Kicks Condor

LEECHING AND LINKING IN THE HYPERTEXT KINGDOM

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

PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

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

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

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

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

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. 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.

#hypertext

THE WEB IN ALL ITS FORMS

Yeah, so, this is the primary tag that I use throughout this site. Anything tagged ‘hypertext’ refers to the Web: unique personal blogs and home pages and wikis, where modern hypertext is going, surviving the Internet and searching or organizing or creating hypertext. (The other primary tags are: garage and elementary.

Common tags beneath this one are:

  • linking: Discussion about mere ‘linking’—that direct linking suffices for ‘liking’/‘friending’/‘upvoting’, that Google has hindered it with its heuristic, and that I like TO DO IT.

  • catalog: How to catalog links and hypertext for yourself and others. Lots of discussion about link directories and wikis.

  • chain: Managing chains of links and conversations through hypertext.

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.)

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Reply: We Are All Animals

Sphygmus

Perhaps this is it: these visceral qualia form the most intense and common language between us all.

Boy, these letters you and h0p3 write—I feel such tension. On one hand, it’s really good to discover you and to write these almost old-fashioned personal letters that reach out with an arm and wriggle around and attempt to find some crack in the sentences where some potent, pungent piece of us can seep through. I have had so many e-mail chains and letter correspondence that went poorly—I had given up on personal writing.

I still feel anxious that I might not reciprocate well—or that what seeps out might be too very pungent. You might laugh awkwardly at that shocking smell and let it pass. Or you might produce a gaping horror on your face. You might go away—and here’s more tension, why would I need you? Why would I care if you needed to go your way? (Well, obviously, I don’t want to insult you. I want to try to enjoy what letters we do write while we are fortunate to be riding the same network packets.)

Perhaps the biggest tension is anonymity. I don’t know if I ever dare to shed it. I had hoped for such a comfortable place to be just a mere character. I like being my real identity here and there—just for moments, at times. But I want to be other people, too. To be dozens of them! (Here I am, pretending to be “Kicks”, but is it not “myself” that is talking here? Or is this just another Narrator meta-character, who is allowed to stay aloof and detached from all these faces?)

But I feel from our discussions: Who are you really? And: Let’s see each other plainly, let’s know each other well. This does make me wonder. Who am I really? (I think you ask yourself this question, too, in reading your old journals. Whoever was I?)

Of course I’ve followed along—in fact, straight off, I’ve wanted to talk to you about Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (etc.) and Shards of Infinity, because they’ve been favorites of mine, too. I am really into card games—and Ascension is one of the most divisive games I’ve played—the art, the theme, the way it’s played. (There’s a card in the first set that some friends call ‘racist dog’—don’t remember the exact name, but perhaps you’ve also noticed that you can see the lined paper in the background on some of the images from that set.) But I really enjoy the wild style of the art—I’m not sure it’s my favorite, but I get a kick out of it. Some of the art I just cannot understand, other cards I just adore—there’s a card with a kind of scuba guy on it that I think is amazing. I just love that the art stirs me up.

My favorite expansion was Storm of Souls, because the combos felt out-of-control at the time. But I’ve liked all of it. When it comes to games, I’m not a critic.

I think what you’re doing with your wiki is amazing! I’m not going to try to be poetic about it; I just want to gush openly. That you are finding your own ways to riff on h0p3’s work—it’s not a carbon copy—you’ve had a glimpse of futuristic sight-seeing that is guiding you, that’s what I really think.

It’s as if you’ve spread a giant sheet of graph paper before you on the floor—and have begun to box and triangulate your aspects, to map out yourself. And, to anyone watching (and why would they watch? well, hell, if I saw someone mapping out on a giant self-o-graph in the campus quad, I think I’d stop to see) they’ll see the places where they map onto you, or where their points go near or interweave. You have your own handwriting and flourishes of decorative arrows and bullets. And those discoveries made in the mundane and detailed, knotty parts of the graph could be surprising—these lines are all pathways of experience. Who knows which are the most vaunted.

I am often told, “I cannot imagine what X must be feeling, what X must endure.” (Where X is the epicenter of my pain. This person X is the epicenter, not me. I am given the luxury of crying. My effort is often to simply control my crying; X must spend the effort just to stay alive.)

“I cannot imagine…” But you must imagine. How can you not imagine? To imagine—that is the first step. To imagine that it is you and your life. To try to understand—which, incidentally, is exactly how you two have both reacted, to project the bare, vague, scattershot feelings of my heart—without even knowing the specifics—on to your life and into your imagined experience. And you both responded by wanting me to understand you, too—I like this, this is great, you think me capable of it.

So this is the graph paper, right? And we walk down whatever lines we want to. And some lines we just have to. The mazeway.

As we read the words of Others, our bodies respond with the knowledge and recognition of our deep wounds, our brokenness, our despondence, our faith, our hopes, our excitement; all of our being resonates together.

I am so jealous of the footnotes you both have. I am only setup for numeric kinds. Yours are like little secrets and ciphers. Sometimes I can tell what the letters mean—and it is like moth language coming through, too.

Public drafting is also working out very well. It’s strange that I get a more tri-dimensional sense of what the finish letter might mean. You’d think that the draft would only be full of imperfections. But it is its own model.

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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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14 Jan 2019

Reply: Blind Person-Tagging

Chris Aldrich

I’ve never quite liked that Twitter uses @names highlighted within posts. All the additional cruft in Twitter like the “@” and “#” prefixes, while adding useful functionality, have always dramatically decreased the readability and enjoyment of their interface for me. So why not just get rid of them?!

I’m getting a lot out of these ruminations you’re doing about links as notifications. For me, I think I’m going to include a ‘cc’ bit of post metadata, much like I already have ‘via’ metadata, to advertise the original source for a bit of hypertext. Cool idea.

The idea of a ‘bcc’ is even more interesting—it isn’t possible to have secret recipients listed in the HTML. They would need to be encrypted or something. E-mail actually removes the ‘Bcc’ header for recipients. I put this in the same category as encrypted private posts—very tricky to fit into the Indieweb and possibly just wrong for it.

So, I think person-tagging encompasses all of the normal e-mail send actions:

  • Direct reply. The text is meant for that individual to read. It’s important to show the person-tag, because it is important context.

  • Cc. The text is relevant to the individual and it’s relevant to show the person-tag to all readers.

  • Bcc. The text is relevant to the individual, but their connect to it is meant to be private.

And there seem to be other connections beyond these:

  • Mentions. The individual is a subject of the text. While they might be notified of this, it is more important that readers see the connection.

  • Unlinked mentions…? What if you had an individual who was the subject of the text, but you didn’t want to notify them? You may want to include an unlinked @boffosocko, to refer to someone without summoning them. But—what if you wanted to link readers to the person without notifying them?

  • Group syndication. All of the above actions could be used for a group URL (such as IndieNews or Indieweb.xyz) as an alias for a group of individuals. This is similar to a mailing list e-mail address.

It feels like there might be much more than this.

I do see the purpose of these “@” and “#” prefixes—as a type of miniature language for simplifying linking. However, there is no distinction between ‘reply’, ‘cc’ and ‘bcc’ with the “@” prefix. (Micro.blog has a problem—or, at least it did a few months ago—if you send a Webmention to a micro.blog username, it prefixes the post with an @-mention, even if you’re only mentioning them in the post. This is confusing, because the post may not be a direct reply, but it ends up looking like it.)

I do think Indieweb blog software could improve on these by letting you type shortcut prefixes for ‘reply’, ‘cc’, ‘mention’, etc. types of person-tagging—and then turning them into just normal links or post metadata, rather than keeping the prefixes in there. (I think Facebook does this.)

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12 Jan 2019

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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Reply: Wandering the Infinite Extremes

h0p3

I’m glad to have the chance to engage in this. I am pretty goddamned worried I’m going to offend him right here.

I felt very worried about this, too, while I was working on my page for you. I was teasing you, of course. And that can feel like all the respect I might have is discarded for cheap sarcasm.

However, I think relationships need to be tested to see what they can withstand—one of the ‘teases’ on that page is that I paint you as having this overly analytical sense of humor and I take a shot at autism. This is pretty cruel! But your sense of humor is not really that way at all—your sense of humor is completely transgressive and degenerate—it’s fantastic—and part of your great work is in perpetually nailing up these new self-portraits of yourself that are ridiculous and grotesque—the jester in the almighty courts—though I think you see your inner self as very noble and refined, in a way. My writing this effacing page of you is simply the act of doing your work for you. You do this to yourself anyway on any given day—I am just joining you for once.

So I’m glad it gave you a laugh for a moment—I don’t think you’ve said anything remotely offensive to me, which is pretty disappointing. I would think that you of all people could pull it off and I’d like to see you try. My fear is that I’ve not revealed enough of myself for you to hang on to—so it may take some time for you to discover that I am a grotesque in a completely different form: I am an emotional wreck, crying and pleading day after day, a small and insignificant creature in my real form—weak and crushable like Gandalf’s little moth buddy that flits around in the chaos, whisphering insignificant greetings.

One of things which is beautifully striking about your absurdly flattering hypertext object is that you accept me as your retarded brother (all of my family do me a great kindness in this) that sometimes has a good point to make (even if this bastard takes fucking forever to say it to you).

Hahhaha! My God—it’s so much funnier when you mock yourself than when I do. I do accept you as my retarded brother!! Can I be yours as well? I am not as retarded as you are, of course, but I will try to be! I am daftly sucking the collar of my lime t-shirt as we speak. I am fully wetting it, brother.

Yet, I would like to extend my trust to you further at no cost to or expectation of you.

(Since I am responding to a draft, I am just hanging on to this sentence in case it disappears. It’s just wonderful. It reminds me of a travelling salesman—my Trust, the whole Caboodle, the brushes, the Extension Arm for the trust and the fur-lined Encasement—all at no additional cost. All I ask is that you do nothing. Don’t move a muscle.)

I would like to send my cards to an address (which will not be disclosed on this wiki) of your choosing (I can also just send you the digital copies).

I am not to this point yet. This is probably a bit awkward to navigate—let me just say that I don’t see my correspondence with you as a short-term whim. It is a long game. We have a lot of years ahead of us to find out why the hell we’re talking to each other and what the Fuck is going on.

You can ask and say anything—I think it’s amazing that you would want to pass cards, converse and possibly make chat logs together. But this blog is not me quite yet. I am emerging from two years of great sorrow and struggle. I am trying to find my way—not through depression, but just through grief. “Kicks” is my prototype for this self that could survive.

I am building him and you’re helping me greatly. Hopefully he will appear in more realistic and fully-fledged forms. I am not catfishing; I am just trying to have fun again. I think it’s working.

One thing I have to tell you about autism. I had this second-grade student named Ethan. One day I took the desks out of the classroom and put down yoga mats instead for the day. The kids came in and got comfortable on the floor, except Ethan who leaned against the wall, eating a Tootsie Pop. He was a big kid with a flat top and bushy eyebrows.

Many of the kids were complaining about Ethan not sitting and eating candy in class.

“I get to have this,” he said. “Ms. Principal said so. I have a ticket in my pocket to prove it. And I have to stand up, I can’t sit down.”

“Oh, wow,” I said. “You have to stand up? You’re going to stand up all day?”

“Look, I have autism,” he said. “Yeah, that’s right! And I have it pretty bad right now. Ms. Principal said I could have this sucker. I have the ticket and everything.”

The kids go into uproar. “Ms. Principal didn’t say he could have a sucker! She never lets us have candy in class! He’s lying!”

“Okay, look class, leave him alone, he has autism, at least for today,” I said. “Ethan, will it last into tomorrow?”

“I have autism,” he said, shrugging, motioning with his sucker. “I really get it bad sometimes.” His whole body language was like, “What can any of us do about it? We just have to deal, ok?”

It was a good day. He got to stand up and enjoy the sucker like he wanted. And the rest of us had a lot of fun reminding him that he had autism that day. He was, honestly, the least autistic person I think I’ve ever met.

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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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Reply: Ping from Joe

Joe Jenett

Just an fyi – I pinged your reply article again (with the iwebthings post permalink) as an additional test for webmentions sent from iwebthings.

Yeah, received those. Just hadn’t found time to catch up on reading and moderate here.

I’m afraid it was a misstatement. These two things are equally important to me.

This makes sense. I want to expand further on the purpose of certain kinds of linking—partially in response to Chris Aldrich’s addition to our conversation. Hopefully I’ll make time this weekend.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions in detail. It’s been a great help to me to watch you work. Your sites are looking and functioning well—and the links you are passing out are of exceptional quality.

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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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18 Dec 2018

Reply: Joe Reading h0p3

Joe Jenett

I’ve been exploring ⦗h0p3’s Wiki⦘ – amazing.

Cool! I’d be interested to hear more of your reaction. At first, I thought it was kind of a novelty—like a quirky little website, no big deal.

But I’m starting to think it’s a big deal! He solves a lot of his technical issues by simply coming up with human conventions to solve them. Rather than waiting for his wiki to become compatible with Reddit, he just copies and pastes his conversations from there. Rather than trying to setup a group or a forum to communicate between his readers—he just copies and pastes their e-mails, voila—they are suddenly reading each other!

Most importantly, he doesn’t rely on an algorithm to sift through his communication. He just reads—in true human form—and writes back in detail. And readers are expected to do the same. There are no ‘popular’ posts that people are reading or ‘hot’ posts that are stimulating conversation—you just have to dig around.

I also think he’s successfully merged microblogging, linkposting, ephemeral notetaking with the creation of a larger body of work—which all stems from his central lexicon that he’s working to define. It’s very inspiring to read h0p3 and then to think, “Hmm, if I put this kind of work into my own thoughts—how would it look?”

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My Url Is Jgregorymcverry.com

“Be your own social network.”

Very good podcast with Greg McVerry. Off the bat:

The idea of blogging on my own domain and switching was part of my own growth. Whereas I think I—you know, you start on—everybody starts on some kind of scaffolded platform. Very few people just jump into HTML or build a, you know, CMS. They start on some kind of shared host. And that used to be blogging.

I have also been thinking that a domain gives you some resiliency against impersonation. If a Twitter user has a name close enough to mine and uses my same avatar, they can really come off as me. But mimicking my own domain and styling is a steeper barrier.

I also like the term ‘scaffolded platform’—which rings of Vygotsky rather than marketspeak—and I think it is far more interesting to think of innovating our scaffolded platforms rather than our social networks.

He also has some comments about how his online community, that of educators talking to and writing to each other, started trying to build things with RSS and blogs—but that it was a struggle until Known[1] spread, and Wordpress with Indieweb support spread, among his group.

He touches on RSS later in the discussion:

I think ‘mass follow’ feeds have like: it leaves a problem, it’s like, I just literally deleted my entire RSS feed after, what, like fifteen years I’ve been using it. Just because it got so broken with copying this OPML file and this file and this blog going like—I never groomed it. I’m a bad tagger, categorizer. I’m not good at, like, putting things away.

Greg goes on with an idea of a ‘reader’ which catalogs any blog that he makes a ‘follow’ post about. And it just adds them to his ‘network’.

I feel similar pain—I want to keep track of a lot more blogs and wikis than I actually have time for. I just wish I had a kind of dashboard that would show me an overview of what all the sites I read have been up to—and it would prioritize those sites that I am keeping a very close eye on—and it would just give me direct links to those blogs so that I could get around my network easier. I just don’t care for RSS—I like what it’s trying to do, but it’s not doing it for me.

Near the end, he also points out the friction between privacy and the Indieweb[2]:

Private groups: that is, like, the—that is—that’s the cash cow—I won’t say ‘cash cow’ as in ‘moneymaker’—but like, that’s always been the long-term goal. I don’t know if you’ve read Hertling’s Kill Process, but that idea of the Indieweb needing private posting—like the semi-private posting […] there’s something there.

It’s weird, but I really agree with this! I say ‘weird’ because part of me just wants to give up on privacy on the Web—maybe we just have to accept that everything is private. But this sucks—there are many private thoughts and nascent ideas that I want to store here, to collaborate on in the shadows. If the ‘blog’/‘wiki’ can be a ‘home’—then it needs its hiding places, its private gathering rooms. (And it does have these—just not on blogs, generally.)

I’ve been thinking about taking a stab at this with Indieweb.xyz. Greg mentions using h-cards to accomplish this. And his idea can certainly work and I would like to see it happen. But I may not want my whole blog to go private—I also envision myself posting some things to private groups, some things to public groups, some things that are general public musings. And I think Indieweb.xyz works well for this—you add the link to your post and that post goes to that group.

What I think I will add is encryption. So, basically, you could create a ‘sub’ that is a whitelist—you add blogs or wikis to the ‘sub’ individually. If the ‘sub’ is marked private, those blogs or wikis will need to login with IndieAuth to get a key to read the posts. The hard part would be encrypting the post on the blog itself—you’d need an extension or a separate tool for that.

The nice thing is that a static blog could suddenly support private groups without much trouble. (And, in fact, the static blog software could store the unencrypted posts locally—much like an e-mail reader keeps a local database of fetched e-mail—so that the posts could be backed up for the author, in case the key ever got lost.)


  1. Known, a blogging platform which connects with the Indieweb. ↩︎

  2. Another sore spot in the Wars of Conflicting Webs. ↩︎

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14 Dec 2018

Unlisted Videos

Huh: search engine that peeks through the cracks.

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

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

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Reply: Don’s Zatoichi Sketch

His Wordpress blog gets Webmentions.

This is mostly a test comment. Mostly just saying hello!

But I also need to watch some of these films. I put off watching Beat Takeshi, instead going for the films of Katsuhito Ishii and stuff like Happiness of the Katakuris and Survive Style 5+. Need to at least watch this one, though.

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Reply: The Web Finally Feels New Again

Joe Jenett

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

(Joe’s full article is here.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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11 Dec 2018

Reply: S & K: Root

h0p3

Tell me how I’m being an idiot like only good friends can, please (you may already be doing so, and I ask you to forgive my ignorance as I come to grips with it). It is possible that I’m not making ridiculous mistakes here, but I am aware that is unlikely. I beg for your advice and wisdom in constructing this; I also recognize I may be reinventing the wheel, poorly. Perhaps I have misunderstood how to accomplish my goal. What is your opinion? What should I be clearer about? Where is this failing? What should I do instead? I am not asking you to build anything; I’m asking you to check my work and tell me if my building plans are stupid (because they might be). You may be wondering: “what is the purpose of this?” like I’m being too paranoid, inefficient, or insane. Perhaps this is incoherent, and I ask you to feel at liberty to say it.

Hate to say this, brother—but I actually think I follow your diagram, hahah—I mean what can I say, it’s terribly complex, but sometimes these things have to be. Yeah and like you say: Rube Goldberg. I say go for the madcap every time. If I tried to diagram my structure in dashes-and-pipes, it’d be like that, too, actually. Ten layers of tooling. Salud.

You seem quite good at stepping back and asking what the hell you’re doing. I’m going to keep a close eye on all of this, because I think the moment will come when we can bridge Indieweb and your world. It actually won’t offer you much—I think it’ll just automatic copy-and-paste is all. Depends on your feelings about syndication—seems like we both have complicated feelings about RSS. Which, to me, makes it a ripe topic.

As I have tried to say to both of you, I’m very interested in hardcoding my links. I want hardlinks statically sitting in a tiddler rather than some filterlist rendering upon opening a tiddler. The recursion problem is so serious for javascript that it cannot be performant enough to enable me to rely upon anything other than significant hardlinking. I think Bob may be the key to enabling hardcoding in a way that I can do.

Oh, I agree with you—I do the same thing on my site. I don’t ever use a query (filterlist)—I always hardcode links. It’s too important to lay it out right. It also forces me to limit the amount of meta-pages I have. I think they have to be used judiciously because people aren’t going to wade through a whole lot of meta. Those kind of automatic pages always lead to bland, repetitive layouts.

It’s evident that you hand-build your pages and they are 10x more appealing as a result (e.g. your link logs are ace).

My goal is to construct a signed wiki (and snapshots) that I can distribute however I need. I desperately aim not to centralize the distribution process any more than is necessary or reasonable low-hanging fruit (perhaps that will change). The fact is that I want to tie this wiki to my commandline to accomplish certain tasks, and that means Bob is absolutely critical (for keeping it real-time). I still want to produce a single html file to maintain whatever distribution model I see fit, but that is very doable for me now, I believe.

This is sweet—I am trying to do a lot of the same things. In fact, I’ve just got things working so that I can post from different machines at last. I’m going to end up very close to the top-half of your diagram: all my posts and layouts get checked in to Git, but I still need to do a bit of work on my outputs to Dat and single-file HTML.

You have any other pointed questions—weak points you’re worried about?

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Reply: Don’s Upgrade

Don MacDonald

I’m thinking to set up webmentions on my site (wordpress). Does anyone have know of some good documentation for doing so?

Looks like your theme is probably compatible—hard to say until you install and we try some posts back and forth. I don’t know Wordpress at all, but I can help fix the theme up. It honestly looks really close, so it should just be minor tweaks. The theme is definitely too good to lose.

  1. @kicks Thank you for saying so! OK, I have enabled webmentions, and they appear to be working appearing below the posts…how should we test?

  2. @bradenslen Thank you!! Yes, it appears to work, although I wonder how I can tweak the default text to be less confusing. It would be good if it just said “This article was mentioned on ramblinggit.com” without the “Don MacDonald says:” part. I'm guessing that's there as the webmention is being treated like a comment?

  3. @donmacdonald That was the title of my post. I should have changed it. If I had titled my post "Check out this great drawing" that's what would be there. Which would make sense. Sorry I was rushing. I think it will work well as is because most people will make up their own title. In any event you are in business and it looks good.

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Reply: The Preserve of IRL

Hi, Neil—good to hear from you.

Can you expand on what you mean? It seems like you’re suggesting that maybe IRL simply is the domain for the personal? Maybe hypertext (or perhaps VR and such) will never quite be that place. Or am I misreading?

  1. I have definitely had personal conversations online, as in private and intimate, but I think I have never really had a similar experience as a long and rambling conversation like that sitting on a sofa until 1 in the morning, sharing random thoughts. Or a chat like that experienced on a hike through the woods. But maybe that is fine! And to be expected. I guess maybe online and offline are just different modalities, maybe not better or worse. I liked your use of the word ‘revery’ – I think online it is hard to recreate a dialogue of fanciful musing, full of pauses, comical stumblings, dead ends, half-baked facts, but ultimately a fun and shared progression towards something. At least for me, online conversation has (thus far at least…) been much more precise, fact-based, rigorous. I possibly learn more, but it is less fun.

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08 Dec 2018

Reply to davidcrawshaw

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

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James Somers’ Home Page

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

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

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

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

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h0p3

Some essentials.

This is my first ‘person’ page. And, of course, h0p3 has been doing this for a very long time and I am only copycatting. His are ‘light-hearted plain-web d0xxings’ or somesuch—email, address, phone number, links to conversations. Mine are just that person’s words and my thoughts in summation—which is far more of a calling card to me, particularly after these other identifiers have expired.

As with most things, though, I am still playing catching with him. He says in Find the Others:

I believe that by honestly uploading my mind into my wiki, we both have access to an enriched network of references for generating accurate theories of each other’s minds.

Ahh, dear me, so then it takes much more than a page—this entire endeavor is sunk. There can be no eulogy or summation. It would take a massively overloaded TiddlyWiki to accurately describe such an one as this…

To some non-trivial extent, the labels, attributes, characteristics, properties, and models I generate about a person help form a kind of name.

In reply to this, our friend Sphygmus[1] writes:

I want to talk about the vocabulary of “modeling” another person as well. I think I have observed that people don’t understand what you mean when you say you clearnet doxx them in order to better model them. For me, though, that was one of the most intuitive things you say. When I was in college the first time, I worked as an ILL student worker and loved it, largely because it sent me wandering through the stacks to pull out such a varied selection of books. One of the books I pulled that really stuck with me discussed how we form mental models of people in our heads and rehearse conversations with those people at various times, and the ways in which those rehearsals could be helpful or not. If I remember correctly, there were even worksheet-like questions for shaping mentally rehearsed conversations in a more helpful way. Sadly, I can remember exactly where I pulled the book from in the library but I’ve been unable to figure out the title – I wish I could go back and read it again!

Of course it also has to do with the problem of other minds and the unbridgeable gap between me and the outside world. Inevitably we only know others through our construction of them within our own minds.

After a discussion of the merits of psychometric tests between the two, h0p3 says:

I am inevitably forced to use labels, adjectives, etc. to model (boxing things in is what makes it computable information at all for us).

Ah, well—so this page is my box. And these are the things I put it in it.


(If you meet someone—someone with ASCII glasses on, say—and they purport to be a ‘madman in the desert’—then put this page straight away. FOR YOU NOW have the genuine artifact in front of you!)

(However, if you are uncertain, you can do one more thing: you can tell the man a joke. Like: a homunculus and a dark triadic memetic walk into a bar. He will stop you. ‘Let me stop you right there. Before you finish, please know that I am quite literally autistic and your elegant form of advanced humor which you are so carefully deploying might end up lost in my limbic system somewhere. Forgive me, please, and tell your joke, and thank you for saying it is a joke—k0sh3k will laugh at me later for this, but I will test out three interpretations of the joke with you now and then have her review the transcripts later…’)

(These overwhelming feelings of endearment and admiration and sheer pity that are now coming over you will now materialize in the form of laughter. The joke that was designed to pique the curiosity has now been outpiqued by a new curiosity: one in ASCII glasses that has gone to such great extent to analyze the joke that has been placed on the table—and, now look—this analysis has expanded everything in sight. You look at the joke and see that it is much bigger. And the conversation is now expanded, it is bigger. And the table—the table is much bigger, too!)

(Ok, now, tell me: did you laugh? Did you feel some endearment and admiration and some pity? I don’t know if you will enjoy or love h0p3 as much as I do, or as much as I purport to—if not, well, then I understand that, too. There was a time when I thought that I would only frustrate him or that he might just annoy me—I was reluctant to say anything or to take the time to read so very many words…)

(But what is life but a chance to expand a joke, to make the conversation a little longer, or to fancy that maybe even the table at which we sit has now grown?)


I aim to do you justice.

It’s that chivalrous, sensible, steelnivorous h0p3—he steels you up, then it’s all night steel for breakfast!

This short sentence is a trope of h0p3. He ‘aims’—he has a very specific set of purposes in mind for you, good good, his work is a pointed effort. A discovery of truth? A deep sea recovery of some rarified moral sense? I cannot characterize it properly. But to ‘aim’ is truly a bold facet.


True literature can exist only where it is produced by madmen, hermits, heretics, visionaries, rebels, and sceptics.

— Yevgeny Zamyatin

The world is kept alive only by heretics: the heretic Christ, the heretic Copernicus, the heretic Tolstoy. Our symbol of faith is heresy.

— Yevgeny Zamyatin

That h0p3 labels himself a ‘madman’, a ‘jester’, a ‘retard’ and so on—well, this is a rich tradition and these are rarified, very colorful and storied appellations. I do think of Zamyatin—who is forgotten to our society, but who was prescient to the disasters of the 20th Century that he lived in. We was a catalyst to the entire utopian and dystopian genres. (I have no doubt that my beloved Vigoleis also saw himself among this rabble.)

This is cause for alarm—and I see this in h0p3’s more dismayed dispatches from time to time—the world will not be kind to him. However, he is a heretic—we know this. He must do his work; it is too valuable.


  1. A friend. What more do you need to know? ↩︎

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Reply: Foundations of Joe

Man oh man! This is a great honor. I really feel humbled by this—you are already gifted at the work I aspire to do—and I intend to develop the essay further based on what I see at Linkport.

For example, I would really be interested in any further advice you have for someone who wants to linkblog or start a directory. Beyond an essay, it would be interesting to take a stab at a ‘guide’ for hyperlinkers. I am very grateful that you took the time to read, Joe. (I think this natural—a noble attribute of a hyperlinker is the capacity to care about others and what they are doing—to be intrigued by them is to move from just caring about what they are doing toward fascination. Perhaps crossing that line is where a link to someone begins.)

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Reply: Are You Alright?

Brad

I was going to put your chair logo on milk cartons. 😃

I’m sorry to worry you—there are just too many things in life that pull me away, so this will happen sometimes. I really appreciate your concern, though. I feel a friendship with you and I am following EVERYTHING you’re doing on Indieseek. (I am really pouring time into the directory so that I can keep pace with you and link back-and-forth there.)

It will be interesting to see if I can accomplish the work we’re striving for without being connected every day…

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Reply to davidcrawshaw

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

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Searching the Creative Internet

More thoughts on moving beyond Google.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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07 Dec 2018

Been busy with a bit of travelling and working on my link directory, but have been reluctant to just post a pointless update such as this one—senselessly notifying everyone. However, aren’t pointless things terrifically human?? It seems that to post a note like this stumps and defies the algorithms and is emblematic of the struggle this blog is making (and its friends) to preserve humanity in hypertext. I think that if I fall into a pattern of just littering the world with tech tutorials and link discoveries (as if it were ‘breaking news’) then I am losing out on the human chance to thank you for reading or talking to me and to say something meandering or listless, which is eminently human and could help to shake your automated daily ‘feeding’ out of the rigor of new tutorials, new news and remind us that we are both typing and flicking cursors around and somehow smiling at each other through it or pondering each other in confused or amused reveries—I think ‘weird twitter’ was able to accomplish this, but I wonder if one can only make technology human by completely subverting it—these reveries are happening, but they are not synchronized and it happens with great distance between us in many dimensions. I enjoy it a great deal, though, and hopefully you do, too.

  1. @kicks I almost sent you an email yesterday just to see if you were alright. But when I found your email address it was attached to a post saying you were busy href-ing so I was less worried. I was going to put your chair logo on milk cartons. :-)

  2. Reply: Are You Alright?

    Brad

    I was going to put your chair logo on milk cartons. 😃

    I’m sorry to worry you—there are just too many things in life that pull me away, so this will happen sometimes. I really appreciate your concern, though. I feel a friendship with you and I am following EVERYTHING you’re doing on Indieseek. (I am really pouring time into the directory so that I can keep pace with you and link back-and-forth there.)

    It will be interesting to see if I can accomplish the work we’re striving for without being connected every day…

  3. Thanks for posting this – I feel like sometimes too my online presence has become something of a link aggregator or a fact exchanger, less of a rambling human conversationalist. Could be that it’s the preserve of IRL? But I totally back trying to bring back revery and musing.

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22 Nov 2018

Reply: Dark v Light

h0p3

I have tried to go for the white background, and I can’t. =( I’m sorry.

Fleshing out a footnote in the spacing between parts eight and nine of my reply.

Ok—this is a great angle I haven’t approached yet. Do I provide a dark whostyle? Does it get computed from the actual whostyle? Could there be several variants offered?

I also think it’s really cool that you ended up just baking your own style that feels like me to you. Hey, yeah, go with that.

Well, if someone redesigns—might they still want to give people out there a choice between the old and the new? I think there is no need to overdesign this. I think you could just offer multiple whostyles. The hard part, for me, is to concoct a dark style from what I have—but this excites me, I’m on it.

If you have a secondary mildly-darker background I can use, I will use that. I hate that the solution to my light sensitivity detracts from your intentional style.

Yeah, it’s not practical for me to make custom styles for every user of my website—perhaps that’s where your troubled feelings arise. But fuck practicality! I will gladly make a custom style for anyone out there. If you care enough to read, then I would like to care enough to make things comfortable to you.

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21 Nov 2018

Reply: More Joe Questions

jenett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. @jenettIt was, in fact a linkblog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reply: Awesome Phone Websites

simonwoods

Either they’re genuinely useless at making websites or it’s some Silicon Valley-esque bullshit being peddled.

Hot takes aside, I thought Universe was a pretty neat tool when I last looked at it. These kinds of things can have really poor money strategies and still have novel ideas inside.

So, yeah, I thought the editor was a nice, simple tool for building little web pages with blocks of text and pictures. I’m planning to use it for a project at the elementary school to see how the kids use it. (This seems like the rare technology that has enough color and expressiveness to be useful to me there—especially now that Byte is defunct.)

If we can learn from the good tools, they can help us figure out how to craft the Indieweb. We will need more than just protocols.

  1. @kicks I love seeing exhibitions of potentially great technology. Just wish we didn't literally put a value on ventures that appear to be built on little more than the most basic idea of the technology; for me it seems inevitable the idea will either die or be subsumed by the leviathans.

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20 Nov 2018

Reply: Hi, Joe

Joe Jenett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  5. @jenettIt was, in fact a linkblog.

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

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

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

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

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

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Linkport

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

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

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

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

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

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17 Nov 2018

Reply: Doorknobs Out of Reach

h0p3

It’s hard to beat the flexibility, resilience, and longevity of flat textfiles, but that is almost definitionally committing to non-committing. I like both extremes.

Part one of thirty-five.

Sweet letter—I’m going to dig into this further over the next while, I’m going not to say much here, because h0p3 has many things to do and I don’t want there to be any timer started just yet, in fact, let’s suppose that I’ve already written a very lengthy reply, but am just sitting on it, to let the wide variety of worthwhile non-hyperconversation things transpire. Just want to mop a few fallen fruits off the floor.

TW defeats a number of frictions like a champion. I posit that TW is radically more decentralization-capable than Dat. Legions of analog and digital systems can move one file, but it is possible only few will speak Dat.

Oh, for sure—its resilience is proven. I side with TiddlyWiki in the long-term, no doubt. In fact, I am siding with its powers of adaptation. It runs on Node, it runs on Beaker—let’s push that adaptation further. (Perhaps this means that Dat is less resilient and will fall—but I think the protocol has to be narrow/simple to see widespread use.)

My money is on WASM-Web 3.0 taking further down that rabbithole.

I’m great with this, so long as we don’t lose hypertext in the process.

To my eyes, Dat is competing with IPFS, Syncthing, Resilio Sync, mutable torrents, etc. For now, I just use Resilio Sync for the functional Dat-properties I need.

Try to keep in mind that it’s not even Dat that excites me about Beaker. It’s that you can read-write entire locally synced folders from the same languages ‘for which every computer has a virtual machine’. With Beaker, I can make an editable copy of your wiki—even if it was split into tiddlers, even if it was in a thousand pieces.

This is clearly an innovation that we follow. Take the rock-solid v.machine and let it create, babe.

I’m a P2P idealist who agrees there are classes of problems which can only efficiently be federated.

Mmmm, yes—same here. One of my fave networks was Soulseek. You could connect to people and see all the files they were sharing. I ended up just raiding people’s shelves rather than trying to track down Pavement b-sides. But that required some kind of cohesive network where you can ‘see’ everyone.

Wowowow-it’s still there! Just installed. There is a lot of good stuff still on here. How has it stayed so obscure and devout?

A starting place for the opposite style seems like poetry or crystallized summation. It only shows semblances, outlines, glimpses, fragments, and impressions on purpose. I think it must be antipleonasmic.

Yeah, this is a sweet letter. I hope there’s a worthy reply somewhere in my timeline.

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One-Line Languages

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

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

Erwin's Grumpy Cat

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Feeling Lucky BBS

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

Observations:

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

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


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

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

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


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

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13 Nov 2018

Whostyling

My ‘whostyles’ draft—a proposal for styling hypertext that gets quoted or syndicated outside of your site—is here.

My ‘whostyles’ draft—a proposal for styling hypertext that gets quoted or syndicated outside of your site—is here.

Further notes on development will go here.

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The Federation

A directory of ‘federated’ communities.

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

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

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10 Nov 2018

Reply to this

This also applies to the TiddlyWiki approach—by having the entire HTML in a single file, it also could be seen as ‘hermetically sealed’—tho secret JS and analytics could still be there (as they could with podcasts). I also wonder if this is the appeal of Reddit’s minimalist design.

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I’m wondering if the rise of podcasts is a reaction to the threat of algorithms. Basically, since podcasts are binary audio files, algorithms currently can’t rewrite the thing—it acts as a hermetically sealed container containing humans talking.

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09 Nov 2018

Wars of Conflicting Webs

Will your .pizza domain survive?

Beaker vs TiddlyWiki. ActivityPub against Webmentions. Plain HTML hates them all.

I step back and, man, all the burgeoning technology out there is at complete odds with the other! Let’s do a run down. I’m not just doing this to stir up your sensibilities. Part of it is that I am lost in all of this stuff and need to sort my socks.

(I realize I’m doing a lot of ‘versus’ stuff below—but I don’t mean to be critical or adversarial. The point is to examine the frictions.)

Beaker Browser vs TiddlyWiki

At face value, Beaker[1] is great for TiddlyWiki[2]: you can have this browser that can save to your computer directly—so you can read and write your wiki all day, kid! And it syncs, it syncs.

No, it doesn’t let you write from different places yet—so you can’t really use it—but hopefully I’ll have to come back and change these words soon enough—it’s almost there?

Beaker and TiddlyWiki.

Big problem, though: Beaker (Dat[3]) doesn’t store differences. And TiddlyWiki is one big file. So every time you save, it keeps the old one saved and the network starts to fill with these old copies. And you can easily have a 10 meg wiki—you get a hundred days of edits under your belt and you’ve created some trouble for yourself.

Beaker is great for your basic blog or smattering of pages. It remains to be seen how this would be solved: differencing? Breaking up TiddlyWiki? Storing in JSON? Or do I just regenerate a new hash, a new Dat every time I publish? And use the hostname rather than the hash. I don’t know if that messes with the whole thing too much.

Where I Lean: I think I side with Beaker here. TiddlyWiki is made for browsers that haven’t focused on writing. But if it could be tailored to Beaker—to save in individual files—a Dat website already acts like a giant file, like a ZIP file. And I think it makes more sense to keep these files together inside a Dat rather than using HTML as the filesystem.

Datasette vs Beaker Browser

While we’re here, I’ve been dabbling with Datasette[4] as a possible inductee into the tultywits and I could see more sites being done this way. A mutation of Datasette that appeals to me is: a static HTML site that stores all its data in a single file database—the incomparable SQLite.

I could see this blog done out like that: I access the database from Beaker and add posts. Then it gets synced to you and the site just loads everything straight from your synced database, stored in that single file.

But yeah: single file, gets bigger and bigger. (Interesting that TorrentNet is a network built on BitTorrent and SQLite.) I know Dat (Hypercore) deals in chunks. Are chunks updated individually or is the whole file replaced? I just can’t find it.

Where I Lean: I don’t know yet! Need to find a good database to use inside a ‘dat’ and which functions well with Beaker (today).

(Cont’d.) Beaker vs Indieweb, TiddlyWiki vs Indieweb

Ok, talk about hot friction—Beaker sites require no server, so the dream is to package your raw posts with your site and use JavaScript to display it all. This prevents you from having HTML copies of things everywhere—you update a post and your index.html gets updated, tag pages get updated, monthly archives, etc.

And TiddlyWiki is all JavaScript. Internal dynamism vs Indieweb’s external dynamism.

Webmention vs Dynamism.

But the Indieweb craves static HTML—full of microformats. There’s just no other way about it.

Where I Lean: This is tough! If I want to participate in the Indieweb, I need static HTML. So I think I will output minimal HTML for all the posts and the home page. The rest can be JavaScript. So—not too bad?

ActivityPub vs Static HTML

ActivityPub seems to want everything to be dynamic. I saw this comment by one of the main Mastodon developers:

I do not plan on supporting Atom feeds that don’t have Webfinger and Salmon (i.e. non-interactive, non-user feeds.)

This seems like a devotion to ‘social’, right?

I’ve been wrestling with trying to get this blog hooked up to Mastodon—just out of curiosity. But I gave up. What’s the point? Anyone can use a web browser to get here. Well, yeah, I would like to communicate with everyone using their chosen home base.

ActivityPub and Beaker are almost diametrically opposed it seems.

Where I Lean: Retreat from ActivityPub. I am hard-staked to Static: the Gathering. (‘Bridgy Fed’[5] is a possible answer—but subscribing to @kicks@kickscondor.com doesn’t seem to work quite yet.)

ActivityPub's message blasting.

It feels like ActivityPub is pushing itself further away with such an immense protocol. Maybe it’s like Andre Staltz recently told me about Secure Scuttlebutt:

[…] ideally we want SSB to be a decentralized invite-only networks, so that someone has to pull you into their social circles, or you pull in others into yours. It has upsides and downsides, but we think it more naturally corresponds to relationships outside tech.

Ok, so, perhaps building so-called ‘walled gardens’—Andre says, “isolated islands of SSB networks”—is just the modern order. (Secure Scuttlebutt is furthered obscured by simply not being accessible through any web browser I know of; there are mobile apps.)

ActivityPub vs Webmention

This feels more like a head-to-head, except that ‘Bridgy Fed’[5:1] is working to connect the two. These two both are:

  • Communicating between feeds.
  • Handling the ‘likes’, the ‘replies’, the ‘follows’ and such.
  • An inbox/outbox model.

I think the funny thing here goes back to ‘Fed Bridgy’: the Indieweb/Webmention crowd is really making an effort to bridge the protocols. This is very amusing to me because the Webmention can be entirely described in a few paragraphs—so why are we using anything else at this point?

But the Webmention crowd now seems to have enough time on its hands that it’s now connecting Twitter, Github, anonymous comments, Mastodon, micro.blog to its lingua franca. So what I don’t understand is—why not just speak French? ActivityPub falls back to OStatus. What gives?


  1. Beaker Browser. A decentralized Web browser. You share your website on the network and everyone can seed it. ↩︎

  2. TiddlyWiki. A wiki that is a single HTML page. It can be edited in Firefox and Google, then saved back to a single file. ↩︎

  3. Beaker uses the Dat protocol rather than the Web (HTTP). A ‘dat’ is simply a zip file of your website than can be shared and that keeps its file history around. ↩︎

  4. Datasette. If you have a database of data you want to share, Datasette will automatically generate a website for it. ↩︎

  5. fed.brid.gy. A site for replying to Mastodon from your Indieweb site. ↩︎ ↩︎

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