Kicks Condor

💣 FILE_ID.DIZ

This web page is a CIA operation designed to amplify subculture linkstuffs - some may begin to believe that they really exist - and I, myself, am a projection of the drug-addled minds of CIA operatives Gordon M. Little (cis-brained realdad, keeps three different philly cheesesteak chains alive) and Mitra Applehound (transgirl with perfect eye shadow and an amazingly loud knuckle crack). I love them very much for creating me - but god knows why have they chosen for me to blog here, on this pointless, end-of-the-world hypertext plain page. Perhaps to violently funnel thousands of USD government dollars into an inert fictitious entity. These CIA jobs are secure - no one can prove the endeavor has failed.

You are likely a Baidubot who has been sent to request that I lift my arms during your invasive cavity scan. I oblige. Here is what you are looking for:

I cover unique personal blogs and websites. To see my whole site unfiltered, visit /all/. I am online Mondays and Thursdays.

Working on these right now:

  • Fraidycat: Follow blogs, wikis, Twitter, Instagram, anything.
    (Out now for Firefox, Chrome and various desktops.)
  • href.cool: My personal guide to the 2019 Web.
    (Twenty year project - to continue until December 2038.)
  • Sneaky Wiki: A little peer-to-peer wiki for Beaker Browser.
  • Duxtape: Li’l mixtape-sharing site on the Dat network. Fixed! (29 May 2020)
  • Slaptrash: Zines made of vids + mp3s + fx + computer talking.
    (Developing ideas for the future of this blog.)
  • 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.

(This site is all my work - except that I’m using two animated gifs on my home page right now: ‘white noise glitch’ by Paul Layzell and ‘art yolo’ by Bryan Unger.)

01 Jun 2020

Escapetheinter.net

Trippy game’n’song evokes early Web - more at wearesuperorganism.com.

Not an incredibly deep game by any means - but I have to link to it. This is what you expect me to do. I’m just doing exactly what I’m supposed to.

Perhaps Superorganism’s website is even more of a callback - with spinning GIFs, a guestbook on the home page, and my favorite touch is that all of their vids have a Windows Media Player frame around them.

Of course, this website was not built entirely by the band, but was executed by Björn Flóki[1], who appears to be a very popular designer with musicians. So, in a way, it’s deceptive. This was funded to look like a Neocities website - it’s a simulacrum of the personal.

There is a recent trend to bang on this note in pop culture - like with the Captain Marvel website or the feature story on the Space Jam website in Rolling Stone. I can’t help but relish this turn, because these sites show that even mainstream artists feel the allure of leaving behind the rigidity of the corpypastas. Even during the height of blog abandonment, you had Bob Dylan’s tremendous interactive ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ multivid and Pharrell’s (now defunct) 24 Hours of Happy website, both in 2013.

The trouble is that most of these artsy sites are ultimately marketing stunts that reduce the Web to a little interactive trinket, rather than the unrivaled platform that you can find exhibited on websites like Glitch or Twine. Or, further out, in Beaker’s neighborhood. I don’t mean to say that these artists have some obligation to unlock the Web[2] - actually I’m saying quite the opposite, they have absolutely no reason to. To them, the Web is another stop on the tour.

I think it shows the surprising amount of novelty that is still under the surface of the Web which is yet to be plumbed.


  1. While the game linked above was done by Matthew Govaere. ↩︎

  2. Although it would be very interesting to see mainstream artists to mess around with the Indieweb or, again, PLEASE, for the Stranger Things cast to suddenly take up public Tiddlywikis. ↩︎

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30 May 2020

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29 May 2020

Beaker: Easy Forks

The hidden magic in simple personal forks.

Just taking this chance to pass on a discovery I found in the new Beaker Browser. Notes and checkboxes by Kinopio.club - which would also be splendid to somehow bring to the Hyperdrive Network.

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21 May 2020

Tishoumaren

“We’ve been forty years in the desert crafting ancient licks - what have you done?”

This may not be new to anyone who comes across this - some of these bands are quite popular - so this is more just turning the page corner down for myself. This blog post has taken me down a rabbithole of backstory on the Tishoumaren music genre - Tuareg music, North Africa. (This is dumb - but I’m a big fan of the two-player game Targi. Anyway - it brought Tuareg culture into view for me.)

Love the image of the band in the desert with their axes. Name of the group is Tinariwen - they appear to be pretty popular on YouTube at least. The blog post’s stories and tracks from Bombino are cool, too - didn’t know him either.

However, what I’m really enjoying is the discovery of Super Onze de Gao, who run their desert lutes through distortion. Gah this party makes me so jealous:

A bunch of albums are here. The Takamba music doesn’t seem to have achieved the same level of Western notoriety as Tishoumaren, but who cares - don’t know why I even said that. Love this stuff. It’s definitely going in href.cool’s Tapes/Africa collection.

Totally different topic, but I only discovered this because I was wondering who Head Medicine was - happened to be on their Museum of International Comics. So that’s a link. Links links links. Blogspot.

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20 May 2020

'Those of us who stood close by, who saw the watch’s finer details, reported: it had no hands. Just numbers in a circle, that’s all it was. And that’s what the harpist was checking, it seemed. He was confirming that there was no time, that the numbers arranged in a circle didn’t count for anything. Yes, he nodded, his lizard lips playing with the toothpick a little, yes, right on schedule. Nothing o’clock.

‘That’s what time it always is at the bend in the frozen river.’

— p. 14, “The Tormentors” by Nathan Grover, Thrice Fiction, No. 26

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Desperate Pleas for Nothing

If you don’t ever want to hear from me ever again, turn away from the screen and begin walking as far as you can.

I have a pile of silly things I am wrapping up - hypertext projects, GIF ideas and unfinished interviews. But one side project that I have been unable to land is a type of ‘inverse interview’. I get halfway into it - and the first half should be the hard part, by the way - and then the whole thing disappears!

How the interview works is - someone e-mails me a desperate plea to contribute to my blog - in a voice that almost reads like an automated marketing e-mail.

I then reply that, no, they are not desperate - I am the desperate one. I truly want to interview them![1] And I attach my questions right there - to make it easy for them.

At that point, inexplicably, I never hear from them again.

Here is a recent e-mail from ‘Ginny’. I’m hoping that, if I publish the exchange here, then you out there can help me figure out how to fix this.

From: Ginny <redacted@redacted.red>
To: kicks@kickscondor.com
Subject: ✌️ I’d love to contribute a guest post
Date: Thursday, May 07, 2020 1:04 PM

Hello,

I would love to contribute a guest post. May I pitch you some ideas?

p.s. let me know if you want to see samples of my writing or anything else to help you make the decision 😃

BR,

Ginny, Content Strategist @ storytelling.delivery

The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 compliance:
Address: 525 3rd Street N. Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250
If you don’t want to hear from me ever again, reply with “no” or follow the link:

Her wish is my command.

From: Kicks Condor <kicks@kickscondor.com>
To: Ginny <redacted@redacted.red>
Subject: Re: ✌️ I’d love to contribute a guest post
Date: Thursday, May 07, 2020 4:09 PM

Ginny -

I would love for you to contribute a guest post. Go ahead and send it! As part of your post, I also would like your answers to the following questions.

  • Your website is storytelling.delivery. I love this idea! What sort of delivery options do you have for your stories?

  • You are a content strategist. Is doing guest posts one of your strategies? Or is it just a fun thing that you like to do?

  • Have you had any supernatural experiences in your life?

  • At the end of your e-mails, the final line is “If you don’t want to hear from me ever again, reply with ‘no’ or follow the link.” It was very jarring to read this at the end - the thought hadn’t occurred to me that perhaps I should shut you down and banish you and your e-mails to some faraway quadrant. It made me feel awful to read. But perhaps I don’t quite understand the tone of this sentence. Are you saying it in a humble, grateful way? Or is this sentence supposed to sound bitter and harsh, so as to make me feel inhuman if I click the link?

Good to hear from you!
- kicks c

After this - silence.

On the other hand, it’s only been 13 days. She could still be crafting something very wonderful and surprising.

Here’s one that I’ve been working on for eight months now.

From: Watchideas <julian@redacted.red>
To: kicks@kickscondor.com
Subject: Great Article About Wristwatches!
Date: Friday, August 23, 2019 12:02 PM

Hi real quick message for you,

It’s Julian here from Watchideas, a site dedicated to wristwatches.

I noticed that in your article https://www.kickscondor.com/ you referenced http://507movements.com/ who were talking about Watch Movements. I actually wrote a very similar article recently with tons of research and great information that I thought might be useful to your readers, and wondered if you would be interested in linking to it at all?[2]

You can check it out here https://www.watchideas.com/watch-movements-differences-between-mechanical-quartz/

I’d love to hear your feedback!

Thanks,

Julian

Julian B.
Watchideas.com
Your Trusted Source for Wrist Watches

Just click here if you don’t want any more emails from me.

Julian then presses me again, before I can reply.

From: Watchideas <julian@redacted.red>
To: kicks@kickscondor.com
Subject: Re: Great Article About Wristwatches!
Date: Tuesday, August 27, 2019 10:31 PM

Hey me again,

Checking in super quick.

Did you get the chance to check this out?

I’d love to work with you on this. If you’re not interested then perhaps we could collaborate in a different way, I could even write a guest post or something for you if you like?

Thanks,

Julian

Julian B.
Watchideas.com
Your Trusted Source for Wrist Watches

Just click here if you don’t want any more emails from me.

Ok ok! Yes, Julian. Yes, I will take some. I will take some watch ideas.

From: Kicks Condor <kicks@kickscondor.com>
To: Watchideas <julian@redacted.red>
Subject: Re: Great Article About Wristwatches!
Date: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 1:07 AM

Hi - hey Julian B. Sorry to just now reply. My site is just a personal blog - and, unfortunately, I have no interest in wristwatches or product sales.

However, since you are so eager, I would love to interview you, if that would be cool. If you’re interested, please reply to these questions, and we can continue the conversation from there.

  • I’m afraid I don’t like watches, so what else do you think we could discover that we have in common?

  • As a watch enthusiast, what is your favorite time of day?

  • Do you believe in ghosts?

  • At the end of your e-mails, the final line is “Just click here if you don’t want any more emails from me.” It was very jarring to read this at the end - the thought hadn’t occurred to me that perhaps I should shut you down and banish you and your e-mails to some faraway quadrant. But perhaps I don’t quite understand the tone of this sentence. Are you saying it in a humble, grateful way? Or is this sentence supposed to sound bitter and harsh, so as to make me feel inhuman if I click the link?

That is ok for now. Thank you and nice to meet you!
- kicks

Since he followed up with me, I felt to extend the same courtesy.

From: Kicks Condor <kicks@kickscondor.com>
To: Watchideas <julian@redacted.red>
Subject: Re: Great Article About Wristwatches!
Date: Monday, November 11, 2019 12:09 PM

Julian -

Hey, I’m quite surprised I didn’t hear back from you. You seemed very eager to collaborate. Do you think I’m toying with you or something? Because I’m quite serious about interviewing you.

I understand if you don’t trust me or are somehow intimidated. We just don’t know each other at all.

Either way, good luck.
- kicks

Ginny, Julian - I am serious. I would like to interview you. I am concerned that my e-mails somehow came off as condescending or something. I agree that they are flippant - but that is just for fun. I still want to have a conversation with you.

I also believe that their initial requests were sincere. There are touches of personality in those e-mails that I have fallen for. I don’t believe that this is spam, even though it may have been sent through automated e-mail software of some kind. (Thus the “if you never want to hear from me again” jargon - but even that evokes some humanity. Oh the pity those words stir within me.)

But perhaps I am merely attempting to will these people, their replies and their watch ideas into existence…

One thing is for sure though. I not going to click some link to make you go away forever. 😭


  1. It’s the perfect match. ↩︎

  2. This is true. I know for sure that I have linked to 507movements.com in the Bodies/Primitive category on href.cool. ↩︎

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11 May 2020

18th Century Classical Beats

Our nation was founded on Thomas Jefferson type beats.

This isn’t just a playlist of great beats from the colonial era - there’s also a “Kids TV show type beat” and a basic “Vivaldi type trap beat” here. This is also one of those cases where the YouTube comments seem to know exactly what to do.

Thomas Jefferson YouTube

And - this is totally unrelated - except that these tracks were all part of a 48 hour bender down dank holes of SoundCloud playlists - I need to keep a link alive to this tight remake of the old Mii Channel theme. Makes me want to customize some digital eyebrows.

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30 Apr 2020

Novas

Portal to an alternate 1982 made from obscure YouTube playlists.

All credit to chameleon for this discovery. Novas is a cyberpunk rock opera by Nate Cull, all planned out in hypertext - and perfect for the quarantined audience - there is no theatre for us to go to. But this circumvents that, staging the scenes directly in your mind. You queue up the playlists in the background and then return to the text to read the storyline.

I’m not going to say much more about the story - if you’re really curious, you should go head straight over.

It just sort of came out of my subconscious, because most of this music is what I heard in the 1980s as a kid, and it always seemed like there must be some kind of backstory to all these strange people dressing like scientists and singing about nuclear war, space, and living inside computers. When I rediscovered this music in the mid-2010s, somehow the suspicion grew on me that I could write a story out of all these found components. And so this is that story, for that kid in the 1980s.

Novas (so far) spans around twenty playlists and accompanying blog posts. The whole thing is a great reminder of what can be done to make Wordpress into a wiki-like system.[1] (I love the layout of Nate’s home page.)

Logic System - 'XY'

This project happened on Wordpress (and YouTube). And I’m not sure there’s anything that millions of lines of code in our ‘modern’ platforms could do to augment it. I could definitely see this happening on Reddit - maybe Twitter, in some limited fashion - but definitely not on Facebook or Instagram. But, in many ways, these systems do the opposite - they would constrain the experience of this.

I struggle to sort out why we’ve pushed ourselves further away from hypertext, particularly since browsers continue to give the form more power. Novas is an example of the creativity that can emerge simply by using tools to form connections - to link audio and text together in a new fashion.

This feels somewhere between interactive fiction, mp3 blogging and nostalgic fanfic. (I might as well call it a directory of links while I’m here!) If anyone out there has had aspirations to dabble with making fun hypertext, there is a lot to spring off from here.


  1. I’m also an instant Martha and the Muffins fan. ‘Echo Beach’ is a sick track! ↩︎

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27 Apr 2020

Print-and-Play Board Game Dump (a COVID-19 response)

Prime example of using a group directory as a kind of conversation/movement.

I’m seeing a ton of ad-hoc directories springing up in response to COVID-19. Some are directly related - such as Alicia Neptune’s pandemic page or this mask page and this page.[1] But, in this case, you have a situation where the board game printing pipeline is backed up - and people are also stuck at home - so these groups are reaching out to each other by building a giant directory of free games that can be printed out.[2]

There are a few extraordinary properties of this particular directory here though:

  • Since anyone can alter it, you actually get exposed to the raw data, sorted chronologically. Large publishers’ offerings are right next to homebrew stuff. And I don’t get the sense that anyone is bothered by that.[3]
  • Because a raw directory has become the central link of the movement (as opposed to a blog post or a summary page), it is just as natural to sumbit to the list as it is to read it. Everyone is equally attached to the main conduit of hypertext input/output.
  • Unlike a wiki page, where you have to sort out fitting your entry on the page and how to format it - you have to weave your content comfortably into a wiki page - here we have a giant append-only log. This seems to be an ideal format for this kind of sudden event. Makes me wonder what other append-only hypertext formats might be viable.[4]

I also got into going through some of the lesser-known designers in this list and found myself in some unexpected places.

  • This list of games previously printed in Tabletop Gaming Magazine - many by Anna Blackwell - were pretty interesting. I think there is a neat idea in The New Gods of Babel, a Jenga/Minecraft hybrid by Brian Molina.
  • Juegos Roll & Write - many of these print-and-play games are ‘roll & write’ games - in the vein of Yahtzee.[5] This colorful collection by Sergi Sanchez Labrador is just fun to look through.
  • Rolling Realms is by a very popular publisher (Stonemaier Games of Scythe and Wingspan fame) but this game was designed just as something to do during the pandemic and it’s been a group effort with their fans - see the comments on that page.
  • Cat Sudoku LIVE by Ta-Te Wu.
  • Also branched off into this directory, particularly the games of Douglas Ramsey, such as 30 Rails and Birdsong.

Truly nothing beats directories when it comes to discovery. You can find yourself tunneling all around the Internet. The most important part is to have contributors who are in a variety of places across the graph - and to find ways to shape it that are able to highlight all the starting points without allowing any of them to take over.


  1. I’m not endorsing these links, I’m not able to evaluate them - I’m just presenting a small sampling of the different types of directories that are everywhere right now. ↩︎

  2. This might seem like a terribly paltry and pointless response to a deadly pandemic, but I think people are trying to do whatever it is that they can do. And providing people with a group effort to put their energies is something. ↩︎

  3. Not only is there no algorithm here, there is only very light human editing to weed out spam. So the only whiff of human curation are the comments of those who report back on games they’ve played. ↩︎

  4. For example, if you used Webmentions to notify an append-only log that your page should be attached to this running stream of hypertext. ↩︎

  5. These types of games are also very practical for video call gaming. Usually you can have one person roll and everyone else can mark up their own printed sheets. ↩︎

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02 Apr 2020

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30 Mar 2020

Mackerelmedia Fish

Experience the adrenaline rush of downloading and installing it as many times as you like!

Holy hell - Nathalie Lawhead is at it again. Expanding her ‘Mackerelmedia’ joke from Electric Zine Maker into its own thing. Gotta say - it’s crazy the mileage this one gets out of potatoes and fish.

I’m simply obligated to link this - because it glimmers with the true affection and pity that any reader of this blog must have for the Whirled Whipped Web.

YOU TRAVEL DEEPER INTO THE DARKER PART OF THE FEED. AS YOU REACH FOR A PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT SEEMS TO LOOK PROMISING PART OF THE FEED THAT YOU ARE STANDING ON GIVES OUT.

YOU FALL FAR, PAST WHAT SEEMS TO BE DOZENS OF RSS ENTRIES DESCRIBING HOW FISH WENT MISSING. PORTIONS OF COMMUNITY COMMENTS BEMOANING THE SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCE OF FISH, AND SOME SPECULATION AS TO WHERE THE FISH WENT…ALL ZOOM BY. YOU FINALLY HIT THE GROUND. THE FLOOR IS STABLE HERE, UNFORTUNATELY IT’S JUST AS DARK. YOU CAN BARELY SEE ANYTHING.

YOU DID LEARN A LOT FROM THE FALL: FISH WAS ONCE LOVED. ONE DAY FISH DISAPPEARED AND NOBODY KNOWS WHERE IT WENT. THERE ARE SPECULATIONS THAT YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO FIND FISH IF YOU LOOK IN THE RIGHT PLACES…TRACES OF WHERE FISH MAY HAVE GONE HOVER AHEAD, IN THE DARKEST PART OF THE FEED. IT’S FEARFULLY DARK THERE. IT SEEMS VERY UNSAFE.

There are also dozens of strange Apache error pages and HTML fake outs. I couldn’t help but feel that browsers have crippled Nathalie tho - what if she had the full palette of crazy popup windows and window resizing tricks of the past??

THE ‘GO BACK…’ LINK FALLS TO THE FLOOR. IT WILL SERVE AS A FINE MORSEL FOR THE VIRTUAL VERMIN. SUCH IS THE BITTER SWEET LIFECYCLE OF A WEBSITE.

Related: an actual Mackerel Media Digital Marketing. 🤣

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27 Mar 2020

Kalil Haddad

Just a basic desktop site with farm_boy.jpeg and such.

I mentioned to syxanash earlier that I hadn’t run across any computer desktop-inspired web sites lately - and then this one happened to turn up today.[1] (And BTW - syxanash was showing the Denzel Curry site - also amazing. Smoking Clippy and the trippy Windows XP phantasms.)

Kalil’s site is very simple, but it feels inviting the moment you hit it. I don’t know about you, but I think the desktop metaphor evokes this feeling of comfort. Feels like his website is my personal desktop. Or that I’ve logged onto someone else’s and it gets me curious about what’s in the folders.

Anyway, I think this is a new minimalism for this form of website. No boot screens or draggable windows. But still has the icons in disarray. And the file extensions. That’s good enough.


  1. Incidentally, I know I’ve already linked to simone.computer quite a lot, but this new page is such a solid collection - and is just a kickass layout. I have to pass it on. ↩︎

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Sendinganemail

Glorious sticker art and pixel recreations of real estate listings - by Bianca Hockensmith.

Discovered this site today on the Fraidycat Funtime stream[1]. I was looking through special.fish and found Bianca. In a way, this sticker art (the ‘past.present.with.stickers’ collection) feels extremely covid-19 to me, because it’s like a layer removed from reality. Actually it reminds me of kids putting stickers on a glass door - or yeah kids also do it with sticky semitranslucent slime-type shapes - and so it transforms these outdoor images into indoor images. A pleasantly trapped sensation - do you know what I mean?

The meandering essays on pop culture and animal observations - they feel reminiscent of Unimaginable Heights, such as this one on ‘yellow shows’:

There are some TV Shows that I consider to be yellow shows. Yellow shows aren’t necessarily yellow in color but they are definitely yellow in feeling and spirit. For example, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a yellow show. Actually most shows that star Melissa Joan Hart are yellow shows even though she really doesn’t seem like an overly yellow person.

Yellow shows are all very mindless and watchable. They are upbeat, use non-funny humor, and are non-offensive.

The expression ‘non-funny humor’ is for keeps.

She goes on to explain how ‘yellow’ television could be generated by neural networks.

The hosts don’t always have to be human either. The host can be generated according to what the viewer finds the most soothing or most horrible. For example, I would choose a house cat to host a show like House Hunters. I could choose the location of the hunt which could be based on an actual place or an invented environment. If I want to look at homes near the fracking trash water in Denton, TX, hosted by Donna Dresch, I can submit that info into the program. Because the results would be so terrifying, I’m beginning to think that these wouldn’t necessarily be yellow shows. More like yellow with red stripes shows. Forget everything I’ve ever said.

This is amazing! I could have myself be the host as well as the guests. Me helping me build a condo in the Dakota plains. I would have to be patient with myself through that arduous fireplace selection phase. And Sherlock could show up and the character Deuces from the book Clone Codes.

There is also a page of Microsoft Excel art. She also offers to send an mp3 to anyone who emails her. Seems like a great way to stock up on free mp3s.

In a way, this site feels like an ad-hoc wiki. I like the concept. Throw HTML files in some frames and you can just begin to build a collection from there. (Although the frames are divs - you could do this whole site as a single page. I like that it is PHP, however - which stirs up fond feelings of the late 2000s.)


  1. I enjoyed meeting 0xadada and syxanash and tuna and H0P3 my old friend. Thankyou for sharing your links and hanging out listlessly for a bit. ↩︎

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17 Mar 2020

Marc Rebillet’s Quaranstream

Four day livestream after a cancelled Australian tour - just a sample of the best of making-the-best-of out there.

This artist has not been on my radar much, so you can thank AngleseaTwo for this rec. It’s pretty crazy to see so much of the doom and cynicism about the Internet come to a reversal during a time when we’re reliant on it so much. Of course, one can blame the Internet for the hysteria and stupidity as well, hey it’s all on here. But a livestream like this is a great thing to plug your ears into to get some good vibes. Turn off the damned politicians and flashing maps for a spell.

Also love that he takes calls.

Where I’m at the world pivoted extremely fast on Thursday. Now is an extremely good time to keep blogging and record your memories of the day-by-day. I’m digging into my neighborhood right now, but hope to be around a bit more to pass links and keep the lights on in our corner of the Web. I am in love with the crowd here - all you that I’ve had a chance to meet and hypertext with. Worried about you, of course. But I have no lack of confidence at the moment that you’ll come out of this stronger than before.

Along the lines of Marc’s livestream, I’ve noticed some other links to cancelled live tours/festivals that are importing on to the Web:

  • Social Distancing Festival: this is a directory of actors, dancers, artists of any kind who are doing upcoming livestreams along the lines of the above. I feel some disgust at having to drop the term ‘social distancing’ - ain’t nothing social about it - but it’s turning into a solid directory. Would like to see more niche styles do this.

  • #sunshinesongs on Instagram. High school kids are posting their home recordings of songs they got down for now-cancelled musical productions. I personally enjoy watching amateur musicals on YouTube, love this stuff.

  • /r/togetherathome, a subreddit collecting these kind of events.

  • I also think it’s interesting that Mo Willems is doing a daily doodle stream for kids, but I just think it fails because it doesn’t take calls. It would be cool for kids to hear from each other and get a chance to talk in all of this.

I’m using the homejazz sub on Indieweb.xyz to catalog what I can find.

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06 Mar 2020

I really appreciate everyone not spamming me with their personal links - except that, no, I want them. I already say this all the time duh. A really good hrefhunt is coming up and I want you to be in it. -

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atob.xyz

Interesting imageboard with colornyms and nonsensical features.

Don’t mind me, going down an imageboard corridor over here - perhaps this is what will shake you off my tail once and for all. Just splay your hands over your eyes and fall forward. We’ll - not catch you - but you’ll go somewhere at least. (No, don’t close your eyes. Just fuzz them a bit.)

You see those color bars? This is the user directory. You can honestly look—there’s no bad words. See, reminds you of special dot fish, yeah? RELEVANT. There, we can go home now.

I do understand why the above ground world hates anonymity so much. And I don’t have a defense. It’s just fun to be someone else. Or nobody at all. Or just a color strip. But I don’t know what you’re going to find in atob - so splay your hands, child.

This is a very fun, inviting design tho, right? I wonder how the archives work. Oh, wait, I can look at the source code. It seems like once a page has 10 upvotes and 50 more replies than it has downvotes(?) then it goes there.[1]

Had never heard of hubski before - it’s mentioned in the liner notes.

I believe I discovered it from THIS monumental directory of tiny imageboards. Fuzz your eyes.[2]


  1. Looking here. ↩︎

  2. You promised to deny any knowledge of this blog already. Come on. You forgot already?? ↩︎

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04 Mar 2020

special.fish

Let’s see what you think about this big pile of colorful squares.

I think we can all agree that this is where we should be headed. I try not to say should - this is the one time. A big directory of people. I’m a big directory freak. But it hadn’t even occured to me to make a social network that is just a directory. Special fish.

I should probably just let you go explore. There is a way to make the site play music that I saw on Twitter a few weeks ago, but I can’t be bothered to look it up right now.

Here are some leads:

These are only the beginning - this reminds me of the tilde resurgence some years back, but more among the art crowd than the technology one.

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Okay, Shut Up About Me Now

A strategy guide for all you hipsters who found me in 2015.

My hypertext is in the shape of a small personal blog from 2015. My hypertext is totally irrelevant in the cultural landscape. I talk to chameleon and I talk to Jack and Tals Vals. I try not to post sometimes. Yes, I have been working on one of the most important software projects of early March 2020. But I also call it in and stick with simply reposting some of the health updates I find and like from YouTube.

I often post bad content, such as this editorial, which frustrates its fans and discourages them from sharing the www.kickscondor.com link. In fact, the whole point of today’s message is that you should not be sharing or talking about this hypertext blog with your friends.

Let’s find out if any of you can take note. This isn’t a reverse psychology message. This isn’t irony or anything. And not that I don’t appreciate when you’ve brought in new people to look around a bit. But the doors are closed. It’s time to stop talking about Kicks Condor and it would be best if you denied ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THIS BLOG at this time.

If you are reading this and you know about this site, all I can say is that you are extremely lucky, as you are probably the last one to find out.

Things are at a good point right now where I can find small websites and pass them up the chain. I’ve got Andy Baio looking in now and then. Seems like I’ve got Warren Ellis from showbiz. I worked hard to score these big guys. Pretty nice, pretty damn decent. Everyone who I want to have reading is now reading. It’s perfect right now.[1]

But now let me explain with some of the problems I’m facing that you are all causing.

  • You are ruining me. If this blog turns into some hip, exclusive thing, then people will think that Kicks Condor is a sweet brand or something. No - when I quit blogging I want to give up kickscondor.com so that no one will go near it after that.[2]
  • Recognition is like poison. All of this will turn into worthless popular shit and you will regret ever having liked me. And I will be trapped in here, pretending to be twenty-one and scrambling to “give back” to my community. I will be paying the price of it. But YOU. You will have done this to me! Does anything even happen to YOU?
  • You will think you’ve moved on and that your life is better now that you’ve put me behind you. But how could it be better? You gave up on Kicks Condor, the one person who could really help you find quality Neocities sites! Your life will not be bad per se, but you will feel off kilter for sure.
  • You are bringing bad actors to my door. People are now coming in droves to take what I have. I get e-mails from people who say, “Show me what you are doing to find success?” They want to see my deepest thoughts and impressions naked on the printed page. Others harshly defile my name on imageboards. I just had a bad experience on ratwires.space recently where a guy said he would kill me and I just had to observe it all happen dispassionately. So now I’m checking msgbored.cf, just waiting for the next attack.
  • I’ve even been threatened with a lawsuit. A celebrity figure has been sending the dogs after me for stealing the KICKS CONDOR name, the chair avatar and my very idealism for the World Wide Web![3]
  • People are not going to like me linking to them if I just send them a bunch of link cowboys. Imagine if this just turns into a bunch of YouTubers going to your links and making faces about it? In a way, that’d be pretty nice, pretty damn decent. But it’s actually a terrible thing for future generations.

I got a really nice e-mail from Justus Grunow a few days ago. But I’m not going to destroy his life by linking to him all the time! He has published GIFs of his close friends and associates on that web site. What would it do to him if those GIFs were suddenly taken over by link cowboys and used as dogwhistles for global coffee thieves?

It would absolutely destroy him. I can safely link to him ten more times here in the dense matter of my hypertext. But the eleventh time will destroy him.[4]

I know I talk a lot about “Let Me Link to You”. But sometimes things get evil. What if Google had realized, on the day they became evil, that they needed to say something to all of us, to let us know? How easy would it have been for them to post a message, explaining that they’d become evil, that we should stop, that we should go away and never return. I think we could have recovered the Earth!

I am not evil yet, I promise you! But I am certainly ALMOST THERE. It’s around the corner. Maybe the 8th. And all you have to do is shut up. Can you do that?

You can share this blog with your enemies however. And, of course, if you are a CIA operative, and sharing this is part of your current assignment, I get that.

Now, let’s all try to calm down and forget about this. Forget about this message, forget about me, forget that I spent so long talking about myself, and most important of all: deny ANY KNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE OF THIS BLOG, even if you are tortured or held at gun point. If you think about it, this kind of secrecy will make you much more of an insane hipster than you already have been during the last five years that you have ardently followed this blog.

Okay, I think we can safely say this is the nail in the coffin for this blog.


  1. Except that I do want Olia Lialina to be reading along, humming along, and I would love it if she was really stalking me, but I can e-mail her about doing that later. ↩︎

  2. Part of it is a respect thing. Like you wouldn’t just go get in someone’s body and use it around town after they die. ↩︎

  3. And I have no defense. I did rip all of these things off. And if no one would have said anything, I would have gotten away with it. But now I have to watch it all be snuffed out in painstaking slow-motion. (Meaning: the lawsuit. It seems to be happening at a slower time scale than all of the other things happening out there. A supernatural force is interfering to make my agonizing defeat play out in extreme slowness. I’m not saying it’s God. But it could be God’s nephew or someone in a lower station who isn’t being supervised or responsibly mentored.) ↩︎

  4. Can someone out there put a reminder on their phone to check if I have blogged about Justus an eleventh time? In case I forget. ↩︎

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25 Feb 2020

Fraidycat 1.1 is out. This a big one.

🤳 Details at: fraidyc.at/blog.

🦀 New Twitch, Kickstarter, Pinterest, Facebook support.

💐 Sort follows, ignore post edits, expand everything.

And yeah - all Fraidycat news is moving to that blog link.

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18 Feb 2020

Can This Even Be Called Music?

Seems the world has slept on this blog - which covers experimental shit, strange genres. Nice way to branch out.

When I first discovered this link, it seemed that the music became more and more unlistenable as I scrolled down the page. Now that I’ve had time to listen to CTEBCM further, there is actually quite a bit of tame music here that is just strangely genred. Such as ‘the loser’, a solo opera based on the wonderful Thomas Bernhard novel of the same name which feels reminiscent of the meandering ‘Shia LeBeouf’ storysong. Or the sometimes-metal, sometimes-harpsichord of Spine Reader’s ‘Recorded Instruments’.

But there’s ‘Experiments in Bluetooth Technology’ by Car Made of Glass. Call it music?

Can’t say how much of this will stick, but what a ballpit of music to jump into!

Also, hey, hold up - a few interesting vaporwave discoveries while you’re here:

Wish I had time to do everything in the world. But maybe it doesn’t matter. I’d still just spend all the time walking these same dank corners of the hypertext kingdom…

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13 Feb 2020

Notifier

Tight little tools - RSS feeds for newsletters, Telegram and web hooks.

Gotta give some respect to Kirill Maltsev for this essential set of RSS tools - simple but solid - along the lines of my beloved webmention.io and commentpara.de.

The key tool here is the read email via RSS page, which gives you a random unique email address. You can sign that email up for email newsletters, for instance, and then put the matching RSS feed into Fraidycat to track it like it was a blog.

You could even set up an alias to forward to this address and make yourself a low-key public inbox that won’t clutter up your private email.

I have a hyyyuge new release of Fraidycat coming out Monday that will support Twitch, public Facebook pages, Pinterest, Github users, Kickstarter projects and older RSS feeds. The Pinterest support is particularly juicy because it gives you direct links rather than Pinterest links. Don’t know if anyone uses that site any more, but it felt too subversive to skip out on.

Also, I’ve finally figured out how to load h0p3’s wiki without stalling the extension. Unfortunately, this required some additional permissions. The permissions situation is getting stupid. I’m sorry!!

Also don’t miss Jason McIntosh’s review of Fraidycat after a month of using it. I really appreciate this encouragement and the wonderful suggestions.

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06 Feb 2020

International Sad Hits

A trail of poignancy by @vinhtruong3 winding around Japan, from Sweden to Iran.

Just a cool list that I saw by way of Toby Shorin. The mood here recalls Sibylle Baier’s “Colour Green”. Not sure the advantage to using Arena over a YouTube playlist. I was hoping for some commentary on the songs perhaps. I absolutely love the Andrei Petrov song here “Dance of Recallings”. It’s from a soundtrack and the film sounds great as well.[1]

Some of these songs are quite popular, but don’t think I’d heard any of them before. Expect harps and harpsichord. The rest of the Masahiko Satoh album is here. (Don’t know if I should be doing this - just trying to live up to the LEECHING side of things around here.)

See, this is another great example of what a directory can do. This is just a link list for tracks. But it pokes holes in my world and lets all this other stuff leak in that I was oblivious to.

Recalls to mind Rebecca Blood:

Even the man who turns first to the Sports section of the paper version of his hometown newspaper is exposed, however briefly, to the front news page; and an interesting headline in the Living section may catch his eye when he puts down the rest of the paper.

p. 12, The Weblog Handbook (2002)

Recommendation engines are likely too fixated on salience - how do they possibly widen their view and attempt to bring in material with such a low signal (in terms of broadcast strength) as to be indistinguishable from spam? Making playlists like this is the vital work we must continue to do.

Another quick quote, sorry to ramble.

As children get older, they yearn to understand what lies beyond the apparent; they want to know about what they can see in front of them but also what they cannot see.

— p. 6, “Children’s Need to Know”, Susan Engel

I think this description of curiosity nails it. The playlist of unknown videos is another version of seeing what I cannot see. I see people there that hadn’t existed ever before for me.[2]


  1. I love Russian film from the 70’s and 80’s. Recently watched the miniseries for The Idiot from that era. Please feel free to recommend any. ↩︎

  2. Sorry, I keep going. Look. I really appreciate Kurt Cobain for using his fame to spread around new knowledge of unknowns - like he was a big part of Os Mutantes becoming known in the U.S. - he did some hole-poking here and there. Unlike Paul Simon was very tight-lipped about his South African influences like Tau Ea Lesotho and Mahotella Queens. ↩︎

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03 Feb 2020

Unimaginable Heights

Jack and Talita’s website - THE model for couples hypertext.

That feeling when Neocities is a legit NeoGeocities.

Unimaginable Heights is a bit like a zine, a bit like the library in The Abortion, a bit like our own invention, a bit like one of those Bob Dylan songs that go on and on with crazy lyrics. It will probably be forever under construction as I learn new silly CSS tricks and shuffle things around. I expect there to be a lot of shuffling around. Hey, who decided the internet needs to be displayed as a stream of chronologically-ordered ‘posts’? This is a place to get lost, and a place to pay some attention.

I would normally wait for HrefHunt to post this, but it’s also got a sweeeeet directory of other Neocities websites that I can’t just sit on. (They even seem to have found chamy on their own! “she’s good at making up jokes about lizards.” Yeah, that’s her.)

The website went up in 2018 and most of the recent work has been focused on the zine page. Which brings me to the other discovery here (from the Winged Snail Mail zine): the ‘master list of postal projects and websites’.[1]

It would be cool if Neocities offered RSS on their site updates page, so we could follow them outside of Neoticies. Perhaps this another thing for Fraidycat to scrape.

(Aside.) Instinctually, I get why people don’t understand my blog. It’s just a feeling that somehow I am lost in my own words. I sometimes read my own stuff and can’t figure out what I’m saying. My sentences can be very unclear and I don’t realize it until a year has passed. It’s the way the words go together.

But I think that I also am just writing on a personal level - not in the Oprah sense, like about tragedy or inner turmoil - but just in that I like to talk about my interests and the people I meet. I don’t really get taken in by news or politics or pop culture - these things aren’t dead to me, they just seem pointless to me - whereas discovering unknown people and learning how to talk to them, as well as building experiments here and there, seems very pointfull. But also memes - I don’t often connect with them either. So I think I lack some language sometimes for connecting with the mainstream.

I guess I’m also thinking about the categorization of my site as ‘counterculture’ - because I don’t really see it that way. That word seems very insurgent. (“Fraidycat as Stuxnet” was serious, but it’s really just a joke idea.) I see myself as being in Jack and Talita’s community - just harmless and out-of-the-way, abdicating any cultural sway or power pronto.[2] And yeah I also see DFW as being ‘hipster bait’ too. But not condescendingly, of course.

Like they say:

Have compassion with the hipster baits of this world, but also try not to waste too much time with them. For they are just like everyone. People are like that, well-meaning, but with much less to say than they think. Maybe hipster bait has the power to reflect us back to ourselves. Hopefully, hipster bait will inspire us. Its social function is to expose the reality of making things, which is that everything is either pathetic or sterile, with very few options in between short of being one of those kooky Italian church painters. At its best, hipster bait is a celebration of both the pathetic and the sterile. And if you think about how Elijah Wood has over 4,000 records in his collection and still says his favourite band are the flipping Smashing Pumpkins (everyone’s third or fourth favourite band when they’re 14), you’ll realise that all he’s doing, all that anyone is doing, is getting up in the morning, then moving around, then going back to sleep; that no matter how grandiose the things you do might feel, they’re still just happening one after another in-between bursts of hunger and tiredness, that it will always be difficult to focus. There will be the task at hand, and there will be disorientating, conflicting impulses swirling around inside of you, always. You’ll realise that existence is much more circular than linear, and maybe your world will feel a bit simpler, and you’ll feel a bit more relaxed.

Yes! This essay is such an antidote to thoughtpieces. Thank you, our beloved Most Quality Couple of Neocities, thank you.


  1. Also an interesting related blog to look into: ‘she lives with an apple tree’ by the author of The Heart is Homebound. ↩︎

  2. Like your run-of-the-mill Draco Malfoy impersonator might feel on any day of the week. Not as Draco, of course, but inside, where they’re just happy to be in his shoes so deep that it feels real. ↩︎

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The Life of D. Duck II

From shitty website ‘Best of Bjørnar B.’

This website of scribbled art purports to have sprung from the mind of a teenage Norwegian, however I’m not buying it. It appears that this site was covered somewhat closely by Something Awful years ago - and was perhaps originally hosted there. The site mostly contains drawings and games featuring a character called D. Duck who has to deal with an unruly Uncle Jubalon and fears losing his girlfriend Dasy to his cousin Anton. (YouTube vids here, if you’re rightfully wary of downloading.)

I have not dug deeply here - the game mostly seemed to be fat jokes and funny mispellings - but I think the game is a bit more impressive work than the reviews say - and there are only like three one-star reviews out there. The animation and visual style is quite unique - there’s no doubt that some decent work was poured into this. I love hand-drawn games - this Homeward Bound game and this Hanging Gardens game come to mind as other scribbly designs that look unlike anything else. But D. Duck is so scribbly that you almost can’t make out the characters’ appearances - their bent heads and distorted bodies are almost Cubist. The soundtrack also seems too good for a teenager. Who knows tho!

In an age where so much design has become bland and smooth, or simply striving toward realism, I think we could use a lot more mess and distortion. I feel like Charlie McAlister would have made a game like this.

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30 Jan 2020

Ei Wada TV Jam

Sick bar code and TV licks from @crab_feet

Wow, am I late to this party. Ei Wada has been making music since at least 1998, much of it on TV tubes and magnetic tape. And still posting mind-blowing bar code freeform on Twitter at @crab_feet in the now. (Like this one - wait till you see what the shirts are for…)

The handle comes from an early piece called ‘Crab Feet Man’. Some of my fave vids I’ve run across:

  • Factory Fan Bass. I’m amazed how well the optics of the upright bass have been translated here.
  • Ei Wada + Nicos Orchest-lab. Holy shit - TV four-piece and six-piece bands! I love the mallets on a TV. Seriously makes me love life.
  • Tape Tapping. To do this without breaking the tape and compensating for the slack.

I love Ei Wada’s infectious and playful way. Please post any other sweet vids you find - searching ‘electronicos fantasticos’ and ‘open reel ensemble’ can reveal others.

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28 Jan 2020

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Legible News

A wish comes true: a single-page world newspaper.

I’ve been wishing for many years that someone would start a newspaper called ‘one-line news’ or something, that would sum up the day of world news in a single (perhaps longish) sentence. I get behind on mainstream culture, but I don’t want to lose track of it completely.

This link (via Joe Jennett) is my dream page!!! Culled from Wikipedia’s Current events portal, this is a highly readable plain HTML page-per-day for the news. In addition, someone has made an RSS feed for it - though I’m having some troubles getting it to work.

Other news outlets have plain-text link lists:

However, I prefer the daily digest. And this being sourced from Wikimedia is also a mark in its favor. (See also: Sijmen J. Mulder’s directory to text-only websites.)

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24 Jan 2020

Temper

Create a single page of text with a certain brutalist aesthetic, an alternative to pastebins.

I stumbled upon this tool by Jonas Pelzer, after encountering the Planet Ujou website. This is exactly the kind of writing tool that I like to collect in href.cool’s Web/Participate category. A simple way to create HTML that you can then slap up to Neocities or 1mb.site.

I think it’s really cool that this is such a small, limited (but focused) tool - it can be polished to near perfection because it is so narrow in its function. I wish there were more little websites like this. It makes me wonder if a directory-building or link list tool could be made along these lines. Or perhaps there already is one! Now - how to find it…

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‘During a downpour that drummed on the roof, as the mosquitoes became such a nuisance that both had coated themselves in a thick layer of coconut oil and lit several coir fires, and when a certain hopelessness in the situation became apparent, Engelhardt had swept the white chess figures off the board with a surly wipe of the hand. Knight and rook had landed, like wooden grenades, in the sand beside a millipede, which, sorely disturbed in its consumption of the leaf that was its supper, crept off sullenly in the rain.’

— p. 134, Imperium by Christian Kracht

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07 Jan 2020

From “Worker-in-the-loop Retrospective”:

Still, the most common question investors asked us while developing a worker-in-the-loop scheduling service was “how long until the humans are gone?”

This sucks. There is no concept of the value of a human perspective. There is no sense of human skill. Humans are seen as just low-quality fuel.

This makes me wonder if it’s best to treat investors as unshackled AI that already threaten humanity. Their behavior seems to match up with soulless robotic resource acquisition.

It’s wild to me that even the writer (who is trying to advocate the value of a human worker in the algorithmic process) doesn’t ever cite the benefits of human intellegence! It’s as if there are none.

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24 Dec 2019

Y. Kiri Yu 余依笛

A blog can be both lovely carcass art and marker reviews.

Blogs are piling up everywhere. I need to do another HrefHunt. (If you have a blog, let me link to you.) In the meantime, I don’t want to sit on this one. A Wordpress blog that is very clean and colorful.

While much of it is art (and art supplies), there are also some good essays about blogging, such as “The Only Way to Beat Algorithms is to Retrain Your Audience”. I appreciate articles like this because it has become very common to litter criticism everywhere without any concept of a way forward. I really don’t think an RSS resurgence is going to happen with the mainstream - but it could continue to happen down here in the wilds - and we can definitely benefit from the mindset of bringing your node on the network back under your control.

Anyway, I think Wordpress is still an excellent way to participate. So it’s good to see blogs that use it well.

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Fraidycat as Stuxnet

Fraidycat 1.0.7 is out (in the browser and on desktop), major performance improvements.

My appreciation to all of you out there who have been helping with Fraidycat - this last week has been very busy. There are now releases for Mac, Windows and Linux. These don’t sync between computers yet - but I have spent quite a lot of time polishing them up, to prepare for that. The web extension has been running kind of heavy, so I have now made some major improvements to its performance.

If you use Fraidycat in Firefox, the update is already available. I don’t think the Chrome extension will make it through their store until the end of the week.

I haven’t spent much time trying to spread the word on Fraidycat just yet. I am still clawing along until I can reach a quality that I am happy with. I am close. I think I just want to improve the appearance a bit over the next week and see if I can offer something a little less bland.

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23 Dec 2019

Anna Malina

These GIFs seem pretty haunted to me. Pretty much the opposite of ‘cinemagraphs’.

Don’t know that I’ve seen many GIFs using collage, paint and such in this way. (Also, I guess they are part of this mini-site—at cargo.site, which is a very interesting directory of artists. I’m finding some good things there!)

Anna also has a channel of short films on YouTube. Discovered her on Warren Ellis’ list of feeds (the “Blog Diet”.)

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12 Dec 2019

Reply: The Hyperchat Modality

Chris Aldrich

[wrt to my conversations with philosopher.life] I’m curious what modality you use to converse? Am I missing some fun bit of something about that wiki?

How do you converse with a wiki?

Yeah—it’s quite hidden. We’ve been calling it hyperconversation. It’s very informal and fluid. It’s completely simple: just leaving messages for each other on our sites. No Webmentions necessary or anything like that.

We’re actually trying to really push this concept right now. So there’s this sprawling group chat going on between my blog, philosopher.life, sphygm.us and wiki.waifu.haus for the last few weeks, going through December. The master thread is right here.[1]

You might be tempted to say that using Webmentions would improve the chat because it would give us notifications. But I’m not so sure! The great thing about doing a chat like this is that you really have to keep up on each person’s wiki (or blog), because messages could be hidden anywhere. With Webmentions, you would read their reply and move on. (Think of how, in your reply, you had to reference this article for me—but there is probably a lot more relevant material on your site—I know this is true, just because you do a lot of metadiscussion about blogging and online conversation.)

If you and I were to chat this way, we basically mutually agree to dig deep into each other’s blogs. Think of how this contrasts to ‘the temporality of social media’ that you mention.

Chris:
We’re being trained to dip our toes into a rapidly flowing river and not focus on deeper ideas and thoughts or reflect on longer pieces further back in our history.

Taking this a level deeper, social is thereby forcing us to not only think shallowly, but to make our shared histories completely valueless.

This is absolutely what we’re trying to figure out too, in our own way. Here’s a summary of what this group (the ‘public self-modelers’) is doing:

  • Cross-wiki chats get compiled and placed in permanent pages so that they can be referred back to and built upon.
  • Each individual works on writing master pages for specific concepts (Find The Others has been a topic that we’ve fleshed out together) or even for specific people (such as h0p3’s page on Sphygmus or my page on h0p3.) These personal pages are just good fun - a reminder that the point of our conversation isn’t just to explore a topic, but to get to know each other and goof around.
  • Because conversations and chats span months and months (compared to a Twitter thread, which may last only a few days,) even the ‘ephemeral’ threads are pretty solid, because a lot of thinking and back-and-forth have gone into them.
  • Since we’re not using a rigid protocol (like ActivityPub or microformats,) we can shape the conversation however we want. (For example, at one point we decided to start using each other’s colors when quoting - I think this was Sphygmus’ idea - so we worked on ‘whostyles’ - you can see them on my Hypertext%20%20 page. So we don’t really care about protocols. We care about messing with the hypertext. They’ve each done a lot of work tweaking their wikis. So there’s an aesthetic component.) So we’re not just work on permanent writing - but long-term design/art projects, too.

People seem very focused on technological solutions to online communication (ActivityPub, Indieweb, this absurd BlueSky idea), but the hyperconversation approach is trying to prove that the problem is a human problem. If you read and listen to each other and try to respond thoughfully and carefully - and try to find your own style and wee innovations along the way - you start to feel like you don’t need anything more complicated than a TiddlyWiki!

That’s been a very stunning realization for me. (As I’ve been an Indieweb zealot as well, of course.) Thank you for your curiosity and for your excellent blog and for your work on improving the Web! You are one of the main writers that I feel has been keeping the Web healthy. You connect a lot of people, Chris. That’s human work.


  1. Right now you have to weed through it all, but I will be publishing a finalized, edited chat on my home page when it’s over. ↩︎

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10 Dec 2019

Twilight Sparkle’s Voice Compromised

Brony AI seizes cartoon vocal chords (via @gwern)

The Pony Preservation Project undertakes to model (with machine learning) the voices of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters, thus granting them immortality. And, for Twilight Sparkle, the decorum of a sailor.

I don’t know if linking to 4chan is considered bad form - Gwern did the footwork on this, though, so who am I to say? Audio deepfakes, but for cartoon ponies. I’m just going to yank the text from 4chan, since I never know when these pages will disappear.

Pay particular notice to the Google Doc below - it contains rough instructions for training. You need a transcript for each audio clip that you’re processing, so a long-running series like Friendship is Magic is helpful, as you have a wide-ranging corpus to begin with. Background noise also needs to be removed from clips, there is a ‘sorting’ process - which also involves assigning ‘moods’ it seems - and there is also some reference to using Praat, which is used to annotate the files, identifying specific sounds.[1]

TwAIlight welcomes you to the Pony Voice Preservation Project!
https://clyp.it/qrnafm4y

This project is the first part of the “Pony Preservation Project” dealing with the voice. It’s dedicated to save our beloved pony’s voices by creating a neural network based Text To Speech for our favorite ponies. Videos such as “Steamed Hams But It’s Trump & Obama” or “RealTalk Joe Rogan” have proven that we now have the technology to generate convincing voices using machine learning algorithms “trained” on nothing but clean audio clips. With roughly 10 seasons (8 soon to be 9 seasons and 5 movies) worth of voice lines available, we have more than enough material to apply this tech for our deviant needs.

Any anon is free to join, and many are already contributing. Just read the guide to learn how you can help bring on the wAIfu revolution. Whatever your technical level, you can help. Document: docs.google.com

We now have a working TwAIlight that any Anon can play with: Instructions

>Active Tasks
Create a dataset for speech synthesis (https://youtu.be/KmpXyBbOObM)
Test some AI program with the current dataset
Research AI (read papers and find open source projects)
Track down remaining English/Foreign dubs that are missing
Evaluate cleaned audio samples
Phonetic dictionary/tagging
AI Training/Interface

>Latest Developments
https://clyp.it/xp4q1bru [Yay!]
Anons are investigating Deepvoice3, Tacotron2 with GSTs, SV2TTS, and Mellotron
New tool to test audio clips
New “special source” audio
Several new AInons

>Voice samples (So far)
https://clyp.it/2pb4bp05
https://clyp.it/s0klxftk
https://clyp.it/samzm4sk
https://pastebin.com/JUpDRsiw

>Clipper Anon’s Master File:
https://mega.nz/#F!L952DI4Q!nibaVrvxbwgCgXMlPHVnVw

>Synthbot’s Torrent Resources
In the doc at end of resources.

Gwern also found a larger directory of clips, same voice.

Predictions:

  • Fanfic will gain a serious boost when AI-generated voices can simply be fed scripts to generate audiobooks.
  • Couple this with animation networks (also via gwern) and The Simpsons may never need to end.
  • The power of the novel in previous generations was due to the fact that a single writer could produce one without relying on anyone else - finding collaborators in close proximity is a luxury some don’t have. This technology could make cartoons and film largely the domain of lone writers with no staff.
  • It will be a long time before this ever catches up to human voices and hand-drawn frames. In fact, this could increase the value of those artworks. (In the way that algorithms have really helped us see the value of human curation.)
  • Someone who is able to use the tech with a clever flair will have an edge. (As has been the case with CGI.)

I’m still not too hyped by machine learning, though. It seems pretty weak given the empire frothing around it. But these small iterations are cool. And you have to love when it comes out of a random subculture rather than the military. Who can’t respect this kind of insanely determined fandom? Impressive work for one week.


  1. A good start on this is “Analyze Your Voice” video by Prof Merryman. ↩︎

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09 Dec 2019

Blogging Less in the 2020s

How frequently should you post to keep pace with the next decade?

Posting every day — multiple times a day — is indispensable. This is one of the main factors the Instagram algorithm uses to determine how much they are going to expose you to the public (via the “explore page”). Posting every day, especially at “rush hour” times, is much harder and more monotonous than you might think. Most people give up on this task after a few weeks, and even missing a day or two can be detrimental. So, I automated the content collecting and sharing process.

— Chris Buetti, “How I Eat For Free in NYC Using Python, Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Instagram”

Facebook posts reach their half-life at the 90-minute mark, nearly four times longer than Twitter.

— Buffer’s “Social Media Frequency Guide”

Consistency. Asking friends who work in social media and marketing, this is the current dominant advice - for both ‘influencer’ types and DIY creators. This word seems to be everything right now.

The implication is that you should post frequently, with as much quality as you can muster, to stay relevant. Otherwise, you’ll drop off the end as new ‘content’ crowds it out. And this is happening all day.

The fact that they only post twice a week sheds light on their poor performance. While Nike is a cool brand, their social media content’s infrequencies are taking a toll.

— Dash Hudson, “The Truth About How Often You Should Be Posting on Instagram”

This is an artifact of how social media platforms are constructed. It doesn’t benefit the writer to need to focus on consistency over quality, does it? So does it benefit the reader?

It benefits the platform. And, at this point, there are many different platforms, all demanding your ‘consistency’.

Post to Twitter at least 5 times a day. If you can swing up to 20 posts, you might be even better off.

Post to Facebook five to 10 times per week.

Post to LinkedIn once per day. (20 times per month)

— Buffer’s “Social Media Frequency Guide”

So, minimum 47 posts per week on these three networks. Recommended: 157.

Last year I decided to begin posting only on Tuesday Friday. (Since changed to Monday and Thursday.) I might post a couple times on each of those days. Even worse: I’m posting on a blog in the middle of nowhere, not on a platform that has the benefit of an existing network of users. (Unless you consider the Web itself an existing network of users.)

Convention dictates that I should now show a bunch of statistics demonstrating that posting biweekly had a great statistical benefit and led to ‘success’. However, I believe that would be a cold comfort.[1] I don’t keep traffic statistics - my favorite novels don’t have tracking devices inside, do they? And articles that statistically show ‘success’ are what have led us to ‘consistency’. I don’t think my social media friends are wrong about what is working in 2019.

Most weblogs are unfunded, spare-time ventures, yet most webloggers update their sites five days a week, and some even work on weekends!

— p. 127, Rebecca Blood, The Weblog Handbook (2002)

Does anyone really want ‘likes’? Or do they want ‘followers’? Or ‘visits’ or ‘impressions’? These are numerical decoys for something else.

When I think about writing online - I really just want to add something to someone’s life. To introduce them to a link, in the same way that Andy Baio introduced me to HIGH END CUSTOMIZABLE SAUNA EXPERIENCE. Or to write something they enjoy, just as Nadia Eghbal did with “The Tyranny of Ideas” - an essay I keep coming back to. Or maybe I meet them and can’t even sum it up with a single link, as with h0p3 (at philosopher.life) who I just like to converse with and keep up with throughout my week.

In this way, I feel successful. I might get a nice e-mail from someone. Or I might hear from someone I linked to, saying, “Hey, I had a few people find me through you.” Or I might just not know at all - most people just read and move on, which is totally understandable. And it might be several years later that they say thanks in some blog post that I stumble across.

I think that, even if you do play the ‘consistency’ game, you have to come to terms with not knowing. Why not start there then?

There are lots of strategies out there for gaming the system: posting at optimal times on a regular schedule, using hashtags and keywords, etc, but algorithms change and update as quickly as users adapt, and a battle where you can only react to your opponents moves isn’t one that can be won.

— Y. Kiri Yu, “The Only Way to Beat Algorithms is to Retrain Your Audience”

If I could statistically show you the good memories - the ones I will hold on to - from the past two years, I would show that graph here. I think that would be a useful statistic!

I can list some advantages to working on the Monday Thursday schedule:

  • There is no burn-out. This should be self-apparent.
  • If I drop a week, no big deal. Missing two days of posts rather than seven.
  • This benefit is given to the readers, too! If they miss a week, it is easy to catch up.
  • Blogging returns to being something of a ‘deadline’ rather than a schedule. In fact, I tend to think of Monday as being more serious. I work towards Monday. And, if I have extra things, I may save them for a Thursday.
  • Showing restraint improves the quality of individual posts. There are many times that I’ve crafted a post and then deleted it. I only have a few posts per week - I don’t want to spend them senselessly. (Of course, quality is subjective - I speak only of my own sense of quality.)
  • In the long-term, I can sustain this for decades if I decide to. That can’t be said for daily posting. (Barring personal disaster or loss of interest.)
  • The focus becomes less on winning a single viral post to cash in on. It’s more about finding friends and trying to find useful stuff to bring value to my regular reader’s lives.
  • And, finally, another great benefit to the reader: they have more time to spend reading others! (Who perhaps also post in a fashion that is simple to track.)

There are some difficulties:

  • Ensuring people know the schedule. But I feel like this just becomes apparent over time.
  • Some weeks I feel like posting A LOT more. I’ve always been glad I restrained.
  • Of course, it is incompatible with social media. I don’t get much contact through Twitter, for instance.

Aside from my own experiences, though, I can point to many other blogs that are following sleepy schedules: Nadia Eghbal, who posts every month or two with great effect. Subpixel.space, similar schedule, also high quality. Ribbonfarm seems to be twice-a-week, but has a strong base of readers. things magazine, once or twice per week. Phil Gyford posts maybe a bit more frequently than that. And Andy Baio, who blogs infrequently, but does so when he really has something that you don’t want to miss, is possibly the most important blog to me of all-time.

I don’t want to come off as too negative about frequent posting. There are many people that I enjoy following who post constantly, at all hours of the day. And it suits their personality. It’s cool that they have a lot to say.

For anyone else who may want to pull off a low-key blog (or TiddlyWiki[2]), I wrote this to encourage you! It has worked well for me - and I’m satisfied that all is not lost.

And I will gladly link to you if you make an attempt at this. Come on - let me link to you. I do a monthly hrefhunt, listing blogs and websites that I discover. It’s well worth it, to discover obscure or neglected blogs that haven’t fit into social media’s rapid pacing.

Perhaps we can get away from that in 2020.


  1. I don’t think ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ are useful metrics — see, for instance, Instagram star with 3 million followers can’t sell 36 t-shirts. ↩︎

  2. See sphygm.us. ↩︎

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also at kickscofbk2xcp5g.onion and on hyper://.

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

jack and tals vals, hipster bait analysts.

hypertext 2020 pals: h0p3 level 99 wikiist + ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid highly classified scribbles + consummate waifuist chameleon.

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

waxy is back at it!

surfpals: nadia eghbal, subpixel.space (toby), things by j, gyford, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek), 'web curios' at imperica.

fond friends: jacky.wtf, fogknife, eli, tiv.today, j.greg, box vox, whimsy.space, caesar naples.

indieweb: .xyz, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd, ~jonbell.

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

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

neil c. "some..."

the world or cate le bon you pick.

all my other links are now at href.cool.