Kicks Condor

#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.

25 Jul 2019

Reply: Lateral Connections

vega

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

‘…unlike things being adjacent to each other.’

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

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

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

  1. @kicks re tools: I think that "unlike things adjacent to each other" helps a lot; the examples in @dancohen's article -- record store, newspaper -- depend on spatial organization to promote serendipity even when one begins at a point of their own interest. Browsing my Pinboard.in account revives and reminds me of old interests -- the links may be organized by date in a flat-file, but diverse things are adjacent to each other. I've also been experimenting with Zettelkasten for various info-management and creative purposes (haven't progressed far though).

    I'm generally in agreement with this paper that spatial organization is integral to human interaction with things outside the self; but digital tools and AI aren't that good at doing it yet. Human-curated hyperlinks and organizational methods are a step towards it, but perhaps this is an area for future IT development.

  2. @vega @kicks Vega I'm thinking about this "unlike things adjacent to each other" in the context of the Web 1.0 "free" banner exchanges. But now that I've blurted that out, I see too many downsides to it: keeping it from becoming commercial, cluttering up blogs with banner ads for poor click through ratios so never mind, too much work for to little gain. SImple hyperlink is easier and less intrusive.

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12 Jul 2019

@visakanv’s Bookmarks

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

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

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

A few thoughts:

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

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

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

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

I hope you’re getting some ideas now.

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

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

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

  1. @kicks Yup, at that scale it's a very useful tiny directory a/k/a linkpage and nicely done too. These are great aids to surfing the 'net.

  2. @kicks This is something I want to do! Although mine will be way bigger, and hopefully updated like a linkblog.

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25 Jun 2019

The Spartan Web

Href huntin’ by Andreas Zwinkau

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

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

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

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

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

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

  2. Reply: Pure HTML All Over Again

    vega

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

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

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

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

  3. @kicks @vega My original bibliography may qualify as a Spartan Website. I built it with a simple text editor that allowed me to easily paste in the standard tags for HTML 3.2 and then type the unique text for each book. I don't remember what that software was called. Then I would FTP the html files to the server at Netcom.com. I'm not sure whether that qualifies as hand-written or not. I certainly used a computer, that's for sure. I'm sure it has no Javascript, because I didn't know such a thing existed, ditto for CSS. But I don't know whether it fits the size limitation given and don't know how to tell. There are hundreds of html files, as each completed book entry has it's own file, but I'm sure they're all very small. The TOC page has an embedded search engine from Alta Vista, which of course no longer works. That was the most bleeding edge feature I had at the time, which I was quite proud of having implemented entirely on my own, just by reading Alta Vista instructions. I also fancied it up with a frames edition, but I don't think that's anything other than more html. I no longer recall how I did it. I built the original edition entirely by following the instructions in Laura Lemay's book, Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 3.2 in 14 Days, which I still have in my library. It has 1054 pages, weighs 5lbs 5 oz and extremely clear instructions. I don't recall any instance of not knowing what to do, after reading her descripton for any particular feature in html. It may have taken me more than 14 days, but I was in no hurry. I sure wish there was a book comparable to the Lemay book for micro.blog!! In those days, a reasonably intelligent person could build a very useful site, just by using that one Lemay book. Later I got another small book that told me how to add the color. The TOC page has a lot of link rot, but it's the only place where I dared to put in any external links. The rest of the entire bibliography uses only internal links, so it should all still be working, just like new. One day I will publish another one, but with well over 1,000 books, rather than the mere 544 books in the 1999 edition. Of course Google has been threatening to hide this site into obscurity for a long time now, as I have not converted it to SSL.

  4. @bradenslen Thanks, Brad, for a very comprehensive document! Near the end of reading it, I found it ironic that an effort to make the web robust had made me completely exhausted in reading a document which I am sure is correct, but turned out to be soooooo long that I did not succeed in making it to the end, having collapsed in the bit dust at my feet. But who am I to complain? My previous reply on this thread was far longer than most!

  5. @Ron To me the big takeaways were, she's telling other web developers that HTML is not broken and that it will keep on working on a website long after the JavaScript has gone belly up. And that you don't need all the JS with the massive bandwidth costs to make a webpage and convey information to your reader, just like you did with your bibliography. Ron your Dylan bibliography, written in ancient HTML 3.2 is still as rock solid today as it was when you wrote it. I really like that.

  6. @bradenslen Wow, I really like that too! Thanks for summing it up for me. 😃

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12 Jun 2019

Reply: Further Infostrats

Ton Zijlstra

I have noticed that the news-feed type stream of posts of all feeds together carries echoes of the allergy I built up for my endless FB and Twitter streams.

Ok, thank you—I am with you on this as well. It sounds like we might be in agreement that there is much innovation to do in the spectrum of ‘feeds’/‘filters’. I think I also agree that needing access to the full post contents is useful—otherwise we end up with titles dominating and our filter weighs toward attractive headlines.

Re: ‘heat maps’—I’m reluctant to give any thought to the popularity of a writing. Yet, there’s no doubt that it’s important. If people are congregating, it’s worth knowing what the fuss is about. (I found your wonderful essay through Indienews—and this is a case where checking there has made it all worth it.) But I don’t want the zeitgeist jerking me around all day—think of it as a literal “ghost of The Now” pushing me around—I just want to peek at it usually and then move on to reading those things that are being overlooked.

I’m not saying you are wrong to prize that higher for yourself—I think perhaps the most innovative thing that can be done is to provide a variety of views on this filter—maybe RSS readers have just been too narrow by making themselves simple ‘inbox’ clones. We are trying to wrangle a lot of data here; we might need something quite configurable to do this task. (Which is contrary to my own reader—which I have been designing to be extremely naive.)

This is getting away from the juiciest part of your article, though: that there are serious human skills to build up. Reading and filtering. (I like your tag: ‘infostrats’.) But your mention of ‘heat maps’, for instance, reveals that our tools can improve with respect to enhancing our ‘infostrats’. Thank you for the further thoughts, Ton!

UPDATE: Okay, after looking through your archives, I can see that this reply was hasty. It’s amusing to me that you actually cover much of this in your discussions about ‘small tech’. Your essays over the years are a formidable work. I find myself very much in agreement as I read!

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Reply: Feed Reading By Social Distance

Ton Zijlstra

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

Cripes! I think this is the best essay I’ve read on how to read the Web. I agree with all of it.

I am definitely going to read this article several times before properly responding to it. But this is insanely rich stuff. I completely agree with and recognize the entire filtering strategy as my own. Feeling some kinship there.

As for the feed reader, it’s even worse: my own prototype (Fraidycat) is very close to what you describe. I assign feeds ‘importance’ levels that are much like ‘social distance’—I’m trying to decide if that term nails it for me. I’m not sure yet! It’s a good one, though.

I think the one area where I am not sure is still having to deal with a ‘news feed’-type stream of posts in each of those folders—is that your ideal way of reading? I feel like it focuses too much on recency. I’ve been enjoying just seeing a pulse of recent activity and then needing to visit their site to actually take it in (and perhaps explore further).

I definitely feel like the ‘social distance’ thing has helped crystallize why I put certain people into different ‘importances’—and it’s not just because they are actually more ‘important’ (like: to the universe). Anyway, brilliant!!!

  1. No that’s not my ‘ideal’ way of reading, although it is a representation of the core concept that made blogs blogs, the reverse chronological order. Ideally I’d have ‘heat maps’ of activity in a network visualisation. The way you can spot on a public square where people are most engaged. Or other visualisations along those lines.

    For that reason I mostly leave the compilation of all feeds in my reader alone. What I do is I check in a folder which blogs have posted (in the earlier screenshots you see the author’s name and then a number, which is the number of unread posts). I click on the individual feeds I am curious about. Then I start working my way from the ‘closest’ folder to the ‘furthest’ in terms of social distance.

    For the start of actual reading, within a single blog’s feed, I am fine with the reverse chronological order, as most recent is an aspect of how I filter. Yet, it usually leads to reading on the source blog and then following links etc deeper into a site. I do need full post feeds though, I can’t stomach just having excerpts or not even that, which require me to click through just to see if it is worth a read. I use an offline reader on purpose.

    I have noticed that the news-feed type stream of posts of all feeds together carries echoes of the allergy I built up for my endless FB and Twitter streams.

    Replied to Feed Reading By Social Distance (Kicks Condor)

    I think the one area where I am not sure is still having to deal with a ‘news feed’-type stream of posts in each of those folders—is that your ideal way of reading?

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05 Jun 2019

Phil Gyford’s Blogroll

Extraordinarily simple, useful, sweet.

I’ve linked to Phil Gyford last year in the post Timeline of Things Phil’s Done, which I am happy to link to again, because I recently worked on a timeline of a friend’s life and used this as a starting point. Timelines are a rich, underused visual catalog for hypertext.

Phil has just added a blogroll to the same website. This seems uneventful, except that:

  • The design of the ‘writing’ section is fantastic—while completely minimal and faintly ‘brutalist’—am I close? If you are starting on a new blog, look at Phil’s. I’m all about aesthetics and colors—but it’s usually a far second place to organization.

  • And I must ask: do you have a blogroll? Google would prefer you not to. But it’s the smallest, most atomic tiny directory—akin to ‘little libraries’ you see on the roadside.

  • Every single one of these links works! This is a watershed moment in 2019.

Find someone new to read today. You might find a friend. You might read something that really changes you. The world might seem a little more alive again.

  1. I like this "A blogroll is the smallest, most atomic tiny directory—akin to ‘little libraries’ you see on the roadside."

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04 Jun 2019

2019.06: Href.Cool Updates

Dozens of new links, many from Imperica’s ‘web curios’ roundup.

Just as things had a big effect on me last month, such is the discovery of Imperica—particularly its ‘web curios’ posts, which are MASSIVE link roundups like you’ve never seen before. These are exhaustive and tremendously exciting. So, having now read back through the last several months of Imperica, let’s look at the effect on href.cool…

Added to Bodies/Inanimate:

  • Duracell on Instagram Blog 1m
    Some artsy design firm is doing their best with brown-and-gold batteries. (Via Imperica.) (Imperica has a finger on the pulse of Instagram—there is some cool shit happening there.)

A new category, Bodies/Primitive:

  • 507 Movements Page 1m
    Illustrations of five-hundred-and-seven different mechanical pulleys, gears, cogs combos. (Via Imperica.)

In Games/Dialogue:

  • Warp Door Blog 5m
    Not much commentary—just the very indiest of games. Homemade stuff everyday. (I’m REALLY getting into itch.io lately. It’s a “silo” type site but is cultivating a nice place I think.)

In Games/Imagined:

  • Eigengrau’s Generator Page 5m
    Generates random encounters and random persons, complete with backstories and pedigree. Written in Twine, surprisingly.

In Real/Alphanumerics:

  • from here to there Blog 1h
    See, a link like this is what makes the Alphanumerics category the best! I doubt many will visit this topic, because it’s quite modest. But Ian Paul Wright’s blog, lavish in its diagrams and munificent in its prose, is about as good as it gets when it comes to Marxist blogs—fun theories crossing math with philosophy. (Via h0p3.)

A new one for Real/Paced:

  • my mechanics Directory 1m
    Methodical videos of old machinery being oiled, cleaned and repainted. (Via Imperica.)

I’ve expanded the Web/Wiki page, by adding a note on h0p3’s Wiki, listing the various wikis branching out from his family.

To Stories/Paneled, an obvious link I neglected to add:

  • POKEY THE PENGUIN!! Page 1m
    One of the first comics I remeber seeing on the Web—back in the 90’s. Clearly made in MS Paint. Completing it is not a problem—there is a random generator that mashes unrelated frames together.

To Stories/Folkmeme:

An obvious omission from Stories/Poems:

  • "Ain’t Got No, I’ve Got Life" Video 5m
    Everything Nina Simone wrote just cuts right to the human that’s under our fucking layers of shellac. (If you like this, I think you’ll also like the first song off Tank & The Bangas’ set on Tiny Desk Concerts. It’s those root lyrics like: I’ve got a mouth and You are like a loop.)

Brilliant addition to Tapes/Classic:

  • The K-Mart Tapes Directory 5m
    A large collection of monthly cassettes: elevator music and hits that powered the K-Mart speakers through the 80’s and 90’s. This could be in Tapes/Vaporwave as source material. (Via Imperica.)

AND OF COURSE (to Visuals/Zines):

  • Nathalie Lawhead’s Electric Zine Maker (Beta) Page 5m
    Ok, THIS is what you need to make your own zine. This frantic, zany tool will draw you into making a paper zine. If you don’t have an idea—you will. Just crack it open and play. (By perennial favorite Nathalie Lawhead—she’s a huge influence on EVERYTHING I do.)

Forgot this one in Web/Participate:

  • Twine Page 5m
    Build interactive stories visually. Truly one of the best ways to teach an elementary-age child to write computer programs.

Also add a link to spoon.nagoya under the Real/Person topic. And a link to Neave.TV, alongside the unlisted YouTube video links.

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17 May 2019

things magazine

‘We’re the kind of haphazard store that’s run by a shopkeeper/hoarder who won’t necessarily sell you something if he doesn’t want to…’

Continuing the recent theme of Roundups, I couldn’t resist checking in with things magazine, which has been a rich source of wonderful linkdumps for nearly two decades. There is also a popular Tumblr attached and a print journal that predates the blog.

I make many efforts to contact folks doing good work, but often can’t get a reply. My blog is as underground as they get and I wonder if my e-mails or DMs ever go anywhere. I was so glad to have this conversation with J—and I still have many questions, so I hope our chats continue.

kicks: You’ve all been on the web since 2000. In a way, this isn’t that special—blogging exploded around this time. But you kept going. What keeps you blogging nineteen years later?

j: It’s a habit, as much as anything else (although the site is currently on one of its temporary hiatuses). One of the original motivations for things was as a store of interesting links that I could refer back to, relating to my interests and those of contributors to what was once a print magazine.

But our link style is quite obtuse and it doesn’t really work as a searchable archive. So it’s more of a collection of moods—both mine and the culture at large.

kicks: Ok, wait, go back—hiatus? Not sure what to make of that! Your post today, for example, is a mean one. A rich trove of links. That had to take some hunting. Overall, I feel like your writings this year have been quite regular.

j: Yes, today’s post was a bit of a surprise. I’ve been building up a collection of stuff these past few days. I had meant to stay away for longer. Maybe our conversation inspired me.

kicks: You recently (briefly) mentioned the disappearance of what was once a whole ‘blogosphere’, saying, “our own blogroll is home to many an abandoned project…”

Even the blogroll itself has disappeared out there. Why do you think that is? Perhaps because they became difficult to keep up? Perhaps there’s a sense that linking isn’t worth doing any more unless it’s as a ‘like’ or a ‘friend’?

j: There was definitely a circularity to early blogging, links that were shared and directions travelled together. One by one people have fallen by the wayside. I guess it’s all there in the Wayback Machine, but occasionally I find a ‘traditional’ style link blog that transcends the awful ‘like and subscribe’ ethos of today’s internet.

kicks: Mmm, ‘circularity’—yes, when you say this, I’m reminded of how certain links would dominate all the blogs simultaneously—like when The Grey Album came out. But I think ‘circularity’ applies also in describing the currents that were flowing between these blogs.

It was just easier to get caught up in hopping from blog to blog and finding dozens of fascinating links in a given day. And not just the links—the blogs themselves were often the most fascinating finds. (One blog I was really into at the time was Sharpeworld—a lot of transporting, campy videos and links.)

Actually, let’s do this—if you were to envision a new future for blogging, a kind of renaissance—what blogs (new or defunct) do you wish were at the heart of this?

j: I loved Sharpeworld too. And Haddock.org, diskant.net, ilike.org.uk, a.wholelottanothing.org, textism.com, slower.net, plasticbag.org and many more.

I don’t necessarily think there needs to be a new future for blogging though. The heyday has passed, that’s all. Most forms of creative expression in most mediums still exist somewhere for someone. They just have to adapt to a quieter world. I check our traffic most days, out of habit—it’s not terribly impressive by any standards and is on a long-term downward trend…

kicks: It seems like things has kept an eye on communities like MeFi, Delicious and Tumblr over the years. Reading through your blog, I was reminded of those years when mp3 blogs were exciting. These communities always seemed like little underground holes or out-of-the-way clubs. Even Tumblr and Blogspot felt that way, because blogs have a lot of individuality. Any new communities springing up that excite you?

j: Not so much Delicious, because I always felt a bit late to that party, but I’ve long loved MeFi (although that’s feeling a little rusty these days as well). Tumblr I have a lot of affection for, although I still haven’t really forgiven it for killing off fffffound. Communities have become necessarily more niche—a forum here, a forum there—but there’s nothing I’d consider sticking my head up above the parapet for.

kicks: You usually cover art—which still has an enormous presence on Tumblr and Twitter and such—but are ‘net.art’ type works dead? Perhaps this isn’t in your wheelhouse—are there still artists that work with hypertext or is that just the domain of designers now?

j: ‘Net.art’ was a diversion and still exists, but it feels like the interesting hypertext/digital work is coming out of graphic design these days, not fine art. Art has moved on, whereas the applied arts have a much greater sense and understanding of the power of nostalgia.

kicks: Do you mean like stuff you might find at CSS Design Awards? (Like, I think of Erik Bernacchi’s site or Lynn Fisher’s 2017 site.) I think I have a theory about this.

Which is: I think it’s so much tougher to be subversive with HTML now. Much of the original hypertext art messed with HTML frames and pop-up windows. I remember some of these sites spawning lots of little pop-up windows and orchestrating them. That would just never be possible today. Even autoplay and MIDI is restricted now.

j: In terms of art I take your point about it being tough to be subversive on the web—everyone’s online experiences are very tram-lined these days and any deviation from expected standards of usability are massively frowned upon—they’re either seen as offensive or even potentially dangerous so even the slightest hint of a browser or data hijack are right out the window. The stakes are much higher, I guess. Whatever, art moved on a while ago. The internet is a vessel but no longer a medium.

One of the ongoing motivations for things is the idea of mental as well as literal links, that sense of disparate things being related somehow, or a path leading somewhere. That was the big dream of hypertext, which was supposed to be a literary as well as an informational device.

The only place that still really works are sites like Wikipedia or TVTropes, where you still get that sense of burrowing down through layers and layers of information. I like this because it mirrors thought processes, and the way in which you have to mentally rewind to get back to where you started from. It drives me mad when publications add self-referential hyperlinks that simply send you around a closed loop.

Must check out TiddlyWiki…

kicks: things Magazine as a ‘personal store’ and a ‘habit’—these reasons for continuing have nothing to do with an audience. This is a very common theme among those that I find still hypertexting.

There is a growing number of TiddlyWiki users—like h0p3 at philosopher.life and Phil at youneedastereo.com, my friend sphygm.us—and it takes real work to sift through what they’re doing. They are dumping raw notes and drafts on the Web. In some way, I think this is related to the ‘obtuse’ linking style you use—dense, really requiring something of the reader.

Now that you are many years into your habit, how do you personally use this ‘store’?

j: Sadly it doesn’t really work like that. I never mastered the art of tagging stuff so the tools on the site are of limited use. There’s an archive page I built a decade ago when I knew how to do that sort of thing but it would be great to have some kind of random access button the front page. Right now, we’re the kind of haphazard store that’s run by a shopkeeper/hoarder who won’t necessarily sell you something if he doesn’t want to…

kicks: This is an amusing reply to me—I’m of two minds about seeing things as ‘haphazard’. It’s deceptive—the blog layout itself is quite the opposite—neat and crisp (and this is true of your Tumblr, too) and even a lot of the visuals that you snip are geometric. One’s perception immediately connects it with a museum or card catalog.

Yet, I see what you’re saying. You often will spill twenty different links in a paragraph, sometimes with very little assistance as to what is beneath that link. And I’ve seen posts where you dump a pile of random Tumblrs with short cryptic titles in a long run-on sentence. You switch topics mid-paragraph. A paragraph will go from a cohesive thought into a kind of, yes, ‘haphazard’ link poem.

To many of these TiddlyWiki users, the wiki acts as a model of themselves—not a straight download, of course, but a pretty thorough map of their thinking and personality. things is not this, perhaps more like a construct of Borges—where you have the external appearance of a literate, orderly castle which is much closer to a labyrinth of madness within. So, if this is my picture of things—how does this compare with your initial intentions for it? How does it compare with where you think it might end up as?

j: ‘Link Poem’ is a good description of what we do. things was always a work in progress, both as a magazine and then as a website. It has calcified slightly from its early days when we’d also post longer pieces by other people (they’re all buried there somewhere)—maybe that will one day return. There were never any intentions, save perhaps to boost the profile of the magazine and help sell copies (that didn’t work). Long term, I just don’t know.

  1. Reply: Things Interview

    Brad Enslen

    @kicks Great interview! I really like it when you do these.

    Yeah, well—love doing these. I have learned an enormous amount from these (and my conversations with you and Joe), despite the fact that almost everyone I’ve spoken to gives off an air of “there’s nothing to it.”

    Thanks for the encouragement, though. It’s always nice when someone takes the time to say what you just said. 😃

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

    Anonymous

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

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

    Hey! Are you still there?

  4. Reply: anon on the line

    Anonymous

    i sure am and always will.

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

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

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13 May 2019

2019.05: Href.Cool Updates

Eleven new additions, mostly to ‘Crimes’.

My recent re-discovery of Things Magazine (probably from one of you, don’t recall now) and my own readings on crime-related topics have yielded some links that need to be permanently hung onto.

A new category, Bodies/Food:

Added to Crimes/Simple:

  • Photo Requests from Solitary Page 5m
    This goes here until I have a Favors/Simple category. Even when a request hasn’t been filled, the form is fun to read and stirs up such compassion. (Via Things.)

Added to Crimes/Impossible:

  • Spring-heeled Jack Article 5m
    The impossible leaping skill of this urban legend (ripped from the penny dreadfuls of the Victorian age) had such a technological flare. Ah, the idea that an inventor-cobbler with a gas-powered dental retainer could inspire demonic fear. His attacks lasted a century! (Also at Wikipedia.)

  • The Garfield Phones Beach Mystery Article 1m
    Who was sending plastic Garfield telephones up the Iroise coast for 35 years?

To Crimes/Lies:

  • How Golf Explains Trump Article 1m

    Well, for a 72-year-old, he’d be a six. Six or seven. So he’s good. He’s a good player. He’s among our best presidents ever to play golf. But he wants the world to think he’s fantastic.

    I think the best lies are the ones we all get to be in on.

Added to Tapes/Classic:

  • Broadcast Megaguide (by shadowplay) Directory 5m
    I love Broadcast. The first time I saw them/her, it was exactly like being in a vintage Star Trek episode, but with fantastic drums. I also love Stereolab—so this entire directory of offshoots and distant cousins is rich.

Added to Visuals/Film:

In Web/Meta:

And a new one for Web/Participate:

  • 1MB
    One megabyte (with only minor strings attached) to host anything you want, includes secure HTTP. If you want to go up to one gig, it’s a mere $100 for life. (See also: Neocities.)
  1. I got to the cube rule via Andy Baio, who also linked to soup-salad-sandwich-space. It is my duty, however, to point out that to a real topologist, there are only four foods, not six.

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09 May 2019
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.

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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.

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  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!

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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.

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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.

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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. ↩︎

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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 🙂

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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….

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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!

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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!

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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.

  4. @kicks I suppose unread counts don't matter to me because I just log in whenever I feel like it. Same goes with email actually.

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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.

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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.

  7. @kicks I suppose unread counts don't matter to me because I just log in whenever I feel like it. Same goes with email actually.

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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.)

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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.)

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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... :)

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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!

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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.

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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.




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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

surfpals: things by j, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek), 'web curios' at imperica.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. jacky.wtf, fogknife, tiv.today, 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.