Kicks Condor

#bbs

I use three main tags on this blog:

  • hypertext: linking, the Web, the future of it all.

  • garage: art and creation, tinkering, zines and books, kind of a junk drawer - sorry!

  • elementary: schooling for young kids.

17 Oct 2020

Whimsy.space V2

The zine is back for season two.

God, it’s weird writing on this blog - it doesn’t feel the same. Something has happened to it. I can’t seem to get this post to get through. (I also keep getting e-mail that’s like, “Why can’t I connect to kickscondor.com any more?” But I just fixed it!)

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get word out on Whimsy.Space Volume II, Episode II: Thinking Machines // Fever Dreams.

You dive deep into the crevice and consult the chuds living deep underground. You find a small cave system, filled with chuds. You tell them what happened, and they say that you should be able to escape back home

This remarkable ZineOS continues to be a wondrous source of esoteric Notepad text files. The Spongebob mashup is good. (Also love this one.) This issue also seems to have some AI Dungeon transcripts.

The “Snow” story appears to be a dream of the author’s.

The neighbor lady said she was very disappointed that had I disappeared, because she had been a little bored waiting for me. She had used a piping bag and royal icing to make full-sized furniture and a ropes course while I was gone. I climbed up on the ropes for a little bit, but then they collapsed into a daybed. She had a bunch of other big sculptures and installations. There was a little stuffed animal in the corner, and the neighbor lady said I could eat it. However, when I took a bite out of one of the legs and started to chew it up, I realized that it was super sad to eat this very cute little stuffed animal and so I spit out the leg and apologized. I could tell she hadn’t really wanted me to eat it, even though she was the one to suggested it. I offered to fix it by stitching the leg back on, but she said that she would be happy to do it because she liked that sort of thing. She looked for a needle and I helped her.

I love Whimsy.space because it envisions the zine as a small Hypercard-like application. So while the most common format is a small booklet, I imagine there are endless other shells for the zine concept - a linked series of videos, perhaps even a handful of audio files, an e-commerce store as a zine, a hacked website as a zine, a map or diagram that can be zoomed into, and so on.

Oh and - see also Danielx on Whimsy.Space - an interview from two years ago.

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29 Oct 2019

Broken Land Bar

Uhhh—ANSI graphics inspired cocktail menu?? This looks like a warez NFO.

This Brooklyn (pun?) bar—well, there’s not much to say, just go look: the olde BBS style boxes-and-lines art. This is actually really nice and clean, totally usable in its own way.

On top of this, tho—this is signed ‘jgs’. Are we talking Joan G. Stark??? (Aka Spunk. Also covered here.) I’ve gotta track her down.

Couple other related somewhat-campy genius sites:

  • AAAAN.NET: I don’t know, I feel like this site is my evil twin! Something feels related. The whole thing is so dry, but a crack-up. I love the checkbox on all the pages to return home.
  • twtxt.xyz: Federated plain-text messaging (via chameleon once again), how rad—I kind of want to make a mirror of this. (Oh, wait, raw source is here!)
  • ALL HAIL LORD ENKI: A home page can still just be a massive orange directory. Feels like I should make an href.cool theme that is like this.
  • SQL Murder Mystery: Yeah. Just submitted this to HN, since I generally don’t cover tech sites—but this is just a fun concept. SQL is, perhaps, already an escape room.

But if you’re just in the mood for more ASCII, here’s a little town to visit.

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12 Jun 2019

WWWTXT

A dial-up Tumblr.

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

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

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

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

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

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14 Sep 2018

Danielx on Whimsy.Space

Ok, trying out an interview here—throwing some questions to the author of a beloved ‘zine’/‘operating system’.

I try to go out looking for links as much as possible.

(God’s sake, man—why?? Who needs more links, I can give you links—don’t toss yourself into the brambles—)

But I love to see the horrors and grotesques—to measure and inspect them. I aspire to be a grotesque and must be very studious about achieving it!

It all pays off when a link like whimsy.space comes a long.

kicks: Daniel, had a few questions about whimsy.space. (I really love glitch, too, of course—and hope it’s doing well, but the zine hits a nerve for me.) So, what ‘works’/‘zines’ inspired whimsy.space?

danielx: I was inspired by sites that have a lot of heart, things like the original Geocities. Also the feeling of personal computing from the mid 90s like win 3.1 and Win95. I’m also a fan of things like Dwarf Fortress and Bennett Foddy’s games.

Not necessarily that they are inaccessible for the sake of being inaccessible, but that if they were simpler they would be something different. Philosophically I’ve read and respect Alan Kay “The real computer revolution hasn’t happened yet” and Bret Victor.

kicks: Yeah, oh man, Foddy. I teach at an elementary school and a favorite activity I do is to play Foddy games with the kids hooked up to wires (Makey Makey-style) so that when they close the loop (by jumping on the floor or slapping hands, for instance) then CLOP hops around. It’s a credit to the simplicity of his design that we can do that.

What do you hope for it now? Was it just a momentary plaything—or is it an obsession?

danielx: It has been an on and off obsession. It depends on what else I’ve got going on in life and work outside of my own esoteric pursuits.

It’s definitely the hobby that brings me the most joy when I get to dig into it and see where it goes. Early on I decided that it would be for my own personal enjoyment and I wouldn’t look for ways to “make it a success” or “turn it into a business”. I want to keep my work and play separate you could say 😃

kicks: I like that it doesn’t explain itself. I didn’t even get that it was REALLY a zine the first time I visited. I still don’t really understand how the filesystem and social media inside of it works. And I can’t help but feel that its opacity is symbolic. It feels like a hidden trove - like a person is or maybe like an animal is. You probably don’t care about ease of use - how did you design it?

danielx: I’ve created a lot of different web applications and sites and things over the years. Some of them for fun and some as businesses. With whimsy.space my goal was to have it be a curated collection of all my works along with other things I find interesting. About eight years ago I built an online game development environment at pixieengine.com. Now it’s been simplified to a pixel editor and art community. Whimsy.space is the spiritual successor to that, I want many different applications that can interact and contribute to creating content. To recreate the part of personal computing where the operator of the computer could combine small components in interesting ways to get profound results.

I care some about ease of use, though it’s not been my top priority lately. Similar to Bennett Foddy’s games I want it to be as easy as it can be without losing its essence and becoming something else.

The design and implementation is a lot of custom code and some integrations of existing components. The site itself is serverless/static hosted on AWS with S3 and CloudFront. I use AWS Cognito for the My Briefcase authentication feature and each user can upload to their own S3 subfolder. The UI is all my custom js/css inspired by Win3.1/95. The code editor is Ace. The apps run in iframes and talk to the system over postMessage. I use CoffeeScript for most of the code.

The essence of the zine part came from my tendency to always go too deep on architecture and infrastructure, so by having a periodic release of content it would force me to prioritize only the features that aided the content and not be a system of pure mechanics with nothing to showcase it.

kicks: Jeepers, didn’t expect that. Is this a kind of backend that you would recommend to hobbyists? I’m used to static HTML and JS.

danielx: I wouldn’t recommend going deep into AWS or other Cloud services for hobbyists. Since I do software engineering for my employment I’ve gained a lot of experience on “industrial strength” solutions.

The challenge is finding the subset that actually solve more problems than they cause.

I often feel like I’m crawling around in Jeff Bezos’ spaceship trying to bring alien technology to the people.

kicks: Are handmade ‘blogs’/‘zines’/‘home pages’ dying? Would that be a bad thing - like: is there something else?

danielx: They’re dying in the sense that every living thing is in a constant cycle of death and rebirth. There are probably more handmade blogs and home pages today than ever before (in an absolute sense) but proportionally they make up a smaller part of the internet.

I would like to see more people sharing personal computing and smaller internet communities. Businesses exist to consume consumers, by getting our hands dirty and crafting using technology individuals can gain knowledge and understanding of how these systems work so we might not be so vulnerable to all these forces trying to devour us. The web is a modern marvel, not quite as complex as nature, but it has its own evolution and ecology. I enjoy the first hand experience of digging around in it to see what I can learn about systems as well as myself.

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01 May 2018

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

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

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

jack and tals vals, hipster bait analysts.

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

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

waxy is back at it!

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

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

indieweb: .xyz, c.rwr, boffosocko.

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

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

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

neil c. "some..."

the world or cate le bon you pick.

all my other links are now at href.cool.