they want to interrogate its assumptions and broaden our intellectual vision to include a wider range of perspectives. While decolonising the curriculum can mean different things, it includes a fundamental reconsideration of who is teaching, what the subject matter is and how it’s being taught.

Elsewhere in the article,

When we offer white male-dominated reading lists we also teach students the wrong lessons about who is an intellectual authority and deserves our attention.

Privacy’s not an abstraction

Privacy for marginalized populations has never been, and will never be an abstract. Being surveilled, whether by private actors, or the state, is often the gateway to very tangible harms–violence in the form of police brutality, incarceration, or deportation. And there can be more subliminal, insidious impacts, too.

Continuing later,

…there is a valuable lesson here–just not the one that was intended. The idea that surveillance would be used as an assignment on those with no options for consent speaks to how broken our ideas about consent have become, trivializing what to many people is a life and death matter of their lived existence.

To loop back to decolonizing for a moment: this is why I think that decolonization” isn’t enough — I think we need to go the step further and queer the curriculum (well, I think we need to queer a lot of things, tbh). Queer thought is powerful for a plethora of reasons, none of which I’m qualified to talk about, but I do know that it offers am appropriate framework for including consent, even prioritizing it. So, yes decolonization. Yes queering.

Dream Askew/Dream Apart

Dream Askew

Queer strife amid the collapse. Collaboratively generate an apocalyptic setting. For 3-6 players across 3-4 hours. By Avery Alder

Dream Apart

Jewish fantasy of the shtetl. Immerse yourself in a fantastical version of history. For 3-6 players across 3-4 hours. By Benjamin Rosenbaum

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are two games of belonging outside belonging.

They run on the same system: no dice, no masters, a structured freeform game with shared worldbuilding.

(See also: These Games Prove That Not Every Tabletop RPG Needs a 300 Page Manual, Jack de Quidt writing for Waypoint)

How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger

The power of kindness and patience for a parent. I’ve been trying to take this to heart. And to slow down…remind myself that the schedule” usually, rarely, really doesn’t matter that much.

You Should Organize a Study Group/Book Club/Online Group/Event! Tips on How to Do It

I’ve tried to start many groups, and have failed most times. This blog post is a good reference for starting something. (Anyone wanna start a thing? Do a thing?)

Tilde.Town : The Hidden e-Village

I’ve been a resident of tilde.town for a while, and since then have explored a couple other tilde servers. I am smitten.

Making books to build communities, building communities to make books.

The power of the web (for better or worse!) might be distilled into two fundamental characteristics:

  1. the ability to transmit and receive information instantaneously and cheaply
  2. the ability to gather and harness communities (loosely joined ones like Facebook friends with shared cultural interests, and tightly joined ones like work colleagues collaborating on a project)

(…very tangentially related: iOS versus” JavaScript: How to Learn From Other Programming Communities)

And some game dev resources

Link logging

Explaining Code using ASCII Art

People tend to be visual: we use pictures to understand problems. Mainstream programming languages, on the other hand, operate in an almost completely different kind of abstract space, leaving a big gap between programs and pictures.

Cyberfeminism ~1990s - present, Cyberfeminist Index by Mindy Seu

I’m currently working on a printed publication, a la the Whole Earth Catalog and the New Woman’s Survival Catalog, that will provide an overview of cyberfeminism and its evolution into networked feminism (like social media activism), xenofeminism (gender-abolition), and posthumanism/bio-hacktivism. It will be a resource guide: a sampling of books, essays, collectives, online communities, hackerspaces, etc.”

This article does a bonkers good job laying out how quickly and how much China’s urban and suburban areas are growing.

Networking - 🚂 Choo Documentation

I’ve been exploring alternatives to React lately, and keep coming back to Choo. I very much like this bit from its documentation:

A fun way to think about browsers, is as a standardized Virtual Machine (VM) that includes high-level APIs to do networking, sandboxed code execution and disk access. It runs on almost every platform, behaves similarly everywhere, and is always kept backwards compatible.

What if JavaScript Wins?

Technology has always existed in a social context, and evaluations of the risk or reliability of a tech platform have always relied on social indicators. But the acceleration of these patterns, and the extending of the social networks around code to include the majority of working coders, means that institutional indicators (like which company funds its development?”) now come second to community-based signals.

Similarly, top-down indications of technical maturity like documentation (often an artifact of outside investment in making a technology accessible to a new audience) are complemented, or even eclipsed, by bottoms-up indicators like how many people have bookmarked a framework, or how many people answer comments about a toolkit.

Tbh, I wasn’t all that interested in this pieces discussion of the pros and cons of JavaScript, but the author, Anil Dash of Glitch does an excellent job articulating the squishier side of why this and such system prevails over that and which thing-a-ma-bob that may be technically” better.

The piece reminds me of something I recently heard John Siracusa talk about on a podcast — he speculated that software may be the most complicated non-biological thing that humans have ever built. At first I thought it was hubris, but then, as he continued to make his point and draw a line from software to hardware to physics and the physicality of computing I was swayed.

What we often think of as being ethereal and digital” is, at the end of the day, still in meatspace…

See also Being Popular” by Paul Graham.

Why I Write CSS in JavaScript

I’m skeptical of CSS in JS for a few reasons, but this article softened my views. I still don’t love it, but my reasons for not loving it aren’t technical, really.

Pragmatic rules of web accessibility that will stick to your mind

Good high-level intro. I could see this being valuable for someone trying to convince management” of accessibilities value.”

Time to Panic. The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.

Our little brown rat’: first climate change-caused mammal extinction

RIP. Expecting more news of this sort in the coming years is terrifying, but also, hopefully, key to catalyzing change.

A Journey Into the Animal Mind

Crows are among the most sophisticated avian technologists.

That is a solid sentence. I read it allowed to myself a few times when I came across it.

Cisco Trash Map, On railroads, oil rigs, uranium mines, 7-11 pizzas, Thelma and Louise, ruination, salvage, and the limits of the garbage gaze.

…I absorbed the common critique of ruin porn — that it tends to erase history and inspire myth. It’s true that as a high schooler I had a pretty vague sense of the politics that made Milwaukee’s ruins. But mythmaking has always shaped the U.S. landscape…

…Ruins are the idealized structures of a vaguely defined past; rubble is the aftermath of specific events that people live in, reuse, and form material relationships to…

Medieval trade networks v.4

A map of ancient trade networks

A detailed map of medieval trade routes. I always find this sort of thing fascinating and, in my experience lacking from contemporary historical education in the U.S. History is often presented as vignettes, as specific narratives, that are disjointed from a large context. I love how a map like this helps to contextualize the ecology, or maybe society? of history.

Five Lessons From Seven Years of Research Into Buttons

The first point is interesting, and click bait-y 1. Buttons Aren’t Actually Easy to Use”

I think it may be better presented as buttons require context.”

Or, perhaps The value of a good label.”

In reply to: The Do Date Manifesto

A Do Date is a time to work on the things that have no due date; to give yourself permission to ignore the things you have” to do, and instead do the things you want to do.

I think that I’m weird for my generation in that I love a good phone call with a friend. Don’t get me wrong, I text and chat with folks until the cows come home, but I love having to make the time to wander around the parking lot and chat with a friend who lives elsewhere for a solid hour or so. I love it.

Ya’ll, micro.blog is amazing! The community has generated some truly 💯 content. With a bit of help form @smokey I put together a tiny wiki of community resources to help more folks micro.blog: https://m.b.wiki.eli.li/

Dear IndieWeb, it may be time to start considering the user, not just the technical spec.

I’ve been working on a series of walkthrough posts that outline how to IndieWebify a Wordpress site. I presumed the initial setup would be fairly straightforward because a) I have a vague idea of what I’m doing, and b) a suite of plugins already exists. Boy-howdy, was I wrong.

(ಥ﹏ಥ)

I’ve been through speed-dating hell — I’ve met a heap of difficult to parse, technical error messages. I’ve been able to figure out the issue in most cases, but totally understand why the IndieWeb isn’t ready for primetime.

The IndieWeb isn’t ready for primetime, at least in part, because of these terrible, bordering on user-hostile, error messages.

I by no means mean this as a criticism. These error messages are helpful if you have a clear understanding of the spec, and how it is implemented. If, however, you aren’t a technical-user (which is to say a programmer who has read the spec. document) the error messages aren’t all that helpful.

From my experience, error messages of the sort found across the IndieWeb are symptomatic of early-stage, in development platforms, e.g. those platforms that are still being debugged.

I think that if the IndieWeb is aiming for wide adoption it is time to start designing for the user, not the spec.

What do I mean by this?

For one, folks building IndieWeb tech can’t assume that their users care about the technical implementation of their project. The vast majority of users aren’t going to read the spec., nor care to ever do so. The vast majority of users will care, first and foremost, about themselves and their content. They will, most likely, already know enough to care about owning their content. This means their content is important to them. This also probably means that they’re itching to create content. To write.

This should be our (the IndieWeb’s) holy mission — empowering all sorts of folks to post content that they get to control.

The future!

The IndieWeb wiki has a groovy page all about generations. There, you’ll find this graphic.

That page opens:

Generations in the context of the IndieWeb refer to clusters of potential IndieWeb adopters in a series of waves that are expected to naturally adopt the IndieWeb for themselves and then help inform the next generation. Each generation is expected to lower barriers for adoption successively for the next generation.

I think the IndieWeb is at an exciting inflection point. A bunch of things are happening right now, among all the happenings are a few key events: the public at large is growing frustrated with traditional social media, the birth and (hopeful!) growth of micro.blog, and an uptick in the micropub client ecosystem.

I don’t know if everyone will agree with this — but I think micro.blog exists across both generation 3 and 4.

The hiccup, at least as I see it, is that the majority of existing IndieWeb tech is squarely rooted in generation 1…and sometimes, barely, generation 2.

SO, whereas [e]ach generation is expected to lower barriers for adoption successively for the next generation” I wonder if it is maybe time to update some of the tooling from generation 1 and 2 to be more compatible with generations 3 and 4?

Anyone with me? Am I totes off base? Thank you kindly,

Eli

#indienews

In reply to: Twenty.

I had a personal realization recently: kottke.org isn’t so much a thing I’m making but a process I’m going through. A journey. A journey towards knowledge, discovery, empathy, connection, and a better way of seeing the world. Along the way, I’ve found myself and all of you. I feel so so so lucky to have had this opportunity.

This is a test post from my newly self-hosted instance of Quill! Including a shout-out to @aaronpk for building it, and to @alans for giving me the push I needed to make it happen 🎉

In reply to: Fewer conferences | Manton Reece

Huge props to @manton for praising the value of conferences. Both Marco Arment and Chris Adamson seem to completely ignore the value of meeting in person — as podcast hosts/producers, of course it is easier for them to share their points of view from their recording studios/home offices. Listening to conference talks isn’t the only value of a conference, though — meeting new folks in person is wicked valuable, especially for folks starting their career, or who don’t live in wicked techy places.

I’ve never been to a tech conference, but hope to be able to attend one sometime within the next year or two. One of my favorite parts of the indieweb community is that it feels sort of like a distributed conference. Through the indieweb I’ve been able to connect with other folks around a common topic.

iTunes Nostalgia

When I was an undergrad I loved iTunes. I loved to sit in the library on campus and browse all the shared music libraries available over the campus network. There were hundreds of libraries. Some were identifiable to individuals, others, not so much

…Banana Cucumber Omelet

I think those may have been the best days for iTunes.

Apple tried to turn iTunes into a social network, but they never realized that the social power of iTunes wasn’t in the network,” per se, but rather in the media. It was a media platform with in-built sharing features. Passive connection, with communal feelings.

When I was an undergrad I loved iTunes until Spotify came around. Spotify changed the game. Spotify delivered on the promise of Groove Shark — the ability to listen to more or less whatever you wanted to without needing to make the monetary commitment of owning a song or album. Without needing to maintain a personal library.

iTunes was for librarians while Spotify was for the hungry. An iTunes library took cultivation and care to maintain. Spotify just required an appetite. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. I still have my iTunes library, but it is neglected and oft ignored. I only catch a few notes of a song now and again when my phone starts to play music from the default library when I connect via bluetooth.

I loved to sit in the library on campus and browser other folks’ music libraries. Now Spotify serves me Discover Weekly and Daily Mix playlists. I discover new and fascinating music to listen to…but it is different. It is catered to my liking, even if unknowingly. Spotify knows me and my tastes better than I can probably articulate. It serves me what it has calculated I’ll like. I don’t necessarily get to sample from the bitter or divergent when Spotify serves me what it thinks I’ll like…well, I mean, I can if I try. But Spotify doesn’t make the recommendation. Does it?

I loved to sit in the library. Mine and others.

In reply to: I'm curious what, if anything, you all think that the IndieWeb as a community could do or do better to make things easier for Generation

I think @mantons micro.blog offers a great model of the indieweb. It, like quill or webmention.io, is a microservice or set of microservices that leverages indieweb tech in a user friendly way. When the indieweb works more like the social media that folks are already familiar with (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) the less friction there is to join. So…this is all to say, in the end, I think better on boarding materials and user-friendlier documentation would go a LOOOOONG way. BUT, before one can create such documents there needs to be a relatively stable way of joining the indieweb. Between wordpress and micro.blog I think that is starting to emerge.

In reply to: https://blog.mozilla.org/opendesign/future-mdn-focus-web-docs/

I’m hella excited to see mozilla focusing on web documentation. The lack of diversity in tech is an issue that has rightly receiving a heap of attention lately. I think it deserves even more.

Perhaps a major issue in the tech. community (especially in the open source world) is absolutely befuddlingly terrible documentation? 🤷‍♂️

Terrible documentation means stuff is harder to pick up. When stuff is hard to pick up and learn, some folks are forced out. There is no need for tech. to be an occult dark art, with secrets kept in caves dank and dark.

I hope that Initiatives like mozilla’s will lead to more accessible technical documentation. More accessible technical documentation is a step in the right direction, because it empowers more folks to pick up dem techy skills. This is by no means a quick cure to the unbearable whiteness of tech, but it is a step in the right direction.

Writing this, I realize I should probably practice a bit more of what I preach, and document some more stuff.

In reply to: https://micro.blog/jeremycherfas/88048

@micro.blog/jeremycherfas thanks! I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say I know what I’m doing.” The community has been wicked helpful. 😄 Excited to keep exploring. Next step is to set up a media and point, and then clean up my bajillions of PHP scripts.

Micro mentorship

I recently read Running an effective mobile team, part 1. It was wicked good so I poked around the blog where I read it, Accidentally in Code: engineering an interesting life.” There, I noticed the author, Cate, also facilitates a slack for Engineering Managers. I sent Cate a message and asked for an invite. Before long we were messaging back and forth.

During our exchange Cate asked me a few questions and in the end helped me to better define my role at work, pointing out that I wasn’ an engineering manager, but rather pretty squarely in the category of product manager. PROFESSIONAL DEFINITION!

It was awesome.

Cate was a micro mentor!

Thanks Cate! 🙌

I’ve noticed that mentorship” is a term that gets thrown around a lot in weby techy circles. While I’m no expert, I feel that my time as a summer camp professional” provided me with insight into mentorship.

Being a mentor doesn’t need to be a gigantic life-long commitment. It can be a 10 minute exchange online. Quick. Passing. Camp counselor our mentors, but not in any overly-wrought sort of way. They’re high school and college aged folks for the most part who are in the right place at the right time to listen to younger folks.

A mentor listens and shares. A mentor needn’t be the Qui-Gon to your Obi-Wan (this is to say making a life-long commitment to you, granted, Qui-Gon does do a bit of post-life mentoring for Obi-Wan, too, so this was a terrible example, BUUUUT I digress). This post is my benumbed way of saying that mentorship can be done on the daily. I think it is about taking the time to listen every now and again, breakthrough the anomie and have a moment of connection.

Micro mentor, like a personal pizza that gets shared. Bagel bites.