📕 Finished with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

📕 Finished with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Chapter Seven: Adventure at the Seaside

The set up for this was short and sweet and the ending was what we’ve come to love in a Paddington story.

Chapter Eight: A Disappearing Trick

This is just hilariously charming. I do wish the uncivil neighbor had been better set up in a prior story, but the short treatment done here is sufficient for the hilarity that ensues with Paddington attempting a magic show.

Decorate like you’re going to open up a Halloween distribution center! 💀🎃🐱🕸️👻

Decorate like you're going to open up a Halloween distribution center!

Decorate like you're going to open up a Halloween distribution center! 💀🎃🐱🕸️👻

Instagram filter used: Normal

Chris Aldrich is reading “The little-known story of how “fracking” entered our vocabulary”

Read The little-known story of how "fracking" entered our vocabulary (vox.com)
"True story," Matthew Lewis, a communications strategist based in San Francisco, told me recently over Twitter. "I put the 'k' in fracking." As best I can verify, he is correct. I'd always wondered how the term "fracking," which has dominated energy discussions for years, worked its way into our vocabulary. And the backstory turns out to be pretty interesting.

Chris Aldrich is reading “I Had Ten Dollars / Greg Leppert – Reading.am”

Read I Had Ten Dollars / Greg Leppert - Reading.am (ihadtendollars.com)
Interview with Greg Leppert. Founder of Reading.am. Co-founder of Svpply. Reads a lot.

Chris Aldrich is reading “Instapaper is joining Pinterest”

Read Instapaper is joining Pinterest (blog.instapaper.com)
Today, we’re excited to announce that Instapaper is joining Pinterest. In the three years since betaworks acquired Instapaper from Marco Arment, we’ve completely rewritten our backend, overhauled our mobile and web clients, improved parsing and search, and introduced tons of great features like highlights, text-to-speech, and speed reading to the product.

Chris Aldrich is reading “What’s in a blog? “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other n…”

Read What's in a blog? by Peter G. McDermott (plus.google.com)
What's in a blog? "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." - Romeo and Juliet Late last night I got into a… - Mike Elgan - Google+
Ideas on what really constitutes a blog.

📖 70.0% done with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

📖 70.0% done with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Chapter 5: Paddington and the “Old Master”

The pledge and the turn are reasonably well executed, but the prestige is lacking a bit.

Chapter 6: A Visit to the Theater

It’s episodes like this that make me wonder why they turned Paddington into a movie instead of a TV sitcom.

Photo Gallery from Dodging the Memory Hole 2016

Details for the conference can be found at Dodging the Memory Hole 2016.

The Journalism Digital News Archive has posted a nice bunch of photos as well.

My previous posts and notes about the conference:

📖 47.0% done with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

📖 47.0% done with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Chapter Four: A Shopping Expedition
“I’ll have one for worst if you like,” he said. “that’s my best one!”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 468
Paddington had a very persistent stare when he cared to use it. It was a very powerful stare. One which his Aunt Lucy had taught him and which he kept for special occasions.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 478
Bears were rather unpredictable. You never quite knew what they were thinking, and this one in particular seemed to have a mind of his own.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 492
“I think,” said Paddington, “if you don’t mind, I’d rather use the stairs.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 616

Warren Weaver Bot!

Liked Someone has built a Warren Weaver Bot! by WeaverbotWeaverbot (Twitter)
This is the signal for the second.
How can you not follow this twitter account?!

Now I’m waiting for a Shannon bot and a Weiner bot. Maybe a John McCarthy bot would be apropos too?!

📖 On page 86 of 448 of Dealing with China by Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

📖 On page 86 of 448 of Dealing with China by Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

Finished the section on the IPO of China Telecom (Hong Kong) and read through the more difficult IPO of PetroChina. There are some conflicting statements between the two accounts which I find interesting as they relate to doing business in general. I’m sure they stem, in part, from retelling the stories nearly 20 years later along with editorial oversight. In the first account he complains of not having enough time while in the second he complains of a client dragging things out and going too slowly.

The retelling of history from his perspective is perhaps a bit too measured but expected given that he’s still actively working and maintaining an image. There are a few interesting bon mots from time to time, but I’m beginning to think that reading a bit more hard-hitting history would be more enlightening given what I know of China. I’m beginning to read this more for enjoyment and entertainment that the original historical and economic visions I had anticipated.

While a generally interesting read so far, I find it to be a bit too antiseptic as if it’s either been over-edited or the ghost writer watered down all the personality.

Tangled Up in Spacetime

Bookmarked Tangled Up in Spacetime by Clara MoskowitzClara Moskowitz (Scientific American)
Hundreds of researchers in a collaborative project called "It from Qubit" say space and time may spring up from the quantum entanglement of tiny bits of information.

📖 33.0% done with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

📖 33.0% done with A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

The plot moves somewhat slowly and the action is mostly what one would expect from a 5 or 6 year old–except that it’s a bear–but the charming language and the way in which is told makes all the difference.

Bacon in a suitcase–indeed!


Give your web presence a more personal identity

Not a day goes by that I don’t run across a fantastic blog built or hosted on WordPress that looks gorgeous–they do an excellent job of making this pretty easy to accomplish.


Invariably the blog’s author has a generic avatar (blech!) instead of a nice, warm and humanizing photo of their lovely face.

Or, perhaps, as a user, you’ve always wondered how some people qualified to have their photo included with their comment while you were left as an anonymous looking “mystery person” or a randomized identicon, monster, or even an 8-bit pixelated blob? The secret the others know will be revealed momentarily.

Which would you prefer?

A face on the internet could love
Identicon: A face only the internet could love
Chris Aldrich
Chris:  a face only a mother could love
An example of a fantastic blog covering the publishing space, yet the author doesn't seem to know how to do his own avatar properly.
An example of a fantastic blog covering the publishing space, yet after 11,476 articles, the author can’t get his photo to show up.

Somehow, knowing how to replace that dreadful randomized block with an actual photo is too hard or too complicated. Why? In part, it’s because WordPress separated out this functionality as a decentralized service called Gravatar, which stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. In some sense this is an awesome idea because then people everywhere (and not just on WordPress) can use the Gravatar service to change their photo across thousands of websites at once. Unfortunately it’s not always clear that one needs to add their name, email address, and photo to Gravatar in order for the avatars to be populated properly on WordPress related sites.

(Suggestion for WordPress: Maybe the UI within the user account section could include a line about Gravatars?)

So instead of trying to write out the details for the third time this week, I thought I’d write it once here with a bit more detail and then point people to it for the future.

Another quick example

Can you guess which user is the blog's author? Can you guess which user is the blog’s author in the screencapture?

The correct answer is Anand Sarwate, the second commenter in the list. While Anand’s avatar seems almost custom made for a blog on randomness and information theory, it would be more inviting if he used a photo instead.

How to fix the default avatar problem

What is Gravatar?

Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?


Need some additional motivation? Watch this short video:

[wpvideo HNyK67JS]

Step 1: Get a Gravatar Account

If you’ve already got a WordPress.com account, this step is easy. Because the same corporate parent built both WordPress and Gravatar, if you have an account on one, you automattically have an account on the other which uses the same login information. You just need to log into Gravatar.com with your WordPress username and password.

If you don’t have a WordPress.com account or even a blog, but just want your photo to show up when you comment on WordPress and other Gravatar enabled blogs, then just sign up for an account at Gravatar.com. When you comment on a blog, it’ll ask for your email address and it will use that to pull in the photo to which it’s linked.

Step 2: Add an email address

Log into your Gravatar account. Choose an email address you want to modify: you’ll have at least the default you signed up with or you can add additional email addresses.

Step 3: Add a photo to go with that email address

Upload as many photos as you’d like into the account. Then for each of the email addresses you’ve got, associate each one with at least one of your photos.

Example: In the commenters’ avatars shown above, Anand was almost there. He already had a Gravatar account, he just hadn’t added any photos.

Step 4: Fill out the rest of your social profile

Optionally you can additional social details like a short bio, your other social media presences, and even one or more websites or blogs that you own.

Step 5: Repeat

You can add as many emails and photos as you’d like. By linking different photos to different email addresses, you’ll be able to change your photo identity based on the email “key” you plug into sites later.

If you get tired of one photo, just upload another and make it the default photo for the email addresses you want it to change for. All sites using Gravatar will update your avatar for use in the future.

Step 6: Use your email address on your WordPress account

Now, go back to the user profile section on your blog, which is usually located at http://www.YOURSITE.com/wp-admin/users.php.

WordPress screenshot of admin panel for user information.
WordPress screenshot of admin panel for user information.

In the field for the email, input (one of) the email(s) you used in Gravatar that’s linked to a photo.

Don’t worry, the system won’t show your email and it will remain private–WordPress and Gravatar simply use it as a common “key” to serve up the right photo and metadata from Gravatar to the WordPress site.

Once you’ve clicked save, your new avatar should show up in the list of users. More importantly it’ll now show up in all of the WordPress elements (like most author bio blocks and in comments) that appear on your site.

Administrator Caveats

WordPress themes need to be Gravatar enabled to be able to use this functionality, but in practice, most of them do, particularly for comments sections. If yours isn’t, then you can usually add it with some simple code.

In the WordPress admin interface one can go to Settings>>Discussion and enable View people's profiles when you mouse over their Gravatars under the heading “Gravatar Hovercards” to enable people to see more information about you and the commenters on your blog (presuming the comment section of your theme is Gravatar enabled.)

Some WordPress users often have several user accounts that they use to administer their site. One might have a secure administrator account they only use for updates and upgrades, another personal account (author/editor admin level account which uses their name) for authoring posts, and another (author/editor admin level) account for making admin notice posts or commenting as a generic moderator. In these cases, you need to make sure that each of these accounts has an email address with an an associated Gravatar account with the same email and the desired photo linked to it. (One Gravatar account with multiple emails/photos will usually suffice, though they could be different.)

Example: In Nate’s case above, we showed that his photo didn’t show in the author bio box, and it doesn’t show up in some comments, but it does show up in other comments on his blog. This is because he uses at least two different user accounts: one for authoring posts and another for commenting. The user account he uses for some commenting has a linked Gravatar account with email and photo and the other does not.

One account doesn't have a Gravatar with a linked email and photo.
One account doesn’t have a Gravatar with a linked email and photo.


Another account does have a linked Gravatar account with linked email and photo.

More tips?

Want more information on how you can better own and manage your online identity? Visit IndieWeb.org: “A people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web’.


To help beautify your web presence a bit, if you notice that your photo doesn’t show up in the author block or comments in your theme, you can (create and) use your WordPress.com username/password in an account on their sister site Gravatar.com. Uploading your preferred photo on Gravatar and linking it to an email will help to automatically populate your photo in both your site and other WordPress sites (in comments) across the web. To make it work on your site, just go to your user profile in your WordPress install and use the same email address in your user profile as your Gravatar account and the decentralized system will port your picture across automatically. If necessary, you can use multiple photos and multiple linked email addresses in your Gravatar account to vary your photos.