Replied to a tweet by Lior Pachter (Twitter)

Don Zagier’s one sentence proof of Fermat’s theorem on sums of two squares can be found in an archived version via academic samizdat.

Wikipedia also has a slightly longer unpacking of it.

Reply to Aaron Davis about links

Replied to a post by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Respond)

I think it is one of those topics with a lot of conjecture John. Apologies if there are too many links.  

Don’t apologize for links. It’s the web and links are important. In fact I might think that you could have a few additional links here! I would have seen it anyway, but I was a tad sad not to have seen a link to that massive pullquote/photo you made at the top of the post which would have sent me a webmention to boot. (Of course WordPress doesn’t make it easy on this front either, so your best bet would have been an invisible <link> hidden in the text maybe?)

I’ve been in the habit of person-tagging people in posts to actively send them webmentions, but I also have worried about the extra “visual clutter” and cognitive load of the traditional presentation of links as mentioned by John. (If he wasn’t distracted by the visual underlines indicating links, he might have been as happy?) As a result, I’m now considering adding some CSS to my site so that some of these webmention links simply look like regular text. This way the notifications will be triggered, but without adding the seeming “cruft” visually or cognitively. Win-win? Thanks for the inspiration!

In your case here, you’ve kindly added enough context about what to expect about the included links that the reader can decide for themselves while still making your point. You should sleep easily on this point and continue linking to your heart’s content.

In some sense, I think that the more links the better. I suspect the broader thesis of Cesar Hidalgo’s book Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies would give you some theoretical back up for the idea.

Reply to #LoveBombs for Thimble: Saying Goodbye to Teacher, Mentor, Friend | INTERTEXTrEVOLUTION

Replied to #LoveBombs for Thimble: Saying Goodbye to Teacher, Mentor, Friend by J. Gregroy McVerry (jgmac1106homepage.glitch.me)
got immersed into a maze of down subway lines which left me plenty of time to reflect.  

This sounds a lot like the experience I had with you at the IndieWebSummit where we got so engaged in talking and thinking while we walked back to the hotel one night that we easily got lost and walked twice as far as we needed to.

📑 #LoveBombs for Thimble: Saying Goodbye to Teacher, Mentor, Friend| INTERTEXTrEVOLUTION

Replied to #LoveBombs for Thimble: Saying Goodbye to Teacher, Mentor, Friend by J. Gregroy McVerry (jgmac1106homepage.glitch.me)
Pointing someone to a README.md does not lead to learning.  

This reminds me of an interesting study from MIT relating to collective learning that I heard about from Cesar Hidalgo recently.

👓 Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? | Study Hacks – Cal Newport

Replied to Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? by Cal Newport (Study Hacks)

As a public critic of social media, I’m often asked if my concerns extend to YouTube. This is a tricky question.

As I’ve written, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram didn’t offer something fundamentally different than the world wide web that preceded them. Their main contribution was to make this style of online life more accessible and convenient.

I suspect that people have generally been exploring some of this already, particularly with embedding. The difficult part on moving past YouTube, Vimeo, et al. with streaming or even simple embedding is that video on the web is a big engineering problem not to mention a major bandwidth issue for self-hosters. I’ve seen scions like Kevin Marks indicate in the past that they’d put almost any type of content on their own websites natively but video. Even coding a JavaScript player on one’s site is prohibitively difficult and rarely do major corporate players in the video content space bother to do this themselves. Thus, until something drastic happens, embedding video may be the only sensible way to go.

As an interesting aside, I’ll note that just a few months ago that YouTube allowed people to do embeds with several options, but they’re recently removed the option to prevent their player from recommending additional videos once you’re done. Thus the embedding site is still co-opted to some extent by YouTube and their vexing algorithmic recommendations.

In a similar vein audio is also an issue, but at least an easier and much lower bandwidth one. I’ve been running some experiments lately on my own website by posting what I’m listening to on a regular basis as a “faux-cast” and embedding the original audio. I’ve also been doing it pointedly as a means of helping others discover good content, because in some sense I can say I love the most recent NPR podcast or click like on it somewhere, but I’m definitely sure that doesn’t have as much weight or value as my tacitly saying, “I’ve actually put my time and attention on the line and actually listened to this particular episode.” I think having and indicating skin-in-the-game can make a tremendous difference in these areas. In a similar vein, sites like Twitter don’t really have a good bookmarking feature, so readers don’t know if the sharing user actually read any of an article or if it was just the headline. Posting these things separately on my own site as either reads or bookmarks allows me to differentiate between the two specifically and semantically, both for others’ benefit as well as, and possibly most importantly, for my own (future self).

Replied to a post by Ron Ron (micro.blog)
@bradenslen I looked through that giant feed which you described as a firehose, which it certainly is. Oddly, I didn't see Dave Winer, even in the Bloggers section. Maybe there's a story behind that.

@Ron Doesn’t anyone worth their salt have http://scripting.com/ open all day in its own browser tab? 😉
Separately, but somewhat related, that big firehose OPML feed also has lots of private feeds hiding inside of it that aren’t public facing.

Reply to ricmac on indie blogs

Replied to a post by ricmacricmac (micro.blog)

Open question: what are some cool indie blogs (by which I mean, topic-focused blogs not personal blogs)? There are a ton of excellent indie podcasts out there (e.g. literatureandhistory.com is one of my faves). Would like to get a list started of blogs like that.

I’m struggling to think of an example of a modern era indie blog, except for my own 2018 effort Blocksplain. Keen to hear other (more successful!) suggestions. Again: topic-focused blog is what I mean.

@ricmac To get things kicked off, are you thinking of something along the lines of Gretchen McCulloch’s linguistics blog All Things Linguistics? If this is the sort of thing you’re looking for, I can think of several along these lines in various areas of academia, which apparently never left the old blogosphere, if you’d like some additional ones. There are also several multi-author/contributor ones like these as well.
#WishingTechnoratiStillExisted

Reply to Blog Engines and Indieweb Controlling Upstream by Brad Enslen

Replied to Blog Engines and Indieweb Controlling Upstream by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)
All this WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg stuff got me thinking.  With WordPress it seems like the Indieweb starts making serious and cool progress and the WordPress people come along and knock the game board and pieces off the table.  And it sounds like the disruption from WordPress is going to continue f...

Brad, I like and agree with your general thoughts, but I think that looking at the long term broader picture, most of what you’re describing is covered under the umbrella principle of plurality. For things to grow and thrive, we all need plurality to flourish. As a result there are several hundred projects within the broader IndieWeb which are growing and thriving. It seems far slower because a large number of the projects are single-maintainer single-user ones which are being built for personal use.

It’s nice that there are mass-scale projects like WordPress, WithKnown, Get Perch, Grav, Drupal, and a few others which have one or more “IndieWeb-centric” developers working on them that allow those without the coding skills to jump in and enjoy the additional freedom and functionality. The occasional drawback is that those big-hearted developers also fit into the broader fabric of those massively distributed projects and sometimes their voices aren’t as well heard, if at all.

I’m aware of the disruption of the Gutenberg Editor within WordPress v5.0 and how it applies to those using IndieWeb technology on WordPress. I’m sure it will eventually get sorted out in a reasonable fashion. Sadly, throwing out the baby out with the bathwater as it comes to WordPress and IndieWeb may not be the best solution for many people and may actually be a painful detriment to several hundreds.

While it would be interesting to see a larger group of developers converge on building an open and broadly used IndieWeb system as you suggest, it takes a massive amount of work and community collaboration to get such a thing moving. I think this bears out if you look at the lay of the land as it already exists. Just think of the time effort and energy that the core IndieWeb community puts into the tremendous amount of resources that exist today.

Looking back on the past 4+ years of IndieWeb within the WordPress community, I’m really amazed to see exactly how far things have come and where things currently stand. There used to be a dozen or more pieces that required custom code, duct tape, and baling wire to get things working. Now it’s a handful of relatively stable and well set up pieces that—particularly for me—really makes WordPress deliver as an open source content management system and next generation social medial platform that aims to democratize publishing. In terms of building for the future, I suspect that helping to bring new people into the fold (users, developers, designers, etc.) will increase and improve the experience overall. To some degree, I feel like we’re just getting started on what is possible and recruiting new users and help will be the best thing for improving things moving forward. IndieWeb integration into large-scale projects like WordPress, Drupal, etc. are very likely to be the place that these ideas are likely to gain a foothold in the mainstream and change the tide of how the internet works.

While it may seem daunting at times, in addition to the heroic (part-time, it needs to be noted) developers like Mathias Pfefferle, David Shanske, Micah Cambre, Michael Bishop, Ashton McAllan, Jack Jamieson,  Ryan Barrett, Peter MolnarAmanda Rush; enthusiastic supporters like you, Greg McVerry, Aaron Davis, Manton Reece; and literally hundreds of others (apologies to those I’ve missed by name) who are using and living with these tools on a daily basis, there are also quieter allies like Brandon Kraft, Ryan Boren, Jeremy Herve and even Matt himself, even if he’s not directly aware of it, who are contributing in their own ways as well. Given the immense value of what IndieWeb brings to the web, I can’t imagine that they won’t ultimately win out.

If it helps, some of the current IndieWeb issues pale in comparison to some of the accessibility problems that Gutenberg has neglected within the WordPress community. Fortunately those a11ys are sticking with the greater fight to make things better not only for themselves, but for the broader community and the world. I suggest that, like them, we all suit up and continue the good fight.

Of course part of the genius of how IndieWeb is structured: anyone is free to start writing code, make better UI, and create something of their own. Even then they benefit from a huge amount of shared work, resources, and simple standards that are already out there. 

Reply to A small blog neighborhood hiding in plain sight | Jon Udell

Replied to A small blog neighborhood hiding in plain sight by Jon UdellJon Udell (Jon Udell)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve tweeted every blog post. As an experiment, I didn’t do that with this one. As a result, WordPress tells me that relatively few people have read it. But I’m not monetizing pageview counters here, why do I care? The interaction with those who did read that item was pleasant.

So, the experiment continues. Some items here, like this one, can enjoy a more intimate space than others, simply by not announcing themselves on Twitter. A small blog neighborhood hiding in plain sight.

Old school blogs are the new social media. It’s nice to be ahead of the curve, isn’t it?

Replied to How Long Should a Podcast Be? by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas (Jeremy Cherfas)

Podnews has a piece that many podcasters could usefully read. The bit that resonated was this quote from Roman Mars:

If you have 100,000 listeners and you edit out one useless minute you are saving 100,000 wasted minutes in the world. You’re practically a hero.

Not quite a hero, I can at least count myself a mini-hero. 

Definitely some sage advice. I recall The Economist going a step further in their analysis a few years back and providing visuals on a 4 minute video: The hidden cost of Gangnam Style: What humanity could achieve if it weren’t galloping in front of computer screens

The hidden cost of Gangnam Style

👓 Can blogs rebuild America? | Parent Hacks | Asha Dornfest

Replied to Can blogs rebuild America? by Asha DornfestAsha Dornfest (Parent Hacks)

Our blogs and the gathering spaces they created changed our world. I think we're in a moment when we can do that again.

Back in the early 2000s, we started blogs, and started talking to each other, and became friends. REAL friends. We had no idea our individual, independent contributions would link up to create a movement that revolutionized media, marketing, and the national conversation (in my case, about parenting, but on other topics, too). [Shoutout to all the conference/summit organizers who created the in-person space to cement these friendships.]

Remember what the media landscape was like back then? Traditional publishing and media was closed to most, so very few people had access to an audience. We were part of changing that. It wasn’t “influence” or “personal branding” back then, it began as community.

I have personally been been doing something similar to this for several years now, so I’m obviously a big fan of this idea. My website is my social media presence and everything I post online starts on my own website first (including this reply).

I’m excited to see so many people in the comments are into the idea as well, but it seems like several are having problems knowing where to get started or where to go. I’d suggest many spend some time to check out IndieWeb.org and the resources not only on their wiki, but within their online chat. There are a lot of us out here who have experience doing just this and can help kickstart the process, not to mention we’ve built up a huge wiki with details, tools, and processes to help others out.

Asha, if you’re game, perhaps we could set up some video chat time to help folks out?

The best part is that the old school blogosphere has been growing again and adding some cool new functionalities that make having and using a personal website a lot more fun, useful, and even simpler. Let me know how I might be of help.

👓 Gonna take a communbity to hold that back scratcher: @Tumblr to the #IndieWeb | Greg McVerry

Replied to Gonna take a communbity to hold that back scratcher: @Tumblr to the #IndieWeb by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com)
Import–needs rock solid LiveJournal-clone and Tumblr support if your site is to serve as an archive. I don’t know if there even is a working Wordpress plugin to import from LJ or Dreamwidth. The best-supported Tumblr->Wordpress importer is actually better than most standalone Tumblr backup tools...

I’ve never really thought about it until now, but the IndieWeb is its own fandom. Perhaps even the OG fandom?

Reply to Damian Yerrick about leaving Tumblr and recommendation engines

Replied to a tweet by Damian YerrickDamian Yerrick (Twitter)

Because of the decentralized nature of the IndieWeb, it’s most likely that more centralized services in the vein of Indie Map or perhaps a Microsub client might build in this sort of recommendation engine functionality. But this doesn’t mean that all is lost! Until more sophisticated tools exist, bootstrapping on smaller individually published sorts of recommendations like follow posts or things like my Following Page (fka blogroll) with OPML support are more likely to be of interest and immediately fill the gap. Several feed readers like Feedly and Inoreader also have recommendation engines built in as well.

Of course going the direction of old school blogs and following those who comment on your own site has historically been a quick way to build a network. I’m also reminded of Colin Walker’s directory which creates a blogroll of sorts by making a list of websites that have webmentioned his own. Webrings are also an interesting possibility for topic-related community building.

Since Tumblr is unlikely to shut down immediately, those effected could easily add their personal websites to their bios to help transition their followerships to feed readers or other methods for following and reading.

Of course the important thing in the near term is to spend a moment downloading and backing up one’s content just in case.

 

Reply to Dries Buytaert on follow and subscriptions to blogs

Replied to a tweet by Dries BuytaertDries Buytaert (Twitter)

Happy birthday Dries! If I may, can I outline a potential web-based birthday present based on your  wish?

Follow posts

With relation to your desire to know who’s subscribed and potentially reading your posts, I think there are a number of ways forward, and even better, ways that are within easy immediate reach using Drupal as well as many other CMSes using some simple web standards.

I suspect you’ve been following Kristof De Jaeger’s work with the Drupal IndieWeb module which is now a release candidate. It will allow you to send and receive Webmentions (a W3C recommendation) which are simple notifications much the way they work on Twitter, Facebook, etc. I’ve written a bit about how they could be leveraged to accomplish several things in Webmentions: Enabling Better Communication on the Internet.

Not mentioned in that article for brevity is the ability to send notifications via Webmention when one makes follow or subscription posts.

As an example, I’ve created a follow post for you for which my site would have sent a Webmention. Unfortunately at the time, your site didn’t support receiving it, so you would have missed out on it unless you support older legacy specs like pingback, trackback, or refback.

I also created a larger related Following page of people and sites I’m subscribed to which also lists you, so you would have received another notification from it if you supported Webmention.

I’m unaware of anyone actually displaying these notifications on their website (yet!), though I’ve got some infrastructure on my own site to create a “Followed by” page which will store and show these follows or subscriptions. At present, they’re simply stored in my back end.

Read Posts

As for Rachel’s request, this too is also possible with “read” webmentions. I maintain a specific linkblog feed (RSS) with all of the online material I read. All of those posts send notifications to the linked sites. While it’s not widely supported by other platforms yet, there are a few which do, so that online publications can better delineate and display the difference between likes, bookmarks, reads, etc. There’s at least one online newspaper among 800+WordPress websites which support this functionality. I suspect that with swentel’s Drupal module and some code for supporting the proper microformats, this is a quick reality in the Drupal space as well. Because the functionality is built on basic web standards, it’s possible for any CMS to support them. All that’s left is to ramp up adoption.

A quick note on Microsub and feed readers

Dave Winer in his reply to you linked to a post about showing likes on his site (presumably using the Twitter API) where he laments:

I know the Like icon doesn’t show up in your feed reader (maybe that can change)

Interestingly, swentel’s module also supports Microsub, so that reader clients will allow one to like (bookmark, or reply to) posts directly within readers which will then send Micropub requests to one’s website to post them as well as to potentially send Webmention notifications. These pieces help to close the circle of posting, reading, and easily interacting on the open web the way closed silos like Facebook, Twitter, et al. allow.

Replied to kongaloosh by Alex Kearney (kongaloosh.com)
I'm sitting here hoping that confusion over pronunication of #NeurIPS turns into a wholesome meme where people pronounce it differently everytime they say it.
new-rups
nyr-ups
nurr-ips

That’s a far better problem than the one they had been facing prior to the name change. I hope things there only become better.

Which did you settle on?