Reply to Tony Zijlstra on Mapping the IndieWeb

Replied to Mapping the IndieWeb a Webmention at a Time by Ton ZijlstraTon Zijlstra (Interdependent Thoughts)

When I link to another blog or site that has enabled webmention, my server log should record that it received a 20* response when trying to reach a webmention end point.

Assuming this is indeed in my server log, then it should be possible to have a script that pulls the successful webmentions from the server log. From that a growing list of IndieWeb sites can grow. Especially if you’d share that list, and others do too, so you can compare and detect new additions to the list. An incremental way of mapping the IndieWeb. Might even become a new, indie Technorati of sorts. At the very least it’s a discovery vehicle to find others interested in the distributed web and outside the silos and media sites.

Or does something like that already exist?

I like this idea…

Somewhat in the same vein, Colin Walker has built a Webmention Directory on his site that lists all the people (selectively) who have mentioned him in the past. It’s not too different from the purpose of a blogroll.

Similarly Ryan Barrett has built the IndieMap which has a much larger data sample behind it. He unveiled it almost a year ago at IndieWeb Summit 2017.

Maybe we could get the old Technorati alumni in IndieWeb to build something out of this?

Reply to UnixSysAdmin about integrating with Twitter

Replied to a tweet by Unix Sys AdminUnix Sys Admin (Twitter)

Articles 1, 5, and 6 in this highlighted series for Twitter will get you most of the functionality (and then some). However once you’ve enabled some of these related plugins, you can also do so much more than just use your site to interact with Twitter.

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Replied to a tweet by ds106 Daily Createds106 Daily Create (Twitter)

I’ve built my own digital (non-)Facebook Wall so that people can write on it. #tdc2380
https://boffosocko.com/mentions/#If%20you%20like,%20you%20can%20also%20think%20of%20this%20as%20my%20personal%20(non-)Facebook%20Wall.

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📺 "The Americans" New Car | FX via Amazon

Watched "The Americans" New Car from FX via Amazon
Directed by John Dahl. With Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner. Philip and Elizabeth both find themselves faced with painful turns in their various missions. Stan fights to gain access to an American military program that could give him the upper hand in his battle of wills with Oleg.
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📺 "The Americans" ARPANET | FX via Amazon

Watched "The Americans" ARPANET from FX via Amazon
Directed by Kevin Dowling. With Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Annet Mahendru, Susan Misner. Philip uses his agent Charles Duluth to help him gain access to an early precursor to the Internet so that the KGB can bug American government communications. Nina faces the threat of a potential FBI polygraph exam, bringing her closer to KGB colleague Oleg.

Not sure I’m following the plot that Nina is suddenly involved with Oleg after she’s hated him so much. I suppose I’m waiting for her to manage to pown both of these bozos…

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Reply to This Indispensable Digital Research Tool, We can Say, Without Lying, Saves Time

Replied to This Indispensable Digital Research Tool, We can Say, Without Lying, Saves Time by Alan Levine (@cogdog) (Extend Activity Bank)

People will claim they can replace RSS Readers with social media streams like twitter. While we do get many key resources and news stories via social media, let’s dispute that claim:

  • Clutter, noise, distraction. What you get is interspersed with many things that are outside your interests, rants, yelling, silly gifs. That’s a lot of filtering.
  • You Miss It, You Lose it. Social media is focused at the head of the stream. While you sleep or actually do something productive away from social media, it all flows away. Yes, maybe your network can signal with repeating important things, but its spotty.
  • Duplication You have no means to quickly know what you have already looked at, and you see may the same story multiple times.
  • You Are Subject to Algorithms Especially on facebook, what you see is determined by the mysteries of an algorithm. Sure you choose sources by followers, but the means by which information is presented is determined by some outside automated entity.

This activity brings you an exception to the technology as time-saving lie; it’s old tool that many people have abandoned. I will wade carefully through the acronym jargon jungle, but we are talking about using an RSS Feed Reader to monitor the most recent news, blog posts, data from sources you choose to follow, not ones dished out by some company’s algorithm.

RSS is incredibly valuable as is OPML.

I had used Feedly for several years, but made the switch to Inoreader last year, in part because it has one additional useful feature that Feedly doesn’t: OPML subscription. While it’s nice to be able to import and export OPML files, needing to remember to update them can be an unnecessary step, particularly if 20+ people need to do the update to capture all the new RSS feeds added. (As an example, say one or two students join a class late and everyone has already got the original OPML export and now needs to update to add a few more feeds to keep track of classroom activity.)  OPML subscription improves this by allowing the subscription to an OPML link with multiple feeds in it. If the original OPML file updates with new feeds, then the reader automatically updates them and pushes them out to everyone subscribed to that OPML file!

Think of an OPML subscription as an updating subscription to a bundle of RSS feeds which all also provide their own individual updates. Instead of subscribing to a bunch of individual feeds, you can subscribe to whole bundles of feeds.

For those looking for some sample OPML links to subscribe to, try some of mine which are listed at the bottom of the linked page. For some ideas about building your own data stores with OPML links for WordPress, try my Following Page solution. WordPress’s old Link Manager described on that page will provide the ability to store the data and provide the OPML links, the rest of the page discusses publishing it on one’s site so that it’s publicly available if you wish. URL schemes for sub-categories are discussed separately.

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How does it feel Jim Groom to have as many video stores in America as Blockbuster? #ReclaimVideo
Soon There Will Be Only One Blockbuster Left in the United States | New York Times

Wonder what those Alaska stores are doing with their old stock? Maybe John Oliver would move his movie memorabilia to Virginia?!

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Reply to Photo Kind not Displaying Information from Response Properties Box

Replied to Photo Kind not Displaying Information from Response Properties Box · Issue #184 · dshanske/indieweb-post-kinds (GitHub)
I am adding in information associated with author and source, however this is not being displayed when published.

@mrkrndvs This is because the photo template doesn’t call these particular details even though they may be provided. I could see an occasional use for including them, particularly to give credit to a photo that was taken by someone else, while in practice most may not use this because they’re posting their own photos.

In the meanwhile, it may not be too tough to cut/paste bits of appropriate code from other templates to get these to display the way you want them when they exist. You can create a custom photo template named kind-photo.php and put it in a folder entitled kind_views in either your theme or (preferably) in your child theme so it isn’t overwritten on plugin update.

I do still wish there were a master template in the set (heavily commented and unused) that used every variation of data that could be displayed (or perhaps even calculated for display) so that non-programmers could attempt to more easily cut/paste templates to get them to do what they wanted.

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A reply to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Why Not Blog?

Replied to Why Not Blog? by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)

My friend Alan Jacobs, a key inspiration in my return (such as it is, so far) to blogging and RSS and a generally pre-Twitter/Facebook outlook on the scholarly internet, is pondering the relationship between blogging and other forms of academic writing in thinking about his next project. Perhaps needless to say, this is something I’m considering as well, and I’m right there with him in most regards.

But there are a few spots where I’m not, entirely, and I’m not sure whether it’s a different perspective or a different set of experiences, or perhaps the latter having led to the former.

I really like where you’re coming from on so many fronts here (and on your site in general). Thanks for such a great post on a Friday afternoon. A lot of what you’re saying echos the ideas of many old school bloggers who use their blogs as “thought spaces“. They write, take comments, iterate, hone, and eventually come up with stronger thoughts and theses. Because of the place in which they’re writing, the ideas slowly percolate and grow over a continuum of time rather than spring full-formed seemingly from the head of Zeus the way many books would typically appear to the untrained eye. I’ve not quite seen a finely coalesced version of this idea though I’ve seen many dance around it obliquely. The most common name I’ve seen is that of a “thought space” or sometimes the phrase “thinking out loud”, which I notice you’ve done at least once. In some sense, due to its public nature, it seems like an ever-evolving conversation in a public commons. Your broader idea and blogging experience really make a natural progression for using a website to slowly brew a book.

My favorite incarnation of the idea is that blogs or personal websites are a digital and public shared commonplace book. Commonplaces go back to the 15th century and even certainly earlier, but I like to think of websites as very tech-forward versions of the commonplaces kept by our forebears.

I’ve seen a few educators like Aaron Davis and Ian O’Byrne take to the concept of a commonplace, though both have primary websites for writing and broader synthesis and secondary sites for collecting and annotating the web. I tend to aggregate everything (though not always published publicly) on my primary site after having spent some time trying not to inundate email subscribers as you’ve done.

There’s also a growing movement, primarily in higher education, known as A Domain of One’s Own or in shortened versions as either “Domains” or even #DoOO which is a digital take on the Virgina Woolf quote “Give her a room of her own and five hundred a year, let her speak her mind and leave out half that she now puts in, and she will write a better book one of these days.”

There are a growing number of educators, researchers, and technologists reshaping how the web is used which makes keeping an online commonplace much easier. In particular, we’re all chasing a lot of what you’re after as well:

Part of what I’m after is consolidating my presence online as much as possible, especially onto platforms that I can control.

To me, this sounds like one of the major pillars of the IndieWeb movement which is taking control of the web back from corporate social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et. al. Through odd serendipity, I came across your micro.blog account this morning which led me to your website. A lot of the underpinnings of micro.blog are informed by the IndieWeb movement. In many subtle ways, I might suspect the two had a lot of influence on your particular choice of WordPress theme.

Tonight I’ve also seen your reply to Dan Cohen’s question:

I had previously replied to Dan’s original question, but somehow missed your side thread at the time. I suspect you didn’t see our branch of the conversation either.

Interestingly, your presumption that the replies/notifications stay within their own domains isn’t necessarily fait accompli, at least not any more. There’s a new web specification in the past few years called Webmention that allows notifications and replies to cross website boundaries unlike Twitter @mentions which are permanently stuck within Twitter. Interestingly, because of the way you’ve set up your WordPress website to dovetail with micro.blog you’re almost 90 percent of the way to supporting it easily. If you add and slightly configure the Webmention and Semantic Linkbacks plugins, the asides and other content you’re syndicating into micro.blog will automatically collect the related conversation around them back to your own posts thus allowing you to have a copy of your content on your own website as well as the surrounding conversation, which is no longer as diffuse as you imagined it needed to be. Here’s an example from earlier this evening where I posted to my site and your response (and another) on micro.blog came back to me. (Sadly there’s a Gravatar glitch preventing the avatars from displaying properly, but hopefully I’ll solve that shortly.)

This same sort of thing can be done with Twitter including native threading and @mentions, if done properly, by leveraging the free Brid.gy service to force Twitter to send your site webmentions on your behalf. (Of course this means you might need to syndicate your content to Twitter in a slightly different manner than having micro.blog do on your behalf, but there are multiple ways of doing this.)

I also notice that you’ve taken to posting copies of your tweeted versions at the top of your comments sections. There’s a related IndieWeb plugin called Syndication Links that is made specifically to keep a running list of the places to which you’ve syndicated your content. This plugin may solve a specific need for you in addition to the fact that it dovetails well with Brid.gy to make sure your posts get the appropriate comments back via webmention.

I’m happy to help walk you through setting up some of the additional IndieWeb tech for your WordPress website if you’re interested. I suspect that having the ability to use your website as a true online hub in addition to doing cross website conversations is what you’ve been dreaming about, possibly without knowing it. Pretty soon you’ll be aggregating and owning all of your digital breadcrumbs to compile at a later date into posts and eventually articles, monographs, and books.

Perhaps more importantly, there’s a growing group of us in the education/research fields that are continually experimenting and building new functionalities for online (and specifically academic) communication. I and a plethora of others would welcome you to join us on the wiki, in chat, or even at upcoming online or in-person events.

In any case, thanks for sharing your work and your thoughts with the world. I wish more academics were doing what you are doing online–we’d all be so much richer for it. I know this has been long and is a potential rabbithole you may disappear into, so thank you for the generosity of your attention.

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Reply to Brad Enslen about Blogrolls in WordPress

Replied to No Good WordPress Blogroll Plugins by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)

Feh. Apparently there are no good blogroll plugins for WordPress.   I did look extensively through the WP plugins directory but didn’t find anything interesting. Most plugins were way out of date for my version of WP.

Might be an opportunity there for the Indieweb movement to aid discovery.

Apologies Brad. I just saw your follow up post and had meant to reply to your earlier one when I saw it last week, I just didn’t have the time to write a quick response. I had hoped you might have found something even better than what I’ve put together previously or perhaps started building a newer and shinier edifice.

There is actually an excellent and solid “plugin” for creating a blogroll, but it’s actually been hiding in WordPress core for ages: the original Link Manager. Use of it declined so much it was programatically “removed”, but all the code is still in core, it still works wonderfully, and it only requires a single line of code (or the simplest plugin ever written) to re-enable it.

It was very solid and didn’t need much iteration, so it should work fine with current versions of WordPress–it certainly does on mine.

I’ve written up a bunch of details on how and what I did (as well as why), so hopefully it’ll give you a solid start including some custom code snippets and reasonably explicit directions to make some small improvements for those that may be a bit code-averse. Hint: I changed it from being a sidebar widget to making it a full page. Let us know if you need help making some of the small code related changes to get yourself sorted.

Even if you just want a plug and play plugin, there are details for that in the post as well, you’ll just be stuck with putting the blogroll into a traditional sidebar position. (With conditional statements in the sidebar widget, you  could restrict the blogroll widget to only displaying on a “Following” page, for example.)

I do think there is still a more IndieWeb way of doing this, potentially by making follow posts with mark up that could be parsed by microsub readers perhaps? Certainly dovetailing something with microsub seems to be a laudable goal. I would like to eventually dive into the Link Manager code and add some additional microformats as well as update the OPML to v2, but there’s enough back compatibility that the older version is fine for most use cases I’ve run across. I know David Shanske has some ideas about some changes he’d like to see in the future as well. You could always also go super low tech the way Greg did and have a blogroll post that you update over time, though perhaps a page is a better way to go? Updating things to be more automated is certainly a reasonable goal though.

Give it a spin and see what you think. Here’s my Following page (aka blogroll) with details at the very bottom for subcategories of OPML subscription. I’ll try to update the IndieWeb blogroll page with some of these details to make them more imminently findable as well.

📺 "The Five" Episode #1.10 | Netflix

Watched "The Five" Episode #1.10 from Netflix
Directed by Mark Tonderai. With Stephen Boxer, Paul Warriner, Jessica Neil, Imogen Neil. As the investigation into Jesse's disappearance takes an unexpected turn, it is time for Mark and his family to finally face up to the truth, but will they ever be the same again? Pru enlists Slade's help as she worries how Mark will take the news of her shocking discovery, and they face a race against time as they do everything that they can to help him rescue his family before it is too late.

Overall, this was a relatively interesting series. It definitely became much better in the end that it started out. The first few episodes were very muddy and I almost gave up, but it generally paid off in the end. There were several instances of deus-ex-machina to drive the plot or increase the drama, but I’ll give them a flier.

Definitely a limited series here though. I’m not sure I’d buy any of the machinations flowing out of this as the seed for additional seasons.

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📺 "The Five" Episode #1.9 | Netflix

Watched "The Five" Episode #1.9 from Netflix
Directed by Mark Tonderai. With Dragan Micanovic, Rade Serbedzija, O-T Fagbenle, Hannah Arterton. Just as Mark think he's getting close to the truth, he discovers devastating information that makes him question everything about his family. Meanwhile, Danny reaches rock bottom when Ray's return almost ends in tragedy and Ally enlists the help of Pru on a seemingly fruitless mission to finally crack the case.
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