Kicks Condor

#diligence

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.

07 Aug 2019

Wikipedia on Dat Is Looking Sweet

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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05 Jun 2019

Reply: Curse of the Garden Isle

Jason McIntosh

Two years ago I played, enjoyed, and wrote about John Baker’s all-but-forgotten John’s Fire Witch. And last summer, I had the pleasure to play Ryan Veeder’s Curse of the Garden Isle within days of its release. In the year since, I realized I’ve mentioned the game again and again in different contexts to friends and colleagues as a wonderfully accessible and rewarding example of modern parser-based interactive fiction, a real stand-out work. And yet, I have seen essentially no other mention of it online, not even within dedicated IF discussion spaces. Let me try to help rectify this, examining why I find it a quiet exemplar of the form.

This review coaxed me to start playing the game.

I really appreciate this review! I’ve kept myself quarantined to mostly Twine-style clicker fiction—though I’ve sampled stuff like “Everybody Dies” and “Lost Pig”. But this review got me really intrigued, so I’ve started playing Curse. I’ve found it very simple to get into.

I like that you can type anything you want for the first few scenes and you gradually work your way into the story. Wresting the parser is (I’m sure) always an accessibility problem you deal with in IFTF, yes?

[A] very minor but still noteworthy facet of its in-browser presentation: the static text that appears around the main gameplay pane, linking permanently to helpful resources (including that Googel map), and in particular the text parser tips displayed in the lower left margin. Its just a short bullet-list of the most common parser IF commands, readable in a few seconds. But thats the thing: I cant think of another modern parser game with a browser-play mode that bothers to offer a tiny cheat-sheet like this, even though many might link to longer-winded how to play IF guides.

So I made the poor decision to start playing on a phone while I was waiting somewhere—and it worked great! I was kind of relieved that the game didn’t use Parchment or some standard theme—just because I like that it has its own look. (Although it seems that most highly-rated interactive fiction does this.)

Also, having been to that island before, it was nice to know the rough directions and envision the map mentally while I played. I’ve never experienced that before—it helped me stay aware of where I was without any effort.

Anyways—I also like that your IF reviews are tagged. I’m going to keep an eye on this tag and post further on /en/games when I finish Curse.

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27 Mar 2019

Fast FVP

The ‘hot and ready’ style of checklisting.

I am not generally interested in time-management or productivity systems—because I enjoy being such a mess—but this is a case where my study of algorithms kicks in. The Fast FVP system—formerly the Final Version Perfected, previously Final Version, née AutoFocus—is an algorithm by Mark Forster for determining what to work on, given a large list of tasks. (However, since none of those names are descriptive, I think of it as the ‘hot and ready’ system, when I explain it to someone.)

It is based on the question: “What do I want to do more than X?”

The algorithm looks like this:

  1. Put a dot next to the first item on the checklist.
    • That item is now X.
  2. Ask: Am I ready to do X now?
    • If so, you’re done: stop and do it.
  3. Ask: What do I want to do more than X?
    • Scan the list until you encounter a subsequent item which is more appealing.
    • Dot the item. It is now X.
    • Go to step 2.

And then, of course, you come back to the list later and cross off a completed item (re-adding it to the bottom of the list if you have remaining work to do on it) and run the algorithm again.

As mentioned, the development of the algorithm has gone through several variations. This reminds me very much of the recent trend to discover better hashing methods[1] and even extending to things like PageRank or YouTube’s curation algorithms.

What I like about Mark Forster’s approach is that he took the existing algorithms (many involving day planners or things like the GTD processing flowchart) and simplified the algorithm down to its bare essentials, never straying from its core emphasis: ‘psychological readiness’.

This is where FVP really enters new dimensions. By using a pre-selection process, the brain is softened up towards the selected tasks. But this isn’t all. The selection process is based on what you want to do. This colours the whole preselected list so that even tasks which seem like chores get affected.

It seems that, once simplified (made primitive?), an algorithm can then be played with, to try to reconfigure its simple pieces to align it closer to the ideals behind it. I make note of this approach so that it can be applied to the algorithms I (or we) are working on curate links or to orchestrate a crawler.

I also like that this is an algorithm designed for human software. While I sometimes use ‘recipes’ or manual processes as an analogy for algorithms, I like that this one is entirely mental/psychological—it seems perhaps unique in that regard. It is designed to be ‘loaded’[2].


  1. Such as recent developments like XXH3 and HighwayHash. ↩︎

  2. In fact, in the link above, the author simplifies Fast FVP down to the phrase: Ready? More? As if it were code. ↩︎

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26 Oct 2018

Reply: Refreshing Essays

Eli Mellen

In this way, I think blogs are a whole lot like essays:

Of all forms of literature, however, the essay is the one which least calls for the use of long words. The principle which controls it is simply that it should give pleasure; the desire which impels us when we take it from the shelf is simply to receive pleasure. Everything in an essay must be subdued to that end. It should lay us under a spell with its first word, and we should only wake, refreshed, with its last.

– Virginia Woolf, The modern essay

Boy, yes yes, lots of good things in there. I wholeheartedly agree.

Literal truth-telling and finding fault with a culprit for his good are out of place in an essay, where everything should be for our good and rather for eternity than for the March number of the Fortnightly Review.

I will need to read back on this several times to know what she means. She’s not saying that criticism is out of place—she engages in it the very paragraph next. (Although I confess that I am tiring of the constant flow of cultural critique. There has to be more than just that to an essay.)

I think writing for ‘eternity not just March’ could be an expression that stays with me.

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09 Sep 2018

How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think

I am not linking to this so that you can make a complete map of every thought you think necessarily. I think this is an inspiring personal infobio or something. ✤ h0p3 has some news on this fellow!

This is a 100-or-so pages about how to put everything in your head into notebooks—this is an old link I have been searching out for a few years—its link changed and I couldn’t remember the name of it.

Anyway, the author has a very peculiar (remarkable?) system here that requires those four-color ballpoint pens that you can click to get different colors. In fact, he says to buy three of them.

You need one to carry with you, you need one for backup, placed in a trusted place, and you need one to be a backup to the backup. YES, you really need this. If you are wasting time looking for a pen that you lost, you are just wasting time. The pen will come back. In the mean time, you need to write, so you’ve got to fetch your backup. You have a backup to the backup. If you have ready access to a store, you need to buy another pen, should you not find your first pen by then.

It seems like you also don’t want to store the three pens together, because you REALLY cannot lose them all in one go. It seems like you really might need ten—one in your car/bike, one in your desk, no, two in your desk, one under the front mat, one in the junk drawer, one in the pen cup, one on the nightstand for sure, I had eight more places, what were they.

This is also a document that kind of sits in an interesting place wrt Indieweb, wikis—it mentions Ted Nelson’s Xanadu as inspiration, which has become an important namedrop in redecentralized web convos. What’s more he makes a very salient point related to web directories, library work—all the things I dabble in also—

Thinking about Information Architecture will be EXTREMELY important to society in the future. All these programmers wondering, ”Why aren’t we reusing each others components?” Yes, very significantly, our languages and practices are limiting us. Quite severly. But even if we had the best reuse languages mechanisms and what not, we STILL need it to be easier to figure out what other people have written. The RETRIEVAL problem is MASSIVE.

His name for it is: Public Field Technologies. But I can find no other reference to it.

UPDATE: h0p3 found the guy!

It’s interesting—I have been very wtf about h0p3’s ‘Gentle Clearnet Doxxing’ policy, where he posts the ‘private’ details of a person—their address, phone number and so on. But, this is quite incredible—he SMS’d Lion Kimbro and got a call back:

h0p3: Hey. I read your book recently. I was blown away by it. I’ve been working on my wiki (https://philosopher.life/) for a couple years. I was hoping to have the chance to learn about how you think about the problem and what you practice these many years later.

kimbro: What a creative and itneresting idea– a Groundhog’s Day Dungeons and Dragons adventure …!

I look forward to talking with you. Can we make a time?

h0p3: Yes! anytime is good for me

Instantly called me. Cool.


We talked a bit on the phone. He told me about his adventures into the world, traveling to understand visionary communities. I’ve seen some of those breadcrumbs while looking into him. He’s definitely searching for community. He’s not a luddite, but he has moved offline (although, he clearly still uses the internet…he’s just building something else). He did not want to be associated with contemplative living. Honestly, he’s got that cultic charisma, no doubt.

This strategy is connecting people. It’s triggering a major rethink. Crontab of the mind LOADED UP.

  1. @kicks Interesting concept. But I'm really replying to say I love your site. That is one unique looking set up you're using. Completely against the current minimalist ethos, but I like it!

  2. Reply: Against the Ethos

    What an encouraging thing to say—thankyou for taking the time to say it. I am definitely trying to go against minimalism (and mutedness)! However, I also feel like I’m exercising a lot of restraint—this still feels quite tame. (Also looking forward to Halloween—the world’s transformation.)

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26 Jul 2018

Reply: Hello, Nomad!

h0p3

It’s important to form accurate representations of yourself even if only for yourself. To do it in public is morally valuable because deconstructing and constructing yourself out in the open casts some sunlight on the process (keeping us out of temptation, in some cases).

I like that other people can get a very palpable view of who I am through my site (if they wish to invest the time). If you really want to know who I am, you can know (it’s been a very useful tool in my life).

Ok, here we go. Hello my friend.

It is a real surprise to get a note from you. Frankly, I’m blown away by what you’re doing—and I felt that you were deeply embedded somewhere in your wiki, not exactly reaching out to pass notes. But I’m so glad.

The representation you’ve chosen for yourself is no illusion. If all I see of someone is pictures and quips, the image of that person is just a bit of shattered glass. But one thousand words cannot lie. They may be untrue, but they divulge so many more triangles to build that person with.

I am reluctant to say that even a verbose persona can ever be accurate, though. We start to believe that these pixels are us. I think they are just a good show. We are always in public here. And our souls know it.

I do look forward to the good show you have going. (Likewise: to you out there reading—hark, reader!—we are looking for you. Please read h0p3’s Find the Others as proof.)

I like what you are doing; my quest differs. I’m not looking for an ennobled species of thinker. I don’t want to avoid the unsavories. I am looking for Anyone. This is not right—there are plenty of Anyone’s around, aren’t there? Well, I am wanting to fall into fate, rather than to find only my most meaningful bosom friend. I want to travel down the river and stop at all the places that happen to be there along the way. And maybe a friend will crop up. Strange things, images and tales, too.

I am sold on it myself. I know I can communicate who I am, what I’m thinking, etc. with very low friction on my own medium-turf. My message integrates well into my identity when I use my own tools.

Yes, well, this is quite stunning actually. There is a sense on your wiki of a full use of hypertext that I haven’t seen before. It is the complexity of your organization and nomenclature. It is somehow still inviting. You have made a journal that is a vast puzzle.

I have been working, privately, on a directory of the web from a certain vantage. (I don’t know that my role is to journal; more, to explore out there.) And I think the real key that has been missing—from directories, wikis and engines—is artistry. To make it beautiful and elegant. Your work is a brilliant stone in that respect. Anyway, (hark, reader,) I’ll stop there.

Well, this will be fruitful. Feel no pressure to find some technology to make a connection with me. Climb down. We can link just fine.

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01 May 2018

The World of JSON Exposed

An incredibly thorough review of JSON specifications and parsers. Fantastic criticism of the RFC, but beyond that: the benchmarking and concise bug hunting here is something every parser project should count themselves lucky to have.

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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.