April 8, 2024

CSS Naked Day

I saw this blog post from Dominik Schwind, writing for lostfocus.de, about CSS Naked Day:

It’s CSS Naked Day! And if (big if) my if works properly, you should see this website without any CSS on April 9th, 2024 in all timezones.

I was intrigued, and, always being game for weird blog fads, I removed my style.css file from HeyDingus for the next day. It’s not pretty, but it still works as a fully functional website!

Care to get naked with me? 😉

Linked Blogging

April 7, 2024

7 Things This Week [#139]

A weekly list of interesting things I found on the internet, posted on Sundays. Sometimes themed, often not.

1️⃣ Huh. Third-graders are no longer frightened of quicksand as I was. [🔗 Radiolab // overcast.fm]

2️⃣ Not sure if I’d ever actually use this web tool of pre-written reply messages, but I like little websites like this. 🙂 [🔗 reply.cards]

3️⃣ mb bischoff is redesigning their website with a single style change each day, and documenting each change here. Neat! [🔗 mb bischoff // mbbischoff.com]

4️⃣ I haven’t tried it, but this Photos Takeout app looks pretty slick for getting photos out of your iCloud Photos Library in a sane way. [🔗 Photos Takeout // photostakeout.com]

5️⃣ Take one minute and learn about robot timing versus human timing in music. It’s pretty cool that music editing software has this built-in, and I immediately noticed the difference. [🔗 synthet // youtube.com] (Via Matt Birchler)

6️⃣ My friends and I laughed and laughed over this Total Eclipse of the Heart spoof video back in high school. Glad that Kottke finally found it. 🤣 [🔗 kottke.org]

7️⃣ Voice-to-text is getting wild, y’all. Aqua Voice seamlessly melds dictation and directions given to a text box. Just think what this will be like in 3-5 years. [🔗 Aqua Voice // withaqua.com]

52 Albums Project

Burlesque (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Christina Aguilera & Cher (2010) — #14/52

I’ve only seen the movie once or twice, but I return to the music of Burlesque all the time. Cher and Aguilera are masters of their craft, and their music shines in this Broadway-esque large stage production setting. And have you ever heard of someone as matched regarding raw power with exquisite control as Christina Aguilera? I sure haven’t! If you missed the movie and have yet to hear these songs, boy, you’re in for a treat!

Follow along on the 52 Albums Project page where I’m making some playlists for you.

Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things 52 Albums

April 5, 2024

PenPal with Ratika: What does the sky look like where you are?

For the PenPal Project this month, I’m chatting with Ratika Deshpande, as writer’s writer — in that she’s authoring a book — and boy does it show:

In this first exchange, we mostly talk about the weather, how it isn’t just small talk, describing how it’s bringing variable conditions our way, and do our best to paint the sky with words.

Bonus: You get to hear about how I was once mad at my dad for not capturing me a jar full of clouds.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where this conversation goes — I’m expecting places this blog has not yet been.

Read the conversation →


April 5, 2024

RE: ‘Goodbye Micro.blog’

Being the Micro.blog advocate that I am (read this whole thing with that grain of salt), I’m always curious about why someone chooses to leave, as Khürt Williams did this morning:

In conclusion, there are several factors leading me to withhold a full recommendation for the current iteration of micro.blog. While acknowledging the challenges, it’s worth noting that platform governance, akin to Twitter, rests with the owner. Despite this, I maintain a positive view of Manton’s character, even if we haven’t met in person. However, the platform’s responsiveness to change requests could benefit from improvement.

Wishing for a future where µblog strikes a better balance between fostering a safe environment and encouraging vibrant community engagement, I bid farewell.

Definitely some valid points here, particularly around Khürt’s experience with customer service and the friction in design and with editing. I’d say neither are insurmountable, but also neither are best-in-class.

Khürt, as do others, seem to long for Micro.blog to evolve into a fully-fledged social network to rival the feature-set of X, Mastodon, or Threads:

µblog’s simplicity is commendable, offering a clutter-free experience devoid of ads. However, this streamlined approach also translates into limitations, such as the absence of features like direct messaging, group chats, and advanced search functionalities.

Personally, I went to Micro.blog for my social network of choice precisely because of, not in spite of, the limited social functionality there. More advanced search would be nice, but if I wanted like counts, boosts, or an algorithm to surface posts I might like, then I would go elsewhere for those feature. (Which, to be fair, is what Khürt has done, but I don’t think all the social networks need to have to same feature.) I recognize that I need to work harder (but not hard) to find people to follow in Micro.blog, and that is by design to cut down on the social noise.

Furthermore, with the entire Fediverse of ActivityPub users that I can follow simply by searching their Mastodon, Pixelfed, and now Threads usernames, I’ve never felt like I couldn’t expand my social circle. I’m glad those other options exist for anyone who wants a broader, necessarily more noisy social network experience, but I’m also glad that Micro.blog exists as a (yes, friction-y) option.

Because of the emphasis and speed in which Micro.blog pursues interoperability with other social networks, plus its dedication to owning your content and making it straightforward export elsewhere, I was surprised to see this blockquote from Evgeny Kuznetsov featured so prominently in the introduction of Khürt’s blog post:

Micro.blog is not just an alternative silo. It’s worse than your average silo. It’s worse than Twitter. From the point of view of IndieWeb, it’s even worse than Facebook. — Evgeny Kuznetsov

Had I been duped by Micro.blog into joining not just another silo, but a worse one? I didn’t think so, but I read on hoping to see Khürt’s reason for why he’d called out a quote poking at one of Micro.blog’s core tenets. But silos aren’t mentioned at all in Khürt’s own prose.

The only valid argument that I could see made for labeling Micro.blog as a silo is that you need an account there to use it, and a hosted blog to get full functionality. Personally, I’m not sure how you would achieve full functionality in any other way, except perhaps running an instance of Micro.blog on your own server, which isn’t something I’ve seen anyone ask for. On the contrary, I’ve yet to come across another platform that works as hard as Micro.blog to let users post elsewhere — it’s an ActivityPub/Mastodon citizen, you can cross-post to all the other major networks that offer a mechanism to do so (and a few that don’t, through clever URL-schemes), there’s two-way posting with native replies to Bluesky, you can host your blog elsewhere and still get the social/crossposting features if you need them — it goes on. Along with the fact that you can export everything from your account makes it more of a leaky sieve than a watertight silo. In fact, since there wasn’t a standard export format to make it easy for users to take their blog’s content and move it elsewhere, Micro.blog’s founder, Manton Reece, created one, the .bar file and advocates for its adoption to make moving around less of a hassle. It’s the only place I know of where you could import your Twitter archive, and the immediately reexport all your tweets as traditional blog posts to take elsewhere.

Anyway, I’ve gone on far too long here, but I should circle back to Evgeny Kuznetsov’s comment briefly. Khürt’s blockquote of it sent me down the rabbit hole, reading his original post which seemed to me to be mostly comprised of his misgivings about Micro.blog as an IndieWeb citizen and the gripes he had using its feature-set with his separate, non-Micro.blog-hosted site.

Several members of the IndieWeb community responded with their support of Micro.blog as an active member, Manton chimed in to clarify a few things, Evgeny realized he didn’t have his RSS feed going into Micro.blog correctly (which might have contributed to the broken communication) and wrote a follow-up post. In that post, he conceded that perhaps a full Micro.blog account would probably solve most of his issues (which, again, makes sense to me) and does not raise any siloing issues again.

Evgeny’s remaining misgiving with Micro.blog, and perhaps this is where Khürt agrees, is with its imperfect and incomplete implementation of IndieWeb principles. I can’t and won’t disagree there — I’d love to see Webmention support be more robust and intuitive, but it certainly doesn’t make me think of Micro.blog as a big bad silo.

Anyway, I wish Khürt the best in finding the web home and community that meets his needs, and I commend him for voting with his feet” by moving on when it became clear Micro.blog wasn’t cutting it. But I think I’ll stick around.

Blogging Linked

April 5, 2024

Digital Toolmaker

If you’re new around here, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I love building shortcuts. I have 579 of them in my personal library at the moment, and I’d guess that I built or modified about half of those at some point or another. Between my HeyDingus Shortcuts Library and my old home on RoutineHub, I’ve shared over 40 of them publicly, thinking that maybe someone else will find these little tools helpful.

Has the time I’ve spent building, testing, tweaking, and sharing those shortcuts been earned back in the time they’ve saved me rather than doing things manually? After all, they are called shortcuts for a reason.

It’s hard to say, but I’d hazard a guess that I’m coming out ahead, but not nearly as far as one might imagine. Saving time is just one reason I like throwing my time into creating these (sometimes) small digital hammers. Another is because, at this point, all my digital problems look like little digital nails, just waiting to be tapped into place with a few well-placed Shortcuts actions.

But mostly, it just lights up my brain in a way that few other things do. Throughout primary and secondary school, I used to be very into mathematics. I loved figuring out the logic behind equations and how you could always solve your way down to an answer. My field of study in college didn’t require any advanced math courses, so I’ve long since fallen out of practice and now would be embarrassed to tell you how often I pull out a calculator for simple mental math.

But when there’s a little burr in my computing life that I think could be sanded down with Shortcuts, my wheels get turning and it’s hard to pull myself away from refining, adding features, and solving down to an ideal answer. I’m sure if I learned traditional coding, I’d feel the same. Or if I had a workshop to craft furniture or pound metal into useful shapes. But since I don’t know that much about programming languages nor have the desire to craft physical products, Shortcuts is my IDE, my workshop.

Why am I pondering this tonight, when by all accounts I should be fast asleep? Because I spent the last many hours creating, troubleshooting, and refining a handful of shortcuts, of course! I worked on a particularly complicated one that’s been giving me some trouble (over 100 actions long), and then followed it up with one of the simplest ones in my library (just two actions). Was the little one, which amounts to some elementary text replacement, even worth it? Absolutely! That two-action shortcut, along with its PopClip companion extension, helped me to speed through adding run-shortcut URLs to each of the 30 entries in my public library. And then it led to me updating another larger shortcut with expanded functionality, which will streamline putting together every shortcut I share from now on.

And I enjoyed every second of getting them just right. Some people like physical puzzles best, but I found my preferred brain stimulation in being a digital toolmaker. Whether they’re just for me, or designed specifically for others to use, it brings me great joy to scratch this itch.

Shortcuts Coding

April 2, 2024

PenPaling With Valerie: Ramadan Updates, Crampons, Photoblogging, and More on Worldly Travel

From my latest exchange with Valerie V.:

It tickles me to chat with people whose day-to-day lives are so different than mine, and yet invariably find how very much we always have in common.

Read the whole conversation →


March 31, 2024

7 Things (Which Are My Favorite Routes I Climbed in Red Rocks) This Week [#138]

A weekly list of interesting things I found on the internet, posted on Sundays. Sometimes themed, often not.

I was in Las Vegas all week — not to gamble, but to climb in the beautiful Red Rocks Conservation Area. It was an incredible week of climbing and descending very big rocks in the desert canyons with my buddy. They were long days, all of them, so I didn’t do much internet browsing. Here are some of my favorite routes I climbed instead.

1️⃣ Lady Luck (5.6, 7 pitches, 1000 feet)

2️⃣ Peaches (5.7, 1 pitch, 120 feet)

3️⃣ Stand Dumb and Speak Not (5.7, 1 pitch, 80 feet)

4️⃣ Kibbles n bits (5.8-, 2 pitches, 190 feet)

5️⃣ Man’s Best Friend (5.7, 2 pitches, 180 feet)

6️⃣ Motorcycle Mama (5.6, 1 pitch, 90 feet)

7️⃣ Johnny Vegas (5.7, 4 pitches, 450 feet) linked with Going Nuts (5.6, 2 pitches, 300 feet)

52 Albums Project

No Matter Where You Are by Us The Duo (2014) — #13/52

I know I shared an Us The Duo album just a few weeks ago, but they’ve been on my mind since learning that they’re no longer together as husband and wife. It sounds like they’ll continue to produce music together, but just as friends (and co-parents) and not as a married couple. Kind of a shock.

Anyway, this is one of my favorite albums from them and contains a song (“Make You Mine”) which was this close to being my wife’s and my first dance song. Great stuff from start to finish.

Follow along on the 52 Albums Project page where I’m making some playlists for you.

Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things 52 Albums

March 31, 2024

Micro.blog is becoming the fabric of the open social web of your dreams

Manton Reece, creator of Micro.blog, with some pretty momentous news on this Easter Sunday:

Some folks on Micro.blog who also actively use Bluesky have noticed something new we’ve been rolling out over the last couple of days: Micro.blog will now look for replies on Bluesky to your blog posts, bringing them into the Micro.blog timeline. This transforms Micro.blog into a base platform to manage even more of your social interactions.

Micro.blog has long supported cross-posting to a Bluesky account, but now it’ll look for replies to those cross-posts and bring them into Micro.blog as native mentions, which allows for this:

Now you reply to the Bluesky post directly within Micro.blog. Micro.blog copies your reply back to Bluesky seamlessly.

Rather than being a one-way train out to Bluesky, Manton has built a railway back, allowing two-way travel between your blog and your Bluesky account. It’s even more of the social web’s Grand Central Station than ever!

I’d love to see this interoperability come to its Mastodon/Threads support too. It’s less necessary for those platforms since they work with ActivityPub, which Micro.blog does natively. (I don’t have a true” Mastodon account but can follow and interact with Mastodon users from within Micro.blog using my @jarrod@micro.blog address, as well as follow Threads accounts with it.) But some people would prefer to have a real” Mastodon and/or Threads account to get full functionality out of those platforms. Having everything flow back to your blog, even from those platforms, would be pretty cool.

Here’s the bottom line, and one of the reasons I love Micro.blog best despite its quirks and bugs:

Micro.blog is effectively a universal timeline for not just Micro.blog but also ActivityPub, Bluesky, and other services. We want to make the web a little better by encouraging people to post to their own blog while still being connected to friends. That means embracing open platforms wherever they are.

Manton Reece is building the open social web he wants to see in the world, and I’m all for it.


March 24, 2024

Scott Yu-Jan’s Macintosh Studio

I know I just shared a bunch of links in 7 Things, but then I saw this video from Scott Yu-Jan. WOW! He 3D-printed a case for the Mac Studio in the style of the original Macintosh, with a slot in the front to hold an iPad mini for the screen. As Yu-Jan says in the video, it gives his iPad mini a new purpose when not in tablet-mode as an external display for his Mac (much like Federico Viticci’s MacPad) with the added benefit that now it’s always charged when he takes it on the go.

A vintage-style computer on a desk with the word ‘Macintosh’ overlaid on the left and ‘Studio’ on the right.
Image credit: Scott Yu-Jan

Oh, and the pull out drawer for storage, headphone hook, and cord slots are just chef’s kiss.

It’s the perfect intersection of nostalgic desk trinket and kick-ass functional tool. As an M1 Mac Mini user, that tease about a version for its smaller case certainly also has my attention. 👀

As an aside, I was as transfixed by Yu-Jan’s cinematography as I was by the product — it’s beautiful! He artfully captured the design, printing, and assembly of the casing, and told a compelling story all in a tight eight minutes. Nice.

(Via The Verge)


March 24, 2024

7 Things This Week [#137]

A weekly list of interesting things I found on the internet, posted on Sundays. Sometimes themed, often not.

1️⃣ Blogroll.social is a new site from Dave Winer with a neat way to display a blogroll: sorted by more recently updated. Blogrolls are cool again! [🔗 blogroll.social]

2️⃣ I don’t record a lot of videos of myself, but if I did I’d be very tempted to get this auto-tracking dock that Belkin made to work with the iPhone’ DockKit. Stephen Robles gives a great overview in this video, and it’s pretty charming to see the little robot arm swing the phone around to keep faces in frame. 🤖 [🔗 Stephen Robles // youtube.com]

3️⃣ Playing chess via brain implant. The future is wild. [🔗 @pronounced_kyle // twitter.com]

4️⃣ Old-school lighters had so much more personality and functionality. I want them badly. [🔗 @histoireduneflamme // tiktok.com] (Via Todd Vaziri)

5️⃣ I guarantee you’re not ready for this site. 🤯 [🔗 henryheffernan.com] (Via Keenan)

6️⃣ Credit where it’s due, Humane seems to have taken criticism of their over-serious demeanor to heart. This latest demo video is far more casual and fun. Not as fun as the Rabbit R1, and still without a lot of personality, but a step in the right direction. There’s a lot to digest here, but my impression is that this interface may be better served by glasses and/or watch hardware. It’s very early days, though, and I’m intrigued to see where this technology goes. [🔗 humane // youtube.com]

7️⃣ LinkTalk is a fascinating idea for a very different sort of social network. [🔗 Jatan Mehta // journal.jatan.space]

52 Albums Project

Kind of Blue by Miles Davis (1959) — #12/52

It’s not very original to select one of the quintessential jazz albums as one that’s influential or important specifically to me. And yet. When I was a wee seventh grader, still learning my way around the trumpet and with dreams of joining the Ionia Middle School Jazz Band, Miles Davis is to whom I turned to get a feel for swing and blues. I don’t think I even knew at the time that he was the jazz trumpet guy. I just searched iTunes for jazz trumpet, Miles Davis popped up, I clicked Buy”, and started listening on repeat.

I would later transcribe and play So What” as a class assignment, so it has an exceedingly high play count as I would play along, scrubbing back and forth trying to nail the notes and style. Miles Davis’ music opened the door to learning about getting behind the beat and how one could infuse emotion and personality into every note.

I don’t listen to as much jazz these days, but I do find that it makes for excellent music to have on to get my creative juices flowing. I can’t listen to lyrics when I’m reading, writing, or focusing on something — but a little soft jazz gets things flowing.

So, yes, I’m going with Kind of Blue as one of my go-to jazz albums. An unoriginal, but absolutely essential choice.

Follow along on the 52 Albums Project page where I’m making some playlists for you.

Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things 52 Albums