👓 Yarns Indie Reader | Jack Jamieson

Read Yarns Indie Reader by Jack Jamieson (jackjamieson.net)
Over the past little while I’ve been chipping away at an Indie Reader plugin for WordPress. It’s still a bit rough at this point, but works well enough that I’m happy to announce it here. Yarns Indie Reader allows you to subscribe to websites that publish either rss or h-feed. As well as kee...

🎧 This Week in Tech 652 We’re All Out of Kidneys | TWiT.TV

Listened to This Week in Tech 652 We're All Out of Kidneys by Leo Laporte, Ashley Esqueda, Mike Elgan, Sam Machkovech from TWiT.tv
Dot-com superb ads, Apple growth, Bezos’s big plan, and more. Tech ads in the Superbowl. Elon Musk's "Not-a-Flamethrower." Apple, Google, and Amazon quarterly results. What are Amazon's health plans? What game company will Microsoft buy next?

https://youtu.be/aUpYOMKq4iQ

👓 John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018 | EFF.org

Read John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018 (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
With a broken heart I have to announce that EFF's founder, visionary, and our ongoing inspiration, John Perry Barlow, passed away quietly in his sleep this morning. We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF. It is no exaggeration...
Read Muse shares story behind ‘Hey There Delilah’ by Mike Celizic (TODAY.com)
As a nationally ranked runner and an Olympic hopeful, Delilah DiCrescenzo is used to being chased — but by other athletes, not by pop singers from Chicago. But, she said on Wednesday, she doesn’t mind the attention the chase has brought her. “What I really hope through all of this is that it spotlights track and field, and it gives the sport a face, which is really important to us athletes i
Read after hearing song on radio this afternoon and remembering the Olympics coming up.

👓 How Facebook Is Killing Comedy | Splitsider

Read How Facebook Is Killing Comedy by Sarah Aswell (Splitsider)
Last month, in its second round of layoffs in as many years, comedy hub Funny or Die reportedly eliminated its entire editorial team following a trend of comedy websites scaling back, shutting down, or restructuring their business model away from original online content. Hours after CEO Mike Farah delivered the news via an internal memo, Matt Klinman took to Twitter, writing, “Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.” It was a strong sentiment for the longtime comedy creator, who started out at UCB and The Onion before launching Pitch, the Funny or Die-incubated joke-writing app, in 2017.
This article really has so much. It also contains a microcosm of what’s been happening in journalism recently as well. I have a feeling that if outlets like Funny or Die were to go back and own their original content, there would still be a way for them to exist, we just need to evolve the internet away from the centralized direction we’ve been moving for the past decade and change.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

eliminated its entire editorial team following a trend of comedy websites scaling back, shutting down, or restructuring their business model away from original online content.  Hours after CEO Mike Farah delivered the news via an internal memo, Matt Klinman took to Twitter, writing, “Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.” It was a strong sentiment for the longtime comedy creator, who started out at UCB and The Onion before launching Pitch, the Funny or Die-incubated joke-writing app, in 2017.


“Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.”


The whole story is basically that Facebook gets so much traffic that they started convincing publishers to post things on Facebook. For a long time, that was fine. People posted things on Facebook, then you would click those links and go to their websites. But then, gradually, Facebook started exerting more and more control of what was being seen, to the point that they, not our website, essentially became the main publishers of everyone’s content. Today, there’s no reason to go to a comedy website that has a video if that video is just right on Facebook. And that would be fine if Facebook compensated those companies for the ad revenue that was generated from those videos, but because Facebook does not pay publishers, there quickly became no money in making high-quality content for the internet.


Facebook has created a centrally designed internet. It’s a lamer, shittier looking internet.


The EU has a bunch of laws kicking in to keep this in check — one is algorithmic transparency, where these places need to tell me why they are showing me something.


If someone at Facebook sees this, I want them to know, if they care at all about the idea that was the internet, they need to start thinking through what they are doing. Otherwise, then you’re just like Lennie from Of Mice and Men — a big dumb oaf crushing the little mouse of the internet over and over and not realizing it.


And I want it to feel that way to other people so that when they go to a cool website, they are inspired: They see human beings putting love and care into something.


Facebook is essentially running a payola scam where you have to pay them if you want your own fans to see your content.


It’s like if The New York Times had their own subscriber base, but you had to pay the paperboy for every article you wanted to see.


And then it becomes impossible to know what a good thing to make is anymore.

This is where webmentions on sites can become valuable. People posting “read” posts or “watch” posts (or even comments) indicating that they saw something could be the indicator to the originating site that something is interesting/valuable and could be displayed by that site. (This is kind of like follower counts, but for individual pieces of content, so naturally one would need to be careful about gaming.)


Here’s another analogy, and I learned this in an ecology class: In the 1800s (or something), there were big lords, or kings or something, who had giant estates with these large forests. And there were these foresters who had this whole notion of how to make a perfectly designed forest, where the trees would be pristinely manicured and in these perfect rows, and they would get rid of all the gross stuff and dirt. It was just trees in a perfect, human-devised formation that you could walk through. Within a generation, these trees were emaciated and dying. Because that’s how a forest works — it needs to be chaotic. It needs bugs and leaves, it makes the whole thriving ecosystem possible. That’s what this new internet should be. It won’t survive as this human-designed, top-down thing that is optimized for programmatic ads. It feels like a desert. There’s no nutrition, there’s no opportunity to do anything cool.


Recommending things for people is a personal act, and there are people who are good at it. There are critics. There are blogs. It’s not beneficial to us to turn content recommendations over to an algorithm, especially one that’s been optimized for garbage.


the internet was a better place 3-4 years ago. It used to be fruitful, but it’s like a desert now.


Facebook is the great de-contextualizer.

Dries Buytaert: creator of Drupal and co-founder of Acquia

Followed Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal and co-founder of Acquia by Dries BuytaertDries Buytaert (dri.es)
Discover Dries' thoughts on the open web, the future of digital, technology startups, Open Source and Drupal.
Dries looks like he’s not only starting to post more, but post more interesting pieces about the future of the web.

👓 Pentagon says Trump ordered Washington military parade | AP

Read Pentagon says Trump ordered Washington military parade by Robert Burns (AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a grand parade of the U.S. armed forces in Washington this year to celebrate military strength, officials said Tuesday. The Washington Post, which was first to report the plan, said Trump wants an elaborate parade this year with soldiers marching and tanks rolling, but no date has been selected.

👓 Designing for Equity: Growth, Slack, and Abundance (NOT Grit, Deficits, and Scarcity) | Canvas Community

Read Designing for Equity: Growth, Slack, and Abunda... by Laura Gibbs (Canvas Community)
Inspired by Gregory Beyrer's post about equity and his "Summer of Canvas" plus it being the Fourth of July holiday, I am re-posting below an blog post from another blog: 10 Ways to Give Your Students the Gift of Slack. I've changed the title (a lot of people thought I meant Slack-the-app), and I've updated it with some links to Canvas Community spaces in which some of these same ideas have come up. I hope this is something that will promote more discussion and more blog posts; it's my opinion that designing-for-equity is both a pedagogical and a civic duty, and it is not just about technology or about online courses: it is about the future of public education in this country.
The cartoon that came along with this post was particularly poignant.

👓 ‘Bitcoin is my potential pension’: What’s driving people in Kentucky to join the craze | The Washington Post

Read ‘Bitcoin is my potential pension’: What’s driving people in Kentucky to join the craze by Chico Harlan (Washington Post)
The possibility of a windfall lures many who see themselves in a financial rut.
This is just painful to read and feels all too much like a Ponzi scheme gone wrong. Sadly, the reportage doesn’t take a direct stance, so some are more likely to read this and think that it’s an actual investment scheme to be dabbled with. If it were a realistic currency, then having a relatively constant value would be a key feature.

I came across this from Paul Krugman’s tweet which is all too apt:

👓 Harvey Weinstein shows how not to respond | Axios

Read Harvey Weinstein shows how not to respond after allegations from Uma Thurman by Mike Allen (Axios)
Stunning series of interviews by Maureen Dowd, on the cover of N.Y. Times Sunday Review, "A Goddess, A Mogul And a Mad Genius ... Uma Thurman ... is finally ready to talk about Harvey Weinstein" — and Quentin Tarantino
This is a simple me-too article (in the original meaning of “We’ve got to post something, but don’t have anything interesting of our own”) where Axios is just recapping some other reportage going around the web. Sadly nothing new here, but they had to post something about what is going on with the story. Would be nice to see them doing some original reporting on the matter.

🔖 ScholarlyHub sounds like IndieWeb for Education

Bookmarked Scholarly Hub (ScholarlyHub)
At ScholarlyHub we believe that a critical attitude does not stop with the platforms we use. Growing threats to open science have made it more crucial than before to develop a sustainable, not-for-profit environment. One that allows you to publish, share, and access quality work without financial constraints; find and work with colleagues in fields you’re interested in; develop research and teaching projects; store datasets securely, and mentor and be mentored in order to improve your work and help others. Above all, we want to foster an environment that meets our needs as individuals and scholarly communities and where we are in control, not myopic political agendas, greedy publishers, or data merchants. We believe that scholarship does little good behind pay walls, that metrified rankings rarely promote innovative research, and that transparent communication is vital to quality scholarship and healthy societies. Therefore we’re taking the best of the new and the best of the tried to create a truly open-access repository, publishing service, and scholarly social networking site, with large scope for members' initiatives. And it will be run by scholars: not for profit, greater market share, or political kudos, but for their own growth and everyone’s benefit.
It looks to me like a lot of what ScholarlyHub is doing sounds very similar to the principles behind the IndieWeb. They’re just applying them to the education and research sector.

Most of their manifesto sounds very familiar to me. Because of a lack of plurality, I’m guessing they’re generation 1 creators concentrating on building an inexpensive platform for generations 2 and on.

👓 02/02/2018, 12:41 | Colin Walker

Read There has to be a better way to subscribe to sites. by Colin Walker (colinwalker.blog)
There has to be a better way to subscribe to sites. While RSS readers are making a bit of a comeback in certain quarters there's no doubt that, as Sameer puts it, "subscribing to feeds definitely has fallen out of parlance." It's not just that sites need subscribe buttons again, but that using them should not be akin to a dark art. As Dave initially said, echoed by Frank, the social networks have made following easy - reading, writing, following, it's all within the same UI. That's what makes micro.blog unique, it has that familiar social feel but you are actually invisibly subscribing to people's RSS/JSON feeds when following them. The timeline is a glorified feed reader with integrated posting and social elements. That's fine within the confines of a service like micro.blog but what about on the open web when hitting "follow" isn't handled for you? "Remember when all the apps supported RSS? Browsers, email clients, everything!" It used to be so much better but, even then, implementation differed. Chrome just shows us the XML, Safari lost its "subscribe" feature, Firefox seems more feed aware but it's all still unintuitive. Some platforms allow you to set your default feed reader to "open in" - others don't - but this still needs you to understand what feeds are, how they are consumed and choose a reader. There needs to be a way to handle subscriptions on the open web like following a person on a social network. But how? Any solution would require everyone to get on board with compatible options for what most see as an antiquated technology. Perhaps it needs something new. But what? Are browser developers going to reintroduce native subscription options? Doubtful.
I’ve got some thoughts on this forthcoming. Need to get over my head cold soon.

👓 This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry | New York Times

Read Opinion | This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry by Maureen Dowd (New York Times)
The actress is finally ready to talk about Harvey Weinstein.
I’m wondering why, if she spent so much time waiting to put this out, why there isn’t more “story” here? This feels like it was rushed out despite the fact that there’s a lot of personal touch to the story. I expected something far more painful and scathing.