Kicks Condor

💦 ‘ALL’/‘EVERYTHING’

Many replies, notes and subtle edits are left off the home page - I try to limit the attention required in order to follow this blog. However, I am also finding myself in more conversations all the time. I provide this complete list of activity - so as not to hide it all, but to sate any curiosity.

This page has its own raw unfiltered feed.

07 Jul 2021

No one had ever given him such an effusive, heartfelt handshake, never had anyone but intimate acquaintances stood so close to him, knee to knee, and as a math teacher Herman never did anything to encourage such impulses.

— p. 38, That Time of Year by Marie NDiaye

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17 Jun 2021

Taia777 Archive

Rebane has checkpointed the checkpoints, after a DMCA takedown by Nintendo.

I recently covered Taia777 (and its ‘checkpoints’) here - now many of those videos have now been taken down - along with all of the comments. This appears to have happened on June 15th. Checkpointers have moved to other Stickerbrush Symphonies here and here. It appears that home for checkpointers is any place that this song calls home.

Fortunately the video is now also archived here along with all of the comments.[1] Jonny RaZeR has also made a very good summary of the history and events up to the disappearance of these videos - with a bunch of screenshots taken the week previous.[2]

Rebane - who runs the ‘hobune stream’ YouTube archive says on Reddit:

Hey, I’m an internet archivist and I archived the taia777 channel and also the comments on it. Now that Nintendo has struck down many of the videos, I’m going to share my archives.

This reminds me of a tweet I recently saw from Robin Sloan:

I have developed a pretty strong habit of using youtube-dl to grab “tenuous-feeling” videos, especially those that qualify as some kind of research, and stashing the files away.

I have a stash too - I’m sure many of you have your own! If anyone out there is working on archival tools or has some pointers, please pass them on. It’s a good time for that.

Oh also: this playlist is an incredibly solid directory in this world - and also happens to be SiIvaGunner/Soundclown adjacent. Go get a good education!


  1. Replace /videos in the URL with /comments to see them all. I assume Rebane has a good reason to not directly link to that comments page - so I’m respecting that here as well. ↩︎

  2. The making of the video happened to coincide with the deletion of ‘the lost sanctuary’ - as the author writes in Discord: ‘I was making a video about the original stickerbrush video, and as I was finishing the editing process, and looking for comments, I discovered that the video was blocked by nintendo.’ ↩︎

  1. >I assume Rebane has a good reason to not directly link to that comments page - so I’m respecting that here as well. The reason the pages aren't linked is that my website wasn't built for comments and they were added as a kind of a hack, but you can freely link to those pages!

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15 Jun 2021

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10 Jun 2021

Sadgrl.online

Personal directory through-and-through - got some Neocities pointers for you as well.

Ah so - this is a good rabbithole - go click on it, that’s all there is to it.

This site is truly a throwback to the Original World-Wide Web. A personal home page. Pages of links. Tutorials on making your own web page. Lots of little 88x31 link buttons. You can go here and pretty much experience the Web as it was.

One of my favorite areas is the shrines - a collection of mini-sites dedicated to Sadness’ obsessions. These sites are their thing: their own designs, their own feel - I assumed they were external links at first. Yeah, no.

Since the site is on Neocities, there is a page cataloguing the recent updates. I’ve been using Neocities’ RSS feeds - but they are very limited - no indication of what has changed, just a timestamp.

So when I visited Unimaginable Heights’ recent updates page, I was happy to see that it shows thumbnails that are linked to the pages that have changed.

I’ve added support for this to Fraidycat, so that you can keep up with updates to these sites - just follow the url (https://unimaginable-heights.neocities.org/, for example) and it’ll show you a feed of that ‘recent updates’ page.

Screenshot of Neocities follow in Fraidycat.

I like this a lot - no need for a blog - just build your home page on Neocities and people can have a window into what you’re working on day-by-day. Would love to see this on mmm.page!

Oh also - you can find sadness on Spacehey.

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Vivaldi 4.0 Includes Feed Reader

And not as a separate app - but as an integrated part of the browser.

I’ve been using Vivaldi for quite awhile - it’s a Chromium-based browser with quite a lot of interesting features, such as tab groups, tiling windows, and customizable sidebars. Their new RSS reader is rather elegant - as it’s just part of an inbox page that’s integrated into the browser - and can act as both an e-mail client and a feed reader!

I’ll personally continue to use Fraidycat with Vivaldi - because the ‘inbox’ metaphor doesn’t work for the volume of feeds I like to follow - but it’s great to see a resurgence of support for RSS in recent weeks. (I’m thinking particularly of Chrome for Android’s new ‘follow’ button.)

Vivaldi Mail/Reader

You can access the e-mail/reader pane by visiting vivaldi://mail/.

Kind of wish you could hook into the RSS ‘subscribe’ button in extensions - but hey at least it’s there! The icon shows up in the address bar when feeds are detected - and you can click there to subscribe.

There’s also a preview window to show you the contents of a feed. Nice touch to see if the feed shows the full text of a post.

Vivaldi RSS Preview

I think this is one of the better RSS integrations among browsers over the years. Firefox used to have a way of monitoring RSS as a ‘live bookmark’ - which was REALLY WEIRD. This was removed in 2018.

  1. @kicks I just updated my Vivaldi this morning, haven't had a chance to dig into the new feautures yet, will be interesting to see how they work out.

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28 May 2021

‘A mascle is a voided lozenge—that is, a lozenge with a lozenge-shaped hole in the middle—and the rarer rustre is a lozenge containing a circular hole. A field covered in a pattern of lozenges is described as lozengy; a similar field of mascles is masculy.’

— Wikipedia article for Lozenge, “Heraldry”

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Taia777

The world of checkpoints in the YouTube comments.

Ran across this link in the mmm.page discord last week. I’m not linking to the video part of the page here - to be honest, I haven’t watched it yet. The video is not irrelevant here - but there is just a lot going on in the comments.

In fact, these aren’t just comments - but checkpoints! A new kind of comment where you check in and say how life is going. That’s all there is to it![1]

The Taia777 Sanctuary Discord describes checkpoints as ‘spiritual comments’:

When people listen to the song and see the background of the vines/sky, it invokes a sense of nostalgia and curiosity. It’s hard to explain. It brings you back to a simpler time, when everything was controlled and bliss. But it can also amplify the current state you’re in, causing a complete reevaluation of yourself, and perhaps an epiphany of your existence as well. Many people have found solace in the comment section, as they pour their hearts and souls out to anonymous people on the internet.

It’s unknown what the first spiritual comment was, but when the video was first recommended to me around 2017, I recall seeing people question their identity and reality; I had also translated several of the Japanese comments, many of them sending their love to the unknown and those who are lost. Ever since I can remember, the taia777 comment section has been filled with love and, for many people, has been a safe space where people can vent with no repercussions. Everyone’s experience with these videos is different, but what’s universal is the utilization of the pathos. Emotions will be involved one way or another.

An even more popular video is taia777’s “Corridors of Time” video - while there are some checkpoints attached to this video, most of it is color commentary on this peculiar subculture.

Along similar lines (and also brought up in the original discussion on Discord,) this video of Porter Robinson & Madeon’s “Shelter”. Except that the comments section in this video is dominated by a single user (name of JustJeff) posting checkpoints daily!

From a few hours ago:

Day 824: Finished “That time I got reincarnated as a slime” season 2 today. Man I love that anime

Sorry, it’s not strictly JustJeff. There are a lot of comments that are fake checkpoints, parodies or copycats.

I can’t help but feel that the stigma around YouTube comments - once seen as the premiere cesspool of the Internet - has perhaps made them the perfect spot for this kind of natural flowering of humanity. A great balancing has transpired.


  1. It actually is so much better than a normal comment. ↩︎

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12 May 2021

Reply: Such Nice

@simonwoods

@kicks Wow! I love these sorts of projects. Such a nice way to make website-building feel less imposing and restrictive.

The designer in this case has just done great work refining over the past six months. To pour that much time into a single-page tool! I really think this project has legs.

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mmm.page

Personal home pages strike back – an incredibly elegant and friendly tool from @xhfloz.

Weiwei spotted this one some months ago - a tweet showing a responsive website builder:

XH:
I’ve been working on a dead simple way to make websites.

Drag-and-drop, free-form, collage-like.

Well, today mmm.page is out! So good! Please share your pages in the comments.

Over the past few months, I have seen this tool become incredibly polished - and have had some great chats with XH, discussing the plans for it. But even today - what a killer tool! Works brilliantly on mobile devices. Easily an heir to the throne of the original Byte page maker.

Don’t want to speak for XH here, but there has been talk about self-hosting pages as well.

a) definitely want to support the use case of self-hosting. i think the ideal world is… “decentralized” hosting

b) at the same time, i want to support ppl who have no technical knowledge. let ppl put up a website within a minute or two – a presence online.

I asked about how the service will be kept alive, given that so many website builders end up capitulating to ad revenue and “engagement stuff” - the reply was “I would rather have no service running than one doused with advertisements.”

There is such a community of zazzy web tools coming together lately! Brilliant work, XH.

  1. @kicks Wow! I love these sorts of projects. Such a nice way to make website-building feel less imposing and restrictive.

  2. Reply: Such Nice

    @simonwoods

    @kicks Wow! I love these sorts of projects. Such a nice way to make website-building feel less imposing and restrictive.

    The designer in this case has just done great work refining over the past six months. To pour that much time into a single-page tool! I really think this project has legs.

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SiIvaGunner

Track ripper extraordinaire of the imaginary video game kingdom.

It’s possible that you’re reading this thinking, “Okayyyy, uh Kicks? You can dig up rare TiddlyWikis and out-of-the-way neo-cities, but you’re just discovering SiIvaGunner??” Hey, I’m sorry! I don’t know who is reading this or what anyone knows or what’s IMPORTANT OKKKK!!

Let me start by saying that I’ve been asking around in kid circles - and it’s not unlikely that they know SiIvaGunner. HOWEVER. They don’t really know SiIvaGunner - they often have just heard the video game soundtrack “rips” - high quality rips - posted to the YouTube channel. And they uncritically accept them - videos such as “Horse Race (Extended Mix) - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” - as nothing more than high quality rips.

Of course, if you happen to continue down the SiIvaGunner storyline - which is easy to do, since a dozen new videos might appear each day - you can end up at videos like: “Main Theme (Anniversary Edition) - Wii Shop Channel” or “Title Theme & Ending - 7 GRAND DAD”. A “rip” can be a mashup, a remix, a medley, mixed-up sentences - stuff like that.

Of course, the channel has fought through several takedowns over the past six years - since it purports to be unironically infringing copyright and distributing unedited tracks.[1] (A cover story which plays into its “fake out” strategy.)

Anyway, SiIvaGunner isn’t a single person. There are about 300 active contributors - more than 900 people having contributed to the catalog.

So this is obviously a deep well to try to dive into with a massive Discord channel and wiki and network of YouTube and Twitter accounts, regular livestreams and ARG events. I think my favorite place to point people is the GilvaSunner Bandcamp page, which regularly releases new compilations assembled by the collective.

There is a wider “high quality rips” scene - like CrystalForce is a great example I recently stumbled into.

If you’re interested in more backstory, look for interviews with Chaze the Chat.


  1. The wiki also says for “misleading content”. It’s a rough time for fiction. ↩︎

  1. SilvaGunner is one of those rite of passage discoveries for the internet. It also took me ages to find it though, even after hearing a lot of their rips in other places
  2. Nice he retweet it >:]

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11 May 2021

Pinboard Walls Up For the Moment

Someone’s hyperactive spider got loose.

Clearly the radio silence on this one means that perhaps I am the only one who is affected here. Many of my personal link-hunting escapades begin on the Pinboard tag and user pages – those pages have been closed to the public for the past week, requiring a login to access.[1]

Pinboard: User+tag pages will remain limited to logged-in users only because someone is trying to do a distributed crawl of Pinboard at about 40 queries per second. They didn’t even buy me dinner first

I asked if this was a permanent change and got a quick reply:

I don’t like it, but right now it’s my only defense against heavy distributed crawling.

I’m going to take the phrase ‘right now’ as an indicator that this is a brief manuevre.

Logins for Pinboard are $22/year - very reasonable - a small fee to pay for the wealth of information within. But would be sad to see such a gift to the Web forced into a hole. (Especially since we recently saw some activity on twin site Delicious, after nearly ten years in a hole of its own.)

At the same time, I’m surprised there are no Pinboard-like sites in the Fediverse. There are ‘link-sharing’ sites, but they’re all more like Reddit.


  1. Happily, the RSS feeds are still up. (Sssssh! Let’s not jinx it!) Sample URL: https://feeds.pinboard.in/rss/t:chiptune ↩︎

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03 May 2021

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01 May 2021

Web Curios Returns!

The greatest (HEAVIEST) linkdump of our era emerges without skipping a beat.

Ayyy!!! Frantic ayyyy!!! CURIOS IS BACK. Previously a regular feature of Imperica zine - which sadly disbanded a year or so ago. But I’m glad to see Curios return on its own website.

Initially this will save us a lot of time because we won’t have to surf the Web ourselves any more. However, we now have to surf each episode of Web Curios - start yer scrolllllling.

Imperica sadly folded, but thanks to the able assistance of Shardcore (website and spaffwrangling), Ant (design) and Kris (email gubbins) all the Web Curios from the past have been retrieved and resurrected, and the whole horrible, overlong, emotionally-traumatic, faintly-exhausting rigmarole can begin anew – I can only imagine the look of excited expectation (that’s what that is, right?) thats spreading across your chops as you read this.

(Oh - incidentally, if you want to follow with RSS, here’s a super seekrit link for you…) Nvm - REAL FEED: webcurios.co.uk/feed/. (thank ya krisu - in comments below.)

  1. They have actual RSS feed, you don't need "email to RSS": https://webcurios.co.uk/feed/

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14 Apr 2021

Reply: Ahh Gemini Right Right

Mira

Looks like e-worm.club uses Flounder, a gemini hosting software: https://admin.flounder.online/

Ok wow - appreciate this insight! Had played with the browsers, but wasn’t familiar with the extension. Sure enough - e-worm.club is browsable with Gemini.

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03 Apr 2021

e-worm.club

An 11-person HTML community.

Found this off the creator’s website: anemon.es. Which is also good fun - click on “my old site zzz” as well - good stuff in there too.

But back to e-worm club. It’s basically just a shared directory of files. Some of them are doing twtxt.txt[1] - but many of the pages are .gmi files?? Anyway, just click around on names and files and you’ll find hidden blogs.

Wish more people got to build the little out-of-the-way community that they want to build. This is custom!

This is unrelated sorta - but I didn’t share it at the time, so I’m going to tack it on here as well. One person I met on special.fish some months ago is mikael.

But mikael’s pinboard is the place you want to go. A lot of great links. Furthermore, the homepages tag of mikael’s is fii-urrr. Ugg saying it like that doesn’t help. How do I express enthusiasm here suitably? It’s good. It’s very good.


  1. Which also is a fun website - to just visit domains that are in the listing. ↩︎

  1. Looks like e-worm.club uses Flounder, a gemini hosting software: https://admin.flounder.online/
  2. Reply: Ahh Gemini Right Right

    Mira

    Looks like e-worm.club uses Flounder, a gemini hosting software: https://admin.flounder.online/

    Ok wow - appreciate this insight! Had played with the browsers, but wasn’t familiar with the extension. Sure enough - e-worm.club is browsable with Gemini.

  3. Hi i am the maker, its like a fork of flounder, makes a bunch of different design decisions bc its meant to be used by people who are already friends and already trust. Code here: https://git.sr.ht/~radioalice/e-worm.club

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24 Mar 2021

Reply: So Sick on Windows?

Ah it’s worse than that - Microsoft Windows (not activated).

But have to push back - it’s your glitch that’s sooo sick!! Haven’t had this much fun since MacPaint. Filling with emoji is a thrill…

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Emojraw

Draw amazing emoji mosaics - by Shannon Lin

This fantastic art tool is going right into my href.cool Web/Participate collection! Made by Shannon Lin - equally fascinating website at hello-shannon.com - what a sensation to use the fill tool to pour lollipops and little external hard drive icons into circles and squiggle shapes. I’ve recently had some fun with MacPaint - and this stirs up all the same freewheeling spraycan feelings!

My poor rendition of Toulouse-Lautrec is here no here - for some reason the link isn’t working, might be too big of an image.

Kind of a cool facet that the images show up differently on the different platforms.

@s_han_non_lin:
mobile support has been solved!! thanks @bwasti – the animated emojis are still coming … please do hold your breath n stay tuned

Links to canvases can get huge - but glad it’s all there in the query string. Keep a URL shortener close.

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22 Mar 2021

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Reply: Hypertext 2020 Code

for sure - right here: https://github.com/kickscondor/hypertext2020

apologies. never intended for use outside of me. run: ruby ht2020.rb ht2020.yml

you can go back to commit 3207526 to see the full transcript. thanks for peekin in.

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12 Mar 2021

Apple Stories with Joy Mountford

Okkk - notes from the second Clubhouse I attended with S. Joy Mountford.

(This is the second transcript I’ve taken of a chat with Joy. See the first at Notes from Clubhouse w/ Joy Mountford. This took place on March 11th, 2021 at 6 PM Pacific.)

HOPE I’M ACCURATE HERE. IT’S KIND OF A BLUR AND I’M READING IN THE LINES.

Specifically discussing the Human Interface Group in the 90s.

We take for granted all the space and computing we have today. At the time, she joined Apple, she started on a Macintosh SE. It was a $2,000 computer with two 800k floppy drives, 1 meg of RAM. And they were trying to do Quicktime with pictures the size of postage stamps.

In those days, they couldn’t do illustrative or animated story-telling - and we also take for granted that story-telling is a part of design work.

She had a connection with NYU ITP - and thought that they would bring a few students in to gain exposure to computing. Dan O’Sullivan was one of the interns. He had a camera pointed at a Coke can for like a month. Another person was taking a picture of water droplets over and over.

She thought, “What are we doing? This is going nowhere.” She was told, “Leave everyone alone. Just be patient. Something is happening.”

Lol. “Trust me, trust me. Something will happen.”

They’d been filming thousands of pictures into a giant circular movie. People gasped in shock at the view all around the scene.

People were standing next to a machine with freon to cool it down - presumably while it rendered.

The summers were full of interns experimenting and it sounds like Joy would write up job descriptions for them that would provide them with a cover while they

She described John Lassiter’s “Pencil Test” short - and the release to coincide with Quicktime.

Hypercard. Teachers were excited about it bc they could pick off images and build presentations. It become easier to make content. The game Myst.

The idea of going up to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a Mac Plus. Had a harddisk attached as well. Was bigger than the elevator to go to the top. So it was hoisted up next to the elevator. There was no ground up there - just cables.

Dan O’Sullivan had to go up. Last minute, he mentions he is afraid of heights.

Again - thousands of pictures stitched together into an interactive scene, above the Golden Gate Bridge. They began to give beautiful interiors the treatment - palaces in Russia and museums.

Presenting to Russia, their first demo of the VR image had no reaction. No clapping, no response. They were devastated.

It turned out that they didn’t believe it was real! Afterward, they had to impress upon one of the faculty that the demo was real by putting his hand on the mouse and illustrating that the room in Pavlov’s Palace could be navigated.

A day in the life of Australia - with 30 different countries represented among the workers attending. This was a series of photographic books - and Joy loved that the series showed photographers taking the pictures and some behind-the-scenes stuff. She felt this was important bc “if you’re going to tell a story outside of reader’s worlds, you should show the connecting story that bridges to their world - to draw them in.”

Americans in the 90’s were less impressed by demonstrations than other cultures because they were exposed to it so frequently. Once we are exposed to an innovation, our imagination catches up to it and other things become less of a stretch.

Reminiscing on “background printing”. Before PCs could multitask, you had to wait for documents to print.

Re: developing guidelines for developers, to ensure that Apple products were consistent. There was no “police force” at Apple, it was designers writing well-written, simple-to-follow guidelines to ensure that everyone was on the same page.

“It wasn’t as glamorous as going to Russia, but it was just as important.”

She developed color designs on a monochrome screen, during the transition to color! Flipping down color foils over the black-and-white screen. Starting without color monitors. She asked for a color monitor. “Don’t be ridiculous, you can’t have one of those.”

Some people did not want Hypercard to be produced. Bill Atkinson worked offsite. It didn’t fit into the culture at Apple. Like asking people in the UK to switch the side of the road they drive on - people just didn’t see the reason to put on a new paradigm.

“It was a totally different way of computing. And people got confused. No shit!”

People needed to see it in a new light - but they saw it as a different model that offered no benefit. “You don’t play Call of Duty in the same way that you listen to audiobooks.” (LOL!)

Don Norman walks by - first card is an index card with a fish and a telephone number. “A fish doesn’t have a telephone number.” “Don, it’s a graphic, not a real fish.”

These creative tools opened computing to women, who had been isolated from the male-dominated world of programming. Anyone who looked different at the time was sent to Joy because she cultivated a team with a wide variety of talent. But it wasn’t just an appearance thing - she discovered that most of the people she was drawn to had a background in music.

They had to spent a lot of time in the office because most of the computers couldn’t be transported home easily. “Luggables”: computers like the Powerbook that were somewhat transportable but not easily. They still had to use pen and paper quite a lot with no Internet to keep their home and office work in sync.

Education was not a lucrative thing to pursue, never has been. Apple had to compete with IBM. There was no competition in the “entertainment” front. And games were just for children. Mechanical Universe (from JLP) was a foundational work to teach Physics. But it was an uphill battle to get to those shifts.

Re: “productivity”. Work was developing plans, producing spreadsheets. Visualizing those things was quite controversial. It seemed extraneous to spend time designing the view of a project. Now it’s taken for granted that you can design post-its as “productivity”. (This feels like a jab at Kanban boards. XD)

She’s bagging on icons again. But hey - what could be more iconic? (Esp those original slanty Mac icons.)

Mention of a female mathematician who had long hair - and all the male workers assumed she was a designer. “She’s a mathematician - don’t go asking her to make you icons.”

Story of people cutting their fingers installing graphic cards in the computers. Dripping blood would short the boards! The execs had no idea the difficulty people were having until they did studies and filmed videos of people doing the installations.

With the new color monitors, people didn’t understand that the screens were still black. (When powered off and during early boot stages and stuff.) So they would return the computers bc the monitors weren’t “color”!

Lol. Going off on “A.I.” again. The word “intellegent” and “deep” being bandied about. “Why do people not know what Eliza is? How many lines of code was it? And when was it written?”

“Ivan Sutherland will say: I’ve done nothing.”

While talking about how many great works from the past have been ignored and not followed. “Newness is very overprojected and underdelivered.”

Interesting story about getting people to open up creatively by having them cut up magazine images and Xerox their collages. People were shocked at what they were capable of.

“I listen to music today - and I hate it! But I learn new things by listening to it.”

“We don’t sit and watch enough - we react. But it can be practiced: What is that person thinking? What would happen if a ball fell on them. Practice observing.” She mentions a Welsh four-year-old who discovered a large dinosaur footprint while the father was on his phone, standing by her.

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11 Mar 2021

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06 Mar 2021

A Verbal History of the Infinitely Printable Maze

The lore behind a mythical PostScript file now in my possession. Relayed to me by Herbert Quine, 2020 Sep 14

Electronic mail received From herbquine@<redacted>. 2020 Sep 14 12:34 PM.

(Ed. Note: I don’t pretend to fully understand this unsolicited e-mail from an anonymous maze scholar. However, it is like toxic materials in my hands. I must pass it on. For some reason, I get more e-mail about printable mazes than I do about anything else! I suppose they are truly the most formidable pillars of this, The World-Wide Web…)

To whom it may concern,

I have closely followed your ongoing fight against cybercrimes committed on the web property of kickscondor.com and would like to express my gratitude for the FBI’s efforts to highlight printable mazes as a valuable tool of cyberwarfare. Even though I wholeheartedly support your work, I must admit that I was initially reluctant to write you this message, given that my relationship with Jerry Bruckheimer Films has been somewhat troubled in the past. But I have finally come to the conclusion that a possible contribution to the war effort on my part far outweighs any misgivings I might have regarding Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ handling of the National Treasure franchise, which is why I am enclosing an Infinitely Printable Maze in the hope that it might be of value to the FBI.[1]

Diary, for comparison

I originally sent the same maze to the Jerry Bruckheimer Films department involved in the development of the upcoming National Treasure project as I had high hopes that the enclosed maze could play the same pivotal role in the hands of Nicolas Cage as John Wilkes Booth’s diary had played in the past. You see, the Infinitely Printable Maze has been part of my family’s estate for many generations and is in fact the only item of value that my grandfather was able to carry with him to the old continent when he made the perilous journey by sea in the hopes of finding a better life as a university professor in post-68 France. Well versed in French Theory but barely fluent in French, he was unfortunately never able to capitalize on the infatuation with self-reference and all things meta en vogue at the time and finally returned to his home country after many unsuccessful attempts to popularize printable mazes as an object of study. Regret and dementia made a potent mixture in the following years, which is why I cannot say with certainty how many of his stories about the origin of this particular printable maze were completely fabricated, but as far as I could tell the setting of most of his tales seemed to vacillate between a carpet weaving mill on the outskirts of Shiraz and the desolate hinterlands of the Basque countryside. In either case, it seemed that some time in the 14th century, one of our ancestors, the original Creator, had realized how much time could be saved in the production of printable mazes if only their construction could be mechanized somehow and thus went on to devise a rudimentary set of instructions to teach others the art of drawing printable mazes with just the right level of difficulty. But since each of these mazes had to be unique, their creation turned out to be impossible to automate on a printing press and so dozens (hundreds in other versions of the story) of local children were instructed in the interpretation of these maze drawing commands, to the point where this subject was judged more prestigious than Basque music (or Persian poetry, depending on the story). But when the Creator suddenly died, his creation nearly died with him, as his students began to fervently advocate for different maze drawing techniques, all of them slightly different and changing from generation to generation. Peaceful discussion turned into heated debate, debate into heresy and before you knew it most of the Basque countryside (or the entirety of the province of Fars, depending on the story) had been ravaged by a supposedly holy war. This dark age ended only when one of the daughters of the original Creator realized that only a canonical source of the drawing instructions, inscribed in the maze and reproduced with every maze drawing, could put an end to the senseless bloodshed by irrevocably linking the maze with its architecture[2], the source with its expression. She quickly found out that this endeavour was more difficult than initially imaged, as not only the instructions for drawing the maze had to be included in the maze, but also the instructions for drawing the instructions for drawing the maze and so forth. After what must have seemed like an eternity, she finally succeeded, but not without considerably changing the language of instruction that had heretofore been used, which in turn extensively shaped the language spoken in that area. Some of my relatives have attributed the unique features of the Basque language to that episode, others see the refined beauty of Persian poetry as emblematic proof. In any case, every maze produced by the Creator’s Daughter and her ancestors henceforth carried with it a copy of its instructions which itself contained instructions for drawing both the maze and its instructions and have not changed to this day, as far as I was able to trace the lineage of the maze in my possession.

Now, I know what you will object to my version of these events (and it is exactly what the production team at Jerry Bruckheimer responded to a similarly worded letter of mine): How could it be that the instructions for drawing the Infinitely Printable Maze are valid PostScript, given that PostScript was only invented and formalized in the 80s by Adobe? I myself have long been puzzled by this fact and actually once took it as proof that the stories my grandfather told me must have been a product of his vivid imagination. Perhaps my memories of seeing the Infinitely Printable Maze on our wall as a child in the early 80s were merely hazy recollections of similarly looking mazes, or perhaps my memory was off by a few years and my grandfather had manufactured the maze just after PostScript printers had first hit the market?

Thankfully, I finally learned the truth one fateful October morning, when I met some distant relatives of mine that I had not had the chance of meeting before. Our family has been spread out over multiple continents for many generations (which is one reason why I like to think that perhaps both versions of the story have certain grains of truth and the events described here took place both in the Basque countryside and around Shiraz, merely at different points in time), and so it was not unusual to meet distant cousins for the first time in my 20s or 30s. As it turned out, one of these distant second cousins had worked under Charles Geschke at Adobe in the late 70s and early 80s and was responsible for the design of most of what later became Postscript. He found it entirely surprising that I had ever doubted the family story (apparently his mother had been more lucid in her retelling of the family tale than my grandfather had been) and assured me that he had made sure to include all of the instructions in the PostScript standard that were necessary to draw the maze, with a single exception: Of course our ancestors had no notion of “seeding” a random number generator, they simply used two 8-sided dice to generate a single integer between 1 and 64, but this fact proved problematic in the PostScript standard. Without such a seed every PostScript printout would have generated the same printable maze, which of course would have completely defeated the purpose of the Infinitely Printable Maze. To accommodate this fact, my distant second cousin had included the realtime" and srand" instructions in the PostScript version of the Infinitely Printable Maze, which marked the only departure from the original instructions in hundreds of years. As I later learned, this actually lead to a feud between different factions in our family and while I am certainly not unsympathetic to the purists that emphasize faithful reproduction over modern convenience, I took the liberty to send you the slightly modernized version of the Infinitely Printable Maze that will supply you with a unique maze every time you print it. (In fact, I also addressed it to the FBI FEM-CUT Quine Division and hope you will forward it accordingly, should this not be the correct email address.)

I hope that you can see what a huge mistake Jerry Bruckheimer films have made by passing on my offer to include the Infinitely Printable Maze in the upcoming National Treasure 3, but perhaps it is all the better if the maze can now take a place in your arsenal for cyberwarfare instead.

Yours faithfully,
Herbert Quine


  1. And attached was this (please be careful) file: infinitely_printable_maze.ps ↩︎

  2. Emphasis mine. ↩︎

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Herb Quine Interviews Herb Quine

The beginning of a new series where readers thoroughly interview themselves.

Some time ago, I had a reader send me a very curious e-mail. It was an interview that they had conducted. In fact, they had interviewed themself!

At first, this was very puzzling.[1] But, on some reflection, I realized what a gift this was! I don’t like my part of the interview very well anyway. This is the answer!

Also I can’t stress to you enough - THIS IS NOT FICTIONAL OR SOME KIND OF HOAX. This is actually an e-mail I received of someone interviewing themselves. Feel free to contribute your own if you want to. I am beyond serious. I’m in some kind of state of eigenseriousness that goes by the street name of CAVE. AGED. CHEDDAR.

> Herb Quine enters the digichat.

Herb Quine: You are invited to a house boat party at Ted Nelson’s place. What do you bring?

Herb Quine: A dozen balloons and a first edition of “Lagos During The 80s - The Birth Of Competitive Knitting In An Era Of Overinsurance” by Lula Drury. Also, a pet hamster in case Werner Herzog shows up.

Herb Quine: Speaking of Werner Herzog, name at least one film missing in his filmography and how to fix this grave mistake with the help of a voucher for 53 free time machines minutes to be used for a single travel to a time before October 1995.

Herb Quine: Easy, the film in question would be the missing biopic of Mike Tyson focusing on his time as a scholar of Medieval Media Studies in the field of Carolingian Reality TV, played by Bruno Schleinstein and filmed entirely in Yiddish. How to use the time machine should be obvious enough.

Herb Quine: More seriously now, why a pet hamster?

Herb Quine: Pet hamsters are the closest thing to miniature grizzly bears, a fact which is of course entirely unrelated to their remarkable characteristics as party animals (the hamsters, not the bears, though they might qualify, too…). The purpose of the hamster at Ted’s party is thus twofold: In the unlikely event that a discussion of Xanadu’s future turns into an attempt to establish the Seasteading Republic Of Hypertext, someone needs to keep the engines chugging along. And secondly, you need a fluent German speaker to reminisce about Wagner with Werner (coincidentally also the title of the longest running radio show in Nigeria’s Yiddish enclave).

Herb Quine: You walk down to the shore to buy a new edition of “Learning Perl”, as you do every Thursday. But when you reach the ice cube factory, you suddenly realize that Unicode is pointless. Sure, you can play quite a few nice little language games with all these emojis they keep adding, but the burrow only goes so far. And then you hit the parking lot of the Consortium’s reserved committee parking spaces and tumble head first onto the seat of a convertible. Which makes sense, I guess, until you realize that the wonderful weather of the bay area is no bueno for rhizomes and others of their ilk. They need constant watering, don’t they?

Herb Quine: Sorry, was there a question?

Herb Quine: Yeah, all right, enough with the rambling. Let’s get down to business. What’s your affiliation with the FBI and are you or have you ever been an agent engaged in any work of endeavor related to printables, convertibles, mazes or any combination thereof?

Herb Quine: I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the information sought. Also, classical logic is overrated and all these lying Cretan hipsters are not nearly as interesting as they think. If you ask me, and you just did, they are just lazy bums who came up with this lying-business as an excuse to get out of the real work of building tremendously beautiful walls like real Cretans do. These kids nowadays, let me tell you…

Herb Quine: Dat / Hypercore / Beaker sure look very interesting, but aren’t they a technical solution to a problem of the medium? One great aspect of Fraidycat is that it doesn’t care how established or indie your chosen medium is, in a way it feels as if Fraidycat is rerouting and connecting existing media to extend and create new media. It doesn’t care if you’re Kylie Jenner or Ted Nelson, it doesn’t (much) care about the underlying technology, because it changes the topology of the existing pieces while not denying that centralized sub-parts of the network still exist. Is a more foundational project like Dat / Hypercore / Beaker orthogonal to that idea?

Herb Quine: I know I’m mostly answering rhetorical questions at this point, but this is one that I’m really not sure how to answer. I do love the spirit of Dat / Hypercore / Beaker, I am just a bit suspicious of any attempts to revive the good parts of the personal web without paying attention to why it became less important as a medium (the non-app-web, that is), because I would be hesitant to point to technical reasons. To me, IPFS and SSB in particular often look like solutions that fix all the underlying tech in a very admirable way, without really changing the medium that they are producing or favoring. A decentralized Facebook will still result in a medium very much like Facebook, just at a disadvantage because the technical forces can never be fully aligned with the forces of the medium.[2] I do think that Dat / Hypercore / Beaker are not as susceptible in this regard and I really hope that they do not end up emulating existing media too much. But really, I don’t know, what do you think?

Herb Quine: Is the treasure hunt over? What are we supposed to do now? Wait for National Treasure III? IS THIS REALLY IT? What about CGI Youngface and all the hard shell kayaks that are still lying around in undiscovered places on the globe? What about annie dark?

Herb Quine: Yeah, I don’t think I’m equipped to answer this one. But damn, it was an amazing ride so far.


  1. In an attempt to shed some light on what is going on here, this person DOES preface the interview with a note to me which reads: “I am writing you this electronic letter to defuse the somewhat bizarre situation of having sent you an unsolicited printable maze that perhaps put you in an awkward position. After all, how are you supposed to react to such a strange and perhaps unexpected offering from a stranger on the internet? Well, since the printable maze in question has already escaped into the tubular ether, there is no going back and we might as well get to know each other a little better, what do you say?” (That other e-mail is reprinted in A Verbal History of the Infinitely Printable Maze, for completeness’ sake.) ↩︎

  2. Fine, fine, I’ll cut in here. Can’t you lot just interview yourselves and gotdamn leave me out of it??

    I feel what you saying so acutely - making a distributed web is actually a minor change on the surface - who would notice? (And I’m levels down: not a zealot - I just think it’s fun.) But I think there are cascading effects. When the app and the data and the whole thing is on Facebook’s servers, that has implications. And when the app and the data and the whole are on home computers, that has implications.

    For me, Beaker DOES pay attention to the original good part: view source. It brings view source to the modern ‘ye-app-web’ relevant part you speak of. That’s all. ↩︎

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05 Mar 2021

Reply: Captured Patterns

maya.land

You know how certain issue / ticket tracking software lets you specify the type of link between two issues or tickets? Jira has four types, one that I use in my life uses more – “is caused by”/“causes”, “is fixed by”/“fixes”, etc. I want flexible types of relations between notes along these lines. “This reminds me vaguely of this” separately from “I found this when I was looking into this” separately from “I think this is the same thing as in this other domain over here.”

This is fantastic - and reminds me of some of the flexibility I’ve seen with Webmentions. (They can be used to summon, they can be used to chat, they can be used to just plain bookmark…) And it reminds me of some of the metadata used in Webmentions: like one can imagine u-is-caused-by in a microformat.[1]

But yeah - a free text equivalent to that would be sweet. You’re on to something. Keep it rolling, my friend.

This then means that there has to be some thought put into the UI about letting an author privilege certain edges other people have applied, while still allowing discovery of that persons wrong opinions about accents.

I personally would just moderate contributions that show up - sure that means that I end up with a queue and conversation isn’t real-time that way. But that’s a fine tradeoff I think. And if you want real-time, you can make unmoderated additions monochromatic or something to set them apart.

In a federated world, I wouldn’t want to publish stuff if I don’t know what it is - and sifting through all that stuff and hand-selecting the good stuff is key effort that I think we have to get used to.

You can decide how to shape it all.

I mean the other way of doing this is like the public self-modelers did. They just gave each other direct access to each other’s wikis and trusted each other to take care of it. That worked really well.

Oh! You should also check out everything2. They’ve been doing this kind of thing for a very long time. I bet there’s some good nodes about this.[2]

paragraph based, not an outliner

Yes yeah.


  1. Not that I’m big on microformats - but just am already knee-deep in them. ↩︎

  2. Question is… where…? ↩︎

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Bitconnect But It’s

This meme will not die for me - here’s a compilation.

I don’t imagine this meme has had longevity outside my personal skeleton - it’s been three years now. I put this meme on my best of 2010s list and thought I was done with it. But I just keep coming back to it via stuff like this.[1]

This vid is a collection of my favorite set of a certain subset of Bitconnect meme vids: the “…but it’s Bitconnect” vids. (X-Files but it’s Bitconnect, Universal Studios but it’s Bitconnect,…) I already loved the sensations I was feeling in other Bitconnect videos - uncovering a whole subgenre within the wider Carlos Matos movement was quite thrilling!

However, I think this video is very useful.

  • Show off your new 4K projector sound set with this video. It has the full range!
  • One day when a larger “…but it’s…” feature film comes out, documenting the saga, this can be a special feature on the disc. (I would release this vid direct to theatres - but COVID.)
  • The next step is for bands, visual artists and essayists to rally around this subgenre and build a scene. The obvious “band of Bitconnect samples” is open as of now - it’s crazy! Get in.
  • I think there’s a real opportunity here for Marvel to cash in with Vision “Hey Hey Hey” and Vision “I LOOOOVE” merch.

I am doing really good on this post for once.


  1. Oh and the LIVING ROOM DINETTES thing came back recently (for me) here! ↩︎

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04 Mar 2021

The Multiverse Diary

@glitchyowl and I have a new project coming up - based on ‘whostyling’, scrapchats and Hypertext 2020.

I’m basically a Bilbo, content to stay at this corner of Bag End, being a layabout, munching wiki squares and playing all of Soundcloud chronologically in the background. (They were right about this ‘cozy web’ thing!)

Now glitchyowl has snatched my coat collar and dragged me into the woods on adventures. My pipe is still spinning in the air.

This is the tale of purple desert designs, silent HTML livestreams, MacPaint toolbars, Mario Kart-inspired JavaScript and disgustingly gaudy drop shadows.

We’re starting to draw the curtain on Multiverse - our combination of a new ‘blog’/‘wiki’ aesthetic, paired with some Indieweb sprinkles.

Also - we’re doing this diary at Futureland, which is really great. If you’re looking for a (somewhat minimalist) hideaway to blog at - but with much more style that the pastebins and a nice community - give it a go.

Of course there’s not the autonomy of a self-hosted customized TiddlyWiki or Neocities site - but it’s a community. Think of it as a replacement for the old message boards.

  1. do you happen to know if there's an rss feed for the multiverse diary? would love to keep up in my feed reader, but i can't find an rss link anywhere...

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12 Feb 2021

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Snackronyms

A compendium of pronounced shortenings and portmanteaus employed in this vicinity.

I very much dislike acronyms—you string together some letters and you’re done. They are certainly convenient when typing. They can confuse conversation. And usually the sound of them is stilted by the implied periods.

A snackronym is simply my term for a ‘word acronym’: a prounceable initialism of a term. These variations on a phrase are much more appealing to the author. (In a way, they recall the mood of cryptic crosswords, where skills and disciplines collide, not willy-nilly, but with blissful meaning and grammar punning.)

bipsbiff

Phonetic BPSBF. beautiful, pretty, smart, brave, fire.

corpypastas

From CorpASAs, or: corporatey anthologies of self-advertising. (e.g. Instagram, Behance, Facebook, Twitter)

‘cottoms up’

Phoneticalized ‘COTMs up’. COTM is crontab of the mind.

dwim

do what i mean.

Franalagamups

fragile narrow laggy asynchronous mismatched untrusted pipes

Gwalb

gray with a little blue

heyfey

Phonetic HFEI. have fun, encourage, inspire.

nai-burrough

(Pronounced: ney-burro.) not an ideal burrough. (Or: nai-tribe.)

ridtyawtr

reality is darker than you are willing to recognize, but it could be brighter than what you can imagine.

smashpilled

Taking of an antimisanthropic pill that ends all pilltaking.

Tim Toady

Phonetic refactoring of the acronym TMTOWDI. Or, there’s more than one way to do it.

tultywits

talk of and use the little things you want to survive.

Please reply with your own vital terms if you like. Thankyou for reading, as always.

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Notes from Clubhouse w/ Joy Mountford

Spinning yarns through computer history with a classic design conjurer.

(This very humorous and wonderful conversation had a lot more going on - but my phone started to run out of batteries, so I had to rush around and missed some of the stories. And some stories went by too quickly to write! Hope to hear more from her.)

(About moving to the U.S.) “They don’t tell you that it’s snowy misery.”

“Everything I do is shocking.”

While working on aircraft systems (I think?) she asked a coworker about ‘soft targets’. “What do you mean?” “Well - what are they - what’s a soft target?” “It’s a person.” She thought it was a tree.

She refers to stereographic viewers with columnated lenses. A predecessor to Oculus.

“I played on a band on a boat as well. […] Texans are super-great. Love them.”

“Ma’am - can I ask you a question?” “Sure.” “Why ya here?” “I’m here doing this study.” (She’s 24.) “Ma’am… you’re here for visual relief.” (His absurd way of admiring her as she worked…)

The Mac SE. A black-and-white computer that was “6in-by-6in – the smallest computer I’d ever seen”. Post-Lisa, but a Mac. A one-button mouse.

By her estimation: “this company isn’t going to go anywhere - that computer doesn’t do anything!” Just writing and numeric stuff.

“Can you tell the Quicktime story?” “No! Because it’s longer! You just can’t tell a Quicktime story!”

Akamai was run by PhD mathematicians. “I felt like a duck out of water.” They didn’t know how to communicate. She wanted to start visualizing ‘millions’ and ‘billions’.

“Cortana’s just randomly started to talking to me… And the first thing she’s just said is ‘I’m sorry.’ Which is GOOD.”

“When did you last sit down with a veteran of your industry? Silicon Valley has become so fast and young.” She points out that so many politicians

A big problem is “not focusing on a breadth of users, rather than just yourself.”

“The trust issue is horrible.” (Trust for devices.)

A very cool discussion about technology for over-70s.

“Sorry - I interrupted you drinking water…” “I’m actually drinking Scotch, man!”

When asked about a favorite interface, it was a beadbox interface - with translucent beads and a light passing through them. It made sounds with the beads - of varying pitch and “density”. She envisioned it as a group activity - something to play with others.

Interesting that what killed the product was the inability to demo it in an electronics store - bc of the need to demo the product in a store where you can’t quite hear perhaps. And people walk by it and don’t know what it is.

“Why doesn’t the font size get bigger when I move away? […] As if I wasn’t there. But goddammit - it knows I’m there.” (May-li then chimed in about the irritation of phone orientation when you lie down on your side.)

“It’s an AI! Christ! Quick - buy it!”

“Icons are stupid - you don’t want to do that… Designers should be doing interesting, difficult problems.”

“Please don’t design t-shirts. Or you’ll be doing that for the next few years. […] We don’t want to diminish the value of design down to t-shirt logos.”

Moving from a “window” computer to a “mirror” computer. She sees this - “reflecting” us as a big step forward. To her experiential computing (VR) can’t take off until you can feel the “edge” - a bump in the wall or in the floor - without any gear. (Or feeling any gear? You feel the bump bc you don’t feel the gear? Holodeck thoughts…)

“Boring men… wearing… not even black t-shirts… Brooks Brother shirts or something…”

“Another thing we worked a lot on at Ford is: pentagrams. You can fit a lot into pentagrams.”

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09 Feb 2021

Featuring ‘A Grape Nuts History of Kicks Condor’. Now playing at https://www.kickscondor.com/.

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05 Feb 2021

Reply to visakanv

oh hey thankyou - i admire your work from afar, visa. you have a rare exuberance. your use of twitter as a catalog is fascinating - a case study of its own. count me a fond friend and supporter alway.

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26 Jan 2021

“Earnestness is not enough. Irony is not enough. The battle to become the most unhinged and incoherent brand in history has begun. And the battlefield is kickscondor.com.” - Bev Wintercorn, Grape-Nuts Security Protocol

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24 Jan 2021

Reply to 0xADADA

Yes, it’s automated - but kind of patched together. (Just runs commands like ‘ipfs publish’.)

Thankyou for checking it out. Thinking of doing your website too?

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23 Jan 2021

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Squiddo’s Podcasts

Anything can happen.

Episode one of this podcast is a rereading of the ‘Cars 1’ movie script. Episode two is Squiddo and sister explaining every character in the Danganronpa universe. (Doesn’t matter if you know anything about that - 1. they will teach you from the ground up and 2. they mostly talk about restaraunts.)

Most of the time you can’t hear what’s being said bc the mic is too far away. This is a recently discovered podcast recording technique that is the FINAL discovery unlocked in our planet’s World Technology story line. Squiddo is ‘known’ for the Secret Memes Vault playlist.[1]

So yes this kind of podcast is like something you’d find on a cassette tape at a thrift shop. That these recordings are now available to the general public is a boon and an artifact. The world thanks me for finding the courage to unearth these.

It’s my honor to link to something this lowbrow. No one else offer this kind of comprehensive package.


  1. Insofar as it is possible for one to be known for their playlists. ↩︎

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16 Jan 2021

dioramas.space

And assorted other peaceful, vibrant websites by Elisabeth Nicula.

I originally first stumbled across Dioramas by way of Elisabeth’s other photo blog Abject Sublime. I can recommend all of it. And more links to other designs and essays at this website.

Of all of it, so far I really get into Dioramas the most. Elisabeth does some clever things with GIFs - but the full-window experiments at Dioramas are beautiful and thought-provoking. It reminds me of early hypertext experiments, in the best way.

Some are GIF landscapes with a halftone touch. Others are caught in a wave. Sometimes you are reading fragments over a feather flitting over the hand.

Pretty neat. See what you find.

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06 Jan 2021

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

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

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

glitchyowl, the future of 'people'.

jack & tals, hipster bait oracles.

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

yesterweblings: sadness, snufkin, sprite, tonicfunk, siiiimon, shiloh.

surfpals: dang, robin sloan, marijn, nadia eghbal, elliott dot computer, laurel schwulst, subpixel.space (toby), things by j, gyford, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek).

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

constantly: nathalie lawhead, 'web curios' AND waxy

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.