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Link logging

You all. A week! Maybe a few. They’ve been something else, for good and ill, fun and waaaha!?” A doozy. So, here is a doozy of a link log!

aerc; The world’s best email client

I haven’t given this a go, yet, but it looks pretty solid, and like a great/easier to use alternative to mutt or alpine.

Why I’m still using jQuery in 2019

I use jQuery just about every day, and, you know what…I really like it. 😬

Why You Should Buy Into the Emacs Platform

The title of this post is a we bit deceive-ious, it is more of a list of awesome emacs resources than a manifesto/proclamation on why you should” use emacs.

Welcome to Linux From Scratch!

Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own custom Linux system, entirely from source code.

Why Don’t Americans Use Their Parks At Night?

However cities want to encourage more park use at night, he stresses that they need to consult the community anchors” to ensure that it meets the needs of the entire neighborhood.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons will have skin tone customization, gender-neutral hairstyles for Villagers

This piece serves as a great follow up to this previously linked post from Austin Walker, Me, On The Screen: Race in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Instant Pot Baked Potatoes Recipe

How to cook potatoes in an instant pot.

Is Robert’s Rules too Restrictive? Consider Martha’s Rules of Order for Meetings

See also, Martha’s Rules

Borough mayor is knitting to prove men speak too much at meetings

Montgomery said she is unfazed by criticism and will continue knitting until Christmas.

Knitting as both protest, and social signal.

Don’t slow that bus down, we’ve got places to be

But there’s a clear difference between Die Hard and Speed, […] Die Hard is about the individual — the lone wolf John McClaine, shooting his way through the terrorists — but Speed isn’t really about Reeves. It’s about the collective. It’s not just one of Keanu’s best movies; it’s one of the best movies about public transportation. Speed refutes one of the most pervasive myths about metropolitan transit systems in the U.S. — that no one rides the bus in Los Angeles — with its economically and racially diverse ensemble of riders, who must work together and with Jack Traven to keep the bus going until the bomb is dismantled.

Help For Werewolf

Werewolf! is a free-form social roleplaying game (kinda):

Be your own curator. Archivist.

Question: what is to be done with the stuff after it has been cataloged and stored? Are we pinning butterflies for the sake of pinning them, or is there a moment of beholding, and re-use/re-mix down the line?

Save and make? Transform?

I like to think of what I do with these link logs as part curation, part compost.

IBM and the Holocaust — why wasn’t this on my radar?

Juxtaposed: Wayfair workers plan walkout in protest of company’s bed sales to migrant camps.

Slight correction to CNNs title, though — migration camps” should be concentration camps.”

Atlanta’s Food Forest Will Provide Fresh Fruit, Nuts, and Herbs to Forage

Most of the trees in the forest are still too young to bear fruit. But once they become productive, about five years from now, McCord expects literal tons of fruit.”

Before you were here

[…] Needing to build your own website, setting up your own webservers, and using non-user friendly applications to transfer data not only meant that most early users had a better core understanding of the technology and what its future might bring, it also meant that users had a sense of ownership. They were shaping the medium they were consuming.

screenshots of despair

A catalog of little despair.

Fans Are Better Than Tech at Organizing Information Online

The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I, as exemplified by this very post, have a tagging problem.

Interesting also in the context of digital minimalism,” see Walking Alone: On Digital Minimalism”.

on dat://

@kicks offering the most cogent explanation of what the heck date:// actually is that I’ve found!

Ok, so how does Dat work exactly? It is simply a unique address attached to a folder of files (kind of like a ZIP file.) You then share that folder on the network and others can sync it to their system when they visit the unique address.

SwiftUI, Privacy, macOS, and the Web

A long, but worthwhile read.

The Future of Interaction, Part II

The most important part of this announcement is the abstraction they’re working with, not the view surface being used for rendering.

Wherein the abstraction becomes a tool for focusing on interaction, rather than specific implementation.

Adversarial Interoperability: Reviving an Elegant Weapon From a More Civilized Age to Slay Today’s Monopolies

What made iWork a success—and helped re-launch Apple—was the fact that Pages could open and save most Word files […]

[…] Apple didn’t just make an interoperable” product that worked with an existing product in the market: they made an adversarially interoperable product whose compatibility was wrested from the incumbent, through diligent reverse-engineering and reimplementation.

The New Wilderness

The need to regulate online privacy is a truth so universally acknowledged that even Facebook and Google have joined the chorus of voices crying for change […] No two companies have done more to drag private life into the algorithmic eye than Google and Facebook.

So why have the gravediggers of online privacy suddenly grown so worried about the health of the patient?

Part of the answer is a defect in the language we use to talk about privacy. That language, especially as it is codified in law, is not adequate for the new reality of ubiquitous, mechanized surveillance.

Continuing later,

The question we need to ask is not whether our data is safe, but why there is suddenly so much of it that needs protecting. The problem with the dragon, after all, is not its stockpile stewardship, but its appetite.

That Web Dev Thing Where Everybody Says Something Clever Involving Toast

Twitter is designed to escalate responses and keep people engaged. This has the effect of polarising discussions online which in turn has, in my mind, made it completely useless as a venue for discussing web development issues.

airtext

A decentralized blogging…thing…platform…service?

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

Spring break is winding down, and all familial travel for at least a few weeks is done. I am excited to find my way back into the regular” routine.

Work this week has been pretty busy, and I’ve been writing a bit of css. This week’s log features some css tidbits.

How to make a great anime adaptation

I think the article’s sub-headline pretty much sums it up:

First, get earnest. Second, get expressionist. Finally, get corny.

Set up a live static personal web site in seconds with Indie Web Server 8.0.0

I’ve been using Netlify for all my static sites, lately, but this project looks like a neat alternative for those who don’t mind a wee bit of server administration.

Art Direction For The Web Using CSS Shapes

Bending text, and the web to one’s (design) will.

fyi: [hidden] is a lie

In summary:

The solution is tragic and it’s to either not use hidden (because it’s a lie), or to pepper your apps with

[hidden] { display: none !important }

and they both suck, so have fun!

CSS masonry with flexbox, :nth-child(), and order

Confession: I once spent well over a week attempting to accomplish this exact thing in plain ol’ css without any luck. I had to resort to using — *shutters* — javascript.

Link logging

Bulletin Butter and Jelly

If I set up a BBS would you want in? What would you want to BBS about?”

Texting Means Never Having to Say Goodbye

I thought about the last time I’d actually typed ttfn. I imagine it was at least 18 years ago, on my family’s Gateway desktop during the era of dial-up AOL. And then I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I said g2g,” or even bye,” in an online conversation.

The medium is the message, and the message is nearly always deliverable. So easy to be alone when you can’t ever be apart. Never say good bye,” but are you then always alone?

Go! Make a game — play a game.

Report on Anthem’s development woes draws terse response from BioWare

Also see Jack de Quidt on this.

here’s the wild thing that it feels almost impossible to say in the games industry: the game doesn’t mean shit! it’s lights and colours! it’s nice to play one and it’s nice to make a good one, sure

but — and i mean this very sincerely — if the production of the object ruins the lives and health of the people making it, the object doesn’t mean shit! what — you shipped a fun mech game? or a good cowboy game? great. who’s taking medical leave?

All games are a mess

I love that strange homemade games like The Frogs Of War and Legacy Of The Golden Hammer exist, these unpolished mishmashes of ideas and design as a form of creative expression. Enjoying these games is a way to enjoy all games, to accept that everything is from the same cloth, a different flawed piece of creativity, a different glimpse into what can be created.

On Flooding: Drowning the Culture in Sameness

And how much discovery can there be, really, with the same critics occupying the same space?

Hard left turn to allow me to insert a different conversation/question at this point on algorithmic curation.

Does algorithmic curation cutout the human element in what would elsewise be an artistic effort of mixing, or does it simply push the person a little further away — algorithm programmer as space builder, and us the viewing audience” as participant in a shared effort of consumptive curation…

So, you know, Derrida?

\_(ツ)_/

The Roundups of SHACKLESHOTGUN

Also see @kicks on roundups. (Thanks for the link-love, btw! (I enjoy collecting things, and this exercise is a good way of scratching that itch. My favorite part of collecting is making the collage at the end — by putting disparate things in proximity to one another making a new thing. These posts are my trying to do that. If you are interested in the unfiltered stream oh-links that are eventually paired down to become this, check out my profile on reading.am))

Why there is so little left of the early internet

Sometimes the sites that are lost echo even more seismic changes; the deaths and births of nations themselves. It happened with Yugoslavia; .yu was the top-level domain for Yugoslavia, and that ended when it collapsed. There’s a researcher who is trying to rebuild what was there before the break-up,” she says.

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

Parameters are dead last on my list of powerful interventions. Diddling with the details, arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Probably 90, no 95, no 99 percent of our attention goes to parameters, but there’s not a lot of leverage in them.

Can we truly think about climate change at all?

Object Oriented Ontology says no. Enter the Hyperobjects.”

Make it hard to screw up driven development

This is the request web dev resources link.

ttfn

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

Me, On The Screen: Race in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

I am a big fan of Austin Walker — I love his writing, and the way he GMs games on Friends at the Table. In this piece from 2013 he explores and contextualizes the importance of inclusive representation in games and play through the lens of Animal Crossing. Seeing this is even cooler being familiar with the hundreds of hours of actual-play he has coordinated and helped to produce since it almost all highlights the importance and power of representation.

Other people’s weeknotes

A list of people’s weeknotes. Weeknotes may be peak-blog. I adore them.

10 Nonhumans That Are Legally Humans

A list of things that are legally recognized as humans but that aren’t actual humans.

The ultimate guide to DuckDuckGo

A list of all the things DuckDuckGo can do for you.

Application Holotypes: A Guide to Architecture Decisions

A list of holotypes which help to form the basis of a taxonomy for web applications.


These next two items go hand-in-hand and absolutely fascinate me. Things like this make me want to go for a PhD just because I’d love the time to write thousands of words about what it takes to bring the physical to the digital…and exploring what it then takes to physically maintain the digital” replication of the physical object.

Hand Job Zine and Mass Digitization Files

A collection of zines exploring the labor of digitization (and who does that labor).

Dancing the flip-flop

flip-flop (n.) the process of pushing a work of art or craft from the physical world to the digital world and back, often more than once.

That’s pretty abstract. Here’s an example recipe:

  1. Carve a statue out of stone. PHYSICAL
  2. Digitize your statue with a 3D scanner. DIGITAL
  3. Make some edits. Shrink it down. Add wings. STILL DIGITAL
  4. Print the edited sculpture in plastic with a 3D printer. PHYSICAL AGAIN

Link logging

WebAuthn; A better alternative for securing our sensitive information online

I’ve mixed feelings about this — but tbh, I am not in the lease qualified to opine one way or the other. That being said, I’m really digging the .guide TLD.

Video of a Japanese Space Probe Touching Down on an Asteroid

While I was struggling get some react and an API to cooperate other people were landing a probe on an asteroid.

Grainy image of the probe’s landing zone

The Geography of America’s Mobile and Stuck,’ Mapped

The United States is facing a new class distinction: those who are mobile across state lines, and those who are stuck.

I catch myself (panicked) thinking about this a lot in the context of climate change, wondering where we should live if we are going to be stuck there.

Technical communication is particularly hard for newcomers

One of the key components to good technical communication is the right amount of context.

Cache-Control for Civilians

One of the most common and effective ways to manage the caching of your assets is via the Cache-Control HTTP header. This header applies to individual assets, meaning everything on our pages can have a very bespoke and granular cache policy. The amount of control we’re granted makes for very intricate and powerful caching strategies.

Handy dandy skip to point link

The Growing Complexity Of Developing Websites and the Growing Ease Of Using Site Builders

Developers like to develop. They like code and development tools and they’re bringing more of those things to the design and development of websites. Instead of writing HTML and CSS directly, now we’re told to write both inside Javascript.

Continuing,

The downside of this change is that it’s becoming more difficult for someone new (particular on the design side) to enter the field. The barrier for entry is increasing as the requirements are growing more complex.

I think this is spot on — something that I believe is missing from this conversation, however, is that raising the barrier for entry also runs the risk of making the community even more homogenous.

The Great Divide

Very much in-line with the previous entry:

The divide is between people who self-identify as a (or have the job title of) front-end developer, yet have divergent skill sets.

This article is nice in that it spells out a solution, and offers some guidance for how best to talk about the work of front-end development…and points out that front-end development can mean a lot of different things to a different people.

An exercise in progressive enhancement

A recent project I’ve been tinkering with was a good use case for me to familiarise myself with the actual implementation of a site that works without Javascript, but is enhanced by Javascript when it is available.

Making Things Better: Redefining the Technical Possibilities of CSS by Rachel Andrew

A CSS tech-talk liveblog,

CSS tries to avoid data loss.

Writing in Emacs

A nice little assortment of packages for writing words inside of emacs. I’ll also take this as an opportunity to plug my homespun config that I’m still really digging: tilde.el

Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing

🤯

Climate crisis and a betrayed generation

Leading to ⤵️

The Servant Economy

West Marches: Running Your Own

Zelda Breath of the Wild meets table top gaming! An open world, sandbox style RP is something I’ve always wanted to try…maybe set on the high seas! 🏴‍☠️

Check out all these historical Jolly Roger flags from wikipedia

Shout out to the best from the collection, Jacquotte Delahaye’s Back From the Dead Red” flag

Shout out to this, the greatest flag — a lady pirate dancing with a very jolly looking skeleton holding a spear.

Link logging

Tokyo Neapolitan: The New Wave of Japanese Pizza

If you are gonna do a thing, you might as well do that thing as well as you can. 🍕

The Famous Photo of Chernobyl’s Most Dangerous Radioactive Material Was a Selfie

…I looked through all the other captions of photos similar photos of the destroyed core, and they were all taken by Korneyev, so it’s likely this photo was an old-school timed selfie. The shutter speed was probably a little slower than for the other photos in order for him to get into position, which explains why he seems to be moving and why the glow from his flashlight looks like a lightning flash. The graininess of the photo, though, is likely due to the radiation.

Living Systems | James Grier Miller | 1978

Confession — I haven’t dug into this yet. As someone with 2 degrees in Human Ecology (e.g. the interdisciplinary study of people and our environment) I feel obligated to read this.

A bit more background on rights for nature.

Tending the Digital Commons: A Small Ethics toward the Future

What do I mean by the open Web”? I mean the World Wide Web as created by Tim Berners-Lee and extended by later coders. The open Web is effectively a set of protocols that allows the creating, sharing, and experiencing of text, sounds, and images on any computer that is connected to the Internet and has installed on it a browser that can interpret information encoded in conformity with these protocols.

In their simplicity, those protocols are relentlessly generative, producing a heterogeneous mass of material for which the most common descriptor is simply content.” It took a while for that state of affairs to come about, especially since early Internet service providers like CompuServe and AOL tried to offer proprietary content that couldn’t be found elsewhere, after the model of newspapers or magazines. This model might have worked for a longer period if the Web had been a place of consumption only, but it was also a place of creation, and people wanted what they created to be experienced by the greatest number of people possible. (As advertising made its way onto the Web, this was true of businesses as well as individuals.) And so the open Web, the digital commons, triumphed over those first attempts to keep content enclosed.

Autism from the inside

Reframing,

When I come across instances of this folk understanding of autism, I am reminded of Edward Said’s 1978 description of the orientalist gaze, in which the exoticised subjects endure a kind of fascinated scrutiny, and are then rendered without depth, in swollen detail’.

…In this anaerobic environment, the qualities routinely assigned to autistic people — lack of empathy, unworldliness, humourlessness, the inability to love — are the exact inverse of the qualities that a neurotypical society most prizes.

For a moment, let’s flip things over. To an autistic viewer like me, neurotypical life can seem astonishingly unemotional. I’m so overwhelmed by the sensory onslaught of a busy room that I’m almost tearful, while neurotypical folk appear to wade through clouds of sound, light and odour, entirely oblivious. It’s hard to resist the impression that they’re numb, or unreal somehow. They are certainly displaying a lack of affect in the face of extreme provocation. Where I am in constant movement; they are somehow still.

The incredible nature of Abstract Art and how it can change the way you think about everything.

The point of the art wasn’t what you saw on the original painting, but what it left behind after you had looked at it. The experienced stayed and lingered with you. I thought this was incredible, and beautiful and amazing.

Variations On A Utilitarian Theme

Read along, if you will, as I tell a little story of sorts through a series of excerpts. It is essentially a story about the links among prevalent trends involving surveillance, data, security, self-documentation, and happiness.

The Ones Who Walk Away From…Facebook

How I lost my legs and gained… you want me to say something inspiring here

Don’t miss the author’s sneaker reviews.

Component frameworks and web standards

This post has three parts: in the first, I look at what I like about the web standards stance” or a vanilla approach”. In the second, I share what I liked when I used a JavaScript component framework. In the last part, I look at whether these two approaches are actually different: maybe I assumed a false dichotomy?

How to master advanced TypeScript patterns

This Medium post sneaks in a pretty solid overview of currying (as I understand it, at least).

We Need Chrome No More

The dominance of Chrome has a major detrimental effect on the Web as an open platform: developers are increasingly shunning other browsers in their testing and bug-fixing routines. If it works as intended on Chrome, it’s ready to ship. This in turn results in more users flocking to the browser as their favorite Web sites and apps no longer work elsewhere, making developers less likely to spend time testing on other browsers. A vicious cycle that, if not broken, will result in most other browsers disappearing in the oblivion of irrelevance. And that’s exactly how you suffocate the open Web.

Flashback to the last week’s link log, from Choo’s 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.

The Super Tiny Compiler

Learn about compilers by reading through a very tiny one.

Dynamicland

Our mission is to incubate a humane dynamic medium whose full power is accessible to all people.

Field Guide to Bash Terminals

A bit shorter than the bash man page. Good, basic, info.

A Beginner’s Guide To Dragon Ball

The biggest lie you’ll ever hear about Dragon Ball from both fans and critics alike is that there are long stretches of episodes full of attacks charging and nothing else. It was something I had always heard about the show and was warned about when I decided to check it out. I waited and waited for these fabled episodes and by the end of DBZ, I realized they don’t exist

Once upon a time I watched a ton of Dragon Ball and One Piece…in French. They use the imperative tense a lot. I’d like to re-watch some of each in English one day.

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.”

Link logging

Mark’s bookmarklets

I like bookmarklets. I like that these are bookmarklets made by Mark. See also Mark’s Learn2JS.

Pixaki for iPad

This is an app that I have not tried, but that looks groovy if you are into creating pixel art.

Bad ethernet cable

Reminding us that it is important to remember that the medium is the message…especially when the message relies on a medium for transference.

SQL: One of the Most Valuable Skills

Leave your ORM at the door. SQL fo’ lyfe!

Opportunity did not answer NASAs final call, and it’s now lost to us

RIP. You were the best robot adventurer. You will be missed.

I’ve gone full Apocalypse Dad

I read this. It caused me to panic. Living in blissful ignorance and being busy with work and not having the money to actually really stockpile anything of usefulness is what keeps me from being a full on doomsday hoarder.

But responding to the possibility of the worst, by pursuing mere survival, seems a bit limited — even to the point of being paradoxical. Survival is conservative by nature: however bad the world might be, my best chances of surviving in it are by learning and respecting its rules. My best hopes at riding out any given disaster are if things, as far as possible, continue to follow laws and norms I already understand. And yet, the possibility of disaster is inherent to the world as it presently exists, as long as the world remains the same, that possibility will be there. In a way, then, the best thing to do would be to throw caution to the wind, to forget [mere] survival and embrace — as far as possible — radical change. Only then might we achieve a world in which we are genuinely safe, without ever needing to rely on mere survivalism again.

Hello. By the Way. Whatever.

Nora Ephron on blogging.

…one of the most delicious things about the profoundly parasitical world of blogs is that you don’t have to have anything much to say. Or you just have to have a little tiny thing to say. You just might want to say hello. I’m here. And by the way. On the other hand. Nevertheless. Did you see this? Whatever. A blog is sort of like an exhale.

Virginia Woolf on a similar topic:

Of all forms of literature, however, the essay is the one which least calls for the use of long words. The principle which controls it is simply that it should give pleasure; the desire which impels us when we take it from the shelf is simply to receive pleasure. Everything in an essay must be subdued to that end. It should lay us under a spell with its first word, and we should only wake, refreshed, with its last.

SPUDwrite is a DIY E Ink typewriter… with a printer… and an LCD display

An E Ink typewriter.

O Uommibatto”: How the Pre-Raphaelites Became Obsessed with the Wombat

I had no idea that wombats were so beloved by the Pre-Raphaelites!?

Wombat sketch by Edward Burne-Jones featured in Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones (1904) by Georgiana Burne-Jones

TYPE DESIGN, TYPOGRAPHY, TYPEFACES AND FONTS: An encyclopedic treatment of type design, typefaces and fonts. This site is also known as on snot and fonts.

Need I say more than this title?

Link logging

Whoops! This post is a wee bit longer than previous link-logging posts. I’ve broken it up into a few sections to make it more easily skim-able. Granted, all barriers and edges are illusory at a certain point, so I recommend looking for connections rather than demarkation and separation. Do not tare along the dotted line. Personal pizzas are best when shared. 🍕

Creativity and capitalism

On Godzilla and the Nature and Conditions of Cultural Success; or, Shedding the Skin

I’ve got a quick confession: I love Godzilla. This post encompasses all the things I like about Godzilla. You’ve got some cultural production stuff, you’ve got climate and ecology stuff, with a smattering of socio-political stuff all wrapped up in a rubber dino-monster suit. What isn’t to like!? Also, this picture…

Just the legs of Godzilla

It could be that Godzilla is successful in 1950s Japan and in 2010s USA because it happened to fit two very different but very specific cultural niches — the trauma of defeat culminating in nuclear war, on the one hand; and (to make something up) a compulsive desire for re-enactments of 9/11 on the other hand. But explaining wide-spread success by a series of particular fits falters as we consider all the many other social contexts in which Godzilla has been popular. Maybe it happened, by chance, to appeal narrowly to one new context, but two? three? ten?

An alternative is that Godzilla has managed to spread because it appeals to tastes which are not very context-specific, but on the contrary very widely distributed, if not necessarily constant and universal. In the case of Godzilla, we have a monster who breaks big things and breathes fire: an object of thought, in other words, enduringly relevant to crude interests in predators, in destruction, and in fire. Since those interests are very common across all social contexts, something which appeals to them has a very good source of pull”.

What’s inside a brand?

… When your customers are active partners in making” and managing” the brand, policing who is allowed to shop at your store is, weirdly enough, a hiring decision like any other. We’re used to thinking of production and consuming as separate activities, but, as Jefferies shows, in modern branding, they are one and the same. Making sure the right” person consumes your clothes is a way to enhance a brand’s value. Like it or not, then, modern life gives you little choice but to work” for a brand, putting all of our social lives in the service of capital. What branding offers is belonging (for a price).

This entire article walks right up to the edge of likening brand based marketing to fiction, but doesn’t bridge the gap. This isn’t my faulting the piece by any means…I think it is a stretch, or at least a stretch in the context of the article, but I couldn’t stop noticing how similar the discussion of self-policing brands looks to the discussion about fandom, and who is or isn’t a fan of some particular thing. Who gets entrance into the narrative, be it Apple’s or Star Trek.

Ursula K. Le Guin Was a Creator of Worlds

Traveling to an unfamiliar place often has ethical implications in Le Guin’s fiction

She also resisted the approach to writing that emphasized that fiction must have a hero, a conflict, a storyline.

Civic

Washington Will Decriminalize Fare Evasion. Better Idea: Free Transit

The idea of free public transportation isn’t as crazy as it may sound. Prompted by concerns over congestion and pollution, the European countries of Estonia and Luxembourg already offer it, and Germany is considering it. Removing fares clearly makes transit more desirable; when Talinn, Estonia’s capital, adopted free public transportation in 2013, ridership immediately spiked 10 percent. Such ridership gains would certainly be welcome in the United States, where 31 of the 35 largest transit agencies saw passenger counts dip in 2017. Unlike most goods, transit gets better with heavier usage because more frequent bus and train service will reduce wait times.

Journalism should be free

This is a depressing moment for… well, everything, but also journalism. Watching talented reporters get laid off is heartbreaking, infuriating, and despair-inducing. Out of the ashes, new ideas for sustainable, impactful journalism are bound to emerge. The best ones will acknowledge that journalism should be free.

How to Design Playgrounds for the World’s Most Vulnerable Kids

Designing systems (specifically public systems) with children not just in mind, but at the forefront pretty much always seems like a very good idea.

Math and astronomy

How a Strange Grid Reveals Hidden Connections Between Simple Numbers

Sharing this piece specifically because I think it does a really solid job explaining something that is rather complicated (at least for me) in a clear way that also doesn’t come off as being dumbed down.

Far side of the Moon photographed by amateurs

Moon Minute Monday

Learn something new about our Moon every Monday.

Webby techy stuff

A new interview with Manton Reece of Micro.blog for 2019

I enjoy participating in the micro.blog community, and appreciate Manton’s persistence in going it slow, making intentional design choices. While the source code of micro.blog itself isn’t open source, it is refreshing that Manton’s process is, through posts and interviews like this one. Manton is practicing a different sort of Calm Technology with micro.blog.

The Ethics of Web Performance

Poor performance can, and does, lead to exclusion

And comes at a higher environmental cost.

Web Browsers and Privacy in 2019

Google Chrome, destroyer of worlds? Defo eater of RAM. See also Browser diversity starts with us.

You are in a maze of deeply nested maps, all alike [TALK]

All be honest. I was into this mostly for its title. It sounds like a line straight out of a Robbe-Grillet story.

Also, shout out to Eric Normand for almost always including a transcript alongside video and audio content.

Literate Programming against REST APIs

Starts with a tl;dr:

TL;DR Other HTTP Clients aren’t that great. Here we use Emacs and restclient, with public APIs, to identify plants and share on Twitter. Emacs and restclient offer a great user experience and workflow when documenting and exploring APIs.

I’ve got a soft spot for literate programming. I haven’t done much of it, but as I gain confidence writing LISP, I think a little side project may invite it. 🤷‍♂️

The big DNS Privacy Debate at FOSDEM

You all. DNS is baffling. I’ve been migrating some client sites and I set up (again) a pi-hole and, while I feel cozy with the basics of DNS config, the underlying architecture is both fascinating and…terrifying? Maybe the wrong word. Obtuse.

Hacker tools

A neat resource. I dipped right into the lesson about Virtual Machines and Containers.

Saving time with Emacs, or not.

Yes. I love emacs. I agree with Jack: Emacs does not typically save me time.