A Sketch for an IndieWeb Bullet Journal

Over the past several weeks I’ve been thinking more and more about productivity solutions, bullet journals, and to do lists. This morning I serendipitously came back across a reply Paul Jacobson made about lab books on a post relating to bullet journals and thought I’d sketch out a few ideas.

I like the lab book metaphor! That’s probably why a notebook-note analogy appeals to me for my productivity tools. Paul Jacobson on A vague Notion of a more productive system.

I’m honestly a bit surprised that no one has created a bullet journal plugin for WordPress yet. Or maybe someone comes up with a bullet journal stand alone product a bit like Autommatic’s Simple Note? Last week after a talk I attended, someone came up to me who had self-published 400+ copies of a custom made bullet journal that they wanted to sell/market. I’ve also been looking at some bullet journal apps, but my very first thoughts were “Who owns this data? What will they do with it? What happens if the company goes out of business? Is there a useful data export functionality?” For one of the ones I looked at my immediate impression was “This is a really painful and unintuitive UI.”

Naturally my next thought was “how would the IndieWeb build such a thing?”

Perhaps there’s a lot of code to write, though I can imagine that simply creating Archive views of pre-existing data may be a good first start. In fact some good archive views would be particularly helpful if one is using a plugin like David Shanske’s Post Kinds which dramatically extends the idea behind Post Formats. This would make tracking things like eating, drinking, reading, etc. a lot easier to present visually as well as to track/journal. One could easily extend the functionality of Post Kinds to create “to do” items and then have archive views that could be sorted by date, date due, tags/categories for easier daily use. Since it’s all web-based, it’s backed up and available almost everywhere including desktop and mobile.

I know a few people like Jonathan LaCour and Eddie Hinkle have been tinkering around with monthly, weekly, or annual recaps on their websites (see also: https://indieweb.org/monthly_recap). Isn’t this what a lot of bullet journals are doing, but in reverse order? You put in data quickly so you can have an overview to better plan and live in the future? If you’re already using Micropub tools like teacup (for food/drink), OwnYourSwarm (for location), or a variety of others for bookmarking things (which could be added to one’s to-do list), then creating a handful of bullet journal-type views on that data should be fairly easy. I also remember that Beau Lebens had his Keyring project for WordPress that was pulling in a lot of data from various places that could be leveraged in much the same way.

In some sense I’m already using my own WP-based website as a commonplace book (or as Jamie Todd Rubin mentions on Paul’s post a (lab) notebook), so how much nicer/easier would it be if I could (privately) track to do lists as well?

Of course the hard part now is building it all…

Additional notes and ideas

I started thinking about some of this ages ago when I prototyped making “itches” for my own website. And isn’t this just a public-facing to-do list? I don’t immediately see a to-do list entry on the IndieWeb wiki though I know that people have talked about it in the past. There’s also definitely no bullet journal or productivity entries, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t build them.

There are a lot of preexisting silos on the web that do to-do lists or which have productivity related personal data (Google notes, Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), so there are definitely many UI examples of good and bad display. For distributed group task management I could easily see things being marked done or undone and webmentions handling notifications for these. I suspect for this to take off on a wide, distributed scale for company-wide project management however, more work would need to exist on the ideas of audience and private or semi-private posts. The smaller personal side is certainly much more easily handled.

As another useful sub-case for study, I’ll note that several within the IndieWeb are able to post issues on their own websites, syndicate to GitHub’s issue queue, and get replies back, and isn’t this just a simple example workflow of a to-do list as well?

Greg McVerry has also mentioned he’s tinkered around in this area before primarily using pre-existing functionality in WithKnown. In his case, he’s been utilizing the related idea of the Pomodoro Technique which is widely known in productivity circles.

I’d be thrilled to hear ideas, thoughts, additional brainstorming, or even prior art examples of this sort of stuff. Feel free to add your thoughts below.

Featured photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

Reply to IndieWebifying my Blog by Ken Bauer

Replied to IndieWebifying my Blog by Ken BauerKen Bauer (blog.kenbauer.me)
The “First Post” on this blog was back in 2013 but I’ve had a presence on the web since the 1990s. My first page would have been one that I had as a graduate student at the University of Washington (1993-1995). In fact one of the early (and extremely popular) web search engi...

Ken, congratulations on IndieWebifying and welcome to the club! It’s nice to see another educator tinkering around in the IndieWeb space which I often think of as very similar to the Domain of One’s Own space, but with another useful layer of helpful technology on top.

If you haven’t come across it, there is a wiki page for IndieWeb for Education with some documentation about some of our experimentation and help for others. Feel free to add yourself to the examples and add to the page to help out the community.

Let us know if we can be of any help.

Replied to a tweet by StormlightTechStormlightTech (Twitter)
“Thinking that we might have been the ones to teach @microbitch2017 and @ShortShadyBlog how to do webmentions? Has it worked? Bridgy must be failing, because, no retweets showing up comments.”

I see a Bridgy account: https://brid.gy/twitter/StormlightTech but nothing for @microbitch2017 or @ShortShadyBlog so they can’t get webmentions from Bridgy because it doesn’t know about them. Clicking on the timestamp in Bridgy will give you some troubleshooting ideas.

Replied to A new interview with Manton Reece of Micro.blog for 2019 by Colin DevroeColin Devroe (cdevroe.com)

Colin, thanks for the great interview and the overview of where Micro.blog is going.

I’m noticing in the responses section of your site (and on this particular post) that you’ve got a “Mentions” section, and that when I click on some avatars I get the original post while others (for Twitter) link to the profile page. This isn’t the typical Webmention plugin for WordPress behavior, so I’m curious what particular lines you’ve changed in the plugin and how as I’d love to have this behavior instead of the less useful links to the profiles that the plugin typically gives. Thanks!

Replied to Joe’s Syndicated Links Considered ‘Spam’ By Some Mastodon Instance by Kicks Condor (kickscondor.com)
I actually kind of understand this—only because I think Mastodon is at odds with the Indieweb.

I don’t think that what Joe is seeing is an anti-IndieWeb thing. It is something we’ve seen before from a handful of instances and will assuredly see again.

The other example of this behavior I’ve seen was when Greg McVerry, a college professor and member of the IndieWeb community, tried to join a Mastodon instance that was specific to researchers and professors in higher education. Sadly he found out, like Joe, that syndicating content from other locations was not acceptable there. As I recall, they also required an automatic content warning on almost everything posted to that particular instance which seemed an additional travesty to me. I think he ultimately joined mastodon.social and found he didn’t have any similar issues there and anyone who wanted to follow him from any other instances still could. I’m sure he can provide some additional details and may have posted about it sometime in the summer of 2018 when it happened.

The tough part is that each instance, though federated among many others, can have its own terms of service and set up. Some instances can be and certainly are run by their own tyrannical administrators, and I suppose that it’s their right since they’re paying for the server and the overhead. The solution is to do some research into some instances and find one that isn’t going to ban you for what would otherwise seem like average use to most. I’ve found mastodon.social to be relatively simple in its terms and its massive size also tends to cover up a lot of edge cases, so you’re unlikely to run into the same problems there. (It is also run by the creator of Mastodon, who has generally been IndieWeb friendly.)

The issue Joe has run into also points out a flaw of the overall Fediverse in that just like each real-world country can have its own laws and there is a broader general international law, the international laws aren’t as well codified or respected by each individual country. When you’re operating in someone else’s country, you’re bound to follow their local laws and even customs. Fortunately if you don’t like them there are lots of other places to live. And this is one of the bigger, mostly unseen, benefits of the IndieWeb: if you have your own website, you can create your own rules/laws and do as you please without necessarily relying as heavily on the rules of others.

I’ll note that some in the IndieWeb (Aaron Parecki, Ryan Barrett, Mathias Pfefferle, Jacky Alcine, et al.) have been playing around with or thinking about adding the ActivityPub protocols so that their own websites act as stand-alone members of the Fediverse. Since I know Joe has recently moved to WordPress, I’ll mention that there are two separate projects to help WordPress sites federate:
* ActivityPub plugin for WordPress from Mathias Pfefferle
* Bridgy Fed from Ryan Barrett

Naturally neither of these (yet) supports all of the protocols so some functionality one would find on Mastodon won’t necessarily work, but I suspect that over time that they eventually will. It’s been a while since I tried out BridgyFed, but I’ve had the ActivityPub plugin set up for a bit and have noticed a lot of recent work by Mathias Pfefferle to use it for himself. I still have to tweak around with some of my settings, but so far it provides some relatively useful results. The best part is that I don’t need to syndicate content to Mastodon, but users there can subscribe to me at @chrisaldrich@boffosocko.com, for example, instead of @chrisaldrich@mastodon.social. The results and functionality aren’t perfect yet, but with some work we’ll get there I think.

Good luck finding (or creating) an instance that works for you!

Reply to Chris Finazzo about Jekyll and GoodReads alternatives

Replied to a tweet by Chris FinazzoChris Finazzo (Twitter)

I think Pelle Wessman has a Micropub solution for Jekyll which might allow you to use gRegorLove’s indiebookclub as a start. Asking in chat may help get you moving on other ideas/help if you need them.

Juvenile fiction recommendations for Kim Hansen

Replied to a tweet by Kim HansenKim Hansen (Twitter)

Coincidentally I’ve lately been re-reading a lot of Gordon Korman (and reading books I missed in my youth). What is interesting is that in his 80’s opus a lot of more modern technology is just not there, which makes it much more subtle from a plot perspective. It’s not as if he’s got references to dead technology like fax machines that really takes you out of the flow of the story. Of course in a modern setting a lot of the kids in his books would probably be Pavlovianly-glued to screens, but I don’t think it’s a horrible thing to expose children to things they might otherwise be doing without a cell phone in hand.

There are only a few places where there are now seeming plot holes where a cell phone would have made all the difference (example: Artie Geller going missing in No Coins, Please!), but they’re generally so well told and so funny that I’m more than willing to suspend my disbelief.

In A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag where energy technology figures relatively prominently, it still reads really well, particularly because we’ve still got those types of technology problems. Even the computer teacher quitting when the computers crash and don’t save work because of power issues at school reads well in a modern context. Of course, this book is set on Long Island, so it might not have the Canadian “representation” that you’re looking to recommend to them.

I’ve only made my way through a couple of the Macdonald Hall series, but those are just good clean prankster fun, so modern technology doesn’t seem to have factored in for me. While most of Korman’s work (at least that I’ve read thus far) is very male-centered, these particular books have some good female representation and depict the girls at the school across the street as very modern and on a generally equal footing with boys, particularly with the antiquated, dotty, old-school head mistress as a foil. On this front, I’d give Korman very high marks in comparison with other relatively recent juvenile literature classics like Beverly Cleary who even through the 70’s was having main characters like Henry regularly say overtly sexist things like “Beezus is pretty smart–for a girl.”

The tough part of more modern juvenile literature is that a lot of it has gone much further upstream and spread out considerably compared to what we had available in our youths. There’s a huge swath of YA work that has filled in but which borders more on soft-core Danielle Steele a la the Twilight Series. Almost all of these are also written as parts of longer series of 3, 4, 7, or more books too, which can be annoying because the plot is often strung out in choppy ways. If they’re a bit older and in high school, perhaps John Green’s work may be appropriate?

If they haven’t come across them, I always like to recommend Holes by Louis Sachar; The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin; From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg; Lois Lowry’s The Giver (et al.) which I’ve been re-reading lately too; and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. All of these are generally great timeless literature, and I often recommend them to adults who may have missed them.

I’m also a fan of the more recent Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart which has some of the rollicking fun of Korman with some interesting twists, plotting, and has some well-rounded representation of characters.

A while back I read the first in a series of steampunk/pirate books called A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis which had a lot of interesting science, alchemy, science fiction, and adventure. While it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, it was pretty well done, entertaining, and may appeal to them.

Also similar to Korman, but even older to the point that they read as period literature, they might find The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald or The Mad Scientists’ Club by Bertrand R. Brinley highly engaging.  Sadly, while entertaining and with a lot of heart and cultural intelligence, they don’t have much, if any, female representation, primarily as a function of their authors and when they were written.

Replied to a tweet by Hayley CampbellHayley Campbell (Twitter)

This is an important topic and something which should be tended to on an ongoing basis.

Ben Welsh of the LA Times data desk has built Savemy.News which leverages Twitter in combination with archive.is, webcitation.org, and archive.org to allow journalists to quickly create multiple archives of their work by simply inputting the URLs of their related pages. It’s also got a useful download functionality too.

Richard MacManus, founder of RWW, wrote a worthwhile article on how and why he archived a lot of his past work.

Those with heavier digital journalism backgrounds and portfolios may find some useful information and research coming out of Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Dodging the Memory Hole series of conferences. I can direct those interested to a variety of archivists, librarians, researchers, and technologists should they need heavier lifting that simpler solutions than archive.org, et al.

Additional ideas for archiving and saving online work can be found on the IndieWeb wiki page archival copy. There are some additional useful ideas and articles on the IndieWeb for Journalism page as well. I’d welcome anyone with additional ideas or input to feel free to add to any of these pages for others’ benefit as well. If you’re unfamiliar with wiki notation or editing, feel free to reply to this post; I’m happy to make additions on your behalf or help you log in and navigate the system directly.

If you don’t have a website where you keep your personal archive and/or portfolio online already, now might be a good time to put one together. The IndieWeb page mentioned above has some useful ideas, real world examples, and even links to tutorials.

As an added bonus for those who clicked through, if you’re temporarily unemployed and don’t have your own website/portfolio already, I’m happy to help build an IndieWeb-friendly website (gratis) to make it easier to store and display your past and future articles.

Replied to a post by Jack JamiesonJack Jamieson (jackjamieson.net)
Thank you to @RyersonResearch and especially @joyceemsmith  for inviting me to talk about my research today.  I had a great time talking IndieWeb, and specifically, Bridgy.
I presented a study I’ve been working on about Bridgy, i...

This is awesome Jack! Thanks for the synopsis. I’m curious what the ensuing discussion was and what other questions may have come out of it, particularly as it may dovetail with efforts of others within the IndieWeb who are working on journalism-related topics?

Reply to Jorge Toledo about what IndieWeb is about

Replied to a tweet by Jorge ToledoJorge Toledo (Twitter)

If it helps a bit, I’ve written a primer on IndieWeb basics which might be helpful.

Often I think it’s more illustrative to see what IndieWeb is by seeing what it can do. Greg and I are both publishing first on our own websites, and only then syndicating our replies to Twitter, where you’re seeing them. Then any responses to those posts are being fed back to our websites via the Webmention protocol with the help of Brid.gy in a process known as backfeed. The nice part is that he and I can have a website to website conversation (I’m on the WordPress CMS and he’s using WithKnown as his CMS of choice) without needing to use Facebook, Twitter, etc. as corporate intermediaries–typically unless we want to include others like you who aren’t using their own platforms yet.

To a great extent, we’re using simple web standards and open protocols so that our websites function like our own personal social media services without giving away all the control and the data to third parties. If you prefer, you can also think of IndieWeb as what the old blogosphere might have become if MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, Twitter, et al. hadn’t happened.

As another example of what IndieWeb related technology is about: I haven’t quite finished all the moving pieces yet, but my personal website is also federated in the sense that you can follow me @chrisaldrich@boffosocko.com on Mastodon or other parts of the Fediverse. (Don’t judge the output too harshly just yet, I’m still working on it, but it’s at least a reasonable proof of concept that many are also doing now. I also don’t have direct replies via Mastodon working just yet either…)

Please do let us know if you have other questions. We’re happy to help.

Post your response to this using Twitter:

👓 The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the Catskills | David Shanske

Replied to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the Catskills by David ShanskeDavid Shanske (david.shanske.com)
I spent some time in the last few days watching the second season of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I’ve always enjoyed period pieces, especially 20th century ones. This is set in 1959. I can’t pretend I was a Jew in New York in the 1950s…my parents were though, although certainly not the economic...

I couldn’t help but think about the 80’s movie Dirty Dancing when watching this particular episode. The quirky part is that this version seemed to portray the entire process as a far more silly and frivolous affair instead of something people genuinely did for fun and relaxation. I can’t imagine that there was as much tongue-in-cheek snark in the 50’s when trips to the Catskills were in vogue.

Of course I’ve got worse complaints about the show’s characters and the seeming non-differentiation of their individual voices…

I also watched Diner earlier in the week, and while very far from being my favorite film, it had a more nuanced portrayal of 1959 culture than Maisel has had. Of course Barry Levinson (b. 1942) actually had the experience of living through the 50’s compared with Amy Sherman-Palladino (b. 1966) who didn’t. She obviously has a drastically different lens.

Replied to a tweet by Lee KelleherLee Kelleher (Twitter)
“@gadgetopia Good question! From what I've read, pingbacks suffered from poor security/spam and being XMLRPC based. How webmentions differ, I'm not sure. I assume it's W3C's reimagining of it.”

I wrote up some broad thoughts about Webmention and web design which you might find helpful. Happy to answer any questions.

Replied to a post by Barnaby WaltersBarnaby Walters (waterpigs.co.uk)
I tried to plug in this LED strip I bought but nothing happens. 5400 LEDs but none of them turn on?! and when I tried to peel the backing off to stick it to something, all the LEDs fell out D: 0/10 would not buy again

I can’t quite tell completely based on the photo but those don’t look like LEDs one would “plug in”. It’s been a few years since I’ve dealt with LEDs that look roughly like the ones you got in that reel, but in my experience those need to be reflow soldered to metallic plugs with special pads for attaching wiring to them to power them. Trying to manually solder wiring to them to get them to work is not a simple process, can often cause them to short circuit, and not taking the appropriate care can ruin them.

Generally that type also burn so hot, that they need a custom metal slug as a heat sink to help cool them and redistribute the heat. Without the thermal help, they often melt/burn out almost immediately. Another issue that some don’t always realize or remember, depending on your electrical background, is that those types of LEDs have a polarity and need to be connected in the correct orientation or current won’t flow across them, thus making them appear not to work.

Of course, if you’ve done all this and they still don’t work…

Replied to Feed page by Andy BellAndy Bell (Andy Bell)
Let’s make 2019 the year of personal sites and the IndieWeb.

Thanks for the awesome feed page and congratulations on launching into the IndieWeb in 2019!

If it helps, Max Böck recently wrote some excellent articles (with code examples) on using Eleventy to easily syndicate content to Twitter as well as to add Webmention functionality. If you haven’t seen them yet, they may help you along your journey a bit more quickly. Both can be found at: https://indieweb.org/Eleventy