If you have questions about it after the camp, feel free to ask in the IndieWeb chat. There are lots of us who can help.
Quick note of a factual and temporal error: the article indicates:
After all, it had been Wiener who discovered a precise mathematical definition of information: The higher the probability, the higher the entropy and the lower the information content.
In fact, it was Claude E. Shannon, one of Wiener’s colleagues, who wrote the influential A Mathematical Theory of Communication published in Bell System Technical Journal in 1948, almost 5 years after the 1943 part of the timeline the article is indicating. Not only did Wiener not write the paper, but it wouldn’t have existed yet to have been a factor in Pitts deciding to choose a school or adviser at the time. While Wiener may have been a tremendous polymath, I suspect that his mathematical area of expertise during those years would have been closer to analysis and not probability theory.
To put Pitts & McCulloch’s work into additional context, Claude Shannon’s stunning MIT master’s thesis A symbolic analysis of relay and switching circuits in 1940 applied Boolean algebra to electronic circuits for the first time and as a result largely allowed the digital age to blossom. It would be nice to know if Pitts & McCulloch were aware of it when they published their work three years later.
Congratulations on all the tweaks!
It took me a while to puzzle it out when I first ran across it, but the text just underneath your title:
<SPAN CLASS='P-AUTHOR H-CARD'>MIRIAM AVERY</SPAN> is occurring because you’re using the microformats 2 plugin which tries to inject the p-author h-card portion into your page, but it’s having a conflict with your theme which is escaping the output for that author section. (More details on this known issue here.)
Chances are pretty good that you could deactivate the microformats plugin to fix the cosmetic issue without causing other major issues. Depending on your theme’s native microformats markup, you may likely find that you don’t see or experience any other major issues with any of the other technology. The one issue I’ve seen people come across here is if they’re using Brid.gy to syndicate their content via webmention to Twitter, in which case having stronger markup becomes much more important. Hopefully this will at least help you track down and either fix the issue or figure out the best way around it for your particular needs.
The best long term solution would be to add the proper microformats markup directly into the theme itself.
Tom, for the basics of what Webmention is you might try this intro article Webmentions: Enabling Better Communication on the Internet.
To get started quickly, just to have the notifications, you might try creating an account with Webmentions.io and put the endpoint into the
<head> of your site so you can receive them in the erstwhile on a separate service and worry about direct integration at a later date. As I recall Aaron Gustafson has a Webmention.io Jekyll Plugin for display and some of the outline is covered in this recent article by Max Böck.
If necessary, you can get help in the #Dev channel of the IndieWeb chat.
Syndicating Your Posts
The IndieNews plugin allows you to automatically syndicate your posts to the IndieNews and IndieWeb.xyz sites using webmention. You’ll notice on your posts that in your tags, in addition to the indieweb tag you’ve added, the plugin has automatically added additional tags which include
/en/indieweb which–instead of being wrapped with links to those tags on your website–are wrapped with links pointing to those websites along with the appropriate syndication markup. As a result, when you publish your posts and send webmentions, both of those services are posting to those services on your behalf.
I’d recommend care in syndicating to them using this plugin as this morning it might appear to some that you’re spamming those channels. I tag lots of things on my site as “IndieWeb” mostly for my own use, so I specifically don’t use the plugin for concern of overwhelming those other sites. Instead I typically cross-post to both services manually using their respective instructions: IndieWeb News and IndieWeb.xyz.
IndieNews Dashboard Widget
The other feature that the plugin does is add a small widget to your main
/wp-admin/ dashboard page that also displays a feed of what appears on the IndieNews website for your convenience.
I’ll admit that the GitHub repo for the plugin doesn’t do as good a job of describing how to use it as it might. Perhaps we ought to file an issue to improve that?
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.
Did something go sideways with your site at https://www.arush.io/? Something feels off and it appears most of your content has disappeared?!
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.
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!
I don’t think that whatis 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 @firstname.lastname@example.org, for example, instead of @email@example.com. 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!
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.
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.