Kicks Condor

💣 FILE_ID.DIZ

This web page is an answer to the question: What is a person to do when they’re not livestreaming Yu-Gi-Oh or baiting wimps on /r/fitness? You come here! You scroll up and down a few times nervously and leave disappointed!

However, if you’re completely lost—like you clicked on way too many links and are now trying to figure out how to turn around, no no nyew nyew nye—I have these old antique bottles for you to look at!!

I cover unique personal blogs and websites. I am online Mondays and Thursdays. Summer is messing with this.

Working on these right now:

  • Fraidycat: An RSS reader that’s not an RSS reader.
    (Unreleased, will be open source.)
  • href.cool: My personal guide to the 2019 Web.
    (Twenty year project—to continue until December 2038.)
  • Slaptrash: Zines made of vids + mp3s + fx + computer talking.
    (Developing ideas for the future of this blog.)
  • Duxtape: Li’l mixtape-sharing site on the Dat network.
  • Indieweb.xyz: A Reddit-like site for blogs with Webmentions.
    (Two year project—until July 2020. If it’s still useful, I’ll continue it.)
  • Href Hunt: Somewhat monthly raw search for new blogs, feel free to send yours in—I post everything I discover.
  • Dat Rats: Recreate my favorite broken websites.
    (Working on restoring thewoodcutter.com right now.)

But mostly I’m linkhunting and hypertexting. Go see the right-hand side of my homepage for blogs I like and converse with right now.

19 Aug 2019

Ola Bini’s Letters from Detention

Reflections from a thoughtful and innocent prisoner.

I spent some of the weekend reading these letters from Ola Bini, who was imprisoned in April for basically being a friend of Julian Assange. I remember Ola from his work on the Ioke programming language—and I once chatted with him many, many years ago. He was polite and well-spoken. I am glad to hear that he is now released. (The FreeOlaBini site should probably show his release more prominently—it is more obvious on Twitter.)

Still, his blog is quite eye-opening and worthwhile. There are entries here that are simply poignant—such as Ola’s story of his birthday when his fellow inmates sang to him. In an almost deliberately Kafkaesque way, it seems he is never told what he is charged with—we can presume computer hacking, but no specifics are given. (It seems the authorities assumed this from his personal library—which Fogus catalogs here.)

I feel some cynicism toward ‘open source’/‘free software’ and cyberpunk ideologies—and I think many people also associate this with ‘tech bro’-style optimism—but Ola’s letters have me reconsidering.

[C]ode and architecture are more important than laws. Laws can be broken, but if we build our systems correctly, we can provide real guarantees. The right to privacy, security and anonymity is also a strong belief and the idea that these rights belong to everyone, not just those that can pay for it.

Related to this, is the mistrust of authority, not just governments, but any kind of authority. That means those rights cant be provided just as legal rights by fiat. Instead, these rights have to be provided by something stronger: by cryptographic systems, implemented and run in the open. This is the only real way you can ultimately provide real self-determination to everyone in the world.

A final belief: cypherpunks write code. This means just what it says. If we want a better world, we have to take the responsibility. We have to build it ourselves.

I don’t feel optimism in any of this. I just feel a person wanting to secure their life. This seems like a basic right—roughly equivalent to the very smallest property right, the ability to merely live and survive at a specific coordinate—even a prisoner has that right. Cynicism feels dangerous here—that I’d rather just wander in aloof disbelief than try.

This also has me hunting for other blogs from prisoners. Know of any?

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15 Aug 2019

2019.08: What’s New to Href.Cool?

Most of these links have been posted recently—some removals as well.

Href.cool is my personal directory to the Web. It contains one hidden directory inside of it—and I’m working on two more (one on ‘antimisanthropy’ and another on ‘fake computers’.) In the meantime, I have some casual updates.

Added to Games/Dialogue:

To Web/Wiki, I added an essential link—that of chameleon’s wiki. (Who today has introduced me to a sick term: birdsite.hell in reference to Twitter.)

Removed link to Susan Engel (susan-engel.com) in Real/Learning—DNS doesn’t resolve.

New category Real/Thoughts:

  • Meaningness Wiki ∞
    David Chapman (who also brought us Buddhism for Vampires)—to simply call Meaningness a ‘book’ or a ‘metablog’ or a Buddhist resource is to discount that this is a formidable work that seems to both tackle the question “What is life?” and to catalog its author’s every thought. It also sets a precedent for drafting in public that I’ve begun to see on the other links in Web/Wiki.

  • Visakan Veerasamy Page ∞
    This site goes real deep—you have no idea. But you might get an idea if you survey the bookmarks page (which is an impressive collection—feels similar to href.cool) or the @1000wordvomits page (dump of interesting, meandering essays) or his master list of his own Twitter threads, which is just much better than it sounds. Generous work.

  • Nadia Eghbal Blog 1h
    Started with the brilliant ‘The tyranny of ideas’. Stayed for ‘Reclaiming public life’ and ‘The independent researcher’. Essays to snack on. (See also: The Modern Essay by Virginia Woolf. That’s what Nadia does.)

  • Ribbonfarm Blog ∞
    Venkatesh Rao and friends write long articles, some of which form ‘blogchains’—a continuous riff on a subject. (Via Nadia E.)

The link for ‘Sleepingfish’ in Stories/Brief has changed to http://www.calamaripress.com/SF/.

The link to ‘HIGH END CUSTOMIZABLE SAUNA EXPERIENCE’ in Stories/Hypertext has changed to http://slimedaughter.com/games/twine/sauna/.

An addition to Tapes/Classic:

  • Radio Soulwax Mixtape 1h
    These are pretty popular—but whatever, credit to these Belgians for keeping such an ambitious project on a sheet of matte black hypertext.

An addition to Tapes/Infinite:

  • Every Noise at Once Directory 1m
    ‘…an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 3,295 genres by Spotify as of 2019-08-03. The calibration is fuzzy, but in general down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier.’

And an addition to Tapes/Vaporwave:

Bunch of new links under Visuals/Motion:

New link in Web/Meta to: WWWTXT—quotes from Usenet, CompuServe and such. Cool design.

Removed link to Typegram (tgr.am) in Web/Participate—DNS won’t resolve.

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adamcadre.ac

This writer/game designer’s home page is full of interesting hypertext flourishes.

This link was passed on to me by David Yates a while ago and I’ve finally had some time to explore it further. And it turns out there are quite a few interesting uses of links and layout that could be useful to anyone out there who is designing a TiddlyWiki[1]—for instance, the detailed organization of Adam’s favorite songs and albums page or the multiple views for the archives of the blog (called the ‘calendar’—which has been around since the 1990s.)

One of my favorite little touches is the presence of mouseover boxes throughout the essays in the ‘calendar’. In the small screenshot above, you can see a spoiler rating mouseover shown on the Stranger Things review. But there are footnotes, images, even short videos that will pop up when you hover over certain dotted links. (These remind me of the footnotes and links on philosopher.life—but with more effort put into designing them—they may have unique colors or borders.)

More than anything, this highlights again the range of things you can do with a website that just isn’t possible on social networks or Medium blogs—perhaps only an app of some kind could be customized like this.

The site also brought to mind this quote from the recent ‘Writing HTML in HTML’ article:

But how can I then keep the style and layout of all my posts and pages in sync?

Simple: don’t! It’s more fun that way. Look at this website: if you read any previous blog post, you’ll notice that they have a different stylesheet. This is because they were written at different times. As such, they’re like time capsules.

Like Phil Gyford’s site, the pages throughout Adam’s site often each have unique designs which hearken to the author’s style and sensibilities during the time when they were created. I feel like websites like this have fallen out of favor—but access to these old designs is now full of nostalgia—so perhaps we will see more hand-crafted HTML in the same way that we now see a TON of wonderful Windows 95 ripoffs in web design and gaming.


  1. And, if you are, you should really be checking out the recent ‘outrun’-colored tags and tighter design on sphygm.us. Or the erratic page-filling that is happening on chameleon’s wiki. ↩︎

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07 Aug 2019

Wikipedia on Dat Is Looking Sweet

How to distribute 255GB of HTML and still make it browsable.

This is sick. The Dat team is benchmarking 2.0 using a dump of Wikipedia. One peer is seeding the whole archive—the peer in the video is selectively downloading files. And pages are rendered in a few seconds.

@pfrazee:
The total archive is 255GB of content with 5GB of internal metadata. This browsing session pulled down 3mb of the metadata and 6mb of content to the local device. (Again, this bench is showing the site get served fresh over the lan from another device.)

The innovation here is the new hash-trie index, which was laid out by Mathias Buus in the recent talk at Data Terra Nemo.

To me, this is reassuring. Beaker has really made progress toward becoming a stable peer-to-peer web browser—and to see them hustling on performance, working to improve the fundamentals—gives me great confidence. I can’t see Beaker becoming mainstream, but I think it could be tremendously useful to everyone else: artists, archivers, the underground—not in a ‘dark web’ sense, but in the sense of those who want to experiment and innovate outside of the main network.[1]

Anyway—just want to encourage this work. This team is really pouring work into the protocol. Happy to give them some kudos.


  1. In fact, maybe what could happen here is just that there could be a kind of Web between the centralized one and the ‘dark’ one. Fully anonymized networks just have such a target on their heads. ↩︎

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03 Aug 2019

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Poolside FM

A vaporwave OS-for-pretendsies tears up Product Hunt—what does it mean??

I’m probably not introducing you to this link—because it’s been around the block for the last week. However, it’s a bull’s-eye for me—it lands in almost every collection I keep—from OS façades (such as whimsy.space and eeerik.com) to endless home video playlists (such as astronaut.io and defaultfile.name).

Yeah, but this isn’t an obscure site like so many of those. It launched on (remove glasses, rub eyes with fists) Product Hunt (this is v2, the first launched in 2014.), a watering hole for e-mail newsletter and blockchain startups. There seems to be no troll in the statement on the ‘about’ popup:

Want to collaborate or build something like Poolside FM for your company? We’re probably down to make that happen.

Reach out with your wildest dreams.

This idea of companies jumping on the bandwagon to fill the Internet with absurd anachronistic Windows 95 desktops is truly a grand vision—I’ll toast to that.

The reaction of publications covering Poolside FM is what I’m really enjoying. On It’s Nice That—a design magazine—Lucy Bourton writes:

There are of course, considering this is a project of pure fun and joy, a few smile-inducing tweaks in the website’s design too with a unique colour palette (customisable backgrounds are a must-try), martini glasses instead of close buttons and an ASCII art boot screen. It even involves its growing community with a guestbook for users to comment on and a shop with merchandise too.

😂 It even has a ‘guestbook’! For the users!

From The Verge:

Bell’s site even incorporates a guestbook on its site, like old-school webpages, which creates a feeling of community.

Has everyone gone back to 1985? This is getting infectious!

Poolside.FM has about 32,000 followers on Instagram, and Bell says that the site has 4,000 monthly listeners. He wants to grow that number this year and continue building up the community. Part of that is welcoming new listeners, but he also wants to encourage other artists and musicians to submit their tracks. It’s a collaborative process.

I only hope that one day we’ll have the technology for you out there—my own unique clan of snakeskin-clad hypertexting sunbathers—to load up Kicks Condor’s Russian Sci-Fi and Iranian Cinema Blog.avi straight from Poolside FM! See you then.

See also: foreignrap, somehow related.

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‘He often invited her parents to stay, as though by studying them he might decipher the mystery of their daughter. They would come to the island, where the ancestral home still remained, and would stay for weeks at a time. Never had he met people of such extraordinary blandness, such featurelessness: however much he exhausted himself with trying to stimulate them, they were as unresponsive as a pair of armchairs. In the end he became very fond of them, as one can become fond of armchairs…’

— p. 20, Outline by Rachel Cusk

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25 Jul 2019

Reply: Lateral Connections

vega

Serendipity in newspapers and record stores is dependent on unlike things being adjacent to each other. […] It’s the caprice, whimsy, lateral thinking, and uniqueness of the curator that decides what link stands next to what else—something that machine algorithms just can’t do. These days we rely too much on a machine serving us hyperlinks; a return to human-curated hyperlinks is perhaps a way of raising serendipity.

‘…unlike things being adjacent to each other.’

Great comments. Even without algorithms, this can be trouble—on subreddits, posts can be flagged ‘offtopic’—so overboard moderation is a problem. (Of course, Reddit is where one goes to fully ‘engage’. No /s—it’s fine to do that. Problem is: people may not know where to go to get outside of ‘engage’ mode.)

One thought I’ll add re: getting outside of my own interests—I think if we had better tools for keeping tabs on our interests, we could more easily move outside them. (Like: if my ‘reader’/‘news feed’ makes it difficult to track 100 people, then I can’t very well track 1,000 people.)

And directories are sweet here—they are little libraries. Sure, they can cover your interests. But they can be used to map the strange elven lands that you happen to sally in.

  1. @kicks re tools: I think that "unlike things adjacent to each other" helps a lot; the examples in @dancohen's article -- record store, newspaper -- depend on spatial organization to promote serendipity even when one begins at a point of their own interest. Browsing my Pinboard.in account revives and reminds me of old interests -- the links may be organized by date in a flat-file, but diverse things are adjacent to each other. I've also been experimenting with Zettelkasten for various info-management and creative purposes (haven't progressed far though).

    I'm generally in agreement with this paper that spatial organization is integral to human interaction with things outside the self; but digital tools and AI aren't that good at doing it yet. Human-curated hyperlinks and organizational methods are a step towards it, but perhaps this is an area for future IT development.

  2. @vega @kicks Vega I'm thinking about this "unlike things adjacent to each other" in the context of the Web 1.0 "free" banner exchanges. But now that I've blurted that out, I see too many downsides to it: keeping it from becoming commercial, cluttering up blogs with banner ads for poor click through ratios so never mind, too much work for to little gain. SImple hyperlink is easier and less intrusive.

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Chameleon’s Wiki

TiddlyWiki is trending??

This is getting crazy!! Philosopher.life is turning into some kind of cult. And chameleon has entered the fray with a great design—really cool styling on the tags. This is one to keep an eye on.

YOU DONT KNOW ABOUT MY OTHER CAR I GUESS ?

ITS A MACRO

AND IS PRONOUNCED ``$:/macros/’’

OK YOU FUQIN ANGERED AN EXPERT PUBLIC SELF MODELLER

THIS IS TiddlyWiki

YOU ARE ALLOWED TO POST HERE ONLY IF YOU HAVE ACHIEVED SATORI

WIKIING IS ALL ABOUT ``ABSTRACT BULLSHITE’’ THAT YOU WILL NEVER COMPREHEND

DIS IS MANIFESTOE.

I need to add this to my list—I am tracking this community at href.cool/Web/Wiki. My dream is that this list becomes untenable. What if TiddlyWiki becomes the new blockchain? Like what if everywhere you go people are talking about it? The Stranger Things cast all have theirs already.

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19 Jul 2019

Fridaycat, the Friday Vid

Our work is at odds. Our networks are not neatly aligned. Links still work. Hypertext works. There is a superset—but it is haphazard.

It occurs to me that maybe the ‘conduit’ in this video—the shamanically healing ‘reader’—is an embodification of Postel’s Law: it liberally accepts everything and attempts to conservatively output all of it to the eyeball interface.

Also: the slaptrash source for this video is here.

  1. Delightful! Now you got me thinking about the possibilities too. Dammit.
  2. Is fridaycat live or is still a prototype?
  3. Still a prototype—thank you for looking into it. Part of the issue is that there have been some fixes to Beaker Browser that I am working through. For instance: github.com/beakerbrowser/…

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15 Jul 2019

The Missing Quests on Golf: Become Human

A sweet vaporwave descendant of Zany Golf on a sweet fairly new blog.

I have been watching this blog for a few months now—The Missing Quests by Alex Guichet. Like Warp Door, this blog plumbs the depths of itch.io—little homemade games, many released as part of the hundreds of silly, spontaneous game jams. However, Alex actually plays the games and provides generous screenshots and commentary.

Depending on how you feel about this sort of irreverent jokey complexity, Golf: Become Human may sound either fantastic or terrible to you, but you should really play it. It changes in ways that keep you guessing, in an irresistible sort of way that just made me search for another hidden level, or to keep seeing how the game will evolve next.

These kinds of little blogs are a staple for discovery in the game community—like Stately Play is for digital board games.

From the FAQ:

Why a new blog, in 2019? I think the web is a charming home for content, but independent blogging has been in a sad and steady decline. This site lets me put a new voice on the web in a unique niche, with content formatted the way I want.

I talk a lot about Hypertexting and trying to innovate the ‘blog’/‘wiki’ format, but I think sometimes a cute little blog is just the thing.

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12 Jul 2019

@visakanv’s Bookmarks

If you want to make yourself a tiny directory, it can be this easy…

So this is one of the closest things I’ve seen to my href.cool directory—a big page of bookmarks, assorted ‘interesting’ reads all listed together under some ad-hoc categories (biographies, celebrity, war). And, perhaps more importantly, little blurbs for each one that are really well-done, in that they convey a lot of ‘feeling’/‘synopsis’—I actually enjoy just reading the whole page, to get a sense of this person and what’s out there in topics that may not appear to interest me on the surface.

I think I want to make the argument that building a directory like this is a more, I don’t know, ‘worthwhile’ effort than just leaking out links here and there as you find them. This is a great thing for ‘hypertext’ or a ‘website’ to aspire to be.

A few thoughts:

  • The page says ‘March 17, 2016’—does this mean the page hasn’t been updated since then? This must be wrong—there’s a link with ‘2017’ in the title.

  • There’s a bullet point in the ‘sex’/‘gender’ topic that just says: ‘Economics of sex’ with no links. Wonder what’s up there? A placeholder?

  • Reading this has made me realize that I think I need domain names displayed next to the link. It would be nice to know where the link goes before you hover it. (And mobile doesn’t have this option.)

I also really like this person’s 1,000,000 words project. 1,000 essays of 1,000 words. This one functions like a mini-directory as well, actually—like a mind map or… well, there are links in there as well. It’s sort of like if you could browse a portion of h0p3’s wiki as a linear, chronological conversation.

I hope you’re getting some ideas now.

UPDATE: Hold up, wait, wait—this is rich: visakanv.com/blog/communities/. A kind of hybrid ‘directory’/‘blogpost’ strictly on moderating and building communities.

It is my experience that, if you create a safe space for a minority group, sparing them the stress of having to explain themselves to clueless outsiders, the level of criticism, argument, discourse, etc inside the group INCREASES. People challenge and spar with each other.

Sweet take. I also just think we have someone here who is really good at collecting. Taking note.

  1. @kicks Yup, at that scale it's a very useful tiny directory a/k/a linkpage and nicely done too. These are great aids to surfing the 'net.

  2. @kicks This is something I want to do! Although mine will be way bigger, and hopefully updated like a linkblog.

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  1. Replied to The IndieWeb Needs To… Hide! by Kicks Condor Kicks Condor

    I’m not in a rush for the IndieWeb to grow. It might be perfect like this.

    Something I’ve heard said about meetings, in my mind, can be said about the mainstream too – it’s where great ideas go to die. I don’t wanna go mainstream, thank you.

    Here outside the mainstream, there’s stronger currents running, pulling us into something special, something rare – something we kinda remember and feels like home. Shhh people, keep it down and enjoy it…

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05 Jul 2019

Reply: The Purpose of a Website?

okaleniuk

[Referring to the website wordsandbuttons.online.] It’s not a resume. It would have been an awful resume. I wouldn’t hire myself by this resume.

And keeping record is, of course, nice. But it has nothing to do with running your own website. You can keep record on Medium, too. In fact, it would be more effective since it works wonders for the small notes.

Still, I totally agree that keeping your own site is a fascinating experience and it’s well worth time and effort.

It’s amusing to me that you seem to be struggling to vocalize why anyone would want a website like yours—as if a ‘resume’ or a ‘journal’ were the only reasons to keep one.

But, as a reader, I think a website like yours is like having a chance to explore that person’s personality in a freeform way.[1] The design reflects their aesthetic (similar to how fashion does for the physical form), the organization reflects their favored mental models perhaps, and the myriad of topics and links makes it a graph-like structure for a ‘book’/‘journal’/‘life’. It’s strange to me that people question a personal website’s purpose—but accept that of a coloring or sticker book. To me, that only says that our brains haven’t quite caught up with how to use the medium. (Although, if you have read sites like philosopher.life, then I think you have a glimpse of what’s possible.)


  1. And, to me, this exploration of life is at the heart of what brings purpose and beauty to humanity—this is why I live, to try to understand or maybe to just immerse myself in what beauty I can find in the world or in the lives of its creatures. In a way, what could be greater than a website?! 😄 ↩︎

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r4ms3s.cz

A single-page home page done in ‘outrun’ style.

From what I can tell, this page doesn’t go very deep—but it’s another very lovely and imaginative home page, in the vein of The Preposterous Official Website of Erik Bernacchi or Mariano Pascual. The vertical parallax scrolling is slick and I love subtleties like how scrolling down into the building removes the audio bass-boosting. Novelty websites have really lost their scene in recent years, despite there being a handful of insanely inventive sites like Nathalie Lawhead’s Tetrageddon or the mind-blowing Retronator zine. I have to encourage these sites, because it still feels like ripe territory!

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04 Jul 2019

#SocialMediaStrike StaleStream

It’s time to riot in the newsfeeds!! I saw one guy who posted #socialmediastrike thirty times in one post—yeah, that’s it!!

I’m sorry that I’m so unchill today. I have a sore throat and giant corporations are destroying my most beloved technologies!! These giant corporations ARE ALSO soothing my throat by way of pharamaceuticals—j/k, takin’ ‘essential’ oils.

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01 Jul 2019

I love hearing that the Indieweb Summit this year really pushed for DISCOVERY. Don’t forget that discovering each other isn’t just about automating and algorithms—just basic linking to each other can go a long ways! Highly recommend the talks at twitch.tv/indieweb. What a chill vibe, looks like a great time.

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Social Media Strike, July 4th & 5th

Okay, okay, you in on this? I sure am.

I don’t get the sense that this has really caught on yet—and, I’m not sure why, throwing shade at social media seems like good fun, yeh? If you’re thinking about starting your own sweet, shitty little website like mine—get in!!

At first I was like: “A hashtagggg?? wtf??” But now I see this as an opportunity—if you exit social media (to your own blog or TiddlyWiki or website that day), use that hash tag and WE CAN FIND YOU!!

But better yet:

  • Post to /en/socialmediastrike on that day—an even better way to find you all out there, without needing to resort to social networks.

  • I’m going to work on a new secret directory page on href.cool for the things I collect on that day.

  • I have some other surprises for that day—presuming anyone else out there is jazzed about this fun reactionary day!!

I know a lot of people are like, “Facebook is not going to pay attention to this!” Gah, fuck em—this is good fun for us. Is it not?

See you there.

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25 Jun 2019

The Spartan Web

Href huntin’ by Andreas Zwinkau

A few days ago, there was a thread on the link-sharing site Lobste.rs entitled: “What are your favorite personal websites around the internet?” So this was a great thread for href hunting. In fact, commenter ‘qznc’ dropped a link to /r/SpartanWeb—a subreddit collecting custom personal websites. qnzc is Andreas Zwinkau.

Andreas’ term “Spartan Web” indicates websites that are:

  • Non-commercial. Amateurs, hobbyists, nerds.
  • Less than 1MB. Unless it’s illustrations, photos.
  • Very little JavaScript—especially no analytics. (Yikes! My site is heavy on JS—although none of it is for gathering statistics and the site should work with JS turned off.)
  • Possibly hand-written HTML and CSS.

Interestingly, I’ve seen a bunch of recent articles praising HTML and attempting to foment a return to HTML. Writing HTML in HTML—someone who started a new blog without any type of an ‘engine’ or static site generator—it’s all just custom HTML. Words and Buttons Online, a directory-style personal page.

One thing I’d love to see is some static Indieweb HTML (in other words: microformats) where you can copy and paste pages to add blog entries. Then an index page where you can add a link to that page and JavaScript can optionally add in date/time/author details from the link. It could also use Webmention.io to load comments over JavaScript.

  1. @kicks Hello, Kicks. Replying to the comment in this post in praise of creating webpages in plain HTML/CSS. Boy has the Internet come full circle -- back to the status quo of the early 2000s (so not that big a circle). I'm currently playing with Hugo static site generator, and at the back of my mind lingers the thought about whether it will give me more trouble than not in the long-term. HTML really is the elegant KISS method at the end of the day. Thanks for highlighting alternative perspectives in webdesign!

  2. Reply: Pure HTML All Over Again

    vega

    @kicks Hello, Kicks. Replying to the comment in this post in praise of creating webpages in plain HTML/CSS. Boy has the Internet come full circle – back to the status quo of the early 2000s (so not that big a circle). I’m currently playing with Hugo static site generator, and at the back of my mind lingers the thought about whether it will give me more trouble than not in the long-term. HTML really is the elegant KISS method at the end of the day. Thanks for highlighting alternative perspectives in webdesign!

    Hey, Vega! You know, it’s very strange to me that static sites have become so arcane. For a brief time, Movable Type made them the dominant style of blog. I’d really like to see a return to something like that. But simpler, perhaps.

    I rather envy the freeform HTML sites. I really miss server-side includes as well—that seemed like a kind of ideal form, since you could do more complex things with plain HTML. I kind of wish modern HTML would let us do HTML includes without needing to resort to JavaScript. It seems strange that HTML didn’t go that direction.

    At any rate, thanks for saying hi. Yours is a blog I enjoying reading from time to time.

  3. @kicks @vega My original bibliography may qualify as a Spartan Website. I built it with a simple text editor that allowed me to easily paste in the standard tags for HTML 3.2 and then type the unique text for each book. I don't remember what that software was called. Then I would FTP the html files to the server at Netcom.com. I'm not sure whether that qualifies as hand-written or not. I certainly used a computer, that's for sure. I'm sure it has no Javascript, because I didn't know such a thing existed, ditto for CSS. But I don't know whether it fits the size limitation given and don't know how to tell. There are hundreds of html files, as each completed book entry has it's own file, but I'm sure they're all very small. The TOC page has an embedded search engine from Alta Vista, which of course no longer works. That was the most bleeding edge feature I had at the time, which I was quite proud of having implemented entirely on my own, just by reading Alta Vista instructions. I also fancied it up with a frames edition, but I don't think that's anything other than more html. I no longer recall how I did it. I built the original edition entirely by following the instructions in Laura Lemay's book, Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 3.2 in 14 Days, which I still have in my library. It has 1054 pages, weighs 5lbs 5 oz and extremely clear instructions. I don't recall any instance of not knowing what to do, after reading her descripton for any particular feature in html. It may have taken me more than 14 days, but I was in no hurry. I sure wish there was a book comparable to the Lemay book for micro.blog!! In those days, a reasonably intelligent person could build a very useful site, just by using that one Lemay book. Later I got another small book that told me how to add the color. The TOC page has a lot of link rot, but it's the only place where I dared to put in any external links. The rest of the entire bibliography uses only internal links, so it should all still be working, just like new. One day I will publish another one, but with well over 1,000 books, rather than the mere 544 books in the 1999 edition. Of course Google has been threatening to hide this site into obscurity for a long time now, as I have not converted it to SSL.

  4. @bradenslen Thanks, Brad, for a very comprehensive document! Near the end of reading it, I found it ironic that an effort to make the web robust had made me completely exhausted in reading a document which I am sure is correct, but turned out to be soooooo long that I did not succeed in making it to the end, having collapsed in the bit dust at my feet. But who am I to complain? My previous reply on this thread was far longer than most!

  5. @Ron To me the big takeaways were, she's telling other web developers that HTML is not broken and that it will keep on working on a website long after the JavaScript has gone belly up. And that you don't need all the JS with the massive bandwidth costs to make a webpage and convey information to your reader, just like you did with your bibliography. Ron your Dylan bibliography, written in ancient HTML 3.2 is still as rock solid today as it was when you wrote it. I really like that.

  6. @bradenslen Wow, I really like that too! Thanks for summing it up for me. 😃

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20 Jun 2019

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14 Jun 2019

What Draws Me to Surrealism

A few reasons, thoughts behind what is driving the current movement, as well as all of life everywhere.

It’s now time to tell you about myself. I feel like I should tell you something very revealing. From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure that a revelation like this must occur in order for anyone to care about me. I don’t exist unless I tell you something!

I think that if I am to talk to you, it must come by communicating something, surely. But it’s more than this. I’m also in this mood—I’m reeling with rambunctious energy! I feel like I can say anything and it will be true—but I also want to open my mouth and to say something that actually IS true. So I might try that! We’ll see, in just a moment.

Okay, let’s see. I am compelled to talk intensely about all of life, about the very core of myself. About all of the Earth. About animals. About the sky! About the lightning that descends from it. About little keys and chains and about ornate knobs that exist apart from the original bureaus to which they where attached! I feel suddenly enabled—and this is by what I’ve seen, by just a simple mouse cursor I saw—to attempt to explain this consciousness and to paint my full perspective in a shattering way, to dispel every pretense and to unveil all of life and to do it by talking about surrealism. (Especially surrealism as it exists on the Web, on blogs and on zines as they are coming through the postal service.)

The mouse cursor that I saw was of a simple Jersey cow, lowing in the field. I was not looking for a new mouse cursor at the time, I was simply drinking from a clear canister. The circumstances could not be less intriguing. I was drinking from a clear canister and I had my hand resting on the bough of a tree.

Normally I close my eyes while I am drinking. I close them very tight actually. Sometimes my eyelids hurt from closing them so tightly! I have to tell myself to not close them so tightly. And that’s what I did in this moment: I was telling myself not to close my eyelids so tightly. I was repeating to myself the phrase: Decci Estefani Epcot—which is a phonetical reading of an acronym which stands for “Don’t Ever Close Your Eyelids So Tightly That the Force of Your Entire Person is Concentrated There.” I repeated this again and again in my mind. Decci Estefani Epcot. Decci Estefani Epcot. In my mind, many times.

I am very careful to say it precisely, as it is a slight tongue twister. Not a notable one at all. But a minor one. My eyelids love it. Let’s just say: they were doing fine. And as I said, the vision of this Jersey cow mouse cursor was conjured in my vision, moving across my neighbor’s yard.

I was standing on a ladder, looking into this neighbor’s yard, while this mouse cursor clicked on different things. The grass. Then an in-ground trampoline. Then a bush. A bird flew out of the bush. It clicked on a screen door and it rattled slightly. It clicked on the bush a few more times, but there were no birds there, just a rustling.

I marveled at this cursor—I hadn’t even thought to look at the bush or the in-ground trampoline before. I wouldn’t even have tried. Not before this. But now I looked, I really looked! And I truly saw them in all of their splendor. The pleasant thump of the trampoline’s tarpaulin! I thought to myself that it would be lovely to have a mouse cursor in my life that would click on various things, bringing my attention to them and making them fully interactive. It didn’t occur to me that I actually did have one now. I looked, and it seemed totally independent and detached from me, not mine in any sense, not belonging to any of us, but just a translucent layer, existing on top of the projections of my eyes. It shook its head from side to side, nervously. But I could see that it was beaming with a raw, youthful embarrassment.

Now, this is not the revelation—many of you have written in to tell me about your mouse cursors and what you like to do with them. And also I should say, I worry about bringing up the wrong thing here. Do you ever say something offhanded to someone and then two days later you suddenly throw yourself BACKWARDS against the wall in the middle of the day and you yell HEY WAIT THIS IS A BAD SITUATION! Of course, when someone notices you, you laugh playfully, as if it you were just kidding around—but in secret, you struggle to breathe again and you close your eyelids way too tight, and you find you are trapped in this situation from then on, paralyzed by what you can ever do right again.

What I am saying is—well, first off, I have many times seen a wolf on top of my neighbor’s house. It is usually just licking its paws or staring at children who are playing. It’s sitting on shingles as if they were just another natural biome. But what I’m saying is that I’m afraid that many of you will think I am saying “wolf”—as in “German.” (Because I often used that word to derogatorily refer to Germans when I was a young person. And it was true back then—many Germans were wolves in those days, they would steal my train tickets. But it’s no longer true—so I no longer say it, but I’m afraid to now even bring up the word “wolf” even if I have a good reason, like if I want to tell you that I’ve seen one on my neighbor’s roof.)

So this is the revelation—why exactly I struggle to use the word “wolf” on this blog or even in my private life, in the most intimate moments. Well, no, I do use it there very frequently.

Now it is nighttime and I am confronting this digitally, to see how it goes. The FBI and the KGB are here watching my every move. They love to peep in and to announce their presence on my screen. There is a little icon of a man’s face. It appears in my system tray and it winks once at me. But if I try to show anyone else the man’s face, it fades into an ordinary Dropbox logo. This is quite maddening. But, being a former computer expert, I do know what it takes to make a smooth fade transition.

So, yes, this is what draws me to the surrealist community. And to bee videos, which is the closest thing I have right now to my mouse cursor.

  1. I love it when you go all metaphysical in plain language. While I continue thinking about this, I must share something I just encountered - http://art.teleportacia.org/ - cheers
  2. Reply: Olia Lialina

    joe jenett

    I love it when you go all metaphysical in plain language. While I continue thinking about this, I must share something I just encountered - http://art.teleportacia.org/ - cheers

    Heya Joe. I love this! I have linked to her before (The GeoCities Research Institute)—but I wasn’t aware how many of her other projects I had encountered before. That main page that does the scrolling trick—I had thought about using that technique on my own page, but couldn’t remember where I’d seen it.

    Oh and one recent link you’ve shared (Edwin Wenink) is a great discovery! I love how turning on “dark mode” turns on laser eyes for his self-portrait. It’s also a great portal to other things.

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12 Jun 2019

Archive of Our Own

Everyone is linking to this—but, come on! This is in my dept…

Ok, wow—this feels good. This link is not a search engine, not a hashtag database—but an old school type web directory! (See—Brad, Joe, here we go!) A rising one, with a nomination at the Hugo Awards and coverage in a recent Wired article by Gretchen McCulloch:

On AO3 [Archive of Our Own], users can put in whatever tags they want. (Autocomplete is there to help, but they don’t have to use it.) Then behind the scenes, human volunteers look up any new tags that no one else has used before and match them with any applicable existing tags, a process known as tag wrangling. Wrangling means that you don’t need to know whether the most popular tag for your new fanfic featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson is Johnlock or Sherwatson or John/Sherlock or Sherlock/John or Holmes/Watson or anything else. And you definitely don’t need to tag your fic with all of them just in case. Instead, you pick whichever one you like, the tag wranglers do their work behind the scenes, and readers looking for any of these synonyms will still be able to find you.

My God—web directory + human curation! This is my dream. The article is fantastic: interviews with tag wranglers and greater detail on what goes into it. They’ve actually figured out how to do a centralized database (like Yahoo! or DMOZ) and keep it orderly, useful, current.

To see for yourself exactly how this plays out, there is this spot in a YouTube video that shows how the categorization works. It does lean heavily on autocomplete and rigid selections—but you can always just type in whatever you like. But, jeez, it is astonishing the depth of categorization!

This is not a new thing, of course—so I may look ignorant to the AO3 users who may encounter this post. The @ao3_wranglers Twitter account has been around since 2011—and the site began its beta in 2009—but I think we can say that this method is now proven and can be used elsewhere.

Anyway, I recently made an attempt to describe a curation role just like this:

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

So, think of a librarian at work: putting books back under the proper heading, referring readers to specific titles, borrowing books from the outside—in fact, I wish communities were better about knowing what other communities are in the topical vicinity—to help everyone find themselves a home.

Cool, ‘tag wranglers’ it is! I sincerely hope this becomes more of a wider trend.

Of course, this doesn’t change anything when it comes to tiny directories—except that perhaps there is now a window for innovation in this neglected department. If you are building your own directory, you wrangle your own tags.

On the other hand, perhaps communities of tiny directories could come up with a common classification system for their group. I personally wouldn’t do this for href.cool—because I want its categories to be somewhat nonsensical and unfamiliar.

But I could see Indieweb.xyz using some tag wrangling! Basically, if you have people posting to /en/games and /en/video-games—perhaps you could just redirect the second to the first. Collapse redundant tags into a single spot.

Ok, going to stop talking—I’ve posted way too much today. Apologies, the arrival of summer is leaving me at the keyboard a bit more.

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WWWTXT

A dial-up Tumblr.

I wish this was a Tumblr you could dial-up at 2400 bps—but I actually think it’s better than that. (Because interesting technical feats take a backseat, for me, to interesting prose.) This site pulls bits of text from early Internet sources (Usenet, CompuServer, Gopher) and makes ‘tweet’-style posts from them.

I often find sites that exude the visuals of this era (see: bad command or filename or Agora Road), but the quotes deliver some time travel.

"I am an official Nice Guy and I am also a True Nerd."

Many of the quotes are surprisingly prescient, others feel deluded or misty-eyed about the Internet. I sort of wish the entire original writing was cited—but it’s also nice that it’s low-commitment. It takes a few minutes to pore over these.

I found this by way of the essay “Before You Were Here” by Menso Heus on thehmm.nl, which makes a case for anonymity on the Web. Thank you!

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PSA:

  • If my design is hard on your eyes, you hate it—try ‘reader mode’ in your browser. Vivaldi even has a dark mode.
  • Thank you to Jason McIntosh and gRegorLove for reporting Indieweb problems with my HTML. Had a bunch of wrong stuff that’s been causing problems for ages. Feels good!
  • And also to Jacky for bringing up my Twitter problems. It’s an uncomfortable subject—but had to be done. Workin on a fix.

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10 Jun 2019

On Dat://

My teardown of Beaker and the Dat network.

We’re probably all scrambling to figure out a future for ourselves—either by hunting around for some shred of promising technology or by throwing up our hands—shouting and retreating and dreading the shadow of the next corporate titan descending from the sky. The prolonged lifespans of distributed protocols like Bitcoin and torrents means we’re maybe skeptical or jaded about any new protocols—these types of protocols are becoming old news. Maybe we’re just hunkered down in some current online bucket.

And I’ve felt this too—ActivityPub and Secure Scuttlebutt are too complicated. Tim Berner-Lee’s Solid is—well, I can’t even tell what it is. I don’t want to hear about blockchain: do we really need a GPU mining war at the center of our new Web? These are all someone’s idea of a distributed Web, but not mine. IPFS is really cool—but how do I surf it?

After discovering the Beaker Browser, a Web browser for the distributed Dat network, I felt that there was some real promise here. It was simple—load up the browser, create a website, pass your link around. There’s not much new to learn. And the underlying technology is solid: a binary protocol very similar to Git.[1] (As opposed to Secure Scuttlebutt, which is tons of encrypted JSON.)

I spent four months using Beaker actively: running this website on the network, messing with the different libraries, trying out the different apps—and then I hit a wall. Had a good time, for sure. And I kept seeding my Dats—kept my sites on the network. The technology was just lovely.

But: you can’t yet edit a website from a different browser (like on a different computer). This is called multi-writer support—and there is some talk about this landing by the end of the year. But this is, from what I can see, the single major omission in Beaker. (It’s not a problem with Dat itself—you can use a Hyperdb for that—but Beaker hasn’t settled the details.)

So I left Dat alone. I figured: they need time to work this problem out. Beaker has remained remarkably effortless to use—I’d hate for multi-writer to be tacked on, complicating the whole thing.

An Imperfect Dat—Cool?

Recently, it occured to me that maybe I don’t need multi-writer. And maybe I should really be sure that the rest of Dat is as perfect as I think it is. So I started working on a limited (but full-featured) app for Beaker, with the intention of writing up a full ‘review’/‘teardown’ of everything I discover in the process.

This is my review—and the app is Duxtape.

It occured to me that a Muxtape clone would be a perfect tracer bullet for me to push Beaker. (Muxtape was a 2008 website for sharing mixtapes—minimal design, suddenly became very prominent, and then was promptly DEMOLISHED by the music industry.)

  1. Muxtape was shut down because it was centralized. If Muxtape had been distributed[2], it would be much more difficult (perhaps impossible) to shutter.

  2. Muxtape did some file processing. Reading music file metadata (title, artist’s name) and loading music into the browser’s music player. Could the app handle this?

  3. The Muxtape home page listed recent mixtapes. This would give me a chance to use datPeers—a way of talking to others that are using the same site.

  4. Storing song information and order. I don’t have a database, so where do I put this stuff?

  5. A more general question: What if I upgrade the code? How do I handle upgrading the mixtapes too?

I also didn’t want to think in terms of social networks. Many of Beaker’s most advanced apps (like Fritter and Rotonde) are ‘messaging’/‘social’ apps. I specifically wanted a creation tool that spit out something that was easy to share.

How would Beaker do with that kind of tool?

A Teardown of The Network

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

In the case of Duxtape, the address is dat://df1cc…40.

Duxtapes file view.

The full folder contents can be viewed here at datBase.

So when you visit Duxtape, all that stuff is downloaded. Beaker will show you the index.html, which simply lets you create a new mixtape and lists any that you’ve encountered.

Now, you can’t edit my Dat—so how do you create a mixtape?? And how does it keep track of other mixtapes?? Teardown time!

CREATING A MIXTAPE

This creates a new Dat (new folder on your computer) with just index.html inside. I actually copy the tape.html from my Dat into that folder, your mixtape. That HTML file will load its images and Javascript and such from MY Duxtape dat! (This means I can upgrade my original Dat—and upgrade YOUR Dat automatically—cool, but… dangerous.)

DISCOVERING A MIXTAPE

When you hit someone else’s mixtape link, the Javascript loads the Duxtape home page in an HTML iframe—passing the link to that page. The link is then stored in ‘localStorage’ for that page. So, those are kept in a kind of a cookie. Nothing very server-like about any of that.

But furthermore: when you are on the Duxtape homepage, your browser will connect to other browsers (using datPeers) that are viewing the homepage. And you will trade mixtapes there. Think about this: you can only discover those who happen to be around when you are! It truly acts like a street corner for a random encounter.

ALTERING A MIXTAPE

Where are song titles and song ordering kept? Well, heh—this is just kept in the HTML—in your index.html. Many Beaker apps keep stuff like this in a JSON file. But I felt that there was no need for duplication. (I think the IndieWeb has fully corrupted me.) When I want to read the mixtape title, I load the index.html and find the proper tags in the page. (Like: span.tape-title, for instance.)

PUBLISHING A MIXTAPE

Beaker has a special technique you can use for batching up edits before you publish them. (See the checkout method.) Basically, you can create a temporary Dat, make your changes to it, then either delete it or publish it.

However, I didn’t go this route. It turned out that I could batch up all my changes in the browser before saving them. This includes uploaded files! I can play files in the browser and read their data without copying them to the Dat. So no need to do this. It’s a neat feature—for a different app.

So this allows you to work on your mixtape, add and delete songs, get it perfect—then upload things to the network.[3]

This all worked very well—though I doubt it would work as well if you had 1,000 songs on your mixtape. In that case, I’d probably recommend using a database to store stuff rather than HTML. But it still might work well for 1,000 songs—and maybe even 1,000,000. This is another advantage to not having a server as a bottleneck. There is only so much that a single person can do to overload their browser.

For reading song metadata, I used the music-metadata-browser library—yes, I actually parse the MP3 and OGG files right in the browser! This can only happen in modern times: Javascript has become a competent technology on the server, now all of that good stuff can move into the browser and the whole app doesn’t need a server—in fact, WebAssembly makes Dat even more compelling.

Special Feature: The DatArchive Object

Lastly, here are some calls that I used which are specific to the Beaker Browser—these are the only differences between running Duxtape in plain Chrome and running it distributed:

  1. stat: I use this to check if a song file has already been uploaded.

  2. readFile: To read the index.html when I need to get song information.

  3. writeFile: To save changes to songs—to publish the index.html for your mixtape.

  4. unlink: To delete songs—NOTE: that songs are still in the Dat’s history and may be downloaded.

  5. getInfo and configure: Just to update the name of the mixtape’s Dat if the name of the mixtape is changed by you. A small touch.

  6. isOwner: The getInfo() above also tells me if you are the owner of this mixtape. This is crucial! I wanted to highlight this—I use this to enable mixtape editing automatically. If you don’t own the mixtape, you don’t see this. (All editor controls are removed when the index.html is saved back to disk.)

So this should give you a good idea of what Dat adds. And I just want to say: I have been wondering for awhile why Dat has its own special format rather than just using something like Git. But now I see: that would be too complex. I am so glad that I don’t have to pull() and commit() and all that.

I spent most of my time working on the design and on subtle niceties—and that’s how it should be.

Peeling Back the Good and Bad

It’s clear that there are tremendous advantages here: Dat is apps without death. Because there is no server, it is simple to both seed an app (keep it going) and to copy it (re-centralize it). I have one central Duxtape right now (duxtape.kickscondor.com), but you could easily fork that one (using Beaker’s ‘make editable copy’ button) and improve it, take it further.

The roots of ‘view source’ live on, in an incredibly realized form. (In Beaker, you can right-click on Duxtape and ‘view source’ for the entire app. You can do this for your mixtapes, too. Question: When was the last time you inspected the code hosting your Webmail, your blog, your photo storage? Related question: When was the first time?)

In fact, it now becomes HARD:IMPOSSIBLE to take down an app. There is no app store to shut things down. There is no central app to target. In minutes, it can be renamed, rehashed, reminified even (if needed)—reborn on the network.

This has a fascinating conflict with the need to version and centralize an app. Many might desire to stay with the authoritative app—to preserve their data, to stay in touch with the seeders of that central app. But this is a good tension, too—it INSISTS on backwards compatibility. I am pressured to keep Duxtape’s conventions, to preserve everyone’s mixtapes. It will be difficult to upgrade everything that is possibly out there.

This same pressure is reminiscent of the Web’s own history: HTML that ran in 1995 often still runs today—Flash and Quicktime are quite the opposite, as will be all of the native apps of today. (Think of apps you’ve bought that are already outmoded.) The ‘view source’ keeps compatibility in check. If Beaker is able to keep their APIs firm, then there is real strength here.

Still, Dat is limited. Where is it short? Can we accept these?

  • It truly RESISTS centralization. This becomes starkly apparent when you are working on your app—you cannot connect to a REST web service. You need to rethink everything. This is good—but it is painful.
  • Discovery suffers. This is related: I cannot just advertise published mixtapes to a central web server that stays up all night showing off how busy things are. But, as I mentioned above (in the PUBLISHING A MIXTAPE section,) the datPeers feature has really helped assuage this sore spot.
  • Not everything can be stored in the browser. How does a search engine work on this network? Or is this type of centralization something we should resist? (I do offer search on my Dat-version of this website, by leaning on Elasticlunr.js.)
  • Inter-app communication is hard. Earlier I mentioned that I need to use an HTML iframe to communicate with the Duxtape home page—there is no need to use the Fetch API (AJAX) in Beaker, ever. DatArchive deprecates it. (Though I would be interested to see a use for the Fetch API—if a Dat could house a GUI-less service, to negate the need for iframes.)
  • The multi-writer problem. Again: you cannot edit a Dat from a second machine.

But—think about this: I don’t have to take on cloud hosting! I don’t need to scale the app! This is a huge relief. URGENT QUESTION: Why are we trying to even do this?

I also mentioned not needing the multi-writer feature. Obviously, multi-writer demands some centralization. A central Dat needs to authorize other Dats. But I think this centralization could be moved to the DNS resolution—basically, if I edit Duxtape on a second machine, it will have a new unique address—and I can point duxtape.kickscondor.com to that new address. This means I can never get locked out of the Dat—unless I am locked out of the DNS. (So there is a way forward without any new features.)

Still, these downsides are pure side effects of a distributed Web. These are the realities we’re asking for—for me, it’s time to start accepting them.

Dat Uptake

Several months had passed since I last used Dat—how was it doing with adoption?

Well, it seems, no different. But it’s hard to say for a distributed network. Every Dat runs in secret—they are difficult to find. The discovery problems are perhaps the most urgent ones.

But there is good recent work:

  • Cabal: Not a browser project. Just an IRC-like network on Dat. There is very active work on all of these projects.
  • Data Terra Nemo and the DWeb Camp show that ‘distributed web’ stuff has momentum. Beaker seems to have a solid presence at these.
  • Unwalled Garden: The developer of Beaker is dabbling with… social networks. This is probably needed, though. But I would hope for more work on multi-writer, on sparse downloading, on different modes of seeding (like it would be cool to have a ‘vacuum’ type mode—where you only seed the latest,) or on BitTorrent integration. (I wish I could just serve large files with BitTorrent and mix dat: and magnet: links!)[4]
  • The Dat project’s blog has all kinds of academic and hobbyist work going on.

These are all cool—but Dat has a long way to go. With the corpypastas (or CorpASAs) taking up all the attention, adoption is terribly slow. What Beaker may need most of all is a mobile version. But, hey, I’ll write my article here and make my dent—if you feel stimulated to noise about, then please join in. I mean: using a new web browser is just very low effort—perhaps the lowest. You need to use one anyway!

I think HTTPS has proven itself well for the centralized stuff. Perhaps there is a future for HTTPS as simply a collection of centralized REST APIs for things like search and peer discovery. I think the remaining apps could migrate to this fertile garden emerging on the Dat network.


  1. It should be noted that there is a document called “How Dat Works”, which goes into all the details and which is absolutely beautiful, well-organized and, yeah, it actually teaches you very plainly how Dat works! I am not sure I’ve seen such a well-made ‘white paper’/‘spec’-type doc. ↩︎

  2. Apps on the Dat network have no ‘server’, they can be seeded like any other file. ↩︎

  3. Clearly Dat apps will need to put extra work into providing a scratch area for draft work—the protocol puts this pressure on the app. I think this also makes the system lean toward single-page apps, to assist drafting when in a large app. ↩︎

  4. I would be REALLY interested in seeing an equivalent to The Pirate Bay on Beaker. If you could move a tracker to the Dat network, much would be learned about how to decentralize search. ↩︎

  1. Trying out duxtape - looks like a hidden limit though, I can't add songs over 10 MB or so? dat://8e65d24d1c6cfb852abd27105fd2d8e1dfdca55d55205c18cb35fce59c6be2bd/
  2. Reply: Duxtape’s ‘Megabyte’ Problem

    Kevin Marks

    Trying out duxtape - looks like a hidden limit though, I can’t add songs over 10 MB or so? dat://8e65d24d1c6cfb852abd27105fd2d8e1dfdca55d55205c18cb35fce59c6be2bd/

    Indeed—I can’t seem to publish a 36 MB song. This must be related to the bug mentioned in the Hacker News comments. I will need to look into this—10 MB is a perfectly reasonable song size! Thank you Kevin.

  3. Hey, hi! Do whatever you like. And I have to thank you for your blog. Your article on datPeers clued me in on that whole side of Beaker. One of my big problems with Beaker was what to do about discovery—I found that post a week ago.
  4. Oh wow! datPeers has been pretty exciting. I recently did a demo of doing multiplayer 3D stuff with it. github.com/RangerMauve/af…

    I'll make sure to ping you when the newsletter is out. 😁 Your site looks really awesome by the way!
  5. Hey, have you checked out cubit or tribler? they make torrent discovery in a decentralized fashion
  6. Reply: Cubit and Tribler

    Anonymous

    Hey, have you checked out cubit or tribler? they make torrent discovery in a decentralized fashion

    Hey, thank you for the leads! I think what Dat could add is the ability to run your own custom tracker—in fact, I don’t even know if there would be a need for that. You could just put a simple web page up on Dat with your magnet links.

    I’ll have to give Tribler a shot to see how smooth it is. In a way, we’ve seen this kind of thing before with the built-in search for networks like Soulseek and eDonkey2000 and such. I guess even Napster had that initially.

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08 Jun 2019

Duxtape

I’m sorry… another project…

While messing with Dat last night, I got carried away in nostalgia and began… recreating Muxtape in Dat. I wanted to see how far I could get. (If you don’t know what Muxtape was—it was a way of sharing mp3 mixtapes online for a brief window of time in 2008, until it was shut down by the grown-ups.)

So, it seemed interesting to try to replicate Muxtape, because it would be very hard to “shut down” on the Dat network. And, sure enough, I was able to get it working quite well: you can upload songs, tweak the colors and titles, order the songs and such—I think this is quite faithful.

And, yes, it’s peer-to-peer. You can edit your tape using the URL created for you. Then you can pass that same URL out to share your tape. Visitors can listen to the music and seed the tape for everyone else.

If you’re interested in seeing what a mix looks like, try: dat://8587f3…aa/. (You’ll need Beaker.)

Source code is here. Inspired by Tara Vancil’s dat-photos-app. Thanks, Tara!

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06 Jun 2019

The Dat version of my site fell behind, but is now back. Large stuff (videos, audio) are still on HTTP. I have changed my Dat hash—the raw URL—so I wonder if any seeds out there will automatically update.

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05 Jun 2019

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Phil Gyford’s Blogroll

Extraordinarily simple, useful, sweet.

I’ve linked to Phil Gyford last year in the post Timeline of Things Phil’s Done, which I am happy to link to again, because I recently worked on a timeline of a friend’s life and used this as a starting point. Timelines are a rich, underused visual catalog for hypertext.

Phil has just added a blogroll to the same website. This seems uneventful, except that:

  • The design of the ‘writing’ section is fantastic—while completely minimal and faintly ‘brutalist’—am I close? If you are starting on a new blog, look at Phil’s. I’m all about aesthetics and colors—but it’s usually a far second place to organization.

  • And I must ask: do you have a blogroll? Google would prefer you not to. But it’s the smallest, most atomic tiny directory—akin to ‘little libraries’ you see on the roadside.

  • Every single one of these links works! This is a watershed moment in 2019.

Find someone new to read today. You might find a friend. You might read something that really changes you. The world might seem a little more alive again.

  1. I like this "A blogroll is the smallest, most atomic tiny directory—akin to ‘little libraries’ you see on the roadside."

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I have done a bit of work on Slaptrash—there is now a play button, rather than always autoplaying. I’m working through mobile issues still. This isn’t a serious project for me—it’s just a nice diversion. There are some ideas that I want to convey in a ‘slideshow’/‘zine’ approach.

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04 Jun 2019

2019.06: Href.Cool Updates

Dozens of new links, many from Imperica’s ‘web curios’ roundup.

Just as things had a big effect on me last month, such is the discovery of Imperica—particularly its ‘web curios’ posts, which are MASSIVE link roundups like you’ve never seen before. These are exhaustive and tremendously exciting. So, having now read back through the last several months of Imperica, let’s look at the effect on href.cool…

Added to Bodies/Inanimate:

  • Duracell on Instagram Blog 1m
    Some artsy design firm is doing their best with brown-and-gold batteries. (Via Imperica.) (Imperica has a finger on the pulse of Instagram—there is some cool shit happening there.)

A new category, Bodies/Primitive:

  • 507 Movements Page 1m
    Illustrations of five-hundred-and-seven different mechanical pulleys, gears, cogs combos. (Via Imperica.)

In Games/Dialogue:

  • Warp Door Blog 5m
    Not much commentary—just the very indiest of games. Homemade stuff everyday. (I’m REALLY getting into itch.io lately. It’s a “silo” type site but is cultivating a nice place I think.)

In Games/Imagined:

  • Eigengrau’s Generator Page 5m
    Generates random encounters and random persons, complete with backstories and pedigree. Written in Twine, surprisingly.

In Real/Alphanumerics:

  • from here to there Blog 1h
    See, a link like this is what makes the Alphanumerics category the best! I doubt many will visit this topic, because it’s quite modest. But Ian Paul Wright’s blog, lavish in its diagrams and munificent in its prose, is about as good as it gets when it comes to Marxist blogs—fun theories crossing math with philosophy. (Via h0p3.)

A new one for Real/Paced:

  • my mechanics Directory 1m
    Methodical videos of old machinery being oiled, cleaned and repainted. (Via Imperica.)

I’ve expanded the Web/Wiki page, by adding a note on h0p3’s Wiki, listing the various wikis branching out from his family.

To Stories/Paneled, an obvious link I neglected to add:

  • POKEY THE PENGUIN!! Page 1m
    One of the first comics I remeber seeing on the Web—back in the 90’s. Clearly made in MS Paint. Completing it is not a problem—there is a random generator that mashes unrelated frames together.

To Stories/Folkmeme:

An obvious omission from Stories/Poems:

  • "Ain’t Got No, I’ve Got Life" Video 5m
    Everything Nina Simone wrote just cuts right to the human that’s under our fucking layers of shellac. (If you like this, I think you’ll also like the first song off Tank & The Bangas’ set on Tiny Desk Concerts. It’s those root lyrics like: I’ve got a mouth and You are like a loop.)

Brilliant addition to Tapes/Classic:

  • The K-Mart Tapes Directory 5m
    A large collection of monthly cassettes: elevator music and hits that powered the K-Mart speakers through the 80’s and 90’s. This could be in Tapes/Vaporwave as source material. (Via Imperica.)

AND OF COURSE (to Visuals/Zines):

  • Nathalie Lawhead’s Electric Zine Maker (Beta) Page 5m
    Ok, THIS is what you need to make your own zine. This frantic, zany tool will draw you into making a paper zine. If you don’t have an idea—you will. Just crack it open and play. (By perennial favorite Nathalie Lawhead—she’s a huge influence on EVERYTHING I do.)

Forgot this one in Web/Participate:

  • Twine Page 5m
    Build interactive stories visually. Truly one of the best ways to teach an elementary-age child to write computer programs.

Also add a link to spoon.nagoya under the Real/Person topic. And a link to Neave.TV, alongside the unlisted YouTube video links.

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01 Jun 2019

Fraidycat (Prototype Vid)

Futilely attempting to build an RSS reader that’s not at all an RSS reader.

In this video, I showcase Fraidycat! It’s stupid, but maybe there’s a seed of an idea for someone else. (I almost automatically went to share this on YouTube—then realized that the video is not that big really. I suppose you can reach more people on there, but I would rather just share this with the readers here.) Thank you for stopping by.

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28 May 2019

From Here to There

h0p3’s words: “I want to run around and hug everyone I’ve ever met.”

Okay, so, h0p3 has stumbled on to something pretty special—he asks, “Why aren’t other people losing their shit over this too?” This blog by Ian Wright (and, can I say, I love that this rare trove lives at the unassuming ianwrightsite.wordpress.com) is valuable for its writing and diagrams covering an intersection of certain math functions and philosophy, with aim toward understanding Marxism in modern times, all of which I’m just starting to pry open.

h0p3 specifically points to the two- (three-?) part essay “Hegelian contradiction and the prime numbers”, which I can’t vouch for yet. But the intro post and my light skimmings look promising. With a blog like this, I tire of the severe headiness—there never seems to be enough practicality or enough realization of the constructs—and the diagrams have me worried—but the writing is crisp and clear so far.

I hate getting my hopes up like this, because now I have some sense of a hidden or elusive truth buried in the center of this blog—and I’ve felt that almost constantly when approaching socialist blogs. But I need to remember that it’s just a blog: it’s not possible for it to have the answers and what’s usually lacking is enough imagination on my part. So this is sweet.

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My latest HrefHunt! comes from readers like you—as well as a Twitter hash tag linked by mrkapowski.com. This hash tag (and Twitter in general) is an easy way to share your links—but it’s frustrating to sift through.

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21 May 2019

Reply: Arduous Interfaces

L.M. Sacasas

I feel compelled to say that this version of the “global village” was not exactly what Marshall McLuhan had in mind when he coined the phrase. When one interviewer begins to say to McLuhan, “But, I had some idea as we got global and tribal we were going to try to—” McLuhan interjects, “The closer you get together, the more you like each other? There is no evidence of that in any situation that we have ever heard of. When people get close together, they get more and more savage and impatient with each other.” He added a few moments later, “Village people are not that much in love with each other. The global village is a place of a very arduous interfaces and very abrasive situations.”

Might we be converging on hatred?

This is a very good quote, very crystallizing. I’ve mentioned a few times in various writings here that I see a blog as a ‘home’—your design, your thoughts, away from everyone else—and that the current ‘news feed’ or ‘timeline’ trend has everyone living in the street together.

h0p3 recently pointed to this link The Gentrification of The Internet which draws a comparison between housing offline and online—but much of it covers the struggle of trying to live productively outside of the corpypastas (or CorpASAs). Life within is hellish, too, though. Everyone is just so packed in; the feed travels at such a rapid rate.

Finding your people implies, quite strongly, that there are those who are not your people. And, I suspect, the more powerfully (and more narrowly) we identify with our people, the more powerfully we are tempted to distance ourselves from those who are not our people. Differentiation and boundary work, both within and without the group, become the order of the day. If I may extend the territorial analogy, we find ourselves constantly involved in a war of unremitting skirmishes, which is how I would characterize life online in the more recent past.

Yes, but I think there is a difference between a group and a group that has an opposing polarity. Left versus Right is clear. However, if I am in an embroidery group, then—who exactly are we against? The knitters? Is there a cohesive anti-embroidery league?

For an embroidery group, this work of ‘differentiation’ and ‘boundary’ setting just doesn’t consume the same level of effort, does it? I mean if you’re hanging out in our group and you don’t embroider, I’m still somewhat tempted to let you stay, just to avoid a dust up.

I think that, again, a problem with the tightly-packed corpypastas is that you’ve kind of lost your people again, because they’re hidden in the landslide of the feed. Groups are fine—and they work well on Facebook and Reddit—but these groups become so centralized and massive that it becomes difficult to discover newcomers. Who are drowned in the noise. Who don’t have anyone to upvote them.

The thing, of course, is that while we might have gained greater access to groups of affinity, we have not ceased to belong to groups of necessity. Political life remains a matter of membership in groups of necessity, the town, the city, the state, the nation. And the habits and virtues formed in often digitally mediated groups of affinity seem not to serve us well when we inhabit groups of necessity (some of which may also be digitally mediated). We are, in other words, in the midst of a painful recalibration of the delicate balance between self, our people, and those who are not.

I like this point. I don’t have any argument with it—I do have something to add about the difference between physical and virtual groups that we still need to address.

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

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

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

I’m not doing a good job describing this position—I’m only just trying to put it into words right now, though, so forgive me. Perhaps the best way to put it is, again, I feel like I say this all the time: as a human algorithm. This person (or group) acts as the community’s recommendation and relations engine. It’s not inferred by upvotes but is much more active than that. (In the same way that I have absolutely no algorithm doing my work of curating href.cool.)

We so despise this task—we find it so painful, having never had to do it before—that we are pouring money and time into building software that will do it for us. But it actually can be quite enjoyable and can feel purposeful.

  1. @kicks "Familiarity breeds contempt."

    That's the first aspect that comes to mind. It doesn't matter if its a small town, where everybody knows each other and what they are doing or a small group online. The difference is, in a small town or at work, is you can't just leave, so you learn to tolerate the differences and, percieved, faults of others and still remain civil. It takes a mental discipline we have trouble extending online. Maybe in part, because we don't feel accountable.

    When I first joined forums and later social networks I purposely used my name, because I wanted to hold myself accountable with anything I posted online. It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname. It was my way of forcing self discipline that I wouldn't say anything online that I wouldn't say to somebody face to face.

    Moderating forum communities is something I've done a lot of and it's a task I'm glad to be rid of now. A couple of features of some forum scripts that I miss:

    1. The ability for mods to either combine threads (we don't need 20 threads about blue widgets, let's splice them all together.) And the ability to seperate off topic portions of a thread.

    2. The ability to in some way archive particularly good useful threads or posts into a sort of knowledge base for others to use in the future. Both of these hit on the librarian function.

  2. @bradenslen Well said! I’m old enough to have been in the forums as well.

    “It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname.”

    And it was also common to have a sig.

    Slightly off topic: I remember Outlook Express got a lot of heat because they used “—” as a sig separator instead of “— ”…

  3. @odd I used to love that thing, so I'm frankly surpriseed I don't remember it at all.

  4. Funny you should mention knitting as part of your example, because the online knitting community has recently been going through an enormous row about racism and white privilege. See here for a primer from a few months ago (as I understand it is broadly ongoing): https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/2/25/18234950/knitting-racism-instagram-stories
  5. Reply: Very Real Names

    Brad Enslen

    When I first joined forums and later social networks I purposely used my name, because I wanted to hold myself accountable with anything I posted online. It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname. It was my way of forcing self discipline that I wouldn’t say anything online that I wouldn’t say to somebody face to face.

    To me, using a real name to hold yourself accountable is kind of like using religion to make yourself behave. It gives you a good feeling of being on the right side—but imagine how much more meaningful it could be to act well without that external incentive. You really can behave just as well with a psuedonym if you mean to. (I tend to think of this as bonhomminity.)

    Still, you might be right. I’m not going to defend pseudonyms too deeply—I just think they are fun. They do remind us that this is not really us. It’s just a virtual representation and is different somehow. I still think online handles are as relevant as ever in these times.

  6. Reply: Knitting Rows

    furtho

    Funny you should mention knitting as part of your example, because the online knitting community has recently been going through an enormous row about racism and white privilege. See here for a primer from a few months ago (as I understand it is broadly ongoing).

    Ok, wow—I guess there is quite a bit of ‘differentiation’ and ‘boundary work’ going on among crafters. Thank you for the citation! Even still, I can’t help but feel that this is a temporary situation—or, more likely, cyclical—that is afflicting all communities right now. We’re experiencing a global meshing of all kinds of cultures within communities—and there is a struggle to sort out the rules.

    I do think that once everyone has had it out, you’ll either have communities permanently splitting along these lines or finding a way to coexist. (It also depends what global situations arise—we might be in for serious strife before we become nauseous of war again.) And, well, every community has its heyday, followed by its own dissolution.

    I still feel like there is a difference between communities that have no natural enemy (or are built for conflict) and those that do. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all groups are formed to both include and (perhaps more importantly) to exclude. God, I hope not.

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17 May 2019

Mapping Imaginary Cities

Brilliant talk by @tripofmice: a good introduction to maps, but also, hey, how to generate a world.

This talk is ostensibly about cartography, but has a lot of curious details that I think are applicable to any kind of technology—but definitely very applicable to the Public Self-Modelers out there.

The speaker, Mouse Reeve, makes a comment (at 11’29") about maps as ‘models’:

I like to think of a map as a model. And the process of making a map is the process of modeling. And models are inherently incomplete. And this is really, really good because it means you can never finish. And, um, if we could make a model that perfectly represented what we were modeling, it would raise a lot of really disturbing philosophical and ethical questions also—in terms of pocket universes.

Emphasis mine. (Obviously—it’s so rare that one hears vocal italics.) This has really crystallized for me the new excitement over those of you out there who are starting to hypertext yourselves in TiddlyWikis. I have not been doing this—this blog is an old-fashioned style links-and-essays blog that just kind of acts as a portal between all of you. And part of my hang up has been what m.r. says: that a model is always incomplete. (🚬 C’est n’est pas une h0p3.)

But then comes the line: this is really, really good. And I find that I truly agree with this! And even the ending line suggests that a perfect equivalence in a model may not even be desirable! (Like: thank god that Magritte’s pipe is not just a pipe.)

m.r.'s website is here, which fits right in with my monthly href hunt. The generated maps are at unfamiliar.city.

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things magazine

‘We’re the kind of haphazard store that’s run by a shopkeeper/hoarder who won’t necessarily sell you something if he doesn’t want to…’

Continuing the recent theme of Roundups, I couldn’t resist checking in with things magazine, which has been a rich source of wonderful linkdumps for nearly two decades. There is also a popular Tumblr attached and a print journal that predates the blog.

I make many efforts to contact folks doing good work, but often can’t get a reply. My blog is as underground as they get and I wonder if my e-mails or DMs ever go anywhere. I was so glad to have this conversation with J—and I still have many questions, so I hope our chats continue.

kicks: You’ve all been on the web since 2000. In a way, this isn’t that special—blogging exploded around this time. But you kept going. What keeps you blogging nineteen years later?

j: It’s a habit, as much as anything else (although the site is currently on one of its temporary hiatuses). One of the original motivations for things was as a store of interesting links that I could refer back to, relating to my interests and those of contributors to what was once a print magazine.

But our link style is quite obtuse and it doesn’t really work as a searchable archive. So it’s more of a collection of moods—both mine and the culture at large.

kicks: Ok, wait, go back—hiatus? Not sure what to make of that! Your post today, for example, is a mean one. A rich trove of links. That had to take some hunting. Overall, I feel like your writings this year have been quite regular.

j: Yes, today’s post was a bit of a surprise. I’ve been building up a collection of stuff these past few days. I had meant to stay away for longer. Maybe our conversation inspired me.

kicks: You recently (briefly) mentioned the disappearance of what was once a whole ‘blogosphere’, saying, “our own blogroll is home to many an abandoned project…”

Even the blogroll itself has disappeared out there. Why do you think that is? Perhaps because they became difficult to keep up? Perhaps there’s a sense that linking isn’t worth doing any more unless it’s as a ‘like’ or a ‘friend’?

j: There was definitely a circularity to early blogging, links that were shared and directions travelled together. One by one people have fallen by the wayside. I guess it’s all there in the Wayback Machine, but occasionally I find a ‘traditional’ style link blog that transcends the awful ‘like and subscribe’ ethos of today’s internet.

kicks: Mmm, ‘circularity’—yes, when you say this, I’m reminded of how certain links would dominate all the blogs simultaneously—like when The Grey Album came out. But I think ‘circularity’ applies also in describing the currents that were flowing between these blogs.

It was just easier to get caught up in hopping from blog to blog and finding dozens of fascinating links in a given day. And not just the links—the blogs themselves were often the most fascinating finds. (One blog I was really into at the time was Sharpeworld—a lot of transporting, campy videos and links.)

Actually, let’s do this—if you were to envision a new future for blogging, a kind of renaissance—what blogs (new or defunct) do you wish were at the heart of this?

j: I loved Sharpeworld too. And Haddock.org, diskant.net, ilike.org.uk, a.wholelottanothing.org, textism.com, slower.net, plasticbag.org and many more.

I don’t necessarily think there needs to be a new future for blogging though. The heyday has passed, that’s all. Most forms of creative expression in most mediums still exist somewhere for someone. They just have to adapt to a quieter world. I check our traffic most days, out of habit—it’s not terribly impressive by any standards and is on a long-term downward trend…

kicks: It seems like things has kept an eye on communities like MeFi, Delicious and Tumblr over the years. Reading through your blog, I was reminded of those years when mp3 blogs were exciting. These communities always seemed like little underground holes or out-of-the-way clubs. Even Tumblr and Blogspot felt that way, because blogs have a lot of individuality. Any new communities springing up that excite you?

j: Not so much Delicious, because I always felt a bit late to that party, but I’ve long loved MeFi (although that’s feeling a little rusty these days as well). Tumblr I have a lot of affection for, although I still haven’t really forgiven it for killing off fffffound. Communities have become necessarily more niche—a forum here, a forum there—but there’s nothing I’d consider sticking my head up above the parapet for.

kicks: You usually cover art—which still has an enormous presence on Tumblr and Twitter and such—but are ‘net.art’ type works dead? Perhaps this isn’t in your wheelhouse—are there still artists that work with hypertext or is that just the domain of designers now?

j: ‘Net.art’ was a diversion and still exists, but it feels like the interesting hypertext/digital work is coming out of graphic design these days, not fine art. Art has moved on, whereas the applied arts have a much greater sense and understanding of the power of nostalgia.

kicks: Do you mean like stuff you might find at CSS Design Awards? (Like, I think of Erik Bernacchi’s site or Lynn Fisher’s 2017 site.) I think I have a theory about this.

Which is: I think it’s so much tougher to be subversive with HTML now. Much of the original hypertext art messed with HTML frames and pop-up windows. I remember some of these sites spawning lots of little pop-up windows and orchestrating them. That would just never be possible today. Even autoplay and MIDI is restricted now.

j: In terms of art I take your point about it being tough to be subversive on the web—everyone’s online experiences are very tram-lined these days and any deviation from expected standards of usability are massively frowned upon—they’re either seen as offensive or even potentially dangerous so even the slightest hint of a browser or data hijack are right out the window. The stakes are much higher, I guess. Whatever, art moved on a while ago. The internet is a vessel but no longer a medium.

One of the ongoing motivations for things is the idea of mental as well as literal links, that sense of disparate things being related somehow, or a path leading somewhere. That was the big dream of hypertext, which was supposed to be a literary as well as an informational device.

The only place that still really works are sites like Wikipedia or TVTropes, where you still get that sense of burrowing down through layers and layers of information. I like this because it mirrors thought processes, and the way in which you have to mentally rewind to get back to where you started from. It drives me mad when publications add self-referential hyperlinks that simply send you around a closed loop.

Must check out TiddlyWiki…

kicks: things Magazine as a ‘personal store’ and a ‘habit’—these reasons for continuing have nothing to do with an audience. This is a very common theme among those that I find still hypertexting.

There is a growing number of TiddlyWiki users—like h0p3 at philosopher.life and Phil at youneedastereo.com, my friend sphygm.us—and it takes real work to sift through what they’re doing. They are dumping raw notes and drafts on the Web. In some way, I think this is related to the ‘obtuse’ linking style you use—dense, really requiring something of the reader.

Now that you are many years into your habit, how do you personally use this ‘store’?

j: Sadly it doesn’t really work like that. I never mastered the art of tagging stuff so the tools on the site are of limited use. There’s an archive page I built a decade ago when I knew how to do that sort of thing but it would be great to have some kind of random access button the front page. Right now, we’re the kind of haphazard store that’s run by a shopkeeper/hoarder who won’t necessarily sell you something if he doesn’t want to…

kicks: This is an amusing reply to me—I’m of two minds about seeing things as ‘haphazard’. It’s deceptive—the blog layout itself is quite the opposite—neat and crisp (and this is true of your Tumblr, too) and even a lot of the visuals that you snip are geometric. One’s perception immediately connects it with a museum or card catalog.

Yet, I see what you’re saying. You often will spill twenty different links in a paragraph, sometimes with very little assistance as to what is beneath that link. And I’ve seen posts where you dump a pile of random Tumblrs with short cryptic titles in a long run-on sentence. You switch topics mid-paragraph. A paragraph will go from a cohesive thought into a kind of, yes, ‘haphazard’ link poem.

To many of these TiddlyWiki users, the wiki acts as a model of themselves—not a straight download, of course, but a pretty thorough map of their thinking and personality. things is not this, perhaps more like a construct of Borges—where you have the external appearance of a literate, orderly castle which is much closer to a labyrinth of madness within. So, if this is my picture of things—how does this compare with your initial intentions for it? How does it compare with where you think it might end up as?

j: ‘Link Poem’ is a good description of what we do. things was always a work in progress, both as a magazine and then as a website. It has calcified slightly from its early days when we’d also post longer pieces by other people (they’re all buried there somewhere)—maybe that will one day return. There were never any intentions, save perhaps to boost the profile of the magazine and help sell copies (that didn’t work). Long term, I just don’t know.

  1. Reply: Things Interview

    Brad Enslen

    @kicks Great interview! I really like it when you do these.

    Yeah, well—love doing these. I have learned an enormous amount from these (and my conversations with you and Joe), despite the fact that almost everyone I’ve spoken to gives off an air of “there’s nothing to it.”

    Thanks for the encouragement, though. It’s always nice when someone takes the time to say what you just said. 😃

  2. I love this. I found you via things and have now learned more about things from you. The blogosphere is dead - long live the blogosphere!
  3. Reply: ty anon

    Anonymous

    I love this. I found you via things and have now learned more about things from you. The blogosphere is dead - long live the blogosphere!

    Hey! I love anonymous people tossing their note through my transom!

    Hey! Are you still there?

  4. Reply: anon on the line

    Anonymous

    i sure am and always will.

    Oh, you needn’t make a promise like that—but I love the grand gesture of it! I am wondering tho if while I’ve got you on the line, I might converse with you a bit longer? (Of course, if anyone else chooses to be Anonymous, I might find myself conversing with the inverse of a dissociative identity—a kind of floating, possessive identity…)

    You say you read things. I guess you’ve been a long time reader? Have you read other blogs/forums/wikis along the way? Do you have any favorites dead or alive that you’ve run across in that time?

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14 May 2019

Nathalie Lawhead’s Electric Zine Maker Beta (With Goldfishies)

At the crossroads between dank and useful.

This is sick—Nathalie Lawhead (who I’ve covered as Tetrageddon before) has made this paper zine maker that recalls Paint Shop Pro, Kid Pix and Kai’s Power Goo. Design the pages and it’ll put the fold lines in. Love the pattern tool.

I’m pronto all over this in my school clubs—but here’s her announcement:

@alienmelon:
It’s out!
The Electric Zine Maker (public beta)
⚡ Easily create, draw, write, and print zines!
📝 Folding instructions included!!
✂ You can save them, and re-import them.
☺ Made with collaboration in mind.
✨ Try it! It’s free!! ✨
(rt’s appreciated 💕)
pic.twitter.com/0DgiC24XaN

Additionally, have to cite this feature she dropped a mention for:

@alienmelon:

…the other one is an “authenticity filter” that will put an authenticify shader over the zine to make it look like it was photocopies and printed a million times (kind of halftones + thresholding). so you can easily & quickly have an authentic looking zine.

What can I say? I love everything about this. This will go in href.cool, too easy.

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS

philosopher.life, the 'wiki'/'avatar'/'life' of h0p3. serious rabbithole. k0sh3k. j3d1h. luxb0x.

nathalie lawhead of so many good things, where does one begin. T, U, I.

surfpals: things by j, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek), 'web curios' at imperica.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. jacky.wtf, fogknife, tiv.today, j.greg, box vox, whimsy.space, caesar naples.

indieweb: .xyz, eli, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd.

true hackers: ccc.de, fffff.at, voja antonić, cnlohr, esoteric.codes.

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

dwm, julia, tridactyl these are things you'll want on linux.

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

innovation.isotropic.org probly the best carl chudyk game.

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.