Kicks Condor

LEECHING AND LINKING IN THE HYPERTEXT KINGDOM

I FIRST DISCOVERED
THE 【TECHS-MECHS】WHO
ARE A CLAN OF SOUTH
OF THE BORDER GUNDAM
BREAKING DOWN
IMMIGRATION FENCES
WITH THEIR
IMPRESSIVE MANOS
MECANICAS

PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

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

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

indieseek blog, bumped into brad somehow and we crosstalk a ton about the web.

linkport by joe jenett---blogs at i.webthings.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. jacky.wtf, humdrum.life, j.greg, box vox, whimsy.space, caesar naples.

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

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd.

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

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

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

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

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

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.

#catalog

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.

18 Apr 2019

HrefHunt! for April

A new dump of personal website links, discovered in the last month.

Don’t know if personal websites are catching on again or if it’s all about finding the right vein—I am getting more and more impressed with what I find, what people are up to. I’m also finding more and more that are already all hooked up to the IndieWeb.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

08 Apr 2019

Reply: Not Google’s Fault

revvx

It’s not Google’s fault this time.

The problem is that Blogspam is now a (legitimate) industry much bigger than Google can manage.

Google Search became a playground for marketing firms to dump content made by low-paid freelancers with algorithmically chosen keywords, links and headers. It’s SEO on large scale. Everything is monitored via analytics and automatically posted to Wordpress. Every time Google tweaks its algorithm to catch it, they’re able to A-B test and then change thousands of texts all at once.

Personal blogs can’t even dream about competing with that.

In fact, those companies are actively competing with personal blogs by themselves: via tools like SEMRush and social media monitoring, they know which blogs are trending and use their tools to produce copycat content re-written by freelancers and powered by their SEO machine.

I know a startup that is churning 10 thousand blogposts per day on clients blogs, each costing from 2 to 5 dollars for a freelancer to write according to algorithmically defined parameters.

Just wait until they get posts written via OpenAI-style machine learning: the quality will be even lower.

Not only that: there’s no need for black hat SEO anymore. Blogposts from random clients have links to others clients blogs, and it is algorithmically generated in order to maximize views and satisfy Google’s algorithm. They have a gigantic pool of seemingly unconnected blogs to link to, so why not use it.

The irony is that companies buy this kind of blogspam to skip paying AdSense. Why pay when you can get organic search results? So not only they’re damaging the usefulness of the SERP, they’re directly eating Google’s bottom line. These blogs also have ZERO paid advertising inside them, since they’re advertising themselves.

That’s the reason Bing, DuckDuckGo and Yandex still have “old web” results.

That puts Google in a very difficult position and IMO they’re not wrong to fight it.

Well, I disagree. (Though I think your record of things is correct!) Certainly if you look at this as a bot war then Google’s actions make sense: we need our bots to outsmart the ‘bots’ (human bots even!) that are writing blogs.

But look at it another way: you have lots of humans writing - and it’s all of varying quality. Why not let the humans decide what’s good? The early Web was curated by humans, who kept directories, Smart.com ‘expert’ pages, websites and blogrolls that tried to show where quality could be found. Google’s bot war (and the idea that Google is the sole authority on quality) eliminated these valuable resources as collateral damage.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

  1. @kicks Interesting discussion. There seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction with Google results and very few rabid Google defenders jumping in like you see on other forums. Some interesting responses in favor of directories, which surprised me.

    Kicks, you old link dropper you, thanks for the mentions!

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

04 Apr 2019

Reply: W0T A C00L SITE

joe jenett

As I enter the site, its style/flavor immediately reminds me of another site I consider to be a classic.

Times like this, it sure pays to have your depth of knowing what’s out there—YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES is definitely a classic. One that you’ve now introduced me to. I finally took the time to browse it. What an inventive take on a blog. (Or on poetry?) Since 1997. My humblest thanks, Joe.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Reply: Decentralizing Culture

h0p3

What do you think decentralizing power really means? We have to empathically give a shit about each other’s stories. […] My point of contention is not with the preservation of the underground (which I applaud) but a world in which the centralization of power is maintained through automation and dark UX so profound we can’t escape it.

You’re always asking me to clear up my terms—and I never do—but I’ll ask anyway: what do you mean by ‘power’? And what do you mean by ‘decentralizing power’? Because my first stab is that you’re talking about getting us back to local governments, tribes or something. The term ‘power’ gets bandied about—it’s the person with the money to hire, the person who radios the tanks when to roll in and when to back out, it’s the person with the megaphone.

I’m not really keyed in on ‘power’—I don’t see it as a kind of natural element. Seems more like it gets used to say: this, this is evil.

How to decentralize power? In a world of billions? Answering these questions is way beyond me. My wavelength is watching ‘humanity’—are we holding on to the transcendent ‘divinity’/‘shittiness’ of being human? Can we see this humanity in each other and at least allow the recognition of another human being to dawn on our faces?

I like to think of it as an ‘antimisanthrophic’ effort to at least establish a baseline sympathy or pity or some kind of comfort with our other peoples. Being a person is rough—we have no idea what’s going on here. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? (Perhaps I don’t take ‘power’ seriously enough. If none of us did—would it still be ‘power’?)

I will continue to argue for radical decentralization and worldclass p2p filtering. That is the only out, and the window may be closing. It can’t just be done by hand. We go down if the masses do.

Gah, I’m not convinced that technology has any answers! We can’t make some elaborate mousetrap that will enforce the life we want to live.

Of course, I’m not sure humans have any answers either! But I will say that talking to you and your family is the best technology I’ve encountered in a decade. Sure, I’m reliant on a sturdy free-enough technology that gets our words passed around. And those words are our plain humanity on the wire.

I am worried about some perhaps difficult to justify originality+authenticity moves, but the underground is not more real to me conceptually (though it can be more valid or valuable in the dialectic). I only care about “making it your own” insofar as it is justified to the particulars of your context. The Beautiful is not the overriding reason, but insofar as all other obligations are met, it is the last deciding force. The necessity of preserving freespeech and decentralizing power (including memetic distribution) comes long before The Beautiful though.

You’re not being cryptic—I just think sometimes your compression level is turned up on thoughts like these. I also have to add that I DO appreciate pop culture—I actually think it’s one of the most promising religions or symbolic systems we’ve ever developed. (And it’s REALLY tempting to demonize it, because it’s backup by capitalism—though I think that most people can appreciate the value of the engine—most people seem to agree that artists should be paid.)

Anyway, I don’t think mainstream culture is necessarily any less original or authentic than the underground. I just think that mainstream culture has become imbalanced—it has really captivated everyone this time, and fewer people seem to know how to escape it—which is the purpose of an ‘underground’, to me, and, of course, this is all just my perception.

I think—I think what happened was that, in the previous decade, the Internet gave the underground a tremendous breath of air. You basically had a network that was all underground—and I don’t just mean some kind of hip, stylized underground—I mean that, before the corporations figured out how to milk it, you would search for ‘donuts’ and be at someone’s uncle’s website.

There was no hunting around for rare vinyl or out-of-print Borges novels any more—the whole ‘underground’ world had doorways now. The underground became the mainstream culture and, yeah, we lost an actual underground. And I think there was a kind of crisis of overwhelm that mainstream culture had become so wide—like, “we need robots to sift through all of this.” There was a time when Twitter first came out that people were joking that it was just a bunch of people posting updates that they’re shitting right now. And now we just post those updates, no shame.

What, you want I should call you a selfish nihilist, a brainwashed individualist, an all-too-convenient emotivist, a shallow aesthete, a vapid internalist, a dark-triadic relativist, a deflecting anti-realist, a gas-lighting interlocutor, an actual waste of potential, and a gutless, wallowing, purposely purposeless sissy who hatlessly lacks the integrity to take the existential risk of committing themselves to an identity: i.e., the shadow of my enemy?

The part that actually got me here is the ‘shallow aesthete’ because it’s dead on—I think that I am on the prowl for this guy, but he’s out all the time, spray painting little soap bubbles on people’s suitcases.

I don’t think the point of a personal website is so much to design something pretty and ‘authentic’ (wtf?) or even ‘cool’. I think of it just as having a ‘home’—which seems eminently human to me—as opposed to ‘mechanical’ or ‘hive-minded’, such as being another tweet, lost in the feed.

While I hope for technologies like Dat (and have always loved peer-to-peer since the days of Freenet and Gnutella), the technology is so far from being adequate as to seem impossible at times. So, I’m quite happy getting anyone I can back into personal websites and wikis. Lately I’ve been thinking that ensuring a myriad of ISPs is a lot more important than peer-to-peer.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

The Roundups of SHACKLESHOTGUN

‘You need a human behind it.’

I was trying to explain how blogs could possibly still be relevant to a very young friend—and I was not convincing him.

At some point, though, it clicked—and he cried out, “SHACKLESHOTGUN!” And thereby I was introduced to the extensively researched and annotated link roundups on destinyroundup.com. I’m not a Destiny player—forgive my ignorance—still, I instantly could see that this crafty researcher’s work was intrepid and gifted. And then: wow, she made some time to talk to me!

kicks: Among gamers, Reddit has become a major hub for detailed discussion. I can see your round-ups existing on Reddit—why post them to a blog instead? Especially because Reddit subs are usually hostile to re-posting of blog posts.

shackleshotgun: My roundups existing (solely) on Reddit would go against one of the reasons the site was created in the first place. One purpose of it is being a tool for those who don’t like using Reddit, Twitter, or the official Bungie forums, something for people who want to see all info in one place. People don’t have time nor energy to rummage through three different social medias with awful user experience practices to see if an issue has been addressed by the developers.

Some people either can’t access the sites or don’t want to visit those sites, they just want to have a one stop shop.

Furthermore, info on Reddit and Twitter gets lost very easily because at their foundation those sites are very shoddily structured. Search bar doesn’t work on Twitter majority of the time (it omits results for unknown reasons), and on Reddit the search feature doesn’t look through comments (which is where majority of info is posted by the community managers and developers). Things on my site are archived, and not only that, they site focuses on one thing. You don’t need to dig through a lot of irrelevant info to find out if the developers have said something about a bug.

In order to retain my enjoyment of video games, I stay away from gaming communities. Reddit is quite the offender when it comes to toxicity and harbors content that doesn’t improve my day in the slightest so I don’t post at all on there for that very reason. I follow a very small circle of gaming people on Twitter, and that’s enough for me. People are free to link to my site on Reddit, though.[1]

kicks: Oh, for sure—those constant mobs in uproar.

But tell me—I wonder if you miss having access to Reddit comments on your posts. I would think that with your round-ups, most people would be very appreciative. Though perhaps some change to the game that week could spark tremendous arguments.

It looks like you prefer attaching a Twitter conversation to your posts. Was it a deliberate decision to have a blog without comments?

shackleshotgun: I don’t miss Reddit comments on my roundups because I never had them (as far as I know). If people have feedback for the site they are free to reach out to me either via DMs or email or mentioning me on Twitter.

It was a very deliberate choice to not have a comment section on the site. I didn’t see having a comment section as a productive thing for my site, and moderating it would be too time consuming. I don’t want people to stop visiting the site because of the comment section. Twitter makes for the best “comment section” because there the commenters can tag the developers/community managers with their thoughts on what was said.

kicks: Krikey. Comments as a liability! I have been lucky so far to have such good participation in my comments—but you clearly offer a perfectly useful read without them. I wonder if Twitter-just-for-comments is just a good way to treat Twitter in general.

The research you do on your round-ups is quite extensive—you must have fifty links you’re citing each week. Do you collect all of this on your own? Or do you take submissions through Twitter, Discord, Reddit and so on?

shackleshotgun: I do it all on my own. I have a system and a list of people to check in on each day. Once in a while people send me things I missed. I work very quickly so each summary takes max 30 mins out of my day. Having people submit things through avenues you’ve mentioned would take too long and make it a lot more arduous than it needs to be.

kicks: In a way, you operate kind of like a bot that is filtering through everything (from what I understand, you also try to snatch news out of podcast interviews) to distill it down to a summary. Our society has become accustomed to an algorithm doing this kind of job for us. However, your posts are written to be succinct and are very well-organized and laid out—with you writing and curating the heap of information.

shackleshotgun: I know that there have been some attempts to write bots for this kind of thing, but the developers often tweet/comment about things not related to the game. If you want to have a stream of info with only relevant things, you need a human behind it to filter it out.

kicks: This is a theme I keep seeing more and more. Humans as researchers and librarians on the Web, rather than just leaning back to let the bots passively feed us. I hope you enjoy doing the work—it might not be for everyone.

Did you have writing or research skills going into this project? Or did you just develop them as you went?

shackleshotgun: I didn’t have any related skills going into it. I studied programming and computer science for most of my life but had to go separate ways with that. When I started doing the roundups I was a Twitch streamer so I had a tiny audience on Twitter, and retweets from that audience helped lift the whole thing off. It’s been a fun learning experience.

kicks: Is it difficult for players out there to discover what you’re up to? In fact—any idea how most people find your blog?

shackleshotgun: Most people find me either via retweets of my summaries on Twitter, or YouTubers who have used my site for their videos shouting me out, or numerous podcasts I’ve been on.[2]

kicks: You started in a Google Doc—but moved to the blog last year. Was it difficult (technically) for you to start the blog? (Like: to get the design right, the layout and the organization.)

shackleshotgun: It was a relief to start the website, to be honest. By the time I started the website the google doc was a nightmare to use due to its size. There were some struggles with the site that are still ongoing.

Two big things that come to mind are the issues that come with any site that’s about archiving big quantities of information, and the design. Things are getting constantly patched in the game, which means info on the site becomes old, which in turn leads to a lot of issues in regards to organization. As for the design, I prefer usability and user experience over looks, but at the same time I want the site to look good and I still haven’t found that perfect mix between good design and great user experience.

So to summarize, starting it was very simple. Maintaining it is the actual challenge.


  1. See more in her community focus. ↩︎

  2. Some of her audio interviews can be found on DCP #95 or destinytruthcast #66. ↩︎

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

03 Apr 2019

Reply: Losing Sites Not a Biggie

Nitin Khanna

So while yeah, it would suck if these cool/weird/fun sites disappear, and if YouTube one day loses all content from a period of time. But how much would it be a loss for civilization? The ideas would have been absorbed by the people of the time and the most important ones move on with artists and consumers in different ways.

A loss for civilization? Well, yeah, if you put it that way—civilization is going to roll on, regardless. I suppose you could say my effort is misplaced: perhaps better to work on helping our civilization survive, to live on, rather than trying to look to the past.

But, put another way: do I want to preserve a civilization that doesn’t embody any of the ideas that I care about? You’re probably right with your last line there—maybe I consider myself one who has ‘absorbed’ the ideas of my time and wants to ‘move on’ with those ideas in different ways. I can probably do this just fine without ready access to the source material—but I am glad that I was able to show Dont Look Back (1967) to a friend recently, rather than needing to just recount my recollection of it.

Definitely don’t want to save everything. Just some essential bits. And I shouldn’t try to be noble about it—just seems fun.

(And hey—kind of you to write up your thoughts, NK.)

  1. Agreed that it seems fun and thus, for fun, it’s worth pursuing 🙂

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Reply: Flooding the Culture

Soraya Roberts

I read an article this weekend that I didn’t see being shared anywhere. You had to scroll down the Times pretty far to find it; it was in the arts section and it was about a group of black artists who were suddenly being recognized in their 70s and 80s. It was a frustrating read, a sort of too-little-too-late scenario because, sure, it’s always nice to get half a million dollars for your work, but where was the money when you were actually producing the work, while supporting a family and paying a mortgage, with many decades of life ahead of you?

Averting our gaze from mainstream culture—cAN It bE DoNE?

Hahah, wow—it’s funny because I find this article to be a similar kind of frustrating read. A good read—perhaps like the Times article was for her—but very frustrating. I wonder: is acceptance by mainstream culture really seen as the ultimate, final, crucial reward?

(Particularly now that we live in an age where it’s clear that the previous generation of cultural winners—be it Jimi Hendrix or Harper Lee—is rapidly fading away, to be replaced by YouTubers, video game streamers, YA writers, reality stars. Isn’t the mainstream culture going to be very ruthless in its war for canonization?)

I mean I love the author’s ultimate point: here, I won’t summarize it, let’s just get into it.

We need a mass realization that pulls us out of this flooding culture. That is: the acknowledgment by powerful organizations that we do in fact engage more with original stories—it’s a fact, look it up—that lasting conversations do not come out of Twitter trends, and that diversity means diversity—more that is different, not more of the same differences. As one curator told the Times in the piece about older black artists getting their due, “There has been a whole parallel universe that existed that people had not tapped into.” Tap into it.

As h0p3 would say: preach it! Tap into it.

But the author spends the entire piece looking away from the underground—scrutinizing the fucking New York Times to show us the way, looking at the top 20 shows on Netflix, stats on buying habits on Amazon. If the concern is that our culture is spending all of their time on Netflix, Amazon and the Times—well, so is this article.

So when we go to ‘tap into it’—what is it? Where is this ‘parallel universe’ we’re looking for? Where does this culture go to look for it? Is it on Amazon and Twitter somewhere? Are we supposed to continue using Netflix and Google—but somehow spend our time on the back alleys of those services?

Is this a request to leave alone the front page of the New York Times and start with the back page? (So much simpler to turn to the back page of the corporeal printed Times than to do so online.)

Clearly, the article decries the entire makeup of these systems:

Per CJR, these algorithms are “taste-reflectors,” meaning they don’t affect taste the way critics do but simply reinforce your palate; there is little discovery here.

And how much discovery can there be, really, with the same critics occupying the same space?

Yesss! So go outside those neatly ordered corporate-approved spaces, yeah?

Let’s return to that final tap into it! paragraph. The phrase I want to look at is here: “the acknowledgement by powerful organizations.” Wait—so the tap into it! is meant… for them??

Are you asking the powerful organizations to—go outside themselves? Why? So they can continue to show us what’s legitimate? Because they are the authorities on what shit is actually cool?

I mean, yes, I’m not dense—the ‘powerful organizations’ are a massive pipeline of fame and currency—and this stuff can be gasoline to an artist. (Lord knows I want Boots Riley to keep it up—dammit, give the man what he needs!) But all of us out here, all us commoners, put together—we’re pure fuel, too. There was a time when it seemed that those very organizations were at the mercy of the buying public, earlier in this century when the entire system shook in fear of ‘disruption’.

And so, it feels like the article is just asking the mainstream to open a little wider, to give out a few more awards here and there, in lip service to the world of underappreciated, wonderful, unknown artists. (Black artists, in her case—but also in mine, because I want my mind blown by cool shit as much as any of you.) And, yeah, okay, maybe the ‘corpypastas’ might just throw us a bone.

However, I love the ‘parallel universe’ she refers to—that’s our unruly, unpredictable Web—an extension of the underground scenes, of the avant-garde, the mixtape traders, the world of the only critics that matter: our little group of friends. Those mixtapes blow up out here first. Out in our parallel universe: all of you out on your little blogs and wikis that I tap into each day. This world exists. It’s here, even if it faces its own doom on some days, in the face of resurgent mainstream culture.

Fuck the NYT, fuck Netflix—I’m reading you folks.

  1. @kicks Great piece - “cool shit” - the mainstream is highly overrated, thank you.

  2. Flooding the Culture
    I love the ‘parallel universe’ she refers to—that’s our unruly, unpredictable Web—an extension of the underground scenes, of the avant-garde, the mixtape traders, the world of the only critics that matter: our little group of friends.

    I love how Kick’s Condor urges us to look beyond the digital Main Street of our times. Every city has it’s Main Street, with the Big Name Brand Stores and shoppingmalls. The place where the tourists go but where any local only wants to go when s/he really needs to. Or at least doesn’t go there when you know it’s overcrowded.

    Every city has their own back alleys. The little streets with mom-and-pop shops, with young entrepeneurs doing wild and exciting stuff with new products and services. You can find local entrepeneurs around town, using local goods and even offer you to pay with local city-bound currencies. Around town there are crative hubs with new bars, new forms of entertainment and new ideas how companies should and could cooperate with each other.

    Every time I visit the latter sort of shops and streets I get excited about the possibilities, diversity and the future of the city as a whole.

    Should I still make the analogy here with the Corporate Web as we know it, the social silo’s we can’t seem to leave and the importance of an open, liberated and freely accessible web? I guess not….

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

02 Apr 2019

Reply: Rex Sorgatz

tones

@kicks rex sorgatz’s new newsletter is worth a look.

Sweet—well taken! I am not into the celebrity news or mainstream papes. But it still looks like 30% of this is lesser known goodshit. The whole layout and vibe is quality. Again, thankyou!

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

01 Apr 2019

Roundups

This month I’m digging into weekly link roundups.

E-mail newsletters (tinyletter, substack), along with weekly link summaries on Patreon, and podcasts or YouTube intros focused on ‘community news’—these are very popular types of tiny directories that I have been overlooking. Watching people like h0p3, Eli Mellen and Joe Jennett dump these kinds of periodic link collections, I’m convinced that they are a crucial support system for blog/wiki writers (Hypertexting).

Some things I’ve observed while hunting around for link roundups:

  • Some communities are really good at this kind of thing. For example, see the weekly ‘heavy metal preview’ put out by Not Part Of Your Scene. People want to find new songs, bands want their news songs to be heard, and the blogs want to sift through it all and find the gems—this just cuts right to it.

  • The best roundups take the time to organize, add some helpful commentary and just make it all look nice and readable. Eli’s got a good thing or Stephanie Walter’s ‘pixels of the week’. I will cover this more extensively going forward. (Another interesting one: No Time To Play, takes the form of short essays on gaming.)

  • The e-mail newsletter software out there is doing a pretty good job. Take The Go Gazelle, which uses Revue to publish its newsletter. It looks good—and I really appreciate that it embeds Tweets. (Relevant: ‘Tantek liked a post on Twitter’.)

  • Roundups lend themselves to group collaboration. Look at mega-roundups like the one done by Eidolon Classics on their Patreon. Would love to see this kind of weekly superpost on the topics I care about.

These are also incredibly common on micro.blog—is there a roundup of the roundups?

Some interesting ‘forks’/‘variants’ of the roundup:

I have more work to do, discovering innovations out there. But I have some good interviews coming up on the topic and will be doing another Let Me Link to You on the topic.

  1. Reply: Rex Sorgatz

    tones

    @kicks rex sorgatz’s new newsletter is worth a look.

    Sweet—well taken! I am not into the celebrity news or mainstream papes. But it still looks like 30% of this is lesser known goodshit. The whole layout and vibe is quality. Again, thankyou!

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

28 Mar 2019

Reply: Beyond Readers?

ladyhope

Rss readers have some of the same features as email clients, but I’d rather have all my subscribed sites in a different place than my inbox. As it is I’m already subscribed to too many discussion lists with high traffic. The best ones have bookmarklets or extensions that will let you subscribe to a feed extremely easily. Inoreader also has the feature where you can create feeds for pages without them, I think. I don’t use it so I’m not sure.

Could we use RSS for more?

I’m wondering lately if there’s a better way to do ‘readers’. Like you say, once you are monitoring 100s of sites, it’s disgusting to log in each day and see 100s of unread posts. I’m wondering if there’s something that could give me an overview of all the activity that’s going on out there, so I can then decide what to read. No ‘unread’ counts, no notifications. And, rather than having a big feed of recent activity, have a list of all the ‘bloggers’/‘writers’ so I can see who’s active—maybe with a little graph of how much is going on with them, maybe a list of recent post titles or something…

Makes me think of the Peach social network, where the ‘inbox’ was names of people who had updated—you could then go in and view their stuff. It was never presented as a big newsfeed or a big inbox of individual posts.

  1. @kicks i started using a feed reader the other day, and already I don't like opening it to find a stack of unread posts. so i'm sticking with having blogs of interest saved on my pinboard, and just checking in on them when I feel like it. some I read daily, others weekly, still others, whenever... works for me.

  2. @tones That’s the sensible way to do it. I find a number of unread posts in a feed annoying too. There's nothing wrong with just going to a website to read content.

  3. @martinfeld plus i like looking at peoples blog designs too, so an added bonus there.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

22 Mar 2019

Dat Rats

Idea: gang up to cache classic websites.

This is just a zygotic bit of a thought that I’ve been having. A group that would band together to share classic websites (likely on the ‘dat’ network), perhaps as if they were abandonware or out-of-print books. Many of the early net.art sites have been kept up because they have university support; many other sites disappear and simply don’t function on The Internet Archive.

(To illustrate how even a major art piece can go down, Pharrell’s 24 Hours of Happy interactive music video—yeah. that link is broken. You can see kind of see it on YouTube, but… the hypertext enthusiast in me wants to see it live on in its original form.)

Some sites that I really need to reconstruct:

  • Room of 1,000 Snakes. This game hasn’t been playable for a year or two now. I promised a friend I would work on this. (This is an issue with Unity Web Player going defunct.)

  • The Woodcutter. Careful, redirects. This site was a huge deal for me when I was younger. When I started href.cool, it was fine—and had been fine for like fifteen years!—and then it suddenly broke. I think it can be reconstructed from The Internet Archive.

  • Fly Guy. Moved to the App Store??

  • SARDINE MAGOZINE. Charlie is gone now—so I’ve already started doing this.

  • SMASH TV. This suddenly disappeared recently, but I think it’s been restored to YouTube now—I need my copies.

Sites I need to back up; feels like their day is nigh:

  • 1080plus. I’ve already been through losing this once.

  • Bear Stearns Bravo. Yeah, I think so. (This Is My Milwaukee could be recreated too.)

  • “Like a Rolling Stone.” Similar story to “24 Hours of Happy”—this kind of disappears for months at a time, but seems to work as of March 2019.

  • Frog Fractions. This one is probably too adored to disappear—still.

  • Everything in my Real/Person category. These personal pages can easily float away suddenly.

Of course, I’d love to get the point where I have a cached copy of everything at href.cool—there are several Tumblrs in there and Blogspots. I’m not as worried with those, because The Internet Archive does a fine job of keeping them relatively intact. But if a YouTube channel disappears, it’s gone to us.

Along similar lines, I have been trying to message the creators of the Byte app—not the hyped Vine 2, but the original Byte that was basically like an underground vaporwave social network from 2014-2016. I want to secure a dump of the public Bytes from that era. It was sick.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

12 Mar 2019

Reply: Feed Readers

Brad Enslen

I am over my limit for feed to follow on Inoreader free. I may have to either pay or move to a different reader. I’ve been experimenting with Wordpress reader but I’m finding it cumbersome.

I don’t know Inoreader—what is keeping you from paying for it? Is it not worth paying for? I also wonder what you are looking for in a reader. I mean if it reads RSS—what else is there? (I don’t understand using a reader and am looking for some enlightenment. Don’t think you’ve written about this yet—is there something you’re looking for beyond basic notification that a new post/comment has materialized? To me, they seem like e-mail clients—not much to it.)

  1. @kicks Oh, Inoreader works just fine and is normally the online reader I recommend. I'm just cheap. That and all these online payments start to add up over time so I hate adding another into the mix.

    First I need to clear out some dead wood on Inoreader.

  2. @kicks I rotate, weekly, between my Linux and Windows laptops so I like using online feed readers as opposed to software versions running on the computers. Otherwise I could use a software based reader, probably for free or one time payment.

  3. @kicks Rss readers have some of the same features as email clients, but I'd rather have all my subscribed sites in a different place than my inbox. As it is I'm already subscribed to too many discussion lists with high traffic. The best ones have bookmarklets or extensions that will let you subscribe to a feed extremely easily. Inoreader also has the feature where you can create feeds for pages without them, I think. I don't use it so I'm not sure.

  4. @kicks i started using a feed reader the other day, and already I don't like opening it to find a stack of unread posts. so i'm sticking with having blogs of interest saved on my pinboard, and just checking in on them when I feel like it. some I read daily, others weekly, still others, whenever... works for me.

  5. @tones That’s the sensible way to do it. I find a number of unread posts in a feed annoying too. There's nothing wrong with just going to a website to read content.

  6. @martinfeld plus i like looking at peoples blog designs too, so an added bonus there.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

11 Mar 2019

Wyrd Britain

I don’t know what it is—but this blog has stuck with me. I can’t even trace the links I went through to get here. (I think I started at either Nannygoat Hill or jill/txt—which are also very interesting blogs that I’m still trying to sort out.) I originally started at the post where a guest author talks about seeing Cocteau Twins for the first time—and then I just started occasionally stopping in to read back. There are some really cool video shorts linked throughout this blog.

I don’t know what you call it when you were nostalgic for times and places that you never experienced—sometimes I can feel this the minute I start some old Russian sci-fi flick or whatever Iranian ‘slice of life’-type footage I happen upon. But this blog has that kind of sensation. (I’m also wondering why I’m just linking to blogs and Tumblrs like these rather than commenting on them and trying to strike up a chat. I’m short on time lately—I need to remedy this.)

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Reply: Supposedly Unreadable Tripe

k0sh3k

I am one of the few people who read everything h0p3 writes. It’s a good thing I read fast. Also, we talk a lot. We started this whole thing by walking and talking and disagreeing on the definitions of ethical and moral and I guess we’ll keep doing this until he realizes I’m right and he’s wrong about the entire nature of the universe.

It might take a while.

h0p3’s wife does a mic check.

(This is sooo cool—to get a response from h0p3’s wife on her own personal wiki. I just can’t believe we’re having these conversations. This was not what I intended to do on this blog. I actually didn’t have any intentions really—I just wanted to mess with hypertext again—which I guess opened me up to reading random TiddlyWikis and having these delightful, possibly pointless, just-for-funsies conversations. It’s better than anything that I could have intended to do.)

k0sh3k! First off, I love ILL, too. I am a massive cheapskate and I try to avoid clutter—but mostly I just like the weird editions that show up. And I like to see where the books come from. (I give a shoutout to this in my Stories/Novels page.)

My favorite was when Denton Welch’s Maiden Voyage came in. It was an ancient hardback from the 1950s. (It was the first book I read by him—I love him now.) As I read, I began to realize that this edition had been published right after he died (at age 33) and it really transported me to that age. I had a hard time giving that one back.

I actually should read The Educated Mind again before I recommend it. I went back and read my review—and some of my perspectives have changed since then. A lot has happened in four years. I still think I would love that the book bows before the visage of Socrates… (I am not a fast reader.)

My favorite poet is e.e. cummings, and if you haven’t read his work, you should.

I loved him in high school—I guess I have forgotten so much about him. I think I liked him at the time for gimmicky reasons. I know I saw past the mere shape of his poems. I thought he was funny. But to hear about ‘anti-industrialist poems’—you shouldn’t have lost that paper.

You’ll have to excuse the place - I only started keeping this to make h0p3 happy and to be a good example to the kiddos, although I’ve started keeping things here just for fun, too.

I am not nearly as good at keeping a wiki as h0p3 is; I haven’t gotten much better on any of this web stuff since the early days of chat rooms.

I think it’s charming. Your worries about organization or curating—sure, it’s fun to spend time on that stuff—but you’ve put a lot of work into what you’ve got already and it’s already very amusing and interesting to idly search and click around. I like that it’s informal. I like that it’s off-the-cuff.

I feel I should apologize for reading. It feels voyeuristic. Or like a robot eating up feelings. (CAN DESPISING AYN RAND REALLY FEEL THIS GOOD.) And maybe I am just scoping up anecdotes and recommendations in slapdash—this is just my own librarian way. It is shameful, it is noble—it is just a way to pass the time.

I think education, across the board, including college level, has hit a rough patch. It’s no longer about helping individuals become good, ethical human beings; it’s about shaping individuals into efficient little workers and consumers. I’m glad we have the chance to raise our kiddos to be good persons, and to recognize the systemic evils that use others as mere means for wealth accumulation.

Most of the teachers I’ve met and worked with are aware of this and frustrated by it, too. It’s strange to me that this awareness has been around since at least the 1970s—yet it’s only gotten worse, I’d hazard.

There was a conversation between Seymour Papert and Paulo Freire back then that really—well, it might have gone too far in places, but I think it’s mostly right on:

Now there comes a time when the infant is seeing a wider world than can be touched and felt. So the questions in the child’s mind aren’t only about this and this and this that I can see, but about something I heard, saw a picture of, or imagined. And I think here the child enters into a precarious and dangerous situation because not necessarily, but, I think, in point of fact in our societies, there is now a shift from experiential learning—learning by exploring—to another kind of learning, which is learning by being told: you have to find adults who will tell you things. And this stage reaches its climax in school.

And I think it’s an exaggeration, but that there’s a lot of truth in saying that when you go to school, the trauma is that you must stop learning and you must now accept being taught. That is stage two: it’s school, it’s learning by being taught, it’s receiving deposits of knowledge. I think many children are destroyed by that, strangled. Some, of course, survive it, and all of us survived it, and that’s one reason it’s often dangerous discussing these questions among intellectual people. In spite of the school what happened to us was that in the course of this stage two we learned certain skills. We learned to read, for example; we learned to use libraries; we learned how to explore directly a much wider world.

Now I think that there’s an important sense in which stage three is going back to stage one for those who’ve survived stage two—creative people in any field, whether in a laboratory or in philosophy—whether artists, businessmen, journalists—all the people in the world who are able, despite all the restrictions, to find a way of living creatively. We are very much like the baby again. We explore; it’s driven from inside; it’s experiential; it’s not so verbal; it’s not about being told.

To me, I agree that the scaffolding is important—but I think we tend to make the whole thing about scaffolding and public school tends to be all scaffolding all the time. But I think of scaffolding as being rough-shod. You hammer together a few planks and then get back to the building itself. The scaffolding goes away with time. You forget it was ever there.

(In case this is too vague—I tend to make ‘scaffolding’ synonymous with ‘adult assistance’, Vygotsky’s meaning, rather than the other meanings that float about from time to time.)

Of course, I think the above goes wrong a bit because I view reading as experiential and driven from inside—and I think even “telling” can be this way. Teaching can be very immersive and very improvisational. It’s difficult to know if it can ever be prescribed. (I don’t often watch television, but I think this is one thing that has kept me watching The Good Place—the main character is provided with a personal philosopher, a man who finds himself given an Herculean chore to try to prescribe his wisdom to her, even though it all is completely applicable. It simply cannot be told I think.)

Thank you for all the books and links—I will always be on the lookout for more and I am glad to know you and your family. While I’m interesting in the pioneering work you all are doing with wikis and such, I think it’s eclipsed by the effort you make among your two children. These words might be, at their height, a ‘model’ of us.

But they are only artifacts compared to the humans behind them. This j3d1h and kokonut seem like great additions to our reality. (Just from things they pop off with in h0p3’s writings.)

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Fill Crawlers

Some notes on how I am using crawlers as I’m collecting links.

I’ve started dabbling in crawlers with two simple prototypes—these may not even be considered crawlers, but simple web fetchers or something like that—but I think of them as being (or becoming) fill crawlers. Most crawlers are out exploring the Web, discovering material and often categorizing them, given some kind of algorithm that determines relevancy. Here, I’m the one discovering and categorizing; the fill crawler only does the work of watching those pages, keeping me aware of other possibly relevant sites and notifying me when I need to update that link.

So, these crawlers are filling in the blanks for certain links. Filling in missing parts that aren’t editorial. This isn’t a crawler that is feeding the site’s visitors—it’s there for my utility.


For href.cool, the crawler isn’t really a crawler, given that it doesn’t do any exploring yet. It just updates screenshots, lets me know when links are broken and tracks changes over time. Eventually, I hope that it will keep snapshots of some of those pages and help me find neighboring links.

Anyway, I’ve had that crawler since the beginning and it will stay rather limited since it’s for personal use.


For indieweb.xyz, I’ve started a crawler that’s also for keeping the links updated. Yeah, I want to know when something is 404 and keep the comment counts updated. But I also want to get better comment counts by spidering out to see the links that are in the chain. This crawler allows indieweb.xyz to stay updated even if Webmentions don’t continue to come in from that link.

I think the thing that excites me the most about this crawler is that I’d like it to start understanding hypertext beyond the Indieweb. I’m hoping it can begin to index TiddlyWikis or dat:// links, so that they can participate. I’d really like TiddlyWiki users to have more options to broadcast that doesn’t require plugins or much effort—they should remain focused on writing.

Both of these projects are focused on trying to help the remaining denizens of straight-up Web hypertext find each other, without it functioning like another social network that becomes the center of attention. To me, rather than giving the crawler the power to filter and sort all these writings, it simply acts as a voracious reader that looks for key signifier that all of normal readers/linkers are looking for anyway. (Such as links in a comment chain or tags that reveal categories.)


That’s all I have to say at the moment. I mostly put this out here so that people out there will know how these sites work—and to connect with other people (like Brad Enslen and Joe Jennett) who are doing cataloging work, to keep that discussion going.

  1. Reply: Allo

    nitinkhanna

    href.cool is cool 😃

    Hey thanks for piping up. Your blog is neat—I liked the article on treating your blog like a Moleskine. I think this is why I always have used those dreary, cheap composition books. I can make them a mess.

    Your Twitter bio: “I tweet seriously, but mostly for fun.” This is chill. An example to us all.

  2. @kicks thanks! :) I love how random and pretty your site is! And the way the comments are presented as sort of part of the flow of the writing is pretty neat... :)

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

02 Mar 2019

So, as a result of the work Chris has been doing in Wordpress, making it easier to post to Indieweb.xyz, I’ve started “rolling up” all the posts by each user on the home page. I’m just trying this to see how it feels. I’m going to try quite a lot of things over the next few months. Let me know what works for you.

  1. I really liked this change – it alleviates some of the anxiety that came with posting a bunch of links and appearing to “flood” the front page. Now I’m only listed once, so don’t have to worry that I’m pushing out other people. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for XYZ!

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

09 Feb 2019

Mek, Citizen of the World

Heyo—‘My purpose is to curate a living map of the world’s knowledge.’

I’m fresh into this link—so I don’t quite have a clear picture of this fellow (Michael E. Karpeles)—but I see a kind of h0p3-like thing going on here. A huge, straight-up link directory that is definitely in the public self-modeling vein.

Related project: fromscrat.ch done in the same fashion. This is a rabbithole, no doubt about it. See what you can find.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

25 Jan 2019

Reply: Should We Pool?

Joe Jenett

Since 1997, Ive spent, on average, about 4 hours per day grinding away on my web linking projects, which also included coolstop.com (daily site reviews) from 10/1997 thru 9/2010. I cant conceive of the notion of waiting for links to come to me, which leads me to the other part of your comment.

Ok, interesting—yeah, I’d agree, hunting can suck up hours of time. And, yeah, if you are spending four hours per day, I’m not going to keep up, since I’m lucky to get in four hours per week.

Glad for your honest reason. Very glad for ‘brutal’ honesty—to just have your thoughts succinctly, rather than to beat around the bush for three months.

What I mean to say is that I’m not looking to combine my efforts with yours (or vice-versa). We’ve already shared knowledge and our enthusiasm for the medium and our love for linking—that’s sure to be an ongoing (enjoyable) thing. But pooling our knowledge, or collaborating between sites on some type of joint effort is different than simply communicating between sites, and between us, in my mind.

Right—I don’t mean to say that we’re going to just merge our sites together—although I did discuss trying to be clear about link-finding strategies, which borders on a trade secret I suppose. (Especially where you’ve been doing this for several decades.) And I am happy to rescind that request—I’m not trying to steal your strategy, even if I am planning to clearly lay out mine.

But let’s back up: I think we must have a fundamentally different view of where the Web is today. (imho) Link-finding has changed dramatically from the early days of the Web. Back then, everything was a link. The whole landscape was personal home pages, web comics, and niche forums. Magellan-level exploration.

Today, the Web we’re inhabiting is a niche. There is very little growth out here by comparison. Surely, there is still an infinite landscape to explore, but much of it is ad-ridden, startup- or software-focused. ‘Bloggers’ are moving toward ‘influencers’. When people talk about ‘the blogs’, they think about pundits, TMZ-type Paparazzi and minor celebrities. The rest of blogging has become an extension of Pinterest: personal recipe and home decor blogs dominate.

The ‘Indieweb’/‘Indie Web’ is a niche like vinyl collectors. It won’t ever achieve mainstream significance again. When I talk to meatspace friends about The Web, they look at it as a quaint little city that doesn’t really offer them anything new. And the only thing I can appeal to is a type of idealism: aesthetic and political idealism.

So, whereas link-finding use to be the essential task of mapping out the frontier, our new task is different: to broadcast the location of our outpost so that the holdouts who are still blogging and the wanderers, who happen to be drawn to experiment with a blog, know where we are.

I really think that an important part of our work will be to lay out how we link-find—not so that newcomers can just copy the technique—but so that they know where we’re looking. If we’re looking at tags on Pinboard, then they know where to post on Pinboard. If we’re sharing on certain hashtags on Twitter, then they know. In the past, this might have caused those channels to be oversatured—but I really don’t think spam will be our problem. Our problem is survival.

Of course, we wish the old days would return. But the future will be better, somehow. I just don’t think it will inhabit The Web again.

If you disagree or roll your eyes at any of this—no problem, no problem whatsoever. The invitation is soft—no need to get involved with anything. Focus on your work. (Fantastic work!) I just hope that my efforts won’t be upsetting you in some way. I’d rather be of a benefit, if that can possibly be the case.

  1. Thanks for understanding what I was trying to say. Based on what you clarified in your reply, let me offer the following: I do find many links via pinboard and follow a large and growing list of users (via my network rss feed, which includes all of the users I've subscribed to). I cite the pinboard user as the source when a link I use comes from them (which is relatively easy to track). I find new pinboard users to follow both by browsing pinboard and by following and filtering the recent rss feed. I also follow a few tags like design, dev, blogs, automation, etc. The most important feed is the network feed,

    I also have a number of other sources I follow by feed and by browsing/exploring/surfing the web (which I won't share as a list though I've linked to many of them). In general, I try to cite sources when I find new links, though tracking all of that information has its limitations. Anyone who explores my sites can see my sources. If they don't see a source cited it might be that I couldn't track it, it's a link I've seen on more than one site, or it's the type of site I simply will not link to (for a number of reasons like ads, annoyances, or commercial content/tone, as examples). In many cases, I've linked to sites at the dailywebthing who are also sources/potential sources for other links. Several of your projects and Brad's directory are just a few examples. Finally on this subject, I've got to say that the micro.blog community leads to a lot of web out there, particularly newer blogs.

    As far as how we view the web, I may be a little simple-minded about linking. My goal is to provide people with a pleasant web surfing experience, free of the ad-ridden crap and all the other types of annoyances that the web is full of (and always has been). To me, it's very subjective what I mean when I use like words like 'pleasant' or 'annoying' or even 'useful.' In my case, what I do when I 'link-find' is probably somewhat a reaction to some things I don't care for. The new indieweb tools do help get the word out and also lead to interaction - those are good things that enhance linking. But yes, it 's all kinda like vinyl records or even the Grateful Dead. I don't mind being part of the few. Mainstream is over-rated and scarcity adds value to the gems we find.

    I didn't think you wanted to 'merge' sites or anything like that. But it seemed to me you wanted to somehow coordinate our efforts, and whether I took that right or wrong, that's what I was responding to. I like your honesty too - it makes for meaningful discourse. Thanks.




This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

23 Jan 2019

Reply: New Duds

Joe Jenett

Here’s a little sneak preview of a redesign I just started working on.

This has been cool to watch—you’ve managed to bring over all your old links, everything looks good—and we can now crosstalk directly on your pointers pages and blog entries. This is great!

It’s funny—I stumbled across the VISUAL OBSERVER link around the same time as you. I think we’re both plundering a lot of the same tags and users on Pinboard. This has made me want to pool our link-finding knowledge, in the hopes of discovering where we’re being redundant and where we might want to venture out further. (I need to make a list of my main discovery avenues.)

To what degree do you grind away, looking for links? Or do you wait for them to come to you?

  1. Thanks for the compliments Kicks. The dailywebthing linkport and daily pointers contain over 8,500 posts between them so it was a lot of work. Like you, I’m excited about what the indieweb brings to my sites. That leads me to the question you asked. Since 1997, I’ve spent, on average, 3 to 6 hours per day grinding away on my web linking projects, which also included, coolstop.com (daily site reviews) From 10/1997 thru 9/2010. I can’t conceive of the notion of waiting for links to come to me, which leads me to the other part of your comment.

    You’ve mentioned a desire to collaborate before, so I have to be honest. My linking thing is very personal to me. Though I can appreciate your desire for learning more, I truly don’t have hopes of “discovering where we’re being redundant and where we might want to venture out further” beyond what I’m already doing through observation and interaction. What I mean to say is that I’m not looking to combine my efforts with yours (or vice-versa). We’ve already shared ‘knowledge’ and our enthusiasm for the medium and our love for ‘linking’ – that’s sure to be an ongoing (enjoyable) thing. But pooling our knowledge, or collaborating between sites on some type of joint effort is different than simply communicating between sites, and between us, in my mind. I know it might sound unfriendly but I don’t necessarily want to share everything. Yes, web surfing is a skill and you already know how to do it pretty damn well. We both link to unique things and I’m really comfortable with the thought of each of our sites having its own unique identity.

    As I become better at expressing the motivation behind what I do and how deeply committed I am to certain aspects of it, things may get clearer. In the meantime, our recent conversations have played an important part in the direction my sites are going. I really appreciate that and hope my brutal honesty doesn’t offend.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

18 Jan 2019

Reply: Future Directories, Future Webrings

Brad Enslen

What is swirling around in my head is some sort of fusion of NowNowNow, Microcast.club and webmentions like href.cool can send, plus a conventional directory script for those backend admin tools.

There was a similar train of thought in the thread we were having with Dave Weiner, Don Park and Greg McVerry some time ago. It kind of got lost, but I had a similar webring-like idea for the Ad-Free Blog website. (Which is no longer around, as of last month, it seems.)

I’ve been wondering if they could do a similar thing with http://www.adfreeblog.org/ - a ‘general’ blog community could be established around a simple ideal like that.

Might look like this:

  • A blog links to adfreeblog.org on their home page.
  • Adfreeblog.org notices visitors coming from that page and checks that page for the link and the image.
  • If found, it adds the blog to a directory, using the meta description and keyword tags.

The adfreeblog.org home page then becomes a directory of the community. So, kind of like a webring, but actually organized. With Twitter cards and such floating in the metadata, it is probably much easier to extrapolate a good directory entry.

As you say, the “mandatory reciprocal link” is not something you’re comfortable with—but I think it has its uses. I have no care in the world whether any of the sites I link to at href.cool ever link back to me (in fact, I’d prefer if they would just keep doing what they’re doing) but I think a directory that’s trying to provide a more census-like approach could really use this strong, two-way link.

I think it would be really cool to have an emergent directory where everyone self-categorizes. You get to be in one category—where do you put yourself? And, yeah, have a bit of moderation in there to weed out spam. It would likely be very difficult to sort through its problems—but it would be fun to try. (The Indieweb.xyz blog directory is as close as I’m going to get to that effort for the present.)

  1. While I love the idea of a more automated directory (self categorizing) I always wonder how long it will be before it gets spammed out?

    There are two ideas that I can’t get out of my head:

    1. The Bomis Ring model – webrings (little mini directories) that the ring creator can place any site within. Navigation was by I Frame (problematic). Webmasters could join but they did not have to join. It was very different from standard webrings. Of course all Bomis rings were listed in the Bomis directory.

    2. The idea of a directory like microcast.club – a directory where one has to have the ring code in order to stay listed.

    I can’t find a way to fuse the two together. Also Google hates recip linking schemes but that could be overcome by using nofollow.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

2019.01.19: Href.Cool Updates

Some poems, some surrealists, some nicer margins, who cares.

Quite a few new links and poems added today:

I’ve also been improving the themes—trying to get them as nice as possible on all the various browsers and devices out there.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

The Indieweb.xyz Translations Project

Matthias Pfefferle asked for a German edition of Indieweb.xyz and it is ready now.

Since Indieweb.xyz seems to be useful to some of you, I’m working through a list of updates that will clean it up and make it more versatile.

The first major change is to add another language, German, at the request of Matthias Pfefferle. (The German edition is at indieweb.xyz/de.) The Github project that I am linking here is where new languages and translated text can be submitted.

I’ve also hidden the hottubs sub from the home page. This will allow you to test the system without broadcasting to everyone.

These are all the changes for today, but I wanted to let you all know out there that I have got my hands in the code again, in case you have any requests you want to call out.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

12 Jan 2019

Reply: Review of Href.cool

Brad Enslen

This is a meticulously made, well thought out tiny web directory. Each listing is curated: carefully chosen, descriptions crafted, meticulously displayed like a rare Ancient Etruscan object in a museum. But it’s more than that, it’s also a kid’s cigar box full of treasures: a couple of pretty marbles found in the dirt at the playground, a yo-yo, a mummified frog, a beloved grandfather’s service medal, a four color ball-point pen, a Doctor Who Tardis pencil sharpener and a secret decoder ring.

Haha! This is a very thoughtful and generous review! I am very grateful that you took the time to look through the cigar box and write down your impressions like this.

Normally I would be disappointed that you had no criticism or suggested improvements—however, in your case, I designed the thing very much with you (and our conversations) in mind. It’s a reaction to Indieseek and influenced by many of the web directories you’ve worked on in the past. So I really wanted to impress you—definitely.

I have been trying to consider what to write about the months I spent building it. One thing that is very unusual about Href.cool (under the hood) is that it only loads once. So if someone links you to the Bodies/Adventure category—it’ll load the HTML for that category and it will also load the rest of the directory (but not the images) using JavaScript, so that you can browse it without any delay. The directory isn’t very big—and I thought I’d take advantage of that.

At the same time, the directory can be easily browsed with JavaScript off. No problem there.

My reasons for taking this approach:

  • I wanted someone to have the ability to download a single page of the directory and that would save a local FULL copy of the directory. (This doesn’t work completely yet on all browsers, but I am almost there.)

  • This makes it easier for me to share a single-file version of the directory on decentralized web networks (like the Dat network and IPFS.) I want it to be simple to back up.

  • TiddlyWiki is currently the only software I know of that keeps everything on one page. But it’s showing its age. I wanted to start playing around with alternatives to TiddlyWiki that can be single-page but still work with the Indieweb.

To me, this aspect of the directory is the most exciting part. And since it’s all static HTML, I don’t need to install Wordpress or some other server software to manage it. I’ve noticed that you’ve had some server errors showing up on Indieseek and I’d really like to help prevent that kind of thing. (I’m getting errors on the listings pages on both Indieseek and the ‘Nodes’ directory.)

  1. If I have any criticism it would be the lack of a search form, except the directory isn’t really big enough to need one – yet. Someday it will need. But all said it really is more of a browsing directory so that people notice treasures as they poke around. It’s a place to linger like a museum whereas Indieseek is intended to be more of a find it and leave place like search.

    There just is no one right way to do a directory. I like that you brought fresh eyes and ideas to an old technology. I’m too mired in the past and convention. So hats off to you for doing something new.

    Thanks for tipping me off on the errors. There are none when I’m logged in, but I see them when I’m completely logged out. I’ve put in a support request for both sites.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

2019.01: Href.Cool Updates

Webmentions and five new links.

Okay, so I’ve added outgoing Webmentions to Href.cool. This means that sites will be notified if they are linked in any of my categories.

Incidentally, the directory itself has also has Webmentions. So, if you have an Indieweb blog and you want to recommend a link to the directory: make a post containing the link you want to submit and a link to the category page you think it belongs on and I will get the message. I may also choose to list submitted links at the bottom of the page. Or, yeah, you tell me if this is useful to you.

A few new links have been added:

I also linked to notepin.co as a possible blogging option.

  1. @kicks Thanks ‘The Accidental Room’ sounds amazing. Huffduffed for commute.

  2. Reply: Huffduffed

    John Johnston

    Thanks ‘The Accidental Room’ sounds amazing. Huffduffed for commute.

    Huffduffed? Wild!

    What happens to the links after they get huffduffed? Do they materialize into ad-hoc minotaurs? The mind reels.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

22 Dec 2018

Href.cool

My new directory.

Krikey—I’ve been working on this directory for five months! I am not quite happy with all of it. But it functions mostly like I want it to. And the links are fine, as a start.

I will discuss it more over the next few weeks—mostly I just want to get it started so that I can start connecting with Joe, Brad and the rest of the world. Hope you find something you like!

  1. @kicks Holy... ! I'll say more tomorrow but straight off: 1. it's beautiful, 2. it's cool. Great job this is obviously lovingly crafted.

  2. @kicks Very neat! Will definitely explore it more in the days to come. Thank you!

  3. Reply: Href.cool

    @bradenslen @jenett Thank you for the encouragement! I’m happy to now join the little directory club we’ve got going. I can’t believe this actually exists. So peculiar!

    @vasta I appreciate you checking it out. I’m very grateful for notes like yours. Your ‘end of 2018’ list is on my ‘list of lists’ to review.

  4. @kicks I hope you tell us more about it, both technical stuff and what was on your mind when you designed it.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

14 Dec 2018

Unlisted Videos

Huh: search engine that peeks through the cracks.

I’ve decided to exclude this from my directory for now, but I think this search engine raises some interesting questions. It indexes any video that is public, but not listed in YouTube’s searches. I’m not going to comment on whether these should be indexed—but I think this is a valuable tool in a surfer’s kit. (Continuation of the Searching the Creative Internet thread from the other day.)

Take this. Take Pinboard search. Take Million Short, Wiby.me, maybe take /r/InternetIsBeautiful—these start to give a good picture of the web we’re a part of. Oh, snarfed’s Indieweb search, perhaps.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Reply: The Web Finally Feels New Again

Joe Jenett

I recently came across a Pinboard user’s note on a bookmark: “Overly commercial tone but looks useful.” That simple note made me think about the web and linking and what it all means to me.

(Joe’s full article is here.)

Yes, here we are again—I think what you’re saying is that even a single-line annotation of a link, even just a few words of human curation do wonders when you’re out discovering the world. (Perhaps even more than book recommendations—where we know that at least we can rely on certain publishers and editors to vet their publications—I’m a big fan of the Dalkey Archive[1], for instance—but we have no idea the quality of writings out on the Internet at large and are desperately reliant on these annotations in the field.)

Pinboard is doing everything right in that regard—of course, it cribs from Delicious before it—giving hyperlinkers an appropriate amount of meta-dressing to put around their link: tags, description, search tools. However, it misses out on the kind of visual styling and layouts that you, Joe, get to enjoy. (I really like how you batch up links for the day, similar to how h0p3 does it.)

I think another of my lingering questions is: what are we really doing here? When I look at h0p3’s links, he’s trying to catalog his discoveries for the day completely—at least, I don’t think he edits this list. You also mention in your essay that you ‘curate links for my own ongoing use’. Whereas I tend to ‘advertise’ links more, to bring attention to the parts of the web that I want to survive.

So it’s more natural for me to work towards a final directory of links, a hub of all the nodes that I want to see connected. I want these individuals to be aware of each other. I see your Linkport as being a type of directory; I wonder to what extent you are doing this as well—and I wonder what kinds of collaborations we could get going between our directories. You do say that ‘people finding me and finding some of my links enjoyable’ is a secondary goal. I guess another angle I keep alluding to is the benefit you give to the authors behind the links you’re publishing—this type of work is a tremendous gift to them.

Along these lines: I see link duplication as being an interesting thing—clearly we don’t all just want the same links, but I think it will be interesting to see how much overlap there is. I also really like, for example, when David Crawshaw’s article last week got linked by h0p3, Brad, Eli, other microbloggers—it made me feel like we were trying to send some kind of concentrated transmission to the author—linking as a greeting, links as an invitation.

With time, many personal sites and blogs disappeared from the web as people flocked to the big silos where their content became a heavily monitized commodity. To me, the web had lost much of its soul as people gathered in just a few, huge noise chambers. […]

Current trends and a rebirth of personal blogging certainly make the type of curation I do much easier, thank you. Had it not been for that stimulating conversation, I probably would not have been writing this.

It’s interesting to me that the corpypastas (or CorpASAs) had this kind of effect. Because they actually eased publishing and participation for so many people. Facebook is a type of gated community—so I see why it had this kind of effect. But it’s interesting that Twitter and Instagram also dampened the growth of the web. I hazard that perhaps this was simply because their game was best played by their rules—an external link to Twitter wouldn’t show up in your ‘likes’ whereas a like from another tweet was fully realized by the author and the… err… liker.

And I don’t want to chalk this up to mere ego—the author and the liker could see each other from across the Internet. And that is valuable. This is also what micro.blog is assisting us with—we have our blogs, but it is a useful capsule pipeline, so that we can get to each other clearly. (This is why I’m not just linking to your blog post and waiting for you to notice somehow—this communication structure that we’re using here is very useful to us, even if I can almost guarantee that this post is going to be flattened into a massive paragraph by micro.blog. No problemo—I’m just glad to have a direct line to you, Joe!)

Regarding another thing Kicks asked about: Aside from evolving html, accessibility, and design standards and practices, I’m really not sure if linking, in general, has changed over the years. I’ve been doing it the same since day one. But that’s just me.

For me, I do find that Webmentions are really enhancing linking—by offering a type of bidirectional hyperlink. I think if they could see widespread use, we’d see a Renaissance of blogging on the Web. Webmentions are just so versatile—you can use them to commment, you an form ad-hoc directories with them, you can identify yourself to a wider community. I really feel like they are a useful modernization.

But I like that you are true to the linking you’ve always done. It still works. It’s an ideal that we fell away from I guess.


  1. The Third Policeman, of course! But also: Heartsnatcher by Boris Vian (just my kind of meandering, vexing thing), Writers by Antoine Volodine. And soon I will get into Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel. ↩︎

  1. I was hoping our conversation would continue. I agree with you about webmentions being a great modernization. I thought the old pings and trackbacks we used to use were great until spam killed 'em and webmentions at least have some mechanisms for dealing with that. If you sent me a webmention, I never saw it. Oddly enough it was good 'ol RSS that led me to your post. As before, you've given me a few new things to think about before responding. In the meantime, I appreciate your reading my post (and obviously understanding much of what I said). Later.
  2. 🔖

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

08 Dec 2018

Reply to davidcrawshaw

Oh and yeah—can you pass along this link trove? I do a monthly ‘href hunt’, asking everyone out there for personal URLs—one of the problems is where to go to notify the world of one’s nascent blog or wiki? I can write up your collection—or link your write-up. Anything to help.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

James Somers’ Home Page

A self-catalog—tho this format could fly as an outgoing directory.

I mostly cover obscure writers. James is a widely published author (The Atlantic, Playboy, Aeon) but this is a neat personal directory to his writing—very homespun and lightly annotated, with asterisks and highlighting used to nice effect.

Articles such as How I Reverse Engineered Google Docs To Play Back Any Document’s Keystrokes are a festive hybrid of code, anecdote and sundry links—found in paragraphs festooned with blue underlines that act like surprising miniature directories nested in the article. (This is an approach that I feel I need to cover in Foundations of a Tiny Directory.)

I also think it’s interesting that he catalogs all of his individual blog entries. This whole page very much fits in with my definition of Hypertexting—these scattered essays and posts become a body of work here. And the quality is excellent: generally well-considered and well-executed.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Reply to davidcrawshaw

This article is in my dept, man—great stuff. I am writing a blog that covers obscure websites, interviews unknowns, etc. Although I am advocating a return to (dun dun) web directories: https://www.kickscondor.com/foundations-of-a-tiny-directory

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Searching the Creative Internet

More thoughts on moving beyond Google.

I’ve been saying for awhile that Google doesn’t work for me—but I think this essay crystalizes the thought in a much better way than I’ve been able to.

If you click through all 14 pages of results Google returns for [disney], nothing I could conceive of as interesting appears. Corporate website this, chewing-gum news article that. But if you refine it a little and search for [disney blog], then by result Page 7 things start to get interesting.

I’m not sure I agree yet with the idea that we can solve this with better search engines—I am really focused on trying to bring humans back in: as editors, as librarians, as explorers—we can do this kind of stuff really well, this is our strength! But I’m warming up to the idea that search engines could be a tool for these surfers.

What is clear to me is that it is time for separate tools. A search engine designed to be used by billions of people every day to do daily tasks is not one that will be appropriate for weekend meanderings though obscure topics. A content-sharing site like Reddit that encourages links to the New York Times will not generate thoughtful discussion.

See, to me the issue is that ANY algorithm involves encoding a ruleset that strictly describes what it is looking for. So by the time you encode your crate-digging behavior as an algorithm—it has lost its flavor.

Imagine a computer writing jokes. Not that that can’t work—but I think computers are far away from making jokes that aren’t inadvertant. So only by being nearly random does it become evasive enough to avoid malignant behavior. But a human is subject to its own evasive manuevers—it can get fatigued with sameness, it can become bored, it can become sensitive to the fashions of its time, it has its own ineffable subjectiveness. So it is capable of leaving its encoding—of evolving, or of returning to its roots, discovering something forgotten or uniquely nostalgic. (I think the algorithms are great for discovering the answer to a technical question—you want that search to be predictable.)

This is a great article and it describes a longing for the kind of thing that we’re all trying to build here—I know it sounds like I’m wrapping all of you out there—and those I’m communicating with regularly—in a blanket statement—if I am, then certainly push back—but I think this is what ties us: to preserve humanity on the Web, perhaps to find more meaning in this work. So I hope to see this Crawshaw person around here at some point.

  1. [...] I think this is what ties us: to preserve humanity on the Web, perhaps to find more meaning in this work.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

21 Nov 2018

Reply: More Joe Questions

jenett

@kicks Thanks for the compliment kicks. Though it’s never totally free of bad links, a fair amount of time is spent revisiting sites along with periodic link checking sessions. Glad to know you couldn’t find one - yay! I found your blog recently via this very thread - very unique. Spoiler alert: It’s in the pointers queue.

Wow, you hand-check the whole thing?? Ok, wow, so if you don’t mind I have a few more questions—actually, quite a few more, but I’ll constrain myself!

  1. A lot of links I find through just old-school surfing, but there are some tools that are like virtual mines for me. (Google is often useless, because a search for ‘interesting blog’ usually just yields clickbait and I don’t want to just regurgitate that stuff.) What tools or sites have you found most useful for discovering links?
  2. Also, is surfing a kind of skill? I mean: finding obscure avenues, well, they are obscure—hard to find by definition! At the same time, having a ‘linkpost’ at least provides an intersection between worlds where people can find each other. Do people find you? Is that just as important as you finding them?
  3. And, yeah, since you’ve been doing this for several decades—has linking changed over time? Like: what is modern linking?

Also, if you’d rather post your answers as a blog post, I can link to that. Great to meet you—I’m immediately a huge fan!

  1. @kicks @jenett Ditto on all those link Q's. Surely it has required great patience & perseverance over many years.

  2. @kicks I'm just seeing this and appreciate your interest (and your's too, @Ron ). These are thought-provoking questions and will take me some time to process. I've been meaning to write more about some of these things.

    The web, and the way I approach it, has changed drastically over the years. For now, a few things I find most useful for discovering links: People, as in people with similar interests who publically share bookmarks on Pinboard; and people with personal blogs and sites who link to what they like (bring back the blogrolls, please). Micro.blog and the indieweb movement are helping bring more people back to blogging, which is certainly helpful in discovering more of the types of sites I like to share.

    As far as tools go, a good feed reader (with filtering) is a must. Sifting takes time and feeds save time. For searching, The 'human-edited' directory @bradenslen is building is an excellent discovery tool.

    Stay tuned - I'll definitely put some thought into answering your other questions. Glad to meet both of you too!

  3. @jenett I myself used to love the blogrolls! Back around 2004-2005 there was a blog on Blogger called Two Things, places and sites of interest. It's how I discovered the unfortunately no longer working 43Things.

  4. @jenettIt was, in fact a linkblog.

  5. @hope Right now, Readkit (macOS only) is the best reader I could find to do what I need, including integration with Fever, a self-hosted tool I also use. Though ReadKit has a few bugs/issues, it's still the best in my mind and a recent update brought definite improvements.

  6. @jenett Is Fever still being developed? Also, will it let you view just one individual feed, instead of all the articles at a time? Lol I really don't like my RSS reader to look like Twitter!

  7. @hope I seem to remember that Fever is no longer being developed. You can view one feed or one folder of feeds at a time. It’s nice but I definitely prefer the desktop app over the web app and what I do would be intolerable without the filtering option. For me, anyway.

  8. @kicks Regarding “hand-checking the whole thing,” the periodic revisiting of sites is more of a spot-checking thing. Using a link-checking tool is the better way to check a large number of links at a time. I can safely say the majority of the links are good links but keeping up with link-checking is a challenge (it's time-consuming). I'm convinced that being totally free of bad links is the right goal but reaching it is impossible.

  9. @kicks I've answered a few other questions in my latest post at https/iwebthings.com

  10. @kicks I've answered a few other questions in my latest post at iwebthings.com

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

20 Nov 2018

Reply: Hi, Joe

Joe Jenett

[…] sharing links […] - it’s in my blood.

Cool thread. Getting myself in here. Hi, folks!

Joe, amazing site—Linkport. How on earth have you kept the links all intact? I couldn’t seem to find a broken one.

  1. @kicks Thanks for the compliment kicks. Though it's never totally free of bad links, a fair amount of time is spent revisiting sites along with periodic link checking sessions. Glad to know you couldn't find one - yay! I found your blog recently via this very thread - very unique. Spoiler alert: It's in the pointers queue.

  2. @kicks @jenett Ditto on all those link Q's. Surely it has required great patience & perseverance over many years.

  3. @kicks I'm just seeing this and appreciate your interest (and your's too, @Ron ). These are thought-provoking questions and will take me some time to process. I've been meaning to write more about some of these things.

    The web, and the way I approach it, has changed drastically over the years. For now, a few things I find most useful for discovering links: People, as in people with similar interests who publically share bookmarks on Pinboard; and people with personal blogs and sites who link to what they like (bring back the blogrolls, please). Micro.blog and the indieweb movement are helping bring more people back to blogging, which is certainly helpful in discovering more of the types of sites I like to share.

    As far as tools go, a good feed reader (with filtering) is a must. Sifting takes time and feeds save time. For searching, The 'human-edited' directory @bradenslen is building is an excellent discovery tool.

    Stay tuned - I'll definitely put some thought into answering your other questions. Glad to meet both of you too!

  4. @jenett I myself used to love the blogrolls! Back around 2004-2005 there was a blog on Blogger called Two Things, places and sites of interest. It's how I discovered the unfortunately no longer working 43Things.

  5. @jenettIt was, in fact a linkblog.

  6. @hope Right now, Readkit (macOS only) is the best reader I could find to do what I need, including integration with Fever, a self-hosted tool I also use. Though ReadKit has a few bugs/issues, it's still the best in my mind and a recent update brought definite improvements.

  7. @jenett Is Fever still being developed? Also, will it let you view just one individual feed, instead of all the articles at a time? Lol I really don't like my RSS reader to look like Twitter!

  8. @hope I seem to remember that Fever is no longer being developed. You can view one feed or one folder of feeds at a time. It’s nice but I definitely prefer the desktop app over the web app and what I do would be intolerable without the filtering option. For me, anyway.

  9. @kicks Regarding “hand-checking the whole thing,” the periodic revisiting of sites is more of a spot-checking thing. Using a link-checking tool is the better way to check a large number of links at a time. I can safely say the majority of the links are good links but keeping up with link-checking is a challenge (it's time-consuming). I'm convinced that being totally free of bad links is the right goal but reaching it is impossible.

  10. @kicks I've answered a few other questions in my latest post at https/iwebthings.com

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

Linkport

Joe Jenett’s link collection—been going strong for decades.

Oh boy, the micro.blog surf club is really coming together: Joe Jenett has said ‘hello’ by dropping a link to this directory of fantastic obscure blogs and things. (I think he and Brad Enslen met through Pinbard? Does that happen??)

Linkport goes back to 2000. But Joe has been collecting links since 1997:

I thought of pulling the plug (on the daily pointers) for the same reasons but decided to keep it going with a combination of new links and repeat links to sites with recent updates, along with working hard to keep it clean of bad links. Yes, it all takes a lot of time but fortunately, I enjoy doing it - it’s in my blood.

Even the oldest links in the directory still seem to work. I bow in humble deference.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

17 Nov 2018

One-Line Languages

It’s more common to converse with a computer than to just dictate our instructions to it.

I’ve been helping a friend with a Discord bot, which has opened my eyes to the explosion of chatbots in recent years. Yes, there are the really lame chatbots, usually AI-driven—I searched for “lame chatbots” and was guided to chatbot.fail, but there’s also the spoof ‘Erwin’s Grumpy Cat’ on eeerik.com.

Erwin's Grumpy Cat

We’ve also quietly seen widespread use of sweet IRC-style bots, such as Slack or Twitch or Discord bots. These act like incredibly niche search engines, in a way. My friend’s own bot is for a game—looking up stats, storing screenshots, sifting through game logs and such.

So, yeah, we are using a lot of ‘one-line languages’—you can use words like ‘queries’ or ‘commands’ or whatever—but search terms aren’t really a command and something called a ‘query’ can be much more than a single line—think of ‘advanced search’ pages that provide all kinds of buttons and boxes.


Almost everything has a one-line language of some kind:

  • Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube all have search boxes on nearly all of their pages—a single line interface for querying the entire text. (Even general services like text messaging and e-mail have this prominently in their interface.)
  • Issuing short commands to voice-recognition machines like Alexa and Siri.
  • UNIX tools usually act individually.
  • Spreadsheet math done in the fx bar.
  • The browser address bar.
  • One of my favorites is Pinboard’s URLs, which can be used to find related things using whatever ingenuity you can muster.
  • Microwave cook commands.

Humans push the limits of these simple tools—think of hashtags, which added categorical querying to otherwise bland search engines. Or @-mentions, which allow user queries on top of that. (Similar to early-Web words, such as ‘warez’ and ‘pr0n’ that allowed queries to circumvent filtering for a time.)

It’s very interesting to me that misspellings and symbolic characters became a source of innovation in the limited world of one-liners. (Perhaps similar to micro.blog’s use of tagmoji.)


It seems that these ‘languages’ are designed to approach the material—the text, the tags, the animated GIFs—in the most succinct way.

I wonder, though, if ‘search’ is the most impotent form of the one-liner. It’s clearly the most accessible on the surface: it has no ‘commands’, you just run a few searches and figure out which ‘commands’ work until they succeed. (If they do?)

Feeling Lucky BBS

It also seems relevant that less than 1% of Google traffic uses the I’m Feeling Lucky button. Is this an indication that people are happy to have the raw data? Is it mistrust? Is this just a desire to just have more? Well, yeah, that’s for sure. We seem to make the trade of options over time.[1]

Observations:

  • The more generic the data (the Web as a whole vs. a creepypasta chat), the more generic the language seems to be.
  • Could the Web be viewed as something other than a giant container that we have to randomly access?
  • For example, many chatbots work like a conversation—they have a memory, such as for storing quotes/memes, and they can be used as Bayesian filters (for kicking spammers).
  • Is it possible to build a meta-bot that uses all the niche bots?
  • What one-line language could be extrapolated from micro.blog or Pinboard?
  • To what degree can cars, Christmas tree lights, video splicing, disc jockeying, playing video games—be driven by one-liners?
  • What would it take to get to two lines?

Some sites—such as yubnub and goosh—play with this, as do most browsers, which let you add various shortcut prefixes.


Oh, one other MAJOR point about chatbots—there is definitely something performative about using a chatbot. Using a Discord chatbot is a helluva lot more fun than using Google. And part of it is that people are often doing it together—idly pulling up conversation pieces and surprising bot responses.

Part of the lameness of chatbots isn’t just the AI. I think it’s also being alone with the bot. It feels pointless.

I think that’s why we tend to anthropomorphize the ‘one-line language’ once we’re using it as a group—it is a medium between us at that point and I think we want to identify it as another being in the group. (Even in chats, like Minecraft, where responses don’t come from a particular name—the voice of the response has an omniscience and a memory.)


  1. It’s also amusing that Google keeps the button—despite the fact that it apparently loses them money. Another related footnote: the variations on I’m Feeling Lucky that Google has had in the past. Almost like a directory attached to a search. ↩︎

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.

13 Nov 2018

The Federation

A directory of ‘federated’ communities.

A list of all of the various blogging and messaging services that are connected to each other by way of ‘federation’ (e.g. Mastodon). This is impressive—user statistics and lists of smaller communities within each group. I’ve thought that the Indieweb was ‘ahead’ of the Fediverse, but it’s much easier to find each other with this kind of centralized directory.

I also generally advocate human-curated directories. But, in the case of examining the offerings of a network, this kind of entirely machine-constructed catalog makes perfect sense. A stat-based and rather spreadsheet-like view is the whole point.

This post accepts webmentions. Do you have the URL to your post?

You may also leave an anonymous comment. All comments are moderated.