👓 My #IndieWeb Reflections by Aaron Davis | Read Write Respond

My #IndieWeb Reflections by Aaron Davis (Read Write Respond)
Chris Aldrich's recent post outlining a proposal for a book about everything #IndieWeb spurred me to finish collecting together my own experiences.

Aaron has some interesting thoughts might help the transition of Generation 1 to Generation 2 and beyond.​​​​​

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👓 Your Licenses? Frankly My Dear… | CogDogBlog

Your Licenses? Frankly My Dear… by Alan Levine (CogDogBlog)
I have openly shared, published online, gave away the store on just about everything I have created since getting into ed-tech in the early 1990s (c.f. “old dude”). I did this before there was a Creative Commons, I embrace and advocate CC, yet I don’t find all that much interesting in debating the various license flavors. While I understand the reasons for having so many two letter alphabet combos to string along after CC BY, frankly my dear, I think there are way too many of them. I’d rather be making stuff than dissecting licenses.

tl;dr: Is it really worth the effort to put a license on anything? Who’s going to steal it? And if they do, god bless them.

I could go with this…

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👓 Where do I place my own .sty or .cls files, to make them available to all my .tex files? | TeX StackExchange

Where do I place my own .sty or .cls files, to make them available to all my .tex files? (tex.stackexchange.com)
I know how to define a package or a class, but how do I make it available (to myself) at all times? Say I have the package file commonstuff.sty (or myprettyclass.cls), that I want to be able to in...

Missing some files in my installation. I’ll be updating the installation first is the better way to go though….

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👓 October 2017: latest Stuff columns & my Twin Peaks experience | Richard MacManus

October 2017: latest Stuff columns & my Twin Peaks experience by Richard MacManus (Richard MacManus)
My weekly columns on Stuff, New Zealand's biggest news website, continue to generate interesting comments on the site and good feedback on social media. Last month we had a general election in New Zealand, so a couple of my columns focused on the tech policies of the major parties. Since the result of the election has yet to be finalised, it's unclear yet which direction the country will take with technology. In lieu of a reading recommendation this month, I want to discuss the extraordinary TV series that finished last month: Twin Peaks.

I suspect I’d be just as much an addict of Twin Peaks as Richard, but unfortunately I’ve been too busy recently to dip my to in. Fortunately he’s got a list of some interesting sounding resources when I go all-in.

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👓 Resistance is fudgeable | Jeremy Cherfas

Resistance is fudgeable by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas (jeremycherfas.net)
Editing the recent podcast on Antibiotics in agriculture was far harder than I expected it to be, mostly because I had to cut away stuff that is important, but just didn’t fit. Much of that was about how, in time honoured tradition, antibiotic manufacturers and veterinarians sowed doubts about who...

I love that Jeremy goes to the effort to not only analyze the charts and graphs, but finds original copies and brings them to our attention. Too often people would look at such things and take them at face value.

This is definitely a podcast “extra”, but I’m glad he spent the time to bring up the other interesting topics that didn’t make the original episode.

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👓 Notre Dame Isn’t In Control Of Its Playoff Destiny | FiveThirtyEight

Notre Dame Isn’t In Control Of Its Playoff Destiny by Neil Paine (FiveThirtyEight)
Unlike nearly every other one-loss team, the Irish likely can’t secure a spot in the College Football Playoff just by winning out.

This has got to be depressing news this early in the football season for a team that’s doing so well. This does highlight how the committee is probably a bit too political in their choices though.

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👓 Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door | The Verge

Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door by Ben Popper (The Verge)
The service is called Amazon Key, and it relies on a Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock. The camera is the hub, connected to the internet via your home Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over Zigbee, a wireless protocol utilized by many smart home devices. When a courier arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the barcode, sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud grants permission by sending a message back to the camera, which starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on their app, swipes the screen, and voilà, your door unlocks. They drop off the package, relock the door with another swipe, and are on their way. The customer will get a notification that their delivery has arrived, along with a short video showing the drop-off to confirm everything was done properly.

There’s a lot of trust Amazon is asking people for in it’s last few products. Alexa could listen (and potentially record) anything you say, cameras in your bedroom (ostensibly to help you dress), and now a key to your house. I can see so many things going wrong with this despite the potential value.

I’m probably more concerned about the flimsy lack of security in the area of internet of things (IoT) which could dip into these though than I am about what Amazon would/could do with them.

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👓 ‘A Sort of Everyday Struggle’ | The Harvard Crimson

'A Sort of Everyday Struggle' by Hannah Natanson
Women in Harvard's math department report a bevy of inequalities—from a discouraging absence of female faculty to a culture of "math bro" condescension.

A story about math that sadly doesn’t feature equality.

Oddly not featured in the story was any reference to the Lawrence H. Summers incident of 2005. Naturally, one can’t pin the issue on him as this lack of diversity has spanned the life of the university, but apparently the math department didn’t get the memo when the university president left.

I’ve often heard that the fish stinks from the head, but apparently it’s the whole fish here.

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👓 Filing errors knock rent control in Glendale out of consideration — for now | Glendale News-Press

Filing errors knock rent control in Glendale out of consideration — for now by Jeff Landa (Glendale News-Press)
The petition hit an administrative setback.
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👓 Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn’t follow through | Washington Post

Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn’t follow through (Washington Post)
‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ Trump told the late soldier’s father.

It kills me that he’s so unfeeling, unkind, and generally has no empathy. The fact that he hasn’t caught on that people are going to fact check him and make him continually look like an even bigger looser is even more painful. The disrespect to our troops just becomes the icing on the cake. His actions really just hurt my brain because they just make no sense within the framework of humanity.

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👓 Here’s a hack so you can tweet with 280 characters right now | The Verge

How to tweet with 280 characters right now by Tom Warren (The Verge)
Twitter doubled the character limit of tweets to 280 in a surprise move yesterday, but not every Twitter user will be able to use the new limit just yet. Twitter is rolling out the long tweets feature to select accounts as a test, but Twitter user Prof9 has discovered a workaround to get longer tweets a little early. Here’s how to tweet with 280 characters instead of 140: Download Tampermonkey for your browser of choice (Chrome webstore link) Visit this Github repository, click the “raw” button, then tell tampermonkey to “install” the script (or copy and paste the code into a new script in Tampermonkey) Now visit twitter.com, make sure the script in running in Tampermonkey, then tweet away It’s a simple workaround that will work automatically on Twitter.com every time you use the web client to tweet. Tampermonkey is a widely used userscript manager, and the javascript is a harmless workaround that simply bypasses the tweet button limit. Twitter is slowly testing its 280 character tweet limits with a variety of accounts, so if you don’t want to install Tampermonkey then you might get randomly selected for the test in the coming weeks or months.

Sadly Twitter has figured out the work around and disabled it so it doesn’t work anymore. Fortunately I can always write on my own site without character limits.

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👓 Another USC medical school dean resigns | Washington Post

Another USC medical school dean resigns by Susan Svrluga (Washington Post)
The University of Southern California announced Thursday that Rohit Varma has resigned as dean of the Keck School of Medicine. He had replaced a dean who was banned from campus after allegations of drug use and partying.

I’ve been so busy in the last month, I had to do a double-take at the word ANOTHER!

The statement USC released seems highly disingenuous and inconsistent to me.

“As you may have heard, today Dr. Rohit Varma resigned as dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC,” the school’s provost, Michael Quick, wrote in a message to the community.

“I understand how upsetting this situation is to all of us, but we felt it was in the best interest of the faculty, staff, and students for all of us to move in this direction. Today we learned previously undisclosed information that caused us to lose confidence in Dr. Varma’s ability to lead the school. Our leaders must be held to the highest standards. Dr. Varma understands this, and chose to step down.”

First they say Varma resigned as dean which makes it seem as if he’s stepping aside of his own accord when the next paragraph indicates that the University leadership has lost confidence in him and forced him out. So which is it? He resigned or was fired?

Secondly they mentioned “undisclosed information”. This is painful because the so-called undisclosed information was something that USC was not only aware of, but actually paid off a person involved to the tune of more than $100,000!

USC paid her more than $100,000 and temporarily blocked Varma from becoming a full member of the faculty, according to the records and interviews.

“The behavior you exhibited is inappropriate and unacceptable in the workplace, reflects poor judgment, is contrary to the University’s standards of conduct, and will not be tolerated at the University of Southern California,” a USC official wrote in a 2003 letter of reprimand.”

Even the LA Times reports: “The sexual harassment allegation is well known in the upper echelons of the university, but not among many of the students and staff.” How exactly was this “undisclosed?!”

So, somehow, a person who was formally reprimanded years ago (and whose reprimands were later greatly lessened by the way) was somehow accidentally promoted to dean of an already embattled division of the university?? I’m not really sure how he even maintained his position after the original incident much less subsequently promoted and allowed to continue on to eventually be appointed dean years later. Most shocking, there was no mention of his other positions at USC. I take this to mean that he’s still on the faculty, he’s still on staff at the hospital, and he’s still got all the rights and benefits of his previous positions at the University? I sincerely hope that he learned his lesson in 2003, but suspect that he didn’t, and if this is the case and others come forward, he will be summarily dispatched. For the University’s sake, I further hope they’re looking into it internally with a fine-toothed comb before they’re outed again by the Los Angeles Times reporting staff who seem to have a far higher level of morality than the USC leadership over the past several years.

During a month which has seen an inordinate amount of sexual harassment backlash, I’m shocked that USC has done so very little and has only acted (far too long after-the-fact) to sweep this all under the rug.

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👓 Going Indie. Step 2: Reclaiming Content | Matthias Ott

Going Indie. Step 2: Reclaiming Content by Matthias Ott (Matthias Ott | User Experience Designer)
We have lost control over our content. To change this, we need to reconsider the way we create and consume content online. We need to create a new set of tools that enable an independent, open web for everyone.

A nice narrative for the IndieWeb movement by Matthias.

Some of my favorite quotes from the piece:

Having your own website surely is a wonderful thing, but to be relevant, useful, and satisfactory, it needs to be connected to other sites and services. Because ultimately, human interactions are what fuels social life online and most of your friends will still be on social networks, for now.

…what the IndieWeb movement is about: Creating tools that enable a decentralized, people-focused alternative to the corporate web, putting you back in control, and building an active community around this idea of independence.

Tim Kadlec reminded us of the underlying promise of the web:

The web is for everyone.

Wilson Miner put it in his 2011 Build conference talk:
“The things that we choose to surround ourselves will shape what we become. We’re actually in the process of building an environment, where we’ll spend most of our time, for the rest of our lives.”

 

This also reminds me that I ought to swing by room 3420 in Boelter Hall on my way to math class this week. I forget that I’m always taking classes just a few floors away from the room that housed the birth of the internet.

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👓 Two alternatives to #WomenBoycottTwitter that don’t rely on women’s silencing | Another Angry Woman

Two alternatives to #WomenBoycottTwitter that don’t rely on women’s silencing by Zoe Stavri (Another Angry Woman)
After Twitter extending their risible “abuse” policy to a suspension of a celebrity white woman speaking out against sexual violence, the problems in their model have been laid bare, and to my pleasant surprise, people are talking about taking action (I’d been pessimistic about this). Unfortunately, it’s entirely the wrong kind of action: a women’s boycott. This is a problem, because once again, it forces us to do the heavy lifting. And once again, it forces us to silence ourselves: the very opposite of what we should be doing. So, here’s two things that can be done. One is an activity for men who consider themselves allies. The other is for all of us. Especially women.

I took part in #WomenBoycottTwitter today and it honestly wasn’t too difficult, though I did miss out on some of the scientific chatter that crosses my desk during the day. Since I post mostly to my own website more often and syndicate to Twitter only occasionally, the change didn’t feel too drastic to me, though there were one or two times I almost accidentally opened Twitter to track down people’s sites. Fortunately I’ve taken control of more of my online experience back for myself using IndieWeb principles.

This particular post has some seemingly interesting methods for fighting against the status quo on Twitter for those who are entrenched though. The first #AmplifyWomen sounds a lot like the great advice I heard from Valerie Alexander a few months ago at an Innovate Pasadena event.

Some of the others almost seek to reverse-gamify Twitter’s business model. People often complain about silos and how they work, but few ever seek to actively subvert or do this type of reverse-gamification of those models. This is an interesting concept though to be as useful tools as they might be, it may be somewhat difficult to accomplish in some cases and may hamper one’s experience on such platforms.  This being said, having ultimate control over your domain, data, and interactions is still a far preferable model.

And while we’re thinking about amplifying women, do take a look at some of Zoe’s other content, she’s got a wealth of good writing. I’ll be adding her to my follow list/reader.

h/t Richard Eriksson

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👓 Towards a more democratic Web | Tara Vancil

Towards a more democratic Web by Tara Vancil (Tara Vancil)
Many people who have suffered harassment on Twitter (largely women), are understandably fed up with Twitter’s practices, and have staged a boycott of Twitter today October 13, 2017. Presumably the goal is to highlight the flaws in Twitter’s moderation policies, and to push the company to make meaningful changes in their policies, but I’d like to argue that we shouldn’t expect Twitter’s policies to change.

I think I believe Tara when she says about Twitter:

It’s not going to get better.

I think there are a lot of people, including myself, who also think like she does here:

I want online media to work much more like a democracy, where users are empowered to decide what their experience is like.

The difference for her is that she’s actively building something to attempt to make things better not only for herself, but for others. This is tremendously laudable.

I’d heard of her project Beaker and Mastodon before, but hadn’t heard anything before about Patchwork, which sounds rather interesting.

h/t Richard Eriksson for highlighting this article on Reading.am though I would have come across it tomorrow morning likely in my own feed reader.

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