🎧 NaNoWriMo Superhero on Medium: Ben Werdmuller | National Novel Writing Month – Medium

NaNoWriMo Superhero on Medium: Ben Werdmuller by Julie Russell from National Novel Writing Month – Medium
Welcome to the second episode of NaNoWriMo Superheroes and Superheroines on Medium. Throughout the month of November we’ll interview people with different backgrounds, day jobs, and involvement with this annual writing event. All of our superheroes and superheroines have one thing in common — they accepted the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel first draft in the month of November.

Ben Werdmuller, gets the #NaNoWriMo quote of the month as he talks about the user interface in common text editors:

Every single one of those buttons is a distraction button.

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📖 Read pages 90-171 of Origin by Dan Brown

📖 Read pages 90-171 of Origin: A Novel by Dan Brown

I was just shy of that first “punch” when I quit reading the other day. It came  and we’re now off to the races. This somehow feels a bit “fluffier” than the typical Langdon novel though. It feels like there’s a lot of discussion for those who don’t understand the religion, science, and technology, but at least he does it in a way that doesn’t feel too on-the-nose. I still feel a bit disconnected from the characters here compared to his prior efforts.

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👓 Content, bloat, privacy, archives | Peter Molnar

Content, bloat, privacy, archives by Peter MolnarPeter Molnar (petermolnar.net)
I spent a lot of time trying centralising my online activities, including adding bookmarks and imports from social networks. Lately my site looked bloated and unmaintainable. I started questioning what data is my data, what data should or could I own - it was time to rethink some ideas.

Peter has some solid thoughts here on some subtle uses of things including likes, favorites, and bookmarks. I particularly like the way he separates out and describes the “vote” intent of likes on various platforms.

Somewhat like him, I’m bookmarking things I’d like to read privately on the back end of my site, and then only selectively posting them as read posts when I’ve done that. Archiving them to the Internet Archive has been useful for cutting down on the data I’m keeping, but saving them does allow me to browse through my commonplace book frequently when I need to find something and couldn’t find it otherwise.

Some of this reminds me of the way I use the “star” functionality on Twitter (I still think of it as a star and not a heart). I don’t typically use it to mean anything in particular on Twitter itself. Instead I’m using that functionality in conjunction with an IFTTT recipe to bookmark things I’d like to read later. So in a larger sense, I’m using Twitter as a headline feed reader and marking all the things I’d like to come back and read at a later time.

Once in a blue moon, during a chat with others on Twitter, I may use the heart as an indicator to the other party that I’ve seen/read their post, particularly when I don’t intend to reply to the last in a chain of conversation. This type of ephemera or digital exhaust generally isn’t something I find useful for keeping in the long term, so like Peter I typically don’t keep/archive them on my site.

For those who haven’t read them yet, Sebastiaan Andewe has a recent article covering similar ground: Thinking about bookmarks and likes on the IndieWeb.

I find these discussions useful for thinking through what I’m doing on my own site and refining how I use it as well.​​​​

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🔖 Adjoint School, ACT 2018 (Applied Category Theory)

Adjoint School, ACT 2018 (Applied Category Theory)
The Workshop on Applied Category Theory 2018 takes place in May 2018. A principal goal of this workshop is to bring early career researchers into the applied category theory community. Towards this goal, we are organising the Adjoint School. The Adjoint School will run from January to April 2018.

There’s still some time left to apply. And if nothing else, this looks like it’s got some interesting resources.

h/t John Carlos Baez

Applied Category Theory

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The Presentation of Self on a Decentralised Web by Dr. Amy Guy

The Presentation of Self on a Decentralised Web by Dr. Amy Guy (rhiaro.github.io)
Many people express themselves online through social media, blogs, personal websites, and the like. Using these technologies affects our day-to-day lives, and sense of self. These technologies also change and develop in response to how people use them. Many of the tools we use come with constraints, and people often find ways to work around these constraints to suit their needs. This thesis explores the different ways in which people express their identities using contemporary Web technologies. We conduct several studies, and show that there are many interdependent factors at play when it comes to online self-presentation, and that it is rare that all of these are considered when studying or designing social systems. We present a conceptual framework which will enable cohesive further research in this area, as well as guidance for future system designs. In the second part, we discuss how these technologies are changing. We make contributions to an emerging alternative means of engaging with social media and similar technologies, and examine the implications of these new technologies on self-presentation.

Congratulations Dr. Guy! I can’t wait to read your thesis…

There may possibly be some other much older IndieWeb related doctoral theses out there, but I suspect this may be the first in the new era…

If nothing else, you’ve got to love a thesis that’s got it’s own custom short link-style domain: dr.amy.gy ​​​​

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Read Write Collect | Aaron Davis

Read Write Collect by Aaron Davis (Read Write Collect)

I’ve been following Aaron Davis for a while at Read Write Respond, but today I noticed a whole new part of his online presence at Read Write Collect that I’ve been missing all along!

Makes me think I’m going to have to finish up a new OPML file for folks I’m following who are aware of or using IndieWeb principles in the education space. Aaron, I’m adding you to the list.

 

Today I was reminded while thinking about Disqus that I had an Intense Debate account from April 23, 2009. Apparently it’s still functioning all these years later–possibly as a result of their purchase by Automattic in 2008. Not that there was much there, but I took a few minutes and exported out all my data and now own it here on my site.

One of the interesting parts was that it featured a comment about Twitter pulling the rug out from underneath developers–an event that foreshadowed even more of the same in the coming years as well as a conversation about the gamification of follower accounts, something which has gotten us into a sad state of affairs today nearly a decade later. Apparently while they tried to cap follower accounts, their early efforts just didn’t go far enough to help the civility of the platform.

👻 ☠️ 🎃 Halloween flavored names on Twitter

Everyone I know has jumped on the Halloween bandwagon on Twitter and added one or more Halloween related emoji to their Twitter name. Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, etc. abound. Some have even changed their names a bit to fit into the theme.

Some of my favorites:

@JordanUhl is now jordan ghoul 👻 ☠️ 🎃
@rachsyme‏ is now🎃 rachel slime 🎃
@VictoriaAveyard is Victoria Graveyard 🎃
@BrendonHope is 🎃 Abandon Hope 🎃
@spicer‏ is Christian Spider 🕷 🎃
@Juliet_Shen‏ is 🎃 Ghouliet Shen 🎃

Despite the fact that Halloween is my favorite holiday, and since retailers are already jumping the gun on Christmas, I thought I’d do the same. I’m changing my Twitter name to something like:

🎄Christmas🎄 🎅Aldrich 🎁

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Reply to Laying the Standards for a Blogging Renaissance by Aaron Davis

Laying the Standards for a Blogging Renaissance by Aaron Davis (Read Write Respond)
With the potential demise of social media, does this offer a possible rebirth of blogging communities and the standards they are built upon?

Aaron, some excellent thoughts and pointers.

A lot of your post also reminds me of Bryan Alexander’s relatively recent post I defy the world and to go back to RSS.

I completely get the concept of what you’re getting at with harkening back to the halcyon days of RSS. I certainly love, use, and rely on it heavily both for consumption as well as production. Of course there’s also still the competing standard of Atom still powering large parts of the web (including GNU Social networks like Mastodon). But almost no one looks back fondly on the feed format wars…

I think that while many are looking back on the “good old days” of the web, that we not forget the difficult and fraught history that has gotten us to where we are. We should learn from the mistakes made during the feed format wars and try to simplify things to not only move back, but to move forward at the same time.

Today, the easier pared-down standards that are better and simpler than either of these old and and difficult specs is simply adding Microformat classes to HTML (aka P.O.S.H) to create feeds. Unless one is relying on pre-existing infrastructure like WordPress, building and maintaining RSS feed infrastructure can be difficult at best, and updates almost never occur, particularly for specifications that support new social media related feeds including replies, likes, favorites, reposts, etc. The nice part is that if one knows how to write basic html, then one can create a simple feed by hand without having to learn the mark up or specifics of RSS. Most modern feed readers (except perhaps Feedly) support these new h-feeds as they’re known. Interestingly, some CMSes like WordPress support Microformats as part of their core functionality, though in WordPress’ case they only support a subsection of Microformats v1 instead of the more modern v2.

For those like you who are looking both backward and simultaneously forward there’s a nice chart of “Lost Infractructure” on the IndieWeb wiki which was created following a post by Anil Dash entitled The Lost Infrastructure of Social Media. Hopefully we can take back a lot of the ground the web has lost to social media and refashion it for a better and more flexible future. I’m not looking for just a “hipster-web”, but a new and demonstrably better web.

The Lost Infrastructure of the Web from the IndieWeb Wiki (CC0)

Some of the desire to go back to RSS is built into the problems we’re looking at with respect to algorithmic filtering of our streams (we’re looking at you Facebook.) While algorithms might help to filter out some of the cruft we’re not looking for, we’ve been ceding too much control to third parties like Facebook who have different motivations in presenting us material to read. I’d rather my feeds were closer to the model of fine dining rather than the junk food that the-McDonald’s-of-the-internet Facebook is providing. As I’m reading Cathy O’Neil’s book Weapons of Math Distraction, I’m also reminded that the black box that Facebook’s algorithm is is causing scale and visibility/transparency problems like the Russian ad buys which could have potentially heavily influenced the 2017 election in the United States. The fact that we can’t see or influence the algorithm is both painful and potentially destructive. If I could have access to tweaking a third-party transparent algorithm, I think it would provide me a lot more value.

As for OPML, it’s amazing what kind of power it has to help one find and subscribe to all sorts of content, particularly when it’s been hand curated and is continually self-dogfooded. One of my favorite tools are readers that allow one to subscribe to the OPML feeds of others, that way if a person adds new feeds to an interesting collection, the changes propagate to everyone following that feed. With this kind of simple technology those who are interested in curating things for particular topics (like the newsletter crowd) or even creating master feeds for class material in a planet-like fashion can easily do so. I can also see some worthwhile uses for this in journalism for newspapers and magazines. As an example, imagine if one could subscribe not only to 100 people writing about #edtech, but to only their bookmarked articles that have the tag edtech (thus filtering out their personal posts, or things not having to do with edtech). I don’t believe that Feedly supports subscribing to OPML (though it does support importing OPML files, which is subtly different), but other readers like Inoreader do.

I’m hoping to finish up some work on my own available OPML feeds to make subscribing to interesting curated content a bit easier within WordPress (over the built in, but now deprecated link manager functionality.) Since you mentioned it, I tried checking out the OPML file on your blog hoping for something interesting in the #edtech space. Alas… 😉 Perhaps something in the future?

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