Kicks Condor
06 Sep 2019

Reply: Href.Cool Changes


@kicks how? How the how do you track these changes???

I keep all my links in a giant document. That document is used to generate the website. One of my Fill Crawlers is used to check if a site has drastically changed and to take screenshots. It gives me a report. That’s all there is to it. Thank you for asking!

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05 Sep 2019

‘I like a kind of irony I call benevolent, compassionate, like what we find, for example, in the best of Cervantes. I don’t like ferocious irony but rather the kind that vacillates between disappointment and hope. Okay?’

— p. 5, Never Any End to Paris by Enrique Vila-Matas

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04 Sep 2019


CRT blog of odd things—and its connection to philatelicism.

(First, let me mention that I obtained the directions to the Cardhouse ‘website concept’ from a massive linkspill that is seeping out on this thread on Metafilter. It is a long list of blogs that have been running for ~20 years. It’s very helpful if you are curious what ‘classic’ blogs are still alive.)

While this is a very interesting blog on its own, I am particularly interested in a few pages for a few reasons:

  • History: A long, illustrated self-history of the blog that is almost like a time capsule on a single page. It catalogs the snapshots of the design—it’s surprising that more sites don’t do this. Perhaps because it’s perceived as navel-gazing? I think it reflects the rest of the Web, too, though.

  • Phoneswarm: A sub-blog covering unusual telephone booths. Also: X Magazine, Macros2000. I like that these temporary projects are littered throughout the site—they are fun to explore on their own, partly because they are done.

  • The Archive: Seems haphazard, but is actually very well done. A directory—similarly, the links page is the old ‘portal’ style directory. Which seems like it could be revived as well.

A secondary site The Erstwhile Philatelic Society is also really cool. It is best explained by the application for membership.

From the FAQ:

  1. What is with the vert|ical ba|rs in the mid|dle of words?
    The problem with search engines is that they allow people to key on words that have nothing to do with the larger web page. People are coming to pages for the wrong reasons – by splitting up certain words in certain pages, people won’t mistakenly come to these pages. That’s the theory, anyway. Apparently there is a rag-tag effort to get this sort of functionality parameterized for search engines, but I fell asleep halfway through the article.

This is good technology.

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30 Aug 2019

Nadia Eghbal, Re: Writing Hypertext

My digichat with @nayafia—an essential writer (imho) of texts, notes and wonderful roundups.

A few months ago, I stumbled across the essay ‘The tyranny of ideas’ and was truly struck by the inquisitive, thought-mashing flow of the writing. It’s just a great piece—I’ve read it several times now and talked about it with pretty much everyone I know. The author, Nadia Eghbal, writes quite a bit about funding open source software[1], but meanders all over, processing modern life on her website.

> Welcome to the digichat with Nadia.

kicks: You have a simple, minimalist blog—very limited styling, an RSS feed, generated with Jekyll—meaning you likely write all your posts in a plain text editor. What appealed to you about a minimalist design?

nadia: Before I started writing, I really liked blogs like Aaron Swartz’s and Paul Graham’s, which were minimally designed. If it’s a blog post, I generally don’t want to do anything that takes away from the text itself. It’s like when you cook a really nice piece of fish or steak or whatever: if the main ingredient is good, you shouldn’t need to season it.

kicks: You are also pretty sparse with your linking, image embedding, all the ‘hypertext’ features of the Web. I take it that your faith in plain text doesn’t extend to these?

nadia: Not sure I understand the q, but yes, I like keeping everything pretty sparse. I do like linking a lot (or at least I feel like I link a lot!) as a way of subtly saying “if you wanna dig into this thing more, you can go down this path over there, but otherwise I’m gonna keep talking”.

kicks: You have a page on your site for somewhat ephemeral thoughts and unpolished shorthand. This page has no feed, so it doesn’t actively broadcast—it could almost be seen as a neat personal touch to your website. However, you are incredibly active in updating this! Much more so than your Twitter account it seems. What motivates you to write there?

nadia: I like being able to publish my messier, half-formed thoughts, but I get turned off by putting those next to a like count. It feels like the more likes you get, the more you start writing things to get likes, whereas the REALLY weird, unpopular stuff probably won’t get many likes at all.

I worry about likes changing how I think and interfering with my ability to wander and explore the edges. (I am truly envious, however, of people who are able to use Twitter as a place to braindump their thoughts! I think I’m just too self-conscious.)

Someone (I think Eugene Wei?) once tweeted that all Twitter accounts eventually sound like fortune cookies. I don’t want to become a fortune cookie. So I like things like newsletters, and my notes page, which are still discoverable and semi-public, but aren’t subject to short feedback loops. I also removed comments on my blog for the same reason, and I never look at my site analytics.

kicks: This is making me seriously reconsider ‘likes’—which I’ve let pass as a kind of low-effort but benign and gracious comment. But now as I look at your ‘notes’ page—not only am I convinced by what you’ve said—I think the absence of all the ‘share’/‘like’ icons really makes that page feel like a running conversation. With ‘like’ counts, I think I’d be distracted wondering which thoughts were the most highly admired—but, come on, what kind of bullshit is that for me to be thinking while looking through your private thought journal?? So maybe it alters reading too in a sick way?[2]

nadia: The problem with likes is it naturally draws your eye towards the most-liked stuff, instead of deciding for yourself what’s most interesting. It almost feels like I’d be taking agency away from the reader by doing that.

(Maybe I’m being a little sanctimonious—e.g. shorter thoughts probably draw ppl’s attention more than bigger paragraphs, there’s no way to totally avoid this problem—but I’d rather not add to it, either.)

I mean I think curation can be useful, e.g. on my homepage I highlight a couple of my favorite blog posts, because I assume they want a bit of guidance at that point. But on a stream-of-consciousness notes page, I’m assuming they’re more in exploratory, serendipity mode. I don’t want to guide them towards anything.

kicks: Ok, now: about the essays. The quality of your writing on your blog is very good, very thought-provoking and unique. Serious time has been invested into each essay. I imagine there is a wealth of publications who would love for you to write for them. Why post these to a personal blog?

nadia: Thanks! I like what Venkatesh Rao has to say about Ribbonfarm, which he thinks of as a wildlife preserve. I like having total freedom on my blog to roam around and write about whatever I want, as much or as little as I want. It’s like the popularity metrics thing: if I start writing for others, I worry it’d start to change what I think and write about.

That said: I do like writing for other publications and blogs occasionally! It’s just a very different experience, and I usually need to have a particular reason for doing it.

kicks: You know, your link to Ribbonfarm there has illustrated what you are saying so well. I’ve never really read that blog—but what better way to find it than in this chance conversation with you? (We’re enjoying ‘sidewalk life’ here—as you term it.)

nadia: Woot! Ribbonfarm is lifechanging, I’m a bit of a fangirl.

kicks: I mean the world is trying so hard to build technology that will have these conversations for us. Especially these ones where we find each other. At the same time, it feels like there is more to talk about than ever. Do you feel this way? Or, I mean—you’ve already written pretty extensively—do you still feel like you’re at the tip of the iceberg?

nadia: I definitely feel like I’m at the tip of the iceberg. There are so many half-written blog posts waiting for me to finish, and at some point I’ve realized I’ll never get to them all. And having meaningful conversations is a really tough thing to scale, too. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

kicks: To what degree do you feel like you need to repeat yourself? Because some important points are worth harping on, right?

nadia: I hate repeating myself. haha. This is maybe one of my biggest weaknesses. Part of why I blog is honestly just to avoid repeating myself; if I’ve talked about an idea with enough people separately, I want to codify it into a post and be done with it. I get really impatient about having the same conversations with multiple people. But to your point, important points do need to be repeated, which helps them spread and sink in. It’s just my least favorite thing.

kicks: Does it ever feel like your blog is out in the middle of nowhere? Or do you feel sufficiently connected to the rest of the network out there?

nadia: Haha yes, I definitely feel that way sometimes, although usually I find it comforting—sort of a “hidden in plain sight” kind of thing. Twitter and newsletter are basically my only ties between my blog and the outside world; that said, I think I’ve gotten a surprising amount of engagement that way.

Fundamentally, I think of my blog more like a portfolio, or a display case. It’s not about juicing up my readership, but connecting with the right people who happen upon it and find something that resonates. I’ve met so many amazing people through writing: I’ve gotten most of my work opportunities that way, and made a lot of friends, too! I’ve thought about whether I should focus more on distribution, but again, I think if I started to worry about that, it would make the whole experience less fun, and I might also start changing what I write about. Maybe it’s naive, but I like the idea of having a public place for my “pure” thoughts, and the only way I can think to do that is by explicitly not caring about who reads it or how it spreads around.

kicks: Well, I think you’re playing a long game here—by not cashing in on the immediate attention and likes of those networks. It’s definitely ‘purifying’ to drain away all those other purposes that could be tweaking your motives.

A home page definitely seems more and more inert—disconnected from society, from live notifications, seemingly deserted. But there’s an advantage to that—it’s like you can actually control the tempo there. It’s like visiting you at your home—down a wooded road—or, maybe more appropriately: your candy store, like the one you mention in “Reclaiming Public Life,” where “one is free to either hang around or dash in and out, no strings attached.”

nadia: I love this imagery of a homepage being like visiting a home down a wooded road. I am definitely the recluse living in a cabin 😃

kicks: I wish it was more like a candy store, though—so I could hang out and meet another avid reader or give you a thanks as the door jingles on my way out. What is an adequate ‘social’ sidewalk for your blog—is it your attached Twitter account and email newsletter?

nadia: Yeah, Twitter is probably the “social sidewalk” for my blog. I’m still trying to figure out the newsletter thing. When I send out a newsletter, I get a bunch of responses from subscribers, but it feels inefficient somehow to have multiple 1:1 conversations with different people, when I’m sure others would love to read them. I’d almost even say it feels selfish…like I’m keeping all these ideas to myself! Occasionally I include some of the interesting stuff in the following newsletter, but yeah, I don’t like being the bottleneck keeping everyone apart from each other. I haven’t come up with a better alternative besides Twitter, but not everyone is active there.

I guess that’s why some blogs have comments. I was so anti-comments in the past bc it felt like “the comments section”, as a place, had become so crappy and low-quality. It’d be funny if comments sections made a retro comeback as a place to have deeper, substantive conversations. Or maybe they never went away, but I’m the one who’s coming back around to them. (Are newsletters are just the slow re-invention of blogs?)

kicks: Hahaha! I believe this is the first time I’ve heard a remark in possible favor of comments. Yes, I think it is. It’s possible you’ve unearthed the first truly contrarian thought on the Internet here… Which is especially ironic because we’ve just been deriding ‘likes’ somewhat.

Ok, I’ll stop there. Thank you for all that you are doing, Nadia!

nadia: Thank you for all your delightful and thoughtful observations! Really enjoying your trains of thought.

  1. And is also known for RFC, a podcast on the topic. ↩︎

  2. Oh and the fortune cookie remark is too good! It reminds me of something David Yates recently said to me: that there needs to be a name for that feeling where you click on a link to a sweet domain name and it ends up just being another Mastodon instance. ↩︎

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19 Aug 2019

Ola Bini’s Letters from Detention

Reflections from a thoughtful and innocent prisoner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15 Aug 2019

2019.08: What’s New to Href.Cool?

Most of these links have been posted recently—some removals as well. is my personal directory to the Web. It contains one hidden directory inside of it—and I’m working on two more (one on ‘antimisanthropy’ and another on ‘fake computers’.) In the meantime, I have some casual updates.

Added to Games/Dialogue:

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

Removed link to Susan Engel ( in Real/Learning—DNS doesn’t resolve.

New category Real/Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

The link for ‘Sleepingfish’ in Stories/Brief has changed to

The link to ‘HIGH END CUSTOMIZABLE SAUNA EXPERIENCE’ in Stories/Hypertext has changed to

An addition to Tapes/Classic:

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

An addition to Tapes/Infinite:

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

And an addition to Tapes/Vaporwave:

Bunch of new links under Visuals/Motion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reply: Sausages & Hamburgers

Prateek Saxena

So, when Siddharth showed me what sausage links were, I knew they would be perfect for this problem. I did some research and found some other documentation websites using them too.

Hey, Prateek—good to have you cross-posting to It will be interesting to see if sausage links stay or if they are a fad. It’s interesting that browsers haven’t adopted them for crowded tabs (or, perhaps, it seems that they moved away from hidden tabs… can’t recall.)

At any rate, you have a nice design here. Keep up the great work!

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07 Aug 2019

Wikipedia on Dat Is Looking Sweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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03 Aug 2019

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Poolside FM

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

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

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

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

Reach out with your wildest dreams.

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

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

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

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

From The Verge:

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

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

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

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

See also: foreignrap, somehow related.

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

— p. 20, Outline by Rachel Cusk

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25 Jul 2019

Foundations of a Tiny Directory

Can the failing, impotent web directory be transformed? Be innovated??

Can we still innovate on the humble web directory? I don’t think you can view large human-edited directories (like Yahoo! or DMOZ) as anything but a failure when compared to Google. Sure, they contained millions of links and, ultimately, that may be all that matters. But a human editor cannot keep up with a Googlebot! So Google’s efficiency, speed and exhaustiveness won out.

But perhaps there is just no comparison. Perhaps the human-edited directory still has its strengths, its charms. After all, it has a human, not a GoogleBot. Could a human be a good thing to have?

An Age of Link Fatigue

We now have an abundance of blogs, news, podcasts, wikis—we have way too much really. Links constantly materialize before your very eyes. Who would even begin, in 2018, to click on Yahoo!'s “Social Science” header and plumb its depths?

Yahoo! '95

Strangely enough, even Wikipedia has a full directory of itself, tucked in a corner. (Even better, there’s a human-edited one hidden in there! Edit: Whoa! And the vital articles page!) These massive directories are totally overwhelming and, thus, become more of an oddity for taking a stroll. (But even that—one usually begins a stroll through Wikipedia with a Google search, don’t they?)

The all-encompassing directory found another way: through link-sharing sites like and Pinboard. If I visit Pinboard’s botany tag, I can see the latest links—plant of the week the “Night Blooming Cereus” and photos of Mount Ka’ala in Hawaii. Was that what I was looking for? Well at least I didn’t have to find my way through a giant hierarchy.

Where directories have truly found their places is in small topic-based communities. Creepypasta and fan site wikis have kept the directory alive. Although, hold up—much like Reddit’s sub-based wikis—these mostly store their own content. The Boushh page mostly links back to the wiki itself, not to the myriad of essay, fan arts and video cosplays that must exist for this squeaky bounty hunter.

Besides—what if a directory wasn’t topic-based? What if, like Yahoo!, the directory attempted to tackle the Whole Web, but from a specific viewpoint?

Craft Librarians on the Web

You see this in bookstores: staff recommendations. This is the store’s window into an infinite catalog of books. And it works. The system is: here are our favorites. Then, venturing further into the store: this is what we happen to have.

Staff recommendations shelf

“But I want what I want,” you mutter to yourself as you disgustedly flip through a chapbook reeking of hipster.

Well, of course. You’re not familiar with this store. But when I visit Green Apple in San Francisco, I know the store. I trust the store. I want to look through its directory.

This has manifested itself in simple ways like the blogroll. Two good examples would be the Linkage page on, which gives short summaries, reminiscent of the brief index cards with frantic marker all over them. This is the staff recommendation style blogroll.

Another variation would be Colin Walker’s Directory, which collects all blogs that have sent a Webmention[1]. This serves a type of “neighborhood” directory.[2]

What I want to explore now is the possibility of expanding the blogroll into a new kind of directory.

Social Linking

Likes, upvotes, replies, friending. What if it’s all just linking? In fact, what if linking is actually more meaningful!

When I friend you and you disappear into the number twenty-three—my small collection of twenty-three friends—you are but a generic human, a friendly one, maybe with a tiny picture of you holding a fishing rod. With any luck, the little avatar is big enough that I can discern the fishing rod, because otherwise, you’re just a friendly human. And I’m not going to even attempt to assign a pronoun with a pic that small.

Href Hunt

It’s time for me to repeat this phrase: Social Linking. Yes, I think it could be a movement! Just a small one between you and I.

It began with an ‘href hunt’: simply asking anyone out there for links and compiling an initial flat directory of these new friends. (Compare in your mind this kind of treatment of ‘friends’ to the raw name dumps we see on Facebook, et al.) How would you want to be linked to?

Now let’s turn to categories. A small directory doesn’t need a full-blown hierachy—the hierarchy shouldn’t dwarf the collection. But I want more than tags.

Link Title
*topic/subtopic format time-depth
Markdown-formatted *description* goes here.

Ok, consider the above categorization structure. I’m trying to be practical but multi-faceted.

  • topic/subtopic is a two-level ad-hoc categorization similar to a tag. A blog may cover multiple categories, but I’m not sure if I’ll tackle that. I’m actually thinking this answers the question, “Why do I visit this site? What is it giving me?” So a category might be supernatural/ghosts if I go there to get my fix of ghosts; or, it could be writing/essays for a blog I visit to get a variety of longform. An asterisk would indicate that the blog is a current feature among this topic (and this designation will change periodically.)
  • format could be: ‘blog’, ‘podcast’, ‘homepage’, a single ‘pdf’ or ‘image’, etc.
  • time-depth indicates the length one can expect to spend at this link. It could be an image that only requires a single second. It could be a decade worth of blog entries that is practically limitless.

The other items: author, url and description—these are simply metadata that would be collected.

The directory would then allow discovery by any of these angles. You could go down by topic or you could view by ‘time depth’. I may even nest these structures so that you could find links that were of short time depth under supernatural/ghosts.

The key distinct between this directory and any other would be: this is not a collection of the “best” links on the Web—or anywhere near an exhaustive set of links. But simply my links that I have discovered and that I want to link to.

I don’t know why, but I think there is great promise here. Not in a return to the old ways. Just: if anyone is here on the Web, let’s discover them.

  1. Hat tip to my new friend, Brad for pointing this out. ↩︎

  2. I should also mention that many of the realizations in this post are very similar to Brad’s own Human Edited vs. Google post, which I cite here as an indication that this topic is currently parallelized. ↩︎

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Reply: Lateral Connections


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

‘…unlike things being adjacent to each other.’

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

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

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

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Chameleon’s Wiki

TiddlyWiki is trending??

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



AND IS PRONOUNCED ``$:/macros/’’


THIS IS TiddlyWiki




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

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Reply: Clearly You Are Blind or Evil, Lol


Thank you, penetration tester.


With great hesitation and hot coals, you pull logs out of my eye.

Haha, (head quivering in hands) these conversations are so enjoyable. You dropped the gun. It lies there in the sand, as innocent as a slice of chocolate cake, before melting into a dozen frightened beetles that shimmer in the hot sun.

I wish I wasn’t so slow to participate, wish I could be more thorough, more precise—it is overwhelming how much there is to talk about. And, anyway, I mostly just want to read. My mouth wants to be put away this summer. It is pleased to stay pursed, so something can form (not foam) inside it.

I’m sorry. I can see parts of your tooling work from Beaker Browser. I also cannot see the structure of the thing you are exploring and building from afar nearly as well as you can. You are a man who has in hands in more than one pie, so I see multiple signals. I am still squaring away where you have drawn the lines of your position here. I am doing my best to interpret your video, but surely you must say I am not charitable enough.

Your apology is unnecessary, but gracious. You are my friend, so we can rant and sling handfuls of mud, it’s all playful. I am in disarray—it’s true. It’s always been this way. Just to have you read is plenty of T42T.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

— Proverbs 9:8

Our mutual rebuking is some good shit, brother.

With peer-to-peer, I’m a huge enthusiast—this is the ‘leeching’ part of ‘leeching and linking’. I once had a friend who had worked for Nullsoft and I really got into Gnutella when it came out. In fact, all of those networks: Kazaa, Soulseek, eDonkey2000, LimeWire—and was head over heels for BitTorrent when it came out. There are files I’m still seeding after a decade. I was on Freenet—though Tor never caught on with me, for some reason.

I was into Bitcoin when it first came out—I have to get into all of these things, to see what people are doing. I’m too curious. (I do this with all of the things that trend at elementary school: Fortnite, FNAF, Bendy and the Ink Machine, yes, even fidget spinners. I don’t give mainstream culture my full gaze; I just try to eat my helpings.)

I must also not be correctly understanding “The Conduit” you have in mind. It looks like more than a restyling to me, but you would know better than I. I see enormous progress in how you scrape and categorize in your feed not for the sake of what is “hot.” Rather, to some extent, you are eliminating karma-whoring clickbait and instead enabling each person to have a voice less distorted or tempted by improper incentives.

Well, there has got to be a better term—I’m lazily grabbing the word that materialized as I’ve been working. The ‘conduit’ is the central place where everyone’s words mingle together. It could be a subreddit’s ‘hot’ page or a Twitter feed or an RSS reader’s main view. This is where you monitor all your ‘others’ and perhaps discover more. Does this make sense?

I still have a long way to go to get the design and infoshaping right. It still feels bland and unexciting compared to the news feed. This is good—this is the point. But it needs a little bit of frosting still.

Oh and—on the topic of handling your large wiki size—I just submitted the start of a fix (see the bottom of here) to this. I actually think this work could do wonders for TiddlyWiki. Imagine if you could do separate tiddlers (like Bob) but also stuff like embedding videos (or torrents even) right in TiddlyWiki! (And I mean the data is inline, not hosted somewhere else.) This is really what Beaker makes possible.

(I am not saying Beaker/Dat are the end-all-be-all for peer-to-peer. Just that they are definitely a stepping stone toward innovating the browser and maybe the protocol too.)

Oh, I speak with all kinds, kicks. Make no mistake: I think most of the people I speak with in FTO are disturbingly evil, but I will speak with them as best I can.

Really? I think you find a lot of really great people. Like chameleon is sweet! Sphygmus is gold. I’m not denying the existence of disturbingly evil people—but there are a lot of appealing folks out there methinks. People are one of my favorite things ever.

I agree it is always a risk to be in public, especially under mainstream scrutiny. I agree there is always at least one weakness. We don’t have to make it easy, and we can make it much, much harder to break it. We cannot achieve certainty, but we can vastly improve confidence.

Okay, this is cool—raising confidence, I can dig that.

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20 Jul 2019

Reply: Prescription Sightdawgs


Requiring a webserver in a datacenter using a domain name I don’t own is a weakpoint I’m not going to accept. You want cohesion? Let’s not build a system on the web which isn’t meant to be owned by individuals of every stripe and status which can be so easily attacked by middleman between you and me.

Yes, of course—this isn’t clear from the vid, but my prototype requires no server and runs strictly from Beaker Browser. We’re square on that, right?

I understand if you have your criticisms of that—I do, too! But it’s not federated, it’s peer-to-peer. (In a BitTorrent sense.) So I’m not sure where we have a beef. I don’t want federation. Don’t put me with those people.

Yes, you know it’s in the realm of possibility for some TW users to join the indieweb. I’m gonna bet you could have it up and running in less than 60 minutes. What does it take? A VPS, domain name, nodejs, and some scripting, right?

This is why I showed the gif of the jacked motorcycle man. It would be pointless bravado. I’m not as lit on the Indieweb as all that.

I have no will to build an ecosystem which I already know is dead-on-arrival for those who deserve not to be censored. If it requires DNS or a VPS/dedi/webhost, it’s already a failure. That’s 99.999999999999999999999% of the web. It’s dead to me, no matter how much I use it.

I feel like you’re taking point blank headshots here because they make you feel good. I agree with you! Put the gun down already.

This prototype is purely to mock up the ‘feel’ of this world that could be. I am only restyling the conduit here—not anything else. To try to look past the ‘newsfeed’ or ‘forum’ view. To me, this is an actual problem—because I see Dat and Secure Scuttlebutt trying to mimic it. It’s paltry, but it’s a piece that still has to be rethought. I guess my thinking is that if I can provide a vision for how a tool like this could work, perhaps that could spark some optimism for ‘progress’ on this front.

It’s a convenience. I don’t trust it, but I’ll take the free lunch.

This is my same reasoning for using Webmentions or Beaker. It’s here; it’s partway there.

Tox is cool, LF is cool. I’m just not working on that part of the pipe at the moment. I have some personal urgency—trying to stay on top of my list of ‘others’. Our (your and my) way of messaging works great. I’m not trying to alter that. I’m just trying to give myself a simple dashboard so I can see what’s going on. (By the way, your blog isn’t in my ‘real-time’ feed because Beaker is crashing on the large wiki file size. But I am close to solving that.)

In our past couple messages, you have some salt for the bourgeois types that inhabit all these quarters—some of whom you seem to count as ‘others’ as well—but I am definitely mining this group and very interested in it. Perhaps I’m wrong and I’m only granting the word ‘privileged’ some kind of perjorative heft. The way I see it, the middle class can be a rich source of progression because: they have enough resources to build things and they usually have a strong desire to move out of ‘petit’ status—if this is aligned with a looking backwards to the poor—well, you seem to appreciate LF (made by ZeroTier, Inc.) and Tox (made by TokTok Ltd.)—so you must see some utility in this group, too.

I serve my website over the web because no one is going to listen to me unless I do; it’s too much of a chore to even enter a key. Their pursuit of convenience is why I have to give up way more privacy and power over my voice than I ought.

Well, how can you communicate with the public if you are lost in some layers of cryptography and routing deep behind some series of anonymous hashes? Yeah, there can be a network for that—but there’s going to be a public Web that mirrors the sensibilites (or lack thereof) of the mainstream. The ‘surface’—this is where everyone is going to be.

It seems to me that there’s no system that’s uncrackable—so interfacing with the mainstream is just risky. If an utterance can be read even, it can be attacked. (I might be leaking too many details of my life or character, there are chinks in the armor.)

I live in a country with concentration camps.

And I will go to the camps when it’s my time. Daniil Kharms did it. For writing that a carpenter fell out of a window—no one understood it. Can a technology really save us from this?

Slash hug, dawg. Always glad you even take the time to listen. When you say we ought to have ‘privacy and power’ for our voice: I don’t even deserve to talk. I do realize that.

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19 Jul 2019

Fridaycat, the Friday Vid

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

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

Also: the slaptrash source for this video is here.

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15 Jul 2019

@h0p3 (2019.07.12): Hey, I’m with you—I abdicated to public schools, it’s all about abdication. There are all these starvings who need someone to look back. And nobody does because forward is all that matters. Forward for them, just forward for them.

Yeah, it’s a privilege—no doubt. The IndieWeb is a meta-community, so it’ll always be that way. Its point is to strategize among the ‘capable’(?), those ‘capable’ of reshaping. It won’t work to ‘File’ > ‘Import…’ and Ctrl+A all the underpowered Android phones into the IndieWeb.

I mean, not like I know how to really solve any of this—I feel like even my best guess would summon a bunch of roving shitstorms once again—but I think if there were all these outpost IndieWebs, made of cheap static HTML and tied together with services subsidized by the gifted IndieWeb types (see, for instance)—and discoverable by directories and link logs and the ability to mention someone to possibly rouse them (or you ignore those—or you have to have someone vouch for you to mention them), then there’s some possibility.

I’m still not sure about some purist decentralization—like, that seems awful on some 3g android, right? But like I know. The ethic of ‘find the others’ is wholesome; it’s def a starting place.

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The Missing Quests on Golf: Become Human

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

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

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

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

From the FAQ:

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

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

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12 Jul 2019

@visakanv’s Bookmarks

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

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

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

A few thoughts:

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

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

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

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

I hope you’re getting some ideas now.

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

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

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

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Reply: Pure HTML All Over Again


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

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

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

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

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Reply: Cubit and Tribler


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

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

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

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05 Jul 2019

Reply: The Purpose of a Website?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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04 Jul 2019

#SocialMediaStrike StaleStream

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

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

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01 Jul 2019

Reply: anon on the line


i sure am and always will.

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

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

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‘Constructing a body of hypertext over time—such as with blogs or wikis—with an emphasis on the strengths of linking (within and without the text) and rich formatting.’

‘Constructing a body of hypertext over time—such as with blogs or wikis—with an emphasis on the strengths of linking (within and without the text) and rich formatting.’

A superset of blogging and wiki creation, as well as movements like the Indieweb and, to some degree, federated networks.

Does it include social networks like Twitter and Mastodon? Sure, depends on what you’re doing. If that network is helping you build a body of hypertext, is keeping you sufficiently ‘linked’ and gives you enough of an ability to format the text, then ‘super’—you are hypertexting in your way.


Ton Zijlstra:
At some point social software morphed into social media, and its original potential and value as informal learning tools was lost in my eyes.

I hope it goes without saying that Twitter is a limited form of hypertexting. It underutilizes the tech—that’s its whole point, right?

You can compartmentalize your various writings, though.

Jennifer Hill:
And you’re probably all sitting there and you’re like, “This girl wants me to delete Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… I got a following! I got a brand!”

No, that’s not what I’m saying. You have two selves. You have a career self, who—I’m pretty sure all of us have to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for work or Medium or whatever other platform in the world you want to use—and then you have your personal self that knows the things that they’re doing. And what I’m speaking to right know is your personal self. You know, I understand you gotta make money, gotta make that dime…

But the point of the term is not to disqualify a certain technology or to try to channel disgust or disdain into something new—that’s exactly why the term is envisioned as a superset. I am extracting this term from what I am seeing develop on the Web.

On Supersets

A superset is the inversion of a subset. So, rather than dividing a topic into further subtopics—we combine related topics into a new ‘super’ topic. By redrawing the lines of the topic, it is possible to discover new subsets within the superset or to work with folks across the topic as a whole.

In this case, the superset seems superuseful since the division lines between the hypertext niches are almost entirely structural. (This isn’t entirely true: some structures imply, for example, centralization. A feed of interleaved user ‘stuff’ is done most simply by a single network housing that data—at least at first.)

I’m not even sure the subsets actually exist. It is already all hypertext that conforms to a variety of possible structures:

Various tree and flat structures.

The blog (feed) and the wiki (ad-hoc) might not actually be different—despite that we think of wikis as being multi-writer (the original wikis anyone could edit, without respect to any record of permanent trolling demerits) and using a simplified markup that made linking fluid while writing—a blog can do what a wiki can do and vice versa.

By decoupling the hypertext from the implied structure of a wiki or blog, I can now look at these structures as mere arrangements of my hypertextual body.

Advanced Hypertexting

I think it’s worth repeating the criteria of ‘hypertexting’ so that it can be either corrected or remain crystal clear.

  1. A ‘body’ of hypertext is being created. Not just a single post or link.
  2. Linking is used both within and without the ‘body’. No comment on how this can be done ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. At the very least, though, this allows the body to be anything but merely linear.
  3. The formatting of the text is enhanced by inline imagery, charts, emoji, bullets, colors, aesthetics that allow the one hypertexting to communicate in addition to the letters themselves. (The standardization of HTML between us seems like a unique human collaboration that we should take advantage of. To some, this is all a distraction; to others, it is vital.)

There is nothing new at all here—in fact, it’s all becoming very old—but the superset distinction allow us to draw attention to the ‘body’ rather than the blog ‘post’ or the wiki ‘page’ and to ask: ‘what are we creating here?’ The body itself is a superset—and ‘hypertexting’ calls into focus what the work as a whole can be from a higher vantage point.

These three attributes imply an effort that goes beyond writing alone. The first creates a body whose length is practically infinite—no reader will likely consume it all. The second indicates that much research (both external and self-research) is required. And the third gives a sense of bottomless innovation to the publishing interface—in fact, as long as the body is able to remain intact, it can be published by anyone exactly as it is intended, as long as the browser remains compatible, which it has done remarkably well so far.

In addition, this gives us the impetus to preserve the browser’s life and compatibility, such that these bodies are kept alive.

Creating a body this large demands the ability to shape the structure. This is the problem: how do I begin to approach your giant monolith of hypertext beyond just reading your two or three latest posts?

What I would like to highlight is the ability of the author to use the ‘body’, its linking and formatting, to shape the structure. To infoshape.[1]

Link directories are clearly a part of this superset. Delicious and Pinboard themselves act as hypertexting swarms that work to connect the bodies. Maybe these connections fill holes in the body—maybe they act as introductions between bodies. They are a way to shape the info and annotate it slightly.

h0p3: I’m actually annoyed when people call my wiki a blog, since it is obviously not that to me. Of course, the fool in me starts wondering what exactly on the web doesn’t count as hypertexting? What doesn’t have a single entry point?

The home page is definitely the curated entry point. But it’s not just that entry point that’s important—the points that go deeper from there are important. h0p3’s home page was initially the most important thing to me. But now it’s the ‘recent changes’ page and the bookmarks I have that indicate where I intend to next explore further. Sometimes he is a blog, sometimes he is a wiki. Sorry, man!

So, (tentatively,) let’s look at three aspects of your hypertext:

  • Permanent writings: thoughts that build over time into pages that act as storehouses or progressive essays—this page is that way for me.
  • Emphemeral links, notes, partial thoughts: materials that either inform the permanent stuff or just act as simple interactions with others, participation in the present.
  • Directory and search: ways of navigating the above.

To bring this into practice, here are a few interesting ways I’ve seen this play out: This blog builds on itself day to day. In a way, posts become redundant because Ton is very careful to rewrite the same idea in different ways—to be sure it’s understood. I have read articles from 2008 that are only subtly different from others in 2018. But this makes sense—his message hasn’t been received yet. On top of this, he has a small directory for reading through his writings. I found this perfectly useful. You can do this kind of thing by hand, if you need to.

h0p3: I guarantee you’ve never seen a wiki used this way—as a backup for physical letters, as a way of messaging people, of writing drafts in public, of keeping detailed link logs, chat logs—it’s all in there. Links are used liberally throughout everything, so that you can track h0p3’s growing nomenclature.

More than half of hypertexting is the reading behind it—because if you are hypertexting in isolation, then you are missing out on a world of links.

I treat blogging as thinking out loud and extending/building on others blogposts as conversation. Conversations that are distributed over multiple websites and over time, distributed conversations.

Discovering New Ways

What you might think of as ‘advanced hypertexting’ simply allows the shaping of the hypertext. Could we go beyond that?

  • What pieces are the hypertext broken up into?
  • How does one interchange or embed or inter-relate these texts?
  • Can these pieces be composed into—not just texts—but shapes for the text?

To me, this is a great advantage of the superset. If the platform could see itself less as being a blog or a wiki or a directory, but as a collection of hypertexts that can be shaped, perhaps by hypertexts themselves. (Wikis—and TiddlyWiki in particular—have long had this abililty to make a page that displays the other pages as a blog. And some wikis allow you to include pages in other pages.)

The advanced hypertexting doesn’t end with the wiki—it’s just one way. I think Tumblr was initially on to something—aesthetic and piece layout are important here. Now add the ‘advanced’ hypertexting and what do you have?


(This is an unfinished steno—it could use a survey of the hypertexting field here. And it will be interesting to see where things go over the next six months. I will have to revisit this after I learn more.)

(I think the other missing discussion is how ‘ephemeral’ fragments fit into this. See also: Blogging.)

  1. The other side of this coin is Infostrats—the reading of hypertext. ↩︎

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Reply: And The Infostrat Goes On

Ton Zijlstra

Indeed, when I think of ‘knowing someone’ in the context of information strategies, I always do so as ‘knowing someone within a specific context’. Sort of what Jimmy Wales said about Wikipedia editors a long time ago: “I don’t need to know who you are“, (i.e. full name and identity, full background), but I do need to know who you are on Wikipedia (the pattern of edits, consistency in behaviour, style of interaction). As Wikipedia, which is much less a crowdsourced thing than an editorial community, is the context that counts for him.

Cool quote—your next sentence is interesting:

Time is another factor that I feel is important, it is hard to maintain a false or limited persona consistently over a long time. So blogs that go back years are likely to show a pretty good picture of someone, even if the author aims to stick to a narrow band of interests.

This is true. I have some experience with this—personas are kind of a ticking time bomb. I also think they are going to be pretty important going forward.

Jennifer Hill:
And you’re probably all sitting there and you’re like, “This girl wants me to delete Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… I got a following! I got a brand!”

No, that’s not what I’m saying. You have two selves. You have a career self, who—I’m pretty sure all of us have to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for work or Medium or whatever other platform in the world you want to use—and then you have your personal self that knows the things that they’re doing. And what I’m speaking to right know is your personal self. You know, I understand you gotta make money, gotta make that dime…

Then during a bit of Q&A at the end, she makes the comment:

Jennifer Hill:
With the idea of websites comes the idea of allowing people to have multiple identities that they can throw on and off like hats.

I’m not making a definitive good/bad comment or recommendation, just tying together these thoughts with those you’ve made about ‘knowing people’. I think social media sets up the idea that you’re seeing a real portrait of the person—when it’s just a representation. (This makes we wonder if a social media ‘infostrat’ is more difficult than an RSS one, for instance.) Blogs and wikis are an obvious representation—they demand an infostrat.[1]

Instinct and intuition, hopefully fed with a diet of ok info, is our internal black box algorithm.

Cool, this is sick. Don’t want to code that internal algorithm too tightly.

News, as pretending to be neutral reporting of things happening, breaks that. Because there wont be any potential overlap between me and the news channel as filters, no feedback loops. And because it purports to lift something from the background noise as signal without an inkling as to why or because of what it does so. Filtering needs signifying of stories. Why are you sharing this with me? Your perception of somethings significance is my potential signal.

Ok, ok—I think I see what you’re saying. The specific kind of neutrality you’re talking about is a neutrality of relationship. To me, this might not be expressing ‘neutrality’—events no longer exist because they happened in the past. I think I am just trying to understand your low valuation of ‘news’.

There is a distinction between news (breaking: something happened!) and (investigative) journalism (lets explore why this is, or how this came to be). Journalism is much closer to storytelling. Your blogging is close to storytelling. Stories are vehicles of human meaning and signification. I do follow journalists.

After a certain event in my life (itself newsworthy,) I began searching online for others who had suffered catastrophes. I often found quotes from survivors in headline news articles which resonated with me. I messaged many people; heard back from one. My discovery of her has been monumental for me—and I still often revisit the original news articles.

You could simply say that these ‘news’ articles contain journalism—but the original articles describing her sudden event feel neutral—factual? Because of their urgency, they are raw details and quotes. And they could lead to further journalism—they shed the initial light on this woman.

But addressing your statement: neutral isn’t useful in a filter. I’m not sure I agree. If my filter is able to weed out certain search terms—like say I want to be notified if my own name ever occurs in the news, or if “Bernie Sanders” and “flossing” ever show up together—it seems the filter could potentially make the neutral useful. ‘Neutral’ seems to be synonymous with ‘clickbait’ or something—which I don’t think of as being ‘neutral’ but as being ‘devoid’.

I feel like I’m still missing your point—especially when you say: “Factual and neutral are often taken as the same, but they’re different, and I think I prefer factual.” Can you give me a more concrete example of ‘neutral’ that illustrates what you mean? (Also, if I’m harping on about something meaningless, feel free to just drop the thread.) I guess I feel like you’re onto something—but I want to actually understand it.

My views on technology as well as methods is that we must keep it close to humanity, keep driving humanity into it, not abstract it so we become its object, instead of being its purpose.

Dig this. Thankyou for all the bonus words, Ton!

  1. I might be hasty here—need to think about how to articulate this better. ↩︎

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One does not simply read the Internet…


This term I lifted from Ton Zijlstra—what is my strategy to comb through the gigs and gigs of input I can plug myself into on the Web? My aim here is to keep my finger on the pulse of individual personal activity on the unwalled Web, so my infostrat is mainly about attempting to track and discover thousands of people. But Ton also includes: deciding what and how to bookmark or archive stuff, sorting through conflicting news stories and accusations, and alternating “periods of discovery with periods of digesting and consolidating”.[1]

In a way, the effort is to establish a personal internal algorithm to help the Web survive—the infostrat. This seems essential.

But, first, is tracking thousands of people a worthwile effort? Doesn’t that just lead to a large, thin layer of links for people that you really don’t know much about? (And, thus, leading to the same kind of linkblogs that we’ve seen over the years, which chase one novelty after another—a giant conveyor belt that just rolls by?)

From Ton:

A useful method all through human evolution is expanding your range of interactions by off-loading things to your environment[2], and so diminishing the amount of information you have to remember or handle at the same time.

Much like a traveller who wants to see the world, experience cuisine and stand in front of important paintings—I want to find all kinds of people and see if we can talk and get along and work together even.[3] I know it’s probably not possible to have 1,000 deep relationships. It’s sick to even discuss numbers in this way. The only reason I say ‘thousands’ is to open myself up from my old way—which I felt was to have only a handful of close friends. But now I am wondering what is possible.

So now, with my aim quite clear, I think of the tools. Inately, I feel that simple and obvious tools are best. This is a reaction to the inscrutable algorithms we see on the social networks. If I don’t understand the workings of the algorithm, then it is arbitrary to me. However, I know that I will need some complexity—I already find usefulness in crafting detailed tag queries on Pinboard.

Tools are tools because they provide agency, they let us do things that would otherwise be harder or impossible. Tools are tools because they provide reach, as extensions of our physical presence, not just across space but also across time. For a very long time I have been convinced that tools need to be smaller than us, otherwise they’re not tools of real value.[4]

So what does it mean for tech to be ‘small’? From the essay “Small Tech Provides Agency, Big Tech Takes It Away”:

Technology to provide us with agency needs to be not just small, but smaller than us, i.e. within the scope of control of the group of people deploying a technology or method.

An example is given: ‘Facebook groups are failed tools, because someone outside those groups controls the off-switch.’ This is a useful distinction—the tool needn’t necessarily be small in purpose. But it must be entirely within your control—or the group’s control. Another example: ‘Like the thermometer in my garden that tells me the temperature, but has additional value in a network of thermometers mapping my city’s microclimates.’

Ton has a very good summary of agency (a way of thinking through the purpose of the tool) and Aral Balkan has a list of criteria for ‘small tech’ that I think I agree with.

Now, given the goal of “find the others”—here is my cheat sheet summary:

  • My tools must aid both discovery and digestion. (I sound like a velociraptor here.)
  • Specialized ‘digestion’ tools: RSS reader, familiar ‘planets’ like Indienews and
  • Specialized ‘discovery’ tools: search engines, crawlers, directories.
    • Do I use my feeds as a starting point? Search engines and crawlers could begin there. “Here is a big list of newly discovered items among the places you frequent.”
    • It’s also very important to get outside that. My instincts say that this is the place for ingenuity, following random epiphanies and trying unknown tools and networks, to see what shakes out.
    • Encouraging the development of directories. Once a new directory emerges, there is suddenly an expansion in reach for ‘discovery’.
  • ‘Blogs’/‘wikis’ are a good tool for both, because they network the discovery and digestion process. This is already collaborative.
    • How does this improve in 2019? Well, for now, by using a hybrid blog and wiki—to combine the reverse chronological order of a blog with the information storehouse of a wiki. (Hypertexting)
    • Right now there are stark lines between text, audio and video. Do the lines blur somewhere? I’m far from knowing how this media comes into play.

Of course, there are people everywhere and I could spend all day on Instagram. But I find that unsatisfying—I hate scrolling news feeds. These are not ‘small tech’—perhaps the interface might be, but the algorithm and the network is not. I wonder to what extent the corpypastas limit the infostrat.

Social Distance

My father:
Conversation is a sacrament.

My filtering is not a stand alone thing in isolation, it is part of a network of filters, yours, mine, and other people’s. My output is based on filtered input, and that output ends up in other people’s filtered input. I treat blogging as thinking out loud and extending/building on other’s blogposts as conversation. Conversations that are distributed over multiple websites and over time, distributed conversations.

Hyperconversation. It’s more than the usual penpalling.

The core of Ton’s infostrat is ‘social distance’—in a way, how deeply nested into conversation are you with this person?

I know many people, some very well, others less so, or I only know what you’ve shared on your site recently and we haven’t met at all. The social distance I perceive between me and you is part of the context of filtering. This is an otherwise unspecified mix of personal, professional, and other aspects that I am aware of with others.

In my RSS reader, I use a weight called ‘importance’: do I read this person daily? Weekly? Do I need be notified the minute they have something new? And my reader simply shows an overview—I actually have to go to the blog to digest. This ‘importance’ is a misnomer, though—I think ‘social distance’ is a better term.

Conversations prove out and strengthen the signal. They are also generators of source material and topics that line the conversation. (I may not necessarily converse with someone—I may just admire their art or writings, which all might become important.)[5]

This means that where I source information can’t be of the ‘news’ type, stuff that pretends it is neutral. Neutral isn’t useful in a filter. Commented, interpreted, augmented material is useful in a filter, as it adds context that help determine its information value. I source information from individuals as a result.

I’m not sure what to think about this. “Neutral isn’t useful.” What about Wikipedia? What about neighborhood events? These all feel like they can help—act as discovery points even.

Is the problem that ‘news’ doesn’t have an apparent aim? Like an algorithm’s workings can be inscrutable, perhaps the motives of a ‘neutral’ source are in question? There is the thought that nothing is neutral. I don’t know what to think or believe on this topic. I tend to think that there is an axis where neutral is good and another axis where neutral is immoral…

Who you are as a person is an essential piece of context in how to judge information. If you’re walking on the street and a random stranger asks to have a coffee, you interpret it very differently from when your partner walking next to you asks you the same thing. We are all walking information filters, our brains are very well used to doing that. So what I know socially about you helps me interpret what you share, as it will be coloured by who you are. Let’s call this social filtering.

Knowing people is tricky. You can know someone really well at work for a decade, then you visit their home and realize how little you really know them. This is worse on the Web because we are so much more concealed. On the other hand, you can meet someone and instantly grasp a huge part of their ‘self’.

I wonder if ‘knowing someone’ drives ‘social distance’—or if ‘desire to know someone’ defines ‘social distance’. How can we know Banksy? Is there a conversation there? What defines my social distance from @alienmelon or The World (a favorite band)? Maybe it’s worse than I thought—just a momentary, fragile vein of interest…

(I think about They Might Be Giants, which was such an important band to me as a teenager—and to all my friends as teenagers. But no one in that group would listen to them today. Today is for other things. Some say they haven’t aged well or that they are just for children. And I struggle to find any part of me that would want to listen to them again. But those arguments never stop us from listening to other things—perhaps there is a sensible, evolutionary argument for why these types of people go away for us—like we periodically need to clear space for new people. This ‘interest’ in some ways a social fabric type thing: zeitgeist, (‘spirit of the times’), this mood that effects all of us and acts as a superfilter on the culture—such that we can all agree that Holmes & Watson was a bad film.)

So we all live on this giant graph paper and we all have coordinates in different places—and when I look at h0p3 and I on the graph, we are way across from each other. Except the labels are all Socialist, Mormon, Aesthete, Atheist, Pluralist, Hikikomori, Cynic, Taco Bell Enthusiasm Levels, etc. When we turn the paper over to the Pleonasmic Rating, we’re right there, side-by-side, and the zeitgeist is well away.

So I think it’s instinctual. If you feel a closeness, it’s there. It’s more about cultivating that closeness. I just need to listen to some They Might Be Giants, as a thankyou for an old, forgotten closeness.

  1. No, I haven't read Ton's entire blog, but I've read everything under the tags that seemed relevant. It's very enlightening stuff! It is very focused on just being a human who is attempting to communicate with other humans---that's it really. ↩︎

  2. I would also like to suggest that it is much more difficult to control myself---in the Nike sense---than it is to control my environment to control me. (A simple example would be: setting an alarm clock.) So 'tools' can be an external actor on my own behalf, towards myself! ↩︎

  3. I can't help but feel that this is all motivated by an urgency that death has brought on. I have had seven people close to me die before middle age---three of them under the age of 10. My time and yours is small. I avidly read the wiki of luxb0x (a child) both because I fear losing him and because it is a gift for him to ACTUALLY BE ALIVE! At the same time that I am! ↩︎

  4. "Tools Valuable On Their Own, More Valuable When Connected" by, again, Ton. ↩︎

  5. Also interesting to think that the limitations of social networks hinder all of this---I personally can't have a conversation like this on Instagram or Facebook, because the network is inflexible or because it's unknown where my notes will end up in the feed. Imagine this steno trying to exist anywhere like that---though it would probably be fine on Reddit, I'm not sure. ↩︎

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Reply: ty anon


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

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

Hey! Are you still there?

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

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Social Media Strike, July 4th & 5th

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

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

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

But better yet:

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

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

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

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

See you there.

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25 Jun 2019

The Spartan Web

Href huntin’ by Andreas Zwinkau

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

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

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

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

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

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21 Jun 2019

@h0p3: Gahh, spelling. Drop the prefix. In the same way that you condemned Reddit TIL for being “antipleonasmic”, I am lately thinking of the generosity of the long-winded. As if length ≅ a greater shot at originality, perhaps just with probability on your side. (Oh and has the TL;DR acronym ever driven you nuts? I like it now, it can be self-deprecating. Originally it was just absolute antipleonasm.)

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Reply: Against Blogging

Chris Aldrich

What he’s getting at here, but isn’t quite saying is “Why can’t we expand the Domain beyond the restrained idea of “just a blog.” And isn’t that just the whole point of the IndieWeb movement? Your website can literally be anything you want it to be! Just go do it. Invent. Iterate. Have fun!

While it grates on me to seeing ‘blogging’ derided, I think it’s a good step if it moved away from being homework. One of the ‘generalizations’ in the slides is: “Most students don’t read blogs unless required/forced to.” I think you would agree that reading is actually the foremost activity when blogging—you and I do a ton of reading, all of my favorite hypertexters do. And possibly the biggest problem with social media today is how much writing is done without sufficient reading. (The term ‘the shallows’ returns to mind—which isn’t a good adjective for any of the blogs I really get into.)

To me, it is the method of reading that needs to be questioned—not the method of writing. Express yourself however you want. But now we’ve got mixed media everywhere and it’s been very hard for people to adapt to consuming a variety of it. (Certain people have adapted to listening to podcasts, others to YouTube, very few to blogs—possibly as a result of the complexity of hypertext.)

However, Ton’s recent stuff on reading by social distance seems to show how early we are in fathoming how to read the world of dynamic, criss-crossing text.

It kills me how many in the edtech/Domains space seem to love memes. It’s always cute and fun, but they feel so vapid and ineffectual. It’s like copying someone else’s work and trying to pass it off as our own. English teachers used to say, “Don’t be cliché,” but now through the use of digital memes they’re almost encouraging it.

It seems similar to clip art of previous generations—it prevents the paralysis of a blank canvas for many people. It also seems to be part of the movement to make text more visual—as seen in Twitter embeds or using screenshot images of text—people seem to be getting more averse to just straight text. (This could get even worse if VR ever takes off.)

But I really agree with your point. Even in this video, many poor reasons are given for dropping ‘blogging’: it’s not “disruptive” enough, students don’t intuitively understand it (lacking a historical context for it), it’s not trending any more… But text still has real power. If anyone doubts me on this point, go read Nadia Eghbal’s essay “The Tyranny of Ideas”—I thought this was tremendous. Sure, she could have done this as a video—but it would have likely taken longer, required more equipment, and I think it would be more difficult to review again and again. Does text need a performance?

I think h0p3 is spot on with the term pleonasmic (pleonastic?). Which could also be rephrased: “the dogged attempt to resist cliché.”

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This page is also at kickssy42x7...onion and on hyper:// and ipns://.


glitchyowl, the future of 'people'.

jack & tals, hipster bait oracles., MAYA DOT LAND.

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

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

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

fond friends:, fogknife, eli,, j.greg, box vox,, caesar naples.

constantly: nathalie lawhead, 'web curios' AND waxy

indieweb: .xyz, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia:, bad cmd, ~jonbell.

true hackers:,, voja antonić, cnlohr,

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

neil c. "some..."

the world or cate le bon you pick.

all my other links are now at