Kicks Condor

#redecentral

I use three main tags on this blog:

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

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

  • elementary: schooling for young kids.

18 Dec 2018

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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16 Oct 2018

After looking at TBL’s ‘Solid’ for several hours—I don’t follow. It is a ‘personal data store’—but it seems awfully complex. I was playing with making a static, read-only data store: well, there are a lot of strange tags involved. And many of the apps seem to use WebId-TLS (which doesn’t work any more?) Don’t even know where to begin to get help.

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02 Oct 2018

Fake HTML Includes (for Beaker)

My personal strategy for handling HTML on the distributed Web.

So, HTML is a bit different on the distributed Web (the Dat network which the Beaker Browser uses, IPFS and so on) because your file history sticks around there. Normally on the Web, you upload your new website and it replaces the old one. With all of these other ‘webs’, it’s not that way—you add your new changes on top of the old site.

Things tend to pile up. You’re filing these networks with files. So, with a blog, for instance, there are these concerns:

  • I want common things like headers and footers to be in separate files—because they bloat every one of my pages.
  • I also want them in separate files so that when I change something in my header it doesn’t change EVERY PAGE in my site—pushing lots of changes onto the network.
  • The trend with Dat seems to be that websites are delivered more as applications—where you could potentially access the underlying posts in a format like JSON, rather than just having a raw HTML dump.

Ultimately, I might end up delivering a pure JavaScript site on the Dat network. It seems very efficient to do that actually—this site weighs in at 19 MB normally, but a pure JavaScript version should be around 7 MB (with 5 MB of that being images.)

My interim solution is to mimick HTML includes. My tags look like this:

<link rel="include" href="/includes/header.html">

The code to load these is this:

document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function() {
  let eles = document.querySelectorAll("link[rel='include']");
  for (let i = 0; i < eles.length; i++) {
    let ele = eles[i];
    let xhr = new XMLHttpRequest()
    xhr.onload = function() {
      let frag = document.createRange().
        createContextualFragment(this.responseText)
      let seq = function () {
        while (frag.children.length > 0) {
          let c = frag.children[0]
          if (c.tagName == "SCRIPT" && c.src) {
            c.onload = seq
            c.onerror = seq
          }
          ele.parentNode.insertBefore(c, ele);
          if (c.onload == seq) {
            break
          }
        }
      }
      seq()
    }
    xhr.open('GET', ele.href);
    xhr.send();
  }
})

You can put this anywhere on the page you want—in the <head> tags, in a script that gets loaded. It will also load any scripts inside the HTML fragment that gets loaded.

This change saved me 4 MB immediately. But, in the long run, the savings are much greater because my whole site doesn’t rebuild when I add a single tag (which shows up in the ‘archives’ box on the left-hand side of this site.)

I would have used ‘HTML imports’—but they aren’t supported by Firefox and are a bit weird for this (because they don’t actally put the HTML inside into the page.)

I am happy to anyone for improvements that can be made to this.

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19 Sep 2018

Reply: Ideas for Websites in Addition to Blogs

While Tumblr is a type of blog, I think it is sufficiently different to categorize differently—microblogging, tumblelogging. Simply because it generally eschews writing. And that appeals to people.

So, question for you: are you satisfied with a blog for your approach? It seems that you post links, essays and announcements generally. However, these three things are not equal. And to see your essays roll off the front page while links take their place—well, I can see myself wanting a directory of those.

Yes, you have an ‘article’ post type that shows me those essays. But even that list is not comprised of equals. I wonder if a wiki might suit these.

I also wonder if there is a new way to structure all of these thoughts that might do justice to what you are doing and assist the reader in navigating what you are doing. A way of mixing and matching the ‘blog’, the ‘wiki’ and the ‘directory’.

To me, the great failing of blogs is that it is difficult to find the beginning and the end—and I don’t think they facilitate the ‘memory’ of a discussion. A blog post is a thought balloon floating alone. You and I can follow it pretty well, because we are juggling some memories to do it—but someone who stumbles across this post will not realize what is really going on.

Anyway, this is a great post—I’ve been pretty stumped about how to preserve the wee ‘web page’ and this is a thread we’ll need to continue over time.

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Reply: Done Reading Blogs

Don MacDonald

[…] I can get done reading blogs, and creating a half-decent blog post is much harder than sending a tweet. I like to add art to mine, so there needs to be at least a photo (I prefer a drawing). But, the end result is far more gratifying. There’s something you can point to and say there, I did that. […] it turns out that removing the anti-patterns of big social also removes some major inhibitions to creation.

Ok, so if I’m reading you right here: when you move away from a crowd of people, there are fewer conversations to have—so you can decide to just go home. Is that closer?

This almost sounds like a case for making discovery difficult. We don’t want to spend all our time searching fruitlessly—if it’s too easy to find things, then we just follow those trails.

If it’s true, I wonder why the “searching fruitlessly” is something we will stop doing—while the “reading fruitlessly” is still something compelling.

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14 Sep 2018

Reply: Shoutout on Rebuilding the Web

(Strange that this didn’t show up in my ‘mentions’—wonder what else I am not replying to—)

Even aside from any larger societal impact, I can’t say that anything I have done on social media has been nearly as worthwhile. The past year, since about March, I’ve committed to spending less time on social media, and my creative output is way up.

I think this is so encouraging—maybe the most encouraging thing one can say! Can you point to what is causing this? Is it the feeling of working for yourself, rather than—as you say—giving ‘free labor’ to the CorpASAs?

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28 Aug 2018

Sharing and Archiving with Dat

This is a technical overview of how to use/understand Dat. It covers how useful it is for ‘backing up’ websites—which is how I intend to use it.

So, this article (and the comments) cleared up a few things for me.

Dat can currently be configured to either track all changes (history) of files in a folder (at the cost of a full duplication of all files and all historical changes), or track only the most recent version of files with no duplication (at the cost of losing all history). There is not (yet?) any fancy dat mode which efficiently tracks only deltas (changes) to files with no other file overhead.

From my examination of the Beaker code yesterday, I noticed that the browser only downloads the specific version of a file that you need—I like this! (Rather than having to download the whole history of a file to put it back together.)

One advantage that Dat has over IPFS is that it doesn’t duplicate the data. When IPFS imports new data, it duplicates the files into ~/.ipfs. For collections of small files like the kernel, this is not a huge problem, but for larger files like videos or music, it’s a significant limitation. IPFS eventually implemented a solution to this problem in the form of the experimental filestore feature, but it’s not enabled by default. Even with that feature enabled, though, changes to data sets are not automatically tracked. In comparison, Dat operation on dynamic data feels much lighter. The downside is that each set needs its own dat share process.

I think this is a great benefit of Dat’s design. Because it basically just boils down to a distributed append-only log—a giant, progressively longer file that many people can share, and which you can build stuff like file folders or a database on top of—it’s incredibly flexible.

It certainly has advantages over IPFS in terms of usability and resource usage, but the lack of packages on most platforms is a big limit to adoption for most people. This means it will be difficult to share content with my friends and family with Dat anytime soon, which would probably be my primary use case for the project.

I totally disagree with this sentiment! Dat has the Beaker Browser—which is an incredible thing for a novice to use. Yes, it would (will?) be even better when it can be found on iOS and Android. But, for now, I’m happy to recommend it to friends and family: “Yeah, you can share your own websites—we can even have our own private Twitter-type-thing together—with this thing.”

I know the Beaker team has said that their goal is to get Dat accepted by the major browsers—but I think Beaker’s ability to customize itself to the decentralized web is an advantage. I could see it finding a lot of users.

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15 Aug 2018

Reply: The Public Square

Brent Simmons

For a long time there’s been just one thing I’d like to convince Twitter users of: that centralized social networking is harmful to society and to individuals.

I can make that point on Twitter — but it’s hollow there, since the medium really is the message.

(The actual post is here.) Just wanted to offer some encouragement—there are a lot of folks out there blogging again. We just need to stay linked. The great thing about micro.blog is that I can leave you comments from my blog. Would be nice to have that on ‘inessential’—but I’ll be sure to follow what you’re doing there regardless.

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02 Aug 2018

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30 Jul 2018

A Web Without Servers

This is a tremendous talk, given so casually! I previously thought Dat was the exciting part of this story—but Beaker is incredibly elegant, now that I step back and survey the scene. At this point, I don’t care what kind of traction Beaker gains, I just want to use it for the sheer fun. (In olden times, the phrase was “get my jollies,” but I don’t know if that expression has taken a turn for the perverse.)

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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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16 Jul 2018

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13 Jul 2018

TiddlyWiki PLUS Dat PLUS Glitch

Stay with me here. I realize that’s quite a pile of buzzwords. But this is good stuff! This is a wiki that runs totally in your browser. You edit it in your browser. But it gets saved to a peer-to-peer network. You can also authorize someone else (!) to edit it! I’m really impressed by Dat and HyperDB.

You can’t revoke permissions or restrict permissions. But still.

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

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

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

jack and tals vals, hipster bait analysts.

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

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

waxy is back at it!

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

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

indieweb: .xyz, c.rwr, boffosocko.

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

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

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

neil c. "some..."

the world or cate le bon you pick.

all my other links are now at href.cool.