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In reply to: The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius

If I had to put the recipe for genius into one sentence, that might be it: to have a disinterested obsession with something that matters.

I try not to yuck the proverbial yum, but I’m sure this piece of writing is gonna get a lot of eyeballs, and I think that is a real shame, because the whole thing completely discounts the efforts of a HUGE group of folks (read mainly as women and POC) whom don’t have the luxury of being paid to follow their passion.

In reply to: Programming is Forgetting: Toward a New Hacker Ethic - Allison Parrish | Open Transcripts

So to that end I’m proposing a new hacker ethic. Of course proposing a closed set of rules for virtuous behavior would go against the very philosophy I’m trying to advance, so my ethic instead takes the form of questions that every hacker should ask themselves while they’re making programs and machines. So here they are.

Instead of saying access to computers should be unlimited and total, we should ask Who gets to use what I make? Who am I leaving out? How does what I make facilitate or hinder access?”

Instead of saying all information should be free, we could ask What data am I using? Whose labor produced it and what biases and assumptions are built into it? Why choose this particular phenomenon for digitization or transcription? And what do the data leave out?”

Instead of saying mistrust authority, promote decentralization, we should ask What systems of authority am I enacting through what I make? What systems of support do I rely on? How does what I make support other people?”

And instead of saying hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position, we should ask What kind of community am I assuming? What community do I invite through what I make? How are my own personal values reflected in what I make?”

So you might have noticed that there were two final points—the two last points of Levy’s hacker ethics that I left alone, and those are these: You can create art and beauty on a computer. Computers can change your life for the better. I think if there’s anything to be rescued from hacker culture it’s these two sentences. These two sentences are the reason that I’m a computer programmer and that I’m a teacher in the first place.

In reply to: home | p5.js

p5.js is a JavaScript library for creative coding, with a focus on making coding accessible and inclusive for artists, designers, educators, beginners, and anyone else!

In reply to: Tech issues: The myth of inevitable technological progress - Vox

Technologists’ desire to make a parallel to evolution is flawed at its very foundation. Evolution is driven by random mutation — mistakes, not plans. (And while some inventions may indeed be the result of mishaps, the decision of a company to patent, produce, and market those inventions is not.) Evolution doesn’t have meetings about the market, the environment, the customer base. Evolution doesn’t patent things or do focus groups. Evolution doesn’t spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress to ensure that its plans go unfettered.

In reply to: Collapse OS -- Bootstrap post-collapse technology

Additionally, the goal of this project is to be as self-contained as possible. With a copy of this project, a capable and creative person should be able to manage to build and install Collapse OS without external resources (i.e. internet) on a machine of her design, built from scavenged parts with low-tech tools.

In reply to: GitHub - hundredrabbits/Noodle: Small, Sharp Sketch Tool

Noodle is a teeny tiny tool that lets you draw in the browser. Controls aren’t all that discoverable, but once you decipher the invisible UI it is an excellent little toy!

Try clicking and dragging around. Use the numbers 0 - 9 on your keyboard to toggle brush/line types.

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.

In reply to: Kinopio

A very cool little tool to make mind maps in the browser! Wicked calm. Very elegant. Do recommend.

In reply to: Code as a Crime Scene

This post describes an interesting approach to using git commit history and metadata to help guide code maintenance. Essentially, when you look at statistics on commits to see which files get updated at the same time, you can begin to get a sense for the logical coupling of the different parts of an application.

I think there is something to be inferred from this with regards to the ability to weaponize/exploit this metadata from git, too…but I’m still noodling on the exact details.

In reply to: What's wrong with the Raspberry Pi | Own your bits

Some interesting insights on the architecture of Raspberry Pi. Namely that Linux runs on top of another, closed source, operating system called ThreadX on Raspberry Pi. ThreadX was recently purchased by Microsoft.

By no means a deal breaker, for me, but a nice insight into the architectural interconnectedness of modern computing and how inescapable some giants are.

In reply to: React

Why I have a problem with React the library and spend a lot of time talking to my therapist

In reply to: Hypercritical: Top Gun

It taught me the power of well-chosen words to shake people out of their daily routines and patterns of thought. It showed me that all jobs, no matter how seemingly dull, can be an outlet for self-expression and excellence. And it reminds me, to this day, that each work of art can be—deserves to be—considered from multiple points of view, not all of which will be comfortable.

In reply to: Eli’s Pastel Bubbles

Thanks @kicks! The layout of your site, and wiki-like structure where some of my major design inspirations going into the website re-build. Also the music of Sylvan Esso and this song.

As for National Treasure, I think you speak truth. Alas…the world isn’t ready for a 3rd installation.

In reply to: johnny.decimal

Taxonomy is fun. Arbitrary numbering, however, is a wee bit problematic, maybe?

In reply to: Anyone an Information Architect – Jorge Arango

Many of us who’ve used a greenfield Slack account to coordinate activities with a group larger than a couple of people have experienced this. The environment’s design makes it easy to spin up new channels. Without an agreed-upon ontology, the result is duplication and confusion. Eventually, someone in the team either self-selects or is assigned the role of Slack channel curator. Not quite a bottom-up structuring of the environment; rather, a bottom-up nomination for the top-down role.

In reply to: The Virgin and the Data Center | L.M. Sacasas

It’s tempting to see in the repurposed church an allegory of sorts, science and technology vanquishing faith and religion. It may be closer to the truth, however, to see instead something more akin to a displacement: science and technology assume the place of faith and religion. And in this case, we might put the matter more pointedly, data and computing power assuming the functions and roles once ascribed to the deity—source of all knowledge and arbiter of truth, for example.

In reply to: GitHub - RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge: The RSS feed for websites missing it

You’re not social when you hamper sharing by removing feeds. You’re happy to have customers creating content for your ecosystem, but you don’t want this content out - a content you do not even own. Google Takeout is just a gimmick. We want our data to flow, we want RSS or Atom feeds.

We want to share with friends, using open protocols: RSS, Atom, XMPP, whatever. Because no one wants to have your service with your applications using your API force-feeding them. Friends must be free to choose whatever software and service they want.

We are rebuilding bridges you have wilfully destroyed.

In reply to: Cheri Baker - I don't want to be a brand.

“You should write down your brand statement, and then EVERYTHING you communicate online (or around your customers) should be in line with that statement. In short, if it doesn’t advance your brand, don’t share or say it.”

And my heart rose up in revolt and shouted: F@CK THAT SH*T!

In reply to: Explaining 'Manual Keigo,' the Code of Japan's Clerks - CityLab

Within the framework of Japanese speech exists the somewhat controversial practice of employing formulaic honorific speech by those in the service industry. Manual keigo—so named for the training manuals of phrases that clerks and employees are expected to memorize and use in interactions with the public—creates artificial, repetitious, or otherwise grammatically questionable honorific expressions as companies strive to outdo themselves in terms of reverentially addressing their customers.

In reply to: Sidewalks, Not Just Roads, Need Municipal Snow Removal - CityLab

Even if all a city can do is begin with two streets, Owens urges cities to start there. How people are able to move around in a city that gets snow, who don’t have the benefit of a car, is important,” she said. Does it mean we’re gonna get it right [immediately]? No. But we’re sure gonna try. We gotta start by trying something.”

In reply to: Baldur's Notes - Over The Past

Over the past 2-3 years, CSS has become the least bad part of the web, occasionally being actually quite pleasant. This makes it a bit painful for me to watch JS people try to fix’ the least broken part of the web by breaking it just enough for it to be familiar to them.

In reply to: Weaknotes 18: Stop torturing me with your bad manicures

We played What became of Edith Finch” through Steam. It was good! Dark and spooky while also not too taxing. But! There is no way the lead character (Edith) has that manicure! What the hell! The Venn intersection of Perfect french tips with square shaping” and wears grey knitted fingerless mittens” is empty. I am happy to be a nail consultant on your next game or kickstarter product video, please just stop torturing me with your bad manicures.

In reply to: Decide how to distribute/manage CSS · Issue #40 · codemirror/codemirror.next · GitHub

This thread of the codemirror.next issues cogently lays out some of the issues with moving CSS into JS.

I write CSS. I write JS. I get that it is sometimes useful to move CSS into JS, but for code that is going to be touched by lots of people I think it is best to keep them separate.

One reason I see folks reference for keeping them separate is that by doing so you don’t raise the point of entry” for those who don’t know JS, but do know CSS.

I think this is true, but also weirdly demeaning and HUGELY undervalues the complexity, power, and importance of CSS in a project.

Keeping CSS separate from JS helps to ensure that CSS doesn’t become an after thought…just icing. CSS that is an afterthought is CSS that is difficult to, or straight up impossible to maintain. CSS that is an afterthought means that the user interface and interaction model will suffer.


In reply to: What Is Glitter? - The New York Times

What is glitter? The simplest answer is one that will leave you slightly unsatisfied, but at least with your confidence in comprehending basic physical properties intact. Glitter is made from glitter. Big glitter begets smaller glitter; smaller glitter gets everywhere, all glitter is impossible to remove; now never ask this question again.

In reply to: ‘Can Rural America Be Saved?’ Is the Wrong Question - CityLab

Rather than constantly harping on Internet infrastructure and access as the keystone technological issues of rural America, what experiences do rural people bring to the table that help us build a future digital world that can be equitable for everyone? Rural values related to neighborliness and tight-knight communities can be looked to by technology designers to create more open and welcoming online spaces.

IndieWeb, baby!

In reply to: Anatomy of an AI System

The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources

Put simply: each small moment of convenience — be it answering a question, turning on a light, or playing a song — requires a vast planetary network, fueled by the extraction of non-renewable materials, labor, and data.

In reply to: While we Blink, we loose the Web

Losing engines is like losing languages. People may wish that everyone spoke the same language, they may claim it leads to easier understanding, but what people fail to consider is that this leads to losing all the culture and way of thought that that language produced. If you are a Web developer smiling and happy that Microsoft might be adopting Chrome, and this will make your work easier because it will be one less browser to test, don’t be! You’re trading convenience for diversity. There is no ecosystem in the world that is strong as a monoculture. Monocultures are always destructive, may it be to the soil they are on or to the surrounding villages who now can’t survive without importing stuff. Monocultures are also fragile as whatever hurts it, hurts it everywhere. The one thing monocultures are good is generating money to whoever owns them, and fuck the rest.

In reply to: Risking a Homogeneous Web - TimKadlec.com

I don’t think Microsoft using Chromium is the end of the world, but it is another step down a slippery slope. It’s one more way of bolstering the influence Google currently has on the web.

We need Google to keep pushing the web forward. But it’s critical that we have other voices, with different viewpoints, to maintain some sense of balance. Monocultures don’t benefit anyone.

In reply to: Adactio: Journal—Programming CSS

But let’s not forget that that’s a choice. It’s not that CSS in inherently incapable of executing complex conditions. Quite the opposite. It’s precisely because CSS selectors (and the cascade) are so powerful that we choose to put guard rails in place.

In reply to: statement on event-stream compromise · GitHub

So right now, we are in a weird valley where you have a bunch of dependencies that are maintained” by someone who’s lost interest, or is even starting to burnout, and that they no longer use themselves. You can easily share the code, but no one wants to share the responsibility for maintaining that code. Like a module is like a piece of digital property, a right that can be transferred, but you don’t get any benefit owning it, like being able to sell or rent it, however you still retain the responsibility.

[…] When you depend on something, you should take part in maintaining it.

In reply to: Pokémon: The 20-year fad - Polygon

In many ways, Pokémon embodies everything good and appealing about video games. It touches on the social and competitive elements that fuel the likes of Fortnite, while presenting a world all its own. Pokémon manages the rare trick of having immense kid appeal while nevertheless possessing the depth to sustain adult interest.

In reply to: What Car-Free Streets Mean for Family-Friendly Culture - CityLab

One of the most impactful policies on human behavior has actually been removing most of the street parking space inside the pedestrian-priority area. We found that almost 60 percent of vehicles circulating inside town were actually going around in circles trying to find a parking spot. Now, since they know they won’t be able to park, they have stopped bringing their cars in and they use the outer parking areas,” Mosquera explained.

In reply to: Baldur's Notes - One Theory I

One theory I have of why modern web development has become a bit dysfunctional:

Most of the time, a venn diagram of tech you need to focus on to improve your career” and tech that’ll make the product you’re working on great” is just two almost separate circles.

100% this.

In reply to: Own the Demand – Florent Crivello

(A simple way to explain the idea [that modern marketplaces get their power from aggregating demand] is through Brussels sprouts. Given a choice, would you rather own the world’s supply of Brussel sprouts, or its demand? I say you should pick the latter. Owning all the supply would allow you to dictate your own prices, which is nice; but it would also require owning all the land on which Brussels sprouts can grow. That would be absurdly expensive and a nightmare to operate efficiently, on top of being quite a precarious position. How do you know you haven’t forgotten one piece of land somewhere? Or stay ahead of innovations like indoor farming? Controlling all the demand for Brussel sprouts, on the other hand, gives you the same pricing power, without the need to own and operate all that land.)


Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall reckons Google will pay $9B to Apple this year to remain iOS’ default search engine — an amount that could go up to $12B next year (source). By comparison, Microsoft’s search engine Bing generated $1.7B in revenue in 2017. So Apple’s search engine business” is roughly 5x as big as Microsoft’s — all while, you know, having no actual search engine.

In reply to: Children’s $hows

I wonder if it’s possible for children’s television to ever be anything but [Neo-Capitalist fairy tales]—considering how much money is required to produce television.

I think so, yes — especially as kids get older (see Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Hilda). And, while many shows I’ve found fit the pattern that I described, I think that some break the mold, or at least problematize it. 2 examples of this are the Magic School Bus and a show called Tumble Leaf. Tumble Leaf is most interesting to me because it seems to take place in a nearly post-apocalyptic setting that is absolutely awesome. Shaun the Sheep is another interesting example, where, without dialog relationships are all implied, leading to a show more in the vein of the Looney Tunes built around slap-stick hi-jinx.

There are also a number of web-based shows that I’ve been keeping an eye on lately — mostly distributed over YouTube which is its own sort of Neo-Capitalist nightmare — and I wonder if there is where we’ll see the next Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?

In reply to: turtle.audio

turtle.audio is an audio environment where simple text commands generate lines that can play music.

In reply to: About | Caselaw Access Project

The Caselaw Access Project (“CAP) expands public access to U.S. law. Our goal is to make all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library.

In reply to: The ‘Farmosopher’ Creating Language for Our Climate Doom and Rebirth - Motherboard

In English, there are no words to describe the existential pain of watching the catastrophic impact of climate change on the world around you. How do we explain how we feel when we hear about rising sea levels, burning forests, tornadoes and tsunamis ravaging coastlines, or animals going extinct?

At what point do we stop calling it climate change” and start to call it climate crisis?”

In reply to: I have resigned as the WordPress accessibility team lead. Here is why. | Brad Frost

JavaScript is eating the world, and that has me just a bit worried. Designers and specialists of different stripes might not have the programming chops of a JavaScript engineer, but their perspectives are just as important to the success and health of a software product. I don’t like the idea of you must be this tall to ride” when it comes to participating in software projects. I think it’s important to consider approachability when building tools and choosing technologies.

In reply to: Another technological tragedy | bit-player

The cause of the accident was not a leak or an equipment failure or a design flaw or a worker turning the wrong valve. The pressure didn’t just creep up beyond safe limits while no one was paying attention; the pressure was driven up by the automatic control system meant to keep it in bounds. The pressure regulators were trying” to do the right thing. Sensor readings told them the pressure was falling, and so the controllers took corrective action to keep the gas flowing to customers. But the feedback loop the regulators relied on was not in fact a loop. They were measuring pressure in one pipe and pumping gas into another.

In reply to: Loneliness in the Classroom

Ahoy Kicks!

When there are fights, when there is isolation, when there is success in friendship—those are the moments to lay the topic out together, so this becomes the meta-class of every day.

I wonder if the struggle…or reasoning…behind this move to bring social education’ more explicitly into the classroom is more about charting progress than about efficacy?

I agree with you about the classroom embodying social education’ (I admit, I used to run a summer camp, and thought of that as one great big effort it a) letting kids have as much fun as possible, b) providing a playground for social education), while I am also pleased to see it being talked about more openly, especially when social isolation and loneliness seem to be more and more pervasive.

Hard left: When I read this article originally I kept wanting to find a something or whatnot from Proust, but never took the time to dig one up from my notes. I think his fiction did a good job encapsulating social isolation and loneliness despite massive social connectivity.

In reply to: Emergent Connections Between You, the Readers of These Hypertext Piles

Ok ok, one other thing that has dawned on me: it’s not just the emergent connections between writers that is salient when clustering. It’s the connections between readers as well!

In this way, I think blogs are a whole lot like essays:

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.

– Virginia Woolf, The modern essay

In reply to: Emoji As Cultural

Emoji as cultural hegemony:

Should we let — in this case, Apple — or any company based in California dictate the style and visual representation of food emoji based on their own American — and specifically Californian — idea of that food?

— Federico Viticci, Connected #214.

The point raised by Federico Viticci on a recent episode of Connected was very refreshing to hear, and it was a shame that the other hosts sort of brushed it off.

There is value in diversity — not just of opinion and people, but also in modes of access. What is the implication of so many people accessing the internet (read here, perhaps, as cultural zeitgeist?”) through 1 of 2 interfaces, e.g. Android or iOS.

Where the medium is the message, what becomes of a world with such a limited scope of message?

In reply to: ars ludi » Union Released

I bought a copy of Union last night! I’m wicked excited to read through the rules tonight and play sometime soon.

In reply to: To Prevent Loneliness, Start in the Classroom - CityLab

Loneliness and social isolation, it’s worth noting, are often used interchangeably, but they’re two distinct concepts. Loneliness is a feeling that may or may not depend on how many meaningful confidants they have in their life—some people feel lonely or suffer from chronic loneliness despite not being socially isolated. Still, social isolation is a leading contributor to loneliness.

In reply to: Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves ‘Sesame Street’ After Nearly 50 Years - The New York Times

[…]Spinney said, he was originally asked to play as a funny, dumb country yokel.”

After a few episodes, Spinney made a suggestion to the show’s producers. I said, I think I should play him like he’s a child, a surrogate,” he recalled. He can be all the things that children are. He can learn with the kids.”

That had a lasting effect on Big Bird and on Sesame Street,” where the character came to embody the tender, nurturing soul of the show.

In reply to: Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor | Quanta Magazine

But with powerful computer models that can simulate how plants move water, carbon dioxide and other chemicals between ground and air, Swann has found that vegetation can control weather patterns across huge distances. The destruction or expansion of forests on one continent might boost rainfall or cause a drought halfway around the world.

In reply to: Heather Havrilesky: There Are Too Many Gurus in America | Literary Hub

In other words, the guru is an expert at gaming privilege. Many of his so-called life hacks are just that, hacks—sly methods of disrupting other people’s resources for the sake of your own. If you happen to have a few demographic advantages, plus the raw self-loathing and lack of affection for humanity that tend to accompany any sustained imperative to maximize your own delicious supremacy behind fortress walls, the guru can make you king or queen of all that you survey. Everyone else can, of course, get fucked.

In reply to: Scandinavia | Haggard Hawks HQ

Scandinavia was originally Scadinavia”, but Pliny (seemingly mistakenly) added a second N in the first century AD. The popularity and influence of his writing in the centuries that followed only served to make the error more widespread, and eventually the dual-N spelling became the norm.

In reply to: Universal Basic Mobility Is a Human Right - CityLab

Universal Basic Mobility would be a system of partnerships and/or policies that provide a minimum level of mobility to all members of society. An isolated, static population is unhealthy, unproductive and unhappy. A mobile population is economically, culturally, and socially dynamic.

In reply to: Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong - The Huffington Post

This kind of myopia repeats throughout history. Seat belts were invented long before the automobile but weren’t mandatory in cars until the 1960s. The first confirmed death from asbestos exposure was recorded in 1906, but the U.S. didn’t start banning the substance until 1973. Every discovery in public health, no matter how significant, must compete with the traditions, assumptions and financial incentives of the society implementing it.

But my mother’s story, like Sam’s, like everyone’s, didn’t have to turn out like this. For 60 years, doctors and researchers have known two things that could have improved, or even saved, millions of lives. The first is that diets do not work.

The second big lesson the medical establishment has learned and rejected over and over again is that weight and health are not perfect synonyms. Yes, nearly every population-level study finds that fat people have worse cardiovascular health than thin people. But individuals are not averages

The terrible irony is that for 60 years, we’ve approached the obesity epidemic like a fad dieter: If we just try the exact same thing one more time, we’ll get a different result. And so it’s time for a paradigm shift. We’re not going to become a skinnier country. But we still have a chance to become a healthier one.

In reply to: Inside the Haywire World of Beirut's Electricity Brokers

Electrical power here does not come without concerted exertion or personal sacrifice. Gas-powered generators and their operators fill the void created by a strained electric grid. Most people in Lebanon, in turn, are often stuck with two bills, and sometimes get creative to keep their personal devices—laptops, cell phones, tablets, smart watches—from going dead. Meanwhile, as citizens scramble to keep their inanimate objects alive, the local authorities are complicit in this patchwork arrangement, taking payments from the gray-market generator operators and perpetuating a nation’s struggle to stay wired.

In reply to: 2018-09-26T13:52:24.256038129Z / unrelenting.technology

Reeder used to be my everyday driver when it came to all things RSS, but I recently switched over to Unread and have been wicked pleased. I am currently exploring the best setup for Wallabag, so I’ve been using both the native app, and Reeder pointed at my Wallabag recently added RSS feed. A huge portion of my social life online these days seems to be driven through RSS or microsub. I’m really loving it!

In reply to: 084: Federation Is Bad with Aurynn Shaw – Greater Than Code

TL;DR — federation can be bad because it carries with it the political culture of its launch, making it difficult to cultivate over time. Federation without federation, though, e.g. setting up a bunch of focused micro-communities is good (see the rise of Slack and other such P2P private” or closed networks).

In reply to: HQ2 Chasing Is a Dying Model. Cities Should Woo Workers - CityLab

Chasing corporate headquarters and throwing money at them, reflects a great-man theory of economic development that reflects deep civic insecurity: only a corporation can save a city from its struggles. But corporations aren’t the civic heavyweights they used to be.

The future,

This period of change, when workers are being decoupled from their traditional employers, is a huge opportunity for cities. They should look to fill the vacuum created by receding corporations.

In reply to: Song of The Year-Recognize by Bun-B featuring TI &amp; Big K.R.I.T. produced by Big K.R.I.T. | FREE MUSIC EMPIRE

I’ve made the argument that the pop sphere is larger than it has ever been due to the ability to find anything. The gatekeeper role of radio and upper level music executives isn’t anywhere near as important…but I’m willing to make the opposite argument now. I think it is possible that due to trending patterns on social media we have less pop music than we ever have before. What happens is a new album drops (maybe its Eminem maybe its Nicki Minaj) it is just the largest name that week and that album gets blogged about and all caps shouted at by the whole world. So that giant internet information space turns out to be a giant garage with one car parked in it.

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

Talk to people. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone in this city is looking for someone to listen. You’ll meet the most interesting people, and hear the most amazing stories. Make new friends, and tell yourself that you’ll be back soon, because really: how could you not?

In reply to: At the Flip of a Switch

The switch became a live-action metaphor of the authority and ability to get things done.


The light switch is part of a long history of control mechanisms that regulate an otherwise continuous flow.

In reply to: Our Libraries and Schools Are Vital 'Social Infrastructure' - CityLab

Social infrastructure is a set of physical places and organizations that shape our interactions. When social infrastructure is robust, it fosters all kinds of social interactions, helps build relationships, and turns community from a vague, fuzzy concept into a lived experience. When social infrastructure is degraded and neglected, it makes it far more likely that we will grow isolated and be left to fend for ourselves.

Hello Social Swales and Anomie

In reply to: Webmention Spillage

No worries! Seeing a bunch of your content for a second time got me thinking about how much of online communication happens in the space of one or two transactional-loops. It has been interesting watching you and {h0p3} have a sort of multi-media hypertext exchange that is bigger than the average IndieWeb ping-pong.

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

Language can be weaponized; when used in certain ways, over lifetimes, language can be violent. To those of us whose life, lifestyle, and existence faces threat every day, especially from those who articulate that threat through language, words become trauma and that trauma accumulates over time.

When you use language to dismiss those who are always dismissed, when you marginalize those in the margins, when you denigrate those who are always insulted, when you exclude those who are never included: you are committing violence. Over the years, the trauma from that violence adds up to a lifetime of being told that we are never enough, we will never belong.

In reply to: Writing My First Vim Plugin – Emily St*

This began as something I needed because I kept opening files and needing to count how many times a term or pattern occurred in that file. I wrote a small script to do it, and I tacked on more things to the script over the next few days and weeks.

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.

In reply to: Caution: Chromebooks

Thanks for sharing these insights! Reading them, I think you are totally right that it is a bit wonky to say (as I did!) that a Raspberry Pi is a better choice than a Chromebook. I also think you are 100% on the nose re: tech elitism. As the father of a young child, I’m heaps intrigued by what you’ve said about iPads and young kids (especially those who cannot read, yet). I’ve played a little bit with some apps meant for kids, and in a past life, before I confused myself with a liberal arts education I was set on becoming a pre-school/kindergarten teacher. If I ever go back to school I’d most certainly be interested in exploring how to design systems (digital, physical, and otherwise) with children in mind, e.g. what does a public transit system for kids look like.

In reply to: Should I Major in the Humanities? - The Atlantic

I’ve got mixed feelings about this — mixed as someone who holds 2 humanities degrees, but who doesn’t really work in the humanities” per se. But, then, I don’t think the point” of a humanities is to work in the humanities (whatever that means). I think the humanities can sometimes be more about a certain world-view, and learning to think in certain ways, than they are about career prospects. What is missing from here is a serious conversation about career prospects and the value of vocational training.

In reply to: Bill Cunningham’s memoir traces a righteous pursuit of beauty | The Outline

Above all, Fashion Climbing is a celebration of pleasure without the veil of exclusivity that the more pretentious sides of fashion feed on. Cunningham celebrates the feel and weight of a beautiful fabric, the smell of fresh flowers in a shabby apartment on a Monday, the visceral release of a wild costume party with friends, the sight of someone completely at ease and glowing in the outfit they chose for themselves that day

In reply to: @manton hey! We’re on the same page! As a web comic co-creator, this is something that I thought hard about. When we could finally publish our books in print, it made me feel better, however we haven’t done a book in 5 years. I may do a few print on demand ones for archival purposes though. I’d love to hear your updated thoughts on this topic.

There is a really great conversation unfolding on micro.blog at the moment about what happens to our digital identities after we die. It is a subject that I find fascination, and one that I’d like to do more work with.

So will happen to this when you die?

In reply to: Reading fiction helps your career, but reading poetry helps more | Penelope Trunk Careers

Fictional narrative expects the reader to keep turning pages to connect with a character and feel what they feel. Poetry demands that the reader decipher each line in for understanding — the world, or the self or others. Both poetry and fiction develop empathy, but fiction is better for that. Poetry, however, is the practice of simplifying complex topics.

In reply to: A Road to Common Lisp / Steve Losh

I weirdly adore Steve Losh’s blog. I don’t know what it is about it, but the way in which Steve talks about technical things is really lucid and…human? As in, readable, maybe? I don’t know, but I find myself referring to his blog again and again. I first stumbled across his blog when I found his post about how to configure and use Mutt a few years ago. Here, he has done it again with an excellent LISP primer.

In reply to: The Rise of the Adventure Playgrounds - CityLab

For Wilson, cities that want to support adventure playgrounds need to carve out some money in their budgets for staffing. But to make play more inclusive, cities need to think beyond playgrounds altogether. These may not cater to everyday needs of children—and may not be accessible to kids who don’t have the luxury of having parents or caregivers to cart them around, she said. Apart from instituting better urban design that lends itself to play in the streets, she added, local governments could shut down certain streets so kids can play near their homes; put up a climbing wall at the public library that has an after-school program; and link up play with school lunch programs, to give a few examples. Lastly, while cities are paranoid of certain types of perceived risk,” they ignore a key reason why parents of color restrict their children’s outdoors play time: harsh policing. Creating more playful cities requires a reckoning with broader systemic issues.

In reply to: PHP Sadness

Don’t get me wrong, I really really like PHP, but…yes to most of this list.

In reply to: Power and Responsibility | Nicole Fenton

When I think about the responsibility we have to each other, this is where I start:

Every kind of user information relates to privacy.

You never know where a trail leads. We are connected in unbelievable ways.

People have the right to know how information is used.

If you ask someone to share information about themselves, help them understand where it’s going and how it benefits other people.

[Trigger warning for the linked piece, Sexual Assault]

In reply to: 2018.08.20 -- Eli: PII Takedown Request

Thank you for your considered response. You have not offended, and I do understand the value of this gift. Thank you for it.

In response to your insights I will offer this:

I love insects. I think they are beautiful and complicated. This being said, I have no desire to collect their bodies and preserve them. I do not pin them to boards and view them out of context.

I try not to begrudge those who do, but it isn’t for me. The beauty of an insect is the individual in larger context, Ecosystem.

Noun or gerund. I hope for gerund.

Similarly, I believe an act of archiving can either be a force of integration or of separation. By drawing a circle around something do we merely call attention to it, or do we cut it out of its larger context?

Again, thank you for your considered response.

In reply to: Roll your own, then learn a framework | Fiona Voss

This is a pattern I’ve seen a lot in the context of learning to code, and I think it’s really effective: learn to do something from scratch first, then learn a popular library for doing the same thing. You will understand a problem much better if you try to solve it on your own first than you will if you are just handed a solution.

As someone who is more or less self-taught I often find that I start from the framework and then work to replicate on my own. I often times don’t have the know-how to start from scratch, but once I’ve fiddled with a framework for long enough I’m able to reverse engineer my way forward…that being said, as I’m learning LISP I’m trying not to let myself do this. Instead I’m trying to do what @fiona suggests: start from scratch then learn a framework.

In reply to: Graphing Calculator Story

We looked at each other, took a deep breath, and launched the application. The monitor burst into flames. We calmly carried it outside to avoid setting off smoke detectors, plugged in another monitor, and tried again. The software hadn’t caused the fire; the monitor had just chosen that moment to malfunction. The software ran over fifty times faster than it had run on the old microprocessor. We played with it for a while and agreed, This doesn’t suck”

In reply to: The Ferret Lisp System | Irreal

The source of the whole system is a single Org mode file. If you had any doubts as to whether Org could support a literate programming approach in a non-trivial project

In reply to: RSS: The Persistent Protocol - Feld Thoughts

While RSS has disappeared into the plumbing of the internet, there’s still something fundamental about it. Its durability is remarkably impressive, especially in the context of the lack of the evolution and perceived displacement of the protocol over the past few years

In reply to: List of HTTP status codes - Wikipedia

When designing APIs, this Wikipedia page is your friend. HTTP codes are good. They are important. They are beautiful. They should be used…not ignored. Respected…not ignored. HTTP codes are good.

In reply to: Indieweb.xyz: Difficult or Silo?

In a way, it’s a silo—a central info container. Silos make it easy. You go there and dump stuff in. But, here in the Indieweb, we want No Central. We want Decentral. Which is more difficult because all these little sites and blogs out there have to work together—that’s tough!

In reply to: Where draughts are truly dangerous - Telegraph

In Romania, the greatest threat to life today is not poverty, climate change or al-Qa’eda. It’s moving air. Fans, air conditioning and open windows are not - as I had thought - useful mechanisms to generate a nice breeze, or give a little respite as summer temperatures climb to around 40 degrees. They are weapons of mass destruction.


It turned out that cur-rent”, or the draught that circulates when two windows are open, is blamed in Romania for almost every ill one can think of. Toothache, headache, cold, flu, meningitis, paralysis, even death - all are apparently the result of moving air. This was solemnly confirmed to me by Vasile’s mum, who has just retired from a 30-year career as a nurse.

In reply to: Five Classic Designs That Help Kids Become Independent - CityLab

[…] every family is considered an island that must provision for itself. The idea of designing a neighborhood for families as part of a public good just goes against the whole way we think about family life.

Family life has become so stressed in this country. That’s connected to the way we design cities, and to things like commute times, not having communal play spaces, and having streets be unsafe. All of those things take more of the parents’ time or money to navigate, because the child can’t do it on their own. [If you said,] We want to build a family-friendly city,” it would seem almost un-American.

In reply to: Here is why calling your senator might be futile | The Outline

[…] there is no overriding Congressional rule governing how frequently voicemails should be listened to, and very few offices disclose their approaches to voicemail systems. Depending on your congressperson and the intensity of the political climate, it might take anywhere from one minute to a week for voicemail inboxes to empty out.

In reply to: Fogknife : My oblique climate hopes (4 minute read)

While I may have no hope left for avoiding a heat-blighted future, I do reserve some for human civilization’s ability to survive it anyway. Unless the effects wrought by global warming happen with far more terrible suddenness than science seems to currently predict, then I feel hopeful that humanity will indeed change its carbon-outgassing habits — if only as a form a purely mechanical self-correcting behavior, rather than anything consciously preventative. Life will still become profoundly harder for all but the mega-wealthy, all in ways that will seem infuriatingly preventable in hindsight. But the behavioral adaptations forced upon us may end up enough to keep society knit together in a changed world.

In reply to: The Open Web is a Tool, Not a Silver Bullet — » Something to Say

Ultimately, I think it is unrealistic to think that an open web solves the worst abuses we see on the big social networks. If Twitter and/or FaceBook vanished tomorrow, it would, at least in the foreseeable future, have an unintended consequence of amplifying the voices of the more tech savvy over those who are less so. If we, as a society, fail to recognize that abuse, harassment, and spread of toxic/hateful/false information have, do, and will continue to exist on the open web just as they do on social networks, we are setting ourselves up for a rude awakening. If we do acknowledge this, we can protect against it and build a better and more rewardingly social Internet.

In reply to: A practical introduction to functional programming

Ignore all that. Functional code is characterised by one thing: the absence of side effects. It doesn’t rely on data outside the current function, and it doesn’t change data that exists outside the current function. Every other functional” thing can be derived from this property. Use it as a guide rope as you learn.

In reply to: Lessons of running a (semi) static, Indieweb-friendly site for 2 years - petermolnar.net

An interesting post, especially in the context of my own CMS.” I’ve run into different hurdles, partially because my site isn’t static,” per se. The most interesting bit here is the bit about YAML as a data format. I don’t have much expirience with it, but have seen it used in many static site generators…this was exactly why I didn’t use YAML, and instead settled on raw JSON stores. It struck me as strange that there was a type of markup used almost, as far as I could tell, just for static site generators. Well, that and JSON is easier to parse in PHP.

In reply to: First Amendment Experts Warn Facebook Banning InfoWars Could Set Completely Reasonable Precedent For Free Speech

What we see here really could be the beginning of a slippery slope towards a horrific ordeal in which any citizen who violates hate speech policies or blatantly spreads lies that cause other individuals to receive death threats will immediately be discredited and, perhaps, even asked to host their demonstrably false content on a website that they actually own.

In reply to: Minecraft and Me

Arguably, these virtual places are now as significant as the real environments of the outer world, and they are attracting increasing critical attention as both art and narrative.

In reply to: The U.S. has no good plan for our upcoming water crisis | The Outline

In an area as large as the U.S., successful water management has to involve sharing money, data, and resources between federal and local governments. Huge bodies of water like the Mississippi River or the Great Lakes are used by many different communities. If all water management is on a local level, then it’s very difficult to understand the body of water as a whole and plan for long-term changes that are a result of climate change.

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

What I don’t hear often in the discussion is the moral imperative to help others: the understanding that taking care of the people around us is the right and only thing we must do, and that it is at the core of who we are and how we must act as humans in this world.

In reply to: The Octonion Math That Could Underpin Physics | Quanta Magazine

The recommendation problem is designed to give a recommendation for products that users will like. Consider the case of Netflix. It knows what films you’ve watched. It knows what all of its other millions of users have watched. Given this information, what are you likely to want to watch next?

You can think of this data as being arranged in a giant grid, or matrix, with movies listed across the top, users listed down the side, and values at points in the grid quantifying whether, or to what extent, each user likes each film. A good algorithm would generate recommendations by quickly and accurately recognizing similarities between movies and users and filling in the blanks in the matrix.

In reply to: A Spectre is Haunting Unicode

To sum up - in 1978 a series of small mistakes created some characters out of nothing. The errors went undiscovered just long enough to be set in stone, and now these ghosts are, at least in potential, a part of every computer on the planet, lurking in the dark corners of character tables.

In reply to: What will teach you more? — Sarah K Peck

So as you’re evaluating your decision-making process, consider not just the desired outcome, but what position it puts you in for taking the next step, the one after this one. Often, decisions and moves are as much as about collecting data and learning from the results as they are about getting it right.”

In reply to: The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature | WIRED

The suspicion, harbored by many physicists and mathematicians over the decades but rarely actively pursued, is that the peculiar panoply of forces and particles that comprise reality spring logically from the properties of eight-dimensional numbers called octonions.

In reply to: The Outline

All a status indicator can do is tell you whether someone has the app open at that very second, which is a totally irrelevant indication of whether they are reachable. Push alerts arrive regardless of whether the app is open or closed, whether the phone is sleeping or not.

In reply to: How the Car Keeps Americans Apart - CityLab

The key is not individuals’ car use, but the way we sort into communities based on our reliance on cars.

For one, the geography of car use tracks with income and wealth: Car-dependent places are considerably less affluent. Metros in which a higher share of people depend on their cars to get to work are poorer, and those where more people use transit or bike or walk to work are considerably more affluent. The share of commuters who drive to work alone is negatively correlated with both wages and income. Conversely, in more affluent metros, a higher proportion of commuters use transit, walk, or bike.

In reply to: Opinion | What Elon Musk Should Learn From the Thailand Cave Rescue - The New York Times

The Silicon Valley model for doing things is a mix of can-do optimism, a faith that expertise in one domain can be transferred seamlessly to another and a preference for rapid, flashy, high-profile action. But what got the kids and their coach out of the cave was a different model: a slower, more methodical, more narrowly specialized approach to problems, one that has turned many risky enterprises into safe endeavors — commercial airline travel, for example, or rock climbing, both of which have extensive protocols and safety procedures that have taken years to develop.

This safety culture” model is neither stilted nor uncreative. On the contrary, deep expertise, lengthy training and the ability to learn from experience (and to incorporate the lessons of those experiences into future practices) is a valuable form of ingenuity.

In reply to: TBL Has Some Regrets - Mark writes

“We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places … [increasing centralization of the Web] ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.” While the problems facing the web are complex and large, I think we should see them as bugs: problems with existing code and software systems that have been created by people—and can be fixed by people.” You don’t have to have any coding skills. You just have to have a heart to decide enough is enough. Get out your Magic Marker and your signboard and your broomstick. And go out on the streets.” —Tim Berners-Lee, Vanity Fair

On the contrary, Tim, the World Wide Web is very human, and these are not bugs” or emergent”: It’s not a perfect crystalline utopia inhabited by rule-following robots reading RDF tags, but instead it’s like an organically grown city, with a mix of lovely things and nice people, and also back alleys and skyscraper offices full of predators. There’s surveillance systems everywhere because the predators wanted surveillance, paid engineers well to make them, and it’s much harder to stop Internet surveillance than spray-painting a closed-circuit camera.

In reply to: MapLab: The Map Is a Feedback Loop  - CityLab

The uneasy part is what happens with the information, collected by gunshot scanners, traffic detectors, even public wifi kiosks. It’s not that governments necessarily intend to do anything nefarious with people’s data. But smart cities” are usually designed from the top-down with predetermined objectives, be it surveillance, prediction, science, or profit.

In reply to: Fermi paradox: why haven’t we found aliens yet? - Vox

Many reacted to the paper’s findings by calling it anthropocentric and narrow-minded, arguing that any conclusion suggesting we Earthlings are somehow special is simply human arrogance.

This is somewhat understandable because the idea that intelligent life is extremely rare in the universe feels completely counterintuitive. We exist, along with other intelligent life like dolphins and octopi, so we assume what we see must be extrapolatable beyond Earth.

But this alone is not proof that intelligent civilizations are therefore ubiquitous. Whether the true likelihood is as high as one in two, or as inconceivable as one in a trillion trillion trillion, the mere ability to consciously ask ourselves that question depends on the fact that life has already successfully originated.

This phenomenon is known as an observer selection effect — a bias that can occur when thinking about the likelihood of an event because an observer has to be there to observe the event in the first place. As we only have one data point (us), we have no reliable way to predict the true likelihood of intelligent life. The only conclusion we can confidently draw is that it can exist.

In reply to: Repair Cafes Aim to Fix Our Throwaway Culture - CityLab

In honor of Amazon Prime Day:

the focus isn’t so much on the appliances as it is on interacting with his community. I have to be honest, when you go telling people you want to save the world, they often say, That sounds nice, but I don’t have the time,’” he said. But if there is this aspect of, Do you want your toaster fixed, and while you’re having that done, can we talk about saving the world?’ they tend to be more receptive.”

In reply to: In the Age of Despair, Find Comfort on the ‘Slow Web’ | WIRED

Platforms like YouTube often embody the fast web”: deep, black voids of mindless entertainment. But they can also give us access to a world much wider than our own. Hidden within the systems designed to capture your eyeballs and seize your attention, there is also a capacity to watch slowly and mindfully.

In reply to: When in Rome

Whatever their place in the taxonomies of buildings, fountains are distinguished from other urban monuments by one essential element: water. 10 From the perspective of architecture history, this factor complicates both the design and experience of these structures; for it requires that the traditional cognitive scheme involving the object and the viewer be replaced by a more complex phenomenological triad consisting of architecture, water, and the body.

In reply to: “Motivated by Anti-Muslim Animus”: Must-Reads From Justice Sotomayor’s Dissent on Trump’s Travel Ban – Mother Jones

“A reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus,” Sotomayor wrote. The majority holds otherwise by ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”

In reply to: Thoughts on the Internet, fragmentation and consolidation, and singing weird songs on Micro.blog.

Because [the internet] looks less human and more of a technology-industrial complex, it’s easy to forget that people’s accounts and feeds are their homes on the Net. It’s easy to forget, when I land on someone’s Tumbleblog or Twitter account, that I am the guest who was invited to come in for a little while to listen to them speak and sing. It’s easy to stomp all over that person’s home on the Net and get into fights on their property. –Was it their property in the first place? It was the institution gave them that grey box to live in, identical to my grey box.

In reply to: 10 Stages of Genocide

[The] search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide….

To combat dehumanization, incitement to genocide should not be confused with protected speech. Genocidal societies lack constitutional protection for countervailing speech, and should be treated differently than democracies.

In reply to: A Guide to Little Vehicles, the Future of Urban Mobility - CityLab

Getting to mass adoption will require Little Vehicles for all seasons, for all sorts of trips, and for all types of people. Solutions to these obstacles exist, and many more will surely be dreamed up. The bigger challenge will be de-conditioning ourselves out of the belief that cars—whether privately owned or for hire—are the default mode of transportation in dense cities.

In reply to: Librarians Will Guard Your Privacy With Their Lives | Literary Hub

Many of the rules include making our language clear so that any person encountering our privacy policies knows exactly what they’re reading. We’re not in the business of obscuring information (unless it’s your private data—we’re keeping that under wraps), but illuminating it. We’re gatekeepers.

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

Where do you, dear reader, find the things that keep you engaged, the articles and explorations that make you want to learn more, to write more?

In reply to: In praise of doing nothing

Much research — and many spiritual and philosophical systems Buddhism, for example, suggest that detaching from daily concerns and spending time in simple reflection and contemplation are essential to health, sanity and personal growth.

Note that the nothing” referenced here is a really big nothing,” that sort of includes everything.

In reply to: Scott Pruitt's desk is more impressive than yours

A large desk can increase the physical separation between manager and others, thereby supporting the symbolic or hierarchical distance between the two. Thus, desks can be used to reinforce the legitimacy and authority of a manager.

In reply to: Blogging in the Second Person: Open Correspondence for a Social Web? – James Shelley

Hi James,

I very much agree with what you’ve written — I think another factor may be that many bloggers mimic styles of writing with which they’re familiar, e.g. newspaper-style journalism.

You’re post also reminds me of one of my favorite Virginia Woolf quotes:

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.

— Virginia Woolf, The Modern Essay

Do you think blogs are a bit like essays as Woolf has described them?

In reply to: Autistic Abby (Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating...)

Sometimes people use respect” to mean treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use respect” to mean treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

In reply to: Hickam's dictum - Wikipedia

Hickam’s Dictum

Patients can have as many diseases as they damn well please

… as opposed to

Occam’s Razor (Isaac Newton’s version)

We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes

Occam’s Razor (layman’s version)

The simplest explanation is usually the correct one

In reply to: Libraries that speak loudly - Shelf awareness

In The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1831), Victor Hugo noted that, in the late Middle Ages, printing threatened architecture as the dominant mode for the church to convey cultural meaning. The book of stone, so solid and so enduring, was to give way to the book of paper, more solid and more enduring still.” Put the book and the building together, and you have the potential for structures of almost overwhelming significance.

In reply to: Doc Searls Weblog · GDPR will pop the adtech bubble

Pro tip #2: do bet on any business working for customers rather than sellers. Because signals of personal intent will produce many more positive outcomes in the digital marketplace than surveillance-fed guesswork by sellers ever could, even with the most advanced AI behind it.

In reply to: In Kansas, there's plenty of local wheat. So why is there no local flour?

It’s a peculiar problem. The emerging market for heritage and source-verified grains doesn’t really have a supply bottleneck, nor is there a lack of consumer demand. Instead, the missing piece is infrastructure for the wholesale buyer. Hungry as they are for local wheats, bakers are trying to drink from an ocean with a straw.

In reply to: Getting "Taco Literate" In Queens with Steven Alvarez | Culinary Backstreets

“Small restaurants like this are doing a kind of cultural ambassadorship, where they are introducing people to the different flavors of Mexico but also showing the diversity of what’s available,” Alvarez says, looking around the taqueria.

“It offers two different sides. It’s a place where folks can come learn more about the culture and for those who are deeply ingrained in the culture it has a kind of nostalgic pull and offer a way of maintaining transnational ties, really.”

In reply to: An Architectural Defense of D.C.'s Boxy Buildings - CityLab

Call it the virtue of architectural monotony: a relentless horizontality where commercial canyons recede into the distance. One stretch of cliff might be granite, another one concrete or tile or glass. But as the city’s core has filled up in recent decades, the materials have come to serve as seemingly interchangeable wrappings for squat containers of leasable space.

The result? An awkward yet oddly endearing terrain where, absolutely, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

In reply to: Announcing Stack Overflow for Teams – Joel on Software

Quick background: every development team since the beginning of time has been trying to figure out how to get institutional knowledge out of people’s heads and into written, searchable form where everyone can find it. Like new members of the team. And old members of the team working on new parts of the code. And people who forgot what they did three years ago and now have questions about their own code.

I like this idea a heap! I’ve set up a few systems to help manage institutional memory, and never found something that works for everyone. I don’t think this is the proverbial silver bullet, but it looks like a good solution for technical and dev. teams.

In reply to: Dad rock isn’t just for straight, white, American dads | The Outline

Regardless of who fits the criteria, there is one across-the-board commonality: dad rock is typically assumed to be music for straight, white, American dads, despite the observable truth that not all dads are straight, white, or American. Think about it: What would you call dad rock for black fathers? Latino fathers? Chinese fathers? Indian fathers? Fathers born in Europe? In Africa? In Asia? Gay fathers? Can you give an answer off the top of your head, or even after thinking about it? I’m betting no. When we talk about dad rock, we talk about just one kind of dad. And reader, there are so many kinds of dads in the world.

In reply to: The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant

I watched the video before reading Bostrom’s moral and thought it might have been about half a dozen other things (guns, climate change, agriculture, the Industrial Revolution, racism) before realizing it was more literal than that. Humanity has lots of dragons sitting on mountaintops, devouring people, waiting for a change in the world’s perspective or technology or culture to meet its doom.

In reply to: Into the Uncanny Valley

But why does the distinction between the real and unreal, the true and fake, matter at all? Why does it matter to architecture? At the risk of radical simplification, it matters because there is a real world and there is a design world. In a design proposal, there is a necessary overlap between the two worlds, and, as with the intersecting sets of a Venn diagram, that overlap is negotiated at every stage of a project, getting ever thicker as the design moves from concept to construction. Certain elements of reality cannot be entirely excluded, of course. An architect and client may decide at the start to ignore a particular fact, such as the presence of a large oak in the middle of a site; but at some point the continuing existence of the oak might need to be weighed against the longing for a lap pool.

In reply to: The Design of Childhood

I’m really excited for this book, The Design of Childhood. I frequently try to think about design in the context of children, and what various systems would look like if children were made the primary focus (note, focus is different from user”).

In reply to: Strange and maddening rules – Joel on Software

One thing I’m very concerned about, as we try to educate the next generation of developers, and, importantly, get more diversity and inclusiveness in that new generation, is what obstacles we’re putting up for people as they try to learn programming. In many ways Stack Overflow’s specific rules for what is permitted and what is not are obstacles, but an even bigger problem is rudeness, snark, or condescension that newcomers often see.

In reply to: How Tutus and Skirts Took Over Runners’ Wardrobes - The Atlantic

The popularity of the tutu can be traced to its unlikely flexibility as a statement—it can mean you love Minnie Mouse, or that you are part of a fundraising team that has qualified for the Boston Marathon, or that you actually hate running but this is the only way you’re going to have fun doing it.

In reply to: What a Clojure Web Framework might look like - LispCast

On the power of plug-ins (as opposed libraries and frameworks):

you can install the plug-in and activate it and it just works and there’s no other integration required because it’s all done through these known hooks, these published hooks that are part of the core.


In that way, you’re actually trying to build an ecosystem, an ecosystem of plug-ins that provide a lot of the functionality that you need.

I like the use of ecosystem” in this context. I think the web would benefit from more folks thinking of web-based tooling in the context of how it fits into the wider ecosystem of the web itself. Rather than see the web as a means of distribution, think of it as a coherent space unto itself, like a continent with unique biomes and ecologies. Does your tool fit into the ecosystem? Does it work with, or against it?

Facebook and similar walled silos ignored the ecological aspect of the web, whereas the IndieWeb attempts to integrate itself, and to extend the web’s existing ecology.

In reply to: Database Flow

Database Flow is one of the most powerful and easy to use data analytics tools I’ve ever seen (assuming you have a solid grasp of either or both SQL and GraphQL).

In reply to: Literary Canon–Boom! – juliaetorres.blog

I have blended canonical works with those I know students will find interesting, and others they might find challenging, but will learn a lot from being exposed to because this is what my actual reading/writing life looks like. This is not the only way to design the course, but it is one way, and I’m pleased with how it has turned out. Wouldn’t it be great if all teachers felt empowered to bring their authentic reading and writing lives into the classroom?

In reply to: Kendrick Lamar just made Pulitzer history | The Outline

Lamar’s win elevates him in rap’s long history of lyrical geniuses. Not only does this count as a historic moment of critical recognition for Lamar personally and rappers in general, it represents a shrewd attempt by the Pulitzers to stay relevant with a younger generation. Academic and classical musicians have often been Pulitzer’s go-to awardees, but with Lamar’s win, the door is open for more culturally visible and influential musicians to get their share of this elite recognition.

In reply to: inessential: The View-Source Web

Lesson learned: the discoverable and understandable web is still do-able — it’s there waiting to be discovered. It just needs some commitment from the people who make websites.

This is SO important for the future of the web, and web accessibility.

In reply to: Alexa Is a Revelation for the Blind - The Atlantic

It doesn’t really matter whether Alexa provides Dad with useful knowledge or a seamless way to communicate. It does something more fundamental: It allows him to connect with people and ideas in a contemporary way. To live fully means more than sensing with the eyes and ears—it also means engaging with the technologies of the moment, and seeing the world through the triumphs and failures they uniquely offer.

In reply to: How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why

When scientists study people on their deathbed and how they feel about their lives, they usually find that many of them feel some serious regrets. I think a lot of those regrets stem from the fact that most of us aren’t really taught about path-making in our childhoods, and most of us also don’t get much better at path-making as adults, which leaves many people looking back on a life path that didn’t really make sense, given who they are and the world they lived in.

Wait but Why is one of my favorite blogs. This post really resonated with me, because I’ve been thinking through a lot of this sort of thing lately.

My major critique of the post, however, is that it is wicked focused on you, whomever you may be, as an autonomous, singular unit. Solo. The Yearning Octopus” doesn’t take into account the other creatures and tentacles in the mess. Sometimes other folks’ yernings need to be considered and prioritized over your own when making career choices. This isn’t a bad thing, just something that felt missing from the piece.

In reply to: A Dusting of Gamification – Joel on Software

To be honest, it was initially surprising to me that you could just print a number after people’s handles and they would feel rewarded. Look at me! Look at my four digit number! But it does drive a tremendous amount of good behavior. Even people who aren’t participating in the system (by working to earn reputation) buy into it (e.g., by respecting high-reputation users for their demonstrated knowledge and helpfulness).

In reply to: Three Things

What three things do you need to do today?

You should be able to instantly answer this simple question, each day, every day, for the rest of your life. Without any tools other than the brain you were born with.

In reply to: The Story of WordPress - The History of the Web

In the meantime, WordPress developers focused on making things easy for users. They set up documentation and forums for users to post questions. They plucked new features straight from user requests, or Valdrighi’s wish list. WordPress was easy to install (in 5 minutes or less, the project promised) and had a unique admin. The goal was to make it as easy as possible to log into your site and post to your blog without ever having to see any code.


For Berger, the toaster is a depressing ruse, a mechanized way to cover up the demise of American bread and even American diversity.

In reply to: Facebook Rebellion – RSS, Mastodon, and a longing for more options – Secret Geekery

It has been interesting watching the opinion of certain groups turn against Facebook. It seems wider spread than the usual ebb and flow of FB-directed skepticism (e.g. not just security conscious nerds this time). It is particularly interesting to see this happen now, as the IndieWeb seems to be at a generational inflection point, with the rise of services like Micro.Blog, Mastodon, and more folks rolling their own IndieWeb solutions everyday. My college was obsessed with a saying, supposedly coined by a founder: Pay attention to when you are uncomfortable, it means you are about to learn something.” Are we reaching a point of general discomfort on social networks? Are we about to learn something? 🤷‍♂️

I’ve been really drawn to the IndieWeb and Micro.Blog because they provide something that I feel is missing from my experiences on the mainstream social networks: community. Rather than a place for communal interaction, Facebook and Twitter are sources of anomie. I’ve played with Mastodon, but not found an instance I like (read as fit into”). But, it most certainly seems more community oriented than even Micro.Blog, which can lean to the mac-nerdy-app.net/serious side of the road.

In reply to: 'Saga' Is Comics' Daring Ode to Compassion and Equality - The Atlantic

Saga’s call to empathy lands more strongly still because of the way Vaughan’s story harnesses Staples’s images. The writer has a gift for fleshing out how a character’s intersecting identities and experiences inform how they see the world and the choices they make.

I was excited to see the Saga got some love in the Atlantic today. Saga is, hands down, the best comic, and one of the best pieces of fiction, I have ever encountered. It is simultaneously intense, beautiful, tragic, hopeful, and quiet.

In reply to: Marcelo Marfil - A love letter to emails

And at that point, I realized the problem was never the medium. Emails were designed to be nothing but a way to exchange messages between people. It was we who tried to turn it into some sort of hub for all of our junk.

In reply to: Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women - Bloomberg

The imagery that accompanies this article is haunting, and beautiful. Each photo reminds me of the closing shot of a film — where a character we’ve gotten to know is in frame, but turned away. The movie is over. This story is over. Mine isn’t.

In reply to: March for Our Lives: 'We Can't Wait to Fix This' - The Atlantic

By far the most radical part of the March for Our Lives was this: Hundreds of thousands of adults stood outside on a bright, cold spring day and seriously listened to children and teenagers talk about their lived experience. It was a day when adults paid attention to the everyday lives and traumas of young people—not out of fear, anxiety, or frustration—but out of respect.

In reply to: The Slow Web (plus: the modern experience of film-watching)

The Slow Web would be more like a book, retaining many of the elements of the Popular Web, but unhurried, re-considered, additive. Research would no longer be restricted to rapid responders. Conclusions would be intentionally postponed until sufficiently noodled-with. Writers could budget sufficient dream-time before setting pixel to page. Fresh thinking would no longer have to happen in real time.

In reply to: An Indieweb Podcast Episode 0 | David Shanske

I’ve been listening to the inaugural episode of the currently unnamed IndieWeb podcast this evening. The episode offers some great context about the history of the IndieWeb, specifically the WordPress plugins. I haven’t finished listening to the episode yet, but am excited to continue listening…especially since the conversation is partially orbiting one of my recent posts!

I’ve got to go to sleep before I can finish listening, but I wanted to take a moment to send a quick thanks to Chris Aldrich and David Shanske for the great conversation, and to let them both know that I am 100% willing and excited to roll up my sleeves and help out with this! My professional background is mostly in front-end dev. and product design, so I can’t help but to think of the IndieWeb in those contexts. 🎉

In reply to: Review: Steven Pinker’s ‘Enlightenment Now’ - The Atlantic

The weakness of the book is that it doesn’t seriously consider the second part of the conversation—the human values that the young woman from the small town talks about. Our local, particular connections to just one specific family, community, place, or tradition can seem irrational. Why stay in one town instead of chasing better opportunities? Why feel compelled to sacrifice your own well-being to care for your profoundly disabled child or fragile, dying grandparent, when you would never do the same for a stranger? And yet, psychologically and philosophically, those attachments are as central to human life as the individualist, rationalist, universalist values of classic Enlightenment utilitarianism.

In reply to: A great intro to micro.blog and how it fits more generally into the #indieweb ecosystem. But I had to laugh at Eli saying that since

I’m 100% with you. PHPs tooling is…obtuse, at best. Generally speaking, I rely on PHPs inbuilt ability to throw errors/warnings/alerts to debug. I use a HEAP of exception try-catch blocks. In my (limited) experience with development work, I would say that the biggest hurdle to entry is often setting up a development environment.

In reply to: 💬 How-to micro.blog, a micro.guide – Read Write Collect

I really like the idea of micro.blog, or a similar service in an educational context. I’ve implemented, and used services like moodle before, and always found them to be more burdensome than helpful in facilitating conversation. It always seems easier to fall back to chat/text. Micro.blog, once set up, is frictionless enough, and flexible enough (e.g. cross platform support (save, maybe for windows?)) that it could offer a better way to facilitate conversation.

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.

In reply to: A Map of Radical Bewilderment

At the root of each dispute over the river’s water was an argument over the meaning of improvement and its near cousin, progress…Yet even then the word was diverging from its agrarian roots, developing something of its current flavor: economic advancement enabled by new technologies.

In reply to: Micropub for a static Neocities website

This is SUCH a great post. I’ve noodled with a similar idea for a while, but haven’t gotten it up and running yet — trying to figure out if there is a way to build a service, or even local electron app, that would let folks post to a neocities site without needing another web host or server.

In reply to: ‘All real living is meeting’: the sacred love of Martin Buber | Aeon Essays

The I-Thou encounter has an inherent egalitarianism that dissolves self-interest. As Buber outlined, in the human realm there is no full escape from the I-It — we also love people for dull, functional reasons; we make selfish use even of our soulmates. But at the core, the I-Thou always demands vulnerability, weakness, a cracking of the hard shell of the egoistic self. Real love, the sort of love people wander through their lives craving, wants above all to distance itself from lust by shedding its preening self-regard. Falling in love is partly the terrifying realisation that you have stepped into reciprocity; that someone is now able to cause you terrible pain.

In reply to: 100 years later, the madness of daylight saving time endures

It’s absurd — and fitting — that a century later, opponents and supporters of daylight saving are still not sure exactly what it does. Despite its name, daylight saving has never saved anyone anything. But it has proven to be a fantastically effective retail spending plan.

In reply to: How do we restore trust in our democracies? Museums can be a starting point | World Economic Forum

Because of their reputation as even-handed providers of unbiased information, museums can be public forums for people of different backgrounds and beliefs not only to learn and discover, but also to meet, discuss difficult subjects and build community.

Continuing later,

Cultural institutions and museums create virtual and physical spaces to engage in conversation outside our own political, social and cultural circles. They are places where people of different backgrounds, religions and ethnicities can engage about topics that are often contentious or even taboo.

While I whole heartedly agree with most everything said in this piece, I feel it omits the fact that museums can also do the exact opposite. Double edged sword — just as museums and similar cultural organization can be a force positive change and growth, they can also re-author the past, and be tools for oppression…colonization. We must ensure that museums are forces of decolonization, rather than colonization.

In reply to: 15 Remarkable Women We Overlooked in Our Obituaries - The New York Times

Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female.

These are all well worth a read, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t suggest you start with Charlotte Brontë…the best novelist. Full stop.

In reply to: Announcements – USC ANNENBERG PRESS

Privacy is considered a human right, but achieving privacy in a networked age requires a certain level of privilege. This Special Section on Privacy at the Margins brings together nine original social science papers and an editorial introduction to reveal the complex dynamics—such as coercion and consent—that underpin a range of privacy experiences around the world.

In reply to: The hidden heart of Howl’s Moving Castle

In most Miyazaki movies, he resists turning the narrative into a love story. In Howl’s Moving Castle, he resists his own resistance. All of the characters are in love with each other. Instead, they have to learn how to accept love.

In reply to: Lyft Will Offer Free Rides to Anti-Gun Rallies - CityLab

Millennials and now post-Millennials have long been dismissed as a digitally dazed generation, reliant on their parents for transportation and financial support, and disengaged with real-world issues. What we’re seeing in the wake of the Parkland shooting is another narrative emerging: young people who are very much on the move, wielding the digital tools they understand best to shift the political landscape around their needs and concerns. No wonder Lyft is hustling to meet them where they are—politically powerful consumers, growing up to be unlicensed adults.

In reply to: SHE F ELD

I’m in love with this. A tumblr documenting a very specific corner of the world.

In reply to: Flutter - Beautiful native apps in record time

I’ve been reading a bit about flutter, a tool for cross platform development in Dart. I am intrigued…mostly because I think it may be a trojan horse. I think that beside iOS and Android as build targets, flutter will be able to build against Fuchsia down the road. It could be a way of coaxing/easing devs into the Fuchsia/Dart ecosystem.

In reply to: Key Lesson: Building CloudRepo With Clojure

In Clojure, if you adopt the Data is the API paradigm then designing systems is primarily about identifying your data and how it flows through your functions. Data can be represented by a small set of abstractions, in particular a map, and so would reduce the requirement to write the glue code that is so commonplace in Java (a.setFoo(b.getFoo) , etc.).

Also, if functional programming is your jam, don’t miss this article’s use of Data Flow diagrams to describe Clojure code 💯

In reply to: The Dark Art of Stealing from Self-Checkouts - The Atlantic

The Leicester researchers concluded that the ease of theft is likely inspiring people who might not otherwise steal to do so. Rather than walk into a store intending to take something, a shopper might, at the end of a trip, decide that a discount is in order.

In reply to: Black Panther's Maglev System Is the Transit We Deserve - CityLab

Among the many dazzling technologies in the new Marvel superhero film Black Panther—self-healing catsuits, holographic self-driving cars, indestructible woven capes—one technology is bittersweet to behold, at least for one subset of sci-fi nerd. That would be the trains.

Maglev, baby! But also no maglev 😭

But despite decades of development, maglev hasn’t spread widely across Asia, and it hasn’t taken off at all in the U.S. or Europe (excluding a now-shuttered airport line in the U.K., and a defunct test track in Germany.) That’s because traditional high-speed rail can run nearly as fast as maglev, is cheaper to build, and can connect to existing rail systems, whereas maglev guideways cannot. For many countries with rail networks already in place, it’s hard to justify spending billions of dollars on such a project.

In reply to: Anguished Tweets from Florida School-Shooting Survivors - The Atlantic

This is what astonished and confronted me while watching Stoneman Douglas High’s speakers for the dead. Even as the shooting was happening, many of them talked about it not as an inexplicable catastrophe, not as an unforeseeable tragedy, but as something that just happens. A car crash, not an earthquake. It was something they had trained for, something they had perhaps visualized in their head once or twice before. And since it was almost normal, it was preventable—and thus political.

In reply to: Writing essays by formula teaches students how to not think | Aeon Essays

…as so often happens in subjects that are taught in school, the template designed as a means toward attaining some important end turns into an end in itself. As a consequence, form trumps meaning.


The form becomes the product. Teachers teach the format as a tool; students use the tool to create five paragraphs that reflect the tool; teachers grade the papers on their degree of alignment with the tool. The form helps students to reproduce the form and get graded on this form. Content, meaning, style, originality and other such values are extraneous — nice but not necessary.

The medium is the message, and the tooling shapes the product — but sometimes the tooling becomes the product, too.

On a similar note, i wonder if many applications (especially desktop applications) are laid out in a similar manner to IDEs because developers working on these applications spend the majority of their time in IDEs so know how to think within their boundaries and patterns?

Navigator -> Workspace -> Modifiers/Detail

In reply to: Greg Pierce - The World Happens

Our future relies on how successfully we become connoisseurs of the bits. Appreciate the delicate kitten without succumbing to the clown in the sewer.

In reply to: What Facebook (and many, many others) get wrong about VR

“When you have a listener to a podcast, you have her attention,” Bailenson said. There’s no other sounds going through those earphones. In VR, if you want somebody to look at a specific spot at a specific time, you can’t force that.”

”VR is anarchy, people can look anywhere they want,” he added. Film is fascism. It’s great! The director tells you where to look, when to look, and they have your attention.”

In reply to: How Bikes Will Take Their Revenge on Cars and Help Us Reclaim Our Streets

…micromobility, a trend of adopting more compact, efficient, and often shared modes of transportation in the urban setting. It is a counterweight to macromobility— transportation that relies on large vehicles for long distances and generic applications. As industry analyst Horace Dediu put it, it’s the personal computer of 1980s.”

In reply to: Why Paper Jams Persist | The New Yorker

Jams emerge from an elemental struggle between the natural and the mechanical. Paper isn’t manufactured—it’s processed,” Warner said, as we ambled among the copiers in a vast Xerox showroom with Ruiz and a few other engineers. It comes from living things—trees—which are unique, just like people are unique.” In Spain, paper is made from eucalyptus; in Kentucky, from Southern pine; in the Northwest, from Douglas fir. To transform these trees into copy paper, you must first turn them into wood chips, which are then mashed into pulp. The pulp is bleached, and run through screens and chemical processes that remove biological gunk until only water and wood fibre remain. In building-size paper mills, the fibre is sprayed onto rollers turning thirty-five miles per hour, which press it into fat cylinders of paper forty reams wide. It doesn’t take much to reverse this process. When paper gets too wet, it liquefies; when it gets too dry, it crumbles to dust.

In reply to: The Symbolism of Elon Musk Sending a Car Into Space - The Atlantic

But this cargo does carry some meaning. It’s just not the kind we’re used to, because, until only a few years ago, the thought that a commercial company (not the government, not nasa) would lay claim to the business of sending stuff into the solar system—well, it seemed nearly impossible. It’s not anymore. The Tesla, in addition to adding some pizzazz to an otherwise technically complicated test flight, signals another milestone in a shifting spaceflight industry. Commercial companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin have taken up the work historically done by nations, and they’re doing a good—and cheaper—job of it. The days of sending romantic mementos like the Golden Record are dwindling, and an era of private individuals launching what they want is nigh. A little less sentimentality, and a little more spice. It’s ad astra, with emphasis on the ad.

In reply to: A Thing That

A thing that @manton keeps reminding me of, sometimes explicitly and sometimes by example, is that a better web, the web we want, is worth all the work we can do. But it is work, and often not easy.

In reply to: Services, monoliths, modularity

Here’s what sucks about microservices: you took what was one of the most dependable abstractions in all of software (the humble function call) and added a networking layer to it…You took a whole category of a -> b calls and made them a -> IO Maybe b calls.

In reply to: Power and Responsibility | Nicole Fenton

Over the last few days I’ve revisited a collection of blog posts, articles, and links that I tote around with me. Things I don’t want to loose track of. Pieces that I’ve read and re-read a number of times.

This essay by Nicole Fenton is most certainly one of those pieces.

Every kind of user information relates to privacy.

You never know where a trail leads. We are connected in unbelievable ways.

People have the right to know how information is used.

If you ask someone to share information about themselves, help them understand where it’s going and how it benefits other people.

Pain is hard to express.

Abusive situations and topics are extremely difficult to talk about, especially when they’re still happening. Simple words like no” and stop” aren’t always enough. Because my mom supported me with love and asked me open-ended questions, I eventually found a way to express myself and stop the abuse. When we talk about boundaries in our own lives, we help others find the courage and the words to do the same.

We have laws for a reason, but this stuff is complicated.

We build systems that talk to each other. We have to think about good and bad behaviors. We have to use our brains and our hearts. We should be sensitive to difficult situations in everything we make.

In reply to: Jared Sinclair | Blog | Get Your Architecture Right, Because You Always...

Some key quotes that really struck home from this excellent piece by Jared Sinclair on the importance of architecture, and having more time than you think/realize (in software development).

When facing an anxiety-provoking deadline for a software project, you have more time to plan your architecture than it may seem…

It’s worth noting the important difference between a sense of urgency and anxiety.

Facing a tall list of requirements and a fast-approaching, narrow delivery window, there is a temptation to bust out the keyboards and hammer out some code because how will we ever finish unless we can show immediate and significant progress oh god oh god.

…when there’s an aggressive and fixed delivery date, there’s no room in the process for such refinements. Each component has to be shippable in its first iteration, and it has to immediately lock into place alongside all the other components.

Under the pressure of a looming deadline, developers may spend an inadequate amount of time considering their architectural roadmap. At worst, this leads to a code base that fails to satisfy the launch-day product requirements on time.

…really I just want to repost the piece in full I’m so struck by it. I’ll stop here and just end with another link directly to it.

In reply to: Designing Better Urban Spaces for Kids - CityLab

This is pretty much my dream article.

In grad school, I read this article about why kids in Japan are so independent right after having finished reading Yi-Fu Tauns Topophilia, I started to wonder, what would a public transit system designed specifically for children look like?” Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated by the idea. Fascinated not only by the potential design challenges, but also because I really think if more aspects of public, private, and digital life were designed with children specifically in mind the world would be a better place.

What if, instead of devising ways to deter kids from using public space, cities were built to encourage it?


Not only [would] better design help these children thrive and become healthier, more successful adults, but planning for children, with their more limited range and unhurried pace, means simultaneously planning for other vulnerable groups, such as the disabled and the elderly. And the well-being of children can have a way of uniting policymakers who disagree on most everything else.

Not only that, but I think design with children in mind would help to break most folks’ inability to comprehend hyperobjects, and other diffuse disasters that we generally struggle to address with any urgency (I’m lookin’ at you climate change…and debt crisis…)

So what does designing a city around kids mean? The Arup report’s authors are clear that it’s not just about building more playgrounds, however important such spaces are and will continue to be. The report focuses on two main aspects of design: everyday freedoms and children’s infrastructure….Everyday freedoms refer to children’s ability to travel safely on foot or bike and without an adult in their neighborhood—to school, to a rec center, to a park….Children’s infrastructure means the network of spaces and streets that can make a city child-friendly and encourage these everyday freedoms.

So, maybe a weird question — but how does the indieweb address children? Does it? Should it?

In reply to: Ursula K. LeGuin – Soft-Boiled Eggs | Paper and Salt

Le Guin was a master of time, especially at manipulating it. Her novels can collapse centuries into a single point, like a dying star. Her 1985 novel Always Coming Home involves a future society that closely resembles the past, with lessons for the present: three timelines in one. Perhaps her most well-known novel, The Wizard of Earthsea, switches between the future and past so often, you’re never quite sure what time it is. Reading Le Guin isn’t always easy. It’s not meant to be.

So leave it to Le Guin to take something that we rush through as quickly as possible—breakfast—and turn it into a meditation, a ritual unstuck in time. Rather than grabbing a coffee and a KIND bar, Le Guin settled in every morning for what she called a Viennese cafe breakfast”: berries, tea, toasted English muffins (She couldn’t get those lovely, light, crispy European rolls” in Portland) and, critically, a soft-boiled egg in the shell.

In reply to: spectre and the end of langsec -- wingolog

The basis of language security is starting from a programming language with a well-defined, easy-to-understand semantics. From there you can prove (formally or informally) interesting security properties about particular programs.


But the Spectre and Meltdown attacks have seriously set back this endeavor. One manifestation of the Spectre vulnerability is that code running in a process can now read the entirety of its address space, bypassing invariants of the language in which it is written, even if it is written in a safe” language. This is currently being used by JavaScript programs to exfiltrate passwords from a browser’s password manager, or bitcoin wallets.

In reply to: The Lovely Tale of an Adorable Squid and Its Glowing Partner - The Atlantic

In the wild, shortly after hatching, these squid would normally be colonized by microbes. But they are selective about their partners: Of the thousands of species of microbes in the ocean, only one—Vibrio fischeri—is allowed to enter the squid’s body. Once inside, it begins to glow. And that glow, it is said, perfectly matches the moonlight welling down on top of the squid, masking its silhouette from predators looking up from below. The bacteria provide the squid with a kind of luminous invisibility cloak.

🦑 🌔

In reply to: Decades of movie poster history go online

This is a neat project out of the University of Texas working to digitize a large collection of movie posters. I’m glad to see they’re using IIIF, a standard that has been gaining a lot of traction in historical and cultural institutions across Europe, but that hasn’t done heaps in the US, yet.

In reply to: Subcast wants to bring podcast publishers and smart-speaker users together » Nieman Journalism Lab

Hurley notes that Relay FM is sticking to a 20 percent revenue growth target for 2018, and that the network is already on track to beat it. New show launches are also on the docket, and I’m told the team intends to play around with new formats, configurations, and topic areas. To branch out, in other words, from the playbook that has served it so well.

Wicked exited to see, well, I suppose, hear, what the future holds for Relay (and @ismh). I listen to a pretty embarrassing number of relay shows. I often feel like I know the hosts of the shows I listen to better than most (read as any”) of my co-workers.

In reply to: Web Trend Map 2018 – iA

The Web has lost its spirit. The Web is no longer a distributed Web. It is, ironically, a couple of big tubes that belong to a handful of companies. Mainly Google (search), Facebook (social) and Amazon (e-commerce). There is an impressive Chinese line and there are some local players in Russia, Japan, here and there. Overall it has become monotonous and dull. What can we do?

IndiewebIndiewebIndieweb RA RA RA!

There seems to be a weak undercurrent of old and young bloggers like us that feel sentimental or curious and want to bring back blogging. Blogging won’t save the world. But, hell, after two weeks now, we can confirm: it feels great to be back on the blogging line.


In reply to: Using fungi to fix bridges - Binghamton News

Binghamton University researchers have been working on a self-healing concrete that uses a specific type of fungi as a healing agent. When the fungus is mixed with concrete, it lies dormant until cracks appear, when spores germinate, grow and precipitate calcium carbonate to heal the cracks.

(description from r/science)

WHAT!? 😱

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

Inclusion, awareness, empathy, and serendipity are important to the idea of the metapolis, the meta-city. The metapolis, unlike the metropolis, is designed around the conscience and consciousness of the people who inhabit the space; it is the evolution of the city from what it is now to what it can aspire to be.

@vastas excellent essay articulates the power and value of public transit to a city. It makes me wonder what it means when (private) projects like The Boring Company and Hyperloop receive more funding than existing public transit options? Are these viable alternatives/supplements or — and this feels heaps more likely — new systems to further segregate communities?

In reply to: The Toxoplasma Of Rage | Slate Star Codex

Tumblr’s reblog policy makes it a hothouse for toxoplasma-style memes that spread via outrage. Following the ancient imperative of evolution, if memes spread by outrage they adapt to become as outrage-inducing as possible.

In reply to: The meaning of Kendrick Lamar

I read this review of DAMN…and tangentially also a review Kendrick Lamar himself…when it was first published. I’ve easily thought about it every week since first reading it. Something about this review set weird with me. I’m still not heaps certain what it is about the review I’ve found so haunting. Maybe it is simply the fact that it was published by the Economist?

In reply to: A note about people taking the time on the Internet – Nitin Khanna

My problem is with the loss of the minutae. That value that was once created on blogs and static pages is now created on reddit and stackoverflow and obscure forums, if at all. That often means that the type of value creation that I (and Gordon) am looking for has just about disappeared. If no one asks the question on Quora or Stackoverflow, no one answers what the changes FB is making look like.

In reply to: The Neopets HTML Guide

Neopets, I’m proud to say, was one of the first places I really delved into HTML and CSS. From there it was geocities, and then a friendly fellow gave me an account on his server where I first started to fiddle with PHP and unix.

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.

In reply to: xj9/2018/but-what-about-blockchain-apps - heropunch

i don’t need a globally consistent data structure to share cat photos or special music with my friends, or to play a video game. i’m not even convinced that i need that for anything, but i can’t prove it yet.

In reply to: https://ascraeus.org/

Absolutely by all means! If you need something specifically geared towards Open Graph I know there are a few composer package for just that, like this, or this.

In reply to: Regarding the Em Dash - The Millions

… But is efficiency the point or purpose of writing? It seems to me that novels, especially, are almost anti-efficiency devices. Yes, we want to communicate clearly, but sometimes, just as crucially, we also want to clearly communicate the difficulty of communicating clearly.

In reply to: Dr. King's Interconnected World - The New York Times

His Christmas Eve vision took things further, to encompass the intrinsic interconnectedness of existence itself. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,” he preached in his booming voice, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly” — Yes, sir,” someone in the audience responded — affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.”

In reply to: Once, We Were Explorers – Rhoneisms

We called it surfing because the web was an ocean; vast and limitless as far as the eye could see from the shore of one’s sandy colored monitor. It was a bit scary, at first. You weren’t quite certain where it would take you. But, you knew just beyond the horizon was probably something you wanted to know about, all you had to do was get in the boat and set sail.

In reply to: The Deeper Role of Resistance in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' - The Atlantic

🚨 SPOILERS follow

Johnson, though, uses The Last Jedi to underscore the power of the collective. Star Wars has always been a franchise about big, Joseph Campbell–inspired hero journeys—Luke Skywalker becoming a Jedi, Han Solo swooping to the rescue at the last minute, that lightsaber flying into Rey’s outstretched hand. But in The Last Jedi, Poe’s hotshot heroics are constantly dismissed and slapped down by Leia and her second-in-command Holdo (Laura Dern), both of whom know he’s after personal glory as much as anything else. And Finn’s final lesson comes as he tries to mount a suicide run in the film’s final battle, aiming to martyr himself to briefly forestall a First Order attack, until Rose knocks him out of the way to save his life.

In reply to: Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?, via CityLab

What accounts for this unusual degree of independence? Not self-sufficiency, in fact, but group reliance,” according to Dwayne Dixon, a cultural anthropologist who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Japanese youth. [Japanese] kids learn early on that, ideally, any member of the community can be called on to serve or help others,” he says…

…“Public space is scaled so much better—old, human-sized spaces that also control flow and speed,” Dixon notes. In Japanese cities, people are accustomed to walking everywhere, and public transportation trumps car culture; in Tokyo, half of all trips are made on rail or bus, and a quarter on foot. Drivers are used to sharing the road and yielding to pedestrians and cyclists.

I originally read this article a few years ago. I remember at the time being struck by the idea of a system’s design’s audience: what would public infrastructure look like if children weren’t seen as the accessories of adults, but rather first-class participants? What does the world become when childhood isn’t a state to be grown out of—adulthood being the end-all-be-all goal—but rather as a set of the world’s population worthy of primacy?

In reply to: Bandai cracked the wearable tech code in 1996 – Eli Mellen – Medium

I was combing through my domain name’s history on the Way Back Machine this evening when I found a link back to something I wrote and posted to Medium waaaaaay back when. I remember being really excited about Medium when it was new, and exclusive…focused on writing and writers, and the experience of writing and reading.

…now, now when I click on an interesting sounding headline on Hacker News or Reddit or some other linkblog thing and it opens to Medium I rarely read it…I just close the tab and move on. What once felt like a haven for writing and reading now feels user hostile and slimy.

In reply to: The Myth of the 'Terrible Twos' - The Atlantic

“If adults experienced and enacted the full range of feelings available to an average toddler in the course of a day,” Lieberman writes, they would collapse from emotional exhaustion.” But Lieberman doesn’t view this range of emotions as the toddler’s downside. She sees toddlers as complex, compassionate human beings, and she has dedicated her life’s research to helping adults understand the feelings and the logic behind the most seemingly ridiculous or wild toddler behaviors.

In reply to: Imagining the Jellyfish Apocalypse - The Atlantic

How appealing it is to fashion metaphors out of a jellyfish. The animal is all stimulus, sensuousness without consciousness. Such evanescent creatures pose none of the anthropomorphizing complications of, say, octopuses. An octopus will regard you with features that resemble a face, and an intelligence that we’ve been advised is akin to that of dogs and dolphins. Most jellyfish are see-through, so we can tell they don’t have minds of their own to speak of. Eyeless, bloodless, brainless—jellyfish are more than alien enough to comfortably objectify.

In reply to: Living in the crossfire of an ‘attention war’ | James Shelley

Daniel Nesbit proposes a metaphor shift from attention economy to attention war,’ in part because viewing the landscape as one of war instills the right mindset for those caught in the crossfire.”

Invading forces want to not just have our share of attention, they want to own it. The war of attention is a battle over resources: who gets to dominate, where and when… We have to defend our territory (our attention) appropriately.

The wartime conflict metaphor conjures notice of the collateral damage, particularly the innocent civilian causalities’ — all the co-opted time, all the defrayed mental resources, and all the cognitive and psychological externalities absorbing the actual cost of this rampage.

In reply to: ‘The Zium Museum’ is an Art Gallery You Can Download - Waypoint

If The Zium Museum is about anything, it’s about that experience of going to an art gallery or a museum and encountering the cumulative effect that rises out of having all this disparate art put together in the same space; the way installations recast the more traditional art around them, the way curation places individual pieces so that they build upon each other. Virtual spaces allow for this experience to be stored and reproduced; they allow for installations that you can hold in your hand.

In reply to: Oat note, posted December 5, 2017

I received a heap of feedback. All of it was great. Thank you all so much! After exploring a bunch of options, I’ve decided to stick with plaintext. I’m going to continue to use nvALT synced through Dropbox on macOS, but purchased a TaskPaper license to use for todo lists, and when I need to re-arrange items in an outline. It is set up as nvALT’s default external editor now. On iOS I’ve settled on using Editorial, and app I’ve had in my wish list for…probably years, but never purchased. So far I’m pleased with my new system. I had a day filled with meetings today, and was able to move smoothly between macOS at my desk, and iOS in the meeting while taking and reviewing notes.

In reply to: Board Games Were Indoctrination Tools for Christ, Then Capitalism - Waypoint

But the largest thing that held game development back was a lack of leisure time. Agrarian America was a society of constant manual labor by people of all ages, meaning that only the children of the very rich could afford an idle hour to waste on games. But that began to change during the industrial revolution, when childhood was identified as a distinct time of life—a learning period where society used both play and study to shape children into productive adults. Simultaneously, the country’s new industrial techniques and products could, for the first time, manufacture games on a mass scale.

In reply to: Do Games Have A Visual Language Problem? - Waypoint

… video games are a hybrid medium that combines moving image and sound (video) with structured play (game). A lot of the discussion in games criticism focuses either on the systems that structure play, or on the narratives that video games communicate. There’s less recognition of the visual language being used to communicate, and sound design is talked about even less.

Perhaps because my academic background is in art history, design and exploring how the built world (both physical and digital) impacts our perception, I find that I think about the visual” language of apps and other software a lot. Like this piece says about video games, I think that the visual language of software is often neglected. Folks dump a bunch of time and money into UI, sure but that UI is rarely placed in a larger historical context.

In reply to: Kaijumax is a Heart-Wrenching, Socially Conscious Comic About Monsters In &amp; Out of Prison :: Comics :: Features :: Zander Cannon :: Paste

I’ve had to work during this holiday, but I’ve taken what time I can between work and hanging with family to catch up on my reading list. Last night I finished the first trade of Kaijumax. It was a totally unexpected read. Part Godzilla story, part Orange is the New Black, rendered in a vibrant sort of naive fan-made-feeling manga style. It toes an interesting line. It doesn’t pendulum between whimsy and darkness. instead the story lives in both spaces at the exact same time. It is heavy — wicked heavy at times — and it is Adventure Time-esqly weird and wonderful. This first season of Kaijumax does a fair bit of expository world building by introducing readers to the prison and its occupants. I’m interested to see if subsequent seasons look beyond the prison. The setting for this series feels rich, and I look forward to reading season 2.

In reply to: Mainstream use cases for a microblog

I’ve loved being part of micro.blog since launch, and am excited to see folks start adopting it more and more. At this point, it and Instagram are the only social networks I use.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my website, and what changes/enhancements I want to make to it down the road. 4 - 5 years ago I was a big fan of tumblr, and have been using my website in a similar manner: posting some short form content, some long form content, heaps of links, and images. Micro.blog seems to be wicked well situated for that sort of content.

P.S. If you want an invite to micro.blog, I’ve got a few!

In reply to: 2017-11-12T11:16:59.50289191Z / unrelenting.technology

With great power comes great responsibility, and i didn’t feel that I was ready to wield the awesome power of zsh and/or fish :P …well, that and I wasn’t doing anything in either shell that I couldn’t also do in bash.

In reply to: The Missing Career Path for the Technical Expert — Bet On Yourself

I think about the need for a career path or trajectory a lot. I realize I’m relatively young and only at the start of my career, but constantly wonder what my work will look like in 10, even 5 years from now. Are there skills I should cultivate for the future? Are there connections I should focus on now? I took a meandering path into technology: from liberal arts, to design, to critical theory and education, to nonprofit management, a few stints in kitchens, project management, product design and management, and, now, here…PHP Dev.

I think about water catchment: a drop of water carves a groove in the sand. Another, and then another follow the same path. The groove grows deeper and deeper until it becomes a stream…

In reply to: The Uncanny Resurrection of Dungeons &amp; Dragons | The New Yorker

In 2017, gathering your friends in a room, setting your devices aside, and taking turns to contrive a story that exists largely in your head gives off a radical whiff for a completely different reason than it did in 1987. And the fear that a role-playing game might wound the psychologically fragile seems to have flipped on its head. Therapists use D. & D. to get troubled kids to talk about experiences that might otherwise embarrass them, and children with autism use the game to improve their social skills. Last year, researchers found that a group of a hundred and twenty-seven role players exhibited above-average levels of empathy, and a Brazilian study from 2013 showed that role-playing classes were an extremely effective way to teach cellular biology to medical undergraduates.

I’ve been playing D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games since I was in middle school. Lately, I’ve been wicked excited with the possibilities in GM-less games, like Follow and Kingdom, and if they may have a place on the indieweb?

In reply to: America's gun problem, explained - Vox

Americans make up about 4.43 percent of the world’s population, yet own roughly 42 percent of all the world’s privately held firearms.

… yet we share thoughts and prayers.

In reply to: Oat note, posted September 30, 2017

I think the pi-top offers a solid alternative to chromebooks. Heaps more capable. Get to build yourself, and available for a similar price point. I could foresee an entire curriculum built around this device itself, not merely its use.

In reply to: Caution: Chromebooks – Gary S. Stager, Ph.D. – Medium

Providing students with a Chromebook rather than a proper laptop computer is akin to replacing your school orchestra instruments with kazoos. We live in one of the richest nations in all of history. We can afford a cello and multimedia-capable computer for every child.

Gary Stager continues,

…If Chromebooks were sufficiently powerful, durable, and reliable, I’d endorse their use. When better computers are available at approximately the same price, disempowering kids and confusing teachers seems an imprudent option.

In reply to: Web truths: CSS is not real programming | Christian Heilmann

CSS development isn’t programming in the traditional sense where you have loops, conditions and variables. CSS is going that direction to a degree and Sass paved the way. But the most needed skill in CSS is not syntax. It is to understand what interfaces you describe with it. And how to ensure that they are flexible enough that users can’t do things wrong and get locked out. You can avoid a lot of code when you understand HTML and use CSS to style it.


A lot of CSS is not real programming” arguments are a basic misunderstanding what CSS is there to achieve. If you want full control over and interface and strive for pixel perfection — don’t use it. If you want to build an interface for an inclusive and diverse web, CSS is a great tool. Writing CSS is describing interfaces and needs empathy with the users. It is not about turning a Photoshop file into a web interface. It requires a different skillset and attitude of the maintainer and initial programmer than a backend language would.

So much 🙌 for this.

In reply to: Donald Barthelme - Wikipedia

I’m happy to have rediscovered a book of short stories by Donald Barthelme. They’re quick, electric feeling, and eminently readable.

In reply to: empressfinal

Been playing a lot of twine games lately. Anyone have any recommendations?

In reply to: Apple’s LTE-enabled Watch could be a wearable watershed moment | TechCrunch

I’m due for a new phone. My aged iPhone 6 Plus’ screen is shattered and the body is bent (but it still works!), and while the iPhone X is exciting, I can’t justify the expense now that I’m squarely a web developer, so I think I’ll go with an iPhone 7 Plus or maybe an 8 Plus. The announcement I’m most struck by from today’s event, however, is the Apple Watch 3. I’m heaps interested to see what the introduction of cellular connectivity does for the device. How will app developers be able to take advantage of this new found connectivity?

In reply to: 07/09/2017, 07:56 – Social Thoughts

@colinwalker.blog 🎉 💯 Are there tools in particular you want to build, ideas you have? The perk of this community is there are most certainly folks who can help.

In reply to: Pondering Doc Searls’ Thoughts about blogging – Social Thoughts

@colinwalker.blog and others are posting interesting thoughts on the state of blogging. I’ve read and re-read this particular post. Working out something. Still not 100% certain where I’m headed with this, but something that I keep thinking about is analytics and how it relates to readership.

I don’t use Google Analytics, but I’m able to get a rough idea of visits by watching traffic hit my server. I use webalizer to handle that. You can find 2 months worth of those stats at eli.li/navel-gazing. The bulk of my traffic seems to be RSS. I imagine that is because that is how my site posts to Micro.blog.

In his post, Colin Walker notes that Social platforms claim to be powered by engagement but it’s the wrong kind of engagement,” and, if I can step in, the wrong kind of engagement in that social networks are predicated on devouring attention. Attention equals time spent on that social network during which you can be served ads.

The indieweb and blogging are also vying for folks attention, but not for the sake of advertising. Blogging is sort of like doing semaphore into a crowd and hoping someone knows how to answer. You flail your wordy-arms hopping to get someones attention. Why?

Leaning existential

I’d say to participate in a community. I’d say to build breadcrumbs of one’s daily life. I like the idea of a blog as a personal timeline. A timeline of the significant, and the mundane.

Anyways…analytics. I thought it interesting that one way social networks keep folks engaged is through showing folks how their posts are doing, either through likes, favs, or easily digestible analytics. Meanwhile, does knowing how many page views your blog is getting help? Does it make you feel heard?

I think bona fide responses are the only real way to gain that feeling…someone taking the time to work out a reply. Conversation is the ticket for blogging and the indieweb. I know I get warm fuzzies when I see a webmention come in that is a reply, not just a like. I think micro.blog is a good layer to the blogging ecosystem because it empowers conversation. Reduces the friction.

…of course, replies are usually contingent on worthwhile content.

BUT! On that note, a return: …does it make you feel heard?” Does that matter? Is that the goal?

It probably doesn’t need to be so defined. Sometimes you just wanna write, albeit into the void. Case and point, see above.

In reply to: Miklb's Mindless Ramblings

I think this is a hella good idea. The default convention with svn is to use trunk.” I like that it is evocative of trees and elephants rather than slavery.

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: 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 wonder if the generations are still applicable and/or useful? Generation 2 is so broadly defined it is difficult to say what they” need, because as a group of users they’re not very clearly articulated. What if the focused shifted to features? …this isn’t to say away from users, but to re-articulate phases of indieweb growth by ease of use?

In reply to: Monstrous Landscapes: The Interdependence of Meaning between Monster and Landscape in Beowulf–By Charlotte Ball | Hortulus

Grendel is the source of most of the descriptive language of borderlands in Beowulf. By describing him, the poet defines these edges, and thus it is the edges that define Grendel. Grendel is the Mearcstapa” [border walker] (l.103) and even moras heold” [held the moors] (l.103). Like the relationship between the society and Heorot, Grendel is defined in terms of his environment and, in turn, determines his environment. Grendel is inextricable from these borders. His trespassing of these borders causes the violence and conflict in Beowulf. His occupation of these borders is habitual; he continues his crossing of them for years between his first attack and his death at the hands of Beowulf.

In reply to: Over nearly 80 years, Harvard study has been showing how to live a healthy and happy life | Harvard Gazette

When the study began, nobody cared about empathy or attachment. But the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships.

Medicinal uses for the indieweb?

Researchers who have pored through data, including vast medical records and hundreds of in-person interviews and questionnaires, found a strong correlation between men’s flourishing lives and their relationships with family, friends, and community. Several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels were.

In reply to: Martijn’s permalinked post

It isn’t exactly the same thing, but check out Battle Decks:

Think of it as improv karaoke powerpoint.

Contenders each prepare a 10 slide deck for their opponent to present sight unseen. The audience judges by show of applause based on continuity, use of buzz words and general awesomeness.

In reply to: 20/07/2017, 05:40

@colinwalker while putting an integrated RSS reader on the back burner, have you thought of using something like tt-rss, or miniflux? I’d be happy to set you up with an account on my install of tt-rss. I’ve been playing with @cweiskes tt-rss-micropub plugin. I also have mini flux installed, but haven’t gotten it to successfully auto-update any feeds yet 😬

In reply to: Reimagining the browser as a network OS

Beaker Browser and Indieweb forevah!

I love the idea of terminal-like commands in the browser. I’d like to see this come to Beaker Browser one day…heck, I’d like to see it come to Safari one day.

On a recent episode of Core Intuition they made passing reference along the lines of, wouldn’t it be neat if Siri became a sort of scripting language for iOS?” I doubt it would happen, and I don’t have anything concrete to say about that, but I think that would be awesome — especially in the context of a future where SiriKit has been extended with a wide variety of intents.

In reply to: 19/06/2017, 23:04

Right now I’m only displaying titles for liked content, but I am collecting titles for responses, too. From your site, I’m getting a 500 error as a title, though. Here is the raw json of my last post as an example. I’ll do some digging to see if it is something I’m doing wrong on my end. Also noticed that the title seems to include an embedded <p> tag when replying to micro.blog posts.

Edited to note that title seemed to work a-okay on my follow up post.

In reply to: 500 Internal Server Error

@colinwalker, makes me realize I ought to have included some annotations in that code explaining what I was trying to do with what 😆

In reply to: http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2017/06/16/redux-dr-frankensteins-climate/

Two hundred years after Mary Godwin’s nighttime vision, Frankenstein can be read as both a warning of the perils of human hubris and a brilliantly imaginative response to a global disaster. As we enter another era of climate disruption—this time, a monster of our own making—we need both the reminder of the former and the inspiration of the latter.

(Ping, On the personal climate essay)

In reply to: https://eli.li/entry.php?id=20170616140430

Building on my last note, the indieweb is currently an insular-ish community because there is a technical wall that needs to be scaled before you can enter into the community. I think this technical hurdle turns the indieweb into a de facto walled garden of sorts because a whole heap of folks are locked out.

Is there a solution to this? Simpler tech, engaging UI, and clear documentation for certain, but I also think projects like beaker browser offer a groovy way forward. What if participating in the indieweb was as simple as downloading an app? What if there was no need to necessarily own a domain name (this part could be debatable) or worry about hosting providers?

Beaker browser is a peer-to-peer web browser. What I’m wondering is what if we could leverage the same tech. behind beaker browser to create a peer-to-peer social network that was built using indieweb standards and was all bundled in an app?

…note, there are defo flaws in this — data integrity and spam prevention being high on this list, but, I’m into this as a thought experiment.

In reply to: https://colinwalker.blog/2017/06/16/16062017-1427/

All well and good but, as I’ve mentioned before, we still end up with a fragmented landscape — the data and the conversation around it are two distinctly different things.

Colin continues,

The open web relates to non-proprietary, standards based publishing of content, the technologies behind it, and the ability to both produce and consume it anywhere.

The indieweb takes that further. Over course, it promotes and relies on the open web but recognises that the closed web exists, plays a large part of people’s lives, and tries to integrate with it.

That last bit took me a while to see. At first I was fairly down and cozy with walking away from big silos, like Facebook and Twitter, but quickly realized that also means walking away from a lot of people, too. It means walking away from diversity interests, gender, age, nationality, access to the internet, etc. Whilst the indieweb community itself seems to be fairly insular (this isn’t necessarily to say homogeneous,” but maybe?) it’s principles and tech. seek to embrace the diversity of voice that the web can support.

Moving forward I hope that the indieweb is able to help bridge the various walled gardens of the internet, as opposed to creating a new one.

In reply to: https://kieranhealy.org/files/papers/plain-person-text.pdf

A PDF all about the merits of plaintext and R.

Generally speaking, I try to use plaintext everywhere and anywhere that I can. My reasoning is multiple:

  1. Plaintext is pretty archival. I don’t think it is gonna go out of style (as in not be readable) anytime soon, and data integrity seems to be solid
  2. Plaintext is quick. I don’t need fancy-shmancy software. I can use multiple tools to work on the same file without having that file occur artifacts form the tools themselves
  3. Plaintext is scriptable. I can easily write a script to process, search, or alter a plaintext document. This is not so easy using some other proprietary format
  4. Plaintext is equally machine and human-readable…for the most part

In reply to: The End of Human Doctors – Understanding Automation

A fascinating post discussing automation in medicine. Reading it I also wondered how automation will impact the cost of healthcare? Will going to a human doctor (as opposed to a robotic/AI one) become a boutique experience for the very rich, or an act of desperation for the very poor? How will healthcare as an automated service be perceived?

In reply to: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/05/a-very-brief-history-of-the-last-10-years-in-technology/526767/

Nowadays, (hyper)linking is an afterthought because most of the action occurs within platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and messaging apps, which all have carved space out of the open web. And the idea of harnessing collective intelligence” simply feels much more interesting and productive than it does now. The great cathedrals of that time, nearly impossible projects like Wikipedia that worked and worked well, have all stagnated. And the portrait of humanity that most people see filtering through the mechanics of Facebook or Twitter does not exactly inspire confidence in our social co-productions.

Has wikipedia stagnated? Is that the general consensus? I totes get that it is sort of a white-sausage-fest. But stagnated? Compared to Facebook and other walled gardens? I think that depends on perspective, maybe…or how you interact with wikipedia as a resource, perhaps?

In reply to: http://altplatform.org/2017/06/09/feed-reader-revolution/

This article gives a solid overview of the indieweb ecosystem as I understand it. I like the idea of feed readers being the gravitational center to everyones social network. I’ve been using tt-rss and my newly indiewebified website for just that. Excited to keep experimenting and see where it goes.

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: http://theadventurezone.tumblr.com/post/161367685782

I don’t take that shortcoming lightly, and I don’t expect anyone else to, either. There are so many things I would change if I could start over — some narrative loopholes, some shitty and thoughtless tropes — but this would be the largest one. If we had known what this show would become, we would have been more thoughtful about representation when we first made these characters. Instead, we didn’t consider what they would look like beyond what it said on these pre-rolled character sheets. We didn’t consider race beyond deciding whether Halflings, Elves, Tieflings or Dwarves possessed the best passive abilities.

Doing this show has educated all of us about representation, and clearly, we’re still not great at it. But starting out, it wasn’t even an afterthought — it just wasn’t a thought, because we didn’t know it was a thing to think about. Now we know, and the difficulties involved with reconciling where we started with what we now know are, simply put, monumental.

I listen to a whole heap of podcasts that focus on a smorgasbord of topics. The Adventure Zone is fascinating to me for a number of reasons, but namely because it always seems to sneak up on me. Every episode is about an hour of goofs and redonk antics couched in a round of DnD…but at the same time the show is telling an amazingly well constructed story. A story, which if the hosts are to be believed (which I totes do) is more or less unscripted. And more than this, the hosts are really embedded in their fandom. They’re aware that folks are living this story as they play through it, and that folks care about it. That bits of it have meaning outside of the goofs.

I cringed listening to the first episode when they named one of the characters Taako, but since then, listening to them wrestle with and face issues of representation in a really candid and public manner has been awesome.

In reply to: https://baty.blog/2017/likes-on-social-networks-should-be-private/

Should likes be public or private on a social network?

I like the solution outlined here a lot. This solution is clever because it capitalizes on the dopamine of passive interaction (e.g. not having to write a response, but still signaling agreement/support/like-y-ness) while disarming the issues around massive re-broadcast.

I think this sort of conscious design choice can simultaneously help prevent online harassment, preserve the usefulness and fun of social networks and not run into the trap of squashing free speech,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite excuse for not addressing systemic abuse.

In reply to: https://eli.li/entry.php?id=20170325193801

Here’s a great interview with Rebecca Sugar about Steven Universe.

From the piece:

Animation is such an incredible tool when it comes to making characters that the audience can empathize with. To watch an animated character and to believe that they’re real requires the viewer to project so much of themselves into the drawings they’re watching. With a cartoon, you can make something feel classic and iconic and absurdly simple. …This is the time and this is the tool to expand people’s visual language when it comes to what a couple looks like, and to create gender nonconforming characters that are so compelling that you can’t deny their humanity. Because by believing in them, they are already a reflection of your humanity.

In reply to: https://unrelenting.technology/replies/2017-06-01-17-23-39

@unrelenting.technology would an h-feed be different than an RSS feed? I have a folder in tt-rss where I subscribe to a heap of indieweb folks (like yourself), and am then able to reply through tt-rss-micropub (well…assuming I fix my micropub endpoint 😬)

In reply to: https://colinwalker.blog/2017/05/21/21052017-1205/

I love the framing here: as I understand it, Colin is saying that the indieweb is more social network-y than the big-name social networks because those are each self contained. With the indieweb there is a bona fide network. An ecosystem.

There’s been a whole heap of media coverage about how best to combat fake news. I think the indieweb and its associated tech. offer an interesting angle on the fake news question. Fake news…or propaganda (let’s call it what it is)…leverages the architecture of big-name social networks to disseminate misinformation as widely as possible. By their very nature, big-name social networks sort of obscure shared and re-shared contents’ root source. The importance is the share: my good bud shared it, therefore I’ll look at it.” The architecture of the indieweb on the other hand — and of the open internet — preserves the source. Threads lead back to point of origin.

This linking back to the source seems to be the current best practice, and I read about efforts to combat fake news by implementing blockchain. I wonder if the indieweb can rise to the challenge?

In reply to: https://baty.blog/2017/notifications-a-tragedy-of-the-digital-commons-scott-belsky/

@baty.blog moving from a twitter-first social-scene to a more indeiweb compatible setup has had the interesting side effect of reducing what little Push Notifications I received even lower. I know there are ways to enable PNs for webmentions, etc., but I like that I can manage this little wedge of my life through an RSS reader now, rather than having my phone do it for me. Reminds me of Amber Case’s book about Calm Technology.”

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.

In reply to: https://colinwalker.blog/2017/05/25/25052017-1650/

I run a self-hosted instance of TT-RSS.I am able to re-publish articles from it to my own RSS feed from directly within the web-app, and using a bookmarklet. It is sort of like a headless link-blog. Right now I syndicate that RSS feed of stuff I’ve republished to twitter and micro.blog. I’ve also toyed a bit with Dave Winer’s river5