159 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2020
    1. yourname.brendanschlagel.com — could be either parlor trick or highly useful and innovative networking device! I could, after meeting someone interesting, quickly put together a one-pager with a personalized curated list of articles or other resources, links to more of my work, and other fun things. I could even have a template for this, making it super simple to make a new one for favorite new people I meet.

      I really like this idea! Makes tracking a friendship/relationship a lot more interesting. Imagine creating a custom site rather than having Facebook "celebrate" your friendship with algorithmic photo montages.

    2. It might be useful to spend some time thinking of other ways a website could either interact with the user and their specific context, or simply provide a greater variety of ways to navigate and interact with it.

      I love this way of thinking — expanding your web presence to be more than just your personal blog or website. It can be so much more multi-faceted.

    1. When I publish an essay, I’m not done with it. The ideas live on and get renewed, reused, and recycled in later works.

      How to create infrastructure & tools that make renewal, reuse, & recycling of essays easier...I see Open Transclude as an example of a tool doing just that.

    2. This all suggests that a compromise must be struck between the coherence of a text and the new opportunities for knowledge work afforded by the fundamental capabilities of the medium: the internet’s connectivity, the screen’s frame rate.

      How to add context while not getting carried away by the capabilities of hyperlinks/connection. Words have to mean something. Can't help but think of a quote from Henri Poincaré:

      Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house

      Trying to think about this in light of blogs using annotation software when quoting texts: https://blog.cjeller.site/contextual-quotes-with-annotation

  2. Jan 2020
    1. The key to dealing with this sensitivity is knowing precisely what constitutes evil and for whom.

      Focusing on the subjective first before you add the Boolean - know the evil so that you "Can't be evil" to a customer.

    2. Costco shows why so many of these initiatives set off our b.s. detectors — they are conveniently profitable (or at the very least a tax write off) before anything else. Any additional positive impact that follows is often just an added bonus.

      Convenient Social Responsibility - so could corporate social responsibility be more powerful/meaningful if it were inconvenient to the company? If it benefited a long term point of view at a short term cost to the company/shareholders?

    3. Costco shows that neither disruption nor innovation itself is the thing that draws favoritism. Rather, simply providing your customers the feeling that they aren't getting ripped off, and doing so in a way that matches mainstream views of acceptable externalities, is all that is required for success. If this sounds reductive, it's because it is. The key to Costco's success is just how straightforward the alignment of stakeholders within its business model are.

      Which I imagine is frustrating to read since innovation & disruption are the crowning virtues of tech ventures. But it also shows that the transparent, straightforward business model has a straightforward path of success.

    4. While Google would never say this, the obvious reason for them removing the slogan was that as a company it is increasingly impossible for them to keep this promise. The very way that Google works requires at the very least a little bit of evil — that is at least if you associate surveillance with evil.

      Certain business models requiring a touch of evil.

    5. Matter of fact, Costco doesn't do much marketing at all. Its twitter account is nonexistent and it has an instagram devoid of influencers, lifestyle shots, or really people at all. It's just pictures of products. Costco's only marketing artifact is interestingly a monthly editorial magazine called 'Costco Connection' that simply aims to recirculate the zeitgeist of the store and its shoppers. The overall lack of effort it puts into traditional marketing channels is just another illustration that Costco's admiration is mainly organic.

      It's almost as if the lack of marketing is a sign of authenticity, letting the Costco experience speak for itself. This kind of "speak for itself" (non)marketing can also be seen in the arts, especially music.

    6. Costco actually operates within a similar logic, but with a certain elegant simplicity and not as many moving parts. If Amazon is a flywheel, Costco is a pulley where a few highly transparent cost saving measures all lead back to the goal of passing savings onto the customer.

      Transparency in the inner machinations - flywheel vs. lever & pulley model of operations. Plus the emphasis on transparency (where it is, where it isn't).

    7. Deeper inspection of the way Costco works shows that its fair wages are more of a business strategy (that actually keep prices low) than they are altruism.

      Again, just "good business."

    8. It may be the case that Costco is principled, but not necessarily in the philosophical sense of the word. "We are not the Little Sisters of the Poor," said ex CEO James Sinegal. "This is not altruistic. This is good business."

      More of an Ayn Rand perspective - not self-sacrificing altruism but sound business that benefits consumer, employee, and employer.

    9. it often is far easier to win over customers with value from cheap prices than it is from morality.

      So the morality is more of a "nice to have", not exactly the reason why you go to a place. You find out about those good things after being led in by the cheap prices.

    10. Instead, what I want to talk about here is the sum of all these components — how Costco can sell all of its products for low prices while making employees and customers happy. While other companies such as Costco competitors Amazon and Walmart also operate with versions of this low price, low margins strategy, Costco diverges because it arrives at low prices through psychologically favorable tactics for involved stakeholders.

      The "Costco difference" while doing the same low price/margin strategy. Interesting to focus on that difference in light of its competitors, especially the technologically savvy Amazon & mainstay Walmart.

    1. Yet a generic brand strategy seems to conflict with many efforts in the broader decentralized web to build a vertically integrated solution spanning multiple layers of the stack. Confusion can arise if a product shares branded elements with an underlying protocol, as the highly-targeted messaging and aesthetic differentiation of product branding pollutes lower level protocols.

      Key to think about as startups/brands pop up based specifically on IPFS, ScuttleButt, ActivityPub, Dat, etc.

      See confusion with Pixelfed being considered Mastodon's photo-sharing platform (source). Though that might be an example of another problem entirely!

    2. However, with the emergence of the social web, important signals shifted from a small number of review sites to an abundance of real-time social media streams, challenging marketing teams with the Sisyphean task of satisfying the whims of an endless feed.

      The endless feed as a part of the shift from one-to-one transmission to many-to-many transmission of consumer sentiment.

      How does one tend a brand in light of an endless feed?

  3. Dec 2019
    1. I love the highlighting, annotation, and bookmarking features of Hypothes.is, but desperately wish I had more direct access to own this sort of data on my own website in a more straightforward manner. (I’ve already got a PESOS method, specifically I wish I had a POSSE method.)

      This is something I've too thought about with Hypothes.is. On an annotation level it appears tricky to do, but things look more tenable when you go one step above annotations.

      Hypothes.is allows you to create page notes - annotations on the page level. So, technically speaking, you could write a blog post on your own site, grab the Markdown, and push it into Hypothes.is as a page note. Would it be redundant for longer posts? Sure, but I think it could work for smaller ones where you are generally replying to a piece of content rather than annotating passages.

      This is something I'll try out starting with this post. (view original blog post)

    1. This is a test to see if I can create page notes with the API somehow...

    1. the platform feeds carry us like freeways, with big, loud signs coaxing us to exit via links to other parts of the web, which are no longer connected to one another in any meaningful way.

      And what are more meaningful connections that we could use to connect other parts of the web? Is it one thing to use links as exits and another to use them as bridges or other forms of connecting structures? What could be an alternative to the "exit"?

  4. Nov 2019
    1. instead of seeking it out we have to rely on algorithms designed to constantly give us more. We have little choice in what we see or read and no ability to change our diet.

      Perhaps it is a matter of finding other means to aggregate. We've done it before with RSS readers and blogrolls. Those kind of personal aggregators can still help along with other options closer to the spirit of those systems that gave people greater choice on what they see/read.

    2. Because there is so little friction to publishing something, we publish everything; the volume of content we produce is increasing, but the level of quality is decreasing; the signal to noise ratio is getting worse all the time.

      The question of friction is complicated. On one end I am grateful that I can publish my thoughts so quickly. On the other I wonder if quality degrades with quantity. And yet it feels as though one can only achieve quality after quantity (writing a lot over time). So how does the right amount of friction come into the fold to enable quality? Is it a matter of writing less or more?

    3. Thanks to the algorithms responsible for surfacing content to users, we no longer need to search for anything manually, we simply scroll through a feed.

      Hadn't thought how the feed removes the idea of manual search. Everything rises to surface level for you. No need to check.

      Makes me wonder how we can bring back manual searching into these experiences (or if it's great that we don't have to do that anymore).

    4. The communities that existed were small and spread out, and there was little interaction between them. Everything was centred around blogrolls, newsgroups, forums, and basic aggregators like Digg or Delicious.

      Which makes me think that we are slowly moving back to these small and spread out communities but trying to have more robust interaction between them, whether it is federating smaller social networks with ActivityPub (Mastodon, etc.) or blogchains across sites with different stacks.

    1. One's activities related to ideas, conversations and relations result in accumulating resources that enable activation of them to focus on specific tasks (Figure 1-1, right). Tasks are the core, goal-oriented activities of knowledge workers.

      Reminds me of the visualization of the hill in Shape Up - knowing what you have to do on the climbing end and then doing it on the other.

    2. Iceberg, the nickname I have chosen for my PhD project, came from the metaphor used in studies of informal and incidental learning to describe the 20/80 ratio between learning in formal settings (e.g. taking courses) and learning informally as part of one's work or other activities (Center for Workforce Development, 1998). The time and effort that goes into building and maintaining our personal networks (Nardi, Whittaker & Schwarz, 2002) is often not recognised or accounted for. Also, in a current business environment knowledge workers are increasingly working with ideas and digital artefacts, rather than physical objects: only the products of knowledge work – reports, designs, plans – remain visible, while the process of creating them is not (Drucker, 1999; McGee, 2002). And in many cases even these products are digital, locked on personal hard drives or in e-mail folders, so others hardly ever see the history of a constructive process. Much of the work of finding, interpreting and connecting relevant pieces of information, negotiating meanings and eliciting knowledge in conversations with others, creating new ideas and using them to come up with a final product, happens in the head of a knowledge worker or as part of communication or as an integral part of other work.

      The invisibility of knowledge work because while the fruits of it (documents, reports, design) are revealed, the process is not. Much of that work is obscured.

    3. Knowledge workers are best described as investors (Davenport, 1999; Kelloway & Barling, 2000; Stewart, 1998): they make choices regarding when to invest, and how much of their knowledge and energy to invest, in a company that doesn't have much direct control over these investments.

      Reminds me of the psychologist Norman Dixon's explanation of war as being a matter of information (knowledge) and energy.

    4. From this perspective the focus of this research could be framed as "translating" experiences of early adopters of weblogs in knowledge-intensive environments into an understanding that pragmatists can use to make their decisions about why, how and when blogging adds value to their own work. This approach raises questions about potential applicability of early adopter practices to the situation of pragmatists, given that those two groups are qualitatively different. However, the research presented in this work is based on the assumption that, while the reasons for adopting weblogs might be different, the essentials of knowledge work and the potential of weblogs to support it are similar in the two groups.

      Translating experiences as trying to find that middle of the venn diagram between the early adopters and mainstream.

    5. Given that weblog technologies are low-threshold tools that can be relatively easily installed and used, the main barriers to their adoption for supporting knowledge work are likely to be related to the first two characteristics: understanding advantages of their uses in relation to other tools and their compatibility with knowledge worker practices.

      Blogs needing to explain their use in relation to other tools (email, chat, etc) and compatibility with knowledge worker practices.

    6. However, the promises that a new technology can create do not necessarily immediately result in a productive use. A perspective on this process is provided by Moore (1991), who suggests that a long-term success of high-tech innovation depends on crossing a chasm between an early adopter market of visionaries to a mainstream market dominated by pragmatists.

      The chasm between idealistic early adoption and pragmatic mainstream. Though part of me wonders if there can still be an idealistic mainstream, or smallest viable audience that fits more in that category (with maybe some pragmatism thrown in).

    7. blogging has become "backup brain" for job- as well as personally-interesting links and notes. Posting job-related questions on the blog has yielded valuable feedback from readers

      Love the idea of a "backup brain" as well as giving the writer a lifeline to the community of readers who can help with questions and such.

    8. Many respondents observed social effects of blogging: finding people with similar interests or new friends, amplified networking or community-forming. Some noted that after starting to blog they found an audience and an easy way to promote their ideas.

      The social effects of blogging after starting. This is the key thing. First it is seen as a positive in the writing and then once the web is introduced - boom.

    9. These results are interesting to compare with the bloggers' responses regarding added values of blogging discovered after starting it (Table 1-2). Some bloggers discovered that blogging helped to improve their knowledge and skills (e.g. technology-related skills, writing, discipline, being organised, ability to pose questions, or ability to distinguish between public and private).

      Interesting to see the results of the added value after starting to blog.

    10. While at the first glance, weblogs are low-threshold tools to publish online, empowering individual expression in public, one thing that excites so many bloggers lies hidden from the occasional reader: blogging is learning about oneself and developing connections with others.

      Not from the reader perspective but from the writer perspective - learning of oneself and developing connections with others through the process.

    11. However, what makes weblogs different is not the publication of content per se, but the personalities behind them. Most weblogs are not formal, faceless, corporate sites or news sources: they are authored by individuals (known as webloggers or bloggers), and perceived as 'unedited personal voices' (Winer, 2003).

      Not the publishing process but the personalities behind the publishing process - the influencer, the cult of personality, the personal voice.

    12. The difficulty of defining weblogs has something to do with the fact that their authors have different goals, uses, or writing styles with only one thing in common: format. Said more poetically, "Weblogs simply provide the framework, as haiku imposes order on words" (Hourihan, 2002).

      Blog as providing a framework for the ordering of words. Then again, it is a form that is loose enough to allow for experimentation/development a la experimental art with other forms (from novels to sonatas).

    13. However, despite of an increasing adoption of blogging in knowledge-intensive environments, blogging in respect to knowledge work has hardly been explored. This research aims to fill this gap by describing blogging practices of knowledge workers.

      Interesting to think about it that way - not yet fully being explored in regards to knowledge workers.

    14. studying blogging provides a good case to explore both knowledge work and the role of personal passions in it in a more focused way.

      Blogs as a way to bridge gap of knowledge work and personal passions.

    15. I was interested in explaining the complexities of knowledge work that could not be simplified to "creating, sharing and applying knowledge," and in exploring interplays between an organisational authority and personal passions at one's workplace.

      Love this...because much falls in the cracks in knowledge work. It can be explained away easily but has this burdening complexity.

    1. helped people to imagine themselves as members of a public – as entering into conversation with other distant, perhaps even unknown writers whom they could reach only through this medium of text.

      The power of connecting people through words...

    2. In recent years, scholars have often turned to the analogy of the digital network to explain the role that letters played in creating literary, intellectual, political and scientific communities. As the historian Lindsay O’Neill writes in The Opened Letter (2015): ‘networking was often the purpose of a letter … An examination of networks blurs the borders between the modern and the premodern worlds, between public and private spheres.’ By linking disparate people through decentralised networks that connected male and female, elite and plebeian, personal and professional, letters allowed people to see themselves as connected on a national and global scale.

      Makes one not think of this networking not so much as a technical problem but a social problem. Decentralized networks could be ActivityPub but it very well can be run on letters!

    3. Letters were also frequently written in groups with multiple correspondents adding notes or commentary.

      Imagining a parallel on the web that goes beyond simply commenting...

    4. Therefore, the earliest forms for public discussion of politics and literature in print presented themselves as epistolary conversations. Rather than negating the personalising effects of handwritten correspondence, they relied on them to make new forms of print seem familiar and understandable. The ‘print public sphere’ made its debut as a series of letters.

      Not negating the personalising effects but amplifying them to the public sphere. That is a fascinating concept to think about, especially now when "handwritten" could mean personal sites built on different stacks.

    5. Printed news also started out as, essentially, collections of letters to the editor. Newspapers did not routinely employ full-time reporters until the 19th century. At that point, the older meaning of ‘journalist’ – someone who keeps a journal – disappeared, and the word began to refer solely to news-gatherers.

      Interesting to think that even journalism, like writing, took time before it become considered a profession. What we call "citizen journalism" was just news in the 18th century.

    6. The first issue of The Spectator closed with an address ‘for those who have a mind to correspond with me’, at the printer ‘Mr Buckley’s, in Little Britain’. The public answered the call. The periodical, like its predecessor The Tatler, reproduced hundreds of readers’ letters, using them to represent alternative viewpoints, provide comic relief or just fill space. Collections of handwritten letters that readers sent to Steele and Addison remain at the British Library. The publication of letters fulfilled the claims of the magazine to represent a diversity of opinion.

      A historical example of opening up for comments!

  5. Oct 2019
    1. I played WoW.

      I assume your opinion will come out in later parts of this story, but do you have any interest in playing the recently released WoW Classic?

    1. I don't speak Greek, my six or seven phrases get me through the day so far, classes begin next week. Still, everyone speaks English here, and the hardest part isn't communicating but to practice Greek (Cypriot Greek is a whole 'nother animal, too) in a country everyone is so extremely friendly and helpful, they'll switch to English the second they notice someone struggle.

      A place where learning the language is in a warm, welcoming environment - how refreshing! Makes me think of places where we learn other "languages" (ie: programming, science, music) and how unwelcoming they can be.

      I never thought of language fluency connected to a community, but your post makes that relationship crystal clear. Thanks!

    1. Like Bitcoin, a decentralized brand has its own autonomy, generated by the contributions of individual actors, a million person chorus acting as one.

      A decentralized brand as a chorus of voices.

    2. A decentralized brand can only be "designed" in a very limited sense.

      So even in that very limited sense, I wonder if there are certain patterns to make a decentralized brand work. Perhaps the other part of decentralized brands is that there are no magic solutions. It is trial & error and serendipity. Like memes, maybe some brands will come up that fly in the face of normalcy.

    3. Likewise, brand credibility can be bootstrapped by combining the brands of protocols on top of which new projects build!

      Great point - especially when building integrations with those protocols. NeoCities' IPFS implementation comes to mind.

    4. How do projects, headless or not, find product-market fit in the Web 3 era? Well, in some senses they don't. In a highly decentralized system, these operations invert such that the community finds product solutions themselves: "market-product fit." Cryptoeconomic protocols are market frameworks looking for potential product applications. The work of exploring parallel narratives, discovering emergent use cases, and testing solutions is distributed among members of the wider ecosystem such that the rising tide lifts all boats.

      Creating a robust enough product to thrive in a highly decentralized system - so it can exist within parallel narratives and be part of emergent use cases...

    5. Like scripture, repeated reinterpretation in pursuit of deeper meaning or a founder's true intentions persists under circumstances of incomplete information and the personal significance of filling in consequential gaps.

      Not to mention there are also contentious forks that derive from repeated reinterpretations (ie: Reformation, Counter-Reformation).

      But then again, whether Catholic or Protestant, we still collectively call these people Christians - there are still root beliefs.

    6. In contrast, TRON—a project born as a clone of Ethereum (from the plagiarized whitepaper down to the “TRC-20” smart contract standard)—heavily revolves around CEO Justin Sun’s cult of personality. Notably, when Sun announced the postponement of his highly anticipated dinner with Warren Buffet due to health issues, the TRON token price dropped 13.5% within 12 hours. This points to the implicit risk of centralizing a brand around a founder’s persona: an identifiable founder can be a single point of failure in any Web 3 brand strategy, affecting market dynamics in sudden and unforeseeable ways.

      So then the question is how to lower a brand's "bus factor" if its origins are around a single founder's contributions.

    7. Contentious hard forks result from a narrative split within the existing set of stakeholders. However, while these discrepancies risk jeopardizing the consistency of the original brand, allowing the exit of dissenting parties may help consolidate narratives and, in turn, attract new adepts, avoiding the dangers of internal cannibalization.

      So patience is key, especially when contentious forks are occurring. The adage of letting the dust settle...

    8. When Bitcoin Cash forked, OG Bitcoiners were able to express their belief in the new brand by adopting the equivalent amount of their balances in the forked chain.

      Woah...headless brands as brands that can be forked, continued in a different direction while retaining core components.

    9. Whitepaper — Bitcoin's release format is one of its most iconic elements, spawning thousands of imitators.

      Interesting to think of the power of communication Whitepapers have as a form of writing. Makes me want to inquire further into the form, its history, etc.

    10. The fundamental tension of narrative control in the networked era is that most companies impose a hierarchical brand management model onto what has effectively become a distributed, permissionless process.

      Boom. How do you manage, let alone guide, a rhizomic system? No matter the resources you put in, it will outlast you

    11. In response, many companies have hired social media managers who use either reactive or proactive brand management strategies to keep the brand image in check.

      Interesting to thing of social media managers as a way to keep hold of the many-to-many transmission of narrative and sentiment. It almost seems like this type of transmission can be overflowing at times, where one cannot keep track of all of it.

      Is it really management then? Being a community manager or social media manager seems more akin to a naturalist or a conservationist than anything - observing the environment, making notes, and making small changes to it in response.

  6. Sep 2019
    1. Where, in the beginning, I cared about dislikes, I stopped being affected by them. In the end, they meant interaction. Interaction meant positive attention by YouTube itself, and with that a chance at the Recommendations.

      Interesting to bring up the negative side of interaction. Just because someone interacts with your post beyond a like or downvote it doesn't mean it is a worthwhile interaction. I wonder if there could be a way to make those kind of interactions happen less.

    1. The greatest projected decrease came from the reduction in nitrous oxide, a harmful tailpipe emission, followed by cuts in noise pollution and heat—all three the result of the big drops in vehicle traffic. Measuring the citywide health benefits of upticks in exercise and exposure to greenery was more challenging, since those changes would be more localized.

      Interesting how one technology's omission could lead to all of these changes. Shows the dent vehicles make into a city's day to day well-being.

    2. But soon Poblenou residents appreciated the nearly doubled amount of space that they now had to walk, play, and socialize. The resistance soon faded, and five more superblocks have since been implemented around the city; Salvador Rueda, the head of the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona, envisions creating 503 in total. The ultimate goal is to turn nearly 70 percent of Barcelona’s street space over to people. It’s a project that has attracted a lot of international attention, and some efforts in the United States to replicate the idea.

      Interesting that all of the resistance soon faded after realizing they could use the space for so much more. A lesson to how that initial resistance can be abated over time and how culture shifts.

    1. Should someone annotate anything on this site, you'll find it either directly on the post/page, or in this collection.

      Trying to think if there is a way to have the annotations updated directly onto a Write.as post using the API's for Hypothesis and Write.as respectively.

      That way it could just be pinned like the About page. Maybe could be called Comments or Annotations?

    1. I hope you will join the experiment.

      If you want to join the experiment by adding Hypothesis to your Write.as blog, then by all means! It is easy to do. Check out how in this post on the Write.as forum.

    2. If you click them, a sidebar will pop up with the annotations therein.

      Like this! I would also note to make annotations within a post instead of on the home page of the blog. That makes it easier to scroll through the home page and helps keep track of annotations on a post by post basis.

  7. Aug 2019
    1. Blogging predated syndication, but it was syndication that began to give form to the live Web. Syndication provided a way for people, and the tools they use, to pay attention (through subscription) to feeds from syndicated sources. At first these sources were blogs and publications, but later they came to include searches for topics of conversation, including the names of authors, URLs and permalinks for particular blog posts or news stories. Many of those sources were not the blogs themselves, but search engines reporting the results of keyword and URL searches.

      This gets perpetuated with protocols like ActivityPub as well. Now one can be syndicated to anywhere that follows those same rules. The same can be said for the renaissance of email newsletters. Syndication is snowballing.

    2. My point: rolling snowballs is way different from building sites and transporting content. Not totally different, perhaps, but enough to fork the Web.

      To think of our job as snowballing rather than building.

    3. Blogs are journals, not sites. They are written, not built. The best ones have a heart that beats daily or faster. The writing itself is more conversational than homiletic (which is how I'm behaving here, in a print publication with a monthly heartbeat). That means its authors are speaking, and not just “creating content”. They speak to readers and other bloggers who speak back, through e-mails, comments or on blogs of their own. That means what each blogger says is often incomplete and provisional. Like all forms of life, blogging remains unfinished for the duration. (Site content, on the other hand, is finished at any one time, then replaced with other finished content.)

      Blogs as more a part of the "Live" web than the "Static" one - always in motion. Makes me wonder how even traditional "Static" publishers like NYT incorporate the "Live" web via comments and RSS feeds. Perhaps we now live in a perpetual mix of the two.

    4. I bring this up because one effect of the search engines' success has been to concretize our understanding of the Web as a static kind of place, not unlike a public library. The fact that the static Web's library lacks anything resembling a card catalog doesn't matter a bit. The search engines are virtual librarians who take your order and retrieve documents from the stacks in less time than it takes your browser to load the next page.

      Perhaps it more resembles Borges' "Library of Babel" than a traditional card catalog, Dewey Decimal based library.

    5. Of all the ways there are to organize things—chronologically, alphabetically, categorically, spatially, geographically, numerically—none prevails in the static Web. Organization is left entirely up to whoever manages the content inside a domain. Outside those domains, the sum is a chaotic mass beyond human (and perhaps even machine) comprehension.

      Which can lead the web to be both a pain and a magical place. I think of Hypertext Gardens, what Ian McDonald promoted in "Ariadne's Thread", web as garden.

    6. The word content connotes substance. It's a material that can be made, shaped, bought, sold, shipped, stored and combined with other material. “Content” is less human than “information” and less technical than “data”, and more handy than either. Like “solution” or the blank tiles in Scrabble, you can use it anywhere, though it adds no other value.

      Interesting to think of content as less "human" than information. It makes sense when you think of that kind of "writing" being more quantitatively measured than qualitative - how many clicks, how many articles written per day, etc.

    1. We seem to have forgotten that without joy and comfort, both in the making and in the experiencing of the thing, there is no purpose. Infant rhesus macaques intuitively grasped this in Harry Harlow’s research. We need to rediscover it in web development. I’m not entirely sure how. But I do know that there is much more to the web medium than the mess that is the hyper-complicated, npm-dominated, fad-obsessed ecosystem that currently passes for web development. We need to be better, kinder, and more joyful. And we aren’t going to get there with a new ‘framework’ that breaks in some way several times a year.

      Good question - how do we get to a better, kinder, and more joyful web?

    2. But the field itself is a Red Queen Wire Mommy and she offers no love or joy.

      Interesting that Bjarnason focuses on the psychological side of accepting the field at its most insensitive and cruel - this sort of wire mother.

      Why do we do this? Curious to look more into Harlow's wire/cloth mother experiments in conjunction with its connection to web development.

    3. Web development is the Red Queen of the Red Queen’s Race: no matter how hard we work, there we are still in the same place. We know this and, as a group, have largely accepted this. But it’s also the Wire Mommy. It is an unloving, harsh parent that buys our loyalty. It is the joyless experience that we think we deserve.

      Accepting the rules of the Red Queen's Race. We are in a constant state of not only staying up-to-date but trying to look ahead at what is around the bend.

      Reminds me of what Frank Chimero gets at in his essay "Everything Easy is Hard Again" (source).

    4. We are a field that is driven by fads and is unconcerned with end-user value. Our best practices guarantee a broken future; the only question is how it will break. The core tools of our ecosystem are either unpaid or subsidised by some of the worst, most impersonal, and capricious multinational corporations in the world. And because of that those tools are either driven by fads and novelty or by the haphazard whims of an organisation that is entirely indecipherable to an outside observer.

      Choosing the wire mother - existing in a field that is a pop culture a la Alan Kay's definition.

      Do we think we deserve to exist in such a treadmill of the pop culture, of the wire mother? Or are we just conditioned to the climate like the air we breathe?

    5. The most incisive moment, one that many others have picked on, is a scene that builds on Harry Harlow’s research on attachment: when given a choice, do you choose Soft Mother, or Wire Mother?

      Harlow focused on wire mother and cloth mother in experiments with rhesus monkeys. These experiments focused on maternal-separation, dependency needs, and social isolation.

  8. Jul 2019
    1. Yet the body intervenes constantly, whether one is ill or not. It is the mode of intervention that conditions how well, or unwell, we feel. A state of wellbeing is one in which we do not need to think about our embodied organism in any way other than the sensorial pleasures it affords, where we are immersed within our environment, engaged in an activity, involved with others. But one of physical or emotional pain affects the very foundation on which the sense of self we otherwise take for granted rests: what we feel ourselves to be can be upended. When this happens, we may realise that what we feel ourselves to be is in fact constructed. How we exist as embodied selves is a highly complex business involving the brain and body engaged in constant interaction.

      Understanding ourselves through upending moments of intervention. I wonder about this with experiences on the web. How aware am I of my own being when I clack on this keyboard? What kind of self do I build when I am here?

      When I am away from the web there is a different sense of self. A contrast of being. What of that? Can the contrast ever be rectified? Can I make them more harmonious? Or is it an impenetrable gap - one nobody can breach?

    1. “I don’t think we would be here if it wasn’t for technology, in a sense,” says founding member Robert Del Naja, otherwise known as 3D, who’s also responsible for the band’s visual direction. “That’s been the thing that’s kept us moving – me as an artist, as you can imagine, it’s been the way I’ve always worked. Every project we put out, I’ve thought, what’s the thing that I can do next that’s different from the last?”

      It is interesting to think about our relationship to technology in this way - to be indebted to technology for one's fulfillment or livelihood. Technology is so embedded in our day-to-day that we forget that it underpins our hobbies, passions, jobs, and a lot of other things.

    1. Upon his arrival, Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, fell in love with Theseus and gave him a ball of thread so that he may use it to find his way out of the labyrinth after confronting the Minotaur. Attaching one end of the thread at the opening of the labyrinth and carrying the ball with him, Theseus moved through its winding corridors, found his way to its center, and ultimately defeated the menacing beast. Using the trail of thread that had been quietly documenting his journey, he re-traced his path back to the entrance of the maze and heroically escaped to freedom.

      Recall Joseph Campbell using this imagery as an analogy to how the hero's journey can act as our ball of thread to get through the labyrinth of life. Still apt.

    2. Rather than expelling energy taking steps to ensure our site visitors always know how to get back to point A, let’s remember that the browser itself equips them with the ball of thread needed to escape the maze in the form of the Back button—and the browser History.

      Love this analogy to the Ariadne's ball of thread. User's are not only more capable than we give them credit for but are also given more tools to navigate the web than we acknowledge. Sometimes the simplest tools are enough.

    3. Perhaps the practice should look to Daedalus and his labyrinth for inspiration. Daedalus built an object that contained a bloodthirsty beast, but the design provided a chance for its users to choose their path and discover hidden places, even the possibility of eluding or defeating the beast entirely. Not everything we put online should be commerce-based, but even for the projects that are, can’t we uncover ways to give the user some personal agency over their path, and maybe a chance to escape the clutches of the beast to a greater extent than we are right now? We should be designing the Web that we want rather than continuing to force the user into the role of the product, an advertising target and source of revenue.

      The beast (ie: being asked to buy or watch or view or read or consume or rent or try something).

      Thinking of a person less as an impression or as a conversion and more as an actual individual with agency.

    4. The trajectory of the Web when treated ever-increasingly as a marketing tool above all else, has resulted in the proliferation of websites that serve as little more than costumes adorning capitalistic calls-to-action for users who function as potential customers, or simply as mere data with an assumed re-market value.

      Web design as facade for a call-to-action: to buy, to sell, to view, to consume.

      Sites as costumes for ulterior motives than the piece of design itself. This has happened with a lot of art in the past, advertising a life style or a brand. But this is on another level - as if a painting could reach out and perform a transaction, giving you a product in exchange for cash.


    5. Objective parameters such as these might simplify the process of formulating a design solution, but should online experiences really be reduced to uninspired straight lines? Does that not belittle the canon of hypertext and underestimate the intellect of its users?

      Design solutions as belittling the intellect of its users. Fascinating - as if design solutions appeal to the lowest common denominator. They have to be as obvious as possible, otherwise what if someone doesn't know how to use it?

    6. Today’s active web design is enraptured with menus as a primary means to navigate a website. All user actions are predefined, and the journey through the material is as prescripted as possible in an effort to achieve maximum linearity.

      Pruning and weeding out the gardens, making them more linear and predictable, creating uniform rows of genetically modified crops.

    7. I think Theseus would have enjoyed the World Wide Web in 1997; the adventure and excitement that it fostered. Its labyrinthine shape full of passages, turns, tunnels, and the unknown. Websites often eschewed the formal navigation systems we have come to rely on and expect in favour of more open-ended or casual solutions. Moving around a site—much like moving around the Web in general—was a journey that embraced the forking, wandering naturing of hypertext and allowed the user—with varying degrees of agency—to choose their own path through cyberspace, the hero of their own self-authored epic.

      Love the idea of the web as a labyrinth. It reminds me of what was espoused of in Eastgate Systems' Hypertext Gardens and Mike Caulfield's view of the ideal web as a garden.

    1. It is possible that further changes couldaffect even the existence of note taking. At a theoretical extreme, for ex-ample, if every text one wanted were constantly available for searchinganew, perhaps the note itself, the selection made for later reuse, might playa less prominent role.

      Even if it is a theoretical extreme, it is still a plausible concern. Memory offloaded to search functionality rather than one's own notes. A search history becomes one's notes or, as Kenneth Goldsmith has stated, autobiography.

    2. Vincent Placcius’s note closet(scrinium literatum),as depicted in print in1689. Placcius improved on a design described in an anonymous manuscript by someone whodescribes himself as a friend of Samuel Hartlib, c. 1637, currently accessible as British Library MSAdd 41,846 (Kenelm Digby Papers). The closet consists of dozens of moveable slats labeled withtopical headings, which swivel to access note slips for each heading kept on hooks on the reverse.When open, the closet reveals under one gaze all the headings on which notes are available.


    3. Secondly, Drexel and his contemporaries protested against the use ofnotes taken by another person. Francis Bacon, for example, denounced thehiring of gatherers who would take notes in one’s stead: “I think . . . that ingeneral one Man’s Notes will little profit another, because one man’s Con-ceit doth so much differ from another’s; and also because the bare Noteitself is nothing so much worth, as the suggestion it gives the Reader

      Others' notes as little more than suggestions since the reader cannot get into the mind of the reader who made the note in the first place.

      Then the best thing to do is to make your own notes? To make notes of another's notes?

    4. A recent volume on note taking in the eighteenth century has argued forvarious gradual shifts of emphasis away from the dominant mode of notetaking in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—a greater emphasis onthings not read but heard and seen; toward the diary based on personalexperience and away from notes primarily based on the reading of author-itative sources; a greater and more original choice of headings under whichto collect notes; a shift away from faithful transcription toward a paraphraseof the source, often including a personal or critical assessment.

      Interesting, especially when you think about the writings of James Boswell, from his own note books to his Samuel Johnson biography - full of what is heard in conversation, letters, etc.

    5. The copiousness of Montaigne’sEssaysis similarly due to the nu-merous examples he strings together; in successive revisions Montaignetypically added more examples without removing any. Montaigne’s choicesof theme and example often seem startling and strikingly origina

      Yes! That is what I always thought of the Essays. They seem like a stream of the most fascinating anecdotes, like a friend telling you stories that loosely relate to a topic of conversation.

    6. ts natural laziness; inhis regimen there is no reading without taking notes, which would be idleand vain, and no time wasted because every free moment can be put to usereading over one’s notes

      Reading without taking notes is such a vastly different experience. Your brain is operating on a different level when you have a pencil in your hand.

    7. Instead, for Drexel excerpting is the onlysure way to retain material for the long term. Drexel insists too that, farfrom detracting from memory, note taking is the best aid to memory. Theact of copying out a passage helps to read it more slowly and retain it inmemory, and the notes collected in this way should be the object of focusedstudy, even to the point of memorization. “It is not enough to excerpt, with-out remembering what you excerpted”

      Makes you wonder if software removes the act of excerpting that would allow one to read a passage more slowly and retain it in memory. Perhaps removing the friction removes the effectiveness of memorizing a passage or idea?

    8. Frances A. Yates,The Art of Memory(Chicago, 1966).

      Check out!

    9. Frances Yates has made histo-rians aware of the arts of memory and the amazing feats performed by usingvivid place imagery,32but note taking is another way of aiding the memory,particularly for long-term as opposed to short-term retention, with anequally long pedigree and greater representation among scholars. Earlymodern scholars praised for their memories generally did not rely on thetechniques attributed to Simonides but rather on abundant note taking;indeed, pedagogues in the humanist tradition, from Erasmus to Drexel,were routinely hostile to the arts of memory

      Maybe note taking could serve as vivid place imagery, especially if you can visualize your notes spatially. Thinking of the 17th century note closets and visualization tools like Are.na, etc.

      Why does abundant note taking lead to better long term memories?

    10. Attention to note taking can shed new light on the mnemonic abilitiesfor which scholars were so widely praised in the early modern period. Oneof the most frequent ways of praising a scholar was to praise his memory.

      The connection to note taking and memory makes so much sense. How can we facilitate that capacity with software tools like Hypothesis? Does the specific type of medium help? Do some hinder memorization?

    11. But even when they arepreserved in greater abundance, extant notes do not represent all of thevarious stages of reading, note taking, and composing. Intermediate notesand drafts were never meant to be kept; we may have the reading notes ofone scholar and the compositional notes of another.

      Again, the hidden phase in the transmission of knowledge.

    12. These short-termnotes would be copied over onto a more permanent medium and typicallysorted or integrated into preexisting notes in the process. The best-knowntemporary writing surface is the wax tablet, easily erased and reused, whichPliny is described as always keeping on hand in order to record an obser-vation (usually by dictation to a slave); wax tablets were the medium onwhich ancient texts were typically first composed, too, and Quintilianthought it best that they not be too large, to restrain copiousness.

      Transferring notes over to more permanent forms.

      Interesting observation from Quintilian about the tablet not being too big in order to prevent overly lavish notes

    13. the notion of the mer-chant as a model to imitate persisted through changes to new techniques.An advocate for the index card in the early twentieth century called for animitation of “accountants of the modern school.”10Most recently, theemergence of the fact has been attributed to methods of commercial recordkeeping (and double-entry bookkeeping in particular).

      Merchant as a model for note taking.

    14. Merchants, forexample, were long famous for keeping two separate notebooks: a daybookto record transactions in the order in which they occurred and a secondnotebook in which these transactions were sorted into categories.

      Newton referred to his notebook as a waste book, a notebook merchants used to catalog all transactions. Sounds similar to the daybooks referenced here.

    15. There are many possible criteria on which to draw up a typology of notetaking broadly conceived: by field (commercial, legal, medical, literary,phil-osophical), by type of source (from listening, from reading, from travel anddirect experience, from thinking), by intended audience (for short- or long-term use, for sharing with others or for private use), by general purpose(rhetorical, factual, playful). S

      Typology of notes.

    16. See, for example, Jay David Bolter,Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History ofWriting(Hillsdale, N.J., 1991); Christina Haas,Writing Technology: Studies on the Materiality ofLiteracy(Mahwah, N.J., 1996); andLiteracy Online: The Promise (and Peril) of Reading and Writingwith Computers,ed. Myron C. Tuman (Pittsburgh, 1992). For a discussion of the impact oflinotype, see Hugh Kenner,The Mechanic Muse(Oxford, 1987).

      Check out these works!

    17. To the cultural historian, however, note taking is most inter-esting at a level between that of the universal and that of the individual,where it can shed light on cultural expectations and material practices thatare representative of a particular historical context and where methods ofnote taking can be shown to contribute to shaping the modes of thoughtand argument characteristic of that milieu.

      Methods of note taking showing how the medium shapes the modes of thinking. Again, echoing Neil Postman's "The Medium is the Metaphor".

    18. At the other extreme,note taking is of course very personal, dependent on the judgment and com-mitments peculiar to each individual note taker, which are not necessarilyshared with others. Indeed, Michel Foucault reportedly expressed a desireto study copybooks of quotations because they seemed to him to be“work[s] on the self . . . not imposed on the individual”; they promised togive quasi-psychoanalytic insight into the thinking of the individual readerfree to choose what was worthy of attention.

      That notes are so personal that they are an insight into the individual itself. It makes you wonder how individuality can jump out, regardless of the limitations enforced by the medium (pen and paper, software, etc).

    19. The flor-ilegium or collection of flowers (that is, choice passages) originated in thethirteenth century as an aid to preachers seeking to adorn their sermonswith authoritative quotations and illustrative examples. The principle be-hind the florilegium has persisted in a variety of forms down to the ency-clopedia of quotations and the anthology of literature current today.

      The origin of quote collections. The analogy to a collection of flowers is fascinating.

    20. At its deepestlevel, whatever the medium, note taking involves variations on and com-binations of a few basic maneuvers, which I propose to identify as the fourSs: storing, sorting, summarizing, and selecting.

      The four basic maneuvers of note taking, regardless of the form.

    21. A history of note taking has significance beyond the study of individual setsof extant notes by shedding light on aspects of note taking that were widelyshared, notably through being taught in schools or used in particular pro-fessional contexts

      Studying the history of note taking rather than the content of the notes from certain people.

    22. Note taking constitutes a central but often hidden phase in the trans-mission of knowledge.

      Ann Blair in another article:

      "The note is the record a historian has of past reading. What is reading, after all? Even if you look introspectively, it’s hard to really know what you’re taking away at any given time. But notes give us hope of getting close to an intellectual process."

    1. But really the thing is... at this moment we don't have a shortage of stimuli that can excite our senses. So, the biggest problem, whenever we did not hear about a big issue, it's not because we were ignorant. It's just because that's the fundamental problem of the world we live in today. So it's not enough today to create a new concept. I think it also lies in the responsibility of the creator to also transform it into logical conversation.

      To not only create a new concept but to hold logical conversation about it over time that can change the culture amidst the saturation of attention grabbing stimuli.

    2. So my kids will only know a world of software, and because of that, because software is everywhere and all of it is just going to be more and more places, we are reshaping the whole world on top of software. So we really need to get a good understanding of what that software is because we noticed over the last hundred years that if we build an economy on top of vectors that are unsustainable, it doesn't lead us in a good case.

      Reshaping the tools that reshape the culture that reshape the tools, etc. etc.

    3. That's why I'm focused on generating or triggering conversation. I'm interested in the subject of the conversation, rather than in the immediate results of that conversations. Because when the conversation is, it's principle based and people engage into formulating arguments, listening to the other arguments and formulating maybe counterarguments are alternatives, inevitably this leads to leaps.

      Conversation as a means of moving forward, of innovation.

    4. "We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us."

      A variation is Neil Postman's adage that the medium is the metaphor through which we view the world.

    5. But code isn't text. It just so happens that we, most of the time, use a textual notation to input the code. By the way, where do we do the reading? We do it in an editor. That's interesting because the editor was not created for reading. Its main purpose was to input code into the computer. Yet this is where we'd be spending most of our time to do the reading. And I think because we have not talked seriously about how we do the reading, is that we have not used even the most basic assumptions we have around us. If you think about just most ideas that we have around today, every time a new one appear, quite a few appeared recently. The all start from advertising the editor, because the act of construction is what captures the conversation. So, I think that's a problem.

      They are called text editors, not text readers! What other tool are we using for one context that are actually meant for another?

    6. Now imagine that there is a team, the team always assumes that such problems occur all the time. Here's the thing, right? If there is no more an architect, if all developers are architects, well, why all developers are architects because the only architecture that matters is in the code. Well, it follows and I have many architects, only if I have many architects, it means that architecture is a negotiation. Right? It's common from this perspective.

      If everyone is an architect, everyone is a decision maker. If everyone is trying to make a decision, negotiation becomes a powerful asset.

    7. I believe people have put so much emphasis in architecture, was because there was a time when we were writing these long, large plans, before we would start building. As soon as we would go out of the script, would leave the script and trail along somewhere, that we would know we were lost and then the whole thing is doomed. The assumption there was, that we need to have discipline to follow the plan to the point. This is also where we started to instill the idea that we have people that think and people that implement, which I also think is wrong. Not necessarily wrong, but it is wrong. It's also ... I mean, it's not fulfilling. It doesn't match. It doesn't utilize our abilities to do the best of our potential.

      This is where Agile/Scrum methodologies came in - to give more adaptability when dealing with long, large plans and going off script.

    8. Rather than asking what architecture is, I ask what is architecture for. That's a different thing. Usually, people talk about architecture, before they want to do something, before they want to make a decision. That's when architecture is interesting. It's funny for me ... It's interesting. It was an interesting observation to see how, for whatever angle you look at software, it's somehow boils down to how do we make decisions.

      Looking at architecture from the lens of design thinking: what is it for?

      In Girba's view it is a way to think about thinking about how to do something, before making a decision.

    9. By the way, when people read code, they actually don't read code like they do, Harry Potter. They read code in a, different way, because the goal of the reading effort most of the time, is not when you learn, but when you're into a project. Most of the times, a large majority of the time, the goal of the reading effort is to understand enough to make a decision. From that perspective, I look at software engineering as being primarily decision making business.

      And the same could be said of writing code as well. It is not like writing an essay or a novel. We write code in a different way.

      Makes you think that even though we are a hyperlexic culture, the type of reading varies across contexts.

  9. Jun 2019
    1. Cypress trees dressed in Spanish moss fly past us. It disappears as quickly as it had appeared

      Oh this is cool because of x...

    1. The internet has always been built on a bunch of different technologies filling in the gaps for each other. For example, while web browsers mainly use the TCP protocol for loading web pages, they switch to using UDP when it's convenient for things like video chat. Decentralized web protocols should be no exception to this pattern. The only way we're going to make the internet better is by working together to help each other.

      Build bridges!

    2. Instead of trying to make a "kitchen sink" protocol that solves a wide variety of problems, we should acknowledge the limitations of our protocols (and our own resources) and instead support and foster interoperability and collaboration between our communities.

      Again, avoiding the monolithic model and being more in favor of robust ecosystems where it is okay if you are one of many tools that make up the toolbox. In the end it is a healthier perspective.

    3. If we view these protocols as tools in a toolbox rather than monolithic solutions or ecosystems, we can build decentralized software that rivals and surpasses in utility anything the big centralized tech giants have to offer.

      Thinking of the toolbox rather than the all-in-one solution.

      But Software tends to sink towards monolithic. Kazemi said as much when he noted how decentralized networks tends towards centralization.

      I wonder why that is the case?

    4. First, that software developers should not be afraid to mix, match, and layer protocols. There is no rule that says you can't do this, yet I've noticed people picking one protocol and sticking to it out of some kind of loyalty. When really, as a developer, your loyalty should be to your values of an open, decentralized internet, whatever those are.

      Reminds me of Alan Kay mentioning how we tend to think tactically rather than strategically. Smaller picture rather than bigger picture. Values will lead to the proper tools, however singular or multiple.

    5. Looking at the software this way gives us a framework to design complex decentralized services.

      Puts a new perspective on what a 'web framework' is. Not just a way to deploy client/server web applications over HTTP but something more robust thanks to all the other protocols at play.

    6. I've started thinking of these three protocols as each solving certain problems in the universe of software design, and when we understand where the protocols fit into the design space, we can start to think of solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Dat is great for sharing big files (or bundles of small files). Secure ScuttleButt is great for spreading messages organically between connected networks of people or computers. ActivityPub is great for coordinating messages between networks of always-on servers that are actively maintained by specialist systems administrators.

      Using design thinking to ask "What are these protocols for? What particular problems do they solve?"

      Because once we know their distinct advantages we can solve more complex problems that make up smaller problems that these protocols are particularly good at solving.

    7. Not peer to peer, relies on special network nodes (servers) and an expert class of systems administrators to operate

      Crucial to understanding all of this. A system can be decentralized but not peer to peer. ActivityPub still uses the client/server relationship while Dat and SSB blur those lines.

    8. All your content is its own hidden island until its URL is sent to someone else; that person can share the URL or even post it somewhere public and now your island is on the map

      Which is where Frazee and others have mentioned the hidden island problem. It is hard to find content without a general portal service.

      Makes one wonder whether we will see something like Yahoo on Beaker.

    9. What is needed is software that utilizes these protocols for their strengths, which is to say what is needed is developers and designers who are willing to act as bridges between the communities of practice surrounding the protocols.

      Refreshing. To take a forest approach rather than being stuck in the trees.

      If we want a decentralized web as a whole, we need to not only explore other protocols but see how they can be used together.

    1. Social media has reshaped our culture, and this has convinced us that it is fundamentally appealing. Strip away its most manipulative elements, though, and we may find that it’s less rewarding than it seems

      What of software that strives to be non-addictive? Where they measure less time you spend as a goal? Could there be software that doesn't worry about scaling users?

      What are alternatives to the Attention Economy?

    2. Despite its advantages, however, I suspect that the IndieWeb will not succeed in replacing existing social-media platforms at their current scale. For one thing, the IndieWeb lacks the carefully engineered addictiveness that helped fuel the rise of services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This addictiveness has kept people returning to their devices even when they know there are better uses for their time; remove the addiction, and you might lose the users.

      But is that the goal of IndieWeb? Does it want to replace centralized social-media entirely?

      Darius Kazemi stressed the opposite, recalling his experience running Friend Camp, a Mastodon instance: "Any decentralized service that can be centralized WILL be centralized...so let's provide valuable services that are unscalable, uncentralizable, and unprofitable." (source)

    3. According to this way of thinking, sites like Facebook and Instagram encourage conformism because it makes your data easier to process and monetize. This creates the exhausting sense that you’re a worker in a data factory rather than a three-dimensional individual trying to express yourself and connect with other real people in an organic way online.

      The trade off with being in a frictionless, user-friendly platform like Facebook and Twitter. Lanier's phrase "multiple-choice identities" fits the situation perfectly.

    4. They frame it in terms of a single question: Who owns the servers? The bulk of our online activity takes places on servers owned by a small number of massive companies. Servers cost money to run. If you’re using a company’s servers without paying for the privilege, then that company must be finding other ways to “extract value” from you—and it’s that quest for large-scale value extraction, they argue, that leads directly to the crises of compromised privacy and engineered addictiveness with which we’re currently grappling.

      A variation upon "If you are not paying for the product, you are the product."

    5. Alongside these official responses, a loose collective of developers and techno-utopians that calls itself the IndieWeb has been creating another alternative. The movement’s affiliates are developing their own social-media platforms, which they say will preserve what’s good about social media while jettisoning what’s bad. They hope to rebuild social media according to principles that are less corporate and more humane.

      Reminds me of what Wendell Berry advocated for in his essay "Think Little":

      "But the discipline of thought is not generalization; it is detail, and it is personal behavior. While the government is 'studying' and funding and organizing its Big Thought, nothing is being done. But the citizen who is willing to Think Little, and, accepting the discipline of that, to go ahead on his own, is already solving the problem.

      A man who is trying to live as a neighbor to his neighbors will have a lively and practical understanding of the work of peace and brotherhood, and let there be no mistake about it. he is doing that work."

    6. On the one hand, we’ve grown wary of the so-called attention economy, which, in the name of corporate profits, exploits our psychological vulnerabilities in ways that corrode social life, diminish privacy, weaken civic cohesion, and make us vulnerable to manipulation. But we also benefit from social media and hesitate to disengage from it completely.

      The double-bind of social media hits most of us pretty hard. How many times have I said I wanted to delete my Facebook only to hold back because of benefits from the past, present, and, if I keep the account, future.

    1. By encouraging the use of personal domain names, when Micro.blog does need to ask a member of the community to leave for violating our guidelines, that blogger can take their domain name and content with them, continuing to post to their own blog but blocked from interfering with the community. The curators of the platform have more freedom to block harassing posts because those problematic users can retreat to their own web site and leave everyone else in the community alone

      That is a huge point - leaving the guilty party with a way out. Not removing them and their content from the face of the earth but 'banishing' them with their domain name and content in tow. Still gives dignity to the offending party while enacting justice on behalf of the community.

    2. The fundamental problem in walled gardens like the App Store and Twitter is that they are closed. If they open up, they could in fact double-down on curation. There would be no need to loosen their quality standards because there’s an easy path to publishing without review by using the open web.

      Interesting - by relieving the weight of publishing through platforms they can do a better job at ensuring quality standards. It removes that bottleneck that comes from being both the publisher and the curator of all the content from your platform.

    3. So there’s a better word than “gatekeeper” to describe what we’re really after in building a great community-focused platform. It’s “curator”. Someone who is responsible for maintaining the best experience for users.

      And perhaps the path of least resistance for curators is Seth Godin's idea of the minimum viable audience (source). Appeal to the least amount of users to create and maintain the best experience for them.

      This also links to a point Darius Kazemi made about his experience running Friend Camp, a Mastodon instance: "Any decentralized service that can be centralized WILL be centralized...so let's provide valuable services that are unscalable, uncentralizable, and unprofitable." (source)

    4. The issue isn’t that Twitter doesn’t care. It’s instead a design flaw in the platform. Because tweets don’t exist outside of Twitter, when you’re banned from Twitter, you need to start over with a new format or on a new social network. For this reason, and because their business depends on a large user base, Twitter is hesitant to throw anyone off their service. They’re unwilling to tend the garden for fear of pulling too many weeds.

      I wonder if this is a symptom of the 'attention economy': a platform depends so heavily on user-base that it is hesitant to throw any of them out.

      It also makes you think whether the appeals to free speech from these platforms are ways to justify this model.

    5. Twitter is also a walled garden. Like the App Store, it is a closed platform with proprietary formats and a limited API. The difference is that Twitter’s garden is poorly curated and full of weeds. The walls are in such disrepair it’s hard to even tell where they are.

      A spectrum of walled gardens. Some can be manicured and trim while others are bustling with weeds.

      But this can also apply to open gardens too no? A concern could be that open gardens gravitate towards being 'poorly curated and full of weeds'.

    6. Walled gardens like the App Store are user-friendly and developer-hostile.

      There is the rub. While they isolate developers they bring people in through sleek design and frictionless experience.

      It reminds me of IndieWeb's idea of learning from what the walled gardens do right. User-friendliness is one of things. The question becomes how we incorporate this so that software platforms are both user-friendly and developer-friendly.

    1. I’m of the opinion that web software is a trend-driven media industry and not engineering. It’s akin to fashion or cinema: an industry that wouldn’t exist without advanced technology and industrialisation and cannot function with a shit-ton of engineering but as an experience it is fundamentally defined by creative choices.

      Reminds me of Alan Kay's remark that programming (you could lump web software into it) is a pop culture rather than an actual culture because, like Bjarnason states, it is a trend-driven media rather than being based on those who came before (a la biology and physics).

    2. The ‘funnest’ realisation has been that a lot of things that are very bad ideas for most web media projects (entirely client-rendered SPAs where everything is done in the client) turn out to be actually sensible ideas on the app side that when done right, instead of ruining an app, can make it faster and more accessible.

      Knowing the proper context for an idea rather than forcing it to work for a context. Either you are using the wrong idea or have the wrong context for the project entirely.

      I can see this in my own personal projects - trying to force dynamic data attributes of apps to happen with web-media frameworks.

    3. But most of us in web development tend to focus on one genre in our careers. Most of the web dev work outside of the US west coast is in web media: dynamic hypertext that delivers a lot of information with a bit of interactivity and functionality. Wordpress sites, ecommerce sites, intranets, CMSes of many stripes, visualisations, content publishing, institutional sites, etc. One of the hallmarks of web media is that you can do a lot with very small teams. You can get a lot done when you combine a bit of server-side rendering with a layer of client-side interactivity and a nice bit of CSS.

      Web media as the main genre of choice. A lot fits under that umbrella when you think about it.

      The minimal synergy required by back-end and front-end to create something is important to note as well.

    4. On the web, we have four core genres with differing conventions and expectations. Web media is the web as a media artefact: blogs, news sites, articles, video, wikis, etc. Social media is a dynamic, multi-user hypertext contained within a single space governed by a very small set of interaction conventions. Games are widgets that make trivial things difficult for fun. Apps are widgets that make trivial things difficult for work.

      A reasonable breakdown of genres that exist on the web. Just about everything under the web fits into one of these categories.

      Love the games/apps distinction: Games make triviality difficult for fun, apps make triviality difficult for work. Makes you wonder why that is the case.

    5. Fagfábjáni: A nice Icelandic word that literally translates as: somebody who focuses on a single field to the point of being an idiot. The original meaning of the word ‘nerd’, basically.

      What a great word. See also the 'complete' version of the famous saying: "Jack of all trades, master of none, oft times better than a master of none!"

      It makes you wonder where the line is drawn with specialization. How far can you go until you are a fagfábjánar?

    1. What we're missing now, on another level, is not just biology, but cosmology. People treat the digital universe as some sort of metaphor, just a cute word for all these products. The universe of Apple, the universe of Google, the universe of Facebook, that these collectively constitute the digital universe, and we can only see it in human terms and what does this do for us? "We're missing a tremendous opportunity. We're asleep at the switch because it's not a metaphor. In 1945 we actually did create a new universe. This is a universe of numbers with a life of their own, that we only see in terms of what those numbers can do for us. Can they record this interview? Can they play our music? Can they order our books on Amazon? If you cross the mirror in the other direction, there really is a universe of self-reproducing digital code. When I last checked, it was growing by five trillion bits per second. And that's not just a metaphor for something else. It actually is. It's a physical reality.

      What do we take from such a reality? When we think of the history of technology, it operates like any other form of history. A linear direction from past to present. Things happen. Technologies get invented and adopted and eclipsed over and over again. Each of these is a point on the line of time.

      But what if we took technology on the cosmological level? Past technologies don't exist in the past but as a part of the present galaxy. They can be explored, inhabited, renewed for use in another quadrant. The past is not in the past but indeed alive.

      We don't have to look at the work of Douglas Engelbart or Ted Nelson as a past attempt of realizing what the computer could be. We can instead see them as realities in the sphere of technology that we can venture forth to. It makes the past truly alive, truly something we can interact with.

    1. “Private note-taking seems selfish to me. Make it all public, using standards. Big clouds of notes!” Advertisement Continue reading the main story Others defended the essential intimacy of the note-taking process, which one audience member summed up in the cri de coeur “My notes are none of your business.”

      We can have both no? I can make my notes public on Hypothes.is (as I am now) yet have my own private notes, both on this platform and in my own journals and copies of books. Note-taking should be diverse, technology-agnostic even.

    2. Anxiety over the potential mindlessness of note-taking took on particular urgency during the digital annotation session, at which panelists debated whether the Internet and social media had ushered in a golden age of notes or doomed us to watch all our fleeting thoughts — if not our brains themselves — sucked down a giant digital drain, beyond the reach of future historians.

      Just a mass of dots we are collecting rather than connecting them and making meaning out of them. Social media feeds can especially feel this way. We keep scrolling and yet does more meaning come? Any advancement of an ongoing narrative?

      Interesting point of none of our notes being in reach of future historians. Who knows what technological limitations could get in the way? Reminds me of Isaacson's point about DaVinci's notebooks standing the test of time. Will we say the same of Brain Pickings or Kottke.org? Can they be conserved by places like the Library of Congress or the Internet Archive?

    3. a 17th-century German engraving of a note-closet, in which slips of paper could be hung on hooks corresponding to up to 3,000 alphabetized headings.

      Putting symbolic notation into a spatial plain. To move paper around a physical space, not limited to the page or a screen. Fascinated by the 3k headings to chose from though. A precursor to tags?

      Seems to be a spiritual grandfather to visual organization tools like Are.na and Bret Victor's work, more so in line with the latter.

    4. But Ms. Stern also sees evidence that some playwrights wrote with table-book-toting audiences in mind, hoping that much-copied and repeated lines would serve as publicity. “They were possibly thinking in sound-bitey terms,” she said.

      Like certain articles that have passages embedded on the page, ready to be shared on social media. A creator's work within a medium is informed by other mediums that can distribute her ideas freely.

    5. In a talk on note-taking in Shakespeare’s time, Tiffany Stern, a professor of early modern drama at Oxford University, described the way people carried “table books,” with specially treated erasable pages, to sermons and plays, not just to take notes but to advertise themselves as note-takers — much as an iPad might today. (“They said you are highly literate, and wish to write all the time,” she said.)

      Reminds me of Oliver Sacks taking notebooks with him to concerts.

      I find it interesting that it served as a sign of high culture, like people carrying around phones as a sign of industry or productivity. Interesting parallel with tablets.

    6. “The note is the record a historian has of past reading,” said Ann Blair, a professor of history at Harvard and one of the conference organizers. “What is reading, after all? Even if you look introspectively, it’s hard to really know what you’re taking away at any given time. But notes give us hope of getting close to an intellectual process.”

      Because how do you know if someone has read something? Even just saying you read something is not an indication (think of fibbing in English class that you read the assigned chapter). But making note of a text through marginalia or a review - that is the way we can have some sense of what Blair calls an 'intellectual process'.

  10. May 2019
    1. How did creator Bill Atkinson define HyperCard? "Simply put, HyperCard is a software erector set that lets non-programmers put together interactive information," he told the Computer Chronicles in 1987.

      To have the freedom to engage with content dynamically and for that content to be pliable enough to suit their needs. From programmer to non-programmer, this is something everyone wants in the systems they use.

    2. "HyperCard was very compelling back then, you know graphically, this hyperlink thing," Wei later recalled. "I got a HyperCard manual and looked at it and just basically took the concepts and implemented them in X-windows," which is a visual component of UNIX. The resulting browser, Viola, included HyperCard-like components: bookmarks, a history feature, tables, graphics. And, like HyperCard, it could run programs.

      Love the approach of looking at a manual of something you will never use and taking concepts from it to implement into your own work. Just because you don't use a thing does not mean you cannot understand it enough to take those lessons into other ventures.

    3. The Victoria Museum of Melbourne, which keeps track of Australia's scientific and cultural history, has published a list of ways that educators in Melbourne used the program: • a stack of multiple choice test questions • assembling, storing and delivering teaching materials that included graphs from Excel • making class KeyNote-like presentations and handouts for students • a calculator that included a variety of mathematical functions and graphing capabilities • computer aided instruction in the sciences incorporating animation and sound • fractals • Geographical Information System tutorial • oil-spill modelling • literacy development • road safety • a database front-end to an Oracle database • a database in toxicology • selecting and playing tracks on a videodisk • an interactive educational presentation showing jobs in the wool industry • educational interactive games 'Flowers of Crystal' and 'Granny's Garden' • 'Beach Trails' - exploring the local sea shore and shells. • TTAPS ('Touch Typing - a Program for Schools').

      A tool like Hypercard allows a wide variety of use cases. I wonder why that is. Perhaps because it was not only accessible but abstract enough to be molded to different types of applications and scenarios.

    4. "HyperCard is based upon hypertext," Gary Kildall told Stewart Cheifet. "It's a concept that was developed by Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart in the sixties. The basic idea is this: if we're trying to do research on any kind of a subject, the subject matter exists in all kinds of different places. It can be books, magazines, tape recordings, Compuserve, and if we can somehow link all this stuff electronically, so that if we click on Beethoven, we can all of a sudden jump from one to the next... that's what hypertext is all about."

      A problem hypertext tries to solve is one related to information overload. Not only is there too much information but it is all over the place. How do we not lose track of resources? Connect them together!

    5. "I missed the mark with HyperCard," Atkinson lamented. "I grew up in a box-centric culture at Apple. If I'd grown up in a network-centric culture, like Sun, HyperCard might have been the first Web browser. My blind spot at Apple prevented me from making HyperCard the first Web browser."

      A variation upon the law of the instrument - if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    1. We can paraphrase Thurston as saying that mathematicians often don't think about mathematical objects using the conventional representations found in books. Rather, they rely heavily on what we might call hidden representations, such as the mental imagery Thurston describes, of groups breaking into formations of circular groups. Such hidden representations help them reason more easily than the conventional representations, and occasionally provide them with what may seem to others like magical levels of insight

      Hidden representations reminds me of a passage in Gleick's bio of Feynman:

      "Feynman said to Dyson, and Dyson agreed, that Einstein's great work had spring from physical intuition and that when Einstein stopped creating it was because 'he stopped thinking in concrete physical images and became a manipulator of equations.'

      "Intuition was not just visual but also auditory and kinesthetic. Those who watched Feynman in moments of intense concentration came away with a strong, even disturbing sense of the physicality of the process, as though his brain did not stop with the gray matter but extended through every muscle in his body."

    2. . No-one would ever have these visual thoughts without the cognitive technologies developed by Picasso, Edgerton, Beck, and many other pioneers

      Building on the shoulders of other cognitive technologies to create new cognitive technologies.

    3. Language is an example of a cognitive technology: an external artifact, designed by humans, which can be internalized, and used as a substrate for cognition. That technology is made up of many individual pieces – words and phrases, in the case of language – which become basic elements of cognition. These elements of cognition are things we can think with.

      We tend to think of technology as a physical manifestation outside of ourselves. Cognitive Technology is great way to think about technology that can be internalized and act as a scaffolding for our minds.

    4. Eventually, you become fluent, discovering powerful and surprising idioms, emergent patterns hidden within the interface. You begin to think with the interface, learning patterns of thought that would formerly have seemed strange, but which become second nature. The interface begins to disappear, becoming part of your consciousness. You have been, in some measure, transformed.

      See above annotation about Portal and "thinking with portals" (source).

    5. Some people experience this when they play imaginative video games, such as Monument Valley, Braid, or Portal.

      Portal especially. It gives a whole new perspective to the game's tagline, "(Now you're) thinking with portals". That you start to think of the environment through the prism of that technology.

  11. Mar 2019
    1. ‘Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I’m sure I shan’t be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage the best way you can;—but I must be kind to them,’ thought Alice, ‘or perhaps they won’t walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I’ll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.’

      This disconnect she gets from her own body. Carrol is exploring proprioception in an imaginative way - an innate sensation of knowing where our limbs are w/o seeing them.

      The only way we can understand what proprioception feels like is in its absence. Growing large is a wild way to examine this. Reminds me also of Oliver Sacks' case study, "The Disembodied Lady", in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.