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.

10 Dec 2019

Twilight Sparkle’s Voice Compromised

Brony AI seizes cartoon vocal chords (via @gwern)

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.

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.

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Hypertext 2020: Metachat

Thoughts surrounding group hyperconversations wrt “hypertext 2020”.

One of the surprising parts of the chat so far has been that personal 1-to-1 conversations have emerged and seem to coalesce naturally into the rest of the chat!! I expected that we would throw out prompts and everyone would respond as a group, like you’d see when a band gets interviewed by a magazine, then we would move on to the next batch of prompts.

But this is almost like a forum with a bunch of panelists who field questions, then discuss between each other - except that side conversations can happen simultaneously, which would be impossibly noisy in real life. (This is a real problem: a panel is not only limited by time, but if a certain set of panelists takes the conversation in a new direction, there is often no chance - or desire, probably - to return to the original question with a new set of panelists.)

I’m also very heartened that there is so much longform writing occuring. I wasn’t sure how everyone would feel comfortable responding. And, if the chat is to happen naturally, it shouldn’t be needlessly gimmicky. We don’t want to just use hypertext like we’re pressing vinyl records. It should be used because it is worthwhile. But it’s like a dream - conversing over a broad time span, low-key, exploring each other’s side thoughts, ducking in and out of those newly found corridors - and I feel like I am getting to know everyone better. I’m bracing myself for a downside here.

We should set a end date - like end of December? Earlier?

There should also be a new prompt later this week perhaps. To give the group a central point again. Wondering if it should be a new prompt or a natural next segue? Maybe both - and if one is ignored, we leave it behind.

1 Dec 2019

Many of the ‘features’ of hyperconversations (drafting in public, heavy footnotes, branching discussion, more-is-more) seem to be attempts to break through possible communication problems by providing an excess of communication to draw from or to replicate the kinds of real-life annotations (body language, grunts, pointing at things) that we give in-person conversation. When someone is drafting a letter publicly and recants some words - or an emotional sentence evolves from reflexive disgust or confusion to a sentence of rationality - you catch a peek at the mind, much like you might in the corner of someone’s eye.

So, since hyperconversations continue to push toward an attempt at a ‘transparent’ view of someone’s side of a conversation or an early revelation at their motives[1] - I’m going to lay out some of my intentions for doing this chat and everyone can fix me from there.

One of my main goals from the start is to see what editing and human curation can bring to a chat (or threaded discussion). While formulating Notes: We’ve Got Blog (2002), I noticed that one of the prevailing notions of the book was that blogging improved on journalism (and presumably op-eds) by simply removing editors and publishers from the process and letting the audience decide what is good.

But this reasoning does not hold up - blogging doesn’t simply make everyone’s writing better. (It would be harder, right? New medium?) Sure, it may produce more public writing, with some very high quality at the top end - but someone still has to weed through it all - and that’s a tough job that most people don’t want or know how to do in their spare time![2]

I have a hunch that there could be some remaining value in weeding through a hypertext conversation and polishing it, as a service to readers. I don’t see myself removing any of it - I think the job could be to simply highlight parts of it into a running conversation, moving the rest out of view, but still accessible. I don’t think all readers will appreciate this - some will want (and deserve) the raw text. But I think having an initially truncated version to read can help the reader get into it a bit easier and help them decide if they want the full dump.

This also seems to tap into some design skills - and I think it’s possible that an editor/designer hybrid craft could come out of a project like this.

h0p3:
I’m excited to learn how to write in this format. I’d prefer to think inside this tiddler, but it takes a while for a message to settle sometimes, so please wait until I have a timestamp and ‘draft’ lock is dropped before quoting me.

Just to set you at ease, nothing will be finalized until the chat is over. So I won’t begin wrapping it up until everyone has pulled their stuff out of ‘draft’. Yes, this gives you a chance to edit yourself and mess with old chats - I’m not sure what you all think about the ethic of that - but I’m great with that, we can accomplish more if we trust each other.

As for quoting you while you’re drafting - since we’re all drafting, too, it seems fair game, right? As long as we source YOUR final quotes from YOUR finalized wiki, right? And if certain quotes don’t add up, we’ll footnote it and maybe it’ll add to the fun of the sprawl.


  1. I’ve gotten this sense during some of my hyper-Cs that we all lay our cards down face-up on the table (as best you can I guess) and then work backwards from there. ↩︎

  2. It’s also terribly ironic to me that, given the constant lauding of blogging as ascendant in We’ve Got Blog, they still chose to edit and curate an anthology of blogposts. ↩︎

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Hypertext%20%20

My part of the cross-wiki chat with chameleon, h0p3 and sphygmus as the new year approaches.

(h0p3: Apologies I don’t have a response yet.)

Sphygmus:
Kicks, do you ever deal with information overload? Like, you’re browsing and surfing and discovering personal websites and interesting articles and now you’ve got 10, 15, 20 tabs (tb: 100s?!i??!) open and they all seem like cool rabbit holes and you’re not quite sure where to go next? Or what it all means anymore? (maybe that’s just me.)

I have experienced this in the past - and I still experience this with books. Although I’m not sure it’s the same. What I experience is gah, I’m not spending enough time reading all the things I want to read, finding all the things I want to discover, given how much there is!! And I assume that’s what people mean when they say ‘information overload’. (Your image of so many tabs.)

Is it actually ‘overload’? Or is it that there is infinite information (and there was even a century ago) and you’re feeling some inability to approach it? Which, in my case, has usually been about losing my discipline for a time span.

But I am spending the right amount of time reading online right now - and I have a very long list to work through that is in a sensible order. (I no longer have tabs open - I do have a link list, so that has helped.) I am not spending enough time reading books. If I spend enough hours each week, I feel like I am at least methodically working through the infinite mass and I feel healthy.

If yes, what do you do with that feeling? Does curation help? Like you’re specifically looking for cool people doing cool things in obscurity and you want to let us folks in your corner of the world – so does the endless array of cool people doing cool things feel overwhelming or invigorating or? (I get the sense it might be the opposite, that you feel like it’s hard to find cool people doing cool things. correct me here!)

It’s so cool to me that you care to ask me a question like this! That, alone, makes me feel like there are plenty of ‘cool people doing cool things’. Even if it was just you and me - that would be enough.

No, I feel like there are many more cool people than I can possibly be aware of. I worry sometimes that I have no sensibility. I honestly find something amazing in almost everyone I discover. If they are working in hypertext, it feels like I can count on it. And yeah – it’s invigorating.

I do wish I was aware of more black writers. I know there is a tendency to do this out of guilt or political activism. But I simply feel like black writers have an unusual angle. I think this is why black artists are popular in mainstream culture - subconsciously we know that they are outliers and can show us what it means to be human in a totally unexpected way. I mean I am definitely interested in anyone out there, regardless of their race - but among Americans, I think black artists have shown that they are always on the avant garde of cultural movements.

So, at the same time, it is difficult to find certain subcultures that you may want to find. (I would also love to find a really sweet fitness goth blog. Especially if it was a .onion site.)

When I do find someone that I really really REAALLY connect with - then I greedily spam that link wherever I can - in my notes, into Fraidycat, I recite it in my mind. I am so afraid of losing it. And it means that I begin to visit that site very frequently, to try to read everything that I can. When I found Ton’s blog, it was like that. And I was very appreciative that I could tell which posts were ephemeral and which were polished, finalized essays.

This is also what helped get me into h0p3 (and you and chamy, because you follow the same conventions): because you clearly mark dated, temporary notes vs longer, central nodes or essays. So it is very easy to know where to ‘start’. Which is appreciated when I am discovering someone and want to move from the polished stuff down to the day-to-day stuff.

(Thinking more about your other questions…)

Chameleon:
The subtitle is “things chameleon knows” and I feel like that encapsulates it. To me this is a website to throw my ideas to the wall and see what sticks. It’s obviously not every last thing I know, but it covers a broad spectrum of my interests and ideas.

Yes, this seems like ‘self-modeling’. Keep going. Why do it publicly?

3 Dec 2019

Open question: while we’re all here - what do you personally want to talk about? Like do you have any topics you want to pitch?

sphygmus:
Perhaps it’s about feeling — when the wind is warm but just a little sharp, and blows that feeling of longing straight through your bones — if one empathizes with that feeling, resonates with it, then perhaps they’ll resonate with my work as well.

(First off - great quotes! The low-key Nadia quote is unexpected, but very refreshing.)

I actually think your wiki is an ‘artist statement’ without needing to explicitly state that - and I think that’s why h0p3 could capture your essence so clearly. Maybe he inferred it from all the pieces?

With h0p3, I think I am more curious about the ‘self-modeling’ part of the phrase - but with you I definitely wonder more about the ‘public’ part. And you kind of answer that here. It sounds like you’re looking for kindred spirits. But you also keep a lot of things private - and you do explain this from a curatorial angle:

Perhaps it’s confusing to stumble upon a website where everything is mashed together — the mundane details of what I ate yesterday right alongside finished letters, notes on projects, and my drafting of this response.

How do you decide what to reveal and what to make public? (I ask because I haven’t resolved this for myself either - whereas I think h0p3 has made this line very easy for himself.)[1]

h0p3:
I take it that you don’t see yourself as a PSM, kicks. Is that fair to say?

Yeah, I see more self as a conduit. I really get into finding people and connecting people (and saying hi to them). I don’t have a desire to preserve myself or to catalog myself. But having the dialetic does make some of that worthwhile. And maybe I do model myself in other ways: in pixels, in code, in colors flickering.

I mean - you’ve all influenced me a lot and I find myself mimicking some of your conventions. This leads me to think that part of PSM-ing helps a human function day-to-day. (Talking through, remembering, clarifying thoughts.)

I wish I understood better whether ‘modeling’ meant a self-‘styling’, self-‘bending’, self-‘constructing’ vs just trying to represent yourself as you are, ‘the plain picture’ in Bob Dylan’s meaning. Maybe it’s all of it, somewhere between, or simply not possible. Are we modeling fictional characters or not? Does it matter?

h0p3:
Why do you have sites like yours on the web, what are they for? What is anything for?

To me, it’s the same - I act as conduit for discovering wonderful things. To me, wonderful things and wonderful people make life worth living. (How do I know if it’s ‘wonderful’? — Because it makes my life worth living.) (To prevent you from asking me to clarify - it ends there - an instinctive feeling of simply ‘this is worth it to me’.)

h0p3:
You have the chance to reason about whether or not I’m trying to do the best I can with my pile of puke.

Hahah! We’re all standing around examining each other’s sick. I like this interpretation. I think that if people could begin with this image, use it as the basis for their consensus, they can admirably proceed with the dialectic. There’s a lot less picking things apart if you cut the whole conversation some slack. (But I’m also glad that you asked me to clarify - and that you dug into the response - sure, why not? It’s all doodoo - but still worth rooting in, on the chance of some swallowed gems…)

h0p3:
[…] my wiki allows me to re-use my data to understand what is salient in the world (including myself).

This is a great point! I forget that you are already employing a lot of self-editing and self-curating. (And what you do with us - making a tiddler for Sphygmus that curates her, in a way.) So this is starting to lead into my next prompt, what you refer to here as ‘the chain’ (but which I also think of as hypertext ‘layers’)… let me think how to articulate this and I’ll get back to you. ‘Soup to nuts’ is one way of putting it, but it’s imprecise, it’s not just a linear progression toward ‘the end’ - or it doesn’t have to be, I guess.

h0p3:
I keep almost mindlessly answering: 42 or 42ness, which is almost vacuously true, but I’m still not showing my work well enough to you.

I think this is probably your most useful analogy to helping me comprehend self-modeling. This goes in the final.

1 Dec 2019

(This steno is something of a scratchpad. I put the latest comments I have that relate to the current point of discussion in the top box - historic stuff is below.)

Sphygmus:
expert public self-modelers, oh my! and is that the first prompt - where to go in the next decade? no gun jumping here, I think it’s all fizzy excitement. mic check at will!

@hypertext-2020 Whoa whoa - how bout let’s back up to ‘public self-modeling’? (Seems like we’ve had an adequate mic check.) For yourself, personally - is this an adequate shorthand? Or do you think of yourself in any other terms that can help someone understand your work?

h0p3:
As a habitual wall-of-texting sprawler, I feel some of the claustrophobifying tweet-syndrome creeping into me here.

Looks like we have a formidable antipleonasmic analysis on our hands here. 😎

h0p3:
Adequate shorthand for what?

An adequate shorthand to describe you, your wiki, your work there. I feel like the phrase was an attempt to wrap all of that up into a shorter name so that you can refer to it briefly - and perhaps so people can understand from a glimpse. Or even so you can understand or remind yourself of what you are doing.

So, my first question is just to look at the phrase again. Seems like a good starting point. Is it that to you? Where does it function today?[2]

h0p3:
I’m giddy+nauseous at the thought of how to maximize a hypertexter’s autonomy and expressivity while still packaging it up for a securely scaled mesh.

You can fully expound - that could be a virtue of this style of chat. You could footnote off into a new tiddler, if you need. Or you can simply link in an old one if it represents your answer still well enough. Carry on. (And on.)

30 Nov 2019

@chameleon @h0p3 Tentative title for the chat: ‘hypertext 2020’ - where is an expert wikier supposed to go in the next decade? But yeah - just rip into what is going to be hot techs and paradigms for expert public self-modelers in this future timeline.

If we get Sphygmus on, I’ll do a mic check and then we can start. Hope I’m not jumping the gun - just pitched this idea today…


  1. This also seems very pertinent to the question of ‘public self-modeling’, since h0p3 begins defining this phrase by exhorting people to ‘deprivatize’ themselves. ↩︎

  2. As additional material - ‘public self-modeling’ is a phrase that chameleon has had fun with and I’m not sure to what extent it is a meme for her or if it is quite serious or what. On the other hand, Sphygmus has said a few months ago (referencing this word) that her wiki is “not an attempt to answer the question of who I am.” So, I guess I also wonder if “self-modeling” is a quest to answer who you are or if it is something else. ↩︎

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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’.

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.

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. ↩︎

  1. @kicks I say, blog like mad when the inspiration hits you, for as long as it hits you. Then hold back when you have nothing to say. Something like that.

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Omniscience and Indexing

(Draft.)

I don’t know if I can explain this quite right - but I’m feeling as if “omniscience” has an indexing problem - and that is the source of quite a bit of amusement. It’s also somewhat tied in with our memories.

This thought occured when we were out of cheese at my place - and someone said, “I wish we could call up how many blocks of cheese we’ve used.” And we all guessed at what the number would be.

But if you think about a computer passively monitoring you 24/7 - XKeyscore, for instance - I can’t help but wonder how it could productively sense each new cheese entering the house (via grocery shopping) and leaving (via shitting).

Omniscience comes up quite regularly. People speak of “their life flashing before their eyes” when they die - or the ability to rewind and call up memories in some post-death review. But there are also characters such as “Janet” from The Good Place or the precogs from Minority Report, who are aware of everything and can be queried like a database. The concept of “The Singularity” often is meant to refer to a superintellegence that approaches omniscience.

So, could I ask an omniscient source: “Bring up all my conversations where Nicholas Cage is mentioned?” Given that sometimes I may be referring to National Treasure or other times I may be mentioning “Nouveau Shamanic” acting with him in mind. The index needs to include references to my conversation history, my context for understanding Nicholas Cage, and a many-to-many join between them.

To what degree does that query return every conversation I have? Am I constantly alluding to Nicholas Cage?

If humans have difficulty agreeing on an exact weight for a racist tweet or extracting the true meaning of any given pull-quote from the Mueller Report, how does an omniscient source ultimately mine all possible meanings from a given conversation? Couldn’t it become stuck on one sentence, infinitely paralyzed during indexing?

It seems an insurmountable problem that an omniscience could track everything as time continues. This makes me wonder if the inate desire of an omniscience would be to slow or stop time, rather than to accelerate it out of some voracious appetite.

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Notes: The Weblog Handbook (2002)

Quotes and marginalia from my 2019 reading of Rebecca Blood’s blogging advice.

(This is a draft. I am still in the process of reading this book, currently on page 68.)

After putting together Notes: We’ve Got Blog (2002), I checked out this book through the interlibrary loan, on the strength of Rebecca Blood’s quotes in that book. This book is not quite as rich at that one - the subtitle here is “Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog” - so there are sections on how to choose a host, how to decide the name, blog conventions - and this is all geared toward an absolute newb, and much of what I’m looking for is outside of that.

None of that is criticism, I just mention that to explain why I might be skipping large sections in my notes.

p. 9. “Webloggers understand that people will regularly visit any website that reliably provides them with worthwhile content, even when that content is on another site. As counterintuitive as it may seem from an old-media perspective, weblogs attract regular readers precisely because they regularly point readers away.” (This is one way that I feel blogs have returned to an ‘old-media’ perspective - people are much less likely to link externally in 2019. Most Medium posts or recipe blogs or coding tutorial posts - you don’t see so many links any longer. I think this a combination of a lot of things - links now have a decent monetary value due to affiliate linking and they also became a liability due to SEO rules. (See Linkfarmville.) As a result, I don’t think we can call this an ‘old-media’ perspective any longer. I think you could even safely call it the ‘new-media’ perspective! 😂)

p. 11. “The new information space includes a website devoted to the adoration of Converse’s popular ‘Chuck Taylor All-Star’ sneaker, a site detailing the exploits of two friends who photograph each other attempting to match the appearance of strangers they happen to see, and one that seeks to elucidate an artist’s curious obsession with young women holding celery.” Okay, had to track these links down! They are: The Chucks Connection (still up), Dean & Nigel Blend In (defunct), and The Art of Frahm (also, still there, just as it was!) It’s interesting to me though, that the conceit of these websites would probably still work in 2019 - so though the ethic of ‘new-media’ in the 2000s has died, the creative concepts haven’t. In fact, I’m sure that they’ve cannibalized the ‘old-media’ creative concepts.)

p. 12. “For everyone, the great task of the future will not be to gain access to more information, but to develop avenues to information that genuinely enhances our understanding, and to screen out the rest.” (Yes, ok, here we go. I think we can all agree with this. And this makes me think of the ‘layers’ I mentioned in Notes: We’ve Got Blog (2002) - layers of reading, layers of writing. Social media is too raw - it’s all random snippets of text, no summaries. I need high-level views of the information, then the ability to zoom into the details. A ‘layer’ is a level of detail - and it includes both a measure of polish and quality, as well as a measure of intimacy with the topic or person.)

p. 12. “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.” (Ok, here we see the value of directories when compared to a search engine. Even ‘awesome’ directories are this way - you start to wonder, “What else is in here?” I think that even social media and Reddit give you this adjacency exposure - but perhaps it’s too random. The underlying assumption of this analogy is that the man values the newspaper as a whole.)

p. 12. “Read a good filter-style weblog for even a few days, and you will never doubt the value of an astute human editor. Because he evaluates content rather than keywords, a human editor provides his readers with more relevant information than the most sophisticated news aggregator ever can.” (This has definitely been my experience with Andy Baio. He has plugged me into better links over the years than any algorithm has. I mean algorithms have done some good work, too, but I think that they owe a lot to human editors downstream who initially bring some attention to a link that then gets picked up by an algorithm. So the algorithm relies on Andy Baio, too!)

p. 17. “With the addition of a comment system, many weblogs actively solicit ideas and opinions from their readers.” (This is one line that really struck me as being in stark contrast to today. Blog comments are seen as being synonymous with ‘cesspools’. I have not personally had that experience - but I have never had many readers and I am not a target for some reason. Large websites are obviously a target because they give a random commenter a large audience. Nevertheless, there is no question that people want feedback. For some, I think they would be happy with just measuring ‘likes’. But I think this is what the Indieweb gets soooo right - there are no ‘comments’, only blog posts interacting with each other. However, it’s clear that there are ‘readers’ who just want to send an e-mail, rather than having to write, edit and publish a blog online.)

p. 18. “I would go so far as to say that if you are not linking to your primary material when you refer to it—especially when in disagreement—no matter what the format or update frequency of your website, you are not keeping a weblog.” (What a prescient, clear-headed sentiment! This is something we still need to integrate into our ethic today.)

p. 29. “Writing short is hard—and very good for you. Seeking to distill your thoughts to the fewest words, you will find out what you really think, and you’ll work even harder to find the precise term to express your meaning. Paradoxically, writing short also spurred me to write longer pieces. Finding that I sometimes had more to say than I could comfortably fit in a weblog entry, it was natural to turn my comments into an essay. Rather than distill my thoughts, this longer form required that I flesh out my ideas and more fully support my conclusions.”

p. 30. “The weblogger is privy to the entries she posts and those that she does not: I think I’ll blog that! followed a moment layer by No. . . . Acutely aware of what she does not type, the weblogger more clearly defines her own boundaries. Reviewing what she has written, she catches glimpses of her less-conscious self.”

p. 40. She doesn’t mention how to set up any specific services, saying, “Even if I had a favorite, software of this type comes and goes.” It makes me very grateful that she wrote this book, despite the trouble with keeping it current.

p. 48. “When I look at an unfamiliar weblog, I always take note of the names listed in the sidebar. The first question I ask (still) is ‘Am I listed?’ Pathetic, isn’t it? I don’t think you ever outgrow it.” 😉

p. 56. “I knew of one weblogger who told no one he knew about his site. His audience developed when the sites he linked found him and linked back.” It’s interesting to see my blog explained in two sentences. It’s cool that this still works twenty years later. (This section of the book focuses on the value of using a psuedonym. Kind of like with blog comments, I think people have rested on making generic claims (i.e. the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory) and dismissed the valuable tradeoff that they offer.)

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07 Dec 2019

Tiny Directory Forum

A new (but old-school) forum that’s my current hangout with other web directory nerds.

Don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m seeing a definite resurgence in directories. Like fingers.today (previously crocodile.is) - a home page / blog that is almost like viewing an unsecured open directory. Along similar lines, beautiful-company.com - I think Sphygmus dropped this link - click on the circle in the upper left. I’ve also mentioned Edwin Wenink’s site - but specifically check out the etc section.

So some of us in the burgeoning directory world - such as Brad Enslen of Indieseek and Joe Jenett of i.webthings - have been trying to get a community going, to talk about how to linkhunt in 2019 and to try to provide resources to people who want to start sly niche directories.

So yeah - Brad put up this basic forum - seems good. I’ve been on for a week or two and the discussion has been great so far. It has an RSS feed for new posts. I guess we could do this kind of thing with Indieweb.xyz, but I don’t know - maybe we don’t necessary want to clutter up our blogs with all of the messages related to this topic or maybe you don’t have an Indieweb endpoint to communicate through. (Come on by, say hi here.)

Although I will be trying to clean up and summarize some of the discoveries we make there - because this blog does cover directories about 30% of the time.

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02 Dec 2019

Bwahhahaha - h0p3’s 2020 links are like philosopher.life/%202020%20… I think this thing needs to be renamed ‘hypertext%20%20’ - space space.

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Dante Fontana

Host of Dante’s Mystery Mix, great work tracking down Shelley Duvall.

This personal homepage is a branch of the ‘EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE’ group - and I just want to quickly call it out for some of its sweet side projects.

A good place to start is with the mystery mixes, such as MYSTERY MIX VOL.7. Or THE BEST OF DANTE FONTANA.

But also his various articles, such as THE SAD AND HEARTBREAKING REALITY OF SHELLEY DUVALL’S MENTAL HEALTH, which I’d never heard and because I was very grateful that she was able to resist Dr. Phil’s efforts to take over her.

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01 Dec 2019

.plan

Undignified aspirations from here on out.

(I guess this isn’t really a .plan file - since those ended up being more like a journal. But I always thought that viewing a .plan would reveal someone’s whole vision of the future - x-ray glasses, as it were, of that person’s motives.)

I confess to having aspirations, however faint, and that I have no idea what to do with them. I’m fine with these not happening because they’re ridiculous. Part of my goal with writing them out is to try to identify the urge behind them so I can find a better way of playing them out or desizzling them. Kschhhh.

1) In Charge of Apple Inc

It would actually be hell to run Apple - because a) it’s stupid, past its prime b) it’s a corporation, who knows what monumental effect it has on the world, for good and ill, running it has got to be paralyzing c) it has shareholders, which is stupid, and d) if NeXT or BeOS or Amiga was still around, I’d be talking about them instead.

So what I actually mean is running Apple as if it was SimCity or something. Like if I didn’t have to constantly brace myself about Foxconn employees jumping, I’d love to just chill and design computers, tablets, operating systems, programming languages and the whole ecosystem. In a way, I think I do all of my design with this goal in sight. I need to interview Nathalie Lawhead and ask her about this, because I feel like she’s this way - probably a lot more than I am, of course.

Realistically, this isn’t possible - I never went to school for it and haven’t been through the ropes. If someone offered me a job I wouldn’t take it because of (a)-(d). Building my own company like this - well, I’m not much of an entrepreneur.

I think I’ve figured this one out tho - I need to continue with my designs and projects along this line and post them here - much like h0p3 does with his p2p designs - and that would be the SimCity-like approach. And maybe some things will become realized - like Fraidycat is beginning to.

2) Run a Puppet Theatre In My Neighborhood

I admire little-known but amazing neighborhood attractions - like the Zymoglyphic Museum or neighborhood junk houses and esoteric museums. The marionette theatre in the Jardin du Luxembourg is just the kind of thing I would want to do if I live to be retired. It’s great - they bring in novel stuff like costumes that change themselves and smoke bombs. I think this kind of thing makes your ‘home’ even more of ‘home’ for you and the people around you. It begins your burial in that place, so that you are woven into the very grass.

It might be that putting this here dooms the aspiration - because this seems like the kind of thing that you should keep secret and avoid talking about because it could be quashed by outside negativity about its preciousness or by your own oversharing about it - at the same time, I need to plant some seeds of commitment in myself and just say it.

3) Return to Teaching, This Time First-Grade

I taught for two years and it was the best. At first, I treated it like a research project to try to sort out how to improve public education. But I’m not sure that any ‘system’ can automate teaching - we just need quality teachers and they need resources. (What I mean by ‘quality’ is - at the very least, you shouldn’t intimidate students - and, beyond that, hopefully you can heyfey to some degree.)

This kind of alt-education stuff is also starting to feel like min-maxers who just want real characters to try their hands at. But it’s like - the whole thing is already min-maxed.

I still spend a lot of time at the school, but I hope to just go back to basic teaching in like seven years, when I’ve stabilized my life. The elementary school is like the epicenter of our society (or should be) and it’s a damn sacred place. I no longer see the appeal of ‘changing the world’ compared to ‘helping thirty kids’ have a good experience during their daylight hours.

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Reply: Just-in-Time Kohaiships

chameleon

Hey, I can take this as the segue to ask you about net culture. Have you ever hung out in the Places… reddit, tumblr, *chans, etc? Your attitude is too lovely for me to think you have, you’re not irony-poisoned or cynical, but yet you still seem to have the handle on “our” culture that makes me think you must have at least some passing familiarity with those cursed websites.

I need to chasten you here and perhaps move to prevent you from putting me on a pedastal because I am absolutely just as screwed and wrong-headed as anyone you’ve met and I constantly have to fight my own shit-eating grin. Yeah I’ve hung out in all of those places, trolled and gaslit-up in my time, sometimes as “eddie touch” and sometimes as “simply chudder chess” - that’s all buried now, I can’t even find the stuff. This lacks credibility, but it’s true, whatever.

There was once an online forum that I was on where people just loathed me. Almost everyone in my life knows about this - because the forum had a lot of real-life friends - and everyone on the forum had little 64x64 pixel avatars. And there was this one popular user that had an avatar of a little kid’s face - I guess it was kind of iconic within this group. And I started using the avatar as my avatar - and it came to knives. It was rough - because I did it for many weeks and people hated it because they would think it was this other person posting when it was just me and my shit. People were messaging me “I will cut you” or gtfo and I really enjoyed it - but the forum eventually died and now we’re here talking to each other instead.

Things have changed for me since some of my surrounding family members have died - a number of people my age and four children. And this has also led to me meeting other people who have had to go through accidents with multiple deaths. That side of my life eclipses whatever is happening online - I just come here to play and escape. So maybe that helps explain my perspective - the problems of Reddit, imageboards and so on just seem like virtual play by comparison. But it’s much more than that - I just appreciate being alive for today and getting to write you a letter. Every day I feel grateful to breathe and be on this world with whoever happens to be here. So yeah - especially you too![1]

a realization like this; that the current internet was sick, nothing like it was in my youth

This is a fun description, it’s very true. I don’t think there’s any curing the sickness - life outside the Internet is sick in its own way. I think I like the idea of directories because it doesn’t go head-to-head with Google. I don’t like waging head-on war against the enemy. It’s too straightforward and just seems naive. It alerts the enemy.

I like directories because they’re surreptitious. You’d never notice them. I really think subterfuge and peaceful, lulling work can defeat anything. I’m not saying that directories will win - they’re a total longshot, of course - and head-on attacks have the advantage of alerting your allies, too.

The “post-searchengine era” has suddenly implanted itself in my brain, like a mind virus (you just lost the Game). If we are to collect hyperlinks, to build a directory of directories or a web of links like Indra’s Net, we could transcend the search engine altogether. The idea of stealing google’s power from right under their noses makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I was anti-search when I started getting into directories. But this fragment of a conversation with this guy Brad changed my mind a bit. Maybe it’s just that we need balance or something between directories and search. (Like how TiddlyWiki itself is a balance between directories and search.) So I guess you’re right - thinking “post-searchengine era” sets a course that way.

Brad is also starting an old-school forum to talk about directories if you’re interested. Maybe my question for you wikifolk is - it could be enough to just say “my whole wiki is a directory” - but what could a more finely curated directory look like in TiddlyWiki?

And what’s more, do you have recommendations for “churn” type websites (places with lots of new content I can check daily) that aren’t so cancerous? I experiment with RSS and stuff, but the new content just isn’t forthcoming. I’m forced to look at what Pocket recommends in my phone’s Firefox or to trawl HN for interesting things to read.

Yeah, I should write some thoughts about this - because I have some specific recommendations for link-hunting in 2019 that I think everyone should know. But it also mainly comes down to just surfing. I have a big page of links that list rabbitholes that I haven’t fully explored yet - I usually just pick back up there. (Like - if you just started at philosopher.life and branched outward from there, who knows where you’d end up. Like really - you’re going to find a lot more of the web from that approach than searching on Google for, say, “cool links” or something. Or typing three random words into Google.[2])

I’m still learning how to get around the 2019 web tho. Might be a matter of finding good shit and then working backwards.

Hey, with the group chat - I have a page of ‘springboard’ type prompts that I can throw out at first, but I have a feeling that there’s enough unresolved discussion between us all that I think it’ll reel out of control no probs.

Always honored to hyperchat, chamy. (oh hey - I’m not saavy to the origins of ‘chameleon’ as a nick for you - but it haaaas to do something with the face, right? Triangle head, circle eyes, straight line mouth? Slurpy lil face.)


  1. Have to say - I realize that you are probably taking everything I say as if it were construed - like Kaycee Nicole type shit - and I totally understand that. Which is why I try to minimize my expression of this type of thing and just say it when it’s relevant and get back to leeching and linking. ↩︎

  2. Just wrote a script to try this. My sample phrases were: “junkie ampitheatre anarchy”, “preempt typing electrostatic”, and “ordination intellectually feminists” - cept I searched with no quotes. It’s interesting to see that Google tries to make sense of these phrases and I usually get shipped off to The Atlantic or JSTOR. Ooo I like this fourth phrase: “cagey gorgonzola admiration”… ↩︎

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30 Nov 2019

Reply: Le Rabbithole Café

Sphygmus

[…] there my little page was (arcane and esoteric, one might say) and I just grinned.

You hacked me fonts! I used to be all about Lacuna font - but Signika has washed it off my pages. Also just glad to broadcast the work of Anna Giedryś.

Your gentle mentions are little gems I treasure.

To see a letter from you pop up again - felt the same. It gave me the pringles. (Rather than butterflies in the stomach - it’s a kind of mustachioed old-timey crispyfly. More oily than buttery. Don’t know what kind of butter they put in butterflies.)

it’s hard to go back and read my writing. like gurl, why you gotta be so, so, so! oof! I didn’t know what I was doing! I don’t know what I’m doing now, either, but I have a better sense of the direction I’m heading. I will bring your gracious benefit of the doubt to myself: a year ago this was new, and different, and vulnerable, and as a tiny seedling my perspective was different than my current perspective as a slightly taller sapling.

Well and I feel like you’re hiding less of your tiddlers now? Or is that you’re crafting more public ones? Just like I have /all, you have your layers, too, I guess.

I’m grateful that our early interactions led to me adding a more private layer - but I’m also glad for those messages between us simply because I got to know you better. Takes a lot of foot-mouth-putting and shredded past-talking notes to get there - with anyone. Your voice has become a lot more familiar to me over time - it is a voice that sounds colorfully creative but with a sensitive longing.

I was definitely worried about you disappearing at one point. But now I just see that you were in a phase of building your wiki. Seeing that I fall into those phases, too, I think we’re alike in that way. So I just feel a kinship now.

I don’t think there’s anyone who I’m more interested to hear their ideas or impressions about Fraidycat than you. I think your organizational and visual improvements to Tiddlywiki are second to none. But I also think it will take time to understand organizing at the Fraidycat meta-level. I would pay a lot of dollars to see what a Sphygmus remix would look like tho.

Perhaps these words would be different if I had drafted them in private — I don’t think I can say for sure, this time. I’ve wobbled back and forth as the deadline of my publish script approaches — will I take the private tag off and let it roll through, tonight? Or will I keep it tucked away just a little longer?

While I realize that what ends up at sphygm.us is somehow trimmed, I didn’t know how - and was about to ask you, when I realized that pearl/publish and pearl/crontab are right there! It’s lovely that I can use your wiki to research you in this way. (Your publish script removes tiddlers tagged private and goes off at 8:20 GMT — the sphygm.us last-modified header right now says 8:25. So you write against a deadline each day - although I doubt you race to meet it - as you say: keep it tucked away, anticipation rather than haste.)

It’s so cool that you have a self-designed publishing system setup for yourself. I wonder what it’d be like if a podcast or a video blog ran in this way. The thought is kind of cool - of a wiki of audio files, some in ‘draft’ form or comprised of disparate fragments.

Give me the OG Godslayer & Return of the Fallen, plus Realms Unraveled (with the multi-factions) and I’d be perfectly happy!

Don’t know why the OG doesn’t grab me. I’ll try again. I think I thought Mechana was too strong there. I feel like you have to go Mechana or you’re lost. And I like to go Void.

I’m with you on multi-factions. I love the flip cards, too. And the weird stuff: like the one demon that lets you bring other demons into your deck and use them as power.

As for the rest — I’m afraid I don’t know how to mock you — neither can I replicate the kind jesting you and Ivan gift to h0p3.

I have a unibrow - so that’s an easy target. I also conceal my feelings too much and come off as aloof or condescending. So it helps when people trim me down - I have a sister who just always tells me to fuck off and sometimes slaps me in the face to get me to come down. (She is the best, she’s able to full-on slap me when the time for it is ripe.) Anyone in the room will tell you it’s absolutely necessary.

I also touch people too much in the pool. I don’t know - my inhibitions come down and I start grabbing people too much. This isn’t as much of a problem between you and I right now - but if we end up in a Roblox virtual spa one of these days - hopefully not, but just be aware.

I also have these terribly graphic and deplorable dreams that could only have been concocted by the worst kind of debased mental state. This isn’t the worst of them: but I once had a dream that I was murdering people, just going house-to-house stabbing people in their homes and throwing the knives in trashcans when I was done with them. The next day when I went to work, someone said to me, “Hey, I had this crazy dream last night where you were going around murdering people!” This chilled me to the bone! What’s that supposed to mean??

I’m often drawn into the trap of wishing my online correspondence would manifest itself offline; I fancifully dream of us sitting together on couches in a comfortably lit room, drinks of choice in hand, full bandwidth engaged.

I have no doubt that I would love to meet you. And the others, too. There was once a guy online who asked me in IRC where I lived and I told him. So he drove out here and we met at a bowling alley and ate at the diner attached to it. It was very unexpected, but a very fond memory. I think he had a habit of roving around to drop in on people.

However, I’ve also had some negative experiences - not anything too invasive, just unwanted attention - and so I resolved to lay lower, just keep online things separate. But it might just be that the uptight side of me needs a slap in the face again.

what’s left? I think this is left, this being-together-in-quietness, the park bench, and here is where the conversation might pause for a while and pick right back up in a month or a year. (well, also, it feels a little silly to chat about things that are just chilling in my wiki. it’s both a blessing and a curse — idk, blargle!)

Oh, my mom always played that song when I was a kid. She kind of had a mocking way about it - like the old friends were just way too cute about it. She would sing it when people were too cute about being BFFs. But I still think it’s great - I have an old friend coming in a week and we’ll take a walk for hours next to the train tracks - it’ll be too cute just like that. I’ll have to sing that when we’re walking just to ruin the mood.

I’ll have to think more about video. Right now I’m feeling like it’s a crutch and I shouldn’t betray hypertext in that way. But then, I’ve written too long again and now wish I could experience a video of your thoughts and meanderings - wish I could see you do the ‘warm space’ website thing and tour us through your stuff…

So I know what it means to want more info - completely natural.

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@hope I think if we could start this week or next, that would be cool. No, I wasn’t thinking real-time. Quite the opposite. Totally asynchronous. Give everyone time to craft their replies - which is why it might take a month to work through. Take a slower pace.

I envision it being the sort of thing where we’re even publicly drafting side-by-side and self-editing, self-correcting as we toggle back and forth between reading and writing the overarching group ‘chat’.

Yes, we would just do it on our sites - just like our ‘hyperconversations’ have been, but as if it was a group ‘chat’. You might respond as individual letters - or you might just have one big page of @-replies.

Basically, you could ‘chat’ however you prefer to - that’s one of the cool things about ‘hyperconversations’ - we’ve all participated using a format that’s comfortable to us rather than needing to use a common platform. Although it might be useful to settle on a common tag or phrase or something - a dog whistle for the public self-modelers out there. You all can tiddle yourselves, fine with me.

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29 Nov 2019

@sphygmus @chameleon @h0p3 I am going to find some more time over the weekend to write more - the letters that you are all writing right now have unfolded new faces and expressions in me - digifaces! I have had a thought tho… I’m envisioning something - what if we did a groupchat for a certain range of time? Like maybe a week or maybe a month.

And we can field questions to the group, answer them in hypertext - and when we’re done, I’ll make something out of it. Yes, we sort of do this already, but I’m thinking that having a beginning and an ending and a title maybe - could be interesting. Ahh, I’m explaining too much - it is just an attempt to branch off on the ‘hyperconversations’ game.

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Audio Commentary for Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

The lost Tim Hill and Joel Cohen commentary track at last.

This year there has been some renewed interest in the Garfield films, as that link went around again, the one that reveals how Bill Murray became involved: because he thought the director was one of the Coen Bros. Of course, the story is far from over, especially now that I’ve discovered that this unreleased audio commentary from the sequel was uploaded to the Internet Archive one year ago!

You can place this next to Wizard People, Dear Reader in your private collection.

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26 Nov 2019

Reply: Stuck Following

Art Kavanagh

There’s still one feed I can’t delete but otherwise the erratic behaviour is gone 😊 👍

Hello! Can you give me the URL of the feed you’re having troubles with? Perhaps it’s something to do with that specific one.

(Thankyou for taking a crack at this - the OPML import is only a few weeks old, so I’m sure there is still work to do getting it perfect.)

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25 Nov 2019

Vektroid’s NFL Mixtape

Vaporwave legend @vektroid digs the football theme crates for synth tracks.

Ten years ago, a link like this would be ripping up the link and music blogs - and perhaps the blog blogs, too!! Vektroid has dropped this playlist, named I DON’T SUPPORT THE NFL BUT DAMN THESE ARE SOME HOT FOOTBALL JAMS: A MIXTAPE. Indeed, have to say - the jams are quite hot.

Hard to not mention Shufflin’ Crew here. I still have my 7".

While searching around for more info on NFL jams, I also stumbled across this strange album: ADHD NFL BLITZ. This reminds me of Picky Picnic or some kind of kid’s cassette. See also: フロフットホールリーク フリッツ.

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21 Nov 2019

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@sphygmus: I’m now regretting calling your wiki ‘bizarre’ in my last video. It felt like an accurate complement when I blurted it out - but then I remembered that attention like this can be withering and that there are better adjectives: ‘sweet’, ‘razzledazzle’, ‘mageworthy’, even just ‘awesome’. I just couldn’t resist flashing ur razzledazzles. (@chameleon’s wiki is the bizarre one!! 🤣 love u chamy

also my response to your survey is ‘feels bad to not know what you’re talking about, thought i knew everything in the sphygmusphere’.

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Reply: Solid Victorian Textual Elixir

Neil Mather

I’m kind of OK with the sentiment of the p.14 quote from Rebecca Blood – hypertexting helping me find my voice – although yeah it is worded a little like something from a Victorian self-help guide. But I have found blogging and wiki-ing sort of does the things she says. Though I think I would perhaps just describe it as learning, rather than self-growth. The blog/wiki combo is both helping me think more about what I learn and learn more about what I think, I’m really digging it.

Cool - I appreciate this clarifying thought. My issue was more with the part about solidifying opinions - I think my personality needs my opinions to be plastic. But maybe that fights against self-growth. Like maybe learning should solidify into opinions…? I really love her contributions to that book tho - in case it wasn’t clear.

(I’m reading her The Weblog Handbook (2002) right now as well - will probably post some thoughts on it.)

I’ve noticed my own wiki/commonplace book thingy slowly taking that rough form recently, too, I wonder if it’s a common pattern? I’ve just started making the doorframe.

Huh - well it definitely appears to be a pattern. (Interesting to see @visakanv do this with Twitter threads - as if it was his commonplace book.) I don’t think it’s terribly common - but perhaps becoming more so in our niche.

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Reply: New Season of Indieseek.xyz

Brad

My break from Indieseek.xyz, both the directory and the blog was intentional.

👍 I did this too. A directory is a long game - I think you can safely roll-up changes every 3-6 months. Cool that you got some submissions!

I think what we need more than a forum - is an easy way for people to make little directories. I mean even just link lists would be a start.

  1. I know a programmer who 15 years ago made a PHP program that that made hosted directories. I don’t think it ever got out of beta but it was stable and I tested it by making a little directory on it and running it for a few years. All one had to do was register and you got a subdomain directory with a simple control panel for adding categories and sites. A lot like WordPress.com only for directories. It worked fine.

    It checked all the buttons: no script to install, easy to sign up, easy to make links and easy to use. But it wasn’t pretty and I don’t think he ever figured out how to monetize it.

  2. Kicks, I remembered the name of the directory hosting: Hyperlinkd.com. Archive capture at the link.

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Reply: Sain’t Peter’s Pencil

h0p3

On behalf of those I spoke with, I’ve agreed to make a quick case for hosting options. Some people may feel more secure with the tool running outside the browser. A few would find it useful to deploy your tool on a server that can be accessed by any device, and others want to serve particular feeds to others via URL.

I’ll think about this - my target is those who don’t have the ability to host on a server - I kind of look at extensions as a way of hosting an app in the browser. I get the security concern - I need https://*/ permissions - which requires SO MUCH trust. Server access does, too, though. It feels like an arbitrary decision, so I tend to go with the path of least resistance for the fraidy folks out there.

I do recommend rss-bridge though. And maybe there is a way I can offer a static deployment of Fraidycat that calls out to RSS bridge. It seems simple - but I am totally unfamiliar with packaging and distribution of such a thing - perhaps someone can point me the right way.

I agree your agnostifying social tool built to the Nth degree finds itself in an arms race. Modularization, I would argue, is fundamental to the most successful visions of it. It requires custom networking, authentication, scraping, parsing, cataloging, and representation on a per platform (and subplatform) and per media-artifact basis. Defeating adversaries who aim to disrupt it would not be fun. Of course, this is an uphill battle in an ever-changing landscape. You’d need an army of people to build and maintain such a thing at scale, especially if it were to evolve to have more functional options in determining the UI (not just skinning) and constructing the feeds themselves (the big autonomy ticket way down the road).

Well, I have put some groundwork into a project called Fraidyscrape that will be out soon - which will allow people to easily add custom sites, custom UI inputs (hopefully display customization eventually) and which can be updated outside of the normal Firefox/Chrome approval channels. So exactly what you’re talking about above, if I’m reading you right. So I am stockpiling. 😃 I don’t want to be pushed around by platforms - I intend to do the pushing.

One of the reasons your tool has an advantage over other services which might attempt to build such an overlay is that the user themselves run it on their own machines.

Yes, I think this is such an advantage of decentralization in this case. It’s like a spirit animal that sits by your side and no one knows it’s there. It really is ‘yours’ in the sense that it exists completely within your personal machine and also doesn’t encroach on your autonomy - it literally should only do what you tell it to. It must be austere and loyal in that way.

[…] WeeChat, Trillian, and Pidgin […] MLDonkey and Bitcomet […]

I used a lot of this software, too - yeah, you’re right, I’ve pulled some inspiration from there! Glad to be a part of that lineage. ✌️

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Reply to johanbove

I really appreciate this encouragement - and I am enjoying browsing your Known site, especially the recent post on Gopher Web. I don’t attend conferences - I generally like to stay low-key and would prefer that the spotlight fall on others. I thank you for the kindness, glad to bring happiness to anyone who is reading.

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The Fraidycat Concept

Fraidycat 1.0.4 is out today in the Firefox and Chrome stores.

Fraidycat 1.0.4 is out - and things are rolling. Much appreciation to all of those who are pitching in ideas on the issues page. Particularly Bauke and Joshua C. Newton - who brought up bugs that I was able to fix in this release. (And apologies about all the noise on this project - I’m excited about it right now and, believe me, I have a variety of things planned over the next month that will take us away from Fraidycat.)

The new version is already approved in the Firefox Add-ons area. The Chrome (and Vivaldi/Brave) extension is still at 1.0.3, but should update automatically very soon. I’ve also started offering a plain zip that you can install manually using these instructions. Auto-updates will not be available - but you will also not be dependent on the official ‘stores’.

This video is also mirrored at archive.org.

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‘Two months after Sir John and I were married we travelled to Cambridge to seek a cure for Sir John’s melancholie from Dr Richard Blackswan, a very famose Physician. We took with us a little cristall flask that had some of Sir John’s water in it. Dr Blackswann went into a little closet behind a curtain of blacke velvet and prayed upon his knees. The Angell Raphael then appearing in the closet (as commonly happens when ever this doctor prays) peer’d into Sir John’s urine. Dr Blackswann told us that the Angell Raphael knew straightway from the colour of it (reddish as if there waz bloude in it) that the cause of Sir John’s extreame Want of Spirits was a lack of Learned Conversation.’

— p. 41, The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke

(And, yeah, I am pumped for Piranesi.)

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15 Nov 2019

Notes: We’ve Got Blog (2002)

What are blogs for? A trip to the beginning. The halcyon days of dot-com idealism and sheer shit-talking.

Here are my notes on the book We’ve Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture—a worn-out name, but a pretty decent compilation of blog posts from the early days of the phenomenon, mostly 1999-2002.

The articles in this collection are early reflections on the weblog phenomenon. Mature reflections do not exist: the weblog community coalesced only three years ago. Not even the pioneers—some of whom contributed to this anthology—know where weblogs are going, or what place they will eventually fill on the World Wide Web.

— p. xii, Rebecca Blood

The word ‘weblog’ was coined in 1997 - but I think 1999 was officially the first big year for blogging, with both LiveJournal and Blogger appearing. Somehow, wanting to reach back to that era now that 20 years has passed - to attempt to uncover what went so wrong between then and now - I checked out this book from the library on an impulse. It seems to capture the spirit of that age in such a remarkable way - like that jar of deer meat I recently found in my brother-in-law’s basement labelled: '97. (“Oh, it’s still good,” he said.)

And considering Rebecca’s point above: 20 years later, do ‘mature’ reflections now exist? Is it all over and we’re far beyond reflecting? Has the blog just been a tulpa for some ancient essence that we’ll never capture?

Time to reflect.

For the first fifty pages of this, I felt nothing but self-loathing. Blogging suddenly seemed like the most disgusting thing to do - to aimlessly, carelessly write endlessly about my tastes and interests. While I quite like Rebecca Blood’s analysis in the early chapters, this quote chilled me:

As [the blogger] enunciates his opinions daily, this new awareness of his inner life may develop into a trust in his own perspective. His own reactions - to a poem, to other people, and, yes, to the media - will carry more weight with him. Accustomed to expressing his thoughts on his website, he will be able to more fully articulate his opinions to himself and others. He will become impatient with waiting to see what others think before he decides, and will begin to act in accordance with his inner voice instead. Ideally, he will become less reflexive and more reflective, and find his own opinions and ideas worthy of serious consideration.

— p. 14, Rebecca Blood, “Weblogs: A History and Perspective”

Perhaps Rebecca could really use the confidence boost - and that seems entirely wholesome - but I personally do not need to take myself more seriously. I can definitely appreciate improving my articulation - yes definitely, definitely - but becoming more ‘impatient’ and more opinionated - yet somehow more ‘reflective’? More weighty? I don’t want this to happen… (I think I’d like to remain aware that I’m a perfectly worthless dipshit.)

Any idea that these days of blogging were somehow more idyllic, pleasant or enviable quickly goes out the window in this book. The shit-talking is near-epic! Names are named—denounced and disgraced as ruining the form—mostly deriding “A-list” bloggers, but also decrying “the unbearable incestuousness of blogging.” Seems like the confirmation I’ve needed that mastering hypertext is going to be a formidable challenge for us - one that they were only just beginning to embark on and, therefore, were well over their heads in.

However, so far I’ve found a surprising amount to glom on to. These early bloggers definitely had a whiff of what was to come (partly because many had recently left the experience of Usenet) and I think I’m coming away hugely crystallized. Unexpected!!

So, How Useful Are Blogs?

The juiciest quote, for me, so far is this one:

‘Accept that the Web ultimately overwhelms all attempts to order it, as for now it seems we must, and you accept that the delicate thread of a personal point of view is often as not your most reliable guide through the chaos. The brittle logic of the hierarchical index has its indispensable uses, of course, as has the crude brute strength of the search engine. But when their limits are reached (and they always are), only the discriminating force of sensibility will do - and the more richly expressed the sensibility, the better.’

“Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Man” by Julian Dibbell (2000)

This might be a little self-affirming, because it seems to vindicate the web directory (e.g. my l’il href.cool) but what it really seems to be describing is the blog as our premiere discovery mechanism.[1] This must have been a common view at the time, considering this earlier quote:

[…] the weblog movement will begin to realize its true power, a more widely distributed version of what the Open Directory and other collaborative web directories have promised but only minimally delivered.

— p. 40, Brad L. Graham, “Why I Weblog”

In hindsight, this feels like hyperbole - the finished product of a blog seems (to me) less navigable than a directory, although both are usually stale by then. But I think this has played out, to some degree, especially if I think of how useful a good music blog can be when attempting to discover new music. (Though I think a good music podcast or YouTube review can be equally good.)

Hmm. A medium really is only as good as the artist makes of it. It’s not that hypertext is tapping into us. We’re pushing it wherever we want, right?

Defensive Blogging

We are being pummeled by a deluge of data and unless we create time and spaces in which to reflect, we will be left with only our reactions. I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from “audience” to “public” and from “consumer” to “creator.”

— p. 16, Rebecca Blood, “Weblogs: A History and Perspective”

I want to draw a comparison here between this quote and (apologies) Fortnite Battle Royale. Putting aside everything else about Fortnite, it tacked on an interesting innovation: the ability to build structures (in a Minecraft-inspired fashion) with a traditional (third-person) shooter.

Most people seemed to scoff at this blend—as if it were some kind of mere monstrosity of buzzwords. No, this ability to build boxes around yourself or staircases to scale mountains added a much-needed defensive strategy to shooter games, aside from stuff like holing-up or strafing. What’s more: the building strategy can also be seen as ‘shooting’ defenses—you are adding to the environment—it is a constructive, perhaps aggressive, kind of defense.[2]

That’s what seems to resonate with bloggers: not the publication of a first-person journal but the chain of interaction it often ignites.

— p. 170, JD Lasica, “Blogging as a Form of Journalism”

This chain of interaction can manifest as a scorching backdraft. And that is not usually what you are trying to ignite. We like to think that we are kicking off a fantastic, fulfilling discussion that moves the world forward—but the chain is well outside of our control.

(My initial thoughts to ‘controlling’ such a thing is… defensive in the Fortnite sense. Many hypertext writers now build layers around their writing. Nadia Eghbal has direct interaction through Twitter, indirect interaction through polished essays and a newsletter—but also, concealed interaction through an unadvertised notes page that is not easily syndicated or followed. Similarly, representing the public-self modelers—h0p3 has a home page entry point that is carefully curated and groomed, but which is several layers up from a complete chaos of link dumps, raw drafts and random introspections—all of which you can only sort through by learning his curious conventions. You are on his turf. These layers run a spectrum of accessibility—there is always a learning curve before you hit the bottom. You start with a doorway before entering a maze.)

Final Takeaways

I do think what this has left me with so far is two very clear impressions:

  • I still think blogging is a great way to shed light on undiscovered wonderful things. (Other touted aspects - such as ‘giving me a voice’ or ‘replacing old media’ - don’t particularly juice me up personally. Maybe I’m being too hasty here, though. It’s a luxury to publish freely with no editorial staff to shut me down.)
  • Curating blog posts into a finalized book is pretty cool. This reinforces my conclusion on my Hypertexting study: that a permanent ‘body’ of text can be extracted from the ephemera of assorted links and notes that go into blogging. I think it will be useful to, at some point, roll up a bunch of old posts (perhaps delete them) once I’ve compiled a nice piece of writing that sums it all up. (Perhaps this is just a stupid realization about ‘finishing’ something - gah, sorry!)[3]

So, while certain writers in this book seemed to look at the blog as a fully-realized literature format - and perhaps it can be that to some - for me, I see it as a conduit between writings and creations - a place where some of my own words fester and pile up, as a kind of byproduct.

Lastly, there’s no question that we are far from a mature view of hypertext. I feel that much of the last two decades has been spent just trying to emotionally process what our open exposure on the Internet means. These bloggers lived during an early expansion when the population was much smaller. The extreme growth (along with stuff like constant mobile connections and the Snowden discoveries) has transformed the Internet into a very public, chaotic place.

Developing a blog/wiki/etc demands writing, editing, publishing and even relationship chops. I’m not even touching the journalism, entrepreneurial and community-building aspects that this book focuses on at times. Trying to do this in a disciplined way is difficult in the changing landscape - partly because so much of our discussion necessarily revolves around examining that landscape.

Appendix: Raw Notes

p. 5. “[so-and-so] grouped a bunch of webloggers into high school cliques and called me a jock” the shit-talking begins, this is comfortable, nothing has changed.

p. 5. “Dave decided I must be ‘brain-damaged’ because I used frames.” first thought: this is worthy of publication? second thought: oh, wait, these are raw blog posts republished. third thought: 😎

Tracked down the Dave Winer post myself, to ensure ‘brain-damaged’ was the actual wording. (It was.) Quote just below it:

Dad says I shouldn’t criticize other people on my site. He’s right, in theory. But in practice, what I don’t like is just as much a part of my personality as what I do like.

— Kate Adams

(Personal aside: I once criticized the cover of a Philip K. Dick book publicly on the Internet. The only response my post receive was from the illustrator that had designed the cover. She basically said: “Thanks, that hurt.” You might think she had no business replying to my post and should have just taken the criticism. But she didn’t like my criticism - which is “just as much a part of her personality” as anything else, I suppose.)

p. 9. Good Rebecca Blood quote: “These weblogs provide a valuable filtering function for their readers. The Web has been, in effect, pre-surfed for them.”

p. 11. There seems to be a recurring theme that Blogger made blogging “too easy” by just having a single textbox to post in. Didn’t realize it was that much of a progenitor to Twitter.

p. 12. Filters as their own thing: “I really wish there were another term to describe the filter-style weblog, one that would easily distinguish it from the blog.”

(No indication of the tools available to the ‘filter’ blog are given - except that it has access to other filter blogs. Also, there are about five different blog types alluded to - none of them matter now.)

p. 18. The author seems to say that communities, in order to survive, must stay small - and credits The WELL with the best approach. I don’t know The WELL - but it’s still here today. Wonder if it is considered intact…

p. 20. The term ‘webpools’ is used here several times. There are many, many outdated terms and awkward language choices in these essays. These are really cool to me because the language was in such flux - and it reminds me of how repulsive the word ‘blog’ was at first. (I invent crappy words, too - guilty.)

p. 27. Having a good ‘link checker’ is mentioned. Interesting that this technology is nowhere to be seen now. (Href.cool has a simple, dumb one I made - but it’s proven essential.)

p. 31. Some discussion about crediting sources. The discussion is basically “this is a virtuous thing to do” vs. “it clutters up the blog”. This misses the point (imho) - the point is to aid discovering related blogs.

p. 32. This is so funny: “But what about a weblog for the homemaker?”

p. 32. “Wouldn’t it be great if all the neurosurgeons in the world had one place to go for up-to-date information about the numerous changes in their field?” No. Hard no.

p. 35. The need for one’s own domain name. I used to think this wasn’t very important. Starting to come around.

p. 37. “fram” - friend spam. This was nostalgic - ahh right, basically, e-mail forwards were the Facebook of that era. Again, recurring theme of: people need to become better, more disciplined independent writers and publishers. That is what the Web asks of us.

p. 43. omgz, a spoof of “we didn’t start the fire” in the middle of the book. “Wetlog, BrainLog, NeoFlux, and Stuffed Dog…” this is amaaazing.

p. 49. beebo.org?? wtf, this is the second time this has come up. “a blog best-seller list”? The captures on Internet Archive do not explain this well enough for me.

p. 51. It’s becoming clear that Blogger was the poster child of its time. Strangely, people don’t really trace the lineage of Twitter or Tumblr back to it - nor does it come up in the Friendster, Myspace, Facebook dynasty. It’s just kind of this useful website that appeared and is still here. Strangely, Google has managed to keep it low-key, ad-less, customizable - seems like a completely ignored utility. There even seems to be a “New Blogger” dashboard for mobile. I wonder what keeps this thing going?

p. 52. Fears about blogging becoming “too easy” - leading to “blogorrhea”. Yeah, that panned out.

p. 54. The Bicycle story. This seems like some kind of a precious take on memes. Or, alternatively, a satire on a template blog post. The self-loathing returns.

p. 59. Damn, this is serious shit-talking!! (Like on the level of Bernhard’s The Woodcutters.) I need to talk about this in more detail later.

p. 68. Blogs as “exteriorized psychology”. Sure. But no. Hard no.

p. 70. Where did Jorn Barger go? Seems like perception that he was antisemitic turned against him? Nah, it’s got to just be burn out or something. Everyone should retreat from the pulpit at some point. (Actually, not sure why I’m asking where he is - most of these blogs are vacated. I think people didn’t want out of blogging what it ended up giving them. There was definitely something of a gold rush.)

p. 76. This Julian Dibbell has some good stuff. “Does it even count as irony that Barger’s rigorously unfiltered perspective is perhaps as good a filter as can be found for the welter of the Web?” This is a good question! And it really confuses the topic of what makes a good algorithm or a good editor. The discussion kind of stops at: it’s a sensibility.

p. 78. Blogger was a one-man business in 2001 after initially having a team. It really squeaked by. This is cool. It actually survived.

p. 82. “I do think there was a blog concept. Then there were a couple blog concepts. And now we’re getting closer to a blog concept again.” Lol. I think we’re back to a couple blog concepts again.

p. 87. Comment about 2001’s “p2p hype” drowning out interest in blogs. It’s interesting that blockchain took that space for awhile. And it’s interesting that some p2p+blog projects have a niche community now. It’s also interesting that those were seen as competing at the time - I can see how people would think that, but those were clearly two different crowds.

p. 89-98. No real interest in this chapter (on the Kaycee Nicole Hoax) - although veracity of information continues to be a big topic. Was a topic in the radio and newspaper eras, too.

p. 103. “[Blogs are] nothing new, they’re not changing the world with their content, they’re not going to make anyone huge amounts of money, but they are a form of self-expression and community which others enjoy reading.” (Finally, some tempered enthusiasm that’s grounded in reality. No one in this book even considers that blogs might have been a fad - which is a reasonable appraisal given that blogs have almost vanished within the past ten years.)

p. 112-115. An actual essay on link-hunting! It’s rather thin, but it’s a good start. Most of the sources listed in this article are gone now. (Except mailing lists - though they aren’t nearly as prevalent.)

p. 124. “linkslut” (Sick, this is me.)

p. 131. “… most popular weblogs function to serve up the piddle and crap the authors either don’t have time for, don’t believe worth taking any further, or perhaps are testing the waters for.” (So: people know they are writing for free and withhold their best work. Really makes me grateful for insanely high-quality essayists out there like Nadia or Toby.)

p. 138. Kottke is a serious target in this book. He is quoted here, talking about his laptop bag. The writer then basically says, “See, this is the epitome of decadent navel-gazing.”

p. 141. This Blogma 2001 stuff hasn’t aged well. The satire is just thinly veiled bile. Which is not a problem. It’s just that the target of this piece (“A-list” bloggers) is not interesting. Maybe it’s too easy. (Like a satire on modern influencers - who cares.)

p. 144. In a section on blogging tips, called “Anonymous Is Okay.” ‘If you are being anonymous give some hints about you from time to time. “I am a fat boy!”’ 🤣

p. 152. This has really gone downhill in the last few chapters. I’m now in an essay on how to get noticed. “Also, when sending email, try to be funny” - oh boy. And yet, this is exactly what you expect in a book titled We’ve Got Blog from 2002. (This essay does highlight that self-promotion was very awkward even then.)

p. 155. “Once in a while remind yourself that you are not only as good as your last update.” (Based.)

p. 164. Referring to a time in the late 90s: “Then reality set in and those individual voices became lost in the ether as a million businesses lumbered onto the cyberspace stage, newspapers clumsily grasped at viable online business models, and a handful of giant corporations made the Web safe for snoozing.” (Had to do a double-take on this one! Were they talking about 2011?)

p. 166. Reference to Paul Andrews’ “Who Are Your Gatekeepers?” Sounds worth reading.

p. 166. “Where the weblog changes the nature of ‘news’ is in the migration of information from the personal to the public.” (Premonitions of Snowden. Regardless of whether you think he was successful, in this respect he certainly was.)

p. 167. The rest of the essays in this book are by amateurs, so they look at editors at entirely superfluous. This section is written by journalists, so they seem to see it just as a tradeoff. Yeah, for sure. (As a reader, it certainly seems valuable to evaluate online writing on a spectrum of heavily-edited and fact-checked vs. off-the-cuff - depending on what you are getting out of it.)

p. 170. “One of the most interesting things about blogs is how often they’ve made me change my mind about issues. There’s something about the medium that lets people share opinions in a less judgemental way than when you interact with people in the real world.” (Eh? This seems spurious. The medium is still just the written word. I think what you’re trying to articulate is that you never quite know what you’re going to end up reading online - so it’s possible to be exposed to arguments you haven’t encountered. Hence all the talk about people being accidentally radicalized politically.)

p. 170. “That’s what seems to resonate with bloggers: not the publication of a first-person journal but the chain of interaction it often ignites.” (Yes. Hard yes. This explains the migration to social media. Quicker, faster, immedate sparks of interaction.) (It also occured to me at this point that ‘likes’ and such are analagous to ‘hit counters’ from this age.)

p. 171. The editorial process produces writing that is “limp, lifeless, sterile, and homogenized”; blogs produce words that are “impressionistic, telegraphic, raw, honest, individualistic, highly opinionated and passionate, often striking an emotional chord.” (I really don’t like that this paints a picture that writing just got better all of the sudden because of blogs.)

p. 192-193. During an essay which completely demolishes the war blogs of the time, Tim Cavanaugh quotes a full page-and-a-half of shameless gladhanding. ("…the consistently correct Moira Breen." “Mark Steyn—this guy is so good!” “…Natalija Radic really hit them where it hurts.”) (It goes on and on. This seems similar to current questions of ‘virtual signaling’. Which I don’t have a problem with generally. Really: what should a personal signal? I think the problem here is that the concept of a war blogger is gross. So perhaps it is the incompatibility we see between a person and their signal.)

p. 195. “For all the bitching they log about the mainstream media, none of the bloggers are actually cruising the streets of Peshawar or Aden or Mogadishu. Thus, they’re wholly dependent upon that very same mainstream media.” (Well, the mainstream will always exist in some way - as a baseline of culture, as a central point of reference, like Magnetic North. Therefore, we’re dependent on it. And we move ourselves around it by defining our various loves and hatreds of it. And, in this case, I think it should still be safely used as a resource. Also, ‘it’ is actually a massive, pluralistic, infinite, incongruous organism.)

p. 228. ICQ as “I seek you.” Durrrr. I never caught this! Wowwww. 🔫


  1. Definitely in the way Joe Jennett or Eli Mellen does it—and also h0p3’s link logs. I think tumblelogs and Delicious innovated in this department. ↩︎

  2. Many shooters allow you to project or throw force field areas. So this concept has been around, to some degree. I don’t know the lineage—I’m not a gamer. ↩︎

  3. A few days after writing this, Nadia posted “Reimagining the PhD”, which casts her last five years as a kind of self-styled doctorate - which will now concluded with her publication of a book on her field of study. ‘Rolling up’ a blog into a formalized work is parallel. ↩︎

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14 Nov 2019

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12 Nov 2019

Reply to jrdprr

I’m not setup to do this kind of thing at the moment - however, I really appreciate this invitation! Hyperlink.academy is sweet. The concept of a barebones hypertext university - I’m happy this exists. Has anyone done hypertext criticism? Maybe even taking a tweet or a Reddit thread and dissecting it together?

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HrefHunt for Nov 2019

Promised I’d do this after getting Fraidycat out there. This regular feature is back: me hunting in the brambles, coming back up with 22 newly discovered blogs from a variety of sources, mainly 8 threads and blogrolls out there. Raw dump. Good quality.

Promised I’d do this after getting Fraidycat out there. This regular feature is back: me hunting in the brambles, coming back up with 22 newly discovered blogs from a variety of sources, mainly 8 threads and blogrolls out there. Raw dump. Good quality.

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11 Nov 2019

PSA: To anyone reading this ‘unfiltered’ page: I now have feeds for this page, so you can just put /all/ in your reader if you accept the dangers.

Fraidycat is also now out for Chrome. Both extensions have been updated to version 1.0.3, which is the latest code. Now we’ll have to see how sending updates to you goes. (Planning on an update next Monday.)

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‘Accept that the Web ultimately overwhelms all attempts to order it, as for now it seems we must, and you accept that the delicate thread of a personal point of view is often as not your most reliable guide through the chaos. The brittle logic of the hierarchical index has its indispensable uses, of course, as has the crude brute strength of the search engine. But when their limits are reached (and they always are), only the discriminating force of sensibility will do - and the more richly expressed the sensibility, the better.’

“Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Man” by Julian Dibbell (2000)

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09 Nov 2019

Fraidycat is officially out for Firefox now! While it should move your follows over automatically, you should probably export them - to be safe before upgrading. addons.mozilla.org

The Chrome/Vivaldi extension is very close. Thanks for all of the encouragement this week!

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07 Nov 2019

Reply: 2019.11.06 - HN: Fraidycat

h0p3

Fraidycat is a delightful browser extension for following people on the interwebs. Roughly, it’s an easy-to-use yet hackable, user-owned, FOSS, privacy-respecting, and experimental next-generation feed aggregator and reader. Not every platform offers RSS, so Fraidycat tries to build those bridges for you, scraping and packaging it up for you automagically, allowing you to tailor your own feeds, priorities, and timelines from across the web in your browser.

This is really helpful, h0p3!! Krikey, you’re such a friend.

Hear ye, hear ye. Tolle, lege; tolle, lege. Srsly, hyperbolic skiddie fanboi gushing here, so ignore me at-will, plz:

Haha, oh imagine if this was what you had to do to play well in the HN crowd. (This actually reminds me of that amazing story from The Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem where the robots all speak Chaucerian English.)

Don’t let the frisky aesthetic of this gem fool ya: underneath the hood is essentially an engine which is necessary (even if insufficient) for a functioning democracy, for treating people not as mere means but as ends, and for fixing the problems of the centralization of infrastructures and processes which commodify our attention spans. It’s a spicy tool for the people and about the people. It sprankles your browser with mana, dope maymays, and the people you like or love (or don’t, ;P).

Omgz - I hate to play into your hyperbole here, but I think you’re right. (Don’t get me wrong - this is a shit tool.) This “having a personal engine to negotiate your link to others” is maybe the whole of it. (For some reason, I was thinking it was the simplistic non-feed view, purely an organization thing.)

The problem is that I need the networks to play well in some sense - I at least need to have access to scrape HTML fragments. But these networks will always fight back against that. We have to accept that. Fraidycat will need to be incredibly resilient and aggressive - like Stuxnet or like PRISM.

When you think about it, though, it’s ridiculous that this needs to be done. It’s insane! Civilian counterops.

It’s rad that you took the time to vocalize your angle. I need to internalize this, because there is further direction and understanding in this. I don’t fully understand what I’m doing - I absolutely thirst for these sick angles from other fields of view. ✌️

UUUUUHHHPDATE: Just saw Le Reddit Log. Holy shit - you are a madman. Buggin out over here. 😲

Damn man oh man - not sure I’m ready for this!!

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Reply: Encouraging Comment by Chris

Chris Aldrich

Kicks, far from a dumb project. I remember seeing a version of your personal copy in one of your videos ages ago and thinking, “I want that!!!” Of course it may take some more development on your part or some serious coding study on mine to get this up and running for myself. I can’t wait to see where this goes! Keep up the awesome work!

I think once it is approved in the Chrome and Firefox official extensions, it’ll be the right time for you to give it a swing. For now, we’re probably a month out on that. Still - I appreciate the motivating words. (And glad to have you back recently.) (And glad you got a break, too, of course!) 😎

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

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

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

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

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.